9.5 – Passives/Generalizations with se

9.5 – Passives/Generalizations with se

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9.5 – Passives/Generalizations with se
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9.5 – Passives/Generalizations with se

Kde se pivo pije, tam se dobře žije.

This popular Czech phrase translates roughly as ‘where beer is drunk, there life is good’. It is made using the reflexive se ‘self’, so literally it means something like ‘where beer drinks itself, there it lives itself well’ – in English this is nonsense, but it gives you a sense of what is going on in the Czech.

In Czech, if you want to form a generalization of sorts, you can use a verb in the 3rd person and make it reflexive out of it. This all sounds a bit overly technical, so let’s just take a look at some examples with holidays:

V Česku se nejvíc slaví Vánoce.

Christmas is celebrated (lit. celebrates itself) the most in the Czech Republic.

Obvykle se zdobí stromeček.

Usually the Christmas tree is decorated (lit. decorates itself).

O Vánocích se peče hodně cukroví.

Over Christmas a lot of Christmas cookies are baked (lit. bake themselves)..

Kapr se podává s bramborovým salátem.

Carp is served (lit. serves itself) with potato salad.

Bramborový salát se často připravuje den předem.

Potato salad is often prepared (lit. prepares itself) the day before.

Images used in this document come from these sources.