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All You Ever Wanted To Know About Czech Culture

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Are you learning Czech, planning to visit the Czech Republic, starting a business here, or even settling down in this cute, Central European country? Great! I’m sure you want to know more than just the basic info (like what the currency is and whether it’s okay to look a stranger in the eye…). 

Learning about Czech culture is essential if you want to really understand not just the language, but also how things work here.

And let me tell you, just about everything is different here than in the U.S. or Western and Eastern Europe.

As you explore Czech culture and customs, you’ll find that they share a lot in common with those of Austria or Germany. These two countries have greatly influenced the attitudes, traditions, and cuisine of the Czech Republic—and no wonder! The Czech Republic was part of the Austria-Hungary Empire for centuries and only became autonomous in 1918. Not so long ago, right? Another aspect to consider is its geographical position in the heart of Europe, which has fostered influences from surrounding countries. 

One thing that might surprise you is that while we speak a Slavic language, our political, economic, and social structures have shifted toward Western European trends.

Do you feel ready to continue exploring this unique culture? Then read on! 

In this lesson, you’ll learn about Czech values, religions, family and work life, traditions, food, and art.If this seems like a bit much, you might want to start with this quick overview of the Czech culture and language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Values and Beliefs
  2. Philosophies and Religions
  3. Family and Work Life
  4. Art and Architecture
  5. Cuisine and Food
  6. Traditional Holidays
  7. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Values and Beliefs

A key component in understanding Czech culture is knowing what values Czechs hold important, and why.

To start, here’s the typical Czech attitude and approach to life: 

    Careful planning in business and personal life, and a strong need for a sense of security. 

Even though things have changed since the Communist era, most people still value security. It’s safe to say that Czechs aren’t risk-takers.

For example, Czechs are unlikely to support a business idea if the outcome is uncertain, and mottos like “Think Big” are frowned upon here. 

    Czech people value a forward-thinking, logical, efficient, and practical approach.

Another thing you need to know before you make false assumptions about the Czech nature is this: Czechs are very private people…until they get to know you. We often seem formal and reserved and it’s considered impolite to ask “a newcomer” too many questions.

    Don’t be surprised if your new Czech colleagues seem a bit aloof. Invite them out for a beer or a glass of wine, and you’ll see how quickly things change!

Even after you’ve developed a personal relationship (first name basis or after your first hangover), Czechs do open up a bit, but we are never overly emotional. There will be no hugs, no beaming, and certainly no ‘I love yous.’

When it comes to problem-solving and jarred situations, Czechs tend to be extremely non-confrontational. This isn’t because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. We simply don’t want to get involved. Even in more extreme situations that would be impossible not to notice, we might turn a blind eye. 

Which leads us to: 

    We can get super passive aggressive. Let’s call it an indirect approach, shall we?

If you’re very new to the Czech culture, make sure to check out these useful Czech phrases and greetings. You know what they say: You might be awesome, but if you don’t make a good first impression, nothing else matters.

A Man Making Plans on His Smartphone

Everything in life has to be carefully planned.

2. Philosophies and Religions

Christianity is the dominant religion in the Czech Republic…but we are one of the least religious societies in Europe. Yep. We love Christmas and St. Nicholas Day (more on that later), but to most Czechs, they’re just lovely traditions without any spiritual meaning.

Let’s look at some dry facts:

    In 1910, Roman Catholicism was the professed religion of 96.5% of the Czech people.
    In 2011, the population’s proportion of Roman Catholic Church members decreased from 26.8% to 10.4%.

The decline began right after World War I and the breakup of the Austria-Hungary Empire, partly due to a mass movement that promoted anti-Austrian and anticlerical sentiments.

The communist regime (1948-1989) quickly dissolved the rest of the religion in the Czech Republic. The government (to which religion of any kind became undesirable) confiscated most of the Church’s property.

The philosophy behind this? If our Russian comrades didn’t need God, why should our working class? 

3. Family and Work Life

In the Czech Republic, family is the center of our social structure.

When it comes to relationships and dynamics, the Czech family culture gets a bit more complicated. Obligation to the family is the most important priority, but this only applies to the closest family members—children, parents, and sometimes siblings. Family gatherings and Sunday lunches are quite common, but they’re usually pretty small and private.

Several Family Members Stacking Their Hands

Family first.

If you’re new to the Czech work environment, refrain from using someone’s first name or an informal greeting. These are signs of friendship and it is considered rude to use informal language with colleagues unless the other party has indicated it’s okay. This bridge to informal communication should be offered by the woman, the older person, or the person of higher status.

    When it comes to business and closing deals, don’t expect things to move forward swiftly.

The Czech business culture facilitates a slower pace of getting things done, especially when strangers or foreigners are involved. It will probably take more than just one meeting for your Czech business associates to become familiar with you. Czechs generally don’t trust strangers and they’re slightly scared of new things. If you want to succeed, you should practice meditation if patience isn’t one of your strongest virtues.

Also: 

    Czechs are too polite (and afraid of a direct approach or confrontation) to tell you “no” right away. You might often hear “we will see” and “it’s complicated” and “perhaps.” These statements typically indicate a negative answer.

If you’re getting ready for a business meeting in the Czech Republic, you might find these basic conversational phrases useful. They make a great basis for any kind of meeting or conversation in Czech.

4. Art and Architecture

The Czech Republic is famous worldwide for its outstanding handmade Bohemian glass and crystal—each piece mouth-blown and manually decorated. 

If you’re a fan of art, you might be familiar with the name Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939). He was one of the best Czech painters and decorative artists, and in his time, he was pretty much a celebrity. Companies hired him to draw advertisements for them and he collected very nice sums for his labor.

