"František takes care of horses."
Translation:František se stará o koně.
Se goes into the second grammatical position because it is a clitic - a special class of words.
It should also be in the Tips and notes (web only).
See the Tips and notes and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_word_order#Clitics
It is the first unstressed position after the first stressed unit in the sentence. That unit may consist of several logically connected words.
I think maybe I have figured it out! Is it that "se" has to be second, not first, and not third? ...so if the sentence starts with a person's name, "se" comes before the main part of the verb so that it is second, but if the sentence starts with the main part of the verb, "se" comes after it in order to be second?
Se must follow the second position rule.
Would one of the moderators p lease clarify: in Czech, are there two verbs (starat and starat se), the first one being a "stand alone" verb that means to take care, and the other needing "se" to be used in the sentence - in the second position, of course, that means to care about something? Perhaps I just don't understand what reflexive verbs are... But I'm hopeful! Thanks in advance.
"Starat" is not a valid verb in Czech. Only "starat se": https://cs.wiktionary.org/wiki/starat_se
Many verbs exist in pairs of "stand alone" and reflexive, e.g. "zajímat" and "zajímat se", or "mýt" and "mýt se", but some verbs only exist either as reflexive (e.g. "starat se") or non-reflexive (e.g. "jít").
Yeah, you're welcome. Also please note that you cannot rely on "hints" to help you with word order at all. It's like looking in a dictionary -- the verb is "starat se", but that tell you nothing about where "se" goes -- it can even be far away from the verb with several words in between.
It's not wrong, but it is definitely a more unusual word order. Czech employs something called topic and comment as the main governing force behind how the words are ordered in a sentence.
"O koně se Alex zajímá." strongly emphasizes the verb or the action itself. Such a word order suggests that you already know about Alex and the horses part, you have no idea about what he does with them. Or you need to emphasize that he's interested in them as opposed to other action/verb.
A more 'neutral' way would be: "Alex se zajímá o koně." You know about Alex, that he considers something interesting, and the 'new' info that the sentence says is, what is that thing holding his interest: horses.
Do note how the reflexive particle se keeps to its 'second position'.