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Archive for the 'Polish Grammar' Category

Learn How to Form Negative Sentences in Polish

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Knowing how to form negative sentences in Polish is a crucial skill for learners of the language to acquire early on. There are a few different methods of Polish negation, and today we’ll cover the most important ones. 

Don’t worry too much, though.

It’s much simpler than many other aspects of Polish grammar, so we’re sure you’ll master these negation patterns in no time. The most important thing to keep in mind is that Polish is a different language. Trying to develop a “Polish mindset” will work better for you than striving to translate exactly what you have in mind in English.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Polish Negation: Case Study
  2. Answering “No” to Questions
  3. Other Words Used for Expressing Negation
  4. Double Negatives
  5. Final Thoughts

1. Polish Negation: Case Study

The simplest pattern of Polish negation uses the word nie (“no”) in front of the part of speech being negated. This is unlike what you see in many other languages, where negation often needs two parts or uses different words depending on the context. You can learn more about affirmation and negation in different languages by clicking on the link. 

A- Polish Verb Negation

A Person Saying No with a Gesture

It’s only natural to speak up about things you don’t like or don’t want to do—it doesn’t make you a negative person! It’s equally important to know how to speak about negative emotions in Polish.

Negation in Polish works very differently from that in English. In English, there are many words that can negate the verb, depending on the tense used; in Polish, it’s always the same word. 

Have a look at the following examples: 

  • Nie lubię chodzić do kina. – “I don’t like going to the cinema.”
  • Nie czytaj gazety! – “Don’t read the newspaper!”
  • Nie mieszkali w Polsce. – “They didn’t live in Poland.”

As you can see in the examples above, the word nie is placed directly in front of the verb it’s meant to negate. This is true for all tenses and moods. Of course, this is only one way to negate a verb.

Once you gain more confidence in your Polish skills, you may want to start using verbs with opposite meanings (antonimy – “antonyms”). For instance, instead of simply saying Nie chcę (“I don’t want”) you can decide to use Odmawiam (“I refuse”). Start improving your vocabulary by studying our top 20 Polish verbs video series. Here you can find parts one, two, three, and four.

B- Negation of Adjectives

In Polish, negating adjectives is just as simple as negating verbs. There’s only a small twist – you need to remember to write nie together with the adjective.

A Girl Sticking Her Tongue Out
  • On jest niegrzeczny. – “He’s rude/badly behaved.” 
  • Ten samochód jest niedrogi. – “This car is inexpensive.”
  • Mój artykuł jest niedokończony. – “My article is unfinished.”

Of course, not all adjectives can be negated that way. Sometimes adding nie in front of an adjective will just make it sound funny or artificial. So what should you do in those situations? Start by learning high frequency adjectives with us. After that, remember to check out our lesson on using Polish adjectives and its follow-up

C- Negation of Adverbs

To make an adverb negative in Polish, you need to put the adverb after nie:

  • Na dworze było nieładnie. – “It was not pretty outside.”
  • Opowiadał nieciekawie o swoim życiu. – “He spoke about his life in a boring way.” 
  • Poczułam się niedobrze. – “I started feeling unwell.”

Unfortunately, the rules for how we write adverbs with nie are a bit more complicated than those for other parts of speech. Some adverbs are combined with the word nie to form a compound, while others are written separately. Instead of learning very specific rules in the beginning, we suggest that you just keep studying adverbs along with their spelling.

Don’t despair if you make mistakes from time to time. It happens even to Polish people! This list of must-know adverbs and phrases for connecting thoughts will definitely come in handy.

Let’s now learn about negation in Polish grammar for answering questions. After all, saying “no” sometimes is just a part of life! 

2. Answering “No” to Questions

To make a more complete negation in Polish when answering a question, you need to use nie twice: 

A: Idziesz jutro do kina? 
A: “Are you going to the cinema tomorrow?”

B: Nie, nie idę jutro do kina. 
B: “No, I’m not going to the cinema tomorrow.”

A: Chcesz coś do picia? 
A: “Would you like something to drink?”

B: Nie, nie chce mi się pić.
B: “No, I’m not thirsty.”

A Person Crossing Her Arms in Refusal

Do you know how to offer such an invitation in Polish? If not, head to our lesson on this topic by clicking on the link.

Another option is to simply answer nie, but it’s considered quite impolite. You should only use it with people whom you know well and who are unlikely to take offense. 

A: Chcesz coś zjeść?
A: “Would you like to eat something?”

B: Nie.
B: “No.”

A more polite way of refusing would be to answer: Nie, dziękuję. (“No, thank you.”) 

It’s also worth mentioning that some Polish people use nie at the end of declarative sentences. This special Polish negation case is a mannerism. It doesn’t really carry any specific meaning, it’s just something that some people say. Many people don’t like to hear it and consider it bad Polish, so we wouldn’t recommend developing this habit. Here’s an example of what this looks like: 

  • Kupiłem sobie kawę, nie? A potem dodałem cukru, nie? – “I’ve bought myself some coffee, no? And then I’ve added some sugar, no?” 

3. Other Words Used for Expressing Negation

To truly master negation in the Polish language, you need to study other words used for forming negative sentences in Polish. Here are some expressions that can be used for negation without changing form: 

  • nigdy – “never”

    Nigdy nie mów nigdy. – “Never say never.”

  • nigdy więcej – “never again”

    Nigdy więcej nie założę szpilek! – “I will never wear stilettos again.”

  • nigdzie – “nowhere”

    Nigdzie nie mógł znaleźć swoich okularów. – “He couldn’t find his glasses anywhere.”
  • nic – “nothing”

    Nic nie zapłaciłem. – “I’ve paid nothing.”
  • już nie – “not anymore”

    Już nie oglądam tego serialu. – “I don’t watch this series anymore.”
  • ani…ani – “neither…nor”

    Nie mam ochoty ani na lody ani na czekoladę. – “I don’t feel like eating neither ice cream nor chocolate.”

Neither...Nor Image

The one expression that does change is nikt (“no one” or “anyone”). It undergoes declension, just like many other parts of speech. This is why we’d say: 

  • Nie mam nikogo. – “I don’t have anyone.”
  • Nikt na mnie nie czeka. – “No one is waiting for me.” 
  • Nikomu nie jesteś nic winna. – “You don’t owe anything to anyone.”

Remember to pay particular attention to which case is used with this word. In this manner, you’ll avoid making mistakes or causing misunderstandings. 

Have you noticed how negative sentences in Polish seem to work slightly differently than in English? That’s because Polish allows—and often requires—double negation.

4. Double Negatives

Twin Sisters

Let us show you some more examples so that you can better understand how double negation in Polish works:

  • Nikt nigdy tu nie przychodzi. – “No one ever comes here.”
    • Literal translation: “No one never doesn’t come here.” 
  • Nikt mi o tym nie powiedział. – “No one told me about it.”
    • Literal translation: “No one didn’t tell me about it.” 
  • Nic mnie już nie obchodzi. – “I don’t care about anything anymore.”
    • Literal translation: “I don’t care about nothing anymore.”

For many Polish learners, this is a completely new concept and may be a bit difficult to get used to. It’s also a reminder that the rules of negation in English and Polish are different. Don’t worry, though. You’ll get the hang of this particular aspect of Polish negation with time. 

5. Final Thoughts

That’s it for today! As we say in Polish: Co za dużo to niezdrowo! (“Too much of a good thing!”)

We hope we’ve helped you learn about negation in the Polish language. It’s not as hard as it might seem at first, even if it differs from what you’re used to in English.

You can refer back to this blog post whenever you’re in doubt regarding how to say “no” in Polish. Keep in mind the spelling rules, don’t be scared of the double negation, and you’ll be fine. Write some examples of negation in the comments’ section to show us what you’ve learned!

Learning negation is very important, but there’s much more to the Polish language than that! To learn in a structured way, give PolishPod101 a try. Our platform gives you incredible resources to learn real-life Polish. We provide fun and engaging lessons on various topics, featuring recordings by native speakers to help you with your Polish comprehension as well as your vocabulary. Don’t hesitate, create your account today!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish

All You Need to Know About Polish Verb Tenses

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Did you know that English has 16 tenses? You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that Polish has only 3! Namely, these are the past, the present, and the future tenses. 

Polish verb tenses aren’t overly complicated, but they’re definitely an important part of learning the language. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of each tense so that you can understand how they’re formed and used.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Polish Tenses: The Present Tense
  2. Polish Tenses: The Past Tense
  3. Polish Tenses: The Future Tense
  4. Polish Verb Conjugations
  5. Final Thoughts

1. Polish Tenses: The Present Tense

A Person Sitting in Meditation

There’s only one present tense in Polish. It’s used for actions that are habitual as well as those that happen in a given moment.

How do Polish people differentiate between the meaning of each verb, then? Well, they can determine this based on the context or additional words that are included (such as adverbs of time). Another very important thing here is the aspect of the verb: 

  • Imperfective (Niedokonany): used when we want to focus on the action being performed, and not on its completion

  • Perfective (Dokonany): used to focus on the completion of an action

Most Polish dictionaries state the aspect of the verb you’re looking up.

Perfective verbs can’t be used in the present tense. When you conjugate a perfective verb and an imperfective verb in the same way, the perfective verb will give you the future tense form. Here are some examples:

  • kupować (imperfective) / kupić (perfective)

    Kupować becomes kupuję in the first person singular. It’s a form of the present tense meaning “I’m buying” or “I buy.”

    Kupić becomes kupię. It’s a verb in the future tense. An example of its use would be the sentence:

    Kupię polską kartę SIM.
    “I will buy a Polish SIM card.”

  • czytać (imperfective) / przeczytać (perfective)

    Czytać -> 1st person singular: czytam – the present tense

    Przeczytać -> 1st person singular: przeczytam – the future tense

  • pisać (imperfective) / napisać (perfective)

    Pisać -> 1st person singular: piszę – the present tense

    Napisać -> 1st person singular: napiszę – the future tense

Now that you understand the general rule, let’s have a look at more complicated examples. Jeść is an imperfective verb, while zjeść is perfective:

  1. Jem obiad. / “I’m eating lunch.” 
  2. Zazwyczaj nie jem obiadów. / “I don’t usually eat lunch.” 
  3. Zjem obiad. / “I will eat lunch.” 

You know how to speak about obiad (lunch), but how about other Polish meals? Click on the link to find out!

A Cup of Tea
  1. Piję herbatę. / “I’m drinking tea.” 
  2. Codziennie piję herbatę. / “I drink tea every day.” 
  3. Wypiję herbatę. / “I will drink tea.”

Pić is an imperfective verb, while wypić is perfective.

2. Polish Tenses: The Past Tense

Currently, there’s only one past tense in the Polish language. However, there used to be a Polish past tense equivalent to the English past perfect (czas zaprzeszły). You can still find it in older books, but it’s very rarely used today.

The Polish past tense that’s used by modern-day Poles expresses all of the English past tenses. Concepts such as anteriority are expressed through adverbs such as “before” (przedtem) and “after” (potem). The relation between the continuous and simple tenses in English is usually expressed by the choice of verbs in the appropriate aspect.

Last but not least, the Polish past tense makes use of gender. This means that a verb conjugates differently depending on whether the speaker is male or female. 

Enough theory! Don’t worry: It will all become more clear as you look through our examples. Here goes:

Cake
  1. Jadłem/am ciasto i czytałem/am gazetę. / “I was eating cake and reading a newspaper.”

The first form is for male speakers and the second one for female speakers. 

Both jeść (“to eat”) and czytać (“to read”) are imperfective. As you can see, the tense used in the English translation is past continuous as the focus of the sentence is on the action and its narrative quality, not on the result/completion.

What cake do you think the speaker was eating? Watch our video lesson about choosing a cake in Poland to learn some relevant vocabulary. 

Now, here are some more examples of the Polish past tense:

  1. Nie zjadłem/am obiadu. / “I didn’t eat lunch.”

The forms are for male speakers and female speakers respectively. Yet again, zjeść (“to eat”) is a perfective verb. In the English translation, it appears as a verb in the past simple because the focus is on the result of the action.

  1. Wypiłem/am herbatę zanim zaszczekał pies. / “I drank tea before the dog barked.” OR “The dog had barked after I drank tea.”

Both wypić (“to drink”) and zaszczekać (“bark”) are perfective, and the focus is on the completion of the action. The anteriority is expressed with the word “before” (zanim), which is also an option in English as shown in the first translation. However, you could additionally express the anteriority of the same Polish sentence by using the past perfect as shown in the second English translation. 

  1. Piłem/am herbatę, kiedy zaszczekał pies. / “I was drinking tea when the dog barked.”

The verb pić (“to drink”) is imperfective and the focus of this verb is on the action itself. This action also serves as a narrative background to the other one. It’s followed by the perfective verb zaszczekać (“to bark”), which refers to a short, completed action.

Dogs bark, but what sounds do other animals make? Visit our vocabulary list to find out!

A Happy Dog

We hope that, after reviewing these examples, you understand the Polish past tense a little better! 

3. Polish Tenses: The Future Tense

You’ve already seen some forms of the Polish future tense. In fact, there are three ways of forming it—two of which can be used interchangeably. 

A- Imperfective Verbs

Imperfective verbs require a compound form of the future tense. First of all, you need the verb “to be” (być) conjugated in the present tense: 

SINGULARPLURAL
Ja będę – I will beMy będziemy – We will be
Ty będziesz – You will beWy będziecie – You will be
On/ona/ono będzie – He/she/it will beOni, one będą – They will be

Then, you have a choice between two interchangeable forms. The first one is easier as it simply requires adding the infinitive (bezokolicznik) of the second verb: 

  • Będę czytać. / “I will be reading.”

The second form requires the use of the conjugated form of the past tense of the second verb. This also means that you have to pay attention to the gender: 

  • Będę czytał/czytała. / “I will be reading.”

The choice is up to you. The meaning of both forms in English is close to that of the future continuous. The focus is on how/when the action is performed rather than on its completion. 

Speaking of reading, if you would like to incorporate reading Polish books into your language learning strategies, find out what to say at a Polish bookstore.

