1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Czech
  4. >
  5. "This is good coffee."

"This is good coffee."

Translation:To je dobrá káva.

January 26, 2018

23 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/imaldastar

i don't understand when coffee is kava and when it is kavu


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

Czech nouns use declension. Káva is the nominative case (mostly for subjects), kávu is the accusative case (mostly for objects).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MargiePett2

But isn't coffee the object of the sentence here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AgnusOinas

It's not the object, it's part of the predicate - "this IS coffee" = something IS something = nominative IS nominative

An example of an object is "I have coffee" = subject verb object = nominative verb accusative (usually, some verbs require other cases)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sirinek

Having to relearn things like this is almost as hard as learning the Czech itself! Makes me wish I paid more attention in English class in high school!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AgnusOinas

There are two basic approaches to learning/teaching languages. One is more systematic and requires the knowledge of all these grammar terms - it's a tough requirement, but it makes the learning and all the explanations on the way easier. A lot of stuff in any language can be explained if you take the time to understand grammatical principles. Some things, however, still have to be memorized as exceptions.

The other approach is more about noticing and copying the patterns until they eventually become second nature through sheer repetition - then you will correctly say "To je káva" but "Máte kávu" without understanding why. This second approach is fine, too, but then you can't ask "why" and expect an explanation. ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pma4w89A

It may help some to know that nominative's root is nom which mean "name" as in nomenclature, name, nominate. In this sentence, one is naming one of the qualities of coffee. So I agree that it is in the place of a object it may be hard to argue it is a direct object. I gave the spoon (direct object) to the boy/girl (indirect object). Same as I hit the ball (d.o.) to the boy/girl (i.o.). But it would be hard to create an i.o. in this sentence as there is no way to receive the direct object. And I don't see it having a direct object use. It is descriptive, in simplest terms. Nominative means descriptive as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pma4w89A

As Agnus says, "To je k'ava" and "Ma'te ka'vu", as examples, the first you should discern is a descriptive statement ... It is (the description, "coffee", so descriptive is nominative so you use K'ava. In the second sentence, it is not descriptive but describes a subject and verb acting on an object, so You have (possess) coffee is not describing a quality of coffee, but the sentence has something going on with coffee, in this case, someone is holding it. Subject verb direct object. An indirect object might be "for us" You have coffee for us, dekuji. How nice of you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IreneWainw

But it is the verb to be, so it takes the nominative case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/linguaphile16

Why is "Je to dobrá káva" wrong? I didn't think the meaning changed whether it is "je to" or "to je".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

You should use the report button to report missing translation. It is correct, just missing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/linguaphile16

Thanks. Sometimes I don't know if I should use it or not because it's totally possible that my answer is wrong even though it seems right to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tylerlwenzel

To káva je dobrá. Should be accepted, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nueby

No. The only possible function of your "to" in the sentence as you ordered it is a neuter demonstrative adjective applied with a feminine noun, as in "to káva". Which is wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tylerlwenzel

Thank you for the explanation, but I am still a bit confused. Above VladFu said "Je to dobrá káva" is correct. In that case isn't the "to" also applying to the adjective/noun pair? I'm guessing I am wrong, I just am still trying to figure out why I am wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

In the "Je to X", "To je X", "To není X", "Nejsi to ty?", "Já to nejsem." "Jsme to my." the TO does not directly couple to any noun but to the copula verb být/to be and means this/that/it or these/those/they. So it is very different from "Ta káva je dobrá." where it is an adjective-like demonstrative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tylerlwenzel

Thank you so much! So just to make sure I am understanding the rules correctly. The word order is less important than the proximity (versus English). Regardless of the word "to" being before or after the verb it applies to the verb (order), but the important part is that it is next to the verb (proximity). If it was "Verb + to + adjective/noun" the "to" applies to the verb equally as if it were "to + verb + adjective/noun" which is why what you said above of "Jé to dobré káva" being correct, but my example of "To káva je dobré" is not. Because in "Je to dobré káva" the important part is the proximity of "to" to the verb, not that it preceeds the noun phrase (like it would apply in English).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

It is not about proximity (but you must keep modifiers and demonstratives with their noun). It is about sytactic trees and what bound to what in that tree. It can happen that a written sentence can be parsed both ways. Proximity itself does not resolve it.

For example, when the entence begins "Je to dobré město..." then it can be both.

Je to dobré město. This is a good town.

Je to dobré město daleko? Is the good town far?

You must analyze the sentence and identify the subject, the verb, the complement, the modifiers, the object and so on.

If in "Je to dobré město" the "to dobré město" belongs together as a demonstrative, modifier and the noun and are together the subject, then there is some complement or object missing and the sentence must continue.

If we have the "je to" "to je" construction than this construction requires a single complement. And the "to" is the subject. "Je to dobré město." and "To je dobré město." ate identical.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbhiBernammers

"Je ta dobrá káva." was marked wrong. Why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AgnusOinas

It's a different and incomplete sentence.

1st syntactical unit: "je", 2nd syntactical unit: "ta dobrá káva" -> translation: Is + that-good-coffee. Is that good coffee what? Maybe "Je ta dobrá káva hotová?" - Is that good coffee ready? Or "Je ta dobrá káva na prodej?" - Is that good coffee for sale?

For this exercise, you need the structure "TO JE" = "IT IS". It can take several forms: "to je", "je to", "toto je", "tohle je", etc. But you can't replace the "to" with "ta", because then it becomes a demonstrative pronoun that is directly linked to "coffee", and it stops being an "IT IS" (or "this is", "that is") sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ali940239

Neuznáváte "dobré kafe"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AgnusOinas

We accept "kafe" in all the other possible solutions (such as "Tohle je dobré kafe", it's just missing in the main one, i.e. "To je dobré kafe". I'm adding it now.

Learn Czech in just 5 minutes a day. For free.