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Posts by Ivonka  

Joined: 27 Oct 2006 / Female ♀
Last Post: 12 May 2007
Threads: Total: 10 / In This Archive: 7
Posts: Total: 4 / In This Archive: 1
From: Poland
Interests: English, Polish language

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12 May 2007
Language / Formal and Informal Greetings in Polish [21]

What is "a greeting"? It is a kind of a polite expression or a gesture done when greeting another person.

We all know that greetings are essential part in our everyday life no matter where we live, what we do, who we are or what culture we belong to. We cannot imagine a single day without greeting somebody.

There are lots of different kinds of greetings which are used in various situations depending on how well we know a particular person, on time of the day or circumstances of the meeting. The words said when greeting people can express respect or be just a normal polite expression. Very often, they show joy because of the meeting or even are a spoken joke.

Now, I would like to present some most important and common Polish expressions used to greet people.

Dzień dobry is a general official form of greeting people we do not know and older people. We use it no matter whether it is morning (in English: Good morning) or afternoon (in English: Good afternoon).

Dobry wieczór (in English: Good evening) is similar to Dzień dobry, but it is used in the evening.

Dobranoc (in English: Good night) is said when people leave each other in the evening or before going to bed.

Do widzenia! (in English: Goodbye) is used when someone leaves or is left.

Cześć! (in English: Hi!, Hello!, Bye!) is an informal expression we use both when we want to greet our friends, relatives, children and people we know well and when we want to say goodbye.

Witam! or Witaj! is quite similar to Cześć! but a little bit less emotional.

Czołem! is again close to Cześć! but it sounds more archaically and less familiar.

Jak się masz!, Jak się miewasz!, Co u Ciebie słychać! or Co słychać! (in English: How do you do?, How are you?) is a greeting which expresses interest in mood and health condition of the person we have met.

Polish language has also got a few more informal ways of greeting. Here are they:

Graba!, Grabula!, Witka!, Kopsnij witkę!, Strzała! or Strzałeczka! are mostly used by men. It encourages to offer one’s hand and is connected with the gesture of shaking hands (used by people who know each other very well).

Piątka!, Kopsnij piątkę! or Przybij piątkę! are very similar to Graba! etc. but it is connected with the gesture of ‘giving somebody five’.

Kopę lat! meaning: I haven’t seen you for ages! It emphasizes the fact that a lot of time has passed since the last meeting.

Sie masz! or Sie ma! is a shortened version of Jak się masz! (How do you do?) which has become characteristic among teenagers.

Szczęść Boże! (in English: God bless!) is a greeting sometimes used by Catholics. The answer is: Daj Boże!

Similar in meaning is: Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus! or just Pochwalony! (in English: Praised be Jesus Christ!). As a reply to this greeting we say: Na wieki wieków, amen!

We have also got some gestures which are sometimes used as a greeting:

- Shaking hands,
- Taking off one’s headgear for a moment,
- Raising one’s open hand up,
- Nodding one’s head,
- Giving somebody five,
- Smile,
- Kissing somebody’s hand (a man kisses a woman’s hand),
- Kissing one’s cheeks,
- Embracing.

As you can notice, there are lots of ways to greet people we meet and this is the case not only in Polish, but also in other languages. It is quite important because every time we see a person we realize we should greet him/her as it would be unkind not to say anything.

Remember: A greeting is a notice and a sign of politeness and good behaviour.
20 Apr 2007
Travel / Quick Visitor Tour through selected Polish cities [5]

Warsaw (Warszawa), Cracow (Kraków), Częstochowa, Katowice, Oświęcim, Wadowice, Wrocław, Zakopane, Szczecin, Tri-City (Gdańsk, Gdynia, Sopot)

Poland is a very beautiful country visited by a great number of tourists. There are a lot of special and interesting monuments, buildings and places that we are proud of. This article is not only for those foreigners who want and plan to visit Poland, but also for all who are interested in our country and would just like to read and get to know about Poland more.

Warszawa (Warsaw):

This is the biggest city in Poland situated in the East in województwo mazowieckie (Masovian voivodeship). It became stolica (the capital) of our country in 1596. Due to this fact, the majority of important institutions are located there. These are, for example:

- Budynki Parlamentu (the buildings of the Parliament),
- Sąd Najwyższy (the Supreme Court of Poland),
- Najwyższa Izba Kontroli (the Supreme Chamber of Control),
- Narodowy Bank Polski (NBP) (the National Bank of Poland),
- Telewizja Polska (Polish Television),
- Uniwersytet Warszawski (University of Warsaw),
- Uniwersytet Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego (Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University),
- port lotniczy im. Fryderyka Chopina Warszawa-Okęcie (Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport),
- Teatr Narodowy (National Theater),
- Filharmonia Narodowa (the National Philharmony),
- Narodowa Galeria Sztuki Zachęta (the National Gallery of Art Zachęta),
- Muzeum Narodowe (the National Museum).

Besides, Warsaw has a lot of tourist attractions to offer. First of all, I would like to concentrate on zamki (castles) and pałace (palaces). Here, one can differentiate:

£azienki Królewskie (the Royal Lazienki Park with Palaces):

Once, this was letnia rezydencja (the summer residence) of Stanisław August Poniatowski (one of Polish kings). As the name suggests, it is a good place for walks in its park. Various cultural, sports, etc. events take place there as well. One should name buildings that are on the premises of this park which are:

- Pałac £azienkowski/pałac Na Wodzie/pałac Na Wyspie (Lazienki Palace/the Palace on the Water/the Palace on the Isle) – here the tourists can visit pałac (the palace), ogród (the garden) and jezioro (the lake),

- Biały Domek (the White House) – a very interesting building containing a lot of rooms where Ludwik XVIII (Louis XVIII of France) used to live when in exile,

- Pałac Myślewicki (Myslewicki Palace) – similarly to Biały Domek (the White House), its interior with original decorations is worth seeing,

- Stara Oranżeria/Pomarańczarnia (the Old Orangery) – it was the place of meetings and theatrical performances and now it is a museum,

- Nowa Oranżeria/Pomarańczarnia (the New Orangery) – with a garden and a stylish restaurant,

- Pomnik Fryderyka Chopina (Frederic Chopin Monument).

Zamek Królewski (the Castle Square):

It is a Baroque castle situated at Plac Zamkowy (the Royal Square). Polish monarchs used to live there and a lot of tourists visit it when in Poland. It consists of numerous special rooms like e.g. Sala Rycerska (the Knights’ Hall), Pokój Marmurowy (the Marble Room), Sala Rady (the Council Chamber), Sala Tronowa (the Throne Room), Pokoje Dworskie (the Court Rooms), Sala Senatorska (the Senate Chamber).

