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  5. "Já jsem tady ale byla před v…

" jsem tady ale byla před vámi!"

Translation:But I was here before you!

January 12, 2018



How come the word order is not "Ale já jsem tady byla před vámi!"? Are both equally fine? Is it a matter of emphasis?


They are the same. They even stress the same thing, just the position of ale is different. That does not changes anything.


Makes much more more sense to me this way


How do I kow that před vámi means before you (timing wise) and not infront of you (locationwise) ?


Context and word order. Here the information that "I was here" is treated as known so in English you would stress the "in front of you"/"before you" part (i.e. pronounce it stronger than the rest of the sentence). What would you rather say this way: "But I was here in front of you!" or "But I was here before you!"?

If you wanted to say this sentence with "here" stressed, that is, assuming the whole location you were at is unknown to the person you're speaking to, you would rather say "But I was here in front of you!" than "But I was here before you!" because saying the latter this way would make an illogical connection between place and time.

A similar effect (probably - I'm not a native speaker nor a very good speaker so if somebody could confirm, it would be appreciated) can be achieved in Czech by saying "Já jsem ale byla tady před vami" or "Já jsem ale byla tu před vami" with "tady"/"tu" stressed when the whole phrase means place and and with "před" stressed if the phrase means time.

TL;DR Watch the sentence stress.


I have the same question and I don't understand the previous explanation :(


If it were "tady před vámi", then yes, that means "here in front of you.".

"Já jsem byla tady před vámi." - "I was here in front of you."

But this sentence can still be spatial. It just doesn't mean "here in front of you". It can mean "At this place, I was in front of you.". But that is quite strange and it is hard to imagine the context where it might be applicable.


Thank you. I suppose that the context of this sentence may be relate to something like a queue.


Then it is certainly temporal, I was here before you. where both "here" and "before you" modify the verb.


Could this also mean 'I am here but she was before you!'?


not in this case since the subject is declared at the beginning "Ja" you would need to say it like Ja jsem tady ale ona byla pred vami


What about using of the present perfect? I reckon it fits better than using of past simple.. However, I have been here before you!


The present perfect cannot be used here because the "before you" implies an action in the past, and thus the whole sentence has to be in the past. It would also need more context; for example: "But I had been here for three hours before you arrived!"


What if we meant "But there was a time when I was here before you"?


You 've probably never heard people quarreling in a queue. : )


To go back to the discussion about "before" and "in front of" relating to the meaning of "před", I came into this discussion because I wanted to ask A477's question. Back in the day, one finds in old English texts, "before" could mean "at" or "in" "the front of". Nowadays, "before" means "prior to" and "in front of" means "opposite" or "at the front of". Have I got this correct, that "před" could mean both but in situations like this where either could be the English translation, differentiation of which meaning it is is clear with word order? Or are there other ways of expressing these two meanings? Would it be possible to spell out how this would work in several contexts to avoid possible confusion of the student? Thanks.


I'm not sure what else can be added to what JBHayven and VladaFu have already written. It's normally clear whether "před" means "before" (temporal meaning) or "in front of" (spatial meaning). This is a rare sentence where it's potentially ambiguous. My first instinct, upon hearing/reading "Já jsem tady ale byla před vámi!" is "before you" - I was here earlier than you. One of the reasons could be that it's simply the likely meaning. And if I wanted to change the sentence to switch to the "in front of you" meaning, I would do exactly what has been suggested - place the "tady" right before "před vámi" - that would emphasize the space "here" and thus shift the meaning of před to "in front of". In the original sentence, "tady" is in the 2nd position cluster, i.e. something known or less relevant.


So how would you say "i am here, but she was before you." That's what I read. : ) It's the semicolon? Thx


What should "but she was before you" mean? "but she existed before you"?


arguing people; before (temporal), like in front of (locational), he/she/it in a queue. Thx


The whole sentence you propose still does not make sense to me. It is just incoherent. If it is correct English, then it is not the English I, as an ESL speaker, know.

Please note that the Czech sentence is just one clause , no comma is there.

Also note that "," is a comma, not a semicolon ";".

However, you can, at least colloquially, say "Já jsem byla před vámi." means "I was (here) before you.". It can also mean "I was in front of you.".


Sometimes I got my problems too, about the duolingo suggestions without knowing the back ground. But anyway, thanks for the comma. : ) and your existence. : )

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