"Myslíš, že ty se nemusíš snažit?"

Translation:Do you think that you do not need to try?

October 17, 2018

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Shouldn't it be ...you do not HAVE to try?


"Do you think that you do not have to try?" is accepted as well.


Why not "že se". I thought thay "ze" is considered in first position...


If you leave out "ty" (unstressing the "you"), the word order will be "Myslíš, že se nemusíš snažit?"

With "ty" included (emphasized "you"), it has to be "Myslíš, že ty se nemusíš snažit?"

"nemusíš" and "snažit" can also be swapped for a slightly different (I would say angrier) tone: "Myslíš, že ty se snažit nemusíš?!"


I read your other comments here as well, but I don't see any explanation (or a rule) WHY 'ty' has to be in the second position after 'že'. This is a total surprise to me, I haven't seen such a rule in any textbook so far. Please direct me to some grammar source.


I don't know a relevant grammar source, unfortunately. All I can do is give you my ability as a native speaker and try to extract rules from what I know to be correct.

Conjunctions behave weirdly in this sense that they can either occupy the first position (hence followed by clitics like "se"), but they can be pushed to the zeroth position by nouns or pronouns. Using a noun instead of the pronoun makes this push optional, for example:

  • Myslíš, že se nemusíš snažit? ("že" in 1st position)
  • Myslíš, že se babička nemusí snažit? ("že" in 1st position)
  • Myslíš, že babička se nemusí snažit? ("že" in 0th position)
  • Myslíš, že já se nemusím snažit. ("že" in 0th position)

I wouldn't say that "...že se já..." or "...že se ty..." (or any other pronoun) is outright wrong, it's just a lot less natural and seldom used. With nouns (like "babička"), both orders are good.

I wrote a longer comment with more examples on this topic recently, but I can't find it now...


I think you’re referring to your response to a question I posted under the “Ty kávu piješ často, kdežto já ji nepiju nikdy.”


If "must" is an acceptable translation in several other examples in this lesson section that derive from musit, then why is it not accepted here, as in "Do you think that you must not try?" Please help me understand.


Please note that English and Czech form and use the negatives of their modal verbs in a different way.

musím - I have to, I must
nemusím - I do not have to
smím - I may, I am allowed
nesmím - I must not, I am not allowed

Notice that the negatives of "must" and "have to" do not mean the same thing.

Compare with German:

du musst - ty musíš - you must
du musst nicht - ty nemusíš - you do not have to
du darfst nicht - ty nesmíš - you must not

Czech follows German here. Actually, the Czech verb is a very old borrowing from German.

This peculiarity of the English must is a source of frequent errors for Czech learners learning English. The Czech textbooks also note that the English must is mainly used when the speaker gives the order. For reported orders English tends to use "have to". "You must do it. I have to do it.", compare with "I must do it." which often does not mean an order but some urge or some internal sense of moral necessity.


Thank you VladaFu. Your little translation table is very useful and enlightening. I can see that the peculiarity of these verbs as they slip around each other will be a source of frequent error for this American learner of Czech as well.

Indeed your comment about the difference in English between "you must/I have to" and "I must" articulated something about my native language I hadn't noticed. Thanks for that too.

Also, if I may, I'm weirdly excited that BrandonCas821536 and I are struggling with the same exact thing almost contemporaneously. It's like being in a real class.


This is only a partial reply, as it addresses only the English side, but see also the exchange between blflame and VladaFu (currently) above.

There is a difference between "you do not need to try" and "you must not try." In this exercise, I would interpret the first as "Do you think you do not have to try?," or -- maybe more clearly -- "Do you think that it is not necessary/required that you try?" The second, I would interpret as "Do you think that you are forbidden to try/forbidden from trying?"


I am wondering what makes this sentence different from "Jsou tak chudí, že se nemohou starat o své děti" where "se" follows right after "že". How does the second position rule for "se" work in either case?


I mean, I understood that the use of the stressed "ty" made the difference, but not clear how it actually works. Would the use of any explicit subject in the second clause push "se" back? What's in the first position in the second clause in either sentence? I thought linkers like "ale", "že" don't keep a position to themselves (not sure how to say this better - hope I made my question clear enough..)


Note that these sentences are very different. "Jsou tak chudí, že se nemohou starat o své děti" is a sentence with a subordinate clause expanding on the adjective. It says How? How poor? ...že ...

"Myslíš, že ty se nemusíš snažit?" is a sentence with a relative clause that plays the role of the object. You think what? ...that... ..., že...

The fact that both use že is to some extent coincidental, they are very different are otherwise.

Now if you omit "ty", it will indeed be just: "Myslíš, že se nemusíš snažit?" With "ty" included, the first position is now "either the "ty" or the whole "že ty", it probably does not matter too much how you view it.

I do not know any strict rule that describes it, one has to observe how people actually read and write.