B- Perfective Verbs

A Person with Binoculars

Perfective verbs used in the future tense undergo conjugation like they would in the present tense, as we mentioned earlier. Here’s an example using the perfective verb przeczytać (“to read”): 

  • Przeczytam gazetę. / “I will read a newspaper.” 

As you can see, the emphasis is on the completion. Namely, the fact that when I’m done, the newspaper will be finished/read by me. 

C- Examples

Here are a few more examples to help you better understand the difference between the forms of the Polish future tense: 

  1. Jutro o 6 będę jadł/jadła kolację z Tomkiem
  1. Jutro o 6 będę jeść kolację z Tomkiem

Both sentences mean, “Tomorrow at six, I’ll be eating dinner with Tomek.” The verb jeść (“to eat”) is imperfective, which is why it has to be used with one of the two compound forms. The focus of both sentences is on what will be happening in a given moment in the future.

Pssst… Are you about to have dinner with your Polish friends? Check out our lesson Out at Dinner beforehand. 

  1. Zaraz coś zjem. / “I’ll eat something right now.”

This sentence uses the perfective verb zjeść (“to eat”). It focuses on the completion of the action, not on the action being performed. 

  1. Nie będę pił/piła na imprezie. 
  1. Nie będę pić na imprezie. 

Both sentences translate to, “I won’t be drinking at the party.” The focus of the verb is on the behavior of the speaker throughout the party, not on the completion of an action. This meaning requires an imperfective verb and thus the compound future tense. 

  1. Wypiję najwyżej jedno piwo. / “I will drink one beer at most.”

This sentence focuses on the completion of an action (or more precisely here, the lack thereof). It requires a perfective verb with a simple form of the future tense. 

Speaking of, do you like beer? Then head over to our lesson I like beer!

Now that we’ve discussed the Polish future tense, it’s time for a few more words about verb conjugations. 

4. Polish Verb Conjugations

Verb Forms

Now that we’ve covered Polish-language tenses, let’s discuss how they apply to conjugation. 

Polish doesn’t have distinct verb groups like the Romance languages do, where you can tell the group from the verb’s ending. This is why we recommend learning the first and second form of each verb. Doing so will allow you to predict the rest of the conjugations. You can learn more about Polish conjugations in our other blog post and on Cooljugator.

To summarize our discussion of tenses, let’s just re-examine the different ideas that can be expressed with them: 

SENTENCETRANSLATIONTENSEASPECT AND FOCUS
Jem obiad.I’m eating lunch.PresentImperfective

Focus is on the activity, which is taking place in a given moment
Zazwyczaj nie jem obiadów.I don’t usually eat lunch.PresentImperfective

Focus is on the habitual activity itself
Jadłem/am ciasto.I was eating a cake.PastImperfective

Focus is on the activity
Nie zjadłem/am obiadu.I didn’t eat lunch. PastPerfective

Focus is on the completion of the action
Zjem obiad.I will eat lunch.FuturePerfective

Focus is on the completion of the action
Jutro o 6 będę jadł/jadła kolację z TomkiemTomorrow at six, I’ll be eating dinner with Tomek.Future (interchangeable with the form below)Imperfective

Focus is on the action being performed at a given time
Jutro o 6 będę jeść kolację z Tomkiem.Tomorrow at six, I’ll be eating dinner with Tomek.Future (interchangeable with the form above)Imperfective

Focus is on the action being performed at a given time

Remember that if there are two verbs in Polish, the second verb almost always remains in the infinitive form. The future tense is an exception, however, as it allows forms such as będę jadł (“I will be eating”) as discussed above. 

Another important thing is the marking of the gender in the past, which applies to all persons and numbers. 

Last but not least, it’s crucial to remember the aspect of the verb in order to correctly express yourself in Polish. 

5. Final Thoughts

Today you’ve learned how Polish verb tenses work and what they can describe. Understanding the logic behind them and their relation to English tenses will definitely help you. 

Do you understand tenses in Polish better after reading this article? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. Don’t forget to read our article about conjugations in order to learn about verb tenses in Polish in more detail.

Learning about how tenses work and memorizing conjugations is a crucial part of language learning. That said, grammar and vocabulary won’t get you far unless you’re getting enough exposure to the language as it’s used in the real world. PolishPod101 offers several customized learning pathways with hundreds of audio and video recordings by native speakers.

Are you ready to learn real Polish? Start your free trial today!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish

From Zero to Hero: How Long Will it Take to Learn Polish?

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Like many people who are about to embark on a new language learning journey, you may be asking yourself:
How long will it take to learn Polish?

The answer is: “It depends on the level you want to achieve!”

In this article, you’ll find out how long it takes to reach the different proficiency levels of Polish. You’ll also get exclusive tips on how to accelerate your progress and use PolishPod101 to your advantage every step of the way.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Beginner Level
  2. Intermediate Level
  3. Advanced Level
  4. Final Thoughts

Beginner Level

A Woman with a Notebook

How long will it take to learn Polish if you hope to surpass the beginner level? And what skills are expected of you as a beginner (początkujący)? 

Here are some answers to your questions, and more! 

Pre-Intermediate Level: What Does it Mean?

To become a pre-intermediate student, you need to complete levels A1 and A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). 

At level A1, you’ll be able to have very simple conversations such as introducing yourself or talking about your likes and dislikes. By level A2, you’ve deepened your basic vocabulary knowledge. Upon completion of this level, you can go to shops and museums, ask for directions, tell the time, and talk about your family.

How Long Will it Take?

A Man Looking at His Watch

You need around 200 hours of study to get to level A2. How fast you get there depends on how much time you spend studying. Here are some tips on how to learn the Polish language faster: 

  1. Set up your social media in Polish. If you’re feeling brave, do it to your phone too!

  2. Listen to a lot of Polish music on YouTube and watch Polish-language movies on Netflix. This will allow you to hear a lot of the language and get used to how it sounds. Can you understand some of the words? That’s great!

  3. Last but not least, prepare your own flashcards with new vocabulary you’re learning.

How to Use PolishPod101 as a Beginner

Are you wondering how to learn basic Polish as you begin your studies? 

PolishPod101 can help you improve your Polish at any level. When you first start learning Polish, you’ll be studying simpler things such as saying hello and giving a self-introduction. 

Our lesson Saying Hello No Matter the Time of Day in Polish is a great example of what we have to offer our students. It will teach you the very important skill of greeting people at any time of day and with the required formality level. 

Apart from the dialogue, you also get a vocabulary list, lesson notes with additional tips, commentary on the cultural context (kontekst kulturowy), and even some additional vocabulary. You can read the lesson, listen to it, or do both at the same time using the transcript. 

Here are some similar lessons you may like: 

What’s more, PolishPod101 also has a specific pathway (ścieżka) for absolute beginners. Thanks to this functionality, you won’t get lost among the countless lessons the platform offers. 

Intermediate Level

Moving from the beginner level to the intermediate level is an accomplishment to be proud of! 

The intermediate level (poziom średniozaawansowany) is an exciting new adventure that comes with its own challenges. Keep in mind that your progress will slow down at this point. But this isn’t something to be worried about, as it’s a natural part of the process.

Intermediate Level: What Does it Mean?

A Graduate

You have reached the intermediate stage of your Polish learning once you attain level B1 or B2 of CEFR.

Level B1 allows you to have conversations on most everyday topics (codzienne tematy). You still lack vocabulary and struggle to express yourself concerning more complex issues. 

Such issues disappear at level B2, when you’re capable of having longer conversations on more difficult topics. You’re able to express your political views at this level, speak about the environment, and agree or disagree with others. 

How Long Will it Take Me?

Level B1 means an additional 200 hours on top of the time you already put in to reach A1 and A2. This means your overall language learning time by this point will be 400 hours

Level B2 will require another 150 hours of studying, for a total of 550 hours.

Would you like to know how to learn Polish faster? Here are some language learning hacks to accelerate your progress:

  1. Watch movies and listen to songs like you did as a beginner. At this level, you should be paying attention to vocabulary and grammar. Make notes as you listen and watch. Not sure where to find more Polish movies? Start here
  1. Find a friend to help you practice your language skills. A language partner can’t replace a study program, but it can definitely help with your progress. Not sure where to look for a partner? Try the Tandem app!
  1. Look for free grammar exercises online to internalize the structures you’re struggling to remember or understand. 

How to Use PolishPod101 as an Intermediate Student

A PolishPod101 Graphic

PolishPod101 has many resources for intermediate students. The lessons may cover some of the same topics that you’ve seen as a beginner, but the vocabulary is more advanced. Check out this lesson on choosing your meal at a Polish restaurant to see what we mean. 

In this lesson, you’ll pick up some basic vocabulary related to food so you can communicate in more complicated situations. In addition to the lesson recording, you have direct access to the dialogue, vocabulary, and a lesson transcript. 

Here are two other intermediate lessons:

If something isn’t clear, you can always comment with a question. A friendly Polish teacher will provide you with a useful answer so you can overcome learning hurdles more easily. 

Are you interested in a specific topic? Use our search option to find related lessons!

Advanced Level

The advanced level (poziom zaawansowany) is the Holy Grail of language learning. Did you know that some students never get there and remain at the intermediate level indefinitely? Don’t worry! There are steps you can take to avoid that fate.

Advanced Level: What Does it Mean?

Reaching an advanced level in Polish means that you can speak about pretty much any topic with confidence. This is level C1 of CEFR. At this level, you could study or work in Polish. 

There’s also level C2, which represents a higher proficiency than even the average native speaker has. At this level, you could give speeches and write essays in Polish. 

How Long Does it Take to Learn Polish Fluently?

The Winner of a Race

To get to the C1 level, you’ll need about 900 hours (900 godzin) of work. 

C2 is trickier to evaluate, as this level requires academic skills on top of general language fluency. It also means that you rarely make mistakes.  

To make the jump from the intermediate level to the advanced level, you need to focus on two things: fluency and accuracy. With that in mind, look over these tips on how to make further progress in learning Polish.

  1. Work with songs and movies by transcribing them. Pay attention to how native speakers talk. What expressions do they use? How do they use grammar? Make notes and learn!

  2. Read books in your target language. You can read for pleasure too, but to see improvement you need to work on really expanding your vocabulary and learning more expressions. Tip: Choose modern books rather than the classics to learn the language as it’s truly spoken today.  
  1. Participate in an internet forum about a topic you’re interested in. Get involved in a discussion and learn from native speakers how to use the language. 

How to Use PolishPod101 as an Advanced Student

While you work to achieve a higher level, you should complement your language learning with knowledge about the country. That’s why PolishPod101 offers many lessons for advanced students focused on improving your understanding of Poland. 

Have a look at this lesson about the famous Polish composer, Frederic Chopin. Lessons like this one are similar to what a native Polish speaker would listen to, should (s)he want to learn more about the composer (kompozytor). Along with the lesson, you get access to the dialogue, vocabulary, lesson notes, lesson transcript, and comments. 

Interested in advanced Polish lessons? Remember to check out other lessons from the advanced audio blog, such as: 

A Map of Poland

Are you on your way to approaching an advanced level and need a way to prove your proficiency? Remember that there are Polish exams you can take to do so. You can read all about them in our dedicated blog post

Final Thoughts

In this article, we answered the question: How long does it take to learn Polish fluently?

We’ve also provided you with details on how long it will take you to reach each level of proficiency, and how to learn Polish faster. You should have a better idea of how to best utilize PolishPod101 and other resources to meet your language learning goals! 

How many hours have you studied Polish already? Let us know in the comments section. 

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Don’t just take our word for it. 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. The sooner you start, the better.

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30 Must-Know Polish Proverbs

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As an English speaker, you’re likely familiar with the Polish proverb: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” (Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.) 

But did you know that Polish is loaded with even more insightful (and often humorous) proverbs you may never have heard before? 

Polish proverbs and sayings are a big part of the Polish culture. Like anywhere else in the world, such expressions are an important part of the spoken and written language. 

In this article, you’ll learn thirty must-know Polish proverbs along with their English translations and their English equivalents (if one exists). Study them carefully, because they can significantly improve your understanding of everyday Polish.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Warnings
  2. Animals
  3. Food
  4. Proverbs with the Word Co
  5. Foreign Affairs
  6. Love
  7. Final Thoughts

1. Warnings

Many Polish proverbs and sayings are used as warnings to help prevent bad things from happening to another person, or to help prepare someone for what to expect. Here’s a number of proverbs that fall under this category.

1. Nieszczęścia chodzą parami.

Literal translation: “Unhappiness comes in pairs.”
English equivalent:Misery loves company.”

Polish people use this saying to describe situations where two bad things happen to someone, or to warn someone that another bad thing may still be coming their way.

2. Jak sobie pościelesz, tak się wyśpisz. 

Literal translation: “How you make your bed will determine how well you’ll sleep.”
English equivalent: “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.”

There are many sayings around the world that remind us to be mindful of our actions, because actions always have consequences. This Polish saying is one such proverb!

A Sleeping Man

3. Kto pod kim dołki kopie, ten sam w nie wpada. 

Literal translation and English equivalent: “He who digs a pit for others falls in himself.”

This old Polish proverb reminds us that even if we sometimes feel tempted—or even justified—to make someone else’s life difficult, such actions may have poor consequences for us.  

4. Gdzie kucharek sześć, tam nie ma co jeść. 

Literal translation: “When there are six cooks, there’s nothing to eat.”
English equivalent: “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

Kids Mock Fighting with Kitchen Utensils

Cooperating with others may be useful when trying to make a decision, but too many people working together can result in conflict. In other words, it’s sometimes more beneficial to make a decision on your own or with only a smaller group of people. 

    → All this talk of food made us hungry! Here are 10 Polish Foods you absolutely have to know.

5. Oliwa sprawiedliwa zawsze na wierzch wypływa. 

Literal translation: “Just oil always ends up surfacing.”
English equivalent: “The truth will be found out.”

When you’ve been wronged, you may feel the need to explain your actions to everyone or to fight whatever gossip people spread about you. But one of the top Polish proverbs reminds us that the truth will be found out, even if not immediately.

