"Sežrali ho nějací pavouci."

Translation:Some spiders have eaten him.

July 9, 2018

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He was eaten by some spiders was marked incorrect...really?


Ultimately, the spiders won. But even in English the two sentences are different, one being in the active voice, the other in the passive. The Czech sentence here is active, so I would suppose the translation should be active as well. But you could certainly Report your version, if you haven't already done so, and see what The DL Powers That Be think.


The passive voice sentence would be: "Byl sežrán nějakými pavouky."

But Czech would be much more reluctant to use the passive voice here that English. If I had to translate the passive voice English, I would use the active voice in Czech in this sentence and similar ones.


would 'some spiders ate it' be ok?


"Some spiders were eating him" is also an active sentence, but it was marked wrong. Why? Is there something specific about "sezral" that means "have eaten" and not "were eating"?


Well, yes. The verb "sežrat" is perfective (that's its aspect), which means the action is completed. The prefix "s(e)-" here adds the meaning of "eating the whole thing", similar to "eat/gobble up".

On the other hand, the continuous tense in English here would suggest an ongoing, unfinished action, which in Czech would be expressed using an imperfective verb.

One way to get the corresponding imperfective verb is to remove the prefix, i.e. "sežrat" -> "žrát". Hence "Žrali ho nějací pavouci" means that some spiders were eating him, but haven't eaten him completely.


Thank you! Very helpful. The online dictionaries that I'm using don't explain any of these distinctions!


Can I ask, what is the rule of thumb for the suffix to "ně-" in this sentence? Or is it always a derivative of "nějak" in the sense of "a few of" unspecified?


The word in its basic form is "nějaký" meaning "some" (unknown, unidentified, unspecified) - it's not "a few", the amount is not specified in any way in either language.

The word "nějaký" is derived from the prefix "ně-" (indefinite) and "jaký", which means "what kind?".

"Nějaký" is declined just like any other hard adjective, for example "mladý". Nějaký pavouk, nějací pavouci, nějaká holka, nějaké holky, etc.

You also mention "nějak" (not present in this exercise) - that's an adverb meaning "in some way, somehow". Derived, of course, from the same prefix "ně-" and the word "jak", which means "how". You could say "Nějak ho sežrali pavouci." - Spiders have eaten him somehow.


Thanks for that! I'll try to remember it.


"Some sort of spiders ate him. shouldn't it be accepted? Thx

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