Grammatical cases in Polish (2022)

Grammatical cases in Polish can be quite difficult to learn, especially considering that Polish has exactly seven grammatical cases (compared to barely three in the English language). In fact, you only have to know two grammatical cases in English (the nominative form and the possessive form) to be a fully functional English speaker. That’s not the case in Polish (pun intended…) 😉 . In Polish, we have seven grammatical cases and all of them are in everyday use.

Grammatical cases in Polish (1)

Nominative (mianownik)

Genitive (dopełniacz)

Dative (celownik)

Accusative (biernik)

Instrumental (narzędnik)

Locative (miejscownik)

Vocative (wołacz)

Grammatical cases in Polish (2)

When is the nominative case used?

The nominative (mianownik) is the first and simplest grammatical case of all seven grammatical cases in Polish. It can describe both people as well as objects. The nominative case is used in a number of situations. Let’s take a look at the nominative case in Polish.

+ when talking about the subject of a sentence

Adam lubi samochody.

Pomidory są zdrowe.

On ma na imię Marek.

Pies szczeka.

+ after the phrase „to jest…” and „to…”

To jest pomidor.

To jest Adam.

Kasia to studentka.

Marek to mężczyzna.

+ when expressing a comparison

głodny jak wilk

wolny jak ptak

czarny jak smoła

radosny jak skowronek

The nominative case answers the questions: who? (kto?) and what? (co?).

Nominative case in Polish: examples

Examples of the nominative case in Polish:

Marek je czekoladę.

On lubi jeść czekoladę.

Adam i Kasia są małżeństwem.

To jest czerwony pomidor.

Ten banan jest żółty.

Ona jest pracowita jak mrówka.

Susan to angielskie imię.

As previously mentioned, in English there are three grammatical cases: the subjective, the possessive, and the objective case also called nominative, genitive, and accusative respectively. Though it’s much easier to learn English, as only the pronouns change their forms in the accusative case (object pronouns: me, you, him, her, it, us, them) as well as who (acc. whom) and whoever (acc. whomever).

Grammatical cases in Polish (3)

When is the genitive case in Polish used?

The genitive case is usually a grammatical case that signalizes possession, that something belongs to someone. In English, the genitive grammatical case is signalized by adding ‘s (apostrophe + s) to nouns. When is the genitive case used?

+ when expressing negation

Nie ma pomidorów.

Nie lubię pomidorów.

Nie mam pomidorów.

+ when expressing ownership

plecak mojej siostry

kolega mojego kolegi

(Video) 7 Polish cases easy explanation

mama mojej koleżanki

+ with specified and unspecified quantity

filiżanka kawy

kawałek pizzy

dużo przemyśleń

+ with the prepositions:

niedaleko (near), bez (without), dla (for), do (to, into), od (from), koło/obok (near, by), podczas (during), wzdłuż (along), z/ze (from)

Poproszę kawę bez cukru.

To jest od mojej mamy.

Ona idzie wzdłuż rzeki.

+ with some verbs expressing absence or the lack of something:

szukać (to search for, to look for), potrzebować (to need), uczyć się (to study), zapomnieć (to forget), życzyć (to wish), oczekiwać (to expect), słuchać (to listen)

Szukam nowej książki do czytania.

Uczysz się polskiego?

Adam lubi słuchać muzyki poważnej.

+ after number 5 and above

sześć psów

osiem samochodów

pięć szklanek

+ when describing a specific time

każdego wieczoru

zeszłego miesiąca

pewnego lata

The genitive case answers the questions: whose? (kogo? czego?).

wieczoru or wieczora: what’s the genitive case?

Some nouns in Polish have two forms in the genitive case and both are correct. This is the case with the word „wieczór” where the genitive form can either be „wieczoru” or „wieczora”

Genitive case in Polish: examples

Examples of the genitive case in Polish:

Nie znam jej.

Nie umiem matematyki.

Ona mieszka niedaleko supermarketu.

Idę do szkoły.

Adam potrzebuje pomocy.

Zapomnieliśmy kluczy.

Agata zna sześć języków.

W kolejce stoi siedem osób.

Zeszłej zimy złamałam rękę.

Wczorajszego dnia spadł śnieg.

Grammatical cases in Polish (4)

When is the accusative case in Polish used?

When is the accusative case used?