Thank you, yes I see that the subordinate clauses are different, and only asked about the positioning because with my limited vocab I can't yet tune into movies or read books to pick things like that naturally.. On the positive, I now understand (please correct me if I'm wrong) there can be more than one word in the first position - just like in the second position, and I shouldn't try to stick "se", "jsem" or similar after the first word I see after comma


That's correct. Especially with conjunctions the situation is a bit more complex. Sometimes they do count as separate units and sometimes they do not.


VladaFu thanks a lot for sharing the page! Great examples of the sounds as well as the stress and intonation. Delayed stress is an interesting concept..:) I'll listen to some simple conversational Czech on UTube and try to get a feel for it that way. Thanks a lot again!


The situation after a conjunction can be a little blurred.

  • Myslíš, že se nemusíš snažit? - "se" must be right after "že"
  • Myslíš, že ty se nemusíš snažit? - "ty" should be before "se", "ty" is stressed here

Regarding your question what happens if we use an explicit subject instead of a pronoun:

  • Myslíš, že se Milan nemusí snažit? - "se" right after "že"
  • Myslíš, že Milan se nemusí snažit? - this also works, the name is more stressed, just like "ty" was.

So we actually have a choice here, there is a slight difference in tone. Have a listen:




@Julia: It comes down to what you're used to perceiving as stress. In English, stress is a combination of actual stress (force of voice, loudness), pitch, and quantity (length of the vowel). In Czech, stress is only pure stress, i.e. the stressed syllable is pronounced with more force. Quantity is totally unconnected, because it's phonemically bound to long/short vowels. And pitch (tonality) is free. That's why it's confusing for non-natives when they hear a word like "nemusí" - the stress is on the first syllable, but the pitch may very well be raised on the second syllable, and the quantity is increased on the third (last) syllable - so what consitutes stress in English is spread out across this Czech word.

There is a small dialect in the very north-eastern part of the country, where the stress is shifted to the penultimate syllable under the influence of Polish. But this is quite rare, as the speakers of this dialect aren't that many and they usually switch to more standard Czech whenever they're outside of their region.

Otherwise, to a native ear, the stress always falls on the first syllable. When a verb is negated, the "ne-" prefix is stressed. That's also why we write it as one word. The single deviation from the written form is in using single-syllable prepositions (like "na", "ve", "u", "o") - they steal the stress from the following word (unless that following word is too long), so for example "na vesnici" is pronounced /navesňici/ as one word. Or "ve městě" is /vemňesťe/.

If you ever hear a Czech speaking English (Czenglish) with a heavy Czech accent, you'll probably notice how he or she misplaces the stress on the first syllables of words.


Thank you so very much - I certainly hear the difference with the sentence stress, and now know what this can do to the word order - won't catch me by surprise next time I see "se" pushed back a little for the stressed word to come forward. And a special thank you for recording the sentences! To be honest, I am struggling with the concept of the Czech stress supposedly being on the first syllable all the time. I mean when I hear recorded voices in online dictionaries (like Glosbe), it does not seem to my ear that the stress is always on the first one, sometimes all syllables seem to be equally stressed, and the long vowels, like í in "nemusí", seem to be a bit accentuated as well. In some way this must be down to how people speak a particular area - or even a particular person's speaking preference? To a native ear, does it seem that the accent is always on the first syllable? I also have a more specific question: adding the negative "ne" to a verb would, as a rule, shift the stress to it (since it's the first syllable now) - like in "nemusí", or is it still a matter of an accent, personal preference or a stress being put on the negative aspect? Thank you again for your time!


Thank you so much! Loved the tip about stressing the prepositions!:) I hope to get a better feel for the Czech stress when I travel and hear people speak. I might even get a chance to hear the dialect you are writing about as I am planning to see Valdštejnské Slavnosti in Frýdlant - hopefully, next year:)


@Julia Your confusion is a common one. I tend to point to this resource:

"The acoustic manifestation of Czech lexical stress is very interesting. Unlike in many languages, the stressed syllable is not associated with typical signs of prominence. Unstressed syllables are often higher, louder and longer than stressed ones. More specifically, it seems to be the post-stressed syllable which tends to be, speaking strictly objectively (acoustically), more prominent. Research indicates that what is essential for the perception of stress in Czech is not the prominence of the stressed syllable but, rather, a specific trajectory of acoustic qualities throughout the stress group. This trajectory can be characterized as delayed rise, L*+H."


The whole page is worth studying, it is quite concise and illustrative.


Frýdlant is very close to the Polish border, but there is no dialect there (just a general common Bohemian interdialect). The dialect(s) I was talking about is spoken in the city of Ostrava and further north and east from there.


Just as well - it will be hard enough understanding standard Czech..


If "nemusíš" means "need not" or "don't have to," how to say "must not" in Czech, please?

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