"To jste vašemu učiteli říkat neměli."

Translation:You should not have said that to your teacher.

July 18, 2018

This discussion is locked.


Why říkat rather than říct?


Good question. When it comes to verbal aspects, there's a specific behaviour when expressing commands and suggestions - positive statements usually use the perfective by default, while negative ones almost always use the imperfective. This is typical for the imperative mood:

  • Otevři okno! (perf.) - Open the window! (open it now, single/completed action)
  • Otevírej okno! (imp.) - uncommon on its own, basically: keep opening the window again and again
  • But: Otevírej to okno pomalu! (imp.) - Open that window slowly! (i.e. every time you open that window, do it slowly) vs. Otevři to okno pomalu! (perf.) - open it slowly this one time
  • Neotevírej okno! (imp.) - Don't open the window! (never open it, incomplete action)
  • (x) Unusable: Neotevři to okno! (perf.) - never used outside of some special circumstances

Another example:

  • Podívej se na mě! (perf.) - Look at me! (look at me now, once)
  • Dívej se na mě! (imp.) - Loot at me! (keep looking at me)
  • Nedívej se na mě! (imp.) - Don't look at me! (at all)
  • (x) Nepodívej se na mě! (perf.) - not used in standard language

The sentence in this exercise is similar even though it doesn't use the imperative mood, i.e. Řekni to učiteli (Tell your teacher) vs. Neříkej to učiteli (Don't tell your teacher):

  • To jste vašemu učiteli měli říct. - You should have said that to your teacher (said once, completed)
  • To jste vašemu učiteli měli říkat. - unusual - You should have kept telling him, or: you should have told him every time / always.
  • To jste vašemu učiteli neměli říkat. - You should not have said that to your teacher (ever, incomplete action, the validity of the suggestion stretches over time)
  • (x) To jste vašemu učiteli neměli říct. - rarely used to point at a specific time when something was said, non-standard


From the word choice I put "told" rather than "said" which was rejected. Now I know "tell" often means something different to "say", in particular commonly it means "say to" but in this kind of sentence "tell to" is often used meaning exactly the same as "say to". I think if Duolingo does not want us to use "tell" in this word choice exercise it should not be in the options.


Thank you. The future crew may address this and similar missing translations.


Why is vašemu used here rather than svému?


Also, these non-svůj pronouns may be used when the subject and the possessor don't match exactly.

For example: You (two boys) shouldn't have said that to your (the whole class's) teacher. - in this instance, the "you" and "your" point to different entities. But of course it's a small difference, and "svůj" is still usable here.


Hard to say. Often you can use both. Personally, I think svému might be better in texts that aim to use good Czech, but this sentence would be use orally anyway so that kind of preference does not matter that much.


Mohl by mi prosím někdo vysvětlit, co v této větě znamená "have"? Je to předpřítomný čas? Nebo...?

  • You should do it. - Měl bys to udělat.
  • You should have done it. - Měl jsi to udělat.

The only way to connect the past form of a verb to will, shall, may, might, could, should, would... is to use "have" + past participle.


What does "neměli" use for ? For "have done" ? But czech has own perfective , and that is not same as "have done" in english

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