Mucha is best known for his series of 20 large canvases named The Slav Epic. By the way, large means large. 26 by 20 feet on average. This pompous work of art depicts the history of Czechs and other Slavic peoples. 

There is a strong Czech tradition in the graphic arts. Czechs love caricature, and it was even more popular during hard times…for example, before World War II. Josef Čapek (who was an older brother of the writer Karel Čapek, who happens to be the guy who invented the word “robot”) is remembered for a series of drawings entitled The Dictator’s Boots. This was from the time when Adolf Hitler’s star was rising higher. 

Czech graphic art is usually based on popular, narrative art.

Since the nineteenth century, Czech painters and graphic artists have followed European movements, but Realism generally prevails. 

Czech art traditions feature a mix of German and Slavic influences, though our architecture is strikingly influenced by Italy. Our capital, Prague, is a beautiful gem with breathtaking Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

If you’re more into modern architecture, you won’t be disappointed. The clean and sharp Functionalist style became very popular in the 1920s and there are numerous villas, apartment buildings and interiors, factories, office blocks, and even cafés all over the country displaying this style.

5. Cuisine and Food

You can probably guess that the table manners in the Czech Republic are Continental: the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right. Unlike Americans, we don’t typically put the knife down while eating and we keep the fork in our left hand throughout the entire meal.

Have you been invited to a family lunch? There are a few rules to follow:

1. The oldest or honored guest is generally served first.

2. You will be offered second helpings. You should refuse and wait for the hostess to insist.

3. Compliment the meal while eating. Ask for the recipe even though you know you’ll never make the meal at home.

4. When you’ve finished, lay your knife and fork across the right side of your plate.

The typical Czech meal consists of soup as a starter and a meat-heavy entrée. 

The Czech diet contains lots of pork, beef, poultry, and organ meats such as liver and kidneys. The most typical side dishes are dumplings, cabbage, or potatoes. You’ll probably feel very full after a meal, even though the portion sizes are nowhere near the average American ones.

Deep-fried Breaded Carp

Deep-fried breaded carp is a popular Christmas Eve dinner.


6. Traditional Holidays

There are seven public (bank) holidays in the Czech Republic: 

  • New Year’s Day (January 1) – This is also the Day of Recovery of the Independent Czech State, which took place in 1993.
  • Liberation Day (May 8)
  • Day of Slavonic Apostles Cyril and Methodius (July 5)
  • Jan Hus Day (July 6)
  • Day of Czech Statehood / St. Wenceslas Day (September 28)
  • Independence Day (October 28) – It has nothing in common with the American Fourth of July; it’s the anniversary of the establishment of an independent Czechoslovakia in 1918.
  • Day of Students’ Fight for Freedom and Democracy (November 17)

On top of that, there are three Christmas days, and Easter Monday.

Even though most Czechs are atheist, they celebrate Christian holidays including Easter and Christmas. These holidays were recognized even during the Communist era. 

Our main Christmas holiday is Christmas Eve, when families decorate their Christmas trees while watching TV and eating Christmas cookies. The dinner traditionally consists of fish (preferably carp), or pork or chicken schnitzel, with potato salad.

Like I mentioned earlier, Czechs are very family-oriented and private. This means it’s not common to invite friends over during Christmas.


A Variety of Czech Christmas Cookies

Czech Christmas cookies are quite elaborate and are usually made two to three weeks ahead.

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

We hope you enjoyed this lesson on Czech traditions and culture. Did you learn anything new? How does Czech culture compare to that in your country? We look forward to hearing from you! 

If you’re taking your Czech studies seriously, you have two solid options: grab a Czech grammar book or learn online. We think the latter is much more convenient, don’t you? 

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?

Sign up now—it’s free!

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Czech Food: All About Pork and Creamy Sauces

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I’m going to be honest with you, guys. Czech food is heavy. Most meals are based on pork, creamy sauces, and dumplings (no, they’re not similar to Asian dumplings). Growing up, I would always marvel at the gorgeous, colorful platters of food that I saw on American TV. Compared to that, our diet was a lot grayer, ordinary-looking, and “bready.” 

Of course, times have changed. But the traditional Czech cuisine hasn’t. 

I personally don’t know anyone who would say no to Mom’s Sunday roast with fluffy dumplings and sweet and sour cabbage, followed by home-baked pastries with sweet, lemony curd cheese filling.

One thing I need to mention: the portion sizes. I vividly remember my first morning in NYC. I ordered two scrambled eggs with bacon and a side of fruit. I was served a gigantic plate that held a mountain of eggs, countless slices of THICK-cut bacon (that tasted slightly sweet), plus a bowl of fruit that would last through me and my mom’s entire movie night. I actually overheard people complaining about our tiny portions!

That won’t happen in the Czech Republic.

The smaller portions are a good thing, guys! You get to taste a little bit of everything and still have room for dessert! 

Are you a foodie who loves trying different cuisines? Are you planning a trip to the Czech Republic and wondering what foods you should try? Or do you just want to know more about the Czech culture in general? Read on!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Must-Try Dishes in Czech Restaurants
  2. Unique Czech Food
  3. Food-Related Vocab
  4. Let’s Cook Something!
  5. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Must-Try Dishes in Czech Restaurants

I’m going to disappoint all the vegans and vegetarians out there: Traditional Czech food is delicious, but also meat-heavy. Your only meatless option when eating out in a typical restaurant will be some kind of cheese (probably deep-fried or marinated).

