Lesson Transcript

Hello, everyone! It’s Marzena from PolishPod101.com, and today, I want to teach you the difference between two Polish prepositions; do &na. So, today, we are going to study the difference between na &do. And both of those prepositions, they translate into “to” in English. So, both we can use when we talk about going somewhere, “I’m going to my friend’s house.”, “I’m going to school.”, “I’m going to work.”, “I’m going to a party.” And in English, it’s just one word and covers it all. In Polish, we have two words and when you start learning Polish, you may first encounter do and then right after, you kind of learn na and you are a little bit confused about how to use those and what to do and where to use it. So, let’s look at it today.
Now, in most cases, you will use do, but let’s start with na. So, when do you use na? Once again, na translates as “to”, so when you’re going to somewhere, and just let me really emphasize this, we are talking about going somewhere, moving somewhere, because we are talking about dynamic prepositions. Dynamic, meaning that we are going somewhere and na can be a dynamic preposition, but it can also be a static preposition when we are just… we are somewhere, like on or in, in English, and we are not talking about this. We are talking about dynamic preposition, na.
So, with dynamic preposition, na, we use it with accusative case. Accusative case, this means that when we conjugate or when we change, I’m sorry, when we change the word after na, the noun after na, we use it in accusative case. But this is only when we are talking about moving somewhere, not when we are talking about the static na. The static na, we use with locative case, but this is not what we are going to talk about. So, once again, after na, the noun is in accusative case so don’t forget to change.
And now, when do we use na? Well, first we use na with islands or peninsulas. So, when we are talking about going to an island or when we are talking about going to a peninsula, we will use na. And the name of the island that follows or the name of peninsula that follows will be used in accusative case.
So, for example, you can say - Jadę na Majorkę. Jadę na Majorkę means “I’m going to Majorca.” and jadę means to go somewhere by bus or by car or to fly somewhere, but not on foot. So, jadę na Majorkę means “I’m going to Majorca”. Obviously, we’re not walking there.
Here, we have another example - Jadę na Bali. Jadę na Bali means “I’m going to Bali” and both Majorkę &Bali are in their accusative case. So usually, if you go to a dictionary, you open, you see Majorca, you will have Majorca, not Majorkę.
So, once again, first, we can use na with islands and peninsulas. What else? Well, when we go to an event, when we move to an event, when we go to an event, to a party, to a…I don’t know. Well, something like big opening or something like that, we use na.
So, for example, you can say - Idę na przyjęcie. “I’m going to a party.”
Well, you can also change this idę -> jadę. This will mean that I’m going by car or by bus or by ferry or whatever, but idę na przyjęcie, well, the basic image is that you are walking. I mean, you can still ride, but you are not stressing it out here. You are just saying, idę “I’m going”, but it doesn’t really say I’m riding.
And, another thing, you can say - Idę na wykład. Wykład is a “lecture”. So, you see, lecture is also an event, something happening in the place is an event. So, idę na wykład means “I’m going to a lecture” and again, I’m using idę which usually means on foot, but doesn’t really have to be. It’s just stating the fact that I’m going there, but you can ride. That’s not a problem.
Now, so those are the main two points; first, islands and peninsulas; and then events, but that’s not all. There are some exceptions, of course, and I will just teach you two main exceptions here, because I think that those are the one that you will probably encounter first, starting learning Polish, but there are some more.
So first one, when we use...oh, actually, I’m going to teach you three exceptions, bonus one. So, first, we use it with the word pocztę. The word pocztę means “post office”, so when you are going to a post office, this is not an event, it’s not an island or a peninsula, but you still use na. Jadę na pocztę. You can also say - Idę na pocztę which just imply that you are walking on your foot.
Now, so the first one is “post office” pocztę. The second one is uniwersytet which is a “university” and you can say - Jadę na uniwersytet. Again, uniwersytet or “university”, it’s not an event, it’s a place, but yet, you will use na, and it’s definitely not an island, although I wish it would be. And the last one, last one is lotnisko. Lotnisko is “an airport” and here as well, you will use na instead of the other one we will talk about. So - Jadę na lotnisko.
So, to put it all together, preposition na, when we go somewhere, we use it with accusative case, this means that the noun that follows will be in an accusative case and we use it with names of islands, peninsulas. We also use it when we are going to an event and there are some exceptions we just learned. Those three exceptions we just learned are pocztę “post office”, lotnisko “airport”, and uniwersytet “university”. For now, that’s all about preposition na.
Now, let’s look at the other one. So the other one is preposition do. Preposition do also translates as “to” and we also use it when moving somewhere, when we are going somewhere. So, when do we use do? Well, if na covers islands and events and then there are some exceptions, then do covers everything else basically. So it’s used in most cases when we are heading somewhere, when we are heading somewhere specific.
