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How to Say Goodbye in Czech

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You know, there are certain situations in life where it’s acceptable to just grab your stuff and leave without announcing your departure to the entire room. However, most of the time, it’s nice to be polite and exchange pleasantries! 

Besides, I’m sure that you want to make a good impression. You want people to remember you. You want to have friends and an awesome career, fall in love, and live in a house with a red roof…and how would you achieve that without the persuasive influence of your social graces? 

Saying goodbye in Czech is today’s topic. By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to say bye in Czech to your boss, a cashier in your favorite supermarket, someone you just met, someone you definitely want to see again, someone you never want to speak to again…the list goes on. Ready?

But.

First things first: Go check out our list of ten lines you need to know for introducing yourself and make sure you know all of these cute pleasantries. You’ll soon have all the language skills necessary to make people fall in love with you and earn a special place in their memories. (Want your Czech goodbye to be really memorable? Adding a little emotion never hurts, if that’s your thing.) Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE!(Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. The Most Common Ways to Say Bye in Czech
  2. Formal Czech Words for Goodbye – When Words Aren’t Enough
  3. See You!
  4. At the Airport or Train Station: Farewell!
  5. Pleasantries (a.k.a How to be Sweet and Caring)
  6. Professional Settings
  7. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. The Most Common Ways to Say Bye in Czech

Most Common Goodbyes

Unlike in English, you won’t get by using just one word for goodbye in Czech. Sorry. In this beautiful Slavic language, we use formal (second person plural) and informal (second person singular) speech.

The good news is that you don’t need to sit there and memorize dozens of new Czech words. These two will suffice:

  • Formal: Na shledanou. (“Bye,” meaning “See you again.”)
  • Informal (a.k.a being on first-name terms): Čau. (“Bye.” – Yes, it’s pretty much the Italian ciao.)

If you remember these two words, you’re going to be okay in any situation.

However…you don’t do basic, do you? Let’s explore a little more.

Also:

    Čau is a hello and a goodbye in Czech. You’re welcome.
    Tak čau (“So, bye”) is a very common form. Don’t be surprised if you hear this.
A Woman Waving Her Hand

Čau!

2. Formal Czech Words for Goodbye – When Words Aren’t Enough

Let’s say you’ve just met your significant other’s parents for the first time. It’s a sensitive situation that could be a little awkward. Plus, not only do you need to say stuff, but you also need to do stuff. On top of that: cultural differences.

Now, I’m gonna tell you my own story, because keeping things real makes writing a whole lot easier.

My American boyfriend’s parents are in their 70s. I was about to celebrate my first Thanksgiving ever with them, but they had never really interacted with a foreigner before and his mom was worried she wouldn’t understand my English (I’m pretty sure she did wish that were true by the end of the weekend). 

I don’t really care what people think about me, but sheesh! This lady birthed my beloved boy; I want her to like me! So, being my usual organized self, I got ready. I asked my boyfriend what to do, what to say, and how to act during the first and final minutes (I managed to be naturally charming in-between), and it worked!

Here’s my advice:

    ➢ When visiting or living in a foreign country, don’t rely on people being understanding. Learn their customs and be respectful of their culture. Try to be one of them (When in Rome…).
    ➢ Do not underestimate the power of culture.
    ➢ A foreign accent is cute, ignorance isn’t.
    ➢ Don’t invade their personal space.

Remember that you need to use formal speech.

Step 1:

Are you leaving? Say:

  • Děkuji za pozvání. Mějte se hezky. Na shledanou. (“Thank you for having me. Be good. Bye.”)

Are they leaving? Say:

  • Děkuji za návštěvu. Mějte se hezky. Na shledanou. (“Thank you for visiting. Be good. Bye.”)

Was it your first meeting? Say:

  • Masculine: Rád jsem vás poznal. (“Nice meeting you.”) 
  • Feminine: Ráda jsem vás poznala. (“Nice meeting you.”)

Do you want to hang out with them again? Say:

  • Masculine: Moc rád vás zase uvidím. (“I would love to see you again.”)
  • Feminine: Moc ráda vás zase uvidím. (“I would love to see you again.”)

Step 2:

  • Shake hands. 

Czech people aren’t huggy. No need for kisses either, unless the other person likes it French. Observe. Let them keep their distance. (Unless it was love at first sight, in which case you should tell them.)

Step 3:

  • Leave.

There’s this weird custom (several customs, actually) that I just don’t get. You’re at someone’s place, you feel like it’s time to go, you say “I’m gonna go,” and then they say: “Are you in a rush? Stay a little longer.” You don’t want to make them feel bad, so you’re torn over whether to leave or stay a few more minutes.

It’s an act. They don’t mean it—it’s just a weird cultural thing. Just get up and go, unless you can tell they’re being genuine.

Want to know more about Czech culture? Read on.

A Flag

Czech culture and American culture have very little in common.

3. See You!

The process of saying bye in Czech is pretty straightforward and linear—you just say čau (“bye”) and go. Still, this phrase is fairly popular as well – you can see some of the variants in the table below!

    Uvidíme se…
    Literal translation: “We will see each other.”

You might hear some of these phrases occasionally:

CzechEnglish
Uvidíme se zítra.“See you tomorrow.”
Uvidíme se večer.“See you tonight.”
Uvidíme se v práci.“See you at work.”
Uvidíme se ve škole.“See you at school.”
Uvidíme se příště.“See you next time.”
Uvidíme se příště?“Will we see each other next time?”

All of these phrases are very neutral, and you can use them in both professional and informal settings with your friends.

A Group of Friends Waving Each Other Goodbye

Uvidíme se zítra! (“See you tomorrow!”)

4. At the Airport or Train Station: Farewell!

Watching people in airports is one of my favorite things to do. There’s something super-powerful in all of the hellos and goodbyes, the hugs, the tears of joy, the drama of parting couples…

What surprises me the most is that the men cry just as much as the women do.

Anyway. 

Here’s how to say goodbye in the Czech language when the parting’s difficult.

CzechEnglish
Šťastnou cestu.“Safe travels.” (Literally: “Happy journey.”)
Dávej na sebe pozor.“Take care.” (Literally: “Take care of yourself.”)
Hodně štěstí.“Good luck.”

Again, all of these phrases are neutral. You can use them with your eighty-year-old boss and your new friend who’s a hippie and ignores all of the niceties and social rules.

5. Pleasantries (a.k.a How to be Sweet and Caring)

You know, all the little things we say before parting.

Do you need/want to leave before everyone else? Say:

  • Musím už jít. (“I gotta go.”)

Are you in a hurry? Say:

  • Musím letět. (“I gotta fly.”)
  • Musím běžet. (“I gotta run.”)

Wanna sound nice? Say:

  • Měj hezký den. (“Have a nice day.”)

Wanna sound nice and casual?

  • Měj se! 
    • This is impossible to translate (literally, “have yourself”). It’s a variation of “Have a good one!”

Do you want to see them again? Say:

  • Ozvi se. (“Keep in touch.”)
    • You can probably guess that this is not something you’d say in formal settings, hence the informal speech.

Do you THINK you might want to see the person again, but you’re not sure yet? Say:

  • Ozvu se. (“I’ll keep in touch.”)

Do you REALLY want to see them again? Say:

  • Musíme to někdy zopakovat. (“We must do this again.”)

6. Professional Settings

The corporate world has its own rules, and unless you’re a freelancer, you’ll probably look for a job some day. If that’s the case, you might hear or say one or more of these phrases at your interview:

  • Děkuji za váš čas. (“Thank you for your time.”)
  • Ozveme se vám. (“We will get in touch.”)
  • Budeme v kontaktu. (“We will keep in touch.”)
A Man and Woman Shaking Hands

Ozveme se vám. (“We will get in touch.”)

7. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you could imagine!

What can you find here?

  • English-to-Czech translation and pronunciation tips/tricks
  • Over 630 audio and video lessons
  • Vocabulary learning tools
  • Spaced repetition flashcards
  • Detailed PDF lesson notes

Sign up now—it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article helped you. Is there anything else you want to know about saying bye in Czech, what to do, and how to get prepared? Let’s get in touch, and we’ll do our best to help!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

How Hard is it to Learn Czech?

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Let’s debunk this myth about Slavic languages being incredibly hard and almost impossible for English-speakers to learn.

Oh, please. 

How hard is it to learn Czech? Not at all. Sure, there’s going to be a lot of new things—things that seemingly make no sense, things you’ll hate, and things that will make your tongue twist. However, Czech isn’t that hard, complicated, or nasty. It’s just different from English.

Learning another language is always an exciting process. Yup, it’s hard at the beginning (beginnings are hard whether you’re learning Czech, training for your first half-marathon, or learning how to produce an edible dinner without setting your kitchen on fire). But once you turn the corner, things get easier and you start to make progress faster.

The trickiest part of Czech is probably a tie between the pronunciation and the declension. But with practice, effort, and determination, it’s nothing you can’t master.

We’ve got your back, buddy! Now. Sit back and let me convince you that Czech is just as easy as any language you already speak.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Czech Table of Contents
  1. Things That Will Require Some Effort: Sometimes Life Gets Hard…
  2. The Good News: The Easy Aspects of Learning Czech
  3. I Can’t Wait to Start Learning Czech! What Should I Do First?
  4. Tips!
  5. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Things That Will Require Some Effort: Sometimes Life Gets Hard…

…and so does the wonderful Czech language.

Why is Czech hard to learn, and what sucks the most?

A- Declension

There are seven cases in the Czech language:

1. Nominative

2. Genitive

3. Dative

4. Accusative

5. Vocative

6. Locative

7. Instrumental

  • That means there’s a whopping fourteen versions of each noun, adjective, pronoun, and numeral (singular + plural).
  • You need to know the gender of the word (masculine, feminine, neuter) in order to do the declension.
  • Each case changes the ending of the word and the preposition.

Yes, you need to memorize all of them. There’s no shortcut.

No, I’m not kidding.

    ➢ Thankfully, someone very nice and smart created fourteen paradigms of noun declension. Once you memorize the declension of these paradigms and learn to distinguish between words of different grammatical genders, the rest will be a smooth ride.

MasculineFeminineNeuter
Pán (“Mister”)Žena (“Woman”)Město (“City”)
Hrad (“Castle”)Růže (“Rose”)Moře (“Sea”)
Muž (“Man”)Píseň (“Song”)Kuře (“Chicken”)
Stroj (“Machine”)Kost (“Bone”)Stavení (“Cottage”)
Předseda (“Chairman”)
Soudce (“Judge”)
Jiří (“George”)

    ➢ Learn the genders: even though “-a” being at the end of a word is a pretty reliable indicator that the word is declined as žena, it can also be declined as předseda, resulting in completely different endings and meanings.
    ➢ The same goes for adjective declension. These babies are just as easy, and vary depending on the gender of the noun they’re related to.
    ➢ And…pronouns. Pronoun declension is a teeny bit more complicated because some of them are irregular. Teehee.

Check out this amazing article that will make the declension easy for ya.

A Girl Writing on Her Notebook

Be consistent; study every day.

B- Conjugation

Czech conjugation is the way a verb changes to show number, gender, person, and mood

  • There are four verb classes (that means four different verb endings).
  • There are six persons:, ty, on/ona/ono, my, vy, oni/ony/ona (“I, you, he/she/it, we, you, they”).
  • The verb form usually depends on the number of persons and the gender.

Conjugation is a pretty simple and straightforward process. 

Do you speak German, Spanish, Italian, or Latin? Great! Thanks to similar rules, Czech conjugation will be a piece of cake for you!

Watch for the ending of each word.

-at, -át singular + plural (Example: dát “to give”)-ovat, -ít, -ýt singular + plural (Example: kupovat “to buy”) 
1. Dám
2. Dáš
3.
4. Dáme
5. Dáte
6. Dají
1. Kupuji
2. Kupuješ
3. Kupuje
4. Kupujeme
5. Kupujete
6. Kupují
-it, -et, -ět singular + plural (Example: sedět “to sit”)-out, -ci singular + plural  (Example: zapomenout “to forget”)
1. Sedím
2. Sedíš
3. Sedí
4. Sedíme
5. Sedíte
6. Sedí
1. Zapomenu
2. Zapomeneš
3. Zapomene
4. Zapomeneme
5. Zapomenete
6. Zapomenou

Of course, there are a few irregular verbs that you’ll have to memorize and learn how to conjugate from scratch. This lesson is awesome for an avid Czech student! 

A Woman Studying on Her Laptop

There are things you will have to memorize.

C- Formal and Informal Speech

Formal and informal speech What can I say? I don’t understand this quirk either. It’s pretty useless and frustrating, but oh well.

    Formal speech (second person plural, vy) is used in a formal setting, with older people, with people you’ve just met, at work, etc.

    Informal speech (second person singular, ty) is used with family and friends, and in informal settings.

Formal:
Jste krásná. (“You are beautiful.”)

Informal:
Jsi krásná. (“You are beautiful.”)

