"Are they taking good care of their twelve sheep?"

Translation:Starají se o svých dvanáct ovcí dobře?

October 23, 2018

This discussion is locked.


I'm a little confused here, though I'm sure the explanation is simple. In the past we've had starat se o plus accusative to mean taking care of. However, here we have svých (genitive), dvanáct (accusative), and ovcí (genitive). If I had to take a stab I would say dvanáct is accusative because this expression is starat se o plus accusative. Ovcí is genitive because dvanáct is behaving like an adverb of quantity. And svých, because it is modifying ovcí has to be genitive, even though it is separated in the word order? It just seems so unnatural...


Your logic is very sound! Numbers above 4 take the genitive; since sheep are countable, here the noun and its modifier are both in the genitive plural, while the number itself remains in the accusative.

As a fellow learner, I'm often frustrated by word order, too. But I've seen this odd-seeming construction -- with an adjective or possessive in the genitive preceding a number in the accusative which is then followed by a noun in the genitive -- in some other sentences, so I’m beginning to get used to it! :-)


Why is it wrong? Starají se o jejích dvanáct ovcí dobře? Jejich should be fine in that sentence, I believe. I will report, just in case I didn't do anything wrong, for a change :)


The correct form is jejich, not jejích. But the reflexive svých is MUCH better here. We may have to add the non-reflexive form anyway.


Why is dobre at the end? Shouldn't it be in tied into the words for "taking good care of ...."


No, we do not have any "good care" = "dobrá péče" in Czech. We heve "starají se dobře" = "they take care well".


Thank you for that, but it still does not explain why dobre is at the end of the sentence.


Well, it is the point of the question. Are they taking good care or bad care. Starají se dobře, nebo špatně? The focus is in the final position.

But you can certainly also have:

Starají se dobře o našich dvanáct ovcí?

with a slighly different focus.

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