Pałac w Wilanowie (Wilanów Palace):

It is a very valuable monument which was built for King Jan III Sobieski. The main center of its cultural life is Muzeum Pałac w Wilanowie (Wilanów Palace Museum). However, there are also beautiful ogrody (gardens) which have different styles: barokowy (Baroque), różany (rose), krajobrazowy (landscape), angielsko-chiński (English-Chinese); Mauzoleum Potockich (Potocki Mausoleum); Kościół św. Anny (St Anne’s church); Świątynia Opatrzności Bożej (Temple of Divine Providence).

Zamek Ujazdowski (Ujazdowski Castle):

It is the castle with which we associate such Polish rulers as Zygmunt III Waza (Sigmund III Vasa), Bona Sforza, Stanisław August Poniatowski. Later it also served as koszary (barracks), szpital wojskowy (military hospital) and szkoła sanitarna (sanitary school). Now, it is especially famous for Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej (the Center for Contemporary Arts) which it houses.

Pałac Kultury i Nauki (the Palace of Culture and Science):

This is the highest building in Poland ‘given’ to us by the Soviet nation. It was Józef Stalin’s (Joseph Stalin’s) idea. It has got 3288 rooms and it is the seat of a lot of instytucje (institutions), firmy (companies); there are teatry (theatres), kina (cinemas), muzea (museums), księgarnie (bookshops), Sala Kongresowa (the Congress Hall), etc. It is also there where various kinds of events are organized: wystawy (exhibitions), konferencje (conferences), koncerty (concerts), targi (fair), for example, very well-known Międzynarodowe Targi Książki (the International Book Fair).

Belweder (Belvedere Palace):

The palace in Park £azienkowski (the Lazienki Park) which was the seat of Polish Prezydent (President) and now it is used for cele reprezentacyjne (ceremonial purposes) and important ceremonie (ceremonies).

Pałac Prezydencki (Presidential Palace):

Built in 1643-45, it is the place of living of the President. In the past, important events took place there such as, for example, podpisanie Układu Warszawskiego (signing of the Warsaw Pact) or rozmowy Okrągłego Stołu (the Round Table talks).

Secondly, there are a few noticeable place (squares) in Warsaw:

Plac Zamkowy (the Royal Square):

It is the most recognizable and vast square in Warsaw located at Stare Miasto (the Old Town). In its centre there stands Kolumna Zygmunta (Sigmund’s Column) which is the oldest monument of Warsaw. Thousands of tourists visit this square where they can find a lot of places to sit, have something to eat and drink as well as be the witnesses of various entertaining and cultural events.

Plac Piłsudskiego (Piłsudski Square):

It is especially associated with Grób Nieznanego Żołnierza (Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) commemorating unnamed soldiers fighting and defending Poland. It is interesting to see zmiana warty (changing of the guard) when in Warsaw.

Plac Trzech Krzyży (Three Crosses Square):

Another square in the centre of Warsaw with its well-known kościół św. Aleksandra (St Alexander’s Church).

Other places recommended to be seen and visited are:

Stadium Dziesięciolecia (10th Anniversary Stadium):

The biggest Warsaw stadium was the place of quite important sports events and other festivals. Now it is especially known for being an enormous market place and bazaar called Jarmark Europa (Europe Market).

Ogród Saski (Saxon Garden):

It is the oldest public park in Warsaw opened in 1727. Originally, it represented the French style and later it was changed into the English style. It contains rzeźby (sculptures), fontanna (fountain), Pałac Błękitny (Blue Palace), Żelazna Brama (Iron Gate), pomnik Marii Konopnickiej (the monument of Maria Konopnicka).

Cmentarz Powązkowski/Stare Powązki (Powązki Cemetery):

It is the oldest and the most well-known Warsaw cemetery. There are graves and tombs of famous Poles, soldiers, writers, actors and actresses, bishops, doctors, scientists etc. Some of them are buried in the so-called Aleja Zasłużonych (Avenue of the Meritorious).

Barbakan Warszawski (Barbican of Warsaw):

It is a budowla obronna (the defensive building) which ‘defended’ the city just once in its history – during potop szwedzki (Sweden Deluge).

Cytadela Warszawska (Warsaw Cytadel):

It was built by the emperor Mikołaj I (Nicholas I of Russia) to be able to control the city. Later, it was also a hard więzienie (prison).

Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego (Warsaw Rising Museum):

It was opened in 2004 to give honour to those who died fighting in Powstanie Warszawskie (Warsaw Uprising) which took place in 1944.

Pomnik Bohaterów Getta (Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto):

It commemorates the fights of Żydzi (Jews) with hitlerowcy (Nazi) during powstanie w gettcie warszawskim (Warsaw Ghetto Uprising) in 1943.

Pomnik Warszawskiej Syrenki (Monument of the Warsaw Mermaid):

Warszawska Syrenka (the Warsaw Mermaid) is the symbol of Warsaw; it is also one of the elements of herb (the crest) of this city.

Pomnik Mikołaja Kopernika (Nicolaus Copernicus Monument).

Miejski Ogród Zoologiczny (Municipal Zoological Garden).

Ogród Botaniczny Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego (Warsaw University Botanic Garden).

Another great Polish city is Kraków (Cracow) which was also the capital of Poland before Warsaw. It is rich in culture, history and traditions as well and it belongs to the beloved cities of a great number of both Poles and foreigners. Among the most important and interesting places and things to see and visit are:

Wzgórze Wawelskie or Wawel (Wawel Hill):

This is the most significant place which includes:

- Zamek Królewski na Wawelu (the Wawel Castle) – Polish kings and monarchs lived there until 1596. The visitors can see komnaty królewskie (royal chambers), Prywatne Apartamenty Królewskie (Private Royal Apartments), skarbiec koronny (the Crown Treasury), Zbrojownia (Armory);

- Katedra Wawelska or Katedra na Wawelu pw. świętych Stanisława i Wacława (Wawel Cathedral or the Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Wenceslaus) – it is there where koronacje królewskie (royal coronations) took place and Polish kings and other famous and noble people are buried there – groby królewskie (royal tombs) are in krypty (crypts) under the cathedral;

- Smocza Jama (Dragon’s Den) – it is jaskinia (a cave) on Wawel (Wawel Hill) associated with the legend of Smok Wawelski (the Wawel Dragon); at the entrance of the cave there is the statue of Smok Wawelski ziejący ogniem (the fire-breathing Wawel Dragon);

- Dzwon Zygmunta (Zygmunt Bell) – this is the most famous and one of the biggest Polish bells whose founder was Zygmunt Stary (Zygmunt the Old); 8-12 strong men are needed to make the bell ring and it rings only on the most important events of the country.