Back in the day, the only “vegetarian option” on the menu would often be either deep-fried cheese (more on that later) or something you would probably choose for dessert: sweet dumpling with fruit, pastries with warm vanilla sauce, or even vdolky, which is the Czech take on Berliners (donuts without a hole).

However, if you do enjoy meat, you won’t be disappointed.

First things first, make sure you know how to order food in a Czech restaurant

A- Řízek s Bramborovým Salátem (Schnitzel with Potato Salad)

Try a juicy, breaded schnitzel (pork is the most common type, but most places offer veal too) served with potato salad. By the way, this is also a favorite classic Czech food for Christmas dinners.

When my American boyfriend first saw a regular-sized Czech schnitzel, he couldn’t believe his eyes. It was so big it intimidated his brave, American heart.

The potato salad contains a lot of vegetables, often pickled or marinated. My favorite part? The mayo. 

Are you on a diet, working on your summer body, or getting ready for an important event? No problem. Here’s a tip from my grandma:

Get a chicken schnitzel. Chicken is diet food. The potato SALAD is a salad. You’re good.

A Plate of Schnitzel with Greens and Mashed Potatoes

Schnitzel is a favorite weekend lunch and Christmas dinner!

B- Vepřo-Knedlo-Zelo (Pork Roast with Cabbage and Dumplings)

This is THE ultimate Czech Sunday lunch. The cabbage might be red or white, sweet, slightly on the sour side, or even pickled.

Have you been invited to a family lunch? You’ll be asked how many dumplings you want. If you say three, you’ll get five. You’ve been warned.

A Plate of Vepřo-knedlo-zelo

Vepřo-knedlo-zelo is the ultimate Sunday lunch.

C- Svíčková Omáčka s Knedlíkem (Roast Beef with Creamy Vegetable Sauce and Dumplings)

This Czech dish is incredibly elaborate and it smells super-delicious thanks to the vegetables…too bad it’s nearly impossible to make it look presentable on the plate.

It’s often served for special occasions and it’s actually the traditional wedding lunch meal (along with beef broth with vegetables and liver dumplings; yup, Czech cuisine boasts many kinds of dumplings).

To make the sauce perfect, you first need to marinate a perfect sirloin with root veggies and some spices for a couple of days. Then you roast it in the oven, mix the vegetables in a blender, and add an ungodly amount of heavy cream and some flour to make the sauce thicker.

The dumplings have to be homemade, of course, so if you’re making this meal for Sunday lunch, you should get up at around 4:30 a.m. Yum.

A note from my grandma: The sauce has to be the perfect color. Not too brown, not too light. If you get served a brown svíčková in a restaurant, leave. 

Thanks, grandma.

A Plate of Svíčková omáčka

Believe it or not, svíčková omáčka is the traditional wedding food!

D- Guláš (Goulash)

This stew, usually made from beef, pork, or venison with onions and spices, is trickier than it looks. You have to cook it for hours and hope the meat doesn’t turn into a piece of rubber. Unlike the Hungarian version, the Czech guláš contains no vegetables and makes up for the lack of fiber with loads of protein.

It’s served with dumplings or bread and a handful of thinly sliced onion.

E- Smažák (Deep Fried Breaded Cheese)

Okay, guys, I had no idea how weird this dish was, until I started dating a foreigner. 

I’m a millennial and this thing was the ultimate “fancy” meal I would always order in a restaurant (which means I had it like five times during my childhood). Now it’s more of a street food.

If you love gooey melted cheese, you’re going to love this dish too. The most typical combo is smažák with french fries and mayo. Enjoy!

F- Tatarák (Steak Tartare)

This is even weirder than breaded deep-fried cheese. It’s raw beef. First-class, perfectly fresh raw beef, finely ground or cut, and mixed with salt, egg yolks, and spices of your choice.

If you order it in a restaurant (it’s a widely popular and well-loved bar food), it will come un-mixed so that you can make it the way you like it. It’s served with fried bread and fresh garlic cloves. Rub the garlic on the hot, greasy bread to make a perfect topinka (“toast” fried in a pan), top it with tatarák, and bite in!

Have you tried any of these popular Czech dishes? If so, what’s your favorite Czech food so far?

2. Unique Czech Food

There are some traditional Czech dishes and foods that you can only find in our beautiful Central European country. They’re all carb-laden, stick to your ribs, and will help you gain ten pounds in a week.

A- Knedlíky (Dumplings)

The French have baguettes, and we have knedlíky

This popular side dish is made of flour, yeast, and tiny cubes of bread. Some versions contain mashed potatoes, bigger pieces of bread, and parsley—there are even sweet dumplings stuffed with fruit, and drizzled with butter and ground gingerbread! They’re either steamed or cooked. The most popular knedlíky are the standard bread dumplings, sliced on plates of guláš or omáčka.

B- Creamy Sauces

Czechs LOVE creamy sauces.

Last weekend, I was eating lunch with my mom. We were having a big salad with all sorts of “exotic” ingredients in it: avocado, tofu, chickpea pasta… I asked her what our lunch would have been in the 80s. Her response: Probably a sauce with some meat and potatoes, maybe dumplings. So, yes, people actually used to eat this way all the time.

C- Koprová Omáčka (Creamy Dill Sauce), Rajská (Creamy Tomato Sauce)…

Pretty much any ingredient can be turned into a creamy sauce. 

Slightly tangy koprovka (“dill sauce”) is often served with hard-boiled eggs and rajská (“tomato sauce”) is poured over a mountain of elbow macaroni (which is called kolínka, or “little knees,” in Czech) and served with a modest slice of boiled beef. There’s even a horseradish sauce served with uzené (“smoked pork”).

