1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Czech
  4. >
  5. Modals 1 in Czech


Modals 1 in Czech

I find all your modules excellent. However as a native (British) English speaker I really struggled with Modals 1 in the Czech course. The reason is that the English translations did not make sense to me. They did not seem like English to me and felt very awkward. I could not get them right without using the word bank and still making lots of errors until I wrote down the "correct" English and copied that in. This is the first module with which I have had this problem, so I wonder if a different person carried out the English translations here. I looked at the discussions within the module and see other people had the same problem. Maybe this is one module that needs to have more "correct" options, i.e. those for American English and those for British English. I hope this is helpful as I really love what you do and want to help.

October 2, 2018



Perhaps you could list some examples? :-)


Hi Thanks for responding. If there is a way to go back into a completed module I could list some examples. Ones I remember are where I would have said things like" He should go there" which was marked as wrong, and the correct answer was something like "He was to go there". Does that help give some clues? Thanks.


sometimes valid translations are still missing. for example, we are gradually adding "should" as a translation of "mít". the meaning is often at least close enough to be valid. the most direct translation of the english "should" is typically something you could not have seen in Modals 1 because it involves the conditional of "mít".

i suspect that the czech sentences you probably got your "should" rejected for in Modals 1 contained the plain "mít", for which our main translation usually is based on "to be supposed to". the correction most likely was "is to", as in You are to go home.

before we continue, i would like you to confirm that you do not believe that that is a valid english sentence.


Thank you for your explanation, that is very helpful. I can see what you mean about "should" being the conditional and therefore not the best translation for a Czech non-conditional tense. The phrase "You are to go" is not incorrect English, but it is something that I would not normally say or hear in modern (British) English. It is a very old English structure. A much more normal and comfortable phrase would be "You have to go". This uses the present tense of "to have / mít" and feels very natural. I hope this is helpful, and again I want to stress that I am trying to help, as I find Duolingo excellent. Many thanks.


"You have to go." may be very common, but it does not correspond to "Máš jít." do not let the non-modal HAVE=MÍT relationship lead you astray.

as i said above, our main translation of the modal "mít" typically is "to be supposed to". (they have in common the external source of the obligation, somewhere beyond the speaker and the listener. only when this becomes the first-person question, Mám tam jít?, does the meaning shift much closer to "should".)

we are only recognizing "to be meant to" and "to be to" in secondary translations, because rare and old or not, they are english of the correct meaning, unlike "to have to".

but for better or worse, the system shows whichever accepted translation is nearest the user's rejected answer, even if we then have to defend a claim we never made.

and if we really meant to say "to have to" or "must", we would have used "muset". Máš tam jít. really is very different from Musíš tam jít. the english approximation must~to have to does not hold in czech.


Thank you svrsheque for your comprehensive explanation. Much appreciated. I see I have a lot more work to do to really understand this area fully. Your input has been very helpful to me, and I expect to others following this thread. Thank you.

Learn Czech in just 5 minutes a day. For free.