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MICHAEL: What is the difference between the prepositions, na and do?
MARZENA: And how do Polish speakers use these prepositions?
MICHAEL: At PolishPod101.com, we hear these questions often.
The following situation is typical. ANNA KOWALSKA (@COLLEGE-FRIENDF), a college student, sees BEN LEE (@HERO-SON) headed out of the university cafeteria and asks,
“Where are you going?”
ANNA KOWALSKA (@COLLEGE-FRIENDF): Gdzie idziesz?
ANNA KOWALSKA:Gdzie idziesz?
BEN LEE:Idę na pocztę. A ty?
ANNA KOWALSKA:Idę do supermarketu.
MICHAEL: Once more with the English translation.
ANNA KOWALSKA:Gdzie idziesz?
MICHAEL: Where are you going?
BEN LEE: Idę na pocztę. A ty?
MICHAEL: “I’m going to the post office. And you?”
ANNA KOWALSKA: Idę do supermarketu.
MICHAEL: “I’m going to the supermarket.”
MICHAEL: Many students have noticed that the preposition,
MARZENA: do,
MICHAEL: and the preposition,
MARZENA: na,
MICHAEL: both translate as the same English preposition, "to," as in "I’m going to.…" In Polish, the word you need to use will change depending on the destination.
MICHAEL: Let’s take a closer look at both responses.
Do you remember how Ben says,
"I’m going to the post office."
BEN LEE:Idę na pocztę.
MICHAEL: Here, Ben uses the dynamic preposition
MARZENA: na
MICHAEL: meaning "to." A dynamic preposition is a preposition used with verbs of movement, like "to go" or "to ride." When used as a dynamic preposition, the preposition
MARZENA: na
MICHAEL: is always followed by a noun in the accusative case.
You can use the preposition
MARZENA: na
MICHAEL: when your destination is
one, an island,
two, a part of a territory — for example a district in a town,
or three, an event, like a party
(short pause).
There are also some destinations that require the preposition,
MARZENA: na
MICHAEL: and you’ll need to memorize them. Here are the most common ones.
“Post office."
MARZENA: Poczta.
MICHAEL: "Airport."
MARZENA: Lotnisko.
MICHAEL: "University."
MARZENA: Uniwersytet.
MICHAEL: "Swimming pool."
MARZENA: Basen.
MICHAEL: Finally, while this preposition is not usually used with countries, it’s sometimes necessary in a few isolated instances, such as,
"Ukraine."
MARZENA: Ukraina.
MICHAEL: "Hungary."
MARZENA: Węgry.
MICHAEL: And "Slovakia."
MARZENA: Słowacja.
MICHAEL: But remember that there are only few countries for which you can use this preposition, and you’ll need to memorize them.
MICHAEL: Now let’s take a look at our second preposition.
Do you remember how Anna says,
"I’m going to a supermarket."
MARZENA: Idę do supermarketu.
MICHAEL: Here Anna uses the preposition,
MARZENA: do,
MICHAEL: meaning "to." It’s also a dynamic preposition. The preposition,
MARZENA: do,
MICHAEL: is always followed by a noun in the genitive case.
Recall that we have said that the preposition,
MARZENA: na,
MICHAEL: is used when the destination is a part of a territory, such as a city district, but not a country, and we have also given you some exceptions to this rule, such as Ukraine. The preposition,
MARZENA: do,
MICHAEL: on the other hand, is used when the destination is a country. For example,
MARZENA: Jadę do Francji.
MICHAEL: "I’m going to France."
Now, recall that the preposition,
MARZENA: na,
MICHAEL: is also used when the destination is an event like a university lecture or a party. The preposition,
MARZENA: do,
MICHAEL: on the other hand, is used when the destination is a person, meaning a person’s house, workplace, or a place where that person is at a given moment.
For example,
MARZENA: Idę do Marka.
MICHAEL: This literally means "I’m going to Mark’s," but it translates as "I’m going to Mark’s house” or whatever other place he happens to be at the moment.
Now recall that we have also given you some special destinations, such as a "university" or an "airport" that will always come with the preposition,
MARZENA: na.
MICHAEL: The good news is that once you memorize these few exceptions you can use the preposition,
MARZENA: do,
MICHAEL: with all the other destinations, such as the "supermarket" in our example.
MARZENA: Idę do supermarketu.
