Czy wiesz, że/czy...?

elroy

Imperfect Mod
US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
Cześć,

According to my book, the way to ask "Do you know whether/if..." is "Czy wiesz, że...".

It gives the following example:

-Czy wiesz, że Michel ma dziewczynę?
-Wiem, że nie ma.

This seems a little odd to me, because to me it sounds like "Do you know that Michel has a girlfriend?" I would have used czy instead of że.

Is że really the correct conjunction to use here? If so, how could one differentiate between "whether/if" and "that"? Context? Is czy at least a possible alternative?

Bardzo dziękuję. :)
 
  • Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    -Czy wiesz, że Michel ma dziewczynę?
    -Wiem, że nie ma.
    Your translation is correct, it's not "if/whether" but "that".
    - Do you know that Michel has a girlfriend? (lit.: whether you know that...)
    - I know that he hasn't.
    "Czy" can be used but the meaning would be slightly different. It would mean "if/whether".
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Ok, let's take some examples:

    Wiesz czy oni majá komputer?
    Do you know whether they have a computer?
    Wiesz, że masz jutro egzamin?
    You know (that) you've got an exam tomorrow(, don't you)?
    Wiesz może czy Michel poszedł do sklepu?
    Do you maybe (though, not usre if it really works in English) know whether Michel's gone to the shop?
    Orientujesz się czy niedźwiedź polarny żyje na Syberii?
    Do you happen to know whether ploar bear lives in Siberia?

    Cześć,

    According to my book, the way to ask "Do you know whether/if..." is "Czy wiesz, że...".

    It gives the following example:

    -Czy wiesz, że Michel ma dziewczynę?
    -Wiem, że nie ma.

    This seems a little odd to me, because to me it sounds like "Do you know that Michel has a girlfriend?" I would have used czy instead of że.

    Is że really the correct conjunction to use here? If so, how could one differentiate between "whether/if" and "that"? Context? Is czy at least a possible alternative?

    Bardzo dziękuję. :)
    Yes, context is everything (as always :)). Czy is rather unlikely in your example I don't think many Poles would say:
    Czy wiesz czy Michel ma dziewczynę? although I can't rule out this possibility despite its being disharmonious.
    rather
    Wiesz czy Michel ma dziewczynę?
    or even
    Wiesz może czy Michel ma dziewczynę?


    Tom
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Thomas, your examples are all clear, because you used czy for "if/whether" and że for "that."

    The tricky sentence is the original sentence.

    According to Anatoli, że means "that" in that sentence. That would have been my guess, but it actually doesn't make sense (considering the response) and the book clearly states that it means "if/whether."

    According to Thomas, it does indeed mean "if/whether," and in fact sounds better than czy in this sentence, although czy can obviously be used with that meaning (judging from his examples). Perhaps czy is changed to że in my sentence to avoid too many czy's (since the sentence begins with one)? Either way, my question still remains. Isn't the sentence Czy wiesz, że Michel ma dziewczynę? ambiguous? If somebody just came up to you and said that (so no previous context), could it not mean two different things?
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Thomas, your examples are all clear, because you used czy for "if/whether" and że for "that."

    The tricky sentence is the original sentence.


    According to Anatoli, że means "that" in that sentence. That would have been my guess, but it actually doesn't make sense (considering the response) and the book clearly states that it means "if/whether."

    According to Thomas, it does indeed mean "if/whether," and in fact sounds better than czy in this sentence, although czy can obviously be used with that meaning (judging from his examples). Perhaps czy is changed to że in my sentence to avoid too many czy's (since the sentence begins with one)? Either way, my question still remains. Isn't the sentence Czy wiesz, że Michel ma dziewczynę? ambiguous? If somebody just came up to you and said that (so no previous context), could it not mean two different things?
    I must admit that I don't quite know where the problem in my previous post lies. :( I didn't say it meant whether/if, did I? Anatoli's explanation is valid and IMO it is a very good explanation. You asked about its differentiating and this is mainly what my examples were meant to illustrate.

    Now the original examples
    -Czy wiesz, że Michel ma dziewczynę?
    -Wiem, że nie ma.
    - Do you know that Michel has a girlfriend? (lit.: whether you know that...)
    - I know that he hasn't.
    There's is no ambiquity here, the asking person knows that Michel has a girlfriend and is asking the other one whether they know about this fact too.


    -(Czy) wiesz czy Michel ma dziewczynę?
    -nie ma/ma/ nie wiem
    -Do you know whether Michel has a girlfriend?
    -No, he doesn't/ yes he does/ I don't know.
    tells us that the asking person doesn't know whether Michel has a girlfriend and is checking if the other one knows.

    So going back to your questions:
    Is że really the correct conjunction to use here?
    Yes, it is.

    If so, how could one differentiate between "whether/if" and "that"?
    Że means here that; as far as I know, it doesn't mean weather/if.

    Yes, may turn out to be very helpful.

    Is czy at least a possible alternative?
    Yes, it is, but as I said a few lines above it changes the meaning of the whole sentence.



    Please, don't hesitate to pose further questions should you have them.


    Tom
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Thomas, there is no problem with your examples or your answers. :) I misunderstood your last post. I now see that you agree with me (and Anatoli) and not with the author of the book, who for some reason states that że in these sentences means "whether/if," which is why I started this thread.
     

    arturolczykowski

    Senior Member
    Polish
    -Czy wiesz, że Michel ma dziewczynę?
    -Wiem, że nie ma.

    The example seems to be odd for me. The anwser "Wiem, że nie ma" fits better to the question "Czy wiesz czy Michel ma dziewczynę?" "Do you know whether Michel has got a girlfriend?". If I would like to ask whether the asked person knows that Michel has got a girlfriend (in Polish: "Czy wiesz, że Michel ma dziewczynę?" "Do you know that Michel has got a girlfriend?") I would expect anwsers like:

    -Nie wiedziałem/wiem

    but not: "Wiem, że nie ma". That anwser however could be possible after a small modification: "Niemożliwe, wiem na pewno, że nie ma!"
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The example seems to be odd for me. The anwser "Wiem, że nie ma" fits better to the question "Czy wiesz czy Michel ma dziewczynę?" "Do you know whether Michel has got a girlfriend?".
    My thoughts exactly!

    Seems to me this is an obvious error in the book.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    How about the following scenario:
    someone dashes in, excited with a new piece of information, saying with a rising intonation:
    Wiesz, że Michel ma dziewczynę?
    the other one--with a po-faced expression and complete lack of enthusiasm answers in a low timbre:
    -Wiem, że ma.
    The former one saddens and goes out.

    Looks fine to me.


    Tom
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I guess that's a possibility, but if you were implying that my only basis for thinking that the author was saing that że meant "if" in the sentence was the response, then I can tell you that that's not the case. There is an English translation of the sentence with the word "if."
     
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