6. Z kim się zadajesz, takim się stajesz.

Literal translation: “You become who you befriend.”
English equivalent: “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.”

This proverb is used to warn people to be careful about who they become friends with, as our friends are a reflection of who we are.

2. Animals

Fables are a popular tool for telling cautionary tales and teaching people a variety of morals. It’s not surprising that animals have made it into Polish proverbs and sayings, too. 

7. Lepszy wróbel w garści niż gołąb na dachu. 

Literal translation: “It’s better to have a sparrow in one’s hand than a dove on the roof.”
English equivalent: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

It’s great to have big dreams, but one should also be realistic. One of the most famous Polish proverbs reminds us that sometimes it’s better to settle for something achievable than to keep dreaming about something out of reach. 

8. Nosił wilk razy kilka ponieśli i wilka. 

Literal translation: “The wolf carried a number of times and then was carried itself.”
English equivalent: “The pitcher goes so often to the well that it is broken at last.”

You can get away with bad behavior a few times, but eventually it’ll get noticed and you’ll have to pay for it.

A Wolf

9. Nie dziel skóry na niedźwiedziu.

Literal translation: “Don’t divide a pelt on a (living) bear.”
English equivalent: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

It’s never a good idea to take something for granted that’s not yet certain. This is a good piece of advice for both our personal and professional lives. 

10. Kiedy wejdziesz między wrony musisz krakać tak jak one. 

Literal translation: “When you’re among crows, you must caw like them.”
English equivalent: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

One of the most common Polish proverbs, this saying reminds us about the importance of fitting in. It’s a good tip for traveling and it can be applied to many social situations. 

11. Darowanemu koniowi w zęby się nie zagląda.

Literal translation and English equivalent:Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Horse

If someone gives you a gift, don’t question its value. 


3. Food

Food features heavily on the Polish proverb scene—Polish people certainly love to eat well!

12. Apetyt rośnie w miarę jedzenia

Literal translation and English equivalent: “Appetite comes with eating.”

The more you have, the more you want. Keep this saying in mind to avoid getting greedy. 

13. Bez pracy nie ma kołaczy

Literal translation: “Without work, there’s no kalach [cake].”
English equivalent: “No pain, no gain.”

It’s not surprising that both Polish and English have a proverb on the importance of hard work. Nothing in life comes for free! 

14. Niedaleko spada jabłko od jabłoni. 

Literal translation: “The apple falls not far from the tree.”
English equivalent: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Apple Tree

Family resemblance can often be seen in more than just facial features. This saying is similar to another proverb that’s popular in both languages: Jaki ojciec taki syn. (“Like father, like son.”) 


15. Jaki do jedzenia, taki do roboty.

Literal translation: “The way he eats (is) the way he works.”
English equivalent: “Quick at meat, quick at work.”

You could take this proverb literally, and decide to evaluate people’s suitability for work based on how they eat. Or you could take it figuratively, and read that people show their traits in all they do. 

4. Proverbs with the Word Co 

Co means “what” in Polish, but it’s also used for comparisons in many idioms and proverbs. 

16. Co dwie głowy, to nie jedna

Literal translation: “Two heads aren’t one.”
English equivalent: “Two heads are better than one.”

A Man Scratching His Head

This proverb is straightforward and useful. Are you in trouble? Ask someone for help and advice! Two heads are better than one… 

    → …but what about the other body parts in Polish? Click on the link to learn or review the related vocabulary.

17. Co kraj, to obyczaj

Literal translation: “Every country has its customs.”
English equivalent: “Different strokes for different folks.”

Whether it’s during your travels or in your everyday life, people have different preferences, customs, and beliefs. Remember this proverb next time you feel surprised that something is being done differently than you’re used to. 


18. Co nagle, to po diable. 

Literal translation: “Things done in a hurry are cursed by the devil.”
English equivalent: “Haste makes waste.”

A Woman in a Devil’s Costume

Take your time, because things done and decisions made in a rush often have their faults. 

19. Co się stało, to się nie odstanie

Literal translation: “What happened can’t unhappen.”
English equivalent: “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”

There’s no point in crying over spilled milk. The key to a happy life is to learn from your mistakes, not to beat yourself up over them.

20. Co za dużo, to niezdrowo. 

Literal translation: “What’s too much isn’t healthy.”
English equivalent: “All things in moderation.”

Remember to enjoy everything in moderation. 

5. Foreign Affairs

Thus far, our list of Polish proverbs has included sayings with exact or similar English equivalents. However, most Polish sayings about foreign countries and cities tend to be culturally specific and therefore unique.

21. Wszystkie drogi prowadzą do Rzymu. 

Literal translation and English equivalent:All roads lead to Rome.”

Colosseum in Rome

This proverb means that however you try to obtain a certain goal, it will lead to the same result. 

22. Gdzie Rzym, gdzie Krym.

Literal translation: “Where’s Rome, where’s Crimea.” 

Here’s another old Polish proverb related to Rome. This saying has no close English equivalent. It’s used when two things are completely different or have no relationship to each other. 

23. Polak, Węgier – dwa bratanki, i do szabli, i do szklanki.

Literal translation: “Pole and Hungarian—two brothers, when it comes to the sword and the glass.”

This proverb has no equivalent in English, but there is a literal translation in Hungarian. It refers to the historical friendship between the two countries.  

24. I w Paryżu nie zrobią z owsa ryżu.

Literal translation: Even in Paris, they can’t make rice out of oats.
English equivalent: You can’t make something out of nothing.

A View of Paris

Historically, Paris has been perceived as the European cradle of art and culture. This Polish proverb means that even in such a sophisticated place, certain things cannot be done.

25. Mądry Polak po szkodzie.

Literal translation: “A Polish person is smart after the damage is done.”
English equivalent: “It’s easy to be wise after the event.”

While this proverb is very specific to Poles, it does have a more general English equivalent. After all, we all tend to be wise after we’ve acted and seen the consequences. 

6. Love

Love: Perhaps the most important thing in the world. It should come as no surprise that there are plenty of insightful Polish proverbs about love, romance, and heartbreak! Here are just a few. 

26. Co z oczu to z serca. 

Literal translation: “What comes from eyes comes from the heart.”
English equivalent: “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Love is a great and powerful feeling, but when we haven’t seen someone for a long time this feeling can fade away. 

27. Czas leczy rany.

Literal translation: “Time heals wounds.”
English equivalent: “Time heals all wounds.”

A Crying Woman

You may know the truth of this saying already. Suffering is a common human experience, but it subsides with time. 

    → When dealing with the pain of a breakup, it can really help to know you’re not alone. Here are some relatable Breakup Quotes in Polish to help get you through!

28. Serce nie sługa.

Literal translation: “The heart isn’t a servant.”
English equivalent: “The heart knows no master.”

The heart wants what the heart wants, and it doesn’t always listen to reason! 


29. Miłość jest ślepa.  

Literal translation and English equivalent: “Love is blind.”

Not only does the heart close its ears to reason, but it’s also blind the minute you fall in love. 

30. Na bezrybiu i rak ryba.

Literal translation: “When there’s no fish a crab becomes fish.”
English equivalent: “Beggars can’t be choosers.”

When life circumstances aren’t amazing, you sometimes have to accept less than you normally would. This saying can help you deal with hardships in love, too. 


7. Final Thoughts

There’s a lot of wisdom in Polish proverbs, and you’ve just learned thirty of them! Which of these proverbs is your favorite, and why? Let us know in the comments!

Learning proverbs is an important step in language learning, but you’ll need more than a few witty phrases to become fluent. A well-designed plan of study is something you could really use to see quick results. Head to PolishPod101.com today and create your account to unlock access to countless lessons by native speakers, vocabulary learning tools, and much more!

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A Brief Overview of Polish Grammar

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Studying grammar is an essential part of language learning. An overview of Polish grammar basics will certainly help you understand this complicated Slavic language better. After all, it’s much easier to memorize something when you understand it. 

Today, we’re going to help you familiarize yourself with the most important concepts of Polish grammar. You’ll discover special features of the Polish language that may not be present in your native language or other languages you know. If you were looking for a stepping stone to help you learn Polish grammar, you’ve found the place to be! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. General Rules
  2. Verb Conjugation
  3. Declension
  4. Some Things Don’t Change
  5. Aspect: Perfective and Imperfective
  6. Final Thoughts

1. General Rules

Before we dive in, let’s go over a few basic Polish language grammar rules you should know as a beginner.

Notes

Word Order

The basic word order you’ll see in Polish is SVO. The subject comes first, followed by the verb and, if needed, an object. 

However, the word order in Polish is not fixed. The language allows for some flexibility, so don’t be surprised if you hear or see sentences that don’t follow this pattern. 

We have an entire article on the Polish word order if you want to learn more.

Parts of Speech

In Polish, the different parts of speech are categorized based on whether they undergo changes or remain fixed:

  • Verbs conjugate
  • Nouns, pronouns, adjectives, etc. decline and have number and gender
  • Adverbs are fixed

Students tend to struggle with those parts of speech that undergo changes, so pay special attention to this aspect of Polish language grammar!

Aspect and Tense

Another feature of the Polish language, which is also present in some other Slavic languages, is that verbs have perfective and imperfective aspects. Sounds weird? Don’t worry too much—English has grammatical aspects too, such as the progressive and perfect aspects. 

The good news about the Polish language is that it has only three tenses: the past, the present, and the future. What’s more, personal pronouns often get dropped in Polish. This is because the verb’s conjugation already shows this information.

2. Verb Conjugation   

Many languages have verb conjugations. What does this mean? 

Conjugation refers to how verb forms differ depending on the person and number. Have a look at some different forms of the Polish verb “to be” (być) in the examples below: 

  • Jestem w domu. (“I’m at home.”)
  • On jest z Polski. (“He’s from Poland.”)
  • Jesteście spontaniczni. (“You [plural] are spontaneous.”)

Yes, there are many verb conjugations in Polish. But they can be divided into four main groups to make learning them easier. 

To find out more about them, go to our article about verb conjugations. You can also use a tool, such as Cooljugator or a Polish grammar checker, to accelerate your progress. 

Another tip: Once you know the most popular conjugation patterns, always learn the first two forms of any new verb you pick up. In this manner, you’ll be able to predict the rest of the forms. 

Here are some of our verb lists that you can use to start studying:


3. Declension

A Studious Child

In Polish grammar, declension affects several parts of speech. This is an important topic to cover early on, as it’s one of the most challenging aspects of Polish grammar for foreigners. It requires learners to keep a few different things in mind at the same time. 

First of all, Polish has seven cases: 

1. Nominative (Mianownik)
2. Genitive (Dopełniacz)
3. Dative (Celownik)
4. Accusative (Biernik)
5. Instrumental (Narzędnik)
6. Locative (Miejscownik)
7. Vocative (Wołacz)

Each of these cases has its own set of declension rules that determine how a word changes within a sentence. These changes vary based on a word’s part of speech. In addition, changeable parts of speech have gender and number, adding another layer to the rules.

For now, have a look at the forms below to understand this concept better: 

  • moja mama (“my mother) – a feminine singular noun with the appropriate form of the pronoun mój / “my”
  • moje dzieci (“my children”) – a nonmasculine plural noun with the appropriate form of the pronoun mój / “my”

Now, have a look at the sentence below, where both the adjective and the noun are in the nominative case:

  • To jest pyszna herbata. (“This is a delicious tea.”)

If we make a sentence with the verb pić (“to drink”), it’ll require the accusative case:

  • Piję pyszną herbatę. (“I’m drinking a delicious tea.”)

The genitive case is required to make the sentence negative:

  • Nie piję pysznej herbaty. (“I’m not drinking a delicious tea.”)

The same set of sentences with the neuter noun piwo (“beer”) would look like this:

  • To jest pyszne piwo. (“This is a delicious beer.”)
  • Piję pyszne piwo. (“I’m drinking a delicious beer.”)
  • Nie piję pysznego piwa. (“I’m not drinking a delicious beer.”)

This looks complicated, but it can definitely be mastered. 

The key to understanding Polish grammar is to learn when each case is used and which endings are applied for each case. Learning concepts like these is best done through a mixture of grammar study and lots of exposure to the language. Have a look at our Painless Polish Grammar lesson for a head start!

4. Some Things Don’t Change

Some parts of speech in Polish (most notably, adverbs) remain unchanged. This makes your job as a language learner a tad easier. 

But how can you tell which part of speech a word is? There are many ways to tell.

For example, you can look at the endings: 

Adverbs

  • szybko (“quickly”)
  • wolno (“slowly”)
  • zdrowo (“healthily”)

Adjectives

  • nudny/nudna/nudne (“boring”)
  • czerwony/czerwona/czerwone (“red”)
  • kolorowy/kolorowa/kolorowe (“colorful”)

Nouns

  • człowiek (“human”)
  • pies (“dog”)
  • kobieta (“woman”)

Verbs

  • czyt (“to read”)
  • pis (“to write”)
  • bieg (“to run”)

As you can see, different parts of speech look different. There are always exceptions, but how a word looks is a good indicator of what it is.

A Smiling Student

Another way to tell is by looking at the sentence structure. As we mentioned earlier, Polish has a relatively flexible sentence structure. However, there are some rules: 

  • The verb usually precedes the object.
    • Anna je kolacje. (“Anna’s eating dinner.”)

  • The adjective comes before the noun.
    • Czytam ciekawą książkę. (“I’m reading an interesting book.”)
  • Pronouns go before adjectives and nouns.
    • Moja inteligentna córka uczy się świetnie. (“My intelligent daughter does great at school.”)

Of course, the best way to learn the parts of speech is to memorize enough vocabulary. Speaking of, have you had a look at our vocabulary lists yet?

A Stack of Books

5. Aspect: Perfective and Imperfective 

As we mentioned earlier, Polish has only three tenses. But in Polish grammar, verbs also conjugate based on an additional component: aspect. It focuses on the completion of an action, which is why we have two kinds of verbs: perfective (dokonany) and imperfective (niedokonany). 

Perfective verbs mark the completion of an action. Here are a few examples of such verbs in sentences: 

  • Zjem obiad. (“I’ll eat lunch.”)
  • Zrobiłam zakupy. (“I’ve done shopping.”)
  • Adam do mnie zadzwonił. (“Adam has called me.”)

