Negative question

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by veikkola, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. veikkola

    veikkola Member

    Which is correct: Nemáš něco k jídlu? or Nemáš nic k jídlu? Or should ask : Máš něco k jídlu?
  2. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    As I understand it:

    I would say it depends on what you want the answer to be, if you want the answer to be yes they have something to eat you say it the first way but if you want the answer to be no they have nothing to eat you say it the second way.

    Using the negative question gives the person the option of saying no without feeling bad so it's more polite.

    You don't have something to eat? ("by any chance")
    You don't have nothing to eat? ("By any chance")

    (but the answer to the first question would be would be "Yes I have something." or "no I don't have nothing" )

    So in this context the second sentence wouldn't make much sense.

    But I could (and usually am) completely wrong so I'm looking forward to seeing what the natives say.

    n.b. for Czech people: Don't ever say "Don't you have something to eat?" in English because it means the person should have something to eat and if they don't they will feel bad. It is very rude. People say it to me so often and i have to try very hard not to feel upset.
  3. Alexx

    Alexx Well-Known Member

    Nemáš něco k jídlu? - I ask this question if I do not have anything to eat, so I need to make someone to give me some food. Polite way to say "Give me something to eat".

    Nemáš nic k jídlu? - I ask this if I see someone obviously hungry, I wonder If he/she has nothing to eat.

    Máš něco k jídlu? - Neutral, you just want to know if he/she has something to eat, with no side meaning.

    4. version (Máš nic k jídlu?) is not possible :)
  4. TomKQT

    TomKQT Well-Known Member

    Sentences based on "nemáš nic k jídlu" can have also a bit different meaning, if extended. For example:
    "Ty tady nemáš nic k jídlu?" - I opened his refrigerator and I'm surprised (and terrified) that it is empty. The owner of the fridge doesn't have to look hungry at all at the moment ;)

    And another remark - I don't fully agree with Alexx's explanation of the first and third sentences. I would say they have the same or almost the same meaning. Maybe the first one sounds just a bit more polite if you're asking someone to give you something to eat.
    But it is true that if you don't want to get some food and really just want to ask whether HE has some, you should use the second one (Máš...).
    If you would like to be offered some food, they are both possible (+ what I said above about the politeness).
  5. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Máš něco k jídlu? - Do you have somethig to eat? (neutral)
    Nemáš něco k jídlu? - Do you have something to eat (more polite, as it anticipates negative answer)
    Nemáš nic k jídlu? - You don't have anything to eat? (totally different meaning, surprise at the other person having nothing to eat)
  6. Anna683

    Anna683 Well-Known Member

    Are these questions in Czech for offering someone food or asking someone for food?

    In English, if you're offering someone something to eat, the question I would tend to ask, as an English native speaker, is "Would you like something to eat?" or less formally/politely "Do you want something to eat?" and if they seem to be eating nothing and I want them to eat something "Wouldn't you like/Don't you want something to eat?"

    "Do you have something to eat?" sounds as if you're asking whether the other person can give you something to eat.
  7. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    They are for both, depending on what you say:

    Nemáš něco k jídlu? - "Do you have something to eat?" (polite but... no overly... the person is asking, so it could be rendered in conditional)

    Nedáš si něco k jídllu? - "Would you like something to eat?" (polite offering... if rendered in conditional mood, it would sound like you already have something prepared and would like to have it eaten)

    Není to ten pitomec, co tě málem přejel na přechodu? - "This is the idiot that almost ran over you on the pdestrian crossing, is it not?" (nothing to do with politeness, just a degree of certainty).
  8. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Nedáš si něco k jídllu? - "Would you like something to eat?" (polite offering... if rendered in conditional mood, it would sound like you already have something prepared and would like to have it eaten)

    The way you have described that situation I can perfectly hear these words.

    Someone arrives unexpectedly at a gathering, lots of food.."Good to see you, won't you have something to eat?"

    Another question....Is there a more colloquial way of saying this?
    Děkují ti za to, že jsi se mnou souhlasil........Thanks for agreeing with me.
  9. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Perhaps "díky za podporu" (thanks for your support), otherwise it seems rather strange to thank someone for having the same opinion as you do.
  10. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Aha, to dává smysl....Díky za podporu

    How about this?...Díky za to, že jsi v mi věříš....Thanks for believing in me.

    I'm trying to learn the expression.....for something....when a noun can't really be used.

    Thanks for being my friend.... could be translated....Díky za přátelství?
  11. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Děkuji za to, že ve mě věříš (thanks for believing in me = you believe in my abilities)

    Děkuji za to, že mi věříš (thanks for trusting me)

    The latter would be more elegantly expressed by:

    Děkuji ti za důvěru (Thanks for your trust)

    Thanking for being friends seems rather strange to me but it would be probably something like "Díky za to, že můžeme být přátelé" (but still, it feel the relationship is not a balanced one... if I am friend to someone, we are equals, I do not need to thank him nor do I expect his thanks, it is a free choice of both of us to be friends but it is no more a question of linguistics but rather philosophy and personal conviction).

    addendum: After a little thought... you could thank someone for being your friend even after some difficulties (for example you being sued for sexual harassment by some random girl which made almost everyone but the said friend to leave you) and that would be for example:

    Díky, že jsme zůstali přáteli (thanks for staying friends)
    Díky, že jsi byl při mě (thank for being with me)
  12. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Ok, you understood perfectly.

    Všichni mě opustili, protože mi dobře nerozumím, ale ty, můj nejdavnější přítel, mě neopustil a za to ti děkuji. Jinak bych byl bez ani jednoho přítelu.

    Děkuji ti za důvěru. Nikdy tě nezklamám.

    Věřete mi, jsem tady, abych ti pomohl. Prácuji pro vládu.
    A sarcastic joke
    Trust me, I'm here to help. I'm from the government.
  13. TomKQT

    TomKQT Well-Known Member

    This sounds (the Czech sentence) a bit weird to me. Something like if the speaker was the God and was thanking someone for beliving in him (in the God). :wink:
  14. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Well, yes, there is the possible religious connotation... but I find it quite peripherical...

    "věřit v..." = put belief in...
    "věřit v..." = believe that something exists (e.g. God)

    It is clearly the first meaning which does not have the religious connotation.
  15. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Yes, that is the context.
    Věřím v Boha, Stvořitele.
    Vím, že jsem ti řekl, že to udělám v únoru a už je březen, ale narazil jsem na neočekávané potíže. Všechno je zas v pořádku. Pokud v mě jen věříš o trochu délé, ukážu ti, že mohu to udělat.
  16. bibax

    bibax Well-Known Member

    Bůh by nikdy neřekl "ve mě". Bůh totiž ovládá gramatiku. To je svědecky doloženo!

    Kdo ve mne věří, živ bude navěky.

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