polish greetings

Polish Grammar – Genitive


For learners of Polish, the concept and study of grammar is very important. As in any foreign language. However, I know that Polish grammar is very different from, for example, the grammar of Germanic languages. Polish has seven cases that need to be learnt. The first of these, which we will present in today’s post, is the genitive (Pol. dopełniacz).

What Is the Case in Grammar?

It is a grammatical category for the conjugation of nouns, adjectives, counters and pronouns. In Polish, there are 7 cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, locative and vocative.

Genitive Singular

In Polish, there are five kinds in the singular: animate substantive, inanimate, feminine and neuter, while in the plural there are three kinds:masculine, feminine and neuter. Unlike their English equivalents, they require no article. Depending on the context, the noun jabłko can be translated as the apple, an apple or apple.

Pronouns: kogo? czego?
Genitive Singular

When to Use the Endings -a and -u

The endings -a :

  • narzędzia (nie mam młotka, śrubokręta) —> eng. tools ( I don’t have hammer, screwdriver)
  • owoce i warzywa (nie mam banana, pomidora) —> eng. fruits and vegetables (I don’t have banana, tomato)
  • naczynia i sztućce (nie mam noża, garnka) —> eng. crockery and cutlery (I don’t have knife, pot)
  • nazwy sportów i gier (hokeja) —> eng. the name of sports and games (hockey)
  • tańce (walca, fokstrota) —>eng. dances (waltz, foxtrot)
  • waluty (funta, dolara) —> eng. currency (pound, dollar)
  • nazwy miesięcy (marca, maja)  —> eng. the names of the months (March, May)

The endings -u :

  • transport (nie mam samochodu, roweru) —> eng. eng. transports ( I don’t have a car, bike)
  • pojęcia abstrakcyjne (nie ma problemu, hałasu) —> eng. abstract concepts (no problem, noise)
  • rzeczowniki zbiorowe (nie ma lasu, ryżu, tłumu) —> eng. collective nouns (no forest, no rise, no crowd)
  • substancje płynne i półpłynne (nie ma soku, kleju) —> eng. liquid and semi-liquid substances ( no juice, no glue)
  • nazwy dni tygodnia (poniedziałku, piątku) —>eng. names of the week (Monday, Thursday)

What is Męski Żywotny and Nieżywotny?

Męski żywotny (Eng. animate) – those that name living beings, i.e. people and animals, e.g. a cook, a dog, as well as personified concepts and images, such as a dwarf or an angel.
Męski nieżywotny (Eng. inanimate) – those that name objects, plants, or activities, states, phenomena, e.g. a table, a daisy, listening, weariness, snow.

Notice that the genitive of animate noun is the same as the accusative.

The pronouns kogo? and czego? introduce questions which must be answered by a noun in the genitive case.
Kogo? requires personal nouns, whereas czego? requires non-personal nouns.

For example:
Kogo szukasz? Szukam mamy. / Who are you looking for? I’m looking for my mom.
Czego potrzebujesz? Potrzebuję słońca. / What you need? I need sun.
Nie masz telefonu. / You don’t have a mobile phone.
Ona nie widzi psa. / She doesn’t see a dog.

The genitive is always used to form the direct object of:

  1. potrzebować (eng. to need),szukać (eng. to look for), bać się (eng. be scared), uczyć się (eng. to leran), and
  2. all negated accusative verbs.

Genitive Plural

Genitive Plural

Masculine nouns with stems ending in a hard consonant always take the -ów ending in the genitive plural. As a rule, other masculine nouns take -y ending or the -i ending. However, there are many deviations from the rule.

For example:

Potrzebuję pięć pokoi. / I need five rooms.
Musisz kupić siedem znaczków. / You have to buy five stamps.
Nie ma widelców. / There are no forks.
Nie mam pieniędzy. / I don’t have money.

Personal Pronouns

Nom. Sg. : ja, ty, on, ona, ono
Gen. Sg : mnie, ciebie, go, jej, go

Nom. Pl. : my, wy, oni, one
Gen. Pl. : nas, was, ich

Potrzebują nas. / They need us.
Nie słyszymy ich. / We don’t hear them.

In the genitive plural, the same forms of the personal pronouns can occupy a stressed as well as a non-stressed position, Note that pronounce my and wy have the same forms (nas nad was) in the genitive and accusative.

Idą do nich. / They are going to them.

After prepositions, ich is replaced by nich.

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