Compare them with their imperfective counterparts:

  • Jem obiad. (“I’m eating lunch.”)
  • Robiłam zakupy. (“I was shopping.”)
  • Adam do mnie dzwonił. (“Adam has been calling me.”)

The Word Verb on the Blue Screen

To make sure you know Polish verbs well, it’s good to learn perfective and imperfective verbs together. That way, you’ll be sure that you can express yourself regardless of what you’re trying to say.

6. Final Thoughts

We hope that this Polish grammar overview has deepened your understanding of the basic Polish grammar concepts. You can now start building on this basic knowledge to accelerate your Polish learning.

Are any features of Polish grammar similar to those of your native language? What’s different? Let us know in the comments section. We love hearing from you!

While understanding Polish grammar is certainly important, there are more steps you need to take to improve your language skills. To truly learn the language, you need a well-designed action plan. Fortunately, you can get exactly that with PolishPod101. 

On our platform, you’ll find lesson recordings by native speakers, flashcards, vocabulary lists, a Polish dictionary, and much more. All of our materials are designed to help you speak Polish with confidence and understand the language better. 

Start your free trial today and find out for yourself how amazing our website is!

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Is Polish Hard to Learn? Find Out Now!

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If you’re thinking about learning Polish but haven’t started yet, it’s probably because you have a few questions: Why should you learn Polish in the first place? Is Polish hard to learn, and if so, is it really worth it? 

Well, there are many reasons you may want to learn Polish: traveling to Poland, a Polish partner, a Polish heritage, personal development, and the list goes on. You surely have your own reason for wanting to learn the language. The most important thing is to not let other people scare you with their negativity and the myths they share about the Polish language.  

In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth review of what makes Polish hard to learn for some students, how to overcome those challenges, and what things about Polish are actually pretty easy. Let’s get started!

A Student Thinking Hard about Something

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Polish Table of Contents
  1. Is Polish Hard to Learn?
  2. The Hardest and Easiest Aspects of Polish
  3. How to Start Learning Polish
  4. Things to Keep in Mind When Learning Polish
  5. Why is PolishPod101 Great for Learning Polish?
  6. Final Thoughts

1. Is Polish Hard to Learn?

The short answer to this question is “No!” But we don’t blame you for asking.

Many people, before they start learning a language, try to find out whether that language is hard to learn. There are also many myths about languages—such as Polish—being particularly hard to learn. These myths, however, often come from people who failed to put enough effort into learning that language. 

We can tell you that statements such as “Polish is so difficult” (Polski jest taki trudny!) are just excuses not to learn the language. 

Other people simply study hard and manage to successfully learn Polish, whether they live in Poland or not. Of course, like any language, Polish has certain concepts that are rather challenging. But rest assured, it has plenty of simpler concepts as well! 

2. The Hardest and Easiest Aspects of Polish 

How difficult is it to learn Polish, then? It’s as difficult to learn as any other language; if you put your heart in it and keep studying, fluency in Polish is definitely accessible!

Let’s have a look at the hardest aspects (najtrudniejsze zagadnienia) of learning Polish, and then the easiest ones (najłatwiejsze zagadnienia). 

A- The Hardest Aspects of Polish

There’s a number of concepts that Polish-learners find particularly hard to master (materiał wyjątkowo trudny do opanowania). In no particular order, here are the things that make Polish hard to learn: 

  • Pronunciation

Polish pronunciation can be quite challenging in the beginning. There are many Polish letters that are written similarly to each other but are pronounced differently: 

    dz in dzwon (“bell”)
    in dżdżownica (“earthworm”)
    in wig (“crane”)
    s in sosna (“pine”)
    ś in śnieg (“snow”)
    sz in szlak (“trail”)
    c in ciocia (“aunt”)
    ć in ćma (“moth”)
    cz in cześć (“hi”)

There are also letters that are spelled differently but are pronounced the same way: 

    ch in choinka (“Christmas tree”)
    h in herbata (“tea”)
    rz in rzeka (“river”)
    ż in żaba (“frog”)
    u in uroda (“beauty”)
    ó in próba (“attempt”)

Last but not least, we have the famous consonant clusters in words such as szczęście (“happiness”), czkawka (“hiccups”), or grzmot (“thunder”).

A Pronunciation Teacher

Even if Polish pronunciation is challenging, there are a few ways you can make the learning process easier. For example, both listening to Polish and repeating Polish words out loud are helpful in this regard. Check out our lesson Polish Pronunciation Made Easy for more tips. 

  • Noun Gender and Agreement

Polish nouns have grammatical gender. There are three genders in the singular (żeński – “feminine” / męski – “masculine” / nijaki – “neuter”) and two genders in the plural (męskoosobowy – “masculine personal” and niemęskoosobowy – “non-masculine personal”). 

    kobieta (“woman”) – rodzaj żeński (feminine) 
    facet (“guy”) – rodzaj męski (masculine) 
    okno (“window”) – rodzaj nijaki (neuter)

    kobiety (“women”) – rodzaj niemęskoosobowy (“non-masculine personal”)
    faceci (“guys”) – rodzaj męskoosobowy (“masculine personal”)

Other parts of speech, such as adjectives, also undergo agreement with nouns in terms of gender, number, and case: 

    Inteligentna kobieta (“a smart woman”) – rodzaj żeński (feminine), singular
    Przystojni faceci (“good-looking guys”) – rodzaj męskoosobowy (masculine), plural
  • Noun Cases and Agreement

Nouns are governed by more than just gender; they also have cases. Grammatical case refers to a noun having different forms depending on the context in which it’s used. There are seven cases in Polish:

  • To jest inteligentna kobieta. (“She’s a clever woman.” Or literally: “It’s a clever woman.”) 
    • the nominative case mianownik 
  • Nie znam tej inteligentnej kobiety. (“I don’t know this clever woman.”) 
    • the genitive case dopełniacz
  • Opowiem ci o tej inteligentnej kobiecie. (“I’ll tell you about this clever woman.”) 
    • the dative case celownik
  • Często widzę tę inteligentną kobietę. (“I often see this clever woman.”) 
    • the accusative case biernik 
  • Poszłam na spacer z tą inteligentną kobietą, o której ci mówiłam. (“I went for a walk with this clever woman I told you about.”) 
    • the instrumental case narzędnik 
  • Mówiłam ci o tej inteligentnej kobiecie w moim biurze. (“I told you about this clever woman from my office.”) 
    • the locative case miejscownik
  • Hej, inteligentna kobieto! (“Hey, clever woman!”)
    • the vocative case wołacz

B- The Easiest Aspects of Polish

Uff! We’re done with the hardest aspects of learning Polish. Now, we’ll go over the easier aspects of learning Polish! 

  • Tenses

So how easy is Polish to learn? Quite easy when you compare its tenses to those in English (which has as many as sixteen tenses!). Polish, on the other hand, has only three tenses: the past, the present, and the future. Have a look at the following examples: 

A Man Reading a Newspaper
    Czytam gazetę. (“I’m reading a newspaper.”)
    Czytam gazetę codziennie. (“I read a newspaper every day.”)
    Czytałem/Czytałam gazetę i słuchałem muzyki. (“I was reading a newspaper and listening to music.”)

The past tense in Polish has, respectively, masculine and feminine forms of verbs.

    Nie czytałem/czytałam tej powieści. (“I haven’t read this novel.”)
    Nie wiem czy będę im czytać dziś wieczorem. (“I don’t know whether I’ll read to them tonight.”)
  • Polish is a phonetic language

Do you remember when we said that Polish pronunciation can be challenging because of certain letters? Some sounds are indeed challenging, but Polish is a phonetic language which means that it’s read as it’s written. To see why this is so significant, just read the following English words to yourself: 

    ➢ bone – done – gone
    ➢ wall – wax – want
    ➢ loud – should – mould

Even though the bolded letter combinations are spelled the same way, they’re pronounced differently. 

Many people ask things like “How hard is Polish to learn for English-speakers?” And to me, it seems that it’s much easier than their native language at times! Let’s have a look at some words in Polish that contain the same letters: 

You can click on the words to go to recordings of their pronunciation. You see? The letters are read just like they’re written.

  • Lack of articles 

Articles are an important part of English. So you may be surprised to hear that when native Polish-speakers start learning English, they often forget to use them because their native language has no articles. Yes, you’ve heard us right: there are no articles in Polish. 

  • Kot siedzi i czeka. (“A/the cat is sitting and waiting.”)
  • Pies szczeka. (“A/the dog is barking.”)
  • Krowa muczy. (“A/the cow is mooing.”)

How hard is Polish to learn for English-speakers if they don’t have to learn certain grammar concepts, but forget them? It seems like a sweet deal to us. 😉

3. How to Start Learning Polish

Learning a language is a much easier process if it’s well-structured. As such, there are a few things you should focus on at the beginning of your language journey to make the entire process that much smoother.

A- Learn Pronunciation and Reading Rules

Polish pronunciation is a major reason that new learners tend to find the language difficult. That said, Polish pronunciation only seems challenging. When you put proper effort into learning it, you’re going to see that it’s really not that difficult. 

Start by focusing only on how to pronounce individual sounds, then clusters of consonants, then whole words, and then the last stage, which is sentences. You can learn Polish pronunciation rules on our Polish pronunciation page

While you practice your pronunciation, it’s important that you don’t forget to work on your reading skills. Reading rules in Polish are predictable, so learning to read is an easy way to see progress more quickly. Once you know how to read, it’ll also be easier to pronounce words and sentences in Polish.     

B- Learn Basic Vocabulary

A Child with Flashcards

You’d be surprised how much easier Polish communication is once you master the basic vocabulary. Expressing yourself will make you feel more comfortable with the language. You’ll also have a great foundation to build upon as you advance to intermediate and advanced levels. 

To learn what’s considered to be a “basic vocabulary,” check out the European Union (Unia Europejska) resource about what’s expected from lower levels according to the CEFR global scale. You can also opt to let PolishPod101 guide you through this process with our curated pathways for each level.

C- Work on Your Listening Comprehension Skills 

Learning vocabulary allows you to not only express yourself, but also to understand what’s being said to you. 

Listening to a new language can be an extremely fun activity. When you start understanding what’s being said, you’ll find it very rewarding! 

Listening to Polish is particularly important if you want to really understand things like cases and gender agreement. Instead of sitting and studying grammar rules for hours and hours, you can spend this time more productively by listening to the language and training yourself to understand what sounds right and what doesn’t. 

You can work on your listening comprehension skills by watching Polish movies (polskie filmy), listening to recordings (nagrania), and exploring the PolishPod101 lesson library. 

4. Things to Keep in Mind When Learning Polish

Instead of asking yourself “Is Polish hard to learn?” keep the following things in mind: 

1. You Should Practice Every Day

You don’t need to spend hours a day learning Polish. In fact, if you overcommit early on, you’re likely to experience burnout. Instead, focus on spending a bit of time with Polish every single day. Set a goal for yourself. Can you do ten minutes of Polish seven times a week? I’m sure you can. 

2. Don’t Listen to People Trying to Discourage You

Many people, when they hear about your plan to learn Polish, will ask you if it’s worth it. They’re just trying to put you in a negative frame of mind; they want you to focus only on the negative or difficult aspects of the language, and not on the easier aspects.

Any language is difficult to learn if you take the wrong approach. Remember that learning Polish will be as easy for you as you make it for yourself. 

3. Surround Yourself with the Language

People Surrounding a Round Table that Looks Like a Globe

Surround yourself with Polish as much as you can. There are Polish series and movies on platforms such as Netflix and Showmax that you can opt to watch in lieu of your regular English-language shows. In addition, you can find Polish music that you like or sneak some Polish in by changing the language of your phone and/or social media to Polish.

4. Find a Language Partner or Tutor

A language can’t be learned in a vacuum. Find someone with whom you can practice what you’re learning. You can find a language partner, but an even better option is to find a qualified language teacher or a tutor. You can upgrade your PolishPod101 account to get one-on-one access to a personal teacher. 

5. Why is PolishPod101 Great for Learning Polish?

PolishPod101 knows exactly how difficult learning Polish can be, and we provide resources specifically for people who speak English as their native language. We offer a number of functionalities that will make your language-learning experience much easier, such as: 

1. Lesson Recordings with Native Speakers

PolishPod101 has a massive library of lessons recorded by native speakers to help you learn Polish. By listening to Polish that you could hear on the street, you’ll be prepared for the real-life experience.  

2. Unique Learning Modes

As a premium member, you can benefit from many unique learning modes. You could access in-depth lesson notes, exclusive custom word lists, interactive lessons and quizzes, voice recording tools, a Polish audio library, and much more. 

3. Vocabulary Learning

PolishPod101 allows you to learn vocabulary through many different lessons, the word bank functionality, a Word of the Day email, a vocabulary slideshow, and a list of Polish core words and phrases. That’s a great opportunity to acquire all the useful vocabulary you need to get started. 

4. Blog Articles

To learn more about the Polish language and culture, you can access our blog. You’ll find useful, real-life Polish expressions there, and so much more. 

5. Learning On-the-Go

Electronics

With PolishPod101, you can easily learn on-the-go on your devices. Download your InnovativeLanguage101 app for Android, iPhone, iPad, or Kindle Fire, and save time learning when you’d otherwise be idle. 

6. Final Thoughts

I hope we’ve answered the question “Is Polish difficult to learn?” and have shown you that with the right attitude and tools, it’s not so hard at all. Like in any other language, there are easier and harder aspects to the language to consider.

By now, you should also know that learning with a well-designed tool is very helpful. An easy way to learn Polish is with PolishPod101, which offers our students an organized system to master the Polish language with little trouble. Don’t take our word for it, though. Start your account today and enjoy the platform for seven days. It’s on us!

Before you go, we’re curious: Is Polish a hard language for you so far? Which things do you struggle with the most? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out!

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The 10+ Most Common Polish Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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It’s natural for a beginner to make mistakes in a new language. But fortunately, there are ways in which you can minimize them. To help you do exactly that, in this article, we’re going to discuss the ten plus most common Polish mistakes. 

