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40 Czech Phrases for Beginners You Should Know

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Have you ever found yourself in a difficult situation, at a loss for words, helpless…trying desperately to tell the other person that you really, REALLY need a bathroom…in another language?

Learning Czech might take years, but there are certain Czech phrases for beginners you’ll want to memorize right now because they might save your pants one day.

I am being overly dramatic here—for your sake. Czech people (especially old and middle-aged Czechs) simply don’t speak English, and sometimes gestures and body language just won’t do.

I know that some people don’t like memorizing phrases because it feels like it “disrupts” the process of learning. Let me remind you that toddlers don’t give a damn about grammar and vocab—they just learn whatever clusters of words you throw at them without thinking about which gender and case they should use. Do it like them, and you’ll be fine in any situation that might otherwise cause you great anxiety.

In this article, you’ll learn 40 basic Czech phrases for beginners.

A Woman in a Red Dress and Heels Holding a Suitcase in the Middle of a Dirt Road

Šťastnou cestu! – “Have a happy journey!”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Don’t be Whatsername: Czech Greetings and Introductions
  2. Smooth as Butter: Czech Social Phrases
  3. I’d Like to Buy the Entire Store, Please: Czech Shopping and Restaurant Phrases
  4. Help, I Need Somebody: Asking for Help in Czech
  5. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Don’t be Whatsername: Czech Greetings and Introductions

One word of wisdom from a native: Czechs don’t ask a lot of questions. When my American boyfriend first met my Czech friends and family, he was baffled because “nobody asked me anything.” When I first met his extended family, I was swamped with questions ranging from “What’s your country like?” (innocuous) to “Doesn’t your mom miss you?” (might be considered nosy). 

Keeping this little nugget of cultural wisdom in mind, here are a few basic Czech phrases you could use to greet others and make introductions:

EnglishCzech
Good day.Dobrý den.

This is a formal greeting that you’ll want to use in official settings, with people older than you, or with people you don’t know. Don’t forget to use the formal voice (i.e., vy – “you” in plural instead of ty – “you” in singular).
Hello.Ahoj. 

– This is an informal greeting you’ll use with friends, family, children, people you’re on a first-name basis with, etc. It’s possible to use this expression as a greeting and as a goodbye.
Hi.Čau.

– This is another casual greeting/goodbye that you’ll use with the informal voice.
Good morning.Dobré ráno. 

– If you use this greeting later than 10 a.m., people might look at you funny.
Good forenoon.Dobré dopoledne.
Good evening.Dobrý večer.
Goodnight.Dobrou noc.
Goodbye.Na shledanou.
Be well.Mějte se hezky.
Take care.Měj se.

– This is an informal version of the phrase above.
Nice to meet you.Těší mě.
It was nice to see you.Rád jsem vás viděl/viděla.
I’m pleased to meet you.Rád tě/vás poznávám.

– Informal/formal.
How are you?Jak se máš/máte? 

– Informal/formal
How are you doing?Jak se ti/vám daří? 

– Informal/formal
Are you doing well?Máš/máte se dobře? 

– Informal/formal
My name is…Jmenuju se…
I am…Já jsem… 
I live in…Bydlím v…
I am from…Jsem z…
I come from…Pocházím z…
Do you know each other?Znáte se? Vy se znáte?
Have you met?Už jste se seznámili?
And you are…?A vy jste/ty jsi…?
I would like you to meet…Rád bych ti/vám představil/představila
This is…Tohle je…

Make sure you check out this article about greetings in Czech and this one on how to introduce yourself in Czech.

Two Businesswomen Shaking Hands with Each Other

Těší mě! – “Nice to meet you!”

2. Smooth as Butter: Czech Social Phrases

Our next set of Czech beginner phrases consists of expressions you’ll need to sound polite in any social context. 

EnglishCzech
Thank you.Děkuji.
Díky.
You’re welcome.Prosím.
Don’t mention it.Za nic. 
Za málo. 

– Literally: “for nothing” or “for little”
My pleasure.Rádo se stalo.
Please.Prosím.
Could you…?Mohl/mohla bys?
Is it possible to…?Je možné…?
I have a question…Chci se zeptat… 

– Literally: “I want to ask…”
Can I ask a question?Můžu se na něco zeptat? 

– Literally: “Can I ask about something?”
Do you have any questions?Chceš/chcete se na něco zeptat? 

– Informal/formal
– Literally: “Do you want to ask about something?”
Do you need anything?Potřebuješ/potřebujete něco? 

– Informal/formal
Excuse me.Pardon. (to apologize for interrupting, for example)S dovolením. (when someone’s in your way)
I apologize.Omlouvám se.
I’m sorry.Promiň/promiňte.

– Literally: “Forgive me.”
– This is the word you would use if you bumped into someone on a crowded train, for example. If you wanted to express sympathy, you would say je mi líto:

Je mi líto, kavárna je zavřená. (“I am sorry, the café is closed.”)
I didn’t mean to.Nechtěl/nechtěla jsem

– Literally: “I didn’t want to.”
It’s okay.Nic se neděje. 
Nic se nestalo. 

– Literally: “Nothing is happening,” or “Nothing happened.”
Forget it. To nic.

– Literally: “It’s nothing.”

You’ll find more information on how to apologize in Czech in this article.

A Woman against a White Background Waving to Someone

Můžu se na něco zeptat? – “Can I ask a question?”

