"Nevím, jak vést."

Translation:I do not know how to lead.

August 27, 2018

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just wondering why there is a need for a comma in Czech, seems unnecessary


In my head (I am learning, too), the "quick rule" is that the verb vědět is usually followed by a clause, and a clause is generally preceded by a comma. There is more on punctuation in this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_orthography.


Do you happen to know if there is a general rule to separate any kind of subordinate clause from the main clause with a comma? I know that this is the rule in German, but I also never saw any such rule in any language I am familiar with, except for Czech.


There are rules, although many people have problems with their application even after many years of school and practice. Sadly, sometimes I am unsure myself.

It is called "psaní čárek". The official handbook has sections for using commas in single clauses: https://prirucka.ujc.cas.cz/?id=151
and in sentences with multiple clauses: https://prirucka.ujc.cas.cz/?id=150

One needs to analyse the sentence and find out the relation of each clause to the other ones.

One does not use commas between two independent (main) clauses if they are connected by "a, i, ani, nebo, či" and their relation is "slučovací poměr" - that means one freely follows the other, they do not contradict each other, they do not exclude each other, one does not make the other stronger.

"Šel jsem do města a nakoupil jsem jídlo." I went to town and bought the food.
"O prázdninách jsem si četla knížku nebo jsem koukala na filmy. " - During then holidays I read a book or I watched movies.
It is good to study the examples in grammar/orthography books.

For other types of relation one does write the comma even between two main clauses.

Subordinate (dependent) clauses are always separated from independent (main) clauses using commas. English often does not use commas before "but" or "that" that start a subordinate sentence but Czech will normally require those.


@VladaFu Thanks a lot! But now I have to admit that there seem to be fewer relations to German than I previously hoped. In fact, those rules are stranger than even those in the English language, they even sound more arbitrary. I will check out the links to see if they help me understanding those rules, but I do not have much hope when even native speakers struggle to properly apply them in everyday language.

@AgnusOinas Thanks to you too!


Yes, all subordinate clauses are separated on both sides with commas. Moreover, coordinate clauses are also separeted by a comma, unless they are joined with a so-called copulative conjunction, namely "a", "i", "nebo" and a few others.


Alexander, it may be unecessary in English. It is necessary in Czech as BHBass explained.

Each language has its own set of punctuation rules!


Why is it "nevím" instead of "neumím" seeing as how knowing how to lead would be an acquired skill or ability?


both are possible, but "neumím" does not work with "jak".

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