By understanding what kind of mistakes other students make, you can prevent yourself from falling into those same linguistic traps. For your convenience, we’ve put the most common Polish mistakes by English-speakers into groups. 

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Pronunciation and Spelling Mistakes
  2. Vocabulary Mistakes
  3. Polish Grammar Mistakes
  4. Level of Formality
  5. Other Polish Mistakes
  6. The Biggest Mistake
  7. Final Thoughts

1. Pronunciation and Spelling Mistakes 

The most common Polish mistakes that learners of different language backgrounds tend to make have to do with pronunciation and spelling.

A Man with Letters Coming Out of His Mouth

A- Similar Spelling, Different Pronunciation

Certain consonants in Polish are particularly difficult for language-learners due to the fact that they’re written similarly to each other. Some students also feel that their pronunciation is relatively similar. The following letters and sounds are a source of common pronunciation and spelling mistakes for Polish-learners: 

  • s, ś, and sz
  • c, ć, and cz
  • dz, , and

Pay particular attention to how words with these letters are written when you’re reading something out loud. When writing down vocabulary, you need to be very careful as well, especially when you’re making notes of what you hear. In this case, check a given word in a dictionary to make sure you’re learning the correct form of it. Last but not least, listen to how native speakers pronounce words with these letters to train your ear. 

B. Different Spelling, Same Pronunciation

The good news here is that people learning Polish as a foreign language are not the only ones with this problem. It’s quite common for native speakers to make this spelling mistake in Polish, too! This is because the letters in question are pronounced the same way, but spelled differently. However, a mistake that hits foreigners particularly hard is trying to pronounce double letter sounds as if they were separate letters.

Here’s another source of common Polish pronunciation mistakes: 

  • ch and h
  • rz and ż
  • u and ó

A good way to fight this problem is to learn vocabulary words along with their spelling and pronunciation. Reading plenty of articles and books can also minimize your chances of making these common pronunciation mistakes for Polish-learners. 


2. Vocabulary Mistakes

A Child Studying with Flashcards

There are many vocabulary items that are confusing for learners because certain ideas don’t exist in their native language. In the following sections, we’ll outline frequent errors in Polish that foreign learners tend to make. 

A- Verbs of Motion

Polish verbs of motion are definitely among the top Polish-English mistakes. Have a look at the following verbs: 

chodzić vs. iść

Both verbs can mean “to go” in English, which certainly doesn’t make your task any easier. However, what you should remember is the context in which we use them. Iść is used for activities that happen in a given moment, while chodzić is used for repetitive actions.

  • Idę do pracy. (“I’m going to work.”) 
  • Chodzę do pracy pięć razy w tygodniu. (“I go to work five times a week.”)

Because chodzić refers to something that’s done frequently, it’s often accompanied by a plural form of the noun when talking about habits. Compare: 

  • Idziesz na spacer? (“Are you going for a walk [now]?”)
  • Chodzisz na spacery? (“Is it your habit to take walks?”)

You’d also use chodzić to speak about “walking” as a general activity and iść to refer to “walking” in a given moment. For example: 

  • On nie może chodzić. (“He can’t walk.”)
  • Czemu tak wolno idziesz? (“Why are you walking so slowly?”)

jeździć vs. jechać

Jeździć and jechać have a similar relationship as the previous pair of verbs. Both mean to go somewhere with a mode of transport. Jeździć is used for repetitive situations, and jechać for a description of something that’s happening in a given moment:

  • Co roku jeździm nad morze. (“Every year, we go to the seaside.”)
  • Dzisiaj jedziemy nad morze. (“Today, we’re going to the seaside.”)

How often do you go to the seaside? Learn how to talk about it with our lesson on how to express frequency.

A Seaside Resort

Both verbs can also mean “to drive”:

  • Ile lat jeździsz tym samochodem? (“How long have you been driving this car?”)
  • Jadę samochodem, nie mogę rozmawiać. (“I’m driving, I can’t talk.”)

B- Imperfective and Perfective Verbs

Polish verbs have an aspect and are divided into perfective aspect and imperfective aspect verbs. 

Perfective verbs focus on completion of an action, so they’re associated with the past and the future. Imperfective verbs, on the other hand, focus on the fact that the action is being performed. 

The difference isn’t obvious to many foreigners, which makes it a common source of Polish grammar mistakes. Have a look at the following pairs with examples to see the difference:

kupować (imperfective) vs. kupić (perfective) – “to buy”

  • Kupowałam pierogi, kiedy zadzwoniła mi komórka. (“I was buying pierogi, when my phone rang.”) 
  • Kupiłam pierogi. (“I’ve bought pierogi.”)

Go to our lesson “10 Polish Foods” to learn what else you can eat in Poland. 

śpiewać (imperfective) vs. zaśpiewać (perfective) – “to sing”

  • Śpiewam w chórze. (“I sing in a choir.”)
  • Zaśpiewam ci piosenkę. (“I will sing a song for you.”)

jeść (imperfective) vs. zjeść (perfective) – “to eat”

  • Jem obiad. (“I’m eating lunch.”)
  • Zjesz obiad? (“Will you eat lunch?”)

C- Talking About Age

A Birthday Cake with a Question Mark-shaped Candle

In Polish, you should use the verb “to have” (mieć) to speak about your age. This is different from English, where you use the verb “to be,” making this one of the most common mistakes in Polish made by English-speakers. Compare: 

  • Mam 32 lata. (“I’m 32 years old.”)
  • Ile masz lat? (“How old are you?”)

Are you still not sure how to talk about your age? Go to our “Polish in three minutes lesson about this topic.

D- Knowledge Verbs in Polish

There are three different verbs that refer to knowledge in Polish: umieć, wiedzieć, and znać. As luck would have it, they all translate to the English verb “to know,” and therefore, they’re among the most typical Polish mistakes made by foreigners.

umieć 

We use this verb to talk about skills, such as:

  • umieć liczyć (“to know how to count”)
  • umieć śpiewać (“to know how to sing”)
  • umieć czytać (“to know how to read”)

wiedzieć

We use this verb to talk about knowledge in more specific situations:

  • Nie wiem, co masz na myśli. (“I don’t know what you mean.”)
  • Nie wiem, czy to prawda. (“I don’t know whether it’s true.”)
  • Nie wiem, ile ma lat. (“I don’t know how old he is.”)

znać 

We use this verb to talk about people we know, languages we speak, and when a noun follows the verb directly:

  • Nie znam jej męża. (“I don’t know her husband.”)
  • Nie znam angielskiego. (“I don’t know/speak English.”)
  • Nie znam prawdy. (“I don’t know the truth.”)

3. Polish Grammar Mistakes

A Grammar-related Table

Many of the top Polish-English mistakes have to do with grammar elements that are confusing for English-speakers. Following is a list of Polish mistakes you should always try to avoid! 

A- Expressing “Going to” in Polish

Some English-speakers try to express the idea of “going to” with verbs of movement. The confusion has to do with the fact that you can say:

  • Idziemy na basen. (“We’re going to a swimming pool.”)

What’s important to remember is that the meaning of this sentence has to do with the verb iść (“to go”).

  • Planujemy pójść na basen. (“We’re going to go to a swimming pool.”)

To refer to planned actions and express “going to” for future events, you should use other verbs, such as planować (“to plan”) as in the example above. 

B- Gender Agreement

Lack of gender agreement is among the most common Polish grammar mistakes. In English, nouns do not have gender, so the mere concept is alien to English-speakers. In Polish, though, each noun has gender and it always has to be in agreement with the adjective used to describe it:

  • mądra kobieta (noun, feminine) – “a smart woman”
  • mądry człowiek (noun, masculine) – “a smart human being”
  • mądre dziecko (noun, neuter) – “a smart child”

The agreement also takes place with other parts of speech that are modified, such as pronouns: 

  • taka mądra kobieta (noun, feminine) – “such a smart woman”
  • taki mądry człowiek (noun, masculine) – “such a smart human being”
  • takie mądre dziecko (noun, neuter) – “such a smart child”

The gender agreement is also affected by number. Compare singular and plural: 

  • mądra kobieta (singular) / mądre kobiety (plural)
  • mądry człowiek (singular) / mądrzy ludzie (plural)
  • mądre dziecko (singular) / mądre dzieci (plural)

To learn more about the topic of gender, familiarize yourself with our lesson “The Secret to Understanding Polish Noun Gender.”

C- Case Agreement

The Polish language has seven different cases, and Polish noun cases are a source of many common Polish grammar mistakes. Students who struggle with this particular grammar concept the least are speakers of other Slavic languages.

A Kitten
  • Ala ma kota. (“Ala has a cat.”)

The proper noun “Ala” is in the nominative case here. If you decide to add an adjective or pronoun to modify a noun, you’ll have to use the nominative case for it. Case agreement is done in conjunction with gender agreement:

  • To sympatyczna dziewczyna [feminine noun]. (“She’s a nice girl.”)

Would you like to learn more Polish adjectives? Check out our lesson about high-frequency adjectives

The same process takes place for pronouns: 

  • Moja mama [feminine noun] ma dwa psy. (“My mother has two cats.”)

This is true for all cases, and it’s something you should always keep in mind when forming sentences in Polish. A good way to practice is to create simple sentences to make sure you understand when to use which case. This process is much more effective under the eye of a teacher. You can gain access to one through a Premium PolishPod101 membership. 

This sums up the most common Polish grammar mistakes. Now, it’s time to move on and discuss another common mistake in Polish, namely, the level of formality. 

4. Level of Formality

One of many important mistakes in Polish to avoid are related to the level of formality. In English, you’re used to using “you” with almost everyone. But Polish recognizes two types of “you,” the formal one and the informal one.

The informal version, ty, is used among friends, family members, and people of the same age. It requires the second person singular form of the verb: 

  • Jak się masz? (“How are you?”)

The formal version—pan for a man or pani for a woman—uses the third person singular. We use it with people who we don’t know, unless they’re children or teenagers. We can also use it if the context seems to call for it. Here are two examples: 

  • Jak się pani ma? (“How are you, Ma’am?”)
  • Jak się pan ma? (“How are you, Sir?”)

To be on the safe side, use formal Polish. Being too formal is certainly better than being overly familiar.

5. Other Polish Mistakes

Other common Polish mistakes have to do with question formation and negation. 

A- Forming Questions

A Speech Bubble with a Question Mark in It

It’s easy to make a mistake in Polish when forming questions. This is because, in the spoken language, questions are simply indicated by the change of intonation. Many other questions, even in writing, get the same word: czy. In English, on the other hand, the question word differs depending on the tense:

  • Czy masz ochotę na kawę? (“Would you like a coffee?”)
  • Czy Marcin kupił jajka? (“Did Marcin buy eggs?”)
  • Czy mam rację? (“Am I right?”)

Of course, Polish has words for “who” (kto), “what” (co), and so on. Want to learn more? See our lesson on the 10 questions you should know

B- Negation

Polish allows double negation, leading to many Polish-English mistakes because it seems particularly unnatural to English-speakers. Have a look at the following examples: 

  • Nikogo nie widzę. (“I don’t see anyone.”) – Literal translation: “I don’t see no one.”
  • Nigdy tego nie zrobię. (“I’ll never do it.”) – Literal translation: “I’ll never not do it.”
  • Marek niczego nie czyta. (“Marek doesn’t read anything.”) – Literal translation: “Marek doesn’t read nothing.”

6. The Biggest Mistake

The biggest mistake in Polish is…not practicing the language. Perfection is something many of us aspire to, but it’s impossible to achieve. You should simply try your best and keep practicing. To make a mistake in Polish isn’t a sign of weakness, but simply an indication that you’re learning. Using the language is the only way to get better at it!

7. Final Thoughts

Today, we’ve discussed the most common Polish language mistakes. Thanks to this article, you’ll be able to avoid the top Polish-English mistakes!

Before you go, remember to let us know in the comments section which of these common mistakes in learning Polish bother you the most! 

Don’t stop your learning journey here. Continue improving your Polish skills with PolishPod101. We have countless resources for you to learn with, and all of our audio and video lessons featuring native speakers will help you avoid common pronunciation mistakes in particular. Get your lifetime account today!

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Conversation Starters: Top 10 Polish Questions with Answers

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When you start your language-learning journey with Polish, managing to have a conversation with a native speaker is one of the most rewarding experiences. This is why it’s important to work on your conversational skills early on. 

What’s the best way to do this? By learning the top ten Polish questions with answers, of course!

Once you learn these, you’ll be prepared for whatever may appear in a simple conversation in Poland. Read on and learn how to ask a question in Polish (and answer it yourself)!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. What’s your name?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. Do you speak Polish?
  4. How are you?
  5. Where do you live?
  6. What did you say?
  7. How old are you?
  8. “What is it?” and “Who is it?”
  9. Are you hungry/thirsty?
  10. How much is it?
  11. Final Thoughts

1. What’s your name?

First Encounter

The Polish word for “question” is pytanie

The first and most important pytanie for conversations is “What’s your name?” In Polish, the way one asks this question depends on the level of formality. The rule of thumb is to use the formal version unless the person you’re speaking with is your age, your family member, or anyone else in an informal context. 

Formal Questions and Answers 

There’s a number of Polish questions you can ask to learn someone’s name. To just ask about their first name, you can say:

  • Jak ma pani na imię? (“What’s your name, Ma’am?”)
  • Jak ma pan na imię? (“What’s your name, Sir?”)

The answer would be:

  • Mam na imię [name]. (“My name is [name].”)

You could also begin by giving your name, and then ask for theirs:

  • Mam na imię [name], a pan/pani? (“My name is [name], and yours, Sir/Ma’am?”)

When you want to ask a question in Polish about someone’s name and surname in a formal context, you can say: 

  • Jak się pani nazywa? (“What’s your name [and surname], Ma’am?”)
  • Jak się pan nazywa? (“What’s your name [and surname], Sir?”)