Yup, the obesity rate is pretty high in this country.

D- Hovězí Vývar s Játrovými Knedlíčky (Beef Broth with Liver Dumplings)

This hearty soup is usually served as a starter for special occasions, Sunday family lunches, and weddings. The broth is slow-cooked and must be perfectly clear. The noodles and little dumplings should be homemade.

E- Pečená Husa s Bramborovým Knedlíkem (Roast Goose with Potato Dumplings and Cabbage)

This is a typical Czech holiday food, normally prepared at the beginning of November for St. Martin’s Day and served with St. Martin’s “young” wine. But some families prepare it for Christmas or other fancy occasions.

F- Deep-Fried Breaded Mushrooms

Mushrooms are not everyone’s favorite, but we still eat them. A lot. In soups, in our creamy houbová omáčka (“mushroom sauce”)…and we deep-fry them, just like cheese.

It’s a great (although not super-healthy or low-cal) vegetarian option, too!

G- Chlebíčky

These cute open-faced sandwiches are a staple in Czech cuisine. They’re a typical party/Christmas/New Year’s Eve snack and feature a variety of toppings: eggs, ham, deli meats, pickles, and pickled vegetables. They can be really basic or very fancy.

H- Vánočka and Mazanec (Sweet Christmas Bread and Sweet Easter Bread)

These two babies somewhat resemble challah bread, but the dough is much richer, containing a lot of butter, lard (makes the pastry very moist and almost melty), and fresh yolks.

After letting the dough rise for a few hours, you braid it elaborately only to watch it collapse or develop cracks in the oven (if you’re not careful).

It’s delicious, fragrant, and tastes amazing plain or with butter (or honey, preserves, Nutella…).

A Loaf of Vánočka being Sliced

Vánočka and mazanec are eaten all year-round because we love them so much!

As you can tell, Czech cuisine isn’t for everyone. Make sure you can eat it before you order.

3. Food-Related Vocab

Now that you’re good and hungry, let’s look at some Czech food vocabulary and a few phrases to use in the restaurant.

CzechEnglish
Maso“Meat”
Vepřové maso“Pork”
Hovězí maso“Beef”
Kuře“Chicken”
Zvěřina“Venison”
Vegetariánské“Vegetarian”
Veganské“Vegan”
Polévka“Soup”
Předkrm“Starter”
Hlavní jídlo“Entrée”
Dezert“Dessert”
Těstoviny“Pasta”
Houby“Mushrooms”
Zelenina“Vegetables”
Ovoce“Fruits”
Palačinky“Crepes”
Lívance“Pancakes”
Omáčka“Sauce”
Brambory“Potatoes”
Hranolky“French fries”
Příloha“Side dish”
Košík pečiva“Basket of bread”
Sýr“Cheese”
Máte vegetariánské/veganské jídlo?“Do you serve any vegetarian/vegan dishes?”
Dám si…“I’ll have…”
Bez přílohy.“No side dish.”
Co doporučujete?“What do you recommend?”
Zaplatíme.“We’ll have the check.”
Můžeme dostat víc ubrousků prosím?“Can we have more napkins, please?”

4. Let’s Cook Something!

I don’t want to overwhelm you with Czech food recipes that would take hours to make. How about…some savory chleba ve vajíčku (“fried bread soaked in eggs”) that my friend Lindsey described as “quite disgusting, but surprisingly tasty.”

You’re gonna need:

  • A few slices of bread, preferably sourdough
  • Half a cup of milk
  • One egg per each slice of bread
  • Oil or lard
  • A pinch of salt
  • Toppings of your choice (mustard, ketchup, deli meats, cheese, finely sliced onion, pickles…)

Now:

  • Beat the eggs with milk and salt.
  • Soak the bread in it for a few minutes.
  • Cook.
  • Top with a ton of fun stuff.
  • Get your napkins ready.
  • Eat!

This was one of my favorite dinners when I was a kid. I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

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

If you’re taking your Czech learning seriously, you could grab a Czech grammar book or learn online (the latter of which is way more convenient).

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?

Sign up now—it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article made your mouth water. Oh, and what’s your favorite Czech food?

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Czech Quotes and Proverbs: Get to Know the Czech Culture

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When I was a little girl, I used to spend a lot of time with my grandma. That wonderful lady, like all grandmothers around the world, was an endless source of what (back then) sounded like weird little poems that didn’t rhyme.

And, of course, they made very little sense to me.

You might feel the same way when you look at a Czech sentence that is (seemingly) just a series of random words.

That’s why you should keep on reading this article.

In this list of Czech quotes with translations in English, you’ll find words of wit and wisdom on a variety of topics. From Czech love quotes to proverbs about life, our top picks will give you a little peek into the intriguing Czech culture and mindset. And this, in turn, will enhance your language studies and help you start speaking Czech like a native in record time.

As you read, you’ll find that some of them are very similar to American proverbs, while others are completely different. These little differences and surprising similarities are fascinating—and besides, why not take a break from memorizing new vocabulary or drilling through Czech grammar?

Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Czech Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Success
  2. Quotes About Life
  3. Quotes About Time
  4. Quotes About Love
  5. Quotes About Family
  6. Quotes About Friendship
  7. Quotes About Food
  8. Quotes About Health
  9. A Quote About Language Learning
  10. How CzechClass101.com Can Help You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. Quotes About Success

First and foremost, Czechs are not go-getters. Some three decades after democracy was restored in Czechoslovakia and people finally got to take a breather and expand their lives, they are still…cautious and coy. (That’s why you might think Czechs are unfriendly. They’re not.)