Rynek Krakowski or Rynek Główny w Krakowie (Cracow’s Market Square or Main Market Square in Cracow) – it is actually the most important part of this city where tourists spend a lot of time; it is surrounded by zabytkowe kamienice i pałace (historic tenement houses and palaces); there, we can see and admire:

- Kościół Mariacki (St Mary’s Church) – it is the most popular bazylika (basilica) in Poland known for Ołtarz Wita Stwosza (the Altarpiece of Veit Stoss); also every hour, we can hear the sound of Hejnał Mariacki (Cracow’s Bugle Call or Hymn to Our Lady) played by trębacz (the trumpeter) from the highest tower of this church;

- Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) – this is the part of Rynek Krakowski (Cracow’s Market Square) everybody knows; this place was the trade center and now it is a kind of ‘shopping center’ with kramy i stoiska (stalls and stands) that offer a variety of goods;

- Pomnik Adama Mickiewicza (the Monument of Adam Mickiewicz) diminutively called Adaś (little Adam); a lot of different events, manifestations and meetings concentrate around this monument.

Besides, tourists can pay attention to:

- Barbakan (Barbican);

- Brama Floriańska or Brama św. Floriana (the Florian Gate or St Florian’s Gate) – it leads to the city;

- Kopiec Kościuszki (Kościuszko’s Mound) – it was built to commemorate one of the our national heroes Tadeusz Kościuszko;

- Cmentarz Rakowicki (Rakowicki Cemetery) – great, important and noble figures of Cracow’s life and Polish life are buried there.

Near Cracow there are the following towns:

- Nowa Huta – it is the district of Cracow which was to be a separate town and also the industrial center – these were plans of the Communist Government;

- Błonia Krakowskie (Błonia Fields) – it is the vast terrain where people gather during big and important events, for example, the visit of Papież (the Pope);

- Wieliczka – it is a town near Cracow particularly famous for its Kopalnia Soli (Salt Mine).


This is the city in the south of Poland, in województwo śląskie (Silesian voivodeship). It has kościół (the church) and Klasztor Paulinów (Pauline Monastery) on Jasna Góra with cudowny obraz Matki Bożej Jasnogórskiej/Czarnej Madonny (the miraculous painting of Our Lady of Częstochowa/Black Madonna). Thousands of pielgrzymi (pilgrims) visit this place which is ośrodek kultu maryjnego (the centre of Marian cult) in Poland.


The city situated in the south of Poland as well which is considered to be stolica Górnego Śląska (the capital of Upper Silesia) and centrum Górnośląskiego Okręgu Przemysłowego (the center of Upper Silesian Industrial Region). When in Katowice, one can see:

- Teatr Śląski im. Stanisława Wyspiańskiego (the Silesian Theatre);

- Filharmonia Śląska (the Silesian Philharmony);

- Spodek (Saucer) – this is a famous enormous building in the shape of a saucer where various kinds of events take place such as concerts, exhibitions, shows and others; there is also lodowisko (a skating rink) there;

- Wieża Spadochronowa (Parachute Tower) – the only existing tower of this kind in Poland used during II Wojna Światowa (World War II);

- Pomnik Powstańców Śląskich (the Monument of Silesian Insurgents) – it commemorates three Powstania Śląskie (Silesian Uprisings) which took place between 1919-1921.


Located in województwo małopolskie (Lesser Poland Voivodeship), Oświęcim is very often visited by tourists due to the fact that during II Wojna Światowa (World War II) there was the biggest niemiecki obóz koncentracyjny (Nazi concentration camp) Auschwitz-Birkenau where a lot of Jews, Poles and people of other nationalities died.


This a special place for Poles as Papież Jan Paweł II (Pope John Paul II) was born there. Thus, it has become one of Polish tourists attractions where such places are visited as:

- Bazylika Mniejsza Ofiarowania Najświętszej Maryi Panny (Minor Basilica of the Virgin Mary’s Presentation);

- Dom Rodzinny Papieża Jana Pawła II (the Native Home of the Pope John Paul II) which is a museum.


Another bigger city in województwo dolnośląskie (Lower Silesian Voivodeship) where it is recommended to visit:

- Muzeum Narodowe (the National Museum) which has Panorama Racławicka (the Racławice Panorama) – a panoramic painting depicting Bitwa pod Racławicami (the Battle of Racławice);

- Stare Miasto (the Old Town) – with Rynek (the Market Square) and Plac Solny (Solny Square),

- Ogród Botaniczny Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego (Wrocław University Botanic Garden);

- Park Szczytnicki z Ogrodem Japońskim (Szczytnicki Park with the Japanese Garden);

- Ogród Zoologiczny (the Zoological Garden) – as far as the number of animals exposed, it is the biggest zoo in Poland;

- Stary Cmentarz Żydowski (the Old Jewish Cemetery).


The southern city in województwo małopolskie (Lesser Poland Voivodeship). It is called zimowa stolica Polski (winter capital of Poland) as it is surrounded by Tatry (the Tatra Mountains) and it offers a lot of attractions for tourists who come here in winter like:

- Kolej linowo-terenowa na Gubałówkę (Gubałówka Hill funicular);

- Kolejka linowa na Kasprowy Wierch (Kasprowy Wierch funicular);

- Skocznia narciarska Wielka Krokiew (Wielka Krokiew ski jump).

Besides, Zakopane has Krupówki (Krupówki Street) which is a famous street in the center of the city.

When going at the Polish sea – Morze Bałtyckie (the Baltic Sea), there are such towns as:

Szczecin in województwo zachodniopomorskie (West Pomerania Voivodeship).

Trójmiasto (Tricity) which includes, as the name indicates, three cities in województwo pomorskie (Pomerania Voivodeship):

Gdańsk with famous:

- Stocznia Gdańska (Gdańsk Shipyard);

- Fontanna Neptuna (Neptun Fountain) at the Old Town;

- Pomnik Obrońców Westerplatte (the Munument of Westerplatte).

Gdynia – in its harbour, tourists can see old statki (ships): Dar Pomorza (it means ‘the gift of Pomerania) and niszczyciel ORP Błyskawica (ORP Błyskawica destroyer).

Sopot is the resort town with its longest wooden molo (pier) in Europe, plaże (beaches), Opera Leśna (Forest Opera) where the international Sopot Festival is organized, latarnia morska (the lighthouse).

Undoubtedly, there are more cities and towns in Poland which have a lot to offer and which can be proud of some buildings, palaces, monuments, castles, etc. however, I have chosen the most important ones which belong to the most popular tourist attractions in Poland.
2 Mar 2007
Language / Numbers in the Polish Language [39]

It is impossible to use any language (including Polish, of course) without knowing the rules connected with liczby/liczebniki/cyfry (numbers). Therefore, I am going to present how the aspect of numbers and numbering looks like in the Polish language.

