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  5. "What is the name of that squ…

"What is the name of that square?"

Translation:Jak se jmenuje to náměstí?

March 14, 2018



How can you tell whether to use "jak" or "co"? I have seen a few sentences that alternate. Are they interchangeable?


No, they are very different.

Jak - asking for an adverb, how something is done (here in Czech literally how the square is named)

Jaký - asking for an adjective, some quality or property - What kind of ... ? The square is big, nice, quiet...

Co - asking for some object, What is it? What has he got? Co to je? Je to náměstí.

You must consider that this Czech phrase says "Jmenuji se (somehow)" and not "Mé jméno je (something)".


Oh okay, that makes much more sense now. Thank you :)


it's not appropriate to use genitive "toho" here for "of that square"?


Not, náměstí is in nominative here, it is the subject of this sentence.

Another translation is "Jaké je jméno toho náměstí?" This one uses genitive.


My first few times past this sentence, I hadn't done any genitive work. But now that I've learned a bit about the genitive, I'm puzzling my little beginner's head on this.

'toho námeští' is the genitive part, yes. Got it.

Here, we're using the neuter noun 'jméno' instead of the verb 'se jmenovat'. I'm somewhat confident about this too.

But what about 'jaké' instead of 'jak'? I see 'jaké' listed in the declension tables for 'jaký' as the nominative neuter, so that matches the noun 'jméno'. Is that where 'jaké' fits in?

And finally, why is the genitive required here? No quantities. No prepositions. 'Je' isn't a verb that requires the genitive, right? Is it in some way considered possessive?, as in 'What is the square's name?'

Edited for postscript: Everytime I post one of this things, I feel a strong urge to thank all you MODS profusely for giving your time to this. It's an unbelievably generous gift of your time and knowledge.


"jaký/á/é" is "what kind of" or "which" asking for some property or quality or character of something, typically a noun or pronoun. Often the answer is an adjective.

"jak" is "how", asking for an adverb or other manner of some verb (here "jmenovat se") or process

The genitive is here indeed a possessive, the name belongs to the square, "the name OF the square".


Could you also ask “Co je jméno toho náměstí?”?


No. It would have to be "Jaké je jméno toho náměstí?" -- that makes it grammatically correct, but still quite unnatural in Czech, we just use the verb "jmenovat se".

Or, another natural way, is "Co je to za náměstí?" -- lit. "What kind of a square is that?" -- it's not directly asking for the name, but it's understood that way. Perhaps like German "Was für ein Platz ist das?" maybe?


Okay, I thought “Co je jméno toho náměstí?” might be an alternative to “Jaké je jméno toho náměstí?”.

In your example sentence “Co je to za náměstí?”, which grammatical case is “náměstí”?

Yes, I am German. This word combination “Co je to za …?” for “Was ist das für ein …?” / “Was für ein … ist das?” is really helpful and useful. Thank you!


"Co je jméno?" only works like this, asking what "jméno" is/means.

In “Co je to za náměstí?”, "náměstí" is accusative.

I had a feeling you were German, not sure now... the German "was für..." corresponds to "co za...", as in, for example "Co máš za auto?" = "What kind of car do you have?" = "Was für ein Auto hast du?". This kind of question "Co máš za auto?" tends to demand an answer like "Škodovku" or "BMW", while the question "Jaké máš auto?" (also meaning What kind of car do you have) tends to be answered with "modré" (blue) or "rychlé" (fast) -- but I said tends, they are somewhat interchangeable.

Similarly, "Co je to za náměstí?" typically gets answered with "Náměstí Míru", for example (same as "Jak se jmenuje to náměstí?"), whereas "Jaké je to náměstí?" is asking about the quality of the square (large, old...) -- but again, this is not clear-cut.

More examples:

  • Kdo je ta holka? - Who is that girl?
  • Jaká je ta holka? - What is that girl like? What kind of girl is that?
  • Co je to za holku? - What kind of girl is that? Who is that girl?
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