Word of the Day

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

To be after in Czech

In Czech there is an expression mít/být po něčem, literally to have/be after something, which means you have done the stated thing, that you have gotten it over with. A couple of examples: Jsem po operaci, literally: I am after the/a/my operation, meaning I have undergone my operation/surgery, and Jsem po obědě, literally: I am after lunch, meaning I have (just) had lunch. The funny thing is that Czechs unknowingly translate it literally when speaking other languages, like a Czech student of English I have and my wife in Portuguese. I concur it is a very handy expression, but it is not entrenched in other languages, unfortunately. The problem also with to be after in English is that it sometimes could be construed as to go after, to want, to be desperate for something. In other words, if a Czech says they are after lunch, the listener could think they are hungry.

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