The reason for this is because, not so long ago, they were living a life that the regime dictated and designed for them; “freedom” was just an empty word, and their choices were severely limited in every single way. However, most citizens were also “taken care of,” meaning that they didn’t really have to think for themselves or work hard. This was the case due to a lack of challenges and numerous restrictions. 

Therefore, success is quite a “new” thing in the Czech Republic, and you might find some of the Czech quotes about success quite grim.

1. Bez práce nejsou koláče.

In English: “Without work, there are no koláče.” (Czech pastry)
Equivalent: “There’s no reward without effort.”

Oh yes. The average Czech person believes that success is a lot of work; in order to achieve it, you have to work your butt off. Succeeding without putting in extreme amounts of hard work might seem suspicious and is often referred to as “good luck” or “a fluke.”

2. Dvakrát měř, jednou řež.

In English: “Measure twice, cut once.”

In other words, make sure you’re 200% prepared before you take action.

We’re not only pessimistic, but also overly anxious and afraid of failure. So much so that some people never try anything new.

3. Co se lehce nabude, snadno se pozbude.

In English: “What is easy to gain, is easy to lose.”
Equivalent: “Easy come, easy go.”

Oh well. I hate to admit that this is still the number-one rule for some people. As you can see, it would be quite difficult to fill your Instagram with inspirational Czech thoughts.

2. Quotes About Life

What is life all about, and how should a person live? People have been asking these questions for a long time. Here are some Czech quotes about life to give you a glimpse into how the Czech might answer.

4. Mluviti stříbro, mlčeti zlato.

In English: “Speaking is silver, silence is gold.”

Sometimes it’s just better to keep your thoughts to yourself. Unless you’re about to give someone a compliment or offer to make food. In that case, speak up. Always.

A Man with Tape Over His Mouth

Mluviti stříbro, mlčeti zlato.

5. Nehas, co tě nepálí.

In English: “Do not fight the fire that isn’t burning you.”

In other words, mind your own business.

Shrug.

6. Malé ryby taky ryby.

In English: “Even small fish are fish.”

Contrary to the common belief that life has to be hard, most Czech people appreciate the little things in life (which might be another thing learned from the Communist rule). 

Here’s a little example: 

In 1983, Miloš Forman was shooting his famous Oscar-winning movie Amadeus in his homeland, Czechoslovakia. He brought his Hollywood crew to Prague, which was bleak and gray (sort of like a very poor Russian suburb). 

The reasons he decided to set his big project there were pretty straightforward: Prague looks a lot like Vienna, the expenses were considerably lower, and thanks to the regime there were no “capitalistic” changes made to the city (no billboards, ads, or new modern buildings). 

One of the American actors happened to have friends who fled Czechoslovakia some years earlier, and before his departure, they asked him to bring some presents and fresh fruit to their relatives back in Europe. Among other stuff, there was a large, fresh pineapple. At that time, the only pineapple you could get in Prague was the canned kind, and the majority of people had never seen the fresh fruit before. The day it was brought to the set, dozens of Czech people gathered around it and admired this new, “Western” wonder.

3. Quotes About Time

Now, here are some Czech quotes and sayings about time to show you how Czechs perceive its influence on our lives.

7. Pozdě, ale přece.

In English: “Late, but still.”
Equivalent: “Better late than never.” / “It’s better to arrive late than not at all.”

Obviously, it’s okay to miss the first ten minutes of a movie and still enjoy the beautiful story—or to meet the love of your life forty years later than expected.

Just show up. 

8. Ráno moudřejší večera.

In English: “Better to sleep on it.”
Equivalent: “Morning is wiser than the evening.” / “Take your time to make a decision.”

Do you like to think before taking action? Do you take your time before making a decision?

Maybe the Czech Republic is your spirit country!

4. Quotes About Love

Are you madly in love with someone? Or maybe you’re a hopeless romantic? Either way, I think you’ll enjoy these Czech quotes about love!

9. Láska prochází žaludkem.

In English: “Love goes through your stomach.”
Equivalent: “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

If you and your partner like the same food, you will likely have a lot in common in other areas, too. I completely agree with this. Not to mention that sharing a dessert or cooking together is a great way of bonding!

A Couple Cooking in the Kitchen Together

Láska prochází žaludkem!

10. Snesl bych ti modré z nebe.

In English: “I would bring you the blue from the sky.”
Equivalent: “I would do anything for you.”

Sounds poetic, right?

11. Jsme dva, dva na všechno, na lásku, život, na boj i bolest, na hodiny štěstí. Dva na výhry i prohry, na život a na smrt – DVA!

In English: “There’s two of us, two for everything, for love, life, for a fight and pain, for hours of happiness. Two for wins and losses, for life and for death – TWO!”

    – Karel Čapek, Czech author (1890-1938)

I have always felt like Czechs weren’t the most affectionate people. You won’t hear fiery love declarations too often…if ever. Also, we don’t use the word milovat (“to love”) nearly as often as it’s used in English.

5. Quotes About Family

Family is a major cornerstone of any society. Learn how Czechs perceive familial relationships with these Czech quotes about family. 

12. Krev není voda.

In English: “Blood is not water.”
Equivalent: “Blood is thicker than water.”

Czechs are usually very close with their families (although not to the extent that Southern Europeans are). It’s partly because it isn’t common to move for work and people usually spend their whole lives in one town—or even in one house.

Sunday family lunches are a very common thing, and during the summer break, kids often spend a lot of time with their grandparents.

13. Bližší košile nežli kabát.

In English: “Your shirt is closer to your skin than your coat is.”

This basically means that your own interests/family should be your priority.