Cute, isn’t it?

D- Pronunciation

Czech is a phonetic language, and as such, it’s pronounced the same way it’s written (just like Latin or Spanish, for example).

But the Czech language has a little surprise for you: additional letters with diacritics (marks above the letter). These can be a háček (“hook”), čárka (“length mark”), or kroužek (“circle”), and they change the pronunciation of the letter.

Make sure you know and practice the pronunciation of each Czech consonant and vowel.

Remember:

    Final consonants in the Czech language are fully pronounced, including the letter “h,” which is most often silent in English. 

    Voiced consonants (b, v, g, ď, z, ž, h) at the end of the word are silent.

    Ch is a single letter in the Czech alphabet, pronounced through the throat (like “mojito,” for example).

    The soft consonants ď, ť, ň and di, ti, ni don’t exist in English. To pronounce them correctly, try to put the tip of your tongue further back against your soft palate and pronounce the regular “d,” but much, much softer.

This article will help you deal with some of the hardest Czech words to pronounce, and show you how to correct any mistakes you’re making!

2. The Good News: The Easy Aspects of Learning Czech

1. Czech conjugation is somewhat similar to that of certain Latin-based languages (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian).

2. Czech vocabulary is made of subsets of word roots, prefixes, and suffixes linked together in easy-to-remember and logical ways. Many Czech words are combos of prefix + root. For example: Při-nést (“to bring”) / od-nést (“to take away”) / za-nést (“to take something somewhere”).

3. Declension changes only the end of the word, most often the last vowel. Other changes follow consistent and straightforward rules.

4. Czech is a phonetic language, pronounced the same way it’s written. This is similar to the pronunciation in Spanish, Italian, and Latin (and totally different from English pronunciation).

5. There are only three tenses in the Czech language: past, present, and future! How awesome is that!

6. Word order is way looser and easier than in English. It’s flexible, allowing you to put emphasis on different parts of the sentence. The typical Czech word order is subject-verb-object. To ask questions, it’s verb-subject-object. For example: Je těžké naučit se česky? (“Is Czech hard to learn?) / Není těžké naučit se česky. (“Czech isn’t hard to learn.”)

You can do this!

A Woman Carrying Book on Her head

Czech is fun and quite easy to learn!

3. I Can’t Wait to Start Learning Czech! What Should I Do First?

First of all, congrats! Yay!

Now let’s get to work.

1. Set a goal for yourself. This could be “I’m going to be able to order food and ask where the park is in two months” or “I’m gonna be fluent in a year.” Up to you. Get slightly out of your comfort zone; your goal should feel challenging, but doable.

2. Short-term goals seem to be very effective as well. How about learning thirty new words a day?

3. Write down your goals. Write them on several post-it notes and put them somewhere on display. This little mind game is super-effective and motivating.

4. Start with vocabulary. Here’s a list of the most commonly used Czech words. Then, move on to grammar.

5. There are about 300,000 root words in Czech. An average native speaker uses 35,000 words on average. As a beginner, you should master around 500 Czech words. To make small-talk, you should know 1,000-3,000 words.

4. Tips! 

The biggest advantage for you as you set out to learn Czech would be if you speak a language that uses similar grammar (German, Latin, Spanish, Greek)… Think cases, formal speech, and other fun things. Czech grammar is hard even for native speakers—it’s hard for me, too! 

How can you make progress faster?

1. Be consistent, and study every day.

2. Watch kids’ TV shows, and move on to regular TV shows when you feel confident.

3. Read books. Reading is amazing for passively building vocabulary and spelling skills.

4. Challenge yourself. Talk to natives as much as possible (or just listen).

5. Study smart: use flashcards on your phone, download an app, or sign up for an online class.

6. Make it fun and learn about the culture. There are many YouTube videos and interesting TV shows.

7. Visualize, listen, practice.

8. Find a buddy. You’ll push and motivate each other!

9. Talk to yourself, out loud and in your head. This is one of my secret tips that I used when I got serious about actually speaking English with real people (without having a heart attack).

10. Learn from your mistakes. There’s no need to be embarrassed or discouraged.

A Man Smiling while Holding His Earphone

Czech TV shows and podcasts are an excellent way of mastering the language in a pleasant and very effective way.

5. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you can imagine!

What can you find here?

  • English-to-Czech translation and pronunciation tips/tricks
  • Over 630 audio and video lessons
  • Vocabulary learning tools
  • Spaced repetition flashcards
  • Detailed PDF lesson notes

Sign up now—it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article helped you. And if you’ve been learning Czech for a while already, what’s your secret tip for avoiding mistakes? Did we forget to include anything you want to know about learning Czech fast? We’ll do our best to help!

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The 10 Most Common Mistakes in Czech to Avoid

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Mistakes are annoying, and no matter how often you tell yourself that it’s okay to make them, they still suck.

I get it, friend, I’ve been there. I’m a professional translator, and after years of living in a bilingual environment, I still have to pause from time to time and make sure I really want to say “kitchen,” not “chicken.” I ask my American boyfriend for help and clarification all the time. Also, just this morning, I read a Facebook post from Czech Television about a commemorative PLAGUE (instead of “plaque”).

In this article, we’ll be covering typical Czech mistakes that English-speakers make.

The Czech language, like all other languages, has its quirks and surprises that might catch you off-guard or flat out confuse the hell out of you.

Let’s not forget the bright side: You can learn and actually gain perspective from your mistakes. You can use them as a tool to remember certain words or grammar rules, instead of letting them frustrate you and put you off.

Let’s look at the ten most common Czech-English mistakes together.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Common Pronunciation Mistakes for Czech-Learners
  2. Vocabulary Mistakes in the Czech Language
  3. Word Order Mistakes
  4. Grammar Mistakes
  5. Gender
  6. Word-for-Word Translation
  7. Cases
  8. Conjugation
  9. Prepositions
  10. The Biggest Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
  11. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Common Pronunciation Mistakes for Czech-Learners

Czech pronunciation might make your tongue twist, and it has nothing in common with English. Remember that Czech is a phonetic language, meaning that the pronunciation highly correlates with the written form. Other phonetic languages with a pronunciation similar to that of Czech include Italian, Spanish, Polish, and Finnish. English is not a phonetic language. 

If your goal is to pronounce Czech correctly, forget about English pronunciation altogether (at least for a bit). Too many mistakes in Czech pronunciation result from trying to incorporate English sounds and rules with those of Czech. 

A- Final consonants

Remember that there are no “silent” letters in the Czech language.

    Final consonants in the Czech language are fully pronounced, including the letter “h,” which is most often voiceless in English.
    Roll your R’s.
    Remember that “ch” is one letter.

For example, the word bůh (“god”) is pronounced without the “puff of air” (aspiration) that’s typical in English pronunciation. It’s a typical Czech mistake, and it’s pretty easy to avoid.

Before you continue, make sure you know how to pronounce consonants in Czech correctly.

B- Sound marks

Sound marks (diacritics) are the marks applied above a letter to create additional sounds other than those in the English alphabet (ž, š, č, ř, ď, ť, ň).

Whilst š, č, ď, ť, and ň can be pronounced quite well by English-speakers (since we can find similar sounds in English), ř and ž tend to be very hard for some people.

    All of these special characters can change the meaning of the word. Be aware of them and don’t ignore them.

Just a few examples:

  • jed (“poison”) / jeď (“drive”)
  • rvát (“to tear”) / řvát (“to scream”)
  • citelný (“significant” or “considerable”) / čitelný (“readable”)

Make sure you familiarize yourself with the top ten hardest words to pronounce and practice in front of a mirror. You can find the basics of how to pronounce characters with diacritics in this lesson.

A Woman in Front of a Blackboard Holding a Stack of Books

Study Czech vocabulary, watch TV shows, and practice!

2. Vocabulary Mistakes in the Czech Language

Okay, vocabulary mistakes might actually be pretty funny, but I bet you don’t want to get yourself into an awkward situation.

A- Prepositions: sem (“here”) and tady (“here”)

This one is tricky.

Remember: If you’re going somewhere (dynamic), you need to use different adverbs and prepositions than if you are/exist somewhere (static)

    ➢ Focus on associating “go” with the dynamic words and “be” with the static words.

Example:

  • Jsem v Praze. (“I am in Prague.”) / Jedu do Prahy. (“I’m going to Prague.”)

B- Correct word, wrong meaning: Czech vs. English

The first thing I want to point out is love. Not the emotion (which is beautiful no matter what), but the word.

    In the Czech language, we only say Miluju tě (“I love you”) to our children or spouses.

I strongly suggest that you stick with mám tě rád/ráda (“I am fond of you”) or mám rád/ráda (“I like”).

    Also, be careful with the word “excited.” The Czech word vzrušený (“excited”) has a sexual meaning. No exceptions.

Say těším se (“I’m looking forward to”) or Mám radost (“I am happy”) instead.

C- Similar Czech Words

Have you ever had cat soup? Gotten a slice of meat with your croissant instead of butter? Gotten a confused look when inviting someone to dinner?

Let’s look at some of the trickiest words: those that sound very similar, but have different meanings.

  • kočka (“cat”) / čočka (“lentil”)
  • včera (“yesterday”) / večer (“evening”) / večeře (“dinner”)
  • máslo (“butter”) / maso (“meat”)
  • jít (“to go by foot”) / jet (“to drive or bike”)
  • přinést (“to bring by carrying”) / přivézt (“to bring something by a vehicle”) / přivést (“to bring someone somewhere by leading”)

It looks like a lot, but it’s actually pretty easy. Just do your work, study slovíčka (“vocabulary”), and you’ll never be served a cat soup!

A Happy Face and a Sad Face

Not all words that sound similar have the same meaning!

3. Word Order Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes Czech-learners make has to do with word order, though this isn’t too difficult. The basic Czech sentence structure follows the subjectverbobject sequence (a.k.a who is doing what). For questions, it’s verbsubjectobject.

    The only rule you should always follow is that the subject ALWAYS precedes the verb.
    The most important info goes last (a.k.a save the best for last).

Example:

  • jdu do kina. (“I’m going to the movies.”)
  • Půjdeš se mnou? (“Will you go with me?”)
  • Ne, proč? (“No, why?”)
  • Proč ne? (“Why not?”)

See? Word order matters. To make things easier for you, we’ve put together this list of the top ten Czech sentence patterns. Memorizing them will help you understand and use the SVO structure.

4. Grammar Mistakes

The Czech language isn’t that difficult, but you should mind a few things:

    Czech doesn’t use personal pronouns as much as English does. Use them only for emphasis.
    When it comes to formal and informal speech, alwaysno matter whatmake sure you’re using formal when speaking to older people or in professional settings.
    I and Y aren’t always pronounced the same and they are not interchangeable.

Here’s an example:

  • Supi napadli holuby. (“Vultures attacked pigeons.”) – first case subject + verb + fourth case object
  • Supy napadli holubi. (“Pigeons attacked vultures.”) – fourth case object + verb + first case subject

We’ve said it a million times, and I’m gonna repeat it for you once more: declension matters, conjugation matters, and ignoring them will do you no good, friend.

In this article, we explain the basics of Czech grammar.

A Little Kid Frustrated with His Homework

Czech grammar isn’t any more complicated than English grammar!

5. Gender

In English, you know who’s a male and who’s a female simply from using personal pronouns. But Czech has different methods. 

Verbs, nouns, pronouns, numerals, and adjectives in Czech change form according to the grammatical case, number, and gender applied to them. If you speak Spanish, Italian, or German, great! You have an advantage.

    The ending of each verb or adjective is different depending on whether it’s feminine, masculine, or neuter.
    Masculine nouns often end with a hard or soft consonant (muž [“man”], hrad [“castle”]).
    Feminine nouns often end with an -a (žena [“woman”], dívka [“girl”]).
    Neuter nouns often end with an -o (město [“city”], světlo [“light”]).

This article will teach you everything you need to know about the Czech gender game.

6. Word-for-Word Translation

Okay, you probably know that this will never work in any language, and you do your best to respect and follow the Czech grammar and vocabulary specs.

Besides, some of your literal translations might actually be pretty embarrassing.

A- I’m excited.

Never, never use the word vzrušený. Yes, the word “excited” does mean vzrušený, but as I mentioned earlier, it has a sexual connotation in Czech. No exception.

When you’re “excited” about something, simply say:

  • To je super. (“That’s awesome.”)
  • Nemůžu se dočkat. (“I can’t wait.”) 
  • Těším se na… (“I’m looking forward to…”)

B- I’m late. / I’m good. / I’m 35.

In this case, you’ll have to learn your slovíčka (“vocabulary”) and not fall into the WFW trap.

These are the most commonly used phrases that just aren’t the same in Czech:

  • “I am late.” (Jsem pozdě.) –> “I am coming late.” / “I am arriving late.” (Mám zpoždění/jdu pozdě.)
  • “I’m good, thanks.” (Jsem dobře.) –> “I have myself good, thanks.” (Mám se dobře, díky.)
  • “I’m hot.” (Jsem horká.) –> “It is hot to me.” (Je mi horko.)
  • “I’m 35.” (Jsem 35.) –> “It is 35 to me.” (Je mi 35.)
Man Unsure about Something

Excited or not?

