Je mi smutno

Discussion in 'Čeština (Czech)' started by Odriski, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. Odriski Senior Member

    Today I knew a new use for Czech adverbs, they can be used like adjectives. eg. Je mi smutně, Jdou mi špatně hodinky. But I am a little confused that: why use "mi" instead of "ja"? Shouldn't "ja" is a subject here? If I say, "květiny jsou krasně", is it correct? which form of the word "květiny" I should use?
    PS: I am a Chinese who is a beginner of Czech language, as the data for Czech language is too few in China or Chinese website, I have to seek for more data here.

    Thanks for anyone who answers this question, I am waiting for you guys' respond.
  2. Emys Senior Member

    je mi smutně is not correct, it should be: Je mi smutno. Smutno is adverb derived from neuter form of archaic form of adjective "smuten" (or participle?). It is used only in impersonal constructions like your sentence.
    You must say: Květiny jsou krásné. Květiny is subject (so nominative), krásné is adjective not an adverb. Adjective has tilde, adverb háček above the final e and they are pronounced differently. Květiny jou krásně is not correct.
    But Je mi smutno is impersonal construction with no explicit subject. You can help yourself by adding neuter pronoun ono instead of subject saying (Ono) je mi smutno. "Ono" stands for subject, "mi" (dative form of pronoun já) is object, "smutno" is complement I think.
    I am not sure about using adverbs like adjectives.
  3. francisgranada Senior Member

    Besides the explanation of Emys, also because "Já je smutno" has no grammatical sense (it would mean something like "I is sadly"). But you could say "Já jsem smutný" (I am sad).

    "Je mi smutno" cannot be literally translated to English, but the pronoun "mi" corresponds to "to me", as if we said "It is sad(ly) to me" (which doesn't work in English, but may help to understand the proper construction).
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  4. Odriski Senior Member

    Thanks for both of you. I understood now. But just one question for the sentence "Jdou mi špatně hodinky", why use "mi" here? Does it mean "to me", too?
  5. francisgranada Senior Member

    Literally yes.
  6. Odriski Senior Member

    Thanks, it sounds really weird, "the watch doesn't work well to me"...
  7. francisgranada Senior Member

    In English yes, but Czech is not the only language with this kind of constructions. E.g. in German "es ist mir kalt" (lit. it is me cold, it is cold to me) = I am cold.
  8. Odriski Senior Member

    quite an impressive example!
  9. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Hi Odriski, the "mi" here indicates that the watch is mine or that I am using the watch - it's a possessive meaning.

    If it was your watch that was not keeping good time, we'd say "hodinky ti jdou špatně". If it was his or her watch, then "hodinky mu/ jdou špatně". It's one of the functions of the dative case.

    More examples:
    Umřel mi papoušek - my parrot has died; porouchalo se mi auto - my car has broken down; blbne mi počítač - my computer's going wrong / doing stupid things / on the blink / playing up / acting strangely; ruplo/prasklo mi v zádech - I've put my back out; I've done my back in; I've hurt my back; ruply mi nervy - I flipped, I lost my nerve, I went berserk, I lost it, I cracked (etc, according to context.)

    In the original phrase you asked about - je mi smutno - the "mi" is, again, the dative short-form personal pronoun of já, but it doesn't indicate possession in this sense; this impersonal construction is used for physical or mental states or feelings.

    Je mi teplo - I'm hot. Už mi to nemyslí - I can't think straight/properly any more. Je ti něco? - Is something the matter (with you)? Is there something wrong (with you)? Nic mi není - there's nothing wrong (with me), I'm okay. Není mi dobře - I'm not feeling well.

    You said you don't have many learning materials available, so let me refer you to Karel Tahal's online Czech grammar here (source:, and the Czech pages of here, where you can find useful Czech phrases for lots of situations.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  10. werrr Senior Member

    How so?

    In my opinion it is perfectly valid construction alike: je mi dobře/špatně/zle/krásně/hrozně...
  11. werrr Senior Member

    Actually, it has grammatical sense of "ego is in a sad mood". But that is completely different usage of "já".
  12. francisgranada Senior Member

    In philosophy yes :). However, here smutno is an adjective (neuter from smuten), not an adverb.

    P.S. I have corrected smunto, thanks.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  13. Hrdlodus

    Hrdlodus Senior Member

    And something more.
    We say: "Je mi smutno." ( (It) is sad to me. )
    And we say: "Cítím se smutně." ( (I) feel sad. )
  14. Odriski Senior Member

    WOW, you are so awesome! That's quite detailed!
  15. Odriski Senior Member

  16. chondrinenigma New Member

    I have found it helpful (as an English speaker) to think of 'mi' in cases like 'hodinky mi jdou blbě' as 'on me'. Maybe not in this particular example, but 'the computer broke down on me' , eg. I was the victim of the computer's breakdown. 'ukradl mi peněženku', 'he stole my wallet on me', he took it from me against my will (again, I am the unwilling victim of this action while the wallet is the direct object, the thing that was stolen)

    It is usually the case that the person in the 3rd case is either the victim or the person being influenced by another person or by the surroundings. 'Je mi zima', it is cold (here, in the surroundings) and it is making me cold. 'jsem zima' means, if I'm not mistaken, means that my body is physically cold, meaning that I'm dead.
  17. nueby

    nueby Member

    Actually 'jsem zima' means 'I am winter.' Jsem studený would be the meaning you were after.
  18. George1992 Senior Member

    Můžete říct:

    "Tobě jdou špatně hodinky" nebo "Jdou ti špatně hodinky"
    "Mně jdou špatně hodinky" nebo "Jdou mi špatně hodinky"
    "Jemu jdou špatně hodinky" nebo "Jdou mu špatně hodinky"

    A tak dále...
  19. francisgranada Senior Member

    ... or perhaps also "I am the coldness". Unlike in English, in Czech the adjectives formally always differ from the nouns, e.g. zima is a noun and zimní is an adjective from the noun zima.

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