https://www.duolingo.com/m.aster

More questions about pronouns and adjectives (and sentences in general)

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I'm still not confident I know how a sentence comes together. Please correct me if this is wrong. Thanks!


That is the old woman - (To) je (ta) stará žena
That is the old house - (To) je (ten) starý dům

I understand that the words in parenthesis can be omitted. Do all these work?

To je ta stará žena.
To je stará žena.
Je ta stará žena.
Je stará žena.

To say "She is the old woman", do I just replace "to" with "ona"?


That woman is old - Ta žena je stará
That house is old - Ten dům je starý

Can "ta" and "ten" here be omitted?

1 year ago

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/JBHayven
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Not a native speaker here, but I was told I can try to give advices (in the worst case somebody more competent will correct me), so:

You can't omit "that" when it acts as a dummy pronoun. Note that it can also correspond to English dummy "it": It's the old woman/ It's the old house. Sentences 3 and 4 are wrong.

"She is the old woman" could be said with either "to" or "ona" instead of "she", depending on the details.

In the last two sentences you can omit "ta" and "ten", but then they will correspond to English "A/the woman is old" and "A/the house is old".


Side note, not so related: in Polish we also use dummy "to" but we can (and need to) omit in some situations, like in a sentence "It used to be better" - "Byvalo to líp" = "Bywało lepiej". Correct me if I'm wrong about the Czech one.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/svrsheque

we are happy to have your help, including with the everybody and everything is old series. i would only add a few things:

In the last two sentences you can omit "ta" and "ten", but then they will correspond to English "A/the woman is old" and "A/the house is old".

Dům je starý. would almost always be The house is old. in real life. this is because the sentence becomes rather meaningless with the indefinite article: A house is old. like somewhere there is a house that is old. sounds like a description of a vision by a prophetess who has ingested something banned. but i do not see that in the czech version. alternatively, it could mean that all houses are old, which meaning i would not see in the original Dům je starý. at first glance either, but it just seems to be blocked by the particular noun/adjective combination rather than by the absence of the demonstrative and the word order.

A woman is old. is very similar, a hazy, mind-altered vision not present in czech. here the universal reading is hard to appreciate even in english, even if it would be there for A woman is demanding. on the other hand Žena je stará. actually also means My wife is old. in addition to The woman is old.

Side note, not so related: in Polish we also use dummy "to" but we can (and need to) omit in some situations, like in a sentence "It used to be better" - "Byvalo to líp" = "Bywało lepiej". Correct me if I'm wrong about the Czech one.

let's use a different example to illustrate the "to" situation, one that comes from the course: It used to be nice here. in the version with the adjective, Bývalo to tady hezké., we must include the dummy "to". in the adverb version Bývalo tady hezky., we must not stick in the dummy. those two czech sentences correspond to the main meaning of the english sentence, where the "it" is also a dummy. for the non-dummy "it", we could link the discussion for that sentence.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JBHayven
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Aaah, alright, so "hezky" is the adverb version. Now I get it (that was what I was asking about under that sentence) and why the dummy is needed. Thanks :)

So it would be "Byvalo líp" and "Byvalo to lepší"?

And for that unnatural "a" - yeah, I didn't think twice about it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/endless_sleeper
Mod
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Yep, bývalo lépe/líp and bývalo to lepší. Or non-standard Czech: bejvalo líp

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/m.aster
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Thank you all for the responses. The reason I ask about sentence 3 is because I've encountered below sentences in the course:

Je ta stará žena? (this sentence is wrong)
Je to vysoká osoba.

Are these the same construction as the others? (I was thinking that the only difference between a question and its answer is the question mark, is this correct?)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/svrsheque

Je ta stará žena?

no, i don't think you found this one in the course. it is a fragment similar to Is that old woman?

if we want to say Is that woman old?, we need to switch the words: Je ta žena stará? or Ta žena je stará?

on the other hand, Is she an old woman? could be [To je/Je/Je to] stará žena?

and if Is that an old woman? was your desired question, it would be [To je/Je to] stará žena? (which i said could also mean Is she an old woman?)

Statement versions to compare with:

  • Ta žena je stará. (That woman is old. could have inverted it to Je ta žena stará. but that is less common.)
  • [To je/Je/Je to] stará žena. (She is an old woman. the inversion sounds better and is common.)

you are probably not going to be able to avoid figuring out the "to".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/m.aster
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Aha, that "to" is what I'm missing. I'm imagining that that "to" like a standalone "that", which does not refer to "žena", which is why it does not become "ta". Is that right?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/svrsheque

yes, this "to" behaves like the standalone english pronouns that/those/this/these (even if it is sometimes better translated as he/she/it/they). it can refer to plural nouns, To jsou moje kočky. note the agreement of "jsou" with "kočky". this will be useful later on.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rsail
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Great explanation. Here's a lingot!

5 months ago
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