+ with transitive verbs (czasowniki przechodnie):

robić (to do, to make), czytać (to read), jeść (to eat), kupić (to buy), znać (to know) etc.

Chcę kupić buty.

Robię pranie.

Jemy lody.

+ when the object in an affirmative sentence

Mam siostrę.

Czytam gazetę.

(Video) Polish for beginners. Lesson 16. Polish cases: introduction. Mianownik (nominative).

Znam angielski.

+ with prepositions: przez, po, na

przejść przez ulicę

iść po obiad do sklepu

iść na spotkanie

+ when expressing time with days of the week and certain temporal phrases such as:

cały dzień (all day), całą dobę (all day), za godzinę (in an hour)

W poniedziałek idę do lekarza.

Całą dobę płakał.

Za godzinę mam spotkanie.

+ when describing a mental condition or physical condition

Ten prezent mnie ucieszył.

Boli mnie głowa.

Ten kawał go rozśmieszył.

The accusative case answers the questions: who? (kogo?) and what? (co?).

Accusative case in Polish: examples

Examples of the accusative case in Polish:

Lubię pierogi.

Widzę znak.

Musimy przejść przez park.

Wybieram się do Adama.

W piątek mam wizytę u dentysty.

Przez cały dzień mam zajęcia.

On szczypie.

Ten film nudzi Adama.

Grammatical cases in Polish (5)

When is the instrumental case in Polish used?

+ when expressing professions, relationships, nationalities + to be

Ona jest lekarzem.

Agnieszka jest moją żoną.

On jest Amerykaninem.

+ with the preposition: z (with)

kawa z mlekiem

masło z miodem

herbata z cukrem

+ with some verbs:

interesuję się (I am interested in…), zostać (to become), okazać się (to prove to be) etc.

Jestem zainteresowany nauką języka polskiego.

Chcę zostać astronautą.

Ona okazała się kłamczuchą.

+ with the prepositions: nad, przed, pod, za, między

nad morzem

między krzesłem a stołem

pod stołem

za szafą

+ when expressing the instrument or tool you use when doing something and means of transportation

Kroję chleb nożem.

Zamiatam miotłą.

Jadę samochodem.

+ when expressing a certain period of time and location

Wczesnym rankiem spadł deszcz..

(Video) Polish Grammar - Nominative Case - Possessive Pronouns - Explanation

Adam szedł ulicą.

Wieczorem Maria poszła do teatru.

+ as a logical subject

Zapachniało kwiatami.

Rzucił krzesłem.

W samochodzie śmierdzi papierosami.

+ when talking about part of a bigger group

Zebra jest ssakiem.

Ten film jest hitem kinowym.

Jaskinie są domem dla nietoperzy.

+ when describing body movements

Adam pokiwał głową.

On pogroził nam pięścią.

Agata pstryknęła palcami.

The instrumental case answers the questions: with who? (kim?) and with what? (czym?).

Instrumental case in Polish: examples

Examples of the instrumental case in Polish:

Mary jest Angielską.

On jest fotografem.

Poproszę kanapkę z pasztetem.

Idę z psem na spacer.

Interesujemy się sztuką.

On chce zostać nauczycielem.

Znalazłam pilota pod krzesłem.

Mieszkam nad rzeką.

Mieszam zupę łyżką.

Rysuję kredką.

Zimą pada śnieg.

Agata spacerowała parkową aleją.

Pachniało wiosną.

Grammatical cases in Polish (6)

When is the locative case in Polish used?

The locative case, as its name may suggest, indicated a location. When exactly do we use the locative case in Polish?

+ after the prepositions:

w (in), na (on, at), po (after), o (about, of), przy (next to, by, near)

Studiuję na uniwersytecie.

Mieszkam w domu.

Opowiadam o książce.

The locative case answers the questions: about who? (o kim?) and about what? (o czym?).

Locative case in Polish: examples

Examples of the locative case in Polish:

Adam pracuje w restauracji.

On poślizgnął się na lodzie.

Spotkajmy się po pracy.

Profesor opowiada o historii Ameryki.

Sklep stoi przy parku.

Grammatical cases in Polish (7)

(Video) Grammatical gender of Polish nouns

When is the dative case in Polish used?

The dative case (celownik) in Polish is very similar to the dative case in German, so if you happen to know German it might come in handy! Though, the dative case isn’t used in Polish too often.

