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Confused about the Polish Imperative


patryk_sudol 6 | 23  
25 Nov 2007 /  #1
I am confused about the imperative. For example would I say "Przestaj narzekac" or "Przestaj narzekaj"? I need more info on the imperative. Dzienki!
Lukasz 49 | 1,746  
25 Nov 2007 /  #2
przestań narzekać ;)
OP patryk_sudol 6 | 23  
25 Nov 2007 /  #3
Is przestań the imperative? Also does both verbs have to be imperative because I am confused because some instances only the first verb is imperative or sometimes both verbs are imperative (daj spokoj?).
Michal - | 1,865  
26 Nov 2007 /  #4
Spokoj is peace and is a noun not a verb. Niech pan przeczyta gramatykę is also, I think a form of the imperative expressed in a different way. Przesań, to stop doing something is a very good example of the imperative but przeczytaj dalej is also an example of the impreritive. Nie patrz sie na mnie-don't look at me would be another example. Buy a good grammar course and it will explain everything in an order and that would be your best bet. Borrowing from a library can be a problem as you might like the book but you have always got to return it after a few weeks.
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
26 Nov 2007 /  #5
does both verbs have to be imperative because I am confused

no, in the combination of two verbs (like in your example "przestań narzekać") the first is imperative, the second infinitive.

but the imperative gets different forms for different persons:

Sing.
1. -
2. Przestań narzekać (Stop complaining)
3. Niech (on/ona) przestanie narzekać (Let him/her stop complaining)

Plural
1. Przestańmy narzekać (Let's stop complaining)
2. Przestańcie narzekać (Stop complaining)
3. Niech (oni/one) przestaną narzekać (Let them stop complaining)

3rd person isn't technically imperative, but I forgot what it is, but it has the same function.
czarnykot 16 | 28  
13 Mar 2009 /  #6
Merged: Which form of Imperative to use?

I thought the use of the Imperative was straightforward... But I am now really confused by what my Polish teacher says, my Polish friends say and what most books say. I am OK using the Imperative in an informal way, between friends, that are normally addressed in the 2nd person singular (ty). My problem concerns use of Imperative between strangers. The topic of 'Giving directions' is often addressed in Grammar books and by teachers in class. The form of the Imperative to use seems to be really varied.

Example: I'm in Warsaw and ask a stranger how to get to the railway station... What form of the Imperative would normally be used in the reply by the person unknown to me? I would first ask the question:

Przepraszam, zgubiłem się... proszę, czy Pan wie jak dojść do dworca kolejowego?

Would the reply be in the form of:

a) Tak, oczywiście. Najpierw, proszę iść prosto do skrzyżowania. Potem, na światłach, proszę skręcić w prawo, iść dalej prosto do następnego skrzyżowania i skręcić w lewo... itd.

b) Tak, oczywiście. Najpierw, idź prosto do skrzyżowania. Potem, na światłach, skręć w prawo, idź dalej prosto do następnego skrzyżowania i skręć w lewo... itd.

c) Tak, oczywiście. Najpierw, niech pan idzie do skrzyżowania. Potem, na światłach, niech pan skręci w prawo, niech pan idzie dalej prosto do następnego skrzyżowania i niech pan skręći w lewo... itd.

And then if was with my wife, asked the stranger in Warsaw the question:

Przepraszam, zgubiliśmy się... proszę, czy Pan wie jak dojść do dworca kolejowego?

Would the reply be in the form of:

a) Tak, oczywiście. Najpierw, proszę iść prosto do skrzyżowania. Potem, na światłach, proszę skręcić w prawo, iść dalej prosto do następnego skrzyżowania i skręcić w lewo... itd.

b) Tak, oczywiście. Najpierw, idźcie prosto do skrzyżowania. Potem, na światłach, skręćcie w prawo, idźcie dalej prosto do następnego skrzyżowania i skręćcie w lewo... itd.

c) Tak, oczywiście. Najpierw, niech państwo idą do skrzyżowania. Potem