First of all, I would like to deal with with liczebniki główne (Cardinal Numbers):

Numbers from 1 to 9:

1 – jeden 6 – sześć
2 – dwa 7 – siedem
3 – trzy 8 - osiem
4 – cztery 9 – dziewięć
5 – pięć 10 – dziesięć

In order to make the numbers from 11 to 19 we add the ending “-naście” or “-aście” ('-teen'):

11 – jedenaście 16 – szesnaście
12 – dwanaście 17 – siedemnaście
13 – trzynaście 18 – osiemnaście
14 – czternaście 19 – dziewiętnaście
15 – piętnaście

To make Polish numbers from 20 to 90 one has to add the ending “-dzieści”, ”-dzieścia” or ”-dziesiąt” which is like English “-ty”:

20 – dwadzieścia 60 – sześćdziesiąt
30 – trzydzieści 70 – siedemdziesiąt
40 – czterdzieści 80 – osiemdziesiąt
50 – pięćdziesiąt 90 – dziewięćdziesiąt

Numbers from 21 to 99 consist of two words:

28 – dwadzieścia osiem 93 – dziewięćdziesiąt trzy
45 – czterdzieści pięć 34 – trzydzieści cztery
71 – siedemdziesiąt jeden 52 – pięćdziesiąt dwa
86 – osiemdziesiąt sześć 67 – sześćdziesiąt siedem

There are also setki (hundreds) chich are made by adding the ending “-sta”, ”-set” or “-ście”:

100 – sto 600 – sześćset
200 – dwieście 700 – siedemset
300 – trzysta 800 – osiemset
400 – czterysta 900 – dziewięćset
500 – pięćset

And again, we say:

243 – dwieście czterdzieści trzy
701 – siedemset jeden
685 – sześćset osiemdziesiąt pięć
949 – dziewięćset czterdzieści dziewięć

Tysiące (thousands) look in the following way:

1000 – tysiąc 6000 – sześć tysięcy
2000 – dwa tysiące 7000 – siedem tysięcy
3000 – trzy tysiące 8000 – osiem tysięcy
4000 – cztery tysiące 9000 – dziewięć tysięcy
5000 – pięć tysięcy 10000 – dziesięć tysięcy

There are also bigger numbers like e.g.:

1000000 – milion (million)
1000000000 – miliard (billion)
1000000000000 – bilion (trillion)

Similarly to English, there are some rules that one has to follow to create liczebniki porządkowe (ordinal numbers).

Depending on rodzaj (gender) they have different endings:

Męski (masculine) | żeński (feminina) | (plural)
1st pierwszy | pierwsza | pierwsze / pierwsi
2nd drugi | druga | drugie / drudzy
3rd trzeci | trzecia | trzecie / trzeci
4th czwarty | czwarta | czwarte
5th piąty | piąta | piąte
6th szósty | szósta | szóste
7th siódmy | siódma | siódme
8th ósmy | ósma | ósme
9th dziewiąty | dziewiąta | dziewiąte
10th dziesiąty | dziesiąta | dziesiąte
11th jedenasty | jedenasta | jedenaste
12th dwunasty | dwunasta | dwunaste etc.

In English, when we want to make an ordinal number from 21 to 99, from 101 to 999 etc., we add the ordinal ending only to the last figure. In Polish, in turn, we have to do it in the last two figures:

22nd – dwudziesty drugi/dwudziesta druga/dwudzieste drugie (twenty-second)

84th – osiemdziesiąty czwarty/osiemdziesiąta czwarta/osiemdziesiąte czwarte (eighty-fourth)

369th – trzysta sześćdziesiąty dziewiąty/trzysta sześćdziesiąta dziewiąta/trzysta sześćdziesiąte dziewiąte (three hundred and sixty-ninth)

753rd – siedemset pięćdziesiąty trzeci/siedemset pięćdziesiąta trzecia/siedemset pięćdziesiąte trzecie (seven hundred and fifty-fifth)

4567th – cztery tysiące pięćset sześćdziesiąty siódmy/cztery tysiące pięćset sześćdziesiąta siódma/cztery tysiące pięćset sześćdziesiąte siódme (four thousand five hundred and sixty seventh)

9828th – dziewięć tysięcy osiemset dwudziesty ósmy/dziewięć tysięcy osiemset dwudziesta ósma/dziewięć tysięcy osiemset dwudzieste ósme (nine thousand eight hundred and twenty-eighth)

Obviously, figures are also used as far as money is concerned. In Poland waluta narodowa (the national currency) is złoty/zł (zloty). There is also grosz/gr (American cent). The international abbreviation of our currency is PLN.

Polskie nominały (Polish denominations) are:

- banknoty (notes): 10zł, 20zł, 50zł, 100zł, 200zł
- monety (coins): 1zł, 2zł, 5zł
- monety (coins): 1gr, 2gr, 5gr, 10gr, 20gr, 50gr.

When we want to know cena (the price) of something, we ask:

- Ile to kosztuje? (How much does it cost?)
- Ile one kosztują? (How much do they cost?)
- Jaka jest cena …? (What’s the price of …?).

We answer:

- To kosztuje … (It costs …)
- One kosztują … (They cost …)
- Cena wynosi … or Cena … to … (The price is …) or we just give the price:

2,99zł – dwa złote dziewięćdziesiąt dziewięć groszy (two zlotys ninenty-nine cents) in everyday speech: dwa dziewięćdziesiąt dziewięć (two ninenty-nine)

36,70zł – trzydzieści sześć złotych siedemdziesiąt groszy (thirty-six zlotys seventy cents) in everyday speech: trzydzieści sześć siedemdziesiąt (thirty-six seventy)

It seems to me that knowing how to use the numbers is a crucial aspect of every language as they are part of everyday life and one needs them in basic activities such as for example doing shopping, telling the time or giving the price of a particular thing. That is why I decided to devote a few words to describe this issue in Polish language.

1 Dec 2006
Language / Writing Polish Formal Letters [6]

It is obvious and natural that in today’s world the tradition and custom of writing letters by hand, going to the post office and sending them there is becoming less and less common. Because of technology development, people have replaced this activity with writing SMSes and emails.

However, we still sometimes need to write letters either traditionally or in a modern way. There is no problem as far as listy prywatne (informal or private letters) are concerned as we use styl nieoficjalny (informal or unofficial style).

Listy formalne (formal letters) are much more difficult since we need to know styl oficjalny (formal or official style), special expressions and they have to have the look of such a letter.

This article is devoted to listy formalne (formal or official letters) especially to podanie o pracę or list motywacyjny (letter of application).

Podanie o pracę or list motywacyjny (letter of application) – it is now quite popular to write such letters and send them to employers so that they can get to know about us, read what we know, what kind of work we would like to do and what skills or abilities we have.

Firstly, I am going to present the example of podanie o pracę or list motywacyjny (letter of application) in English.

Imagine that you are looking for a job and have read an interesting advert in the newspaper. A travel agency is offering a job as a tour guide in Warsaw and you feel it is the job for you so you decide to apply for it.

Park Street 4/67
00-950 Warsaw
24 November 2006

‘Go And See’
Travel Agency
Bank Street 12A
00-950 Warsaw

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing in response to your advertisement which appeared in yesterday’s issue of ‘Newsweek’ and I would like to apply for the position of a tour guide in Warsaw. I believe that my education, experience and qualifications make me a suitable person for this kind of job.