Oh yes, we really do like to protect our privacy and hang out only with people we have known for a while!

14. Host do domu, hůl do ruky.

In English: “If a guest comes to your home, grab a stick.”

You guessed it! Czech people aren’t really used to having people over and they are very protective of their privacy. If someone invites you over to their house, it means they trust you and feel warmly about you.

6. Quotes About Friendship

Friends are one of life’s greatest joys and necessities. Here are some Czech friendship quotes for you! Can you relate?

15. Lépe mít sto přátel, než jednoho nepřítele.

In English: “It is better to have a hundred friends than one enemy.”
Equivalent: “Do not think that one enemy is insignificant, or that a thousand friends are too many.”

People Having High Five

You can never have too many friends.

16. Nejlepší přítel je ten, co tě napomene, co ti řekne pravdu do očí. Toho si važ!

In English: “The best friend rebukes you and always tells you the truth. Appreciate friends like this!”

    – Božena Němcová, nineteenth century Czech female author (1820-1862)

Yup, being honest (often too much) is a huge Czech thing. Our friendships tend to be long-term and based on “tough love.”

7. Quotes About Food

Who doesn’t enjoy sitting down to a nice meal now and then? Here are some quotes in Czech that touch on the topic of food!

17. Hlad je nejlepší kuchař.

In English: “Hunger is the best cook.” 

If you’re hungry, you’ll forget about being picky and just eat whatever you’re served. (I hated this proverb so much when I was a kid!)

18. Sytý hladovému nevěří.

In English: “No one will believe you if you’re hungry and they’re not.”
Equivalent: “He who has not experienced difficulties does not believe the accounts of those who have.”

Right. If you’re not in the same boat, it will be pretty difficult to make people understand your struggles.

19. Jez do polosyta, pij do polopita.

This is like saying, “Only eat and drink until you’re half-full.”

No second helpings. (Unless it’s pizza?)

8. Quotes About Health

You should always prioritize your health, because only in good health can you accomplish more important goals and live life to the fullest. Here’s what Czechs have to say about it.

20. Veselá mysl je půl zdraví.

In English: “Merry mind is half of your health.”

Czechs, like many people, believe that everything you do is “healthy” as long as it makes you happy. I totally agree. I mean, if you eat a giant piece of cake that you love so much that it creates sparks of joy floating around in your head…it becomes healthy food, right?

21. Prostě-li žiješ, sta let dožiješ.

In English: “If you live simply, you will live a long life.”

Living and eating simply is beneficial not just for your physical health, but also for your mental health. And our ancestors were well aware of it. Many of us struggle with the unnecessary stress we put on ourselves to just “live a great life” or to “achieve great things.” It’s good to go back to the basics and enjoy the simple things.

22. Strach je nemoc špatného svědomí.

In English: “Fear is a disease of those who feel guilty.”
Equivalent: “Guilt leads to a diseased soul.”

    – Karel Čapek, Czech author

Čapek wrote this in reaction to the political changes that preceded WWII. He was one of the most influential Czech writers of the twentieth century (by the way, he also invented the word “robot”) who died less than a year after the beginning of WWII. He was close friends with the first Czechoslovakian President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. (By the way, the President’s middle name is actually his wife’s maiden name. Charlotte was an American suffragette, and they got married in Brooklyn.)

9. A Quote About Language Learning

To close, let’s look at a quote about language learning. What better way to motivate you in your language studies? 

23. Kolik řečí umíš, tolikrát jsi člověkem.

In English: “The more languages you can speak, the more times you are human.”
Equivalent: “A new language is a new life.”

Learning foreign languages was not common during the Communist Era. Children took Russian (of course), and no one really expected that there would be such wonders as online shopping, YouTube, or even traveling abroad.

Today’s kids are usually pretty good at English and a lot of Czechs speak or learn German.

A Woman Reading Something While on the Bus

Learning another language will make your life more exciting in many different ways.

10. How CzechClass101.com Can Help 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?

Sign up now—it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments which of these quotes is your favorite, and why!

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You Better Mean Business: Czech Business Phrases

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We all know life isn’t just work; relationships matter and love conquers all.

However, your career is one of the most important parts of your life (and it also takes up a big chunk of your time on Earth). 

That’s why it’s beneficial to find a career that fulfills you and makes you feel accomplished…or at least pays well and doesn’t kill you on the inside. And, of course, you might want or need to start a career in another country.

If you want to get a job or start your own business in the Czech Republic (yay!), you should work on learning some common Czech business phrases and vocabulary. Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that your language gives away a lot about your personality and approach, and by choosing the right words, you will open more prospects. Doing this in a foreign language may be a little more challenging, but also more fun. Trust me. Been there, done that.

Multilingualism benefits your business/professional skills, and makes you look more invested, motivated, and appealing to your business partners. And can you guess what one of the pillars of strong business/work relationships is? Speaking the local language! It bridges cultural gaps and supports interpersonal relationships. 

In other words: Knowing at least a little business Czech will make you look more attractive and less culturally distant to your future boss or business partners. 

Get your game face on. I’ll walk you through some Czech business phrases that will help you boost or start your career in our lovely Central European country. I’ve also included some vocab and tips for email or phone communication, as well as phrases you’ll need to arrange your Czech business travels.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Czech Table of Contents
  1. How to Nail a Job Interview
  2. How to Make Friends at Work
  3. How to Sound Smart in a Meeting
  4. How to Handle Business Calls and Emails
  5. How to Have a Successful Business Trip
  6. How CzechClass101.com Helps You Learn Czech in a Fun Way

1. How to Nail a Job Interview

Job Interview

First things first: First impressions are more important than we like to admit. Start with the basics and make sure you know how to introduce yourself in Czech appropriately.