+ in impersonal phrases:

miło mi, zimno mi, gorąco ci

+ to express a recipient

Pomogę mu.

Daj jemu ten zeszyt.

Otwórz jej drzwi.

+ with certain verbs:

przeszkadzać (to disturb), pomagać (to help), zazdrościć (to envy), wierzyć (to believe), dawać/dać (to give), (po)darować (to donate), dziękować (to thank), gratulować (to congratulate), imponować (to impress), odpowiadać (to answer), odmawiać (to refuse), opowiadać (to tell sb sth), pasować (to fit), podobać się (to like), pozwolić (to let), pożyczyć (to lend), smakować (to taste), przebaczyć (to forgive) etc.

Nie przeszkadzaj mu.

Pomóż Agacie przynieść zakupy.

Uwierz mi!

+ after the prepositions:

dzięki (thanks to), przeciwko (against), wbrew (against, in spite of, despite)

Dzięki tobie znalazłem nową pracę.

Musimy wystąpić przeciwko niesprawiedliwości.

Nie postępuj wbrew zaleceniom.

+ after adjectives:

wierny (faithfull), przychylny (well disposed)

Pies jest wierny swemu panu.

On jest przychylny jej kandydaturze.

Ona jest mu wierna.

The dative case answers the questions: who? (komu?) and what? (czemu?).

Dative case in Polish: examples

Examples of the dative case in Polish:

Przynieść babci herbatę.

Podarowałem jej prezent.

Zazdroszczę jej nowej fryzury.

Przeszkadzasz mi w pracy.

Odnalazłam drogę dzięki znakom.

Pomagam ci wbrew sobie.

On jest wierny swoim przekonaniom.

Grammatical cases in Polish (8)

When is the vocative case in Polish used?

+ to address someone

Agato, podejdź do tablicy.

Sierżancie, spocznij.

Mamo! Chcę nową zabawkę!

Vocative case in Polish: examples

Examples of the vocative case in Polish:

Adamie, gdzie jest twoja praca domowa?

Nowy Jorku! Czemu jesteś taki drogi?

Proszę pani! Zgubiła pani rękawiczkę.

Can we use the nominative case instead of the vocative?

The vocative case is oftentimes substituted by the nominative case, especially in informal language.

Kasiu! Uważaj! (vocative)

Kasia! Uważaj! (nominative)

Comparison of grammatical cases in Polish

When you decline nouns indicating people you use questions: kto, kogo, komu, z kim, o kim.

PRZYPADEKLICZBA POJEDYNCZA
(singular)
LICZBA MNOGA
(plural)
Mianownik
kto? co?
lekarzlekarze
Dopełniacz
kogo? czego?
lekarzalekarzy
Celownik
komu? czemu?
lekarzowilekarzom
Biernik
kogo? co?
lekarzalekarzy
Narzędnik
z kim? z czym?
lekarzemlekarzami
Miejscownik
o kim? o czym?
lekarzulekarzach
Wołaczlekarzulekarze

When you decline nouns indicating objects you use questions: co, czego, czemu, z czym, o czym.

(Video) POLISH GRAMMAR IS COOL: Biernik (Accusative Case)

PRZYPADEKLICZBA POJEDYNCZA
(singular)
LICZBA MNOGA
(plural)
Mianownik
kto? co?
długopisdługopisy
Dopełniacz
kogo? czego?
długopisudługopisów
Celownik
komu? czemu?
długopisowidługopisom
Biernik
kogo? co?
długopisdługopisy
Narzędnik
z kim? z czym?
długopisemdługopisami
Miejscownik
o kim? o czym?
długopisiedługopisach
Wołaczdługopisiedługopisy

FAQs

How many grammatical cases does Polish have? ›

Polish retains the Old Slavic system of cases for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. There are seven cases: nominative (mianownik), genitive (dopełniacz), dative (celownik), accusative (biernik), instrumental (narzędnik), locative (miejscownik), and vocative (wołacz).

How do you describe a Polish case? ›

What are Polish grammar cases? Cases indicate the ways in which a word is used to signal meaning. Polish has seven cases, while English has only three: nominative identifies subjects; accusative identifies objects; and genitive denotes possession. “You pet his dog” uses all three cases.