There’s also another way of asking the same question. It’s slightly old-fashioned, but some people in Poland still use it, particularly in places that have to do with public administration: 

  • [Jaka jest] pani godność? (“[What’s] your name and surname, Ma’am?”)
  • [Jaka jest] pańska godność? (“[What’s] your name and surname, Sir?”)

Both types of questions would be answered with: 

  • Nazywam się [name and surname]. (“My name [and surname] is {name and surname}.”)

If appropriate, you can also add a follow-up question, as follows:

  • Nazywam się [name], a pan/pani? (“My name and surname is [name and surname], and yours, Sir/Ma’am?”)

Informal Questions and Answers

Polish language questions in the informal context are similar to those in the formal context. With certain exceptions, the main difference is that formal questions use the conjugated form of the third person singular, while informal questions use the second person singular. Compare: 

Formal

  • Jak ma pani na imię? (“What’s your name, Ma’am?”)
  • Jak ma pan na imię? (“What’s your name, Sir?”)

Informal

  • Jak masz na imię? (“What’s your name?”)

You can answer this question with or without the follow-up question a ty? (“and you?”). Here are examples of how it would look to use the follow-up: 

  • Mam na imię [name], a ty? (“My name is [name], and yours?”)
  • Jestem [name], a ty? (“I’m [name], and you?”)

When asking informally about someone’s name and surname, you’d ask and answer:

  • Jak się nazywasz? (“What’s your name and surname?”)
  • Nazywam się [name and surname]. (“My name and surname is [name and surname].”)

Of course, there’s more to introductions than just giving your name. These lessons may come in handy:


2. Where are you from?

Another very useful Polish question is “Where are you from?” Here are Polish questions and answers for talking about nationality.

Formal Questions and Answers 

Below you can find the most popular way of asking this question in a formal context: 

  • Skąd pani pochodzi? (“Where do you come from, Ma’am?”)
  • Skąd pan pochodzi? (“Where do you come from, Sir?”)

The answer to this question is: 

  • Pochodzę z Poland. (“I come from Poland.)

As always, you can also add a follow-up question: A pan/pani? (“And you, Ma’am/Sir?”).

Here’s a dialogue showcasing a different way to ask and answer the question:

  • Jakiej jest pani narodowości? (“What’s your nationality, Ma’am?”)
  • Jakiej jest pan narodowości? (“What’s your nationality, Sir?”)
  • Jestem [nationality]. (“I’m [nationality].”)

Informal Questions and Answers

When asking this question in informal contexts, there’s one more possible way to answer. We’ll group each question and answer pair here for ease of reference:

  • Skąd pochodzisz? (“Where do you come from?”)
  • Pochodzę z Poland. (“I come from Poland.”)
  • Skąd jesteś? (“Where are you from?”)
  • Jestem z Poland. (“I’m from Poland.”)
  • Jakiej jesteś narodowości? (“What’s your nationality?”)
  • Jestem [nationality]. (“I’m [nationality], and you?”)

If you’re still unsure how to talk about your home country, go to our lesson “Where are you from?” and deepen your knowledge. 

3. Do you speak Polish?

Introducing Yourself

Asking about someone’s language skills is a good conversation starter. Here are some Polish questions that will help you do that. 

  • Czy mówi pani/pan po Polish? (“Do you speak Polish, Sir/Ma’am?”) [formal]
  • Czy mówisz po Polish? (“Do you speak Polish, Sir/Ma’am?”) [informal]
  • Tak, mówię po Polish. (“Yes, I speak Polish.”)
  • Nie, nie mówię po Polish. (“No, I don’t speak Polish.”)
  • Czy zna pani/pan Polish? (“Do you speak Polish, Sir/Ma’am?”)
  • Czy znasz Polish? (“Do you speak Polish?”)
  • Tak, znam Polish. (“Yes, I know Polish.”)
  • Nie, nie znam Polish. (“No, I don’t know Polish.”)

How would you ask “Do you speak English?” in Polish? Click on the link and check your comprehension of this topic.

4. How are you?

Asking people how they’re doing is something we do in English a lot. It’s also one of the basic questions in Polish, but it’s not used in every interaction like it is in English. When asking these kinds of questions to Polish people, expect for them to share more than just “Fine, thanks.”

Formal Questions and Answers

  • Jak się pani/pan ma? (“How are you, Ma’am/Sir?”)

The answer in this case would be: 

  • Dziękuję, dobrze. (“Well, thank you.”)
  • Mam się dobrze, dziękuję. (“I’m well, thank you.”)

Informal Questions and Answers

There are many more basic Polish questions about someone’s well-being for informal contexts: 

  • Jak się masz? (“How are you?”)
  • Co dobrego? (“What’s good?”)
  • Co u Ciebie? (“How are you doing?”)
  • Co tam? (“What’s up?”)
  • Co słychać? (“How’s it going?”)

There’s also a number of answers that can be given, depending on how much you want to share with the person you’re talking to: 

  • Dobrze, dzięki. (“Good, thanks.”)
  • Spoko, dzięki. (“Cool, thanks.”)
  • Jakoś leci. (“It’s going.”)
  • Nie narzekam. (“I can’t complain.”)
  • A, daj spokój. (“Agh, give me a break.”)

The last answer often begins a list of complaints or bad things that have recently happened to that person. 

5. Where do you live?

Other common conversation questions in Polish are those for asking where someone lives.

A Person about to Write an Address on an Envelope

Formal Questions and Answers

Formal questions in Polish about one’s address are usually asked in official situations, such as in a bank, at a post office, or at a police station: 

  • Gdzie pan/pani mieszka? (“Where do you live, Sir/Ma’am?”) 
  • Jaki jest pański/pani adres zamieszkania? (“What’s your address, Sir/Ma’am?”)
  • Mieszkam w [city]. (“I live in [city].”)
  • Mój adres to ulica [street name] [street number]. (“My address is [street number] [street name].”)

Informal Questions and Answers

There are two ways you can ask this in informal contexts:

  • Gdzie mieszkasz? (“Where do you live?”)
  • Jaki jest twój adres? (“What’s your address?”)

You can expect these answers:

  • Mieszkam na ulicy [street name] [street number]. (“I live on [street number] [street name].”)
  • Mój adres to ulica [street name] [street number]. (“My address is [street number] [street name].”)

Did you know that “Where do you live?” is one of the top 25 Polish questions? Check out our lesson to learn even more. 

6. What did you say?

Knowing how to ask for clarification is very handy for beginners who may not always understand what’s being said. 

Formal Questions and Answers

Here are the formal questions in Polish:

  • Przepraszam, co pan/pani powiedziała? (“What did you say, Sir/Ma’am?”)
  • Czy może pan/pani powtórzyć? (“Can you repeat, please, Sir/Ma’am?”)
  • Przepraszam, nie dosłyszałem, czy może pan/pani powtórzyć? (“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said, can you repeat, please, Sir/Ma’am?”) [if the speaker is a man]
  • Przepraszam, nie dosłyszałam, czy może pan/pani powtórzyć? (“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said, can you repeat, please, Sir/Ma’am?”) [if the speaker is a woman]

Here’s a number of possible answers to these questions: 

  • Oczywiście. (“Certainly.”)
  • Już powtarzam. (“I’m repeating now.”)

Informal Questions and Answers

  • Co powiedziałeś/powiedziałaś? (“What did you say?”) [asked to a man and a woman, respectively]

Be careful! This question, depending on the tone, may be considered aggressive.

  • Co? (“What?”)

The question above is a very common, though not extremely polite, thing to say, making it one of the most important Polish question words. 

  • Sorry, nie dosłyszałem, możesz powtórzyć? (“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said, can you repeat, please?”) [said by a man]
  • Sorry, nie dosłyszałam, możesz powtórzyć? (“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said, can you repeat, please?”) [said by a woman]
  • Weź, powtórz. (“Come again.”)

Here are two possible answers:

  • Jasne. (“Sure”)
  • Zaczekaj chwilę. (“Hold on a second.”)

7. How old are you?

During an initial chat, you may want to ask about your interlocutor’s age. 

Formal Questions and Answers

In the formal context, questions about age are often asked during doctor’s appointments, for other health-related services, and in official situations. 

  • Ile ma pan/pani lat? (“How old are you, Sir/Ma’am?”)
  • W jakim jest pan/pani wieku? (“What’s your age, Sir/Ma’am?”) 
  • Mam 30 lat. (“I’m 30 years old.”)
  • Mam 22 lata. (“I’m 22 years old.”)

You can see there’s a difference between the word for “years” in the examples above. To better understand how that word would change with different numbers, check out our lesson “Talking About Your Age.”

Additionally, a man could be asked: 

  • Kiedy się pan urodził? (“When were you born, Sir?”)
  • Jaka jest pańska data urodzenia? (“What’s your birth date?”)

And answer:

  • Urodziłem się [day] [month] [year]. (“I was born on [day] [month] [year].”)

The same dialogue with a woman would look like this:

  • Kiedy pani się urodziła? (“When were you born, Ma’am?”)

  • Jaka jest pani data urodzenia? (“What’s your birth date?”)
  • Urodziłam się [day] [month] [year]. (“I was born on [day] [month] [year].”)

Informal Questions and Answers

When having a friendly chat, you’ll probably be more interested in learning someone’s age than getting their actual birthdate. So, the informal question would be as follows:

  • Ile masz lat? (“How old are you?”)
  • W jakim jesteś wieku? (“What’s your age?”)
  • Mam [number] lat/lata. (“I’m [number] years old.”)

A related and often-asked informal question is: 

  • Kiedy masz urodziny? (“When’s your birthday?”)
  • 20 lipca. (“On the 20th of July.”)

8. “What is it?” and “Who is it?”

The two most important “wh-” questions in Polish are “What is it?” and “Who is it?”

A Person Scratching Their Head, Visibly Pondering on Something

Formal and Informal Polish Questions with Answers

The most commonly used “wh-” questions in Polish, these can come in handy when you’re confused (which happens often in a foreign country):

  • Przepraszam, czy wie pan/pani co to jest? (“Excuse me, do you know what it is, Sir/Ma’am?”)
  • Przepraszam, czy wie pan/pani kto to jest? (“Excuse me, do you know who it is, Sir/Ma’am?”)
  • Wiesz co to jest? (“Do you know what it is?”) [informal]
  • Wiesz kto to jest? (“Do you know who it is?”) [informal]
  • Co/kto to jest? (“What/who is it?”) [informal]

The answer would be a simple: 

To jest + [noun in the nominative case mianownik or the person’s name]. (“This is [noun or a name].”)

Would you like to learn more about Polish sentence patterns? Read our article about it! You can also read a list of other question pronouns (Polish question words) on WikiBooks.

9. Are you hungry/thirsty?

I’m sure you would agree that communicating your basic needs and asking about the needs of others are among the most common questions and answers in Polish, and any other language.

Formal Questions and Answers

Here are some ways of asking these questions in Polish formally, and answering them likewise: 

  • Chciałby pan coś zjeść? (“Would you like to eat something, Sir?”)
  • Chciałaby pani coś zjeść? (“Would you like to eat something, Ma’am?”)
  • Dziękuję, nie jestem głodny/głodna. (“Thank you, I’m not hungry.”) [answered by a man and a woman, respectively]
  • Dziękuję, niedawno jadłem/jadłam. (“Thank you, I’ve just eaten.”) [answered by a man and a woman, respectively]
  • Jest pan głodny? (“Are you hungry, Sir?”)
  • Jest pani głodna? (“Are you hungry, Ma’am?”)
  • Nie, nie jestem głodny/głodna, dziękuję. (“No, I’m not hungry.”) [answered by a man and a woman, respectively]
  • Tak, chętnie bym coś przekąsił/przekąsiła. (“Yes, I’d like to have a snack.”) [answered by a man and a woman, respectively]

As you may already know, Poland is known for great food. If you’re not quite familiar with the Polish cuisine yet, check out this complete guide

  • Chce się panu/pani pić? (“Would you like to drink something, Sir/Ma’am?”)
  • Jest pan spragniony? (“Are you thirsty, Sir?”)
  • Jest pani spragniona? (“Are you thirsty, Ma’am?”)
  • Nie, dziękuję, proszę się nie kłopotać. (“No, thank you, please don’t go to any trouble.”)
  • Tak, chętnie napiłbym/napiłabym się wody. (“Yes, I’d like some water, please.”) [answered by a man and a woman, respectively]

Informal Questions and Answers

Here’s how to have a similar dialogue informally:

  • Chcesz coś zjeść? (“Do you want to eat something?”)
  • Jesteś głodny/głodna? (“Are you hungry?”)
  • Dzięki, nie jestem głodny/głodna. (“Thanks, I’m not hungry.”) [answered by a man and a woman, respectively]
  • Nie, nie jestem głodny/głodna. (“No, I’m not hungry.”) [answered by a man and a woman, respectively]
  • Chce ci się pić? (“Would you like to drink something?”)
  • Nie, dzięki. (“No, thanks.”)
  • Chętnie! (“Sure!”)
  • Jasne! (“Okay!”)

The last three answers could also be used to answer the questions about eating. 

10. How much is it?

A Price Tag

Some of the most common questions and answers in Polish that every beginner should learn are those for asking the price. This question is most likely to be asked in a formal context. 

Formal Questions and Answers

  • Przepraszam, ile to kosztuje? (“Excuse me, how much does it cost?”)
  • Przepraszam, po ile te jabłka? (“Excuse me, how much for these apples?”)

Would you like to practice how to ask “How much does it cost?” in Polish and learn more Polish question words? Go to our lesson “Asking how much something costs.”

  • To kosztuje [number] złotych/złote. (“It costs [number] PLN.”)
  • [Number] złotych/złote. (“[Number] PLN.”)

Are you still a bit shaky on the Polish numbers? These lessons may help you:


11. Final Thoughts

Today you’ve learned common questions and answers in Polish. These are the top Polish questions you need to know for conversations with Polish people. Which question do you think you’ll use the most? Let us know in the comments section! 

If you’re set on truly learning Polish and knowing more than just how to ask questions in Polish, you should get an account with PolishPod101! You’ll be able to use hundreds and hundreds of Polish audio and video lessons, get access to unique materials and tools, and get your daily dose of Polish delivered straight to your inbox with 365 mini-lessons. 