First, as far as my education is concerned, in 2003 I graduated from Warsaw University where I studied at the faculty of Tourism and Recreation. I also attended additional courses to broaden my knowledge about Poland and Polish cities. In 2005, I received a certificate finishing the course ‘Getting To Know Warsaw’.

As you can see from the enclosed CV, I have nearly three years’ experience as while I was studying, I worked in three Warsaw travel agencies where I was responsible for groups of tourist both from Poland and abroad.

As far as my foreign languages are concerned, I can speak English, Italian and German fluently. I am also a very open, communicative and talkative person which makes my contacts and relationships with people natural and friendly.

Tour guiding, however, is not only confined to my professional life. It is a very important area of my personal interests as well. I have always liked learning about the history, facts and anecdotes connected with Polish cities and I am currently writing a book about the most famous and significant buildings and places in Warsaw. I have also other interests such as psychology, music and literature.

I would like to face new challenges, which is why I am interested in this particular job. Taking into consideration my education, qualifications and my experience so far, I believe I would make a valuable contribution to the development of your travel’s agency. In addition, working for ‘Go And See’ would make it possible for me not only to use my knowledge and skills, but also to learn a lot and develop further.

Please, consider my application for the advertised position. I am ready to attend an interview at any time that is convenient to you.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Yours faithfully,

And now I would like to show the same letter, but in Polish.

It is as follows:

ul. Parkowa 4/67
00-950 Warszawa
24 listopad 2006

Biuro Podróży
‘Go And See’
ul. Bankowa 12A
00-950 Warszawa

Piszę do Państwa w odpowiedzi na ogłoszenie, które pojawiło się we wczorajszym wydaniu ‘Newsweek’ i chciałbym/chciałabym ubiegać się o posadę przewodnika wycieczek w Warszawie. Wierzę, że moje wykształcenie, doświadczenie oraz kwalifikacje powodują, iż jestem odpowiednią osobą do tego rodzaju pracy.

Jeśli chodzi o moje wykształcenie, w 2003 roku ukończyłem/ukończyłam Uniwersytet Warszawski, gdzie studiowałem/studiowałam na kierunku Turystyka i Rekreacja. Uczęszczałem/Uczęszczałam również na dodatkowe kursy, aby poszerzać moją wiedzę o Polsce i polskich miastach. W 2005 roku otrzymałem/otrzymałam świadectwo ukończenia kursu ‘Poznawanie Warszawy’.

Jak widać w załączonym CV, posiadam prawie trzyletnie doświadczenie, ponieważ w trakcie studiów, pracowałem/pracowałam w trzech warszawskich biurach podróży, gdzie byłem/byłam odpowiedzialny/odpowiedzialna za grupy turystów zarówno z Polski, jak i z zagranicy.

Jeśli chodzi o znajomość języków obcych, biegle posługuję się językiem angielskim, włoskim oraz niemieckim. Jestem także osobą bardzo otwartą, komunikatywną i rozmowną, co powoduje, że kontakty i stosunki z ludźmi są naturalne oraz przyjazne.

Oprowadzanie wycieczek nie ogranicza się tylko do życia zawodowego. To równocześnie bardzo ważny element moich zainteresowań. Zawsze lubiłem/lubiłam uczyć się historii, faktów oraz anegdot związanych z polskimi miastami, a obecnie piszę książkę o najbardziej znanych i znaczących budowlach i miejscach w Warszawie. Mam również inne zainteresowania, takie jak psychologia, muzyka i literatura.

Chciałbym/Chciałabym stawić czoła nowym wyzwaniom, dlatego właśnie interesuje mnie ta praca. Biorąc pod uwagę moje wykształcenie, kwalifikacje oraz dotychczasowe doświadczenie, wierzę, że mógłbym/mogłabym wnieść cenny wkład w rozwój Państwa biura podróży. W dodatku, praca dla ‘Go And See’ umożliwiłaby mi nie tylko wykorzystanie mojej wiedzy i umiejętności, ale też nauczenie się czegoś nowego i dalszy rozwój.

Proszę o rozpatrzenie mojego podania. Jestem gotowy/gotowa stawić się na rozmowę kwalifikacyjną w odpowiednim dla Państwa czasie. Czekam z niecierpliwością na Waszą szybką odpowiedź.

Z poważaniem,


Below is the list of the most important phrases and expressions useful when writing podanie o pracę or list motywacyjny (letter of application):

Zapytanie (enquiring):

Piszę z zapytaniem o… (I am writing to enquire about…)

Piszę, aby zapytać o… (I am writing to ask about…)

Piszę w odpowiedzi na… (I am writing in answer/response to…)

Piszę w związku z… (I am writing in reference to/in conection with…)

Odwołując się do… (With reference to…)

Czy moglibyście przesłać mi dalsze szczegóły/dokładne informacje na temat…? (Could you please send me further details/detailed information about…?)

Zastanawiam się, czy mogliby mi Państwo powiedzieć… (I wonder if you could tell me…)

Podanie o pracę or list motywacyjny (letter of application):

Piszę w odpowiedzi na/w odniesieniu do Waszego ogłoszenia, które ukazało się w … dnia … (I am writing in response to/with regard to your advertisement which appeared in … on …)

Chciałbym/Chciałabym ubiegać się o pozycję… (I would like to apply for the post of/position of…)

Jeśli chodzi o moje wykształcenie,… (As far as my education is concerned,…)

Jak widać w załączonym CV,… (As you can see from the enclosed CV,…)

Biorąc pod uwagę… (Taking into consideration…)

Kończenie listów (finishing letters):

Proszę o rozpatrzenie mojego podania. (Please, consider my application for the advertised position.)

Jestem gotowy/gotowa stawić się na rozmowę kwalifikacyjną w odpowiednim dla Państwa czasie. (I am ready to attend an interview at any time that is convenient to you.)

Czekam z niecierpliwością na Waszą szybką odpowiedź. (I look forward to your reply/to hearing from you soon.)

Czekam z niecierpliwością na odpowiedź w najbliższym czasie. (I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Byłbym/Byłabym wdzięczny/wdzięczna za w miarę szybką odpowiedź. (I would appreciate a reply at your earliest convenience. / I would appreciate it if you could reply promptly.)

Mam nadzieję, że wkrótce się Państwo odezwą. (I hope to hear from you soon.)

Gdyby chcieli się Państwo ze mną skontaktować… (If you should need to contact me…)

Załączam/Do listu załączam… (Enclosed is…/ Please find enclosed… / I am enclosing… /I am enclosing herewith…)

Z poważaniem (Yours faithfully)


I have decided to write about listy formalne (formal letters) as I observe people and I often notice that they have problems when they are to write them. They sometimes even do not know how to begin, what words to use and what is or is not allowed in styl formalny (formal style). When they see the example letter, then, it is much easier because they just exchange some information and as you see some expressions and phrases are permanent so it is enough to rewrite them. I hope the above Polish letter will serve as such an instance.