Learning how to say “Hello, my name is…” in Czech will take just a few moments. But in context of the bigger picture, it will change the way your potential boss sees you: as an invested, proactive individual who is willing to work on his/her skills, truly wants to be a part of the team, and is ready to learn new things on the go.

A- The Right Start

Remember that you should be formal and polite. Don’t get too personal, and keep things “clean” and professional (unless your potential employer or business partner shows up wearing ripped jeans and offers you a beer).

What could be your opening lines?

  • Dobrý den, já jsem Ironman. Mám tu pracovní pohovor s paní Gosling.
    “Good day, my name is Ironman. I have a job interview with Mrs. Gosling here.”
  • Dobrý den, jdu za paní Gosling. 
    “Good day, I am here to see Mrs. Gosling.”

Check out our quick guide on Czech greetings. It’s crucial that you be prepared, so that you don’t have to think about your language skills too much, and can focus on the interview.

B- Greetings & Goodbyes

Here are the essentials you need to remember to get by:

    Dobrý den. (“Good day.”) – formal, can be used throughout the day
    Dobré ráno. (“Good morning.”)
    Rád/ráda vás poznávám. (“Nice to meet you.”)
    Nashledanou. (“Goodbye.”)
    Těšilo mě. (“It was a pleasure to meet you.”)
    Ozveme se. (“We’ll keep in touch.”)

This guide on how to say hello in Czech will come in handy, too!

    ➢ When in doubt, stick with Dobrý den and Nashledanou.

C- Ty or Vy? (A.K.A. Using Formal Speech)

The Czech language has two distinct pronouns for “you”: vy (formal) and ty (casual). 

When in doubt, always opt for the formal version vy, especially in business or work settings. However, if someone offers you tykání, which is the use of the informal voice, you can follow suit.

Sometimes tykání is referred to as a first-name basis, but this isn’t entirely correct. In Czech, you can call a person by their first name and still use the formal voice.

    Formal voice: Second person plural, even when you’re talking to a single person.

Rule of thumb:

  • When in doubt: Vy.
  • Your friends, work friends, family, or children: Ty.
  • Anyone else (even if they’re your age): Vy.

It’s very likely that people in creative (more relaxed) environments will offer tykání right away. Just follow the lead!

D- During the Interview

You’ll be asked about your education, accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses, goals, and visions.

Here are some of the words you’ll likely use during your interview (masculine / feminine):

  • Pilný / Pilná (“Diligent”)
  • Kreativní (“Creative”)
  • Ambiciózní (“Ambitious”)
  • Nadšený / Nadšená (“Enthusiastic”)
  • Spolehlivý / Spolehlivá (“Reliable”)
  • Pohodový / Pohodová (“Easy-going”)

You might want to check out this list of adjectives to prepare for your self-introduction in Czech. Write down a few lines about who you are and what you can offer the company.

This list of workplace-related vocabulary will help you put together and recognize some (pretty obvious) questions and answers. Below, you’ll find a list of useful business Czech phrases that you’ll either use or hear from your interviewer:

You:

  • Rád bych se zeptal… / Ráda bych se zeptala… (“I would like to ask…”)
  • Na podobné pozici jsem pracoval/pracovala tři roky. (“I had a similar job for three years.”)
  • V tomto oboru mám mnoho zkušeností. (“I have vast experience in this area.”)
  • Nevadí mi práce přesčas. (“I don’t mind working overtime.”)
  • Jaký je plat? (“How much is the salary?”)
  • Je možný home-office? (“Can I work from home?”)
  • Jaká je pracovní doba? (“What are the working hours?”)
  • Děkuji za váš čas. (“Thank you for your time.”)
  • Chcete se mě na něco zeptat? (“Do you want to ask me any questions?”)

Interviewer:

  • Jaký máte titul? (“What degrees do you have?”)
  • Jaké máte vzdělání? (“What is your educational background?”)
  • Kde jste pracoval/pracovala předtím? (“Where did you work before?”)
  • Na jaké pozici jste pracoval/pracovala? (“What was your role?”)

E- Skills

If you have it, flaunt it!

  • Mluvím anglicky, německy a česky. (“I speak English, German, and Czech.”)
  • Mluvím plynule španělsky. (“I am fluent in Spanish.”)
  • Jsem začátečník. (“I am a beginner.”)
  • Vystudoval/vystudovala jsem… (“I have a degree in…”)
  • Inženýr (Master’s degree in engineering or economics)
  • Magistr (Master’s degree in social studies or art)

(Feel free to learn more about the education structure in the Czech Republic.)

If you need more time to think of an answer:

  • Můžete to zopakovat? (“Could you repeat that, please?”)
  • Pardon, neslyšel/neslyšela jsem vás. (“Sorry, I didn’t hear that.”)
  • Pardon, nerozumím. (“Sorry, I don’t understand.”)

2. How to Make Friends at Work

First of all, bring three batches of homemade triple chocolate cookies…just joking.

Officemates

Vítej! (“Welcome!”)

Making friends at work is important. In fact, studies show that people who have a “best friend” at work are seven times as likely to be engaged in their job! They also have “higher levels of productivity, retention, and job satisfaction than those who don’t.”

Icebreakers

First of all, you need to introduce yourself, right?

We have a great article for ya!

TLDR?

Okay, here’s a snapshot.

  • Smile
  • Jmenuju se… (“My name is….”)
  • Těší mě. (“Nice to meet you.”)