7. Cases

In Czech, every noun and adjective changes its ending based on its position in the sentence and its function or preposition. That means that every noun has fourteen forms (in singular and plural)—fourteen different endings. Unsurprisingly, many common Czech-English mistakes arise in the form of case confusion. 

Every gender has a set of model nouns (paradigms). Each model noun represents all the other nouns within that gender that carry the same type of ending in the nominative. 

There’s no shortcut around this—you will have to learn every model noun, memorize the endings, and learn how to apply them to other nouns in the same group.

Don’t think you’ll get away with just the first case. 

The same goes for…

8. Conjugation

Czech conjugation and declension essentially provide context so that you know who is doing the action, and when.

The rules are pretty straightforward and easy to understand, but there are also exceptions and irregular verbs.

The two verbs you’ll need and use a lot are:

  • Mít (“to have”)

And

  • Být (“to be”)

Make sure you know how to work with them and use them correctly. Feeling lost? Here’s a list of the fifty most common Czech verbs.

A Man Confused about Pictures on a Blackboard

Conjugation and declension actually make things easier and provide context.

9. Prepositions

In this case, most English-speakers have trouble telling apart “motion” and “static.”

These three guys seem to cause the most confusion:

Do (“Into”): describes a motion into closed places

    Jdu do školy. (“I’m going into school.”)
    Dej to do auta. (“Put it into the car.”)

K (“To”): describes a motion to a point or in connection with visiting someone

    Jedeme k babičce. (“We’re driving to grandma.”)
    Došla jsem k jeho domu. (“I walked to his house.”)

Na (“To”): actions and activities

    Jdeme na výlet. (“We’re going to [on] a trip.”)
    Jedeme na dovolenou. (“We’re going to [on] vacation.”)

Make sure you know what noun prepositions are related to.

10. The Biggest Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The biggest mistake to make when learning a new language is to be afraid of making mistakes. Remember, by making mistakes, you’ll likely remember the problem/word/specific situation, and it will help you avoid the same mistake in the future.

Don’t rely on books alone. Put yourself out there and start a convo with Czech natives. Watch movies and TV shows in Czech. Read books or articles on the internet.

Variety is the key! Plus, you won’t get bored.

In this article, we summed up the most common Czech-English mistakes. Watch out for them, and your Czech-learning experience will be easy-peasy! Good luck!

11. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you can imagine!

What can you find here?

  • English-to-Czech translation and pronunciation tips & tricks
  • Over 630 audio and video lessons
  • Vocabulary learning tools
  • Spaced repetition flashcards
  • Detailed PDF lesson notes

Sign up now—it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article helped you, and how you’ve been able to avoid mistakes in Czech in the past! Is there anything more you want to know about the common Czech sentence mistakes? We’ll do our best to help!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

The 10 Most Common Czech Questions and Answers

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Hello there, friend! How are you today? How has your day been? How long have you been studying Czech? Do you speak other languages? Do you speak English? 

You can probably tell that this article is all about the most common Czech questions and answers. I’m going to teach you some basic questions in Czech that may come up in pretty much any conversation, and how to answer them.

Why is this important? Well, learning these common phrases and questions will create a great base for your vocabulary and make any interaction in Czech a lot easier for you.

There’s more to it, of course. Asking the right question is an awesome way to start a conversation, learn new things, get where you want to be (geographically and spiritually), and learn Czech in a fun and interesting way.

So how do you say questions in Czech? What question words in Czech are the most used?

Let’s get into this.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. What is your name?
  2. Do you speak Czech/English?
  3. Where are you from? + Where do you live?
  4. How long have you been studying Czech?
  5. Have you been to the Czech Republic?
  6. How are you?
  7. Do you like Czech food?
  8. What are you doing?
  9. What’s wrong?
  10. How much is it?
  11. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. What is your name?

First Encounter

As Czech uses formal and informal speech, there are two ways to ask Czech questions, depending on the situation. Aside from that, it’s easy-peasy.

Questions:

  • Jak se jmenuješ? (“How are you named?” = “What is your name?”)
    People your age; informal speech.
  • Jak se jmenujete? (“How are you named?” = “What is your name?”)
    People older than you; formal speech (vykání).

Occasionally, you might hear this question as well:

  • A ty jsi…? (“And you are…?”)
    Informal speech.
  • A vy jste…? (“And you are…?”)
    Formal speech.

Answers:

  • Já jsem Petra. (“I am Petra.”)
  • Jmenuju se Petra. (“My name is Petra.”)

Both versions are interchangeable.

Colleagues Meeting Each Other for the First Time

Hi, my name is Petra!

2. Do you speak Czech/English?

Again, formal and informal speech differ for this question in Czech.

Questions:

  • Mluvíš česky/anglicky? (“Do you speak Czech/English?”)
    Informal speech.
  • Mluvíte česky/anglicky? (“Do you speak Czech/English?”)
    Formal speech.
  • Umíš česky/anglicky? (“Can you [speak] Czech/English?”)
    Informal speech.
  • Umíte česky/anglicky? (“Can you [speak] Czech/English?”)
    Formal speech.

Answers:

  • Mluvím česky. (“I speak Czech.”)
  • Mluvím anglicky. (“I speak English.”)
  • Nemluvím česky. (“I don’t speak Czech.”)
  • Nemluvím anglicky. (“I don’t speak English.”)
  • Ano, trochu. (“Yes, a little.”)
  • Ano, velmi dobře. (“Yes, very well.”)
  • Ano, ale ne moc dobře. (“Yes, but not very well.”)
  • Ano, docela dobře. (“Yes, quite well.”)
  • Bohužel ne. (“Sorry, I don’t.”)

3. Where are you from? + Where do you live?

Czech Republic Flag

That’s the place I call home. Where are you from?

Questions:

  • Odkud jsi? (“Where are you from?”)
    Informal speech.
  • Odkud jste? (“Where are you from?”)
    Formal speech.
  • Kde bydlíš? (“Where do you live?”)
    Informal speech.
  • Kde bydlíte? (“Where do you live?”)
    Formal speech.

Answers:

  • Jsem z České republiky. (“I am from the Czech Republic.”)
  • Jsem z Prahy. (“I am from Prague.”)
  • Bydlím v USA. (“I live in the U.S.”)
  • Žiju v Praze. (“I live in Prague.”)

Dive deeper and read this lesson to get a grip on Czech phrases and questions related to this topic.

Of course, not everyone lives in the U.S. or the Czech Republic. Find your country and learn how to pronounce it in Czech on Wikipedia or our website

Getting ready for a convo about geography? This article is a must-read for ya!

4. How long have you been studying Czech?

Introducing Yourself

This is the Czech question you should definitely expect to hear if you’ve gotten this far in the conversation! 

Questions:

  • Jak dlouho se učíš česky? (“How long have you been studying Czech?”)
    Informal speech.
  • Jak dlouho se učíte česky? (“How long have you been studying Czech?”)
    Formal speech.
  • Učíš se česky už dlouho? (“Have you been studying Czech for a long time?”)
    Informal speech.
  • Učíte se česky už dlouho? (“Have you been studying Czech for a long time?”)
    Formal speech.

Answers:

  • Učím se česky rok. (“I have been studying Czech for a year.”)
  • Učím se česky od minulého roku. (“I have been studying Czech since last year.”)
  • Ano, učím se česky už dlouho. (“Yes, I have been studying Czech for a long time.”)
  • Ne, neučím se česky dlouho. (“No, I haven’t been studying Czech for a long time.”)

5. Have you been to the Czech Republic?

This Czech question may come up during the conversation, especially if you say you’ve been learning the language for a while.

Questions:

  • Byl/byla jsi někdy v České republice? (“Have you ever been to the Czech Republic?”)
    Informal speech; [masculine/feminine].
  • Byl/byla jste někdy v České republice? (“Have you ever been to the Czech Republic?”)
    Formal speech; masculine/feminine.
  • Jedeš do České republiky? (“Are you going to the Czech Republic?”)
    Informal speech.
  • Jedete do České republiky? (“Are you going to the Czech Republic?”)
    Formal speech.

Answers:

  • Zatím ne. (“Not yet.”)
  • Rád/ráda bych se tam brzy podíval/podívala. (“I would like to visit soon.” – masculine/feminine)
  • Ano, moc se mi tam líbilo. (“Yes, I liked it very much.”)
  • Ano, ale vůbec se mi tam nelíbilo. (“Yes, but I didn’t like it at all.”)

6. How are you?

A Group of Women Catching Up with Each Other

How have you been?

If you’ve made a new Czech friend, you may want to ask how they’re doing next time you see each other. Here are the most common ways to ask and answer this question in Czech.

Questions:

Informal speech:

  • Jak se máš? (“How are you?”)
  • Jak se ti vede? (“How are you doing?”)
  • Jak se vede? (“How is it going?”)
  • Jak se ti daří? (“How are you doing?”)
  • š se dobře? (“Are you doing well?”)
  • Co je nového? (“What’s new?”)

Formal speech:

  • Jak se máte? (“How are you?”)
  • Jak se vám vede? (“How are you doing?”)
  • Jak se vám daří? (“How are you doing?”)
  • te se dobře? (“Are you doing well?”)

Answers:

  • Mám se dobře! (“I’m good!”)
  • A vy/ty? (“And you?” – formal/informal)
  • Daří se mi dobře, děkuji. (“I’m doing well.”)
  • A tobě/vám? (“And you?” – formal/informal)
  • Mám hodně práce. (“I am very busy.”)
  • Nic se nezměnilo. (“Nothing has changed.”)
  • Mám spoustu novinek! (“I have a lot of news!”)

    ➢ Keep in mind that it’s not common to use “How are you?” as a part of just any greeting, such as at the store or in a restaurant while placing an order. The waiters and sales assistants or cashiers would probably be genuinely surprised if you asked (not in a bad way, though).

7. Do you like Czech food?

Svíčková Omáčka Dish

Svíčková omáčka (beef with creamy sauce and dumplings) is one of the most popular Czech meals.

Questions:

  • š rád/ráda české jídlo? (“Do you like Czech food?”)
    Masculine/Feminine; informal speech.
  • te rád/ráda české jídlo? (“Do you like Czech food?”)
    Masculine/Feminine; formal speech.
  • Chutná ti české jídlo? (“Do you like the taste of the Czech food?”)
    Informal speech.
  • Chutná vám české jídlo? (“Do you like the taste of the Czech food?”)
    Formal speech.
  • Jaké je tvoje nejoblíbenější české jídlo? (“What’s your favorite Czech food?”)
    Informal speech.
  • Jaké je vaše nejoblíbenější české jídlo? (“What’s your favorite Czech food?”)

Answers:

  • Ano, je velmi dobré. (“Yes, it’s very good.”)
  • Ano, chutná skvěle. (“Yes, it tastes great.”)
  • Ne, nechutná mi. (“No, I don’t like it.”)
  • Ne, nemám. (“No, I don’t.”)
  • Nejvíc mi chutná řízek. (“I like schnitzel the most.”)
  • Česká kuchyně mi vůbec nechutná. (“I don’t like Czech cuisine at all.”)
  • Miluju české jídlo! (“I love Czech food!”)

Have you been invited to lunch or dinner? Czech out this article and make sure you know how to ask for the food you want to eat!

8. What are you doing?

Man and Woman Talking, Flirting

“What are you doing on Wednesday?”

Questions:

Informal speech:

  • Co děláš ve středu? (“What are you doing on Wednesday?”)
  • Co děláš? (“What are you doing?”)
  • Proč to děláš? (“Why are you doing this?”)
  • Co právě teď děláš? (“What are you doing right now?”)
  • Děláš něco? (“Are you doing anything?”)
  • Co budeš dělat? (“What are you going to do about it?”)

Formal speech:

  • Co děláte ve středu? (“What are you doing on Wednesday?”)
  • Co děláte? (“What are you doing?”)
  • Proč to děláte? (“Why are you doing this?”)
  • Co právě teď děláte? (“What are you doing right now?”)
  • Děláte něco? (“Are you doing anything?”)
  • Co budete dělat? (“What are you going to do about it?”)

Answers:

  • Na středu mám plány. (“I have plans for Wednesday.”)
  • Ve středu mám volno. (“I’m free on Wednesday.”)
  • Nedělám nic. (“I’m not doing anything.”)
  • Teď něco dělám. (“I’m busy right now.”)
  • Nevím, co mám dělat. (“I don’t know what to do.”)
  • Nevím, co s tím udělám. (“I don’t know what I’ll do about it.”)

9. What’s wrong?

Not all days are sunny, and you may want to express your concern for someone if they seem down. Here’s how to ask what happened in Czech.

