Lesson Transcript

Hello, everybody! This is Marzena from PolishPod101.com, and today, I want to talk about two different ways of giving reasons in Polish. So, to give reasons in Polish, you have basically two choices and we will talk about both and we will say what the difference is and there is mostly difference in structure and because of that, the meaning changes only a little bit, but they are very, very similar.
So first of all, one way of giving reasons in Polish is to use the word żeby or aby, and you can choose whichever you like better. So you can choose, you can use żeby or you can use aby. The meaning is the same, the formality level is the same roughly and they both mean “in order to”. And to use żeby / aby in a sentence, you must remember one very important rule. So both żeby and aby are always being followed by an infinitive. So a verb in infinitive form, when we give reasons of course, they’re always being followed by a verb in infinitive form. What does it mean? Well, infinitive form is just like a dictionary form, like the simplest formula and then you kind of conjugate it and make it more difficult. So actually, this is easy to use because you just use the verb in an infinitive form and it can be single verb or it can be verb with many other words together, so as a phrase, but the verb in that phrase has to be in infinitive form.
So now, let’s look at a couple of examples.
Uczę się polskiego, żeby pojechać do Polski. This means - Uczę się polskiego “I’m studying Polish”, żeby “in order to”, pojechać do Polski “go to Poland”.
And again, you can change this żeby here into aby and there is absolutely no problem with that, just the same sentence. So you can also say - Uczę się polskiego, aby pojechać do Polski, and the meaning stays the same. Notice that the verb pojechać here, pojechać is in the infinitive form and in Polish, almost all verbs in infinitive form have this /ć/ at the end. So, pojechać is the dictionary form, infinitive form, pojechać do Polski. So this is a whole phrase. It doesn’t really matter if it’s only a verb or a whole phrase, but the verb has to stay infinitive.
Then we have, next one - Ćwiczę, aby być w formie. Again, we start with a verb here, ćwiczę “I exercise”, aby “in order to”, być w formie “to stay fit”, in order to stay fit. So I exercise in order to stay fit. Again, we have być, być is the verb, so to be and it’s in its infinitive form. Again,the /ć/ here is kind of showing us that it’s a verb in infinitive form. And you can change this aby -> żeby, not a problem.
Now, the last example is a little bit different.
So - Przyjechałem do Polski, żeby uczyć się polskiego. What does it mean? Well, przyjechałem do Polski means “I came to Poland”. So, notice that uczę się / ćwiczę, they are both in the present tense, while przyjechałem is actually a masculine form so a guy would say that and this is a past tense. So this is past tense from the verb przyjechać “to come”. Przyjechałem “I came”. So, you can use this żeby / aby with past tense, with future tense, with present tense, it doesn’t really matter. It’s all here in the first part, while the second part always stays in the infinitive form. So the first part can be past tense if we are talking about past or future tense, if we are talking about future or can be present tense, if we are talking about present, but the second part, always has to be in the infinitive form, so the dictionary form.
And also, one important note, so, here you can use żeby / aby, whichever you like, but also, there is one more usage to this. So this is giving reasons, but please note that żeby with past tense, so not infinitive form, but past tense, can be also used for requests. So, not reasons, but requests. We will not cover it here today because that’s a little bit different topic, but please, remember that if you don’t use it with infinitive form, but you use it with past tense, then it’s a request.
And then, we have another way of giving reasons. So we already covered żeby - aby and we will look at another way. So now, another way of giving reasons in Polish, it’s to use bo. Bo means just “because” and it’s very simple and very similar to English actually. So, same as in English because it’s being followed by a sentence and here, in Polish as well, bo is being followed by a whole sentence. So not only infinitive form, but the whole sentence.
And for example, you can say - Uczę się polskiego, bo chcę pojechać do Polski. This means almost the same as we’ve done before, so uczę się polskiego means “I’m studying Polish”, bo “because”, chcę pojechać do Polski, chcę “I want to”, “because I want to go to Poland”. And please notice that, if we take this first part and we just leave chcę pojechać do Polski, that’s a perfectly formed sentence and it means “I want to go to Poland.” And you may say, oh wait a minute, there is the verb in the infinitive form, pojechać, that’s true, but that’s not our main verb here. Our main verb here is chcę and chcę comes from a verb chcieć which, this is infinitive form of it and chcę is already conjugated.
You can also say, the same as we had before - Ćwiczę, bo chcę być w formie. Ćwiczę “I exercise” because I want to stay fit or I want to be fit. Again, if we take this part and we just leave chcę być w formie, that’s perfectly well-formed Polish sentence and it means “I want to stay fit / I want to be fit”.
And one more, a little bit different example - Przyjechałem do Polski, bo chce nauczyć się polskiego “I came to Poland because I want to study Polish” or actually, I want to learn Polish. So, you probably noticed that this nauczyć się is a little bit different than what we had here, uczę się like there is this na at the beginning. Yes, it’s infinitive form, yes, but there is a na at the beginning so it’s kind of what is happening, right? But this na actually, is just showing us that this person wants to learn Polish and this is like a complete action, so it’s perfective aspect of the verb. This means that it’s already over, completed. It doesn’t mean that it’s already happened, but it means that I want to learn like fully learn, finish it, not only like study and maybe fail. Now, I want to learn and actually succeed. That’s what nauczyć means. That’s the difference. Uczę means I’m studying now, but I still have a lot to learn. Nauczyć… nauczyć się here, it means that it’s already completed. So I came to Poland because I want to, maybe in the future, chce, that’s not past, that’s future, nauczyć się polskiego, in the future because I want to fully learn Polish that’s why I came to Poland. I’m already in Poland. So again, you can change this present tense to past tense and there is absolutely no problem with that.
So, let’s wrap it up. We have two ways of giving reasons in Poland and the major difference is the structure and because the structure is a little bit different, the meaning on the second part, yes, I had to add this word chce so it changes a little bit. And one way, is to use żeby / aby and you can use either, whichever you prefer and those are always being followed by infinitive. So, it can be one word, one verb or it can be a phrase, but the verb in this phrase has to be in infinitive. Now, another way of giving reasons is to use bo and bo is always followed by a sentence. So, it cannot be followed only by infinitive verb. In this sentence, there can be infinitive verb, but there has be conjugated verb as well. It has to be a sentence, basically.
So those are our two ways of giving reasons in Polish and please also remember that żeby, when it’s followed by past tense, it can be used or actually, it is used to give request, to make requests, not reasons, so the meaning changes so this is very important, the infinitive part here. Yeah, that’s it for today. See you again! Thank you!