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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.


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


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.


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"?

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