Czech verbs

Czech verbs

Czech verbs describes the conjugations, or system of grammatically-determined modifications, in verbs in the Czech language.


Czech is a null-subject language, i.e. the subject (including personal pronouns) can be omitted if known from context. The person is expressed by the verb::"já dělám = dělám" = I do:"on dělal = dělal" = he did


The infinitive is formed by the ending -t, formerly also "-ti"; on some words -ct (-ci)::"být" - to be, "jít" - to go, "péct" - to bake

Somewhat archaically::"býti" - to be, "jíti" - to go, "péci" - to bake


Participles are used for forming the past tense, conditionals and the passive voice in Czech. They are related to the short forms of adjectives. Therefore unlike other verb forms, they also express gender which must correspond with the gender of the subject.

Past participle

(more precisely "active participle") is also called "l-participle" and is used for forming the past tense and the conditionals.

The example mentioned shows both past (byl, byla ...) and passive (koupen, koupena ...) participles. The accordance in gender takes effect in the past tense and the passive voice, not in the present and future tenses in active voice.

If the complex subject is a combination of nouns of different genders, masculine animate gender is prior to others and the masculine inanimate and feminine genders are prior to the neuter gender.

Examples::"muži a ženy byli" - men and women were:"kočky a koťata byly" - cats and kittens were:"my jsme byli" (my = we all/men) vs. "my jsme byly" (my = we women) - we were

Priority of genders::masculine animate > masculine inanimate & feminine > neuter


The transgressive ("přechodník") expresses an action which happens coincidently with or foregoing some other action.

The transgressive ("přechodník") is an archaic form of the verb in the Czech and Slovak languages. Nowadays, it is used only occasionally for artistic purposes or in unchanging expressions. Transgressives were still used quite widely in Czech literature in the beginning of the 20th century (not in the spoken language). For example, Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk contains a lot of them.

The Czech language recognizes present and past transgressives. The present transgressive can express present or future action according to an aspect of the verb, which it is derived from. The past transgressive is usually derived from perfective verbs.

"Dělat" - to do

Future tense

In imperfective verbs, it is formed by the future forms of the verb být (to be) and the infinitive:

"byl bych dělal" - I would have done

"By" also becomes a part of conjugations "aby" (so that) and "kdyby" (if). Therefore, these conjunctions take the same endings::"Kdybych nepracoval, nedostal bych výplatu." If I didn't work, I would get no wages.

Passive voice

There are two ways to form the passive voice in Czech:

1. By the verb být (to be) and the passive participle (as in English)::"Město bylo založeno ve 14. století." The town was founded in the 14th century.

2. By adding the reflexive pronoun se::"Ono se neudělalo." It has not been done.:"To se vyrábí v Číně." It is produced in China.

However, the use of "se" is not exclusive to the passive voice.

Reflexive verbs

Reflexive pronouns se and si are components of reflexive verbs ("se/si" is not usually translated into English)::"posadit se" - to sit down:"myslet si" - to think, to suppose


Negation is formed by the prefix ne-. In the future tense and the passive voice it is added to the auxiliary verb "být" (to be).:"nedělat" - not to do:"nedělám" - I do not do:"nedělej!" do not do!:"nedělal jsem" - I did not do:"nebudu dělat" - I will not do:"nedělal bych" - I would not do:"byl bych neudělal" or "nebyl bych udělal" - I would not have done:"není děláno" - it is not done

Unlike English, more negative words can be in a Czech sentence::"Nic nemám." I have nothing.:"Nikdy to nikomu neříkej." Never say it to anybody.

Verb classes

Class I

Class IV

Irregular future tense have:
*jít - půjdu, půjdeš, půjde; půjdeme, půjdete, půjdou
*být - budu, budeš, bude; budeme, budete, budou

Irregular negation:
*být - 3rd person sg: není (not "neje")

ee also

*Czech declension
*Czech orthography
*Czech language

External links

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