Check it all out with a free trial!

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Sentence Patterns in English and Polish to Help You Speak

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Memorizing useful sentence patterns in English and Polish will help you speak Polish with more confidence. Once you know them, it’ll be easier for you to form simple Polish phrases and sentences of your own. Let’s start with the basics, though. Do you know how to say “sentence pattern” in Polish? Wzór zdania.

In this article, you’ll see more than ten sentence patterns in Polish with numerous examples. Soon, creating your own sentences in this language will be no problem for you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Polish Sentence Pattern: A is B
  2. Using Adjectives for Description
  3. The Polish Sentence Pattern for Expressing Wants
  4. What Do You Need?
  5. Expressing Likes in Polish
  6. Please: Politely Asking Someone to Do Something
  7. Asking for Permission
  8. What…?: How to Ask About Something
  9. When…?: Asking Questions About Time
  10. Where is…?: Asking Questions About Location
  11. Who…?: Asking Questions About People
  12. Final Thoughts

1. Polish Sentence Pattern: A is B

Sentence Patterns

Let’s start with one of the most common Polish sentence patterns: that for linking two nouns. Here are some examples:

  • Marek jest moim bratem. (“Marek is my brother.”)

This Polish sentence structure requires the narzędnik (“instrumental”) case after the conjugated form of the verb być (“to be”). If you’re not sure what the forms are for this case, use this tool

A Judge’s Gavel
  • Mój brat jest prawnikiem. (“My brother is a lawyer.”)

As you can see, the first noun stays in the basic case (the form you’ll find in a dictionary), which is called mianownik (“nominative”). The second one requires the narzędnik (“instrumental”) case. 

  • Ten prawnik jest znanym ekspertem. (“This lawyer is a well-known expert.”)

Remember that the narzędnik (“instrumental”) case is required for both the adjective znany and the noun ekspert

  • Moi rodzice bardzo hojnymi ludźmi. (“My parents are very generous people.”)
  • Ten dom jest prezentem od moich rodziców. (“This house is a present from my parents.”)

Here, the narzędnik (“instrumental”) case applies to the noun prezent. However, the phrase moich rodziców is in the genitive case (dopełniacz) because it’s required by the preposition od (“from”). Here’s a list of hints to help you correctly predict the grammatical case on the basis of prepositions. 

Alternatively, you can avoid using the instrumental case altogether, and use a Polish sentence pattern with the same meaning that requires mianownik (“nominative”):

  • Marek to mój brat. (“Marek is my brother.”)
    • Literally: “Marek this my brother.”
  • Ten prawnik to znany ekspert. (“This lawyer is a well-known expert.”) 
    • Literally: “This lawyer this a well-known expert.
  • Ten dom to prezent od moich rodziców. (“This house is a present from my parents.”)
    • Literally: “This house this a present from my parents.

If you need more vocabulary for talking about your family in Polish, click on the link for a listening comprehension exercise. 

2. Using Adjectives for Description

This easy Polish sentence pattern is used for describing things. Have a look at the following Polish sentence examples with the conjugated forms of the verb być (“to be”):

  • (Ja) jestem zmęczona/zmęczony. (“I’m tired.”) 
    • For a female and male speaker, respectively

In Polish, personal pronouns are usually dropped when it’s clear from the context who the speaker is. 

Film był ciekawy. (“The movie was interesting.”)

Two People Sitting in the Cinema
  • Bluzka, którą kupił/kupił jest droga. (“The shirt that you’ve bought is expensive.”) 
    • For a female and male speaker, respectively

This sentence includes a relative pronoun który (“that”). The nominative case is która for feminine nouns such as bluzka, but in this sentence, it requires the accusative case (biernik) as it answers the question “What (did you buy)?” You can learn more about Polish cases in this article about Polish grammar.   

You can also use the structure you know from the first Polish sentence pattern, to jest. When you use this pattern with adjectives, like in the example below, you can’t drop the verb:

  • To jest pyszne! (“This is delicious!”)

Don’t forget to visit our page about high-frequency adjectives to expand your vocabulary.  

3. The Polish Sentence Pattern for Expressing Wants

Talking about what you want is very important when you’re trying to communicate in a foreign language. Here are some examples of how to do this:

  • Chcę coś zjeść. (“I want to eat something.”)

The simplest way to express what you want is to use the conjugated form of the verb “to want” (chcieć) and the infinitive of the verb expressing the desired action. (P.S.: Need some advice on getting what you want in Poland?)

  • Chcę pójść do kina. (“I want to go to the cinema.”)
  • Nie chcę być niegrzeczna. (“I don’t want to be impolite.”)

In Polish, we negate by simply saying nie (“no”) in front of the verb (or the first verb, if there are two of them in a given sentence). Did you know that Polish allows the double negative

  • Chciałabym o tym porozmawiać. (“I’d like to talk about it.”)
    • The speaker is a woman.

We can also say “I’d like to” by using the Polish conditional form of the verb chcieć (“to want”). It makes the sentence more polite.  

  • Chciałbym mieć więcej wolnego czasu. (“I’d like to have more free time.”) 
    • The speaker is a man.

Are you unsure about the forms of the conditional mood in Polish? No problem. Check out the cooljugator. In addition, you can learn about the conditional mood on Wikipedia. 

4. What Do You Need?

Sentence Components

The basic Polish sentence patterns for talking about needs express “I need” and “I have to” with forms of the verb potrzebować (“to need”). Familiarize yourself with the examples below:

  • Potrzebuję dziś samochodu. (“I need the car today.”)
A Car
  • Nie potrzebujesz mojej pomocy. (“You don’t need my help.”)
  • Potrzebujemy pieniędzy. (“We need money.”)

The meaning of both “have to” and “must” is usually expressed by a conjugated form of musieć:

  • Muszę to zrobić. (“I must do it.”)
  • Tym razem muszę się z Tobą zgodzić. (“This time I have to agree with you.”)

5. Expressing Likes in Polish

Expressing likes comes in handy when introducing ourselves to others, as well as in many other life situations. Here are some examples of great Polish sentences for beginners: 

  • Lubię cię. (“I like you.”)

This is one of the simplest Polish sentence patterns for expressing likes. The conjugated form of the verb lubić (“to like”) can be followed by an object in the accusative case (biernik) or another verb in the infinitive. 

  • Lubię gotować. (“I like cooking.”)
  • Lubię francuskie filmy. (“I like French movies.”)
  • We wtorkowe wieczory lubię chodzić na spacery. (“On Tuesday evenings, I like to go for walks.”)
  • Nie lubię truskawek. (“I don’t like strawberries.”)

Remember that adding nie (“no”) in front of the appropriate form of lubić is enough to express your dislike

Would you like to learn more verbs to express likes and dislikes in Polish? Check out our article about verbs in Polish. 

6. Please: Politely Asking Someone to Do Something

Asking people to do things in a polite way is a useful skill, even for complete beginners. Here are some of the Polish sentence patterns that will help you do exactly that with the use of the word proszę (“please”) and the required verb in the infinitive: 

  • Proszę cię. (“Please.”) 
    • Literally: “I ask you.”
  • Proszę, usiądź. (“Sit down, please.”)
  • Proszę, uspokój się. (“Please, calm down.”)
  • Proszę, podaj mi sól. (“Pass me the salt, please.”)
A Salt Cellar

This is the simplest way of asking for things in Polish. You can see a more complicated structure below: 

  • Proszę, żebyś przestał tak się zachowywać. (“Please, stop behaving in this way.”)
    • Literally: “I ask you to stop behaving in this way.”

To learn how to ask about a bill, head to our survival phrases lesson “Check, please.”

7. Asking for Permission

An easy Polish sentence pattern used for asking permission requires the conjugated form of the verb móc (“can” or “to be able to”):

  • Czy mogę wejść? (“Can I come in?”)
  • Czy mogę ci coś powiedzieć? (“Can I tell you something?”)
  • Czy mogę odejść od stołu? (“Can I leave the table?”)
  • Czy mogę poprosić o szklankę wody? (“Can I ask for a glass of water?”)

Remember that using czy is optional for forming questions in the spoken language, as a question is often expressed through a rising intonation. 

  • Czy mógłbym poprosić cię do tańca? (“Could I ask you to dance?”) 
    • For male speakers

The form of the verb móc used in conditional is considered more polite, just like in the case of the verb chcieć discussed in an earlier section.

  • Czy mogłabym prosić o napój bez słomki? (“Could I ask for a drink without a straw?”)
    • For female speakers
Colorful Straws

To find out how to ask “Can I Take Your Picture in Poland?” don’t forget to go to our survival phrases lesson about this topic. 

8. What…?: How to Ask About Something

“What is this?” and related questions use an easy Polish sentence pattern, which is incredibly useful for a beginner. Have a look at the following examples to learn how to construct your own sentences: 

  • Co to jest? (“What’s this?”)
  • Co robisz? (“What are you doing?”)
  • Co się stało? (“What’s happened?”)
  • Co mogę dla ciebie zrobić? (“What can I do for you?”)
  • Co to za zwierzę? (“What animal is that?”)

Be careful, though. To say “What’s your name?” in Polish, you’d say: Jak masz na imię? This question is on our list of the top 25 Polish questions, so we recommend you check it out. 

9. When…?: Asking Questions About Time

Sentence patterns in English and Polish often differ, but this one is rather similar. You should use the word kiedy (“when”) to form questions about time:

  • Kiedy masz urodziny?/Kiedy są twoje urodziny? (“When is your birthday?”)
  • Kiedy wyjeżdżasz? (“When are you leaving?”)
  • Kiedy jedziesz na wakacje? (“When are you going on holiday?”)
A Couple on the Beach
  • Kiedy masz czas się spotkać? (“When do you have time to meet?”)

As we’ve promised, it’s quite a simple Polish sentence pattern.

10. Where is…?: Asking Questions About Location

Were you glad that the sentence patterns for “when” questions are very similar in Polish and English? Then we have some more good news for you! This is also true for the “where is” question pattern. Have a look below to learn how to ask about location or position in Polish: 

  • Gdzie jest toaleta/łazienka/WC? (“Where is the restroom?”)
  • Gdzie jest wyjście? (“Where’s the exit?”)
  • Gdzie jest Adam? (“Where’s Adam?”)
  • Gdzie jest posterunek policji? (“Where’s a police station?”)
  • Gdzie jest najbliższy przystanek autobusowy? (“Where is the nearest bus stop?”)

In case you need more help with the word gdzie, we suggest looking at the following pages:

11. Who…?: Asking Questions About People

Sentence patterns in English and Polish can differ when it comes to “who” questions with Kto…? Carefully study the examples below: 

  • Kto to jest? (“Who is it?”) 
    • Literally: “Who this is?”

Note that some “Who is…?” questions in Polish can be in reverse order of the English versions. Here’s another example in the past tense: 

  • Kto to był? (“Who was it?”) 
    • Literally: “Who this was?”
A Girl Hiding behind the Door
  • Kto tam? (“Who’s there?”) 
    • Literally: “Who there?”

In this question, the verb disappears entirely. However, it’s a correct and natural way of asking the question in Polish. 

  • Kto ma tyle pieniędzy? (“Who has so much money?”)
  • Kto mógłby pomóc mi z pracą domową? (“Who could help me with [my] homework?”)

In the last two examples, the order is exactly the same in the two languages. You’ll be safe as long as you don’t count on it. To learn more about the Polish word order, read our article about it.  

12. Final Thoughts 

How many sentence patterns are there in Polish? Many. But what’s more important is that today you’ve learned the most useful Polish sentence patterns that will help you form your own sentences. As you’ve seen, Polish and English sentence patterns can be quite different from each other. Remain mindful of that, and you’ll learn to speak Polish correctly. 

Which sentence pattern do you find the most useful? Let us know in the comments section.

Learning sentence patterns is important to get you speaking Polish. On its own, however, it’s not enough to allow you to have valuable conversations. If you really want to work on your Polish, you need a proper plan of action. We’ve gathered many resources for people like you on PolishPod101.com: you’ll find thousands of lessons with recordings from native speakers on our website. Get your free lifetime account today!

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The Ultimate Guide to the 100 Most Common Polish Adverbs

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An adverb is a word or a phrase used as a modifier of adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs. We’re going to introduce you today to the rules of use and formation of adverbs in Polish, as well as the 100 most common Polish adverbs. Are you ready to learn about adverbs in Polish? 
Language blog posts and other resources such as Must-Know Adverbs and Phrases for Connecting Thoughts are waiting for you on PolishPod101.com.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Polish Adverbs: Placement and Formation
  2. Gradation of Adverbs in Polish
  3. Uncomparable Adverbs
  4. The Diminutive Form of Polish Adverbs
  5. Polish Adverbs of Time
  6. Polish Adverbs of Frequency
  7. Polish Adverbs of Place
  8. Polish Adverbs of Manner
  9. Final Thoughts

1. Polish Adverbs: Placement and Formation

Top verbs

You already know from the introduction what a Polish adverb (przysłówek) can be used for and what it modifies. Now, it’s time to have a look at the placement and formation of basic Polish adverbs, and phrases that behave like adverbs. Just a note before we start: some adverbs in Polish look like adjectives to native English speakers, so don’t be surprised by their translations. 

1- Placement of Adverbs

In most cases, adverbs in Polish are placed in front of verbs, like in this example: 

  • On wolno biega

“He runs slowly.”

a man visibly out of breath after a run

However, it’s acceptable to place Polish adverbs after the verb for emphasis. When an adverb in Polish modifies an adjective, it’s also placed before it:

  • Ona jest źle wychowana

“She’s badly behaved.”

2- Formation of Adverbs

Adverbs in Polish are formed from adjectives. To create an adverb, you need the stem of an adjective, which is usually obtained by removing the last letter from the masculine form of an adjective. If you don’t feel confident with adjectives in Polish yet, familiarize yourself with our resources: Using Adjectives and High Frequency Adjectives.

