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  5. "Je čtvrt na jednu."

"Je čtvrt na jednu."

Translation:It is a quarter past twelve.

February 20, 2018



Why is 1 used and not 12 if it's 12:15?


In Czech, quarter and half aren't referred to the full hour but seen as a division of a full. Imagine the clock face as a cake :)

čtvrt na jednu ~ a quarter of one (12:15)
půl jedné ~ a half of one (12:30)
tři čtvrtě na jednu ~ three quarters of one (12:45)
jedna hodina = one (13:00)

It's a different concept but also logical.


Just in case this helps anyone else besides me, I think of it as "a quarter towards one," since my brain has sort of interpreted "na" as "towards" or "for." This also helps explain the visual better to my brain for some reason.


Yes, that sounds like a good literal translation.


Thanks for the clear explanation, that clarified my confusion. In Dutch we also say "half one", but the quarters are said in a similar manner as in English.


Exactly! Because of that I got confused as well. But Czech uses a different logics.


Because it is already a quarter of the 13th hour.


For me to remember this, I have to say to myself that there is a quarter hour/ 15 minutes "spent going to one o'clock"......This time thing is so hard for my brain.


And to me, it does not make sense when the translation states that it is quarter past twelve, not quarter to one, as I would normally have translated it if it hadn't been a tile test for me.

This is confusing indeed.


But it can't be translated that way because quarter to one means something else.

  • 12:15 - quarter past twelve - čtvrt na jednu
  • 12:30 - half past twelve - půl jedné
  • 12:45 - quarter to one - tři čtvrtě na jednu

Czech consistently uses the next hour (one) and states how much time is left to reach that next hour, in all three examples.


I slowly begin to understand how this chronological system is supposed to work, but only in the beginning was I comparably confused because in Czech, time is counted different from any other language I am familiar with.

So, as someone else wrote either in this or another thread, those quarters are counted towards the following hour? One quarter towards one, half of one, three quarter towards one, full hour.

Just so that I get it correctly: Is “čtvrtě” in Genitive? Three of four?


Yes, it's exactly like "a quarter of a centimeter, half a centimeter, three quarters of a centimeter, one (whole) centimeter" - same with kilograms or any other unit. We just apply the same logic to time.

The "čtvrtě" in "tři čtvrtě" is nominative plural. Genitive is used after numbers five and higher, so "five quarters" would theoretically be "pět čtvrtí". https://prirucka.ujc.cas.cz/?slovo=%C4%8Dtvrt



Nouns and adjectives after all numbers five and higher are in the genitive plural. Numbers higher than 20 ending in 1 can optionally take the nominative singular (just like number 1 does), numbers higher than 20 ending in 2, 3, 4 can optionally take the nominative plural (just like numbers 2, 3, 4 do). This optional things is not common in casual language, we just stick to genitive plural for everything 5+.

Note that we are talking only about situations where the number itself is in the nominative or accusative - i.e. subject or direct object. If we decline the number into another case, everything that follows the number will also be in that case. Examples:

  • sedm mladých mužů (7 young men) - number in nominative
  • Vidím sedm mladých mužů - number in accusative (same form as nominative)
  • Jdu k sedmi mladým mužům - dative
  • Mluvím o sedmi mladých mužích - locative
  • Mluvím se sedmi mladými muži - instrumental
  • Stojím u sedmi mladých mužů - genitive


By now it makes sense to me, i.e. I understand the system applied in the Czech language. It's almost as confusing as the coexistence of two ways to tell what time it is in German. :D

Oh, then I misunderstood the ending of the number four, but am surprised that the nominative is used until the number four (and expectedly with the numbers 11 to 14?), when it is used until only three (and between 11 and 13) in Polish.


You're still confused about numbers. It's nominative plural for numbers 2,3,4, and genitive plural for numbers 5 and higher. This is true for all Slavic languages (except Russian, which uses genitive singular after 2,3,4), including Polish (not until 3): https://learnpolishtoday.com/lessons/counting-things-what-case-to-use

Numbers between 11 an 14 behave just like all other numbers between 5 and 20 - in both Czech and Polish. In Polish, numbers like 22, 23, 24, then again 32, 33, 34 etc., take the nominative again (like numbers 2, 3, 4). In Czech, this behavior is optional and we usually use the genitive with these as well. I don't know if it's optional or mandatory in Polish.

  • jeden muž
  • dva muži, tři muži, čtyři muži
  • pět mužů, šest mužů, deset mužů, jedenáct mužů, dvanáct mužů
  • dvacet jedna mužů OR dvacet jeden muž (Polish only uses the former)
  • dvacet dva mužů OR dvacet dva muži (Polish only uses the latter)


@AgnusOinas I am indeed confused about numbers, they turn out to remain complicated and confusing when it comes to applying them in sentences; which is also the reason why my latter comment was a hodgepodge of misconceptions on my behalf.

What I can tell for sure about the numbers in Polish, beside the points at which you corrected me, there is no non-binding rule but only mandatory ones when it comes to the case numbers take. But could I thereby say that in Czech, numbers always take the Genitive Plural when they are higher than one and do not end in one when we speak about double-digit numbers?

Thanks a lot for your explanation!


Agnus, So is the "Jednu" in 12:15 & 12:45 in the accusative and the "Jedne" in "pul jedne" in the genitive? So "quarter toward one", "1/2 OF one" and "3/4 toward one"? Conceptually? Or..? Huh? This is a tough way to start the day.


Yes, you've got it absolutely right, including the cases.

Also don't forget that other half-hours (other than 12:30 - půl jedné) use ordinal numbers, e.g. 1:30 = půl druhé, 2:30 = půl třetí, etc. (still genitive though). Quarter-hours always use cardinal numbers, e.g. 1:15 = čtvrt na dvě, 2:45 = tři čtvrtě na tři.


Why is "it is a quarter past noon" not accepted?


Because the course is in the beta stage and many translations are still missing. Report them.


Why is 'a quarter to one' wrong?


I think quarter to one would be 12:45 while this here is 12:15.

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