Questions:

  • Co se stalo? (“What happened?”)
  • Stalo se něco? (“Has anything happened?”)
  • Co se děje? (“What is going on?”)
  • Jsi v pořádku? (“Are you okay?”)
    Informal speech.
  • Jste v pořádku? (“Are you okay?”)
    Formal speech.
  • Potřebuješ pomoc? (“Do you need help?”)
    Informal speech.
  • Potřebujete pomoc? (“Do you need help?”)
    Formal speech.

Answers:

  • Nic se nestalo. (“Nothing happened.”)
  • Všechno je v pořádku. (“Everything is alright.”)
  • Něco se stalo. (“Something happened.”)
  • Potřebuju pomoc. (“I need help.”)
  • Nepotřebuju pomoc. (“I don’t need help.”)
  • Pomozte mi, prosím. (“Help me, please.”)
  • Pomůžu ti. (“I’ll help you.”)
    Informal speech.
  • Pomůžu vám. (“I’ll help you.”)
    Formal speech.

10. How much is it?

A Man Comparing Olive Oil Prices

Which one is on sale?

When you go shopping and there’s no price tag, you’re going to have to ask someone about the price (unless you’re really, really rich or Buddhist).

Questions:

  • Kolik to stojí? (“How much is it?”)
  • Kolik tohle stojí? (“How much is this?”)
  • Kolik stojí tamto? (“How much is that?”)
  • Je to ve slevě? (“Is it on sale?”)
  • Je to drahé? (“Is it expensive?”)
  • Je to levné? (“Is it cheap?”)

Answers:

  • Je to moc drahé. (“It’s too expensive.”)
  • Je to levné. (“It’s cheap.”)
  • Tohle je levnější. (“This is cheaper.”)
  • Stojí to 500 korun. (“It’s 500 crowns.”)
  • Je to ve slevě. (“It’s on sale.”)
  • Není to ve slevě. (“It’s not on sale.”)

We can’t tell you how to handle money, but we can teach you to talk about it in Czech. Find related vocabulary and phrases on CzechClass101.com.

How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. With us, it’s not about endless memorizing or thick textbooks. Learn Czech with us and make progress faster than you can imagine!

What can you find here?

  • English-to-Czech translation and pronunciation tips/tricks
  • Over 630 audio and video lessons
  • Vocabulary learning tools
  • Spaced repetition flashcards
  • Detailed PDF lesson notes

Sign up now—it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article helped you. Oh, and what’s your secret tip that helped you learn how to ask questions in Czech? Is there anything you want to know about other common questions in Czech? We’ll do our best to help!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

How to Nail Your CCE Czech Language Exam

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Taking a Czech language test or exam is a decision that might change your entire life.

Let’s get a bit touchy-feely and personal, shall we? 

My long story short: “Oh, maybe I want to be a translator or something, what do I do? Okay, apparently I need a certificate…when’s the next exam date? In a few weeks? Cool! Erm… How am I supposed to learn all this stuff in three weeks?” -> Daily panic attacks and lots of crying in the shower (figuratively speaking). -> Passed the exam. -> Works as a freelance translator and writer, currently sitting on a couch thousands of miles away from home, and writing an article on how to pass a Czech language test.

See? It’s doable, even if you don’t have the time (or money) for a specialized prep course.

A language exam is not as bad as it might seem. First of all, it’s just a Czech test. You’re not putting your pet’s life at risk, the world won’t stop spinning, your mom will love you no matter what, and there will be lots of new Marvel movies—no matter the result.

Of course, you want to pass. And maybe your ambitions are even higher. Maybe you want to ROCK! You don’t need a magic pill or superpowers. You just need to study, keep positive, and believe in yourself.

In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know for smooth sailing: Where to apply, how to prepare for the Czech Language Certificate Exam (CCE), and how to ace your test without losing faith in life.

A Happy Man with A+ Score

Nail your CCE with CzechClass101!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Who Should Take it and How to Apply
  2. A Closer Look at the Czech Language Certificate Exam
  3. Top 10 Tips for Preparing for Your Czech Language Test
  4. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Prepare for Your Czech Language Certificate Exam

1. Who Should Take it and How to Apply

The Czech Language Certificate Exam (CCE) was developed by the Institute for Language and Preparatory Studies of Charles University in Prague. If you’re a non-EU citizen applying for a permanent residence, you’re going to have to go through this, friend. Thus, it’s sometimes called the “Czech citizenship test.”

To pass, your communication skills must reach the required B1 language proficiency level under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). 

You might want to consider getting the certificate even if you’re not after a permanent residence in the Czech Republic. Some employers might want to see proof of your language proficiency, too. Speaking from personal experience, Czech employers love certificates and diplomas the way that businesses in English-speaking countries adore references.

Last but not least: a CCE certificate might also help you with the university application process if you’re looking to study in the Czech Republic.

Not sure if you need to put yourself through this? Check out the Ministry of the Czech Republic website.

Language Skills

A- CCE Test Registration

Yay for modern technology! 

You can register online. Just fill out an application form on the ILPS CU website and submit.

It’s possible to take the CCE exam in the Czech Republic (Prague and Brno), and in more than fifteen other countries around the world. 

    ➢ You’ll need to enroll at least three weeks before the exam (or by the date set by the foreign examination center if you’re going to take the exam abroad).
    ➢ You’ll also need to pay the fee two weeks before your exam date.
    ➢ You can select your exam venue and date in the application form.

For a complete list of countries and fees, check out this section of the official website.

B- Exam Structure

The CCE exam tests your reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and writing skills. The oral part of the exam tests your speaking abilities.

The CCE exam has five parts:

1. Reading Comprehension 
2. Listening Comprehension
3. Grammar/Lexical Text
4. Writing
5. Speaking

You can find more info on the official website.

Someone Answering Multiple-choice Questions

For the speaking part, you work in pairs. During the tests—you’re on your own, buddy.

C- Levels of Proficiency

The CCE has five levels of Czech proficiency, corresponding with those of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR):

CCE–A1: Beginner. This exam tests your ability to understand and use basic expressions and phrases (you’re able to introduce yourself and interact in the Czech language at a slow pace).

CCE–A2: Lower-intermediate. At this level, you can understand more-complex sentences and frequently used expressions and phrases. You’re also able to communicate and describe things using simple terms.

CCE–B1: Intermediate level. You’re able to communicate, as well as describe events and experiences in Czech.

CCE–B2: Upper-intermediate. You’re a “confident Czech speaker.” You’re able to understand more-complex content related to your field and speak Czech without any huge effort or preparation.

CCE–C1: Advanced. Longer and complex interactions are a piece of cake for you. You’re able to use Czech for social, academic, or professional situations.

    ➢ The Czech CCE–B2 and CCE–C1 exams are recognized for demonstrating the language skills of individuals applying for employment in the Czech Republic.
    ➢ At each of the five proficiency levels, the Czech Language Certificate Exam tests candidates’ communicative proficiency with the criteria stated in the CEFR.

D- Results: Did I Pass?

The results for your CCE exam will be posted online within thirty days. The certificate will be mailed to you within seven weeks following your exam.

    In order to pass, you need to get a score of at least 60% overall AND at least 60% in each of the five parts.

2. A Closer Look at the Czech Language Certificate Exam

In the following sections, I’ll outline what you can expect to see in each part of this Czech language proficiency test. 

A- Introduction to the Listening Section

ProficiencyTimeTasks
A120-25 minutes4 tasks in totalMultiple-choiceMatching 
A220-25 minutes4 tasks in totalTrue/FalseMultiple-choiceMatching 
B135-40 minutes4 tasks in totalMatchingMultiple-choiceTrue/False
B240-45 minutes4 tasks in totalMatchingMultiple-choiceTrue/False
C150-55 minutes4 tasks in totalMatchingMultiple matchingMultiple-choiceTrue/False
    The audio is played twice.

Listening is often the most dreaded part of the Czech language test, and listening comprehension is considered the hardest skill to develop.

How can you be sure to pass this part of the test, then?

A Man Listening to Something

Practice active listening daily!

Nail It!

Before the Exam:

  1. Prepare. People often recommend listening to or watching movies in your target language (with or without subtitles). However, passive listening isn’t enough, and it won’t get you anywhere. You need to LISTEN. Put a movie/podcast/YouTube video on, grab a piece of paper, and focus. Twenty minutes a day will make a huge difference.
  1. Start with a topic that you’re interested in. This can be anything you like—watch make-up tutorials on YouTube if that’s your thing; watch fishing videos, cooking shows…you need to be engaged.
  1. Start with audio/video that’s quite easy for you to understand. After a few days, move on to another level that’s a little bit above yours—this is very important. In order to make progress, you NEED to challenge yourself, regardless of whether you’re going to take the A1 or C1 Czech test level.
  1. Another great option is talking to native speakers (I can’t recommend this enough).
  1. Practice listening at slow, moderate, and fast speeds. Try this video for beginners (great for A1 and A2).
  1. Write down words, phrases, and idioms you don’t understand and memorize them.

During the Exam:

  1. Focus on the big picture and save details for later. Try to get a good grasp of the context and message the first time the audio is played. The second time, figure out the rest.
  1. Be alert. Don’t forget that you can’t rewind.
  1. Jot down notes. Write down the topic and core points (you can use your exam sheets for this).
Students Taking a Test in a Classroom

B- Introduction to the Reading Section

ProficiencyTimeTasks
A1(+ Writing) 60 minutes6 tasks in total (10-80 words)2 writing tasks (20 and 20-30 words)
A245 minutes4 tasks in total (80-170 words)True/False and multiple-choice
B150 minutes4 tasks in totalTrue/False
B250 minutes4 tasks in totalTrue/FalseMatching
C160 minutes4 tasks in totalTrue/FalseMatchingMultiple matching

Nail It!

Before the Exam:

  1. Remember that this isn’t just about readingit’s about comprehension. Don’t focus on individual words and literal meanings; try to find the core message and emotions.
  1. Practice the timing. Your attention likely dwindles (or even disappears) after a certain amount of time. Try to push yourself by adding a couple of minutes every time you read.
  1. Work on your vocabulary (I’m gonna say this a lot, for a good reason!). Write down words you don’t know, and memorize them. You can use our Vocab Builder.
  1. Read articles, magazines, books, and subtitles. Try our Reading Lesson for Intermediate or Beginner Czech learners. We also have a great Reading Guide for ya.

During the Exam:

  1. Read the text first. Focus.
  1. After that, read the questions
  1. If you get lost or confused, summarize what you’ve read so far. Skim through the text and look for the context.
  1. For the A1 Czech language test, you should spend no more than 35 minutes on the reading. Then, move on to the writing part (25 minutes).

C- Introduction to the Writing Section

ProficiencyTimeTasks
A1Included in the Reading Comprehension part
A240 minutes2 tasks
B160 minutes2 tasks
B280 minutes2 tasks
C190 minutes2 tasks

Writing might be tricky for you. Trust me, at the time of my exam, I was a seasoned writer (with a degree in journalism), my English was okay, but the writing task was a pain for me. This is because I wasn’t used to writing by hand, and I didn’t spend enough time practicing.

Learn from my mistakes!

Nail It!

Before the Exam:

  1. Practice the timing. This is very important, and I wish I hadn’t slacked on this. Find a topic, hit the Start button or your stopwatch, and get to work.
  1. Read! This will help you get accustomed to various sentence structures, and improve your vocabulary and spelling.
  1. Learn proper punctuation. The punctuation in Czech and English is very different. You don’t want to lose points on periods and commas, do you?

Start with simple, short pieces. When you feel comfortable enough, move up to more complex texts. We have a great guide on How to Write 1000 Czech Words in 5 Minutes a Day that will help you get started. Check it out:

During the Exam:

  1. Read the instructions twice. I know way too many people who failed an exam just because they didn’t read (and follow) the guidelines.
  1. Start with an outline.
  1. Use as much vocabulary and grammar elements as you can. You want to show off—if you have it, flaunt it. But…
  1. …if you get super-nervous, keep your pieces short and coherent.
  1. Make sure you have enough time to review your work—five minutes should be enough. This is especially important if you’re taking the Czech B1 exam or higher.

D- Introduction to the Speaking Section

ProficiencyTimeTasks
A15-8 minutes (per person)2 tasksYour family, hobbies, where you’re fromAsking and giving information about institutions or events
A210-13 minutes (per pair)2 tasksYour family, hobbies, where you’re fromAsking and giving information about institutions or events
B115-18 minutes (per pair)3 tasksIntroduce yourself (2 minutes)The examiner asks questions (general topics, 3-4 minutes) + you’ll describe an imageThe candidates have to communicate and plan an event or trip
B218-21 minutes (per pair)3 tasksIntroduce yourself (3 minutes)The examiner asks questions (general topics, 3-4 minutes) + you’ll describe an imageThe candidates have to communicate and plan an event or trip (3 minutes per candidate)
C123-27 minutes (per pair)3 tasksDialogue on given sayings or quotes (the examiner asks questions, approx. 5 minutes per candidate)5-minute monologue (culture, sports, etc.)The candidates have to communicate and look for a solution to a situation (5-6 minutes per candidate)

This part will be easy and fun if you’re a talker! If you like to keep your mouth shut, practice even harder.