3. I’d Like to Buy the Entire Store, Please: Czech Shopping and Restaurant Phrases

You’ll probably encounter many surprising things while shopping and eating out in the Czech Republic:

  • We don’t ask for a check; we simply tell the waiter/waitress that zaplatíme (“we’re going to pay”). Period.
  • We’re not nearly as generous with tips, and you don’t actually have to tip at all—in a taxi, at hair salons or barbers… If you’re not happy with your food, don’t tip at a restaurant. If you do want to tip, 5-10% would be fine.
  • When in a group, you can choose to pay for yourself only. The waitstaff will ask if it’ll be dohromady (“together,” as in “Do you want to pay the total amount?”) or zvlášť (“separately,” as in “Do you want to pay for yourself only?”). If you choose the latter, you’ll just list what you ate and they’ll tell you how much you owe them. Done.
  • If you want water with ice, you’ll need to order vodu s ledem (“water with ice”). Plus, you have to pay for it—water in restaurants isn’t free.
  • No free refills. It’s not a thing in the Czech Republic.
  • The average Czech portion size is about ½ of the average American portion size.
  • All prices include tax.
  • The staff (and people in general) will likely seem reserved or even unfriendly compared to what you’re used to in the U.S.

EnglishCzech
I will have…Dám si… 

– Literally: “I will give myself…”
– When ordering in a restaurant
I will take…Vezmu si… 

– At a store
No, thank you, I’m good.Ne, děkuju. Nedám si nic. 

– Literally: “I won’t have nothing.”
Can I order?Můžu si objednat?
Would you like to order?Chcete si objednat?
I would like to order.Chci si objednat.
I will pay.Zaplatím.

This is how you ask for your check in the Czech Republic.
We will pay together.Zaplatíme dohromady.

– As in: “We’re not going to split the bill; just tell us the total.”
We will pay separately.Zaplatíme zvlášť.

– As in: “Tell me how much for the things I had.”
I will pay with a card.Zaplatím kartou.
I will pay in cash.Zaplatím hotově.
Can I pay with a card?Můžu platit kartou?
Can I pay in cash?Můžu platit hotově?
Do you have…?Máte…?
How much is this?Kolik to stojí? 

– Literally: “How much does it cost?”
What will you have?Co si dáš/dáte?
I like it.Líbí se mi to.
I don’t like it.Nelíbí se mi to.
Do you like it?Chutná ti/vám? 

– Literally: “Does it taste to you?”
– When asking about food
I like it.Chutná mi to. 

– Literally: “It tastes to me.”
I don’t like it. Nechutná mi to. 

– Literally: “It doesn’t taste to me.”
The food is delicious.To jídlo je výborné.
It’s gross.Je to hnusné.
I think the food has gone bad.Myslím, že je to jídlo zkažené.
Would you like anything?Dáš/dáte si něco? 

– Informal/formal
– Literally: “Will you have anything?”
Can I invite you for dinner?Můžu tě/vás pozvat na večeři?

– Informal/formal
Do you want to go someplace?Zajdeme někam? 

– As in: “Do you want to go grab a bite or coffee?”
Will you have lunch with me?Půjdeš se mnou na oběd? 

– Literally: “Will you go to lunch with me?”
I want to check in.Chci se ubytovat.
I want to check out.Chci se odhlásit.
I have a reservation/booking.Mám rezervaci. 

– You would use this phrase at a restaurant or in a hotel.
I am allergic to…Mám alergii na…

CzechClass101.com has lessons covering useful Czech words and phrases related to dining and shopping, each with pronunciation examples to make your learning process even smoother.

A Couple Having a Date at a Fancy Restaurant

Na zdraví! – “Cheers!”

4. Help, I Need Somebody: Asking for Help in Czech

I genuinely hope you’ll never need any of these. (Well, I already know you will. Everybody needs the restroom, even while traveling, right?)

Anyway, please be safe, make sure you keep your passport in a convenient place, write down your embassy and emergency phone numbers, and don’t walk around shady neighborhoods alone.

Unlike in the U.S., the Czech police, firemen, and paramedics have different phone numbers. Make sure you know them.

EnglishCzech
Where is…?Kde je…?
How will I get to the station/airport?Jak se dostanu na nádraží/letiště?
Do you speak English?Mluvíte anglicky?
I don’t speak Czech.Nemluvím česky.
I don’t understand.Nerozumím.
Could you say it again?Můžete to zopakovat?
I need help.Potřebuju pomoc.
Help!Pomoc!
I need a doctor.Potřebuju doktora.
I need to call…Potřebuju zavolat…
I need to call an ambulance.Potřebuju zavolat pohotovost.
Please call an ambulance.Zavolejte pohotovost prosím.
I don’t feel well.Není mi dobře.
I am hurt/injured.Jsem zraněný/zraněná.
Call the police.Zavolejte policii.
Call the firefighters.Zavolejte hasiče.
There’s a fire.Hoří. 

– Literally: “burning,” as in “It’s burning.”
I need to call the embassy.Potřebuju zavolat na ambasádu.
Where’s the restroom?Kde jsou záchody/toalety? 

Toalety is a fancier, more polite word.
I lost…Ztratil/ztratila jsem…
I need…Potřebuju…
I don’t know.Nevím.

A Woman Being Boarded onto an Ambulance

Pohotovost – “Ambulance”

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

That’s it, guys! I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new! In case our list of the most common Czech words and phrases for beginners wasn’t long enough for you, please check out our Basic Bootcamp—the very basic grammar and vocab in five compact lessons.

If you’re taking your Czech studies seriously, you could grab a Czech grammar book or learn online (the latter of which is way more convenient). Seriously, learning a new skill has never been easier. Just grab your phone and get to work!

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

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One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article helped you. Are there any particular beginner phrases you’d like to learn the Czech translations for? Let us know in the comments!

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