Pronouns are something that we use all the time when we speak or write. It would be nearly impossible to go without pronouns for more than a couple of words or sentences.
This is the case for the Czech language, too. Czech has just as many pronouns as English does, if not more. Read this guide to learn all about some of the most frequently used Czech pronouns.
Personal pronouns are what most people immediately think of when they hear the word “pronouns”. It's those little words that refer to a particular grammatical person – such as “I”, “you”, “they” etc.
Here is a list of Czech personal pronouns:Singular:
Tip: If speaking about a group of people that consists of men and women, use the pronoun “oni”, not “ony”.
Possessive pronouns are used when referring to some manner of ownership or possession. For example: «To je moje kolo.» (“That is my bike.”)
Here are Czech possessive pronouns:Singular:
|můj||my, mine (masculine)|
|moje||my, mine (feminine and neuter)|
|tvůj||your, yours (masculine)|
|tvoje||your, yours (feminine and neuter)|
|náš||our, ours (masculine)|
|naše||our, ours (feminine and neuter)|
|váš||your, yours (masculine)|
|vaše||your, yours (feminine and neuter)|
In the case of “my”, “your”, and “our”, the gender of each pronoun is determined by the following word, not by the gender of the speaker. For example: «Kde je moje bunda?» (“Where is my jacket?”)
In English, there are many reflexive pronouns, all ending in "-self", such as “myself” or “ourselves”.
Czech only has two reflexive pronouns – both are gender- and speaker-neutral. They are used with certain reflexive verbs, such as «učesat se» (to brush one's hair) or «pustit si» (to put on something for oneself – such as music or TV).
In Czech, the choice of reflexive pronoun depends on the grammatical case – “si” is used in the dative, while “se” is used in the accusative.
Relative and interrogative pronouns are used as marks of relative clauses and questions. In Czech, these two categories overlap almost exactly. The only pronoun that doesn't fit both categories is “jenž”, which is a relative pronoun only and cannot be used as a question word.
“Jenž” is a pronoun that is rarely used in spoken form, but you may come across it in written form – especially in formal letters and other texts. Most native Czech speakers find the declension of “jenž” particularly difficult, as it is used rarely in day-to-day life and therefore doesn't come naturally to most people.
Here is a list of Czech relative and interrogative pronouns:
|který||which, who (masculine singular)|
|která||which, who (feminine singular)|
|které||which, who (neuter singular)|
|kteří||which, who (masculine animate plural)|
|které||which, who (masculine inanimate and feminine plural)|
|která||which, who (neuter plural)|
|jaký||what, what type, what kind (masculine singular)|
|jaká||what, what type, what kind (feminine singular)|
|jaké||what, what type, what kind (neuter singular)|
|jací||what, what type, what kind (masculine animate plural)|
|jaké||what, what type, what kind (masculine inanimate and feminine plural)|
|jaká||what, what type, what kind (neuter plural)|
|jenž||which, who (masculine singular)|
|jež||which, who (feminine and neuter singular)|
|již||which, who (masculine animate plural)|
|jež||which, who (masculine inanimate, feminine, and neuter plural)|
Demonstrative pronouns are words that one uses to distinguish people and items from one another. They are words such as “this” or “that”.
Here is a list of Czech demonstrative pronouns:Singular:
|ten||the, that (masculine)|
|ta||the, that (feminine)|
|to||the, that (neuter)|
|tento||this (masculine and neuter)|
|ti||the, those (masculine animate)|
|ty||the, those (masculine inanimate and feminine)|
|ta||the, those (neuter)|
|tito||these (masculine animate)|
|tyto||these (masculine inanimate and feminine)|
As the name suggests, indefinite pronouns don't refer to anything or anyone specific. They are words such as “someone” or “anywhere”.
Here is a list of some of the most common indefinite pronouns in Czech:
|leckdo, ledakdo, kdekdo||many people, quite a few people|
|lecco, ledaco, kdeco||all sorts of things, quite a few things|
|každý||each, each one (masculine singular)|
|každá||each, each one (feminine singular)|
|každé||each, each one (neuter singular)|
|nějaký||some, one, a(n) (masculine singular)|
|nějaká||some, one, a(n) (feminine singular)|
|nějaké||some, one, a(n) (neuter singular)|
|nějací||some (masculine animate plural)|
|nějaké||some (masculine inanimate and feminine plural)|
|nějaká||some (neuter plural)|
|něčí||belonging to someone or something|
Negative pronouns are similar to indefinite pronouns. Instead of referring to a more general group of things or people, negative pronouns are used to suggest that there is a lack of something or someone. These are words such as “nothing” or “none”.
Here is a list of Czech negative pronouns:
|nijak||in no way|
|žádný||no, none (masculine singular)|
|žádná||no, none (feminine singular)|
|žádné||no, none (neuter singular)|
|žádní||no (masculine animate plural)|
|žádné||no (masculine inanimate and feminine plural)|
|žádná||no (neuter plural)|
|ničí||belonging to no one|
Czech is a very gendered language. All nouns have genders, and even verb endings are dictated based on who is performing the activity of the verb.
This is why remaining gender-neutral in Czech can often be challenging. Still, nonbinary people exist in the Czech Republic as much as they do anywhere else.
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about gender-neutral pronouns in Czech. While there isn't one universal way to address someone in a more gender-neutral way, there are still a couple of options:
The Czech language still has a long way to go to establish a more universal gender-neutral way of speaking about people. If you meet someone nonbinary from the Czech Republic, ask them which pronouns they use for themselves instead of assuming. Each person might prefer something completely different, and this is the best way to avoid any mistakes.
These were some of the most commonly used Czech pronouns. There are, of course, many more. However, this guide covered those pronouns that you might see most frequently.
Remember to always make sure you're using the right gender of each pronoun, and don't forget that Czechs decline their pronouns – it wouldn't do to only use the nominative form in every sentence.