    You’ll be working in pairs, asking each other questions.
Colleagues Discussing Something

The topics usually include: 

  • Work or school
  • Where you learned Czech 
  • How long you’ve been studying Czech
  • Your hobbies
  • Why you decided to study Czech
  • How many languages you speak

Possible situations:

  • Information about museums/galleries
  • You’re at the hospital/restaurant/university/party/trip/etc.

Nail It!

Before the Exam:

  1. Practice, practice, talk, talk, talk. Super-important. 
  1. Practice the timing. Get an image and describe it. Prepare a short introduction including where you’re from, what you like to do, etc.
  1. Practice asking questions.
  1. Work on your pronunciation.
  1. Check out our neat videos for conversation practice here and here.

During the Exam:

  1. Talk. A lot. Do not stop talking—let the examiners stop you.
  1. Use as much vocabulary and grammar elements as possible, especially if you’re taking the Czech B1 exam or higher.

3. Top 10 Tips for Preparing for Your Czech Language Test

  1. Know your strengths and weaknesses. It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent years in the Czech Republic or just completed your first exercise at CzechClass101.com. Assess your skills and get clear on where you’re at.
  1. Bring your strongest skills to the highest possible level. Do not slack off. Make sure you feel super-confident.
  1. Work on your weaker points daily. Practice. Get out of your comfort zone, whatever that means for you. Strike up a conversation with a native speaker, learn ten new words a day, try reading magazine articles in Czech… Make progress.
  1. Know the structure of the exam like the palm of your hand: the types of questions, topics, timing…gather as much info as you can.
  1. Check past exam papers and materials. You need to get used to the format and patterns.
  1. Buy textbooks prepared specifically for the exam candidates and use them.
  1. Practice the tasks. Set a timer and try talking about specific topics mentioned in the textbooks and study materials. Read. Answer questions. Take a CCE mock test. Do this every single day.
  1. Practice the timing and plan ahead. Figure out how much time you have to answer one question. You might need to save some time for a double-check—keep that in mind.
  1. Learn from your mistakes. Seeing your most-frequent errors will help you see which skills you need to practice and develop the most.
  1. For the sake of your Czech test results, try to get at least a tiny bit above your level of proficiency. Show off. Try to use as much vocabulary (including idioms) as possible. Practice daily! You need to get used to using new words and sentence structures.

Last but not least:

    Stay calm. If you get overly anxious, focus on your breathing for a few seconds. Think positive thoughts and don’t let any doubt creep in.

Good luck!

4. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Prepare for Your Czech Language Certificate Exam

In this guide, I did my best to help you understand the structure and requirements of the CCE.

CzechClass101.com is a modern, multi-device platform for Czech language-learners that makes learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun. Make sure you check out our video and audio lessons, and don’t forget to use our vocabulary learning tools!

What else can you find on our website?

  • English-to-Czech translation and pronunciation tips & tricks
  • Over 630 audio and video lessons
  • Vocabulary learning tools
  • Spaced repetition flashcards
  • Detailed PDF lesson notes

Sign up now; it’s free!

Before you go and create your account, let us know in the comments if you feel more prepared for your test now! Is there anything I haven’t covered that you still want to know?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Czech

The Top 10 Czech Sentence Patterns: A Basic Guide

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Have you ever wondered how some people speak like seven languages? Maybe you even have a friend who starts ordering food in the local language within three days of your vacation. 

Yep, people like that exist—and you could be one of them. In this guide, we’ll introduce and explain the most common Czech sentence patterns. Learning Czech has never been this easy!

You probably know that Czech might be a little tricky to learn (All the conjugation and declension! Lawd!) and that sentence patterns in English and Czech have pretty much nothing in common. Let’s make things easy and forget about lengthy grammar explanations. By simply memorizing the most common Czech sentence structures and patterns, you’ll be able to create dozens of sentence combos and make conversation in Czech a million times easier.

Ready, steady, go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. A is B
  2. It Is
  3. I Want
  4. I Need to
  5. I Like / I Love
  6. Do You Really Love Me?
  7. Asking Someone to Do Something
  8. May I?
  9. Asking for Information
  10. Asking About Time
  11. Asking About Location or Position
  12. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. A is B

Sentence Patterns

Let’s start with the most used, and probably the most useful, Czech sentence structure. With this pattern, you can either say that a noun is also another noun, or describe a noun using an adjective. 

1- Using a Noun

Czech Sentence Pattern A is BEnglish Translation
Ema je moje přítelkyně.“Ema is my girlfriend.”
Jonathan je můj kolega.“Jonathan is my colleague.”
Tyhle hodinky byly dárek k narozeninám.“This watch was a birthday present.”
Tahle dáma je moje babička.“This lady is my grandma.”
Tohle je moje první novela.“This is my first novel.”

2- Using an Adjective

    Noun/Pronoun – Verb Adjective.
Czech Sentence Pattern A is BEnglish Translation
Jsi nádherná.“You are gorgeous.” (feminine)
Tvoje máma je moc milá.“Your mom is really sweet.” (feminine)
Jeho nový byt je obrovský.“His new apartment is huge.” (masculine)
Náš pes je bílý.“Our dog is white.” (masculine)
Tenhle úkol je obtížný.“This task is difficult.” (masculine)

As you can see, it’s quite easy.

Remember: to speak Czech, you also need to work on your vocabulary. Czech out this video with 600 Words Every Czech Beginner Must Know, and then you might also need to review Czech grammar basics.

Sentence Components

2. It Is

Sometimes, you don’t need a lot of words to express yourself (thank God!).

Here’s an easy Czech sentence pattern to describe actions or situations:

    Pronoun – Verb (Conjugated)Adjective.
Czech Sentence Pattern It is / That isEnglish Translation
To je úžasné!“Thats awesome!”
Tohle je nádherné.“This is wonderful.”
Je to vynikající.“It’s delicious.”
Je moc brzo.“It’s too soon.”
Je to vážně zvláštní.“It’s really peculiar.”

You might also want to step up your Czech adjective game to make sure you’re not repeating the same phrases over and over again. (Although, no judgement, we all have our favorite words…it’s kind of like wearing just thirty percent of your wardrobe, isn’t it?)

Anyway! You might find this list of the fifty most common Czech adjectives very useful.

A Little Girl Amazed at a Book She’s Reading

To je úžasné! (“This is awesome!”)

3. I Want

I want ice cream. I want to be the best version of myself. I want to speak Czech like a native. Let’s try, shall we?

Talking about what we want is fun AND important. Don’t slack off; keep reading, we’re almost there. Here’s how to make Czech sentences for expressing your wants:

    I want – Noun (Accusative)
    I want toVerb (Infinitive)

There are two ways to describe that you want something.

1. Chci (“I want”) is more straightforward and reflexive.

2. Chtěl/a bych (“I would like to”) is more polite. It’s a modal verb in the past tense, followed by the word bych.

Here is the conjugation table for your convenience (you’re welcome).

Czech Sentence Pattern I want / I would like toEnglish Translation
Chci lepší práci.I want a better job.”
Chci dezert.I want a dessert.”
Chci být s tebou.I want to be with you.”
Chtěla bych se vdát.I would like to get married.”
Chtěl by se naučit česky.“He would like to learn Czech.”
    Note: The nouns in this pattern are always in the accusative case. 

  4. I Need to

Okay, we really need to cover this one too. You need to be able to tell people what you need. You need to know how to do it. No worries; it’s easy.

In Czech, we usually use the verb potřebovat or muset (“to need” or “must”).

These two modal verbs can be followed by another verb in the infinitive (just in case you need help, here’s a great summary of Czech conjugation), or by a noun in the accusative.

    I need to/I must” – Verb (Infinitive)
    I need/I must” – Noun (Accusative)
    I need” – Personal Pronoun (Accusative)

Czech Sentence Pattern I need / I need to / I mustEnglish Translation
Musím odejít.I need to leave.”
Potřebuje se víc učit.He needs to study more.”
Musím čůrat.I need to pee.”
Potřebuju kafe.I need coffee.”
Potřebuju .I need you!”
A Little Kid Eating Ice Cream

Chci zmrzlinu! (“I want ice cream!”) 

5. I Like / I Love

The difference here is pretty obvious, right?

In Czech, we don’t usually use the word “love” too often. The verb milovat (“to love”) seems to be reserved for personal liaisons (or food), and Czechs like to like things. We use the verb mít rád (“like”) when we talk about things, and rád when we talk about activities or situations. Another alternative is to say líbí se mi (“I like”) when you talk about things you like, such as movies or clothes.

Any questions? Okay, let’s get this done. Here are a few ways to form sentences in Czech to express your likes:

    Rád / ráda (“I like to” / “I love to”) – Verb (Infinitive)
    Mám rád / ráda (“I like” / “I love”) – Noun (Accusative)
    Líbí se mi (“I like” / “I love”) – Noun/Pronoun (Accusative)
    Miluju (“I love”) + Noun/Personal Pronoun (Accusative)

Czech Sentence Pattern I like / I loveEnglish Translation
Miluju jídlo.I love food.”
Mám ráda moji práci.I like my job.”
Miluju .I love you.”
Ráda běhám.I like to run.”
Líbí se mi tyto modré šaty.I like this blue dress.”

6. Do You Really Love Me?

When you’re talking about people, you should be careful with your choice of words—you want to avoid awkward situations, right?

    ► We don’t tell friends we love them. We always stick with mám tě rád/a (“I’m fond of you”).

There might be some exceptions, of course. For example—it’s two a.m. and you’ve had one too many drinks.

To like (appearance/approach)To love (pretty self-explanatory)To like (to be fond of)
Líbit seMilovatMít rád
Petr se mi líbí, je moc sexy. I like Petr, he’s very sexy.”Miluju ho a chci si ho vzít. “I love him, and I want to marry him.”Mám ráda Julii, je to moje nejlepší kamarádka. “I like Julie; she’s my best friend.”
Líbí se mi, je hezká. I like her, she’s cute.”On miluje svoje rodiče. “He loves his parents.”Mám ho ráda a vážím si ho“I am fond of him and I respect him.”

    ► If you’re curious about the word order in these sentences, we have an entire article about Czech Word Order. Czech it out! 
A Couple Having an Intimate Moment

Miluju tě. (“I love you.”)

7. Asking Someone to Do Something

Please, read these lines carefully. This is important. If you want to ask someone to do something, it’s best to be polite and nice. Did I get your attention?

The key word here is prosím (“please”)—it goes at the very beginning or at the end of the sentence.

    Verb (Imperative) Prosím.
    Prosím Verb (Imperative).

Asking someone to do something in CzechEnglish Translation
Posaďte se, prosím.Take a seat, please.”
Prosím, počkejte zde.Please, wait here.”
Prosím, vyslechněte mě.Please, listen to me.”
Pomozte mi, prosím.“Help me, please.”
Pojďte za mnou, prosím.“Follow me, please.”

You might also want to take a look at this list of Czech key phrases.

8. May I?

Asking for permission in Czech is just as simple as it is in English:

    Můžu (“May I”) – Verb – (Noun) + Please?

When asking for permission, we use the verb “can.” We literally ask: “Can I?”

Again, don’t forget to add prosím (“please”) at the beginning or end of the sentence. In this case, it’s not mandatory, but if you want to be really sweet…

Czech Sentence Pattern May I?English Translation
Můžu si sednout, prosím?May I take a seat, please?”
Můžu se vás zeptat?Can I ask you a question?”
Můžu dostat sklenici vody, prosím?May I have a glass of water, please?”
Můžu ti pomoci?Can I help you?”
Můžu se k nim přidat?May I join them?”

9. Asking for Information

There’s a good chance you’ll need to ask for information. This list of the Top Fifteen Czech Questions will make your conversations in Czech much easier.

Here’s how to form basic Czech sentences for asking information of someone:

    Co je (“What is”)
Czech Sentence Pattern What is…?English Translation
Co je tohle?What is this?”
Co je to?What is it?”
Co je tamto?What is that?”

10. Asking About Time

You don’t want to be late, and most of the time, we have our phones on us to keep track of time.

Sometimes, our technology fails us (dead phone battery in the middle of a busy day), and we need to rely on good ol’ human interaction.

Here’s how to ask what time it is in Czech:

    Kdy? (“When?”)
    V kolik hodin? (“At what time?” / “What time?”)
A Man Checking His Watch

Kolik je hodin? (“What time is it?”)

Czech Sentence Pattern When? / At what time?English Translation
Kolik je hodin?“What time is it?”
Jaký je dnes den?“What day is it?”
Kdy máš narozeniny?“When is your birthday?”
Kdy máme schůzku?“What time is the meeting?”
V kolik hodin přijdeš?“What time will you get back?”

This list of the top twenty-five Czech questions might come in handy as well.