For example - Jadę do domu. “I’m going to my home.” or home, but probably mine.
Jadę do doszkoly. “I’m going to school.”
Jadę do pracy. “I’m going to work.”
And so on and so on. And of course, you can change jadę into idę which means just I’m doing it on foot, you know.
Okay, ow, another usage, a very specific usage, so, when we go to an event, we use preposition na, but when we go to a person’s place, we use preposition da. So for example, if I say, “I’m going to a party.”, then I will say, idę na przyjęcie, which was exactly here, idę na przyjęcie. But, if this party is organized in my friend’s house and just instead saying I’m going to a party or I’m just going to say I’m going to Tomek’s place, Tomek, being my friend’s name. In Polish, you would just say, Idę do Tomka. You can also say like you have a friend Basia and you are going to Basia’s place and maybe there is a party, but you don’t mention the party, you just say, I’m going to Basia’s place, then in Polish, you would say - Idę do Basi. “I’m going to Basia’s place.” Notice that those words here, those nouns here, they’re all being changed into genitive form, so the genitive case.
Okay, so, we now know that do is used mostly when we are going somewhere, heading somewhere. If it wasn’t covered by na, what we explained right now, then, if we are going to somebody’s place, also, when we are going to a foreign country, we would use do.
For example - Jadę do Ameryki. So, “I’m going to America.”
Jadę do Japonii. “I’m going to Japan.”
Jadę do Niemiec. “I’m going to Germany.”
Also - Jadę do Anglii. I don’t have this example here, but jadę do Anglii means “I’m going to England.” Now, England and actually, Japan as well, is an island, but we are not speaking about the island, we are speaking about the country so we use do, jadę do.
So, once again, we said that we use na in kind of like very specific cases; first, when we have an island or peninsula; then, when we have an event, when we move to an event; and then I said, well, there are those three exceptions I really want you to remember because you will need them in your life.
Now, we use do in most of the other cases. So, if instead of an event, we have a name of a person, then we use do and many other like every day’s cases where we just move to somewhere specific that are not covered by this, also countries, but there are some exceptions.
First of all, those two countries I want you to remember, there are maybe some more around six or seven, but they are those two that probably will come up in a conversation, so, those I want you to remember and those are Jadę na Ukrainę, Jadę na Węgry. So both, Ukrainę &Węgry are those exceptions and as you probably… well, you can suspect that Ukrainę is “Ukraine” and Węgry is “Hungary”. So those two are exceptions and because they are exceptions and we use them with na, they are here not in genitive case, but in accusative case. So, we change the word accordingly to the preposition.
One last thing I want you to tell… I want to tell you about those two prepositions so one last thing I want to tell you about those two prepositions is that, well, generally, you can think about it like do is going to somewhere specific while na is more like heading into that direction. So you can use them to just distinguish between those two meanings. Usually, if you are going to a city, you will use do, but let’s look at those two examples - Jadę do Krakowa, Jadę na Kraków. So, what is the difference? As I said, well, generally, those are the rules that you have to remember, but just keep in mind that do is more specific and na is more broad like just that direction, but not exactly there. In which case, you actually can make a sentence like this or sentences, two sentences to distinguish between those two meanings. And, what it tells you is that Jadę do Krakowa means “I’m going to Kraków/Cracow” which, well, I will end up in Cracow, hopefully.
But - Jadę na Kraków, it means I’m heading into that direction, but maybe I will not go there. I’m just heading to Kraków’s direction, just to explain direction, but doesn’t mean I’m going to Cracow.
So I hope that makes it a little bit more clear, the meaning or the difference between meanings between those two is clearer right now or so I hope. And, let’s just wrap it up again. So, one more time, we have two dynamic prepositions when we move somewhere and this is na and this is do and both are being translated as “to” into English. Na is being followed by accusative case. Do is being followed by genitive case. This just means that you need to change the noun after that. And na, is being used with, well, names of islands, peninsulas, or when we talk about an event so when we go to an event and then here are those three exceptions I want you to remember which is post office, airport and university.
While do is being used in most of the other cases and also, when we go to somebody’s place, to somebody’s house, to somebody’s place when we just say the name of this person, “I’m going to Tomek’s…”, “I’m going to Marta’s…” and so on, we use do. And also, we use do with countries, but there are some exceptions and two I want you to remember are Ukraine and Hungary. And then the overall meaning of do and na is just that, do is more specific, na is more like heading that direction which you can actually show in those two sentences here - Jadę na Kraków, Jadę do Krakowa. So you can actually play with those meanings if you want to.
That’s all for today, I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you again and see you next time!

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