How many genders does Polish have? ›

Polish distinguishes between the 3 genders: masculine (rodzaj męski) feminine (rodzaj żeński) neuter (rodzaj nijaki)

Does Polish use SVO? ›

Polish Word Order: Overview

The basic word order in Polish is the so-called SVO, which means that the subject comes first, followed by the verb and the object (if there is an object). The word order in Polish isn't fixed, but the SVO is a very common sentence structure.

Why is Polish grammar difficult? ›

Pronunciation. The Polish language is known for having lots of consonants together, which makes it very hard for native English speakers to pronounce some words. If you take the word Szczęście (happiness), the sounds “sh” and “ch” are pronounced one after the other.

How hard is Polish grammar? ›

Polish got the number three spot on our list. Spelling and grammar are a couple of areas in which Polish can give English speakers a hard time. Words are loaded with consonants, which makes them difficult to spell and pronounce.

How can I improve my Polish grammar? ›

30 Minutes to Improve Your Polish Grammar Skills - YouTube

Is learning Polish difficult? ›

As a Slavic language, Polish is one of the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn.

What is the locative case in Polish? ›

Locative Case (Miejscownik) is the sixth case in the Polish language. It is mainly used after certain prepositions, especially prepositions describing location like in, over or , next to.

Does Polish have the word the? ›

Generally articles specify the grammatical definiteness of the noun. Examples are "the, a, and an". However that doesn't exist in Polish.

Is Polish grammar regular? ›

The morphology of the Polish language is characterised by a fairly regular system of inflection (conjugation and declension) as well as word formation.

What is accusative case in Polish? ›

Accusative Case (Biernik) is the fourth case in the Polish language. Generally, it is used for direct object that the subject acts on.

What is the root of Polish language? ›

Ultimately, Polish descends from the unattested Proto-Slavic language. Polish was a lingua franca from 1500 to 1700 in Central and parts of Eastern Europe, because of the political, cultural, scientific and military influence of the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Is Polish a Slavic language? ›

Key to these peoples and cultures are the Slavic languages: Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian to the east; Polish, Czech, and Slovak to the west; and Slovenian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian to the south.

Does Polish have gendered words? ›

Unlike in English, every Polish noun has its own gender: masculine, feminine, or neuter. For example, the moon, 'księżyc', is masculine; a star, 'gwiazda', is feminine; and the Sun, 'słońce', is neuter. Although there are exceptions, the gender of any noun is typically distinguished by its ending.

What is the hardest Polish word to say? ›

The hardest words to pronounce in the Polish language
  • Szczęście. Ironically, the word that means happiness makes lots of people (mostly foreigners) very unhappy. ...
  • Źdźbło. That is probably the most bizarre word in the Polish language. ...
  • Żółć ...
  • Następstwa (and następstw) ...
  • Bezwzględny. ...
  • Chrząszcz. ...
  • Pszczoła. ...
  • Ślusarz.
Sep 11, 2018

Is Polish easier than French? ›

There are three genders. But hey, most languages have genders, including languages considered by English speakers as relatively easy to learn, such as French or Spanish. Polish genders are also much easier to memorise than the French/Spanish ones.

What is the longest Polish word? ›

The longest Polish word dziewięćsetdziewięćdziesięciodziewięcionarodowościowego - 54 letters - It means ► of nine-hundred-ninety-nine nationalities...

What is B1 level Polish language? ›

The knowledge of the Polish language at the intermediate level (B1), confirmed by a state certificate, is to be a requirement for obtaining a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU residence permit, pursuant to the draft amendments to the Act on foreigners.

How long does it take to learn Polish fluently? ›

Start your free trial today to start learning the Polish language as soon as possible. Remember that you need roughly 900 hours to become fluent.

What is more difficult German or Polish? ›

There are 7 cases in Polish and only 4 in German, Polish had lots of consonant clusters which take a lot of time to get used to pronouncing, and German is much more logical in terms of the grammar while Polish is more irregular. On balance, most people would say Polish is harder than German.

How can I practice Polish speaking? ›

1 Hour of Polish Conversation Practice - Improve Speaking Skills

Is Polish an important language? ›

Yes, a lot of people speak this language. Polish is the official language of Poland. Since there are 38 million people living in Poland today, you'll surely find a lot of people to talk to.