11. Asking About Location or Position

Although we all know how to use Google Maps, you might end up getting lost in a tiny Czech village with no service. What would you do?

Ask for directions in perfect Czech, of course! Here’s how you would start a Czech phrase for this:

    Kde? (“Where?”)
Czech Sentence Pattern Where…? English Translation
Kde jsou toalety?“Where is the restroom?”
Kde ses narodil?“Where were you born?”
Kde je výtah?“Where is the elevator?”
Kde najdu víc informací?“Where can I find more information?”

Well, that was easy, right? If you need more information, check out this list of the top ten Czech sentence patterns.

12. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun.

What can you find here?

  • English-to-Czech translation and pronunciation tips & tricks,
  • Over 630 audio and video lessons 
  • Vocabulary learning tools
  • Spaced repetition flashcards
  • Detailed PDF lesson notes

Sign up now; it’s free!

But before you go and create your account, let us know in the comments if this article helped you! Is there anything you still don’t quite understand about Czech sentence structure and patterns? We’ll do our best to help you out!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

Czech Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Czech

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Czech! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Czech keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Czech Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Czech
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Czech
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Czech on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Czech Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. How to Practice Typing Czech

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Czech

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Czech language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Czech websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Czech teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Czech

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Czech. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Czech, so all text will appear in Czech. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Czech on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Czech language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Change PC Settings” > “Time & Language” > “Region & Language.”
  2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “čeština – Czech.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as Czech with the note “language pack available.”
  3. Click on “čeština” > “Options” > “Download.” It will take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.

2- Windows 7

  1. Go to “Start” > “Control Panel” > “Clock, Language, and Region.”
  2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”
  3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Czech.”
  4. Expand the option of “Czech” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Czech.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Czech,” and add the “Czech – QWERTY” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Czech Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Czech will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Czech keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Czech” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “čeština” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, this is a good app to consider:

A man typing on a computer

6. How to Practice Typing Czech

As you probably know by now, learning Czech is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Czech typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a CzechClass101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Czech keyboard to do this!

Log in to Download Your Free Czech Alphabet Worksheet

Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning

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Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

Do you desire to learn or advance in Czech quickly and effectively?

Then you need a Czech tutor.

A common question that first-time language-learners ask is “Where do I begin?” The answer? Guidance.

For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of JapanesePod101.com and KoreanClass101.com myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

  • Access to thousands of lessons
  • A voice recorder 
  • Spaced-repetition system (SRS) flashcards
  • Weekly homework assignments
  • A personal language instructor

As someone who decided to make Japanese her second language one year ago, I am extremely grateful for Premium PLUS.

Allow me to emphasize on how these Premium PLUS features strengthen my language studies.

Gain Unlimited Access to Audio and Video Lessons!

Woman learning a language with Premium PLUS on a tablet

As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

There are lessons on various topics that tackle crucial language-learning elements, such as:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Conversation

Specifically, there are pathways. Pathways are collections of lessons that center on a specific topic. Some Innovative Language sites, like JapanesePod101.com, even have pathways geared toward proficiency tests. For example, the JLPT N3 Master Course pathway.

Because of the abundance of lessons, I’ve found pathways in the lesson library to help me prepare for certain events. Thanks to the “Speaking Perfect Japanese at a Restaurant” pathway, I spoke fully in Japanese while dining in Japan. Additionally, I participated in conversations at language exchange meetups in South Korea after completing the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway.

Each lesson has lesson notes, which I read while simultaneously listening to the audio lesson. This strategy enables me to follow along on key points. Lesson notes generally contain the following:

  • Dialogue
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar points
  • Cultural insights

As someone who’s constantly on-the-go, I heavily benefit from mobile access to lessons. Podcasts and lesson notes are available on the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS.

All lessons and their contents are downloadable. Prior to my flights to Japan and South Korea, I downloaded lessons on my iPhone. The apps make learning more convenient for me during my commutes.

Practice Speaking with the Voice Recording Tool!

a young man practicing his pronunciation with a microphone headset

Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on JapanesePod101.com with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

A great way to boost one’s speaking confidence is to shadow native speakers. During the vocabulary reviews, it’s helpful for me to hear the breakdown of each word; doing so makes a word that was originally difficult to even read a breeze to say!

Some lessons create opportunities to speak your own sentences. For example, the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway presents opportunities to answer questions personally. This helps you gain the ability to give answers as the unique individual you are.

Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

Increase Your Vocab with Spaced-Repetition Flashcards and More!

A child learning words with flashcards

Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. CzechClass101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

You can create and study flashcard decks, whether it’s your Word Bank or a certain vocabulary list. For example, if you need to visit a post office, the “Post Office” vocabulary list for your target language would be beneficial to study prior to your visit.

In addition to the SRS flashcards, each lesson has a vocabulary slideshow and quiz to review the lesson’s vocabulary.

There’s also the 2000 Core Word List, which includes the most commonly used words in your target language. Starting from the 100 Core Word List, you’ll gradually build up your knowledge of useful vocabulary. These lists can be studied with SRS flashcards, too.

With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

Complete Homework Assignments!

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Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

In addition to these auto-generated homework tasks, language tutors customize daily assignments. My daily homework assignments include submitting three written sentences that apply the target grammar point of that lesson, and then blindly audio-recording those sentences. My personal language tutor follows up with feedback and corrections, if needed.

Your language tutors also provide assignments upon requests. When I wanted to review grammar, my Korean teacher sent related quizzes and assignments. Thus, you are not only limited to the auto-generated assignments.

Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Get Your Own Personal Language Teacher!

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My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

Once I share a short-term or long-term goal with my teacher, we establish a plan or pathway that will ultimately result in success. I coordinate with my teachers regularly to ensure the personalized learning programs are prosperous. For example, during my JLPT studies, my Japanese language tutor assigned me practice tests.

Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

Additionally, I often practice Korean and Japanese with music. I memorize one line of the lyrics daily. Every time, I learn a new grammar point and new vocabulary. I add the vocabulary to my SRS flashcards, locate the grammar in the Grammar Bank, and study the associated lessons online.

I send my teachers the name of the songs, making them aware of my new goal. One time, my song for Korean was “If You Do” by GOT7. My Korean teacher revealed that she was a huge fan of GOT7 like me! For Japanese, it was “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA,” also known as the Dragonball Z theme song. My Japanese teacher excitedly told me that she sang the song a lot as a kid!

A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

Why You Should Subscribe to Premium PLUS

It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

You’re assured to undergo the same experience with Premium PLUS. You’ll gain access to the aforementioned features as well as all of the Premium features.

Complete lessons and assignments to advance in your target language. Increase your vocabulary with the “2000 Core Word List” for that language and SRS flashcards. Learn on-the-go with the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS users.

Learning a new language takes dedication and commitment. The Premium PLUS features make learning irresistibly exciting. You’ll look forward to learning daily with your language tutor.

As of right now, your challenge is to subscribe to Premium PLUS! Complete your assessment, and meet your new Czech teacher.

Have fun learning your target language in the fastest and easiest way!

Subscribe to Posted by CzechClass101.com in Czech Language, Czech Online, Feature Spotlight, Learn Czech, Site Features, Speak Czech, Team CzechClass101

Czech Word Order: Loose and Bendy

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It doesn’t matter why you’re learning Czech: Do you want to be able to order a schnitzel in a restaurant, or are you planning to write your first novel in this beautiful Slavic language? We’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll explain the specifics of the Czech sentence structure, and show you how to memorize and work with its patterns. 

It might seem quite confusing at first because the Czech word order is entirely different than that in English—let’s say it’s more relaxed and the rules are VERY flexible.

Maybe you’re thinking: “Oh, whatever. Everyone knows what I’m saying as long as I’m using the correct words, right?”

No, my friend, I’m sorry. We’re not mind-readers, and you could get us seriously confused and worried if you told us your homework ate your dog. The good news is that a complete Czech sentence might contain just one single word (a verb). Or it could have a couple of words. That means less work for you. Also, the word order is very loose and flexible (no, I’m not suggesting you can get away with anything, but…).

In this guide, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about the Czech sentence structure. Let’s get into it!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Overview of Word Order in Czech
  2. Czech Word Order with Prepositional Phrases
  3. Czech Word Order with Modifiers
  4. How to Change a Sentence into a Yes-or-No Question
  5. Czech Word Order: Translation Exercise
  6. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Overview of Word Order in Czech

Improve Pronunciation

1- Declarative sentences: Subject-Verb-Object

Although the Czech word order rules are very loose and flexible (thanks to declension and conjugation), the basic Czech sentence structure follows SVO, a.k.a who is doing what. 

However, you always want to avoid sentences that allow for more interpretations, of course.

  • The only rule you should always follow: the subject ALWAYS precedes the verb. 

This is an example of a Subject Verb Object sentence:

Sebastian mluví Česky. (“Sebastian speaks Czech.”)

A Man Speaking into a Microphone

Subject: The Doer

  • a noun or pronoun (personal pronouns are usually omitted)
  • who or what performs the action
  • occurs before the verb in a sentence

Verb: The Action

  • describes an action or occurrence, or indicates a state of being
  • placed after the noun

Object: The Meaning

  • a noun or pronoun
  • affected by the action of a verb
  • completes the meaning of a sentence

Before you continue, you may find it useful to watch CzechClass101’s video about the most-used Czech nouns. 

Make sure you check out this list of the most useful Czech pronouns and 50 most common Czech verbs as well.

Remember:

  • The most important info goes last (a.k.a. save the best for last).
  • Declarative sentences end with a period.

2- What if it looks like there is NO subject in the sentence?

Miluju hranolky. (“I love french fries.”)

That awkward moment when you’re about to devour a plate of deep-fried salty goodness and your friend ruins it for you by making a grammar mistake! Maybe you’ll even scream:

miluju hranolky! (“I love french fries!”)

Well…

Remember:

  • In Czech language word order, personal pronouns are used way less often than in English.
  • Personal pronouns are mostly used for emphasis (, or “I,” is seldom used).
  • You don’t need pronouns to determine gender in the sentence.

Therefore, if the sentence starts with a verb and ends with a period, it’s absolutely correct. This list of Czech sentence patterns will help you better understand the basics. 

2. Czech Word Order with Prepositional Phrases

Improve Listening

Prepositional phrases in Czech sentences indicate time, place, or manner. In other words, where, when, or how things happened. 

They can either be placed at the beginning or the end of a complex Czech sentence structure. Remember, the most important part of the sentence always goes last.

  • If you want to emphasize where, when, or how things happened, place it at the end of a sentence.
  • In a Czech sentence, you need to indicate time first, then place, and lastly, manner.

Word order in a Czech sentence:

  1. Subject
  2. Preposition of time
  3. Preposition of place
  4. Verb
  5. Object
  6. Preposition of manner

1- Prepositions of Time

Here’s an example of a neutral declarative sentence (you’re simply stating a fact):

[] Po večeři jím jablko. (“After dinner, I eat an apple.”)

A Woman Eating an Apple

Now, let’s look at an example with an emphasized prepositional phrase:

[] Jím jablko po večeři, ne ráno. (“I eat an apple after dinner, not in the morning.”)

2- Prepositions of Place

Here’s a simple declarative sentence:

[] Po večeři jím v kuchyni jablko. (“After dinner, I eat an apple in the kitchen.”)

If you want to emphasize the place—you eat the apple in the kitchen (not in the bedroom)—put the prepositional phrase at the end:

Po večeři jím jablko v kuchyni. (“After dinner, I eat an apple in the kitchen.”)

3- Prepositions of Manner

Prepositional phrases that indicate how something happened or is done usually go last, and they’re placed after the verb—just like in English!

plavu pomalu. (“I swim slowly.”)

(Ty) Vypadáš nádherně. (“You look gorgeous.”)

(Ona) Vešla s úsměvem. (“She came in smiling.”)

4- A combination of all three prepositions in one sentence

This is where things get a little complicated—just remember that the Czech word order is very loose, and you can get away with pretty much anything.

Here are the general rules for using more prepositions in one sentence:

  • The preposition of time is always placed at the beginning of the sentence.
  • Time and manner usually precede the place,

Unless:

  • You want to emphasize how something happened, rather than when and where it happened.
  • The preposition of manner can be placed before or after the verb.

Example of a neutral declarative sentence:

Po večeři jím pomalu v kuchyni jablko. (“After dinner, I slowly eat an apple in the kitchen.”)

Po večeři pomalu jím v kuchyni jablko. (“After dinner, I slowly eat an apple in the kitchen.”)

3. Czech Word Order with Modifiers

Modifiers are optional elements that clarify, qualify, or limit a particular word in a sentence. Pretty easy, right?

  • Modifiers emphasize, limit, qualify, or explain.
  • They’re always placed before the noun (subject or object) they refer to.

There are four types of modifiers in the Czech language:

1 – Descriptive words

These are adjectives and adverbs that hold the reader’s attention and add “spark” to the sentence.

  • They precede the noun they refer to.

