všechno and word order

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by K Y, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. K Y

    K Y New Member

    This is a question about an exercise problem from my textbook. The task is to insert the correct form of "všechno" into a blank in the sentence "Už četl _______ jeho knihy." The expected answer is "všechny." I have two question about this:

    (1) Is this the only possible option? For instance, can one say something like "Už četl všechno (?) jeho knihy" to mean "He's already read all of his (single) book"?
    (2) I think "Už četl všechny jeho knihy" means "He's already read all his books." The word order used in "všechny jeho knihy" matches that in the corresponding English phrase. Is that the most common word order?
  2. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member

    1) Yes, it is the only possible option. You can't say "Už četl všechnu jeho knihu" to mean "all of his (single) book". You'd have to say "Už četl celou jeho knihu" (his whole/entire book).

    2) Yes, "Už četl všechny jeho knihy" is the most common word order. That said, you can play with the word order and the sentence would still be correct. E.g. "Četl už všechny jeho knihy", "Všechny jeho knihy už četl", "Jeho knihy už všechny četl", "Jeho knihy už četl všechny". You could even say "Četl už jeho všechny knihy" although this is not stylistically great. You might even hear "Jeho knihy četl všechny už" in colloquial, spoken Czech. You obviously can't switch "jeho knihy" to "knihy jeho".

    The word(s) at the end of a sentence are usually the most important, the most stressed in the statement.
  3. K Y

    K Y New Member

    Thank you for your prompt reply.
    Is your point that "jeho" and "knihy" tend to appear together, with nothing in between, and in that order?
  4. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member

    I meant that in Czech, the possessive pronoun goes before the noun, not after the noun. So we say “jeho knihy”, “moje auto”, “naše škola”, etc. We don’t say “knihy jeho”, “auto moje”, “škola naše”. You can put another word in between, usually an adjective or a numeral, e.g. “jeho tři knihy”, “moje nové auto”, “naše základní škola” but again, the possessive pronoun is before the noun. If the positions are switched, it usually means that you’re reading an archaic text or poetry. A popular Czech film is called Vesničko má středisková (My Sweet Little Village) and it gives the title a poetic twist.
  5. K Y

    K Y New Member

    May I have a few words on this point of yours? In your latest examples, one can put some adjective between the possessive adjective and the noun. Is the reason "jeho všechny knihy" is a bad style specific to všechno?

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