Co Tě žere?

Czech Idioms - What is eating you?

In our last article, we were talking about one idiom, which was in a recent advertisement on TV. Obviously, it is very trendy now to work with idioms in Czech advertisements. That is why we have decided to explain a few more.

Do you remember the advertisement from one mobile operator where there are personified mushrooms? It starts out with the mother-mushroom asking the father-mushroom CO TĚ ŽERE (what is eating you)? However, in the advert it seems that she really means it literally, because the father-mushroom grabs a worm out of his body, which was eating him, and gets rid of it.

Actually, there is a joke hidden in the sentence because it can also be understood as an idiom. The idiom means that you are asking the person what is wrong or rather what he is thinking about. Just like the English idiom WHAT’S EATING YOU. Therefore, the father then answers that the thing he is worried about is that it is going to rain and so they will have more children.

Note that the infinitive ŽRÁT means “to eat” but we just use it in Czech to speak about animals so if you use it when talking about people you will sound very rude.

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Grammar NOTE: The pronoun we use in this idiom is always an accusative form of a personal  pronoun.

Examples:
CZ: Proč se mračíš? Co tě žere?
ENG: Why are you frowning? What is eating you?

CZ: Proč je dnes tak nepříjemná? Co jí žere?
ENG: Why is she so unpleasant (disagreeable) today? What is eating her?

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If you’re considering a course to learn the Czech Language, you can find a great selection right here.


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