Example without modifiers:

K obědu jsem měl polévku. (“I had soup for lunch.”)

Lentil Soup

With modifiers:

K obědu jsem měl vynikající tomatovou polévku. (“I had a delicious tomato soup for lunch.”)

See the difference?

2 – Determiners 

These are placed in front of a noun to identify things.

The Czech language doesn’t use articles, and nouns are determined by pronouns.

  • Remember that declension applies to determiners.
  • Tohle (“this”), toto (“this”), and tamto (“that”) can be used for feminine, masculine, and neutral (it doesn’t indicate gender).
  • Determiners are mostly used to add emphasis and are often used in place of the definite article.

Singular

Masculine/Feminine/Neuter DeterminerExample SVO
Ten/Ta/To (“The”)Mám rád ten nový byt. (“I like the new apartment.”)

Obléknu si tu novou blůzu. (“I’m going to wear the new blouse.”)

To nové auto vypadá úžasně. (“The new car looks awesome.”)
Tento/Tato/Toto (“This”)Tento svetr není můj. (“This isn’t my sweater.”)

Tato žena mi zachránila život. (“This woman saved my life.”)

Toto jídlo mi nechutná. (“I don’t like this food.”)
Tenhle/Tahle/Tohle (“This”)Tenhle kluk se mi líbí! (“I like this boy!”)

Tahle sklenice je rozbitá. (“This glass is broken.”)

Tohle je moje manželka. (“This is my wife.”)
Tamten/Tamta/Tamto (“That”)Tamten kluk je můj bratr. (“That boy is my brother.”)

Tamta vysoká holka je moje sestra. (“That tall girl is my sister.”)

Tamto sedadlo vzadu je volné. (“That seat in the back is free.”)
Takový/Taková/Takové (“Such”/”This kind of”)Takový přístup zvyšuje účinnost. (“Such an approach enhances the effectiveness.”)

Taková krása je vzácná. (“This kind of beauty is rare.”)

Takové krásné dítě by mělo být slavné. (“Such a beautiful child should be famous.”)

Plural

Masculine/Feminine/Neuter DeterminerExample SVO
Ti/Ty/Ta (“The”)Ti noví kluci se mi líbí. (“I like the new boys.”)

Vezmu si ty nové náušnice. (“I’m going to wear the new earrings.”)

Ta nová auta vypadají úžasně. (“The new cars look awesome.”)
Tito/Tyto/Tato (“Those”)Tito kluci jsou moji spolužáci. (“Those boys are my classmates.”)

Tyto ženy mi zachránily život. (“Those women saved my life.”)

Tato sedadla jsou obsazená. (“Those seats are occupied.”)
Tihle/Tyhle/Tahle (“Those”)Tihle kluci se mi líbí! (“I like these boys!”)

Tyhle sklenice jsou rozbité. (“These glasses are broken.”)

Tahle štěňata jsou moc roztomilá. (“These puppies are very cute.”)
Tamti/Tamty/Tamta (“Those”)Tamti kluci jsou moji bratři. (“Those boys are my brothers.”)

Tamty vysoké holky jsou moje sestry. (“Those tall girls are my sisters.”)

Tamta sedadlo vzadu jsou volná. (“Those seats in the back are free.”)
Takoví/Takové/Taková (“Such”/”This kind of”)Takoví muži se nežení. (“Such men don’t marry.”)

Takové ženy nevaří. (“This kind of woman can’t cook.”)

Takové krásné děti by měly být slavné. (“Such beautiful children should be famous.”)

Exceptions:

  • For plural masculine objects (i.e. NOT live people or animals), always use the feminine determiners.

Example:

Ten hrad je obrovský. –> Tyto hrady jsou obrovské. (“This castle is huge. –> These castles are huge.”)

3 – Numerals 

A numeral is a figure or symbol (or a group of figures or symbols) that denote a number.

  • After the number 1, use the nominative singular form.
  • After the numbers 2, 3, and 4, use the nominative plural.
  • After the number 5 (and after the indefinite numerals)—málo (“a little”), moc (“a lot”), několik (“some”)—use the genitive plural.
  • The counted object is declined along with the numeral.
  • The number is always placed before the noun it refers to.

Examples:

  • Zbývala jen jedna učebnice. (“There was only one textbook left.”)
  • Mají čtyři děti. (“They have four kids.”)
  • Snědl dva sendviče. (“He ate two sandwiches.”)

The suffixes “-st,” “-nd,” and “-rd” are indicated by a period in the Czech language.

EnglishCzech
1st1.
2nd2.
3rd3.
4th4.

However, all numbers below 10 are always spelled out. Check out our lesson on counting from 1-100 in Czech

4 – Possessors 

There’s a number of feminine, masculine, and neuter possessors in the Czech language. 

  • Possessors are always placed before the noun they’re referring to.
  • Masculine and neuter possessors are the same.
  • In plural masculine for objects (NOT live people or animals), always use the plural feminine.
  • The singular and plural for feminine and masculine (+ neuter) are the same.

However, Czech doesn’t use possessors as much as English does.

For example, we don’t say: Bolí mě moje hlava. (“My head hurts.”)

We’d simply omit the pronoun. Therefore, the possessors are mostly used for emphasis.

Possessors – Singular Masculine (+ Neuter)/FeminineExamples
Můj/Moje (“My”)Můj pes je černý. (“My dog is black.”)
Moje kočka je bílá. (“My cat is white.”)
Tvůj/Tvoje (“Your”)Tvůj pes je černý. (“Your dog is black.”)
Tvoje kočka je bílá. (“Your cat is white.”)
Jeho/Její (“His”/”Her”)Jeho pes je černý. (“His dog is black.”)
Její kočka je bílá. (“Her cat is white.”)
Náš/Naše (“Our”)Náš pes je černý. (“Our dog is black.”)
Naše kočka je bílá. (“Our cat is white.”)
Váš/Vaše (“Your”)Váš pes je černý. (“Your dog is black.”)
Vaše kočka je bílá. (“Your cat is white.”)
Jejich (“Their”)Jejich pes je černý. (“Their dog is black.”)
Jejich kočka je bílá. (“Their cat is white.”)
A Black Dog Barking
Possessors – Plural Masculine (+ Neuter)/FeminineExamples
Moji/Moje (“My”)Moji psi jsou černí. (“My dogs are black.”)
Moje kočky jsou bílé. (“My cats are white.”)
Tvoji/Tvoje (“Your”)Tvoji psi jsou černí. (“Your dogs are black.”)
Tvoje kočky jsou bílé. (“Your cats are white.”)
Jeho/Její (“His”/”Her”)Jeho psi jsou černí. (“His dogs are black.”)
Její kočky jsou bílé. (“Her cats are white.”)
Naši/Naše (“Our”)Naši psi jsou černí. (“Our dogs are black.”)
Naše kočky jsou bílé. (“Our cats are white.”)
Vaši/Vaše (“Your”)Vaši psi jsou černí. (“Your dogs are black.”)
Vaše kočky jsou bílé. (“Your cats are white.”)
Jejich (“Their”)Jejich psi jsou černí. (“Their dogs are black.”)
Naše kočky jsou bílé. (“Their cats are white.”)

4. How to Change a Sentence into a Yes-or-No Question

Okay, this is the easy part of Czech language word order. Let’s take a simple declarative sentence that follows the Subject Verb Object  order.

 Sebastian mluví Česky. (“Sebastian speaks Czech.”) [SVO]

  • To make this sentence a question, put the verb first. 

Mluví Sebastian Česky? (Does Sebastian speak Czech?) [VSO]

  • In Czech questions, the verb is always the first word of the sentence.

Again, the sentence structure in Czech is flexible and you’ll often see SVO questions.

When in doubt:

  • As long as there’s a question mark at the end, it’s a question.

5. Czech Word Order: Translation Exercise

Let’s practice forming Czech sentences!

  1. “We speak Czech.” – _________________
  1. “We speak Czech slowly.” – _________________
  1. “We speak Czech slowly with her.” – _________________
  1. “We speak with her in the kitchen.” – _________________
  1. “After dinner, we speak with her in the kitchen.” – _________________
  1. “We never speak with her in the kitchen.” – _________________
  1. “Do you speak with her in the kitchen?” – _________________
People Talking in the Kitchen

Answers:

  1. “We speak Czech.” (Mluvíme česky.)
  2. “We speak Czech slowly.” (Mluvíme pomalu česky./Pomalu mluvíme česky.)
  3. “We speak Czech slowly with her.” (Mluvíme s ní česky pomalu. / Pomalu s ní mluvíme česky.)
  4. “We speak with her in the kitchen.” (Mluvíme s ní v kuchyni.)
  5. “After dinner, we speak with her in the kitchen.” (Po večeři s ní mluvíme v kuchyni.)
  6. “We never speak with her in the kitchen.” (Nikdy s ní nemluvíme v kuchyni./V kuchyni s ní nikdy nemluvíme.)
  7. “Do you speak with her in the kitchen?” (Mluvíš/mluvíte s ní v kuchyni?)

You might want to take a look at this Painless Czech Grammar video. It’ll help you understand the basic rules and nuances of word order in Czech and other major grammar points.

6. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

CzechClass101.com will make learning Czech easy, exciting, and fun.

What can you find there?

  • English-to-Czech translation and pronunciation tips & tricks
  • Over 630 audio and video lessons
  • Vocabulary learning tools
  • Spaced repetition flashcards
  • Detailed PDF lesson notes

Sign up now. It’s free!

But before you go and create your account, let us know in the comments if this article helped you! Is there anything you still don’t quite understand about Czech word order? We’ll do our best to help you out!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech

Telling Time in Czech – Everything You Need to Know

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What’s your relationship with the clock like? Does it run your day from a morning alarm to a cut-off chime for bed, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type, letting your mood and emotions decide how much you fall in line with time?

Understanding time in Czech is an important part of your studies. As humans, our lives are filled with habits and schedules. From waking up and going to work or gym, to missing rush hour traffic on our way home, we’re always aware of time. We have routines around coffee breaks, meetings, soccer games and vacations. In fact, time can seem rather capricious – going slowly, going fast, sometimes against us, other times on our side – like a force that has a life of its own.

In science, time is often referred to as a fourth dimension and many physicists and philosophers think that if we understood the physics of the universe, we would see that time is an illusion. We sense an ‘arrow’ or direction of time because we have memories, but really time is just a construct that humans have created to help make sense of the world. 

On the other hand, poets through the ages have written impassioned thoughts about time, depicting it as both a relentless thief and an immensely precious resource, not to be wasted at any cost.

Well, poets and scientists may have their views, but in our everyday lives there’s the question of practicality, isn’t there? I mean, if you have plans and want things to happen your way, there’s a certain amount of conforming to the human rules of time that you can’t avoid. 

In ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the prince has a rose that he falls in love with, and he tenderly protects it with a windscreen and places it under a glass dome on his tiny planet.  I love this quote from the book:  “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”  If we truly love something, we spend time with it and not a second of that time could ever be seen as wasted. I feel that way about horses, my children, travel and learning languages

With that in mind, I’d like to take you on a journey into ‘time’ from a Czech perspective. It’s fun, it’s informative and it’s a basic necessity if you’re learning the language – especially if you plan to travel. CzechClass101 has all the vocab you need to fall in love with telling time in Czech, and not a minute will be wasted.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Talking about Time in Czech
  2. How to Tell the Time in Czech
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about Time in Czech

As a traveler, your primary need for knowing how to read the hour in Czech will be for transportation schedules: the bus, train, airplane, ferry, taxi… whatever you plan to use to get from A to B, it won’t wait for you! Fortunately, it’s really not complicated. You already have a firm grasp of time in English and you know you’ll need to reset your watch and phone to the local time. Great – that means you’ll have the correct time on your person. 

We’re so used to just looking at our phones for the time, that it’s easy to take this convenience for granted and forget some travel basics: in a foreign country, times won’t always be written digitally. If you see the time written in words, it’ll be the same challenge to you as hearing it spoken: you’ll need to be familiar with the language. 

You may be surprised at how often ‘time’ comes into conversation. Learning the Czech terms for time will help you when you have to call a taxi, ask about opening and closing times of events and tourist attractions, restaurants and bars and even late-night food cafes.

My biggest annoyance when traveling is not being able to get coffee and amazingly, even at nice hotels this has happened more times than I care to think about. I’ll be up late planning something, writing my blog or chatting and when I go looking for coffee downstairs, I’m told the kitchen is closed or the ‘coffee lady’ has gone to sleep. Frustrating!

If you’re doing a homestay or at a youth hostel or backpackers, there will probably also be a limited timeframe for when you can grab dinner. Do you know how to ask when it’s time to eat in Czech? I’ve learned that it’s vital to know how to make my queries clearly understood to accommodation staff and for me to clearly understand their answers. Perfect your ‘time in Czech’ translations early on – you’ll thank me. 

At CzechClass101, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of Czech time words and phrases to get you going. 

