past tense

Discussion in 'General Language' started by dzurisova, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    My Step by Step book does not do a very good job of describing past tense. Does anyone know of a website that does a good job of describing how to speak in the past tense.

    My book translates one word, "byt" into the past tense and from that I'm suppose to know how to translate the rest of the verbs such as I walked, I worked, I talked, etc.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. mike_jtw

    mike_jtw Well-Known Member


    Try this. There is actually a book "401 Czech Verbs" by Bruce Davies and Jana Hejduková. "" Not every verb is in this book, but it is a very handy reference.
    The best dictionary in my opinion is "Anglicko-Český Česko-Anglický" by Josef Fronek, published by Leda. This dictionary has all conjugations and declinations. According to this is the dictionary to get if you are anyway serious about learning Czech. I obtained my copy from I assume it's also available on
    As for irregular verbs like čtu, the best place to look is This will give you all the conjugations as well as the infinitive of the verb. Very handy also to find the gender of nouns if your dictionary isn't to hand.
  3. Sigma

    Sigma Well-Known Member

    Oh wow, the dictionary is 40 pounds, not including shipping. I'll have to save up my pennies. :lol:
  4. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member

    The past tense is not so difficult. It is formed by auxiliary býti (to be) in the present tense and the past participle, which is formed from the infinitive stem. Note that the participle is like an adjective, it must agree with the subject of the sentence in number and gender.

    já jsem pracoval (pracovala, pracovalo) - I worked
    ty jsi pracoval (pracovala, pracovalo) - you (thou) worked
    on pracoval, ona pracovala, ono pracovalo - he/she/it worked

    my jsme pracovali (pracovaly, pracovala) - we worked
    vy jste pracovali (pracovaly, pracovala) - you (all) worked
    oni pracovali, ony pracovaly, ona pracovala - they worked

    The past participle of the majority of verbs is formed from the infinitive by replacing the -ti ending with -l (-la for feminine sing., -lo for neuter sing. etc.)


    dělati -> dělal
    pracovati -> pracoval
    uměti -> uměl
    učiti -> učil

    very often the stem vowel is shortened:

    býti -> byl
    bíti -> bil
    píti -> pil
    krýti -> kryl
    spáti -> spal

    irregularities (like in English speak-spoke, find-found, read-read)

    vzíti -> vzal
    douti -> dul
    moci (< mogti) -> mohl
    téci (< tekti) -> tekl
    vésti (< vedti) -> vedl

  5. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    Yeah, it's 65 U.S. $$ on Amazon. Quite an expensive dictionary. But probably quite worth it. The 401 verbs isn't on Amazon. There is a website for it though and an email contact person. The website doesn't list the price.

    Thanks every one for your help.
  6. phi11ip

    phi11ip Well-Known Member

    It will be worth saving up for. I have had this dictionary now for 2 or 3 years and it has been indispenable.

    I bought this book from the website about a year ago. It was 500Kč plus 200Kč shipping to UK. I Emailed the contact person, requesting the price of the book and shipping costs. I recieved a prompt reply from her.I Emailed my address and other details, but phoned her on her mobile with my credit card number (Safety reasons). I received the book at the end of the week. I was very pleased with their service. I hope this is of help.

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