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Verbs Governing the Instrumental Case

In Polish, there are verbs that are followed only by an Instrumental (narzędnik).

Many verbs require the Instrumental case without a preposition, e.g., interesować się (eng. to be interested in), denerwować się (eng. get nervous), martwić się (eng. to worry), opiekować się (eng. to take care), etc.

Some verbs occur only with a preposition (+ Instrumental case), e.g. kłócić się (eng. to quarrel), tęsknić (eng. to long for).

Preposition + Instrumental

For example:

Tęsknię za mamą. / eng. I long for mum.

Verb + Instrumental + Preposition + Locative

For example:

Ania jedzie rowerem po chodniku. / eng. Ania is riding her bike on the sidewalk.

List of Polish Verbs Governing the Instrumental Case

The most common verbs governing the Instrumental are:

być – to be

bawić się – to have fun, to play

cieszyć się – to enjoy, to be glad

czesać się – to comb one’s hair

częstować – to treat

czyścić – to clean

golić się – to shave

interesować się – to be interested in

iść – to go

jechać – to go (always by means of vehicle)

jeść – to eat

jeździć – to go (always by means of vehicle)

kłócić się – to quarrel

kroić – to cut

lecieć – to fly

litować się – to have (take) pity on

machać – to wave

malować – to paint

malować się – to make up

martwić się – to worry

myć – to wash

myć się – to wash oneself

opiekować się – to take care

pisać – to write 

płynąć – to swim, to sail

pływać – to swim, to sail

przyjeżdżać – to arrive

rozmawiać – to talk

rozstawać się – to part

rysować – to draw

rządzić – to govern

rzucać – to throw

spotykać się – to meet

sprzątać – to clean up, to tidy 

tęsknić – to long for

walczyć – to fight

wieźć – to drive, to transport

wycierać – to wipe

zachwycać się -to fascinate, to charm

zajmować się – to be occupied

zamiatać – to sweep

zmywać – to wash up

The Instrumental Case – General Information

In Polish, there are three kinds in the singular: masculine, feminine and neuter and in the plural for all these three kinds, there is one ending -ami.

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.

The Instrumental answers the questions: kim? (by/with whom?) and czym? (by/with what?).

Instrumental appears as a predicate noun of a sentence containing the verb być (to be). It is a complement linked to the subject noun. The predicate pronoun is also used in the Instrumental case:

Kim ona jest? / eng. Who is she?

Ona jest studentką.  / eng. She is a student. 

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