Pedestrians in a city

1- Morning – ráno

Morning is the time when we wake up from our dreamworld, hopefully fully rested and restored; we brew the first delicious cup of coffee for the day and watch the sunrise as we prepare for another glorious twelve hours of life. No matter what happened the day before, a new morning is a chance to make everything right. 

I like these quiet hours for language practice, as my mind is clear and receptive to learning new things. I start by writing the Czech time, date and word of the day on my whiteboard, then get back under the covers for an engrossing lesson.

Time in the morning is written as AM or A.M., which stands for ante meridiem – meaning ‘before midday’ in Latin.

Person typing with coffee next to them

2- Evening – večer

Evening is the part of night when we’re still awake and doing things, winding down from the day. Whether you enjoy a tasty international dinner with friends, go out to see a show, or curl up on the couch with a Czech snack and your favorite TV series, evening is a good time to forget your worries and do something that relaxes you. If you’re checking in with your Facebook friends, say hi to us, too!  

Evening is also an ideal time to catch up on your Czech studies. The neighbourhood outside is likely to be quieter and time is yours, so grab a glass of wine or a delicious local tea, and see what’s new on your Mac App or Kindle

3- Daytime – den

Daytime is defined as the period from early morning to early evening when the sun is visible outside. In other words: from sunrise to sunset.  Where you are in the world, as well as the season, will determine how many daylight hours you get. 

Interestingly, in locations north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle, in summertime the sun does not sink below the horizon within a 24-hour period, bringing the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun.  You could only experience this in the north, though, because there aren’t any permanent human settlements south of the Antarctic Circle.

4- Nighttime – noc

Nighttime is all the hours from sunset to sunrise and depending on where in the country you are, people may be partying all night, or asleep from full-dark. 

In the same northernmost and southernmost regions where you can experience a midnight sun, winter brings the opposite phenomenon: the polar night. Can you imagine a night that lasts for more than 24 hours? 

Girl sleeping; moon and starry sky

5- Hour – hodina

An hour is a unit of time made up of 60 minutes and is a variable measure of one-24th of a day – also defined by geeks as 3 600 atomic seconds. Of all the ‘time’ words we use on a daily basis, the hour is the most important, as time of day is typically expressed in terms of hours. 

One of the interesting methods of keeping time that people have come up with is the hourglass. Although the origins are unclear, there’s evidence pointing to the hourglass being invented around 1000 – 1100 AD and one of the ways we know this, is from hourglasses being depicted in very old murals. These days, with clocks and watches in every direction we look, they’re really only used symbolically to represent the passage of time. Still – a powerful reminder of our mortality and to seize the day. In his private journal, the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, wrote: “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

An hourglass with falling sand

6- Minute – minuta

Use this word when you want to say a more precise time and express minutes in Czech. A minute is a unit of time equal to one sixtieth of an hour, or 60 seconds. A lot can happen in the next 60 seconds. For example, your blood will circulate three times through your entire vascular system and your heart will pump about 2.273 litres of blood. 

7- O’clock – hodin

We use “o’clock” when there are no minutes and we’re saying the exact hour, as in “It’s two o’clock.”

The term “o’clock” is a contraction of the term “of the clock”. It comes from 15th-century references to medieval mechanical clocks. At the time, sundials were also common timekeepers. Therefore, to make clear one was referencing a clock’s time, they would say something like, “It is six of the clock” – now shortened to “six o’clock”.

We only use this term when talking about the 12 hour clock, though, not the 24 hour clock (more on that later!) The 12-hour clock can be traced back as far as Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Both an Egyptian sundial for daytime use and an Egyptian water clock for nighttime use were found in the tomb of Pharaoh Amenhotep I. Dating to c.1500 BC, these clocks divided their respective times of use into 12 hours each. The Romans also used a 12-hour clock. Daylight was divided into 12 equal hours and the night was divided into four watches. 

These days, the internet has made it very easy to know what the time is in any part of the world.  Speaking of which, why not add the Czech time zone clock to your laptop?

Many different clocks

8- Half past – půl

When the time is thirty minutes past the hour, in English we say “half past”. Just like the hour, the half-hour is universally used as an orientation point; some languages speak of 30 minutes before the hour (subtraction), whereas others speak of 30 minutes after the hour (addition). 

9- AM – ráno

As mentioned earlier, AM is the abbreviation of the Latin ante meridiem and means before midday. Using ‘AM’ as a tag on your time simply tells people you’re speaking about a time in the morning. In some countries, morning is abbreviated to “AM” and you’ll see this on shop signs everywhere, announcing the opening hour. A typical shop sign might read something like this:

“Business hours are from 7AM to 6PM.” 

Woman in a shop, adjusting the shop sign

10- PM – odpoledne

PM is the abbreviation of the Latin post meridiem and means after midday. Along with ‘AM’, you’ll usually find ‘PM’ on store signs and businesses, indicating the closing hours. It’s advisable to learn the difference between the two, since some establishments might only have one or the other on the sign. For example, a night club sign might say: 

“Open from 10 PM until late.” 

11- What time is it now? – Kolik je teď hodin?

Here’s a very handy question you should memorize, as you can use it in any situation where you don’t have your watch or phone on you. This could be on the beach, in a club, or if you’re stuck anywhere with a flat phone battery. It happens at home, so it can happen when you’re traveling! 

Woman on the phone, looking at her watch

12- One o’clock – jedna hodina

One o’clock, or 1 PM, is the average lunch time for many people around the world – at least, we try to get a meal in at some point between midday and 2 PM.  In terms of duration, the nations vary: Brazililans reportedly take the longest lunch breaks, averaging 48 minutes, whereas Greece reports an average break of only 19 minutes. Historically, Greeks were known for their very leisurely lunch breaks, so it just goes to show how fast the world is changing. If you’re curious about what to expect in Czech Republic, try asking our online community about lunch time in Czech.

13- Two o’clock – dvě hodiny

In his last days, Napoleon Bonaparte famously spoke of “Two o’clock in the morning courage” – meaning unprepared, spontaneous  courage. He was talking about soldiers who are brave enough to tumble out of bed in an instant, straight into action, without time to think or strategize. Do you think you have what it takes? I’m pretty sure all mothers know this feeling!

14- Three o’clock – tři hodiny

3 AM can be perceived as the coldest time of day and is not an hour we want to wake up, but meteorologists will tell you that the coldest time is actually half an hour after sunrise. Even though the sun is peeking over the horizon, the solar radiation is still weaker than the earth’s infrared cooling to space.

Clock pointing to 3 o'clock

15- Four o’clock – čtyři hodiny

Do you know anyone who purposely gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning? As crazy as it sounds, there is something to be said for rising at 4 AM while the rest of the world sleeps. If you live on a farm, it might even be normal for you. I know that whenever I’m staying in the countryside, rising early is a lot easier, because there’s a satisfying reason to do so: watching a sunrise from a rooftop, with uninterrupted views, can’t be beat! It’s also likely that you’ll be woken by a cock crowing, or other animals waking to graze in the fresh pre-dawn air. 

In the world of business, you’ll find a small group of ambitious individuals – many entrepreneurs – who swear by the 4 o’clock in the morning rise. I’m not sure I like that idea, but I’d wake up at 4 AM if it was summer and I had my car packed for a vacation!

16- Five o’clock – pět hodin

What better way to signal the transition between work and play than the clock hands striking 5 o’clock? It’s the hour most working people look forward to each day – at least, those who get to stop working at 5 PM.  Meanwhile, millions of retired folks are taking out the wine glasses, as 5 PM is widely accepted as an appropriate time to pour the first glass. I don’t know how traditional your families are, but for as long as I’ve been alive, my grandparents have counted down the milliseconds to five o’clock, and the hour is announced with glee.

A sunset

17- Six o’clock – šest hodin

This is the time many working people and school kids wake up in the morning. In many parts of the world, 6 o’clock is also a good time to watch the sunrise, go for a run or hit the hiking trails. 

18- Seven o’clock – sedm hodin

Health gurus will tell you that 7 o’clock in the morning is the best time to eat your first meal of the day, and 7 o’clock in the evening is the time you should eat your last meal. I’ve tried that and I agree, but it’s not always easy!

19- Eight o’clock – osm hodin

8 o’clock in the morning is the time that most businesses open around the world, and the time most kids are in their first lesson at school – still full of energy and willing to participate. Interestingly, it’s also the time most babies are born in the world!  In the evening, 8 o’clock is many young children’s bedtime and the time for parents to watch the evening news. 

Smiling boy in school with his hand up

20- Nine o’clock – devět

It’s good to occasionally sleep late on a weekend and for me, this means waking up at 9 AM. If you’re traveling in Czech Republic and staying at a hotel, planning to sleep late means politely requesting to not be woken up by room service.

21- Ten o’clock – deset

10 o’clock in the morning is a popular time to conduct business meetings, and for first break time at schools. We’re usually wide awake and well into our day by then.  But what about the same hour at night? Modern people are often still awake and watching TV at 10 PM, but this isn’t exactly good for us. Experts say that the deepest and most regenerative sleep occurs between 10 PM and 2 AM, so we should already be sound asleep by ten o’clock. 

In advertising, have you ever noticed that the hands of the clock usually point to 10:10? Have a look next time you see a watch on a billboard or magazine. The reason? Aesthetics. Somehow, the human brain finds the symmetry pleasing. When the clock hands are at ten and two, they create a ‘smiley’ face and don’t cover any key details, like a logo, on the clock face. 

22- Eleven o’clock – jedenáct hodin

When I see this time written in words, it makes me think of the hilarious Academy Award-winning very short film, “The Eleven O’Clock”, in which the delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes that he is actually the doctor. 

Then there’s the tradition of ‘elevenses’ – tea time at eleven o’clock in the morning. Strongly ingrained in British culture, elevenses is typically a serving of hot tea or coffee with scones or pastries on the side. It’s a great way to stave off hunger pangs before lunch time arrives. In fact, if you were a hobbit, ‘Elevenses’ would be your third meal of the day!

23- Twelve o’clock – dvanáct hodin

Twelve o’clock in the daytime is considered midday, when the sun is at its zenith and the temperature reaches its highest for that day; it’s written as 12 noon or 12 PM. In most parts of the world, though, this doesn’t happen at precisely 12 PM. ‘Solar noon’ is the time when the sun is actually at its highest point in the sky. The local or clock time of solar noon depends on the longitude and date. If it’s summertime, it’s advisable to stay in the shade during this hour – or at least wear good quality sunblock.

Midnight is the other ‘twelve o’clock’, of course. Midnight is written as 12 AM and is technically the first minute of the morning. On the 24-hour clock, midnight is written as 00:00. 

Sun at noon in a blue cloudy sky

2. How to Tell the Time in Czech

Telling the time

Using a clock to read the time in Czech Republic is going to be the same as in your own country, since you’re dealing with numbers and not words. You’ll know the time in your head and be able to say it in English, but will you be able to say it out loud in Czech? 

The first step to saying the time in Czech is knowing your numbers. How are you doing with that? If you can count to twelve in Czech, you’re halfway there! We’ve already covered the phrases you’ll need to say the exact hour, as in “five o’clock”, as well as how to say “half past”. What remains is the more specific phrases to describe what the minute hand is doing.

In everyday speech, it’s common to say the minutes past or before the hour. Often we round the minutes off to the nearest five. 

Then, there’s the 24-hour clock. Also known as ‘military time’, the 24-hour clock is used in most countries and, as such, is useful to understand. You’ll find that even in places where the 12-hour clock is standard, certain people will speak in military time or use a combination of the two.  No doubt you’ve also noticed that in written time, the 24-hour clock is commonly used.  One of the most prominent places you’ll have seen this is on airport flight schedules.

Airport flight schedule

Knowing how to tell military time in Czech is really not complicated if you know your numbers up to twenty-four. One advantage of using the 24-hour clock in Czech, is there’s no chance of confusing AM and PM.

Once you know how to say the time, it will be pretty easy to also write the time in Czech. You’re already learning what the different hours and minutes look and sound like, so give yourself some writing practice of the same. 

3. Conclusion

Now that you understand the vocabulary for telling time in Czech, the best thing you can do to really lock it down is to just practice saying Czech time daily. Start by replacing English with Czech whenever you need to say the time; in fact, do this whenever you look at your watch. Say the time to yourself in Czech and it will become a habit. When learning a new language, the phrases you use habitually are the ones your brain will acquire. It feels amazing when that turning point comes!

To help yourself gain confidence, why don’t you make use of our various apps, downloadable for iPhone and iPad, as well as Android? Choose what works best for you. In addition, we have so many free resources available to supplement your learning, that you simply can’t go wrong. Some of these are:

If you prefer watching your lessons on video, check out our YouTube channel – there are hundreds of videos to browse. For those of you with Roku, we also have a TV channel you can watch.

Well, it’s time for me to say goodbye and for you to practice saying the time in Czech. Look at the nearest clock and try to say the exact time, down to the seconds. See you again soon at CzechClass101!

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