MICHAEL: So far we have learned that the preposition,
MARZENA: na
MICHAEL: is used when the destination is
one, an island,
two, a part of a territory,
three, certain countries, such as Ukraine,
four, an event,
and five, some special locations that you need to memorize:
an airport, a university, or a post office.
In general, it tends to be used when you’re heading to a big open space, but there are some exceptions.
We have also learned that the preposition,
MARZENA: do,
MICHAEL: is used when the desitionation is
one, a country, two, a person, or three anything else that is not covered by the preposition,
MARZENA: Na.
MICHAEL: This makes it a very productive preposition so be sure to take advantage of its flexibility!!
Examples
MICHAEL: Now let’s look at some examples. Our first example is
MARZENA: Jadę na Majorkę (enunciated).
Jadę na Majorkę.
MICHAEL: "I’m going to Majorca." This uses the preposition,
MARZENA: na,
MICHAEL: because Majorca is an island.
The next example is
MARZENA: Jadę na Mazury (enunciated).
Jadę na Mazury.
MICHAEL: "I’m going to Masuria." This uses the preposition,
MARZENA: na,
MICHAEL: because Masuria is a region in Poland and a part of Polish territory. The next example is
MARZENA: Jadę na Ukrainę (enunciated).
Jadę na Ukrainę.
MICHAEL: "I’m going to Ukraine." This uses the preposition, na,
because Ukraine is one of the exceptions. The next example is
MARZENA: Idę na przyjęcie (enunciated).
Idę na przyjęcie.
MICHAEL: "I’m going to the party." This uses the preposition,
MARZENA: na,
MICHAEL: because a party is an event.
The next example is
MARZENA: Idę na uniwersytet (enunciated).
Idę na uniwersytet.
MICHAEL: "I’m going to the university." This uses
MARZENA: na
MICHAEL: because a university is one of very few exceptions when we use this preposition. The next example is
MARZENA: Jadę do Niemiec (enunciated).
Jadę do Niemiec.
MICHAEL: "I’m going to Germany." This uses
MARZENA: do
MICHAEL: because Germany is a country and we use this preposition with most countries.
The next example is
MARZENA: Idę do Tomka (enunciated).
Idę do Tomka.
MICHAEL: "I’m going to Tomek’s place." This uses
MARZENA: do
MICHAEL: because Tomek is a person.
And our last example is
MARZENA: Idę do sklepu (enunciated).
Idę do sklepu.
MICHAEL: "I’m going to the shop." This uses
MARZENA: do
MICHAEL: because a shop is not one of the very few exceptions we have listed for you, with which you would use the preposition,
MARZENA: na.
MICHAEL: Once again, remember that
MARZENA: do
MICHAEL: is one of the most productive prepositions!
MICHAEL: Now let’s take a look at a situation where you can use both prepositions, but the meaning of the sentence will change. For example
MARZENA: Jadę do Krakowa (enunciated).
Jadę do Krakowa.
MICHAEL: This means "I’m going to Krakow." And there is the nuance that this is the destination. Now listen to the second sentence.
MARZENA: Jadę na Kraków. (enunciated)
Jadę na Kraków.
MICHAEL: This means "I’m heading towards Krakow." But Krakow may not be my destination. This sentence would be used only to describe the direction in which you’re moving.
Practice Section
MICHAEL: Let's review. Respond to the prompts by speaking aloud. Then repeat after the Polish speaker, focusing on pronunciation.
Do you remember how BEN LEE (@HERO-SON) says,
"I’m going to the post office."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
MARZENA KARPINSKA AS BEN LEE
Idę na pocztę.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Idę na pocztę.
MICHAEL: And how ANNA KOWALSKA (@COLLEGE-FRIENDF) says,
"I’m going to the supermarket."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
MARZENA AS ANNA KOWALSKA
Idę do supermarketu.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Idę do supermarketu.
MICHAEL: Now, one last insider hint. Remember that the preposition,
MARZENA: do,
MICHAEL: Is used much more often than the preposition,
MARZENA: na,
MICHAEL: So this means that if you memorize when to use
MARZENA: na
MICHAEL: You can use
MARZENA: do
MICHAEL: in all the other cases!
Do you have any more questions? We’re here to answer them!
MARZENA: Do usłyszenia!
MICHAEL: "Bye, see you next time!"

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Can you write a sentence with the prepositions do and na?