"Matěj is looking for the food."
Translation:Matěj hledá to jídlo.
In another lesson we are told that “Frantisek takes care of the animals” is translated as “František stará se zviřata”. The Czech word “to” should not be used. Now, when I translate “Matej is looking for the food”, I’m corrected and told to use the Czech “to”. I don’t see a difference in “THE animals” or “THE food”. Can someone please clarify this?
Well, it is important to consider the situation in which one might utter this sentence. Matěj is looking for the food. So he is looking for some specific food that is known to the speaker. Czech does not have articles, but it has pronouns for referring or pointing to specific entities.
We are pointing out that Matěj is pointing to the speaker that he is looking for the food that we already know about. "Matěj hledá to jídlo."
But a different situation. We brought home several things (maybe from a supermarket): food, clothing, cleaning stuff, ... We are looking for things in our bags and Matěj is looking for the food and others are looking for other things. Now I am not completely sure that English would use the definite article here. But Czech wouldn't use the pronoun here. It would be just: "Matěj hledá jídlo."
I am adding it now. But someone might revert it later if I am wrong.
These are TWO DIFFERENT sentences.
Matěj hledá to jídlo. = Matěj is looking for the food.
Matěj se dívá na ta jídla. = Matěj is looking at those meals.
You won't finish it successfully unless you properly distinguish "is looking AT something" and "is looking FOR something". These mean something completely different in English.
Yes, you're right - if he's looking for food for an animal, it would be correct. The problem here is that we can't add any extra explanatory notes to the sentences. So if we accept "žrádlo" and someone uses it as a translation, unaware of the difference, they will learn wrongly that they can use "žrádlo" for "food" any time. It's a treacherous path. It's safer to assume he's looking for human food.