9 Nov 2006
Language / Polish Conditionals (okresy warunkowe or zdania warunkowe) [23]

As the name suggests, okresy warunkowe or zdania warunkowe (Conditional Sentences) have to do with conditions i.e. one condition or conditions must be met so that something else could happen. This phenomenon is present in both the English and Polish language and we distinguish three conditionals plus the so-called zero conditional. They all will be described and compared below.

Zerowy okres warunkowy (Zero Conditional) indicates that one thing always comes automatically after another and expresses prawdy ogólne (General Truths). There is a small difference in this conditional as the structure in English sentence is:

if/when + Simple Present, Simple Present

and in Polish sentence it is:

jeśli/jeżeli/kiedy + czas teraźniejszy (Present Simple)/czas przyszły (Future Tense), czas teraźniejszy (Present Simple)/czas przyszły (will/won't)

In English:
If/When you heat water, it boils.
If/When you don't eat, you die.
If/When he misses the bus, he is late for work.

In Polish:
Jeśli/Jeżeli podgrzejesz wodę, zagotuje się. (in both sentences - Future Simple)
Jeśli/Jeżeli nie jesz, umierasz. (in both sentences - Simple Present)
Jeśli/Jeżeli spóźni się na autobus, spóźni się do pracy. (in both sentences - Future Simple)

Pierwszy okres warunkowy (First Conditional) refers to possible future actions. Here, the condition is very probable to occur.

The key difference between English and Polish is in the use of tenses because in English it is:

if/when + Present Simple, will/won't

whereas in Polish it is:

jeśli/jeżeli/kiedy + czas przyszły (will/won't), czas przyszły (will/won't)

In English:
If/When you learn, you will go to England.
If/When he has time, he will come to my party.
If/When I don't earn enough money, I won't buy a new car.

In Polish:
Jeśli/Jeżeli/Kiedy będziesz się uczył, pojedziesz do Anglii.
Jeśli/Jeżeli/Kiedy będzie mieć czas, przyjdzie na moje przyjęcie.
Jeśli/Jeżeli/Kiedy nie zarobię wystarczająco dużo pieniędzy, nie kupię nowego samochodu.

There are also other words that can be used in pierwszy okres warunkowy (First Conditional):

- jeśli/jeżeli nie (unless) e.g. Zrobię to, jeśli/jeżeli nie pójdę do kina. (I'll do it unless I go to the ciemna.); notice that we have forma przecząca (negative form) and in English there is no negation after 'unless'

- zakładając, że (providing/providing that) e.g. Patrycja będzie szczęśliwa zakładając, że wygra tą nagrodę. (Patricia will be happy provided/providing (that) she wins this prize.)

- pod warunkiem, że (on condition that) e.g. Pomogę ci pod warunkiem, że zrobisz zakupy. (I will help you on condition (that) you do the shopping.)

- jeśli/jeżeli (suppose/supposing that) e.g. Jeśli/Jeżeli kupią sobie psa, będą mieć problem. (If they buy a dog, they will have a problem.)

- tak długo jak/dopóki (as/long as) e.g. Tak długo jak/Dopóki nie zjesz, nie wyjdziesz z domu. (As/So long as you don't eat, you won't leave the house.)

- inaczej/w przeciwnym wypadku (otherwise) e.g. Musisz chodzić do pracy. Inaczej/W przeciwnym wypadku stracisz ją (You have to go to work. Otherwise you lose it.).

Drugi okres warunkowy (Second Conditional) refers to the present and future, but this time we can say that the condition cannot be realized.

The English structure is:

if + Simple Past, would + bare infinitive

and in Polish we have almost the same situation:

gdyby + czas przeszły (Simple Past), tryb przypuszczający (verbs with -by ending)

Liczba pojedyncza (Singular):

gdybym ja zrobił/zrobiła (if I did)
gdybyś ty zrobił/zrobiła (if you did)
gdyby on zrobił (if he did)
gdyby ona zrobiła (if she did)
gdyby ono zrobiło (if it did)

Liczba mnoga (Plural):

gdybyśmy zrobili/zrobiły (if we did)
gdybyście zrobili/zrobiły (if you did)
gdyby oni zrobili (if they did)
gdyby one zrobiły (if they did)

Polish tryb warunkowy (verbs with -by ending)

Liczba pojedyncza (Singular):

ja zrobiłbym/zrobiłabym (I would do)
ty zrobiłbyś/zrobiłabyś (you would do)
on zrobiłby (he would do)
ona zrobiłaby (she would do)
ono zrobiłoby (it would do)

Liczba mnoga (Plural):

my zrobilibyśmy/zrobiłybyśmy (we would do)
wy zrobilibyście/zrobiłybyście (you would do)
oni zrobiliby (they would do)
one zrobiłyby (they would do)

And now a few examples of sentences in drugi okres warunkowy (Second Conditional):

In English:
If I had enough money, I would go to Italy.
If she knew who you are, she wouldn't want to be with you.
If I were you, I would go to the doctor.

In Polish:
Gdybym miał/miała wystarczająco dużo pieniędzy, pojechałabym do Włoch.
Gdyby wiedziała kim jesteś, nie chciałaby być z tobą.
Gdybym był/była na twoim miejscu, poszedłbym-poszłabym do lekarza.

Trzeci okres warunkowy (Third Conditional) refers to the past and this condition cannot be realized as the situation described in sentences of this type happened in the past. Here is the structure:

English one:
if + past perfect, would have + Future Perfect in the Past

Polish one:
gdyby/jeśli/jeżeli + czas przeszły (Simple Past),
tryb przypuszczający (verbs with -by ending)

In English:
If I had known earlier, I would have prepared.
If he hadn't driven so fast, he wouldn't have had the accident.
If we had learned more, we would have passed that exam.

In Polish:
Gdybym wiedziała wcześniej, przygotowałabym się.
Gdyby nie jechał tak szybko, nie miałby wypadku.
Gdybyśmy uczyli/uczyły się więcej, zdalibyśmy/zdałybyśmy tamten egzamin.

There are also mieszane okresy warunkowe (Mixed Conditionals) - we can mix drugi okres warunkowy (Second Conditional) with trzeci okres warunkowy (Third Conditional) and the other way round.

In English:
If I hadn't forgotten my credit card, I wouldn't have to come back home now.
If you were more polite, you wouldn't have shouted at that woman.
If they didn't speak Italian, they would have had problems to understand the lecturer.

In Polish:
Gdybym nie zapomniał/zapomniała mojej karty kredytowej, nie musiałbym/musiałabym wracać do domu teraz.
Gdybyś był/była bardziej uprzejmy/uprzejma, nie krzyczałbyś/krzyczałabyś na tamtą kobietę.
Gdyby nie mówili/mówiły po włosku, mieliby/miałyby problemy, żeby zrozumieć wykładowcę.

That would be all as far as okresy/zdania warunkowe (Conditional Sentences) are concerned. They are frequently used in everyday language both in English and Polish. We sometimes even do not realize how often we use the particular tense or grammar construction especially when we speak the language fluently and we do not have to think about what we should use. I hope this short explanation of okresy/zdania warunkowe (Conditional Sentences) will help learners of Polish to use it correctly and without any problems or mistakes.