Have a look at what’s happening with the adjective szybki (“quick”) in order to form an adverb: 

szybki (“quick”) -> szybk 

Once you have a stem like szybk, you need to add an appropriate ending to form an adverb. In this case, it’s -o:

szybki (adjective) -> szybko (adverb) [“quickly”]

This is the most common pattern in Polish adverb formation. Here are some other examples: 

mocny (adj.) [“strong”] -> mocno (adv.) [“strongly”]

jasny (adj.) [“light”] -> jasno (adv.) [“lightly”]

suchy (adj.) [“dry”] -> sucho (adv.) [“dryly”]

Another pattern governs adjectives with a stem ending in a consonant other than -k and -l, and followed by -n. These adverbs take the ending -ie:

spokojny (adj.) [“calm”] -> spokojnie (adv.) [“calmly”]

wygodny (adj.) [“comfortable”] -> wygodnie (adv.) [“comfortably”]

ładny (adj.) [“pretty”] -> ładnie (adv.) [“prettily”]

pogodny (adj.) [“bright”] -> pogodnie (adv.) [“brightly”]

The final rule applies to adjectives with the masculine form ending in -ry. These adverbs take the ending -rze:

mądry (adj.) [“wise”] -> mądrze (adv.) [“wisely”]

dobry (adj.) [“good”] -> dobrze (adv.) [“well”]

As you know about languages, where there are rules, there are exceptions: 

zły (adj.) [“bad”] -> źle (adv.) (“badly”)

stary (adj.) [“old”] -> staro (adv.) (“old”)

2. Gradation of Adverbs in Polish

An adverb in Polish, unlike an adjective, is unchangeable. This means that it looks the same regardless of the word it modifies. However, an adverb can be susceptible to gradation, and when it is, it has comparative and superlative forms. 


As someone who wants to learn about adverbs in Polish, vocabulary formation rules regarding gradation will come in very handy for you. 

1- Comparatives

Very often, a comparative adverb can be obtained by adding the suffix -ej or -iej to the stem of an adverb:

łatwo (“easily”) -> łatwiej (“more easily”)

trudno (“difficult”) -> trudniej (“more difficult”)

przyjemnie (“pleasantly”) -> przyjemniej (“more pleasantly”) 

Exceptions mostly include changes to sounds, and become predictable as you practice Polish: 

gorąco (“hot”) -> goręcej (“hotter”)

wesoło (“cheerfully”) -> weselej (“more cheerfully”)

zielono (“green”) -> zieleniej (“greener”)

green asparagus

The comparative can also be formed by adding the word bardziej (“more”) in front of the adverb. It’s always an acceptable alternative. Here’s an example of both gradation techniques:

ciemno (“dark”) -> ciemniej (“darker”)

    -> bardziej ciemno (“darker”)

How do you know whether the comparative or superlative form is correct? You can use this Polish online dictionary to double-check.

2- Superlatives

The superlative is based on the comparative. You need to add the prefix -naj

łatwiej (“more easily”) -> najłatwiej (“the most easily”)

goręcej (“hotter”) -> najgoręcej (“the hottest”)

weselej (“more cheerfully”) -> najweselej (“the most cheerfully”)

Just like in the case of comparatives, it’s possible to create superlatives by adding a word in front of an adverb in Polish. This time it’s najbardziej (“the most”): 

ciemniej (“darker”) -> najciemniej (“the darkest”)

bardziej ciemno (“darker”) -> najbardziej ciemno (“the darkest”)

3. Uncomparable Adverbs

When trying to learn about adverbs in Polish, grammar basics are necessary. Unfortunately, not all adverbs undergo gradation. It very often has to do with the meaning of a particular adverb, as its gradation wouldn’t make sense. 

A good example is the Polish equivalent of the word “absolutely” (absolutnie). It’d sound strange in English too, to say “more absolutely” or “the most absolutely.” Here are some more uncomparable adverbs: 

  • bezgotówkowo (“cashless”)

W tym sklepie płaci się bezgotówkowo.

“This store is cashless.” (Literally: “In this store, one can only pay cashless.”) 

  • aktualnie (“at the moment” / “currently”)

Aktualnie nie ma takiej potrzeby

“Currently, there’s no such need.” 

  • bezczynnie (“without any activity” / “doing nothing”)

Siedzi bezczynnie

“He’s sitting there doing nothing.”

  • bezsennie (“sleepless”)

Leżę w łóżku bezsennie

“I lay in my bed sleeplessly.” 

  • bezpłatnie (“for free”)

Można zbadać się bezpłatnie

“One can do a check-up for free.” 

  • boso (“barefoot”)

Moja córka kocha chodzić boso

“My daughter loves walking barefoot.”

a picture of bare feet of three people
  • całkowicie (“entirely”)

Ufacie mu całkowicie

“You trust him entirely.”

  • głównie (“mainly”)

Jest to problem głównie wśród młodzieży

“It’s a problem mainly among teenagers.”

  • ledwo (“barely”)

Ledwo nam się udało

“We barely managed.”

  • magicznie (“magically”)

Było magicznie! 

“It was magical!”

  • niechętnie (“unwillingly”)

Niechętnie przyznał jej rację

“Unwillingly, he admitted that she was right.”

  • chętnie (“willingly” / “gladly”)

Chętnie pójdę na spacer

“I’ll willingly go for a walk.”

  • naprawdę (“really”)

Twój dom jest naprawdę piękny

“Your house is really beautiful.”

4. The Diminutive Form of Polish Adverbs

More essential verbs

Polish adverbs can also be modified to create their diminutive forms. There’s a number of endings that can be added to a Polish adverb for this purpose, but only one is applicable in most cases. Look at what happens with the adverb cicho (“quietly”):

-utkocichutko

The changes in sounds are often similar to the ones governing comparatives: 

wesoło (adv.) -> weselej (comp.) -> weselutko (dim.)

czerwono (adv.) -> czerwieniej  (comp.) -> czerwieniutko (dim.)

Now that you know all of the basics, it’s time to begin our Polish adverbs list! 

5. Polish Adverbs of Time

Polish adverbs of time answer the question “When?” (Kiedy?). 

  • przedwczoraj (“the day before yesterday”)

Kupiłam to przedwczoraj. 

“I bought it the day before yesterday.”

  • wczoraj (“yesterday”)

Wczoraj poszłam do kina

“I went to the cinema yesterday.”

  • dziś / dzisiaj (“today”) – these two forms are interchangeable 

Dziś / dzisiaj nie mam czasu

“I don’t have time today.”

  • wcześnie (“soon”)

Jest za wcześnie! 

“It’s too soon!”

  • późno (“late”)

Już późno

“It’s already late.”

  • najpierw (“firstly”)

Najpierw zjedz obiad

“Firstly, eat your lunch.”

  • ostatecznie (“lastly,” “finally”)

Ostatecznie się zgodził

“Lastly/Finally, he agreed.” 

  • przedtem (“before”)

Nawet przedtem to się zdarzało

“It happened even before.”

  • potem (“after”)

Najpierw wypił sok, a potem piwo

“Firstly, he drank his juice and then a beer.” 

  • teraz (“now”)

Teraz jest za późno

“Now, it’s too late.”

a child holding a clock
  • wcześniej (“previously”)

Wcześniej nie wiedzieliśmy jak to zrobić

“Previously, we didn’t know how to do it.”

  • niedawno (“recently”)

Niedawno się wprowadzili

“They moved in recently.”

  • obecnie (“currently”)

Obecnie nie macie pracy

“Currently, you’re unemployed.”

Below, you can find a table of other adverbs in Polish referring to time:

LastThisNext
WeekW ostatnim tygodniuW tym tygodniuW przyszłym tygodniu
MonthW ostatnim miesiącuW tym miesiącuW przyszłym miesiącu
YearW ostatnim rokuW tym rokuW przyszłym roku

W ostatnim tygodniu nic nie zarobił

“He didn’t earn any money last week.”

W tym miesiącu kupujemy samochód

“We’re buying a car this month.”

W przyszłym roku kończy studia

“He’s graduating next year.”

That’s not all you should know about the time in Polish. To learn how to ask “What time is it?”, simply click on the link. If you want to learn about more Polish adverbs related to time, check out our blog post about telling the time.

6. Polish Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency in Polish are words used to answer the question “How often?” (Jak często?). 

Here’s a list of Polish adverbs of frequency: 

  • nigdy (“never”)

Nigdy bym tak nie powiedziała

“I’d never say that!”

a woman covering her mouth
  • rzadko (“rarely”)

Rzadko się widujemy

“We rarely see one another.” 

  • nieczęsto (“seldom”)

Nieczęsto wychodzi z domu

“He doesn’t leave home often.”

  • często (“often” / “frequently”)

Często nie ma nas w domu

“We’re often not at home.”

  • zazwyczaj (“usually”)

Zazwyczaj o tej porze czytam gazetę

“At this time, I usually read a newspaper.”

  • zawsze (“always”)

Zawsze mam rację

“I’m always right.”

  • cały czas (“all the time”)

Ona cały czas płacze

“She cries all the time.”

  • czasami (“sometimes”)

Czasami nas odwiedzają. 

“Sometimes they visit us.”

There’s also a number of adverbial expressions with co (“what,” but here it should be translated as “every”), which are useful for talking about frequency: 

Co…

…godzinę (“every hour”)

 Bierz jedną tabletkę co godzinę

“Take one tablet every hour.”

…dziennie [spelled together] (“every day”)

Codziennie to samo

“It’s the same thing every day.”

…tydzień (“every week”)

Robert co tydzień odwiedza matkę

“Robert visits his mother every week.”

7. Polish Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place answer the question “Where?” (Gdzie?).

  • tutaj (“here”)

Tutaj wybudujemy dom

“We’ll build a house here.”

  • tam (“there”)

Tam nie ma już słoneczników

“There are no more sunflowers there.” 

  • wszędzie (“everywhere”)

Szukałam wszędzie

“I’ve looked everywhere.”

  • wewnątrz (“inside”)

Wewnątrz nic nie ma. 

“There’s nothing inside.”

  • na zewnątrz (“outside”)

Maja trzyma psy na zewnątrz

“Maja keeps her dogs outside.”

  • na górze (“upstairs”)

Zostawiłam je na górze

“I left them upstairs.” 

stairs
  • na dole (“downstairs”)

Na dole mieszkają moi rodzice

“My parents live downstairs.”

  • za granicą (“abroad”)

Magda zawsze chciała mieszkać za granicą

“Magda’s always wanted to live abroad.” 

  • poza (“away”)

Oni uczą się poza domem

“They study away from home.”

  • dookoła (“around”)

Rozejrzałam się dookoła

“I’ve looked around.” 

  • blisko (“near”)

Pracujecie blisko domu

“You work near home.”

  • daleko (“far”)

Wyjeżdżasz daleko? 

“Are you going far (away)?”

Do you already know how to talk about directions and finding places in Poland? If not, click on the link to learn all you need to know about it. 

8. Polish Adverbs of Manner 

Polish adverbs of manner are used to describe the manner in which a given action has been performed:

  • powoli (“slowly”)

Chodzimy powoli

“We walk slowly.”

  • prędko (“quickly”)

Prędko to nie nastąpi

“It won’t happen quickly.”

  • ostrożnie (“carefully”)

Prowadźcie ostrożnie

“Drive carefully.”

  • lekkomyślnie (“carelessly”)

Beata zachowuje się lekkomyślnie

“Beata behaves carelessly.”

  • głośno (“loudly”)

Jest tu za głośno

“It’s too loud here.”

  • szczęśliwie (“happily”)

Żyli długo i szczęśliwie

“They lived happily ever after.”

  • nieszczęśliwie (“unhappily”)

Adam jest nieszczęśliwie zakochany. 

“Adam is unhappily in love.”

  • pięknie (“beautifully”)

Wyglądała pięknie

“She looked beautifully.”

  • brzydko (“ugly”)

Brzydko tu jest

“It’s ugly here.”

  • dosłownie (“literally”)

Ania bierze wszystko dosłownie

“Ania takes everything literally.”

  • zwyczajnie (“simply” / “ordinarily”)

Zwyczajnie nie masz racji! 

“You’re simply wrong!” 

  • płytko (“shallowly”)

Jest tu za płytko

“It’s too shallow here.” 

  • głęboko (“deeply”)

On jest głęboko wierzący

“He’s deeply religious.”

  • niezręcznie (“awkwardly”)

Zachowała się niezręcznie

“She behaved awkwardly.”

  • miło (“nice”)

Miło mi Cię poznać

“It’s nice to meet you.”

  • nerwowo (“nervously”)

Nerwowo poprawiła włosy

“She nervously rearranged her hair.”

  • nudno (“boring”)

Na lekcji było nudno

“The lesson was boring.”

a yawning man
  • ciekawie (“in an interesting way”)

Ciekawie opowiadał o historii

“He spoke about history in an interesting manner.”

  • koniecznie (“necessarily”)

Koniecznie mi o tym opowiedz

“You must tell me about it.”

  • długo (“long”)

Długo już czekamy

“We’ve been waiting long.” 

  • krótko (“shortly”)

Nie będzie mnie krótko

“I will be gone shortly.” (The meaning here is: “for a short time.”)

  • wysoko (“high”)

Czy trzeba się wysoko wspinać? 

“Do you need to climb high?”

  • nisko (“low”)

Samolot leci nisko

“The plane is flying low.”

  • drogo (“expensive”)

W tym sklepie jest drogo

“This shop is expensive.” (Literally: “It’s expensive in this shop.”)

  • tanio (“cheaply”)

Gdzie tanio kupić mleko sojowe? 

“Where can you buy soy milk cheaply?”

9. Final Thoughts

We hope you find this article helpful on your journey in learning about adverbs in Polish. Language blog posts like this one are here on PolishPod101.com to clearly explain complex grammar concepts to you. Speaking of, have you read our article on Polish conjugations and Polish pronouns yet?

PolishPod101 is much more than just another language blog, though! We have countless lessons and resources for you to learn Polish with ease. Our audio and video recordings with native speakers will keep you interested and entertained. Are you ready to polish your Polish? Start your free account with us today.

Don’t go yet! In the comments section, tell us what the comparative and superlative forms of the adverb zwyczajnie are, based on what you’ve learned today. Good luck!

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