How do polishers talk for beginners? ›

Learn to Speak Polish Lesson 1 - How to Introduce Yourself in Polish

What do Polish eat for breakfast? ›

8:30 – 'Śniadanie' (breakfast)

Poles often start the day with meat or eggs. They commonly have what they call 'a sandwich', meaning a slice of bread topped with cold cuts or kiełbasa, or scrambled eggs. There can also be a side of dairy – either kefir, or quark cheese mixed with radishes.

Is Polish a pretty language? ›

Learning Polish is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance. It's an extremely rich and beautiful language, spoken not only in Poland but also throughout the world, officially ranked number 21 in the world as regards the number of speakers.

What language is Polish similar to? ›

Polish (język polski) belongs to the west Slavic group of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. Its closest living relatives are Czech, Slovak, and Sorbian. It is spoken by 36.6 million people in Poland.

What is nominative case in Polish? ›

Nominative Case (Mianownik) is the first Polish Case and it describes the subject of the sentence. The subject performs the action in a sentence.

What is the dative case in Polish? ›

Dative Case (Celownik) is the third Polish Case. It is used for indirect objects. Dative Case describes to whom something is done or givenand from whom something is taken. In the Polish language Dative Case is called Celownik.

What is genitive case in Polish? ›

Genitive Case (Dopełniacz) is the second case in the Polish language. It is mainly used to express possession. Most of the usages of the word "of" in English will be translated to Polish as the Genitive Case. butelka mleka- a bottle of milk.

Which language has the most cases? ›

What languages have the most cases? Hungarian has a whopping 18 cases and Finnish has 15. Basque, Estonian, Georgian, and Bengali each have more than 10 cases. West Greenlandic has between 8 and 9 depending on who you ask (you can see where this starts to get complicated) while Tamil has 7 or 8.

Does Polish have vocative case? ›

Polish Vocative Case

The vocative is the last of the 7 cases. It is used to address people. It's plural forms are the same as the nominative plural forms.

How many grammatical cases does Hungarian have? ›

Hungarian has around 17 cases, depending on what you consider to be “cases”. Most of what we know of as “cases” are pretty much just suffixes that work as prepositions do in English.

What is the locative case in Polish? ›

Locative Case (Miejscownik) is the sixth case in the Polish language. It is mainly used after certain prepositions, especially prepositions describing location like in, over or , next to.

What is the hardest grammar in the world? ›

Hungarian grammar seems like the road to death for an English speaker. Because Hungarian grammar rules are the most difficult to learn, this language has 26 different cases. The suffixes dictate the tense and possession and not the word order.

What is the simplest language? ›

'” That metaphorical process is at the heart of Toki Pona, the world's smallest language. While the Oxford English Dictionary contains a quarter of a million entries, and even Koko the gorilla communicates with over 1,000 gestures in American Sign Language, the total vocabulary of Toki Pona is a mere 123 words.

What is the most difficult European language to learn? ›

Despite being the world's lingua franca, English is the most difficult European language to learn to read.

How can I improve my Polish grammar? ›

30 Minutes to Improve Your Polish Grammar Skills - YouTube

What is accusative case in Polish? ›

Accusative Case (Biernik) is the fourth case in the Polish language. Generally, it is used for direct object that the subject acts on.

What is the nominative case in Polish? ›

Nominative Case (Mianownik) is the first Polish Case and it describes the subject of the sentence. The subject performs the action in a sentence.

How many grammar cases are there in Finland? ›

Finnish noun and adjective endings represent at least 15 different grammatical cases.

How many cases does Russian have? ›

Nouns. Nominal declension involves six cases – nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, and prepositional – in two numbers (singular and plural), and absolutely obeying grammatical gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter).

How many cases does German have? ›

There are four cases in German: nominative. accusative. genitive.

Videos

1. Polish for Beginners | Mianownik / Nominative Case | Polish Genders | A0
(Polski Daily)
2. Polish with Dorota: Ultimate guide to cases, part 1: mianownik.
(Polish with Dorota)
3. #186 Grammar : Polskie przypadki- Polish cases
(Polonus polish for foreigners)
4. Polish cases #2 - Nominative Singular | Mianownik liczba pojedyncza (To jest KOT.)
(Learn Polish with Monika)
5. The Polish Language (Is this real?!)
(Langfocus)
6. The mystery of Polish cases - Zuzanna Yevtushyk | PGO 2021
(Polyglot Gathering)

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