3 Nov 2006
Language / Ways of Expressing the Future in Polish [3]

It is generally known that there are few possibilities to express future in English. I would like to compare them with Polish and show the similarities as well as the differences.

Firstly, there is:

Zamierzać (be going to) – we use it when we talk about zamiary (intentions) which is also the case in Polish. In both languages there is bezokolicznik (infinitive) after zamierzać (be going to).

Liczba pojedyncza (Singular)

ja zamierzam studiować, kupić (I’m going to study, buy)
ty zamierzasz studiować, kupić (you’re going to study, buy)
on, ona, ono zamierza studiować, kupić (he, she, it is going to study, buy)

Liczba mnoga (Plural)

my zamierzamy studiować, kupić (we’re going to study, buy)
wy zamierzacie studiować, kupić (you’re going to study, buy)
oni, one zamierzają studiować, kupić (they’re going to study, buy)

Zamiary (Intentions)

Zdanie twierdzące or twierdzenie (Affirmative Sentence)

In English:
I’m going to study Psychology.
She’s going to visit me next Saturday.

In Polish:
(Ja) zamierzam studiować psychologię.
Ona zamierza odwiedzić mnie w przyszłą sobotę.

Zdanie pytające or pytanie (Question Sentence)

As in all pytania ogólne (general questions) in Polish, we put czy at the beginning of the question – we do not have any inversion.

In English:
Am I going to study Psychology?
Is she going to visit me next Saturday?

In Polish:
Czy (ja) zamierzam studiować psychologię?
Czy ona zamierza odwiedzić mnie w przyszłą sobotę?

To answer shortly in a positive way we say Tak (Yes, I am./Yes, she is.) or Tak, zamierzam/zamierza (Yes, I’m going to./Yes, she’s going to.) and to give a negative short answer we say Nie (No, I’m not./No, she isn’t.) or Nie, nie zamierzam/nie zamierza (No, I’m not going to./No, she isn’t going to.).

In pytania szczegółowe (Specific Questions) we have słowo pytające (Question Word) in the first place and no inversion.

In English:
Where am I going to study Psychology?
Where is she going to visit me next Saturday?

In Polish:
Gdzie (ja) zamierzam studiować psychologię?
Gdzie ona zamierza odwiedzić mnie w przyszłą sobotę?

Zdanie przeczące or przeczenie (Negative Sentence):
To make such a sentence we add nie (not) before the word zamierzać (going to).

In English:
I’m not going to study Psychology.
She isn’t going to visit me next Saturday.

In Polish:
(Ja) nie zamierzam studiować psychologii.
Ona nie zamierza odwiedzić mnie w przyszłą sobotę.

In English, zamierzać (be going to) is usually contrasted with ‘will’ which is Polish czas przyszły (Future Simple).

Liczba pojedyncza (Singular)

ja będę robić/robił (men/boys)/robiła (women/girls), zrobię (I’ll do)
ty będziesz robić/robił (men/boys)/robiła (women/girls), zrobisz (you’ll do)
on będzie robić/robił, zrobi (he’ll do)
ona będzie robić/robiła, zrobi (she’ll do)
ono będzie robić/robiło, zrobi (it’ll do)

Liczba mnoga (Plural)

my będziemy robić/robili (men/boys/mixed)/robiły (women/girls), zrobimy (we’ll do)
wy będziecie robić/robili (men/boys/mixed)/robiły (women/girls), zrobicie (you’ll do)
oni będą robić/robili, zrobią (men/boys/mixed) (they’ll do)
one będą robić/robiły, zrobią (women/girls) (they’ll do)

When it comes to the use of ‘will’ it is similar as both in English and Polish it is used to talk about:

- fakty w przyszłości (facts in the future) e.g. W przyszły piątek będę mieć 15 lat. (Next Friday I will be 15.)

- decyzja, zgoda na zrobienie czegoś (decision, agreement to do something) e.g. (Ty) jesteś zmęczona. (Ja) pozmywam. (You’re tired. I will do the washing-up.)

- przewidywania dotyczące przyszłości (predictions about the future) e.g. (Ja) myślę, że (oni) wygrają ten mecz. (I think they will win this match).

In English, when we want to express przewidywanie na podstawie tego, co widzimy (prediction based on what we see) we use the construction zamierzać (be going to), whereas in Polish we do it by means of czas przyszły (Future Simple) e.g. Popatrz na niebo. Będzie padać. (Look at the sky. It’s going to rain).

Zdanie twierdzące or twierdzenie (Affirmative Sentence)

In English:
I will sing his song tomorrow.
She will write a letter tomorrow.

In Polish:
(Ja) będę śpiewać/śpiewał/śpiewała, zaśpiewam tą piosenkę jutro.
Ona będzie pisać/pisała, napisze list jutro.

Zdanie pytające or pytanie (Question Sentence):

We do it by putting czy in front of the question in pytania ogólne (general questions) – no inversion here.

In English:
Will I sing this song tomorrow?
Will she write a letter tomorrow?

In Polish:
Czy (ja) będę śpiewać/śpiewał/śpiewała, zaśpiewam tą piosenkę jutro?
Czy ona będzie pisać/pisała, napisze list jutro?

Short positive answers are: Tak (Yes, I will./Yes, she will.) or Tak, będę/zaśpiewam./Tak, będzie/napisze. (Yes, I’ll sing./Yes, she’ll write.)

Short negative answers are: Nie (No, I won’t./No, she isn’t.) or Nie, nie będę/nie zaśpiewam./Nie, nie będzie/nie napisze. (No, I won’t sing./No, she won’t write.).

Pytania szczegółowe (specific questions) are formed with słowa pytające (question words) At the beginning of the question, but again without inversion.

In English:
Where will I sing this song tomorrow?

Where will she write a letter tomorrow?

In Polish:
Gdzie (ja) będę śpiewać/śpiewał/śpiewała, zaśpiewam tą piosenkę jutro?
Gdzie ona będzie pisać/pisała, napisze list jutro?

Zdania przeczące or przeczenia (Negative Sentences):

Nie (not) is the key word here.

In English:
I won’t sing this song tomorrow.
She won’t write a lettere tomorrow.

In Polish:
(Ja) nie będę śpiewać/śpiewał/śpiewała, zaśpiewam tej piosenki jutro.
Ona nie będzie pisać/pisała, napisze listu jutro.

Określenia czasu (Expressions of Time):

- jutro (tomorrow)
- następnego dnia/lata (next day/summer)
- w następnym tygodniu/miesiącu/roku, w następny piątek (next week/month/year/Friday)
- za 2 dni/tygodnie/miesiące/lata (in 2 days’/weeks’/months’/years’ time)
- w przyszłości (in the future)

As far as English is concerned, we also use present tenses to talk about future in some situations. This is also the case in Polish.