After that, you can get a little more touchy-feely:

  • Jsem tu nový/nová. (“I am new here.”)
  • Moc se mi tu líbí. (“I like it here a lot.”)
  • Chodíte někdy na skleničku? (“Do you go out for drinks?”)
  • Jak dlouho tu pracuješ? (“How long have you been working here?”)
  • Líbí se ti tu? (“Do you like it here?”)
  • Pomůžeš mi, prosím? (“Can you help me, please?”)
  • Děkuji za pomoc! (“Thank you for your help!”)

Want more? See our list of more self-introduction lines!

Business Phrases

3. How to Sound Smart in a Meeting

Yeah, most meetings could have just been emails, but if you do have to see your coworkers or boss or business partners face-to-face, you’re going to want to show off.

No slacking allowed, get ready. 

Business Meeting

Schůzka s kolegy (“Meeting with coworkers”)

Whom you’re meeting with (masculine / feminine):

  • Kolega / Kolegyně (“Colleague,” “Coworker”)
  • Obchodní partner / partnerka (“Business partner”)
  • Investor / Investorka (“Investor”)
  • Šéf / Šéfka (“Boss”)
  • Nadřízený / Nadřízená (“Supervisor”)

Speak up:

  • Podle mého názoru… (“In my opinion…”)
  • Já si myslím… (“I think…”)
  • Dobrá práce. (“Good work.”)
  • Skvělá práce! (“Excellent work!”)
  • Pojďme to probrat. (“Let’s talk about it.”)

This is the ultimate business talk guide. Listen to the vocabulary, practice your pronunciation, and impress with your smooth Czech for business.

4. How to Handle Business Calls and Emails

I have always perceived business calls and emails as a foolproof way to “read” the people on the other end.

Work emails with typos, grammar mistakes (!!!), or sketchy vocab are off-putting and unprofessional.

You really need to pay attention to your spelling and make sure everything is perfect (thank god for online translators—use them!).

The structure should be like this:

  1. Dobrý den, paní Grangerová. (“Good day, Mrs. Granger.”)
  2. Píšu vám kvůli tématu, o kterém jsme spolu mluvili. (“I am writing to you in regards to the topics we talked about.”)
  3. The body of the email.
  4. Pokud budete potřebovat další pomoc, neváhejte se na mě obrátit. (“If you need any additional assistance, please contact me.”)
  5. Děkuji předem. (“Thank you in advance.”)
  6. S pozdravem, (“Regards,”)
  7. Your name.

Other stuff:

  • Děkuji za odpověď. (“Thank you for your reply.”)
  • Mohl/mohla byste mi prosím poslat… (“Would you please send me…”)
  • Můžete mi doporučit…? (“Could you recommend…?”)
  • Pečlivě jsme zvážili váš návrh a… (“We carefully considered your proposal and…”)

Easy peasy.

Of course, you don’t need to be super-official like that when you’re asking your coworkers where you’re going for lunch.

As for calls, well… Do people still do that?

Okay, in case you do need to make a phone call:

When answering the phone, people usually say Prosím (“Please”) or say their name right away, which might catch you off-guard.

A Woman Answering the Phone

Dal/dala bych si salámovou, prosím. (“I’d like pepperoni pizza, please.”)

During the call, you might find these lines useful:

  • Dobrý den, to je design studio Pilot? (“Hello, is it Pilot design studio?”)
  • To je paní Thurman? (“Is it Mrs. Thurman?”)
  • Chci mluvit s paní Thurman, prosím. (“I’d like to talk to Mrs. Thurman, please.”)
  • Prosím přepojte mě do účtárny. (“Please connect me to the finance department.”)

If you’re on the other side of the phone:

  • Nezavěšujte. (“Hold the line.”)
  • Předám… (“I will put you through to…”)
  • Chcete nechat vzkaz? (“Would you like to leave a message?”)
  • Můžete zavolat později? (“Could you call back later?”)
  • Děkuji, nashledanou. (“Thank you, goodbye.”)

Here’s a list of more super-useful phrases for your next phone call.

5. How to Have a Successful Business Trip

Yay or nay? Do you like to travel for work?

Anyway!

Unless you have an assistant, you’ll probably need to book a hotel and tickets, share an itinerary with your coworkers or business partners, get a cab, check in to a hotel…lots of talking to be done! 

Here are some useful phrases to help you out on your business trip to the Czech Republic

  • Jede z letiště do města autobus? (“Is there a bus from the airport to the city?”)
  • Mám rezervaci. (“I have a reservation.”)
  • Máte nějaké volné pokoje? (“Do you have any vacancies tonight?”)
  • Berete kreditní karty? (“Do you take credit card?”)
  • Je Wi-Fi zdarma? (“Is the Wi-Fi free?”)
  • Mohl bych dostat účet? (“Could I have the check?”)
  • Přistaneme v 17:00. (“We land at five p.m.”)
  • Odlétáme v 7:00. (“We take off at seven a.m.”)
  • Vyzvedněte mě na letišti, prosím. (“Pick me up at the airport, please.”)

Plus:

  • Děkuji za pohostinnost. (“Thank you for your hospitality.”)
  • Děkuji za váš čas. (“Thank you for your time.”)
  • Budu tam včas. (“I will be there on time.”)
  • Můj let má zpoždění. (“My flight is delayed.”)

This list of vocabulary will help you prepare for almost any travel situation!

Traveller

Šťastnou cestu! (“Safe travels!”)

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

CzechClass101.com makes 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?

Sign up now, it’s free!

One last thing: Let us know in the comments if this article helped you. Are there any more phrases you need to learn? Let’s get in touch!

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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!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Czech

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

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 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

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