dokud, pokud, až do a spojky


New Member
Hi guys,

I am a newbie to the forum. Be gentle. I am a native English speaker, and have studied Czech for a few years now. However, I have never been able to understand how in Czech 'until' should be properly expressed. If I understand correctly, with time phrases we should use 'až do' e.g.:

Musím pracovat až do 3 hodiny ráno. (I must work until 3 in the morning)

As I think I understand it, 'dokud' as a conjunction is only used with a negative verb. e.g.:

Musím pracovat dokud nezemřu (I have to work until I die)

But... what about this sentence:

Nemusím pracovat dokud nezemřu
(I won't have to work until I die)

So... basically I'd appreciate it if a native speaker could confirm if I am right in the above examples, and perhaps offer a grammatical explanation as to how does one use 'until/dokud' as a conjunction? And what is the difference between 'dokud' and 'pokud'? Sorry for all the questions, but this has been bothering me for so long!!
  • qetu

    New Member

    I think you got the gist of it. You made just a little mistake in the first sentence. It's supposed to be "až do tří hodin do rána".

    And as for the difference between "dokud" and "pokud", "pokud" means "if". For example:

    Pokud ho uvidíš, zavolej mi.
    If you see him, call me.

    "Pokud" is often replaced by "jestli" which is more commonly used.

    Good luck with your Czech :).


    Hello snufkin!
    I must say this is hard matter for a native speaker^^

    As you said, if you use "až do" then it must be followed by a noun (genitive case). It may be an hour, part of a day (week, year), some event...
    E.g. až do svítání (till daybreak), až do smrti(until death), až do (konce) listopadu (until the end of November), až do odjezdu (until the departure) etc.
    And although "až do" is quite an often expression you don't everytime have to say "až do", just "do" (preposition) works in the same way.
    Like: Pracuji do 4 (I work until 4), Do večera jsem doma (I'm at home until evening), Do 9 budeme připraveni (We will be ready by 9) etc.
    If you say "až" before "do" then "až" has a function of emphasizing adverb (I must work uuuntil morning - so long)

    Dokud as a conjunction can be used without negative either. It's not only translated like "until", it also means "as long as" or "while" For exapmple:
    Dokud jím, žiju. (As long as I eat, I live.)
    Dokud jsi tu, bavím se. (As long as you are here, I'm having fun.)
    Musím mu to říct, dokud je to zajímavé. (I have to tell him while the news is hot.)
    Zůstaneme na zahradě, dokud bude hezky. = Zůstaneme na zahradě, dokud nezačne pršet.
    (We're staying in the garden as long as the weather is fine. = ...until it doesn't rain.)

    Concerning negative/positive, I don't see any limit in using dokud. But maybe, when we use negative verb, then until fits better into the english translation and when we use the positive then as long as fits better. That could be the confusing point. One could expand on this more complexly but I don't wanna scare you. Anyway, good that we only use one word - dokud :)

    About pokud, I found that it is a time conjunction (same like dokud) but in my opinion it's conditional conjunction, as qetu said. If it is ever used as a time conjunction then it must be some pretty archaic text.

    Hope this was helpful!
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    So far one important point regarding dokud is missing here. It is its correlation to aspects:

    dokud + imperfective verb (positive or negative) = as long as
    dokud + perefective verb (negative only) = until

    It is actually quite natural, just consider that as long as refers to a period of time which is intrinsic property of imperfective verbs while until refers to a point of time which is intrinsic to perfective verbs.
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