We all know that Present Continuous can express not only things happening now, but also czynności przyszłe zaplanowane (future arrangements). The situation is similar in Polish, but we use czas teraźniejszy (Present Simple) in this respect as we do not have Present Continuous as such.

In English:
I’m going to the cinema tomorrow.
She’s meting Paula tomorrow.

In Polish:
(Ja) idę do kina jutro.
Ona spotyka się z Paulą jutro.

Talking about rozkłady jazdy, harmonogramy, plany lekcji (timetables), in turn, we have czas teraźniejszy (Present Simple) in both languages.

In English:
The train leaves at 5.30 tomorrow.
The match starts at 7.00 tomorrow.

In Polish:
Pociąg odjeżdża o 5.30 jutro.
Mecz zaczyna się o 7.00 jutro.

English Also Has Expressions:

- mieć coś zrobić (be to do something) for things that are officially arranged e.g. (Ja) mam iść do szpitala w maju. (I’m to go to hospital in May.) or Ona ma odwiedzić Hiszpanię w przyszłym roku. (She’s to visit Spain next year)

- zaraz ktoś coś zrobi (be about to do something) for activities that will happen in the very near future e.g. Ona jest na scenie teraz. (Ona) zaraz zacznie śpiewać. (She’s on the stage now. she’s about to start singing.) or Pożegnaj się z nim. (On) zaraz wyjdzie. (Say goodbye to him. He’s about to leave.) – as you notice, in English we have bezokolicznik (infinitive) and in Polish it is forma czasu przyszłego (Future tense form).

Zdania czasowe (time clauses) are also connected with the future. There is one significant difference between English and Polish here.

After the following words and expressions:

- po tym jak (after)
- ponieważ/jako, że (as)
- jak tylko (as soon as)
- przed tym jak, zanim (before)
- do czasu gdy (by the time)
- aż do momentu gdy (until)
- kiedy (when, while)

In English, we use either Present Simple or Present Perfect whereas in Polish it is czas przyszły (Future Simple) e.g. (Ja) przyjdę do ciebie jak tylko skończę pracę. (I’ll come to you as soon as I finish work.) or Ona wyśle ten list po tym jak go napisze. (She’ll post this letter after she writes it.).

As the article shows, expressing the future in the Polish language is quite similar to English and there are not so many differences as in other aspects of this language. As long as we have the same, or almost the same, rules in both languages it is much easier to acquire the foreign one and communicate without making a lot of mistakes. Without doubt, when we learn something quickly and without much challenge it gives us more pleasure and will to broaden our knowledge.

27 Oct 2006
Language / Polish Present Tense [16]

For most Polish learners of English one of the most difficult and challenging things is to differentiate between a big number of tenses. They have problems to use each tense properly and at the right moment. This is mainly because Polish language has only three basic tenses. In this article I will try to outline the rules that govern the Polish present simple tense.

Czas teraźniejszy (present tense) – our present tense is English Simple Present as we do not have something like Present Continuous. Whether the action is a repeated one, a routine etc. or is being done at the moment of speaking is expressed by określenia czasu (expressions of time).

Zdania twierdzące or twierdzenia (affirmative sentences):
No matter whether we say: I sing this song every day. or I’m singing this song now. – in Polish we have one version which is: Śpiewam tą piosenkę (every day) or teraz (now).

The form of the verb depends on osoba/podmiot (the person/the subject):

Liczba pojedyncza (Singular)

ja robię, piszę, czytam (I do, write, read)
ty robisz, piszesz, czytasz (you do, write, read)
on, ona, ono robi, pisze, czyta (he, she, it does, writes, reads)

Liczba mnoga (Plural)

my robimy, piszemy, czytamy (we do, write, read)
wy robicie, piszecie, czytacie (you do, write, read)
oni robią, piszą, czytają (they do, write, read)

Zdania pytające or pytania (questions):

We do not have any inversion. When it comes to pytania ogólne (general questions), we add czy (something like do and does) at the beginning of the question.

In English:
Do you sing this song every day? or Are you singing this song now?
Does she write a letter every day? or Is she writing a letter now?

In Polish:
Czy (ty) śpiewasz tą piosenkę codziennie? or Czy (ty) śpiewasz tą piosenkę teraz?
Czy ona pisze list codziennie? or Czy ona pisze list teraz?

As in English, we can answer either positively or negatively, but we just say: Tak (Yes) or Nie (No). The other option is to add the verb: Tak, śpiewam./Tak, pisze. (Yes, I sing./Yes, she writes.) or Nie, nie śpiewam./Nie, nie pisze. (No, I don’t sing./No, she doesn’t write.).

In pytania szczegółowe (specific questions) in turn, the situation is similar to English as we have słowo pytające (question word) at the beginning, but again no operators or inversion.

In English:
Where do you sing this song every day? or Where are you singing this song now?
Where does she write a letter every day? or Where is she writing a letter now?

In Polish:
Gdzie (ty) śpiewasz tą piosenkę codziennie? or Gdzie (ty) śpiewasz tą piosenkę teraz?
Gdzie ona pisze list codziennie? or Gdzie ona pisze list teraz?

Other question words are:

- kiedy? (when?)
- dlaczego? (why?)
- co? (what?)
- kto? (who?)
- jak? (how?)

In English, when we ask about podmiot (the subject) we use the third person singular form of the verb. In Polish, there is no difference in this respect.

In English:
Who sings this song every day? or Who is singing this song now?
Who writes a letter every day? or Who is writing a letter now?

In Polish:
Kto śpiewa tą piosenkę codziennie? or Kto śpiewa tą piosenkę teraz?
Kto pisze list codziennie? or Kto pisze list teraz?

Zdania przeczące or przeczenia (negative sentences):

In order to make a negation in Polish we just add the word Nie (Not) in front of the sentence.

In English:
You don’t sing this song every day. or You aren’t singing this song now.
She doesn’t write a letter every day. or She isn’t writing a letter now.

In Polish:
(Ty) nie śpiewasz tej piosenki codziennie. or (Ty) nie śpiewasz tej piosenki teraz.
Ona nie pisze listu codziennie. or Ona nie pisze listu teraz.

Określenia czasu (expressions of time):

- zawsze (always)
- czasami (sometimes)
- często (often)
- nigdy (never)
- zwykle or zazwyczaj (usually)
- rzadko (seldom)
- od czasu do czasu (from time to time)
- codziennie (every day)
- co tydzień/miesiąc/rok/niedzielę (every week/month/year/Sunday)
- rano (in the morning)
- po południu (in the afternoon)
- wieczorem (in the evening)
- teraz (now)
- w tym momencie (at the moment)
- właśnie teraz (right now)
- dzisiaj (today)
- w tym tygodniu/miesiącu/roku (this week/month/year)

We do not imagine how often we use the present tense in our everyday talking and I hope this information will help foreigners learning Polish to construct this particular tense correctly and enable better and more fluent communication.