Word of the Day

Friday, July 31, 2009

Plný and přeplněný

I was wondering today why Czech plný (full) is followed by the genitive case, whereas its synonym přeplněný (crowded) is followed by the instrumental. I think I reached a conclusion. Přeplněný is a past participle, and as such, can be used in the passive voice when the verb is transitive (a requirement in Czech and other languages, but not in English). What follows přeplněný is the agent of the passive voice, which would be the subject of the same clause were it turned into active. As agents of the passive voice are always in the instrumental case, přeplněný couldn't be an exception, unlike plný, which is a mere adjective and, as such, can be followed by any case except the nominative. Examples:

Ulice byla plná lidí.
The street is full of people. Lidí is in the genitive.

Ulice byla přeplněná lidmi.
The street was crowded with people. Lidmi is in the instrumental. This is passive voice.

Lidé přeplňovali ulici.
People crowded the stret. Lidé now is in the nominative, as it is the subject of the clause.

I don't think the last sentence sounds as good as its variant in the passive, but I do think it proves my point.


Sparnai said...

A parallel to "full of" vs. "filled with"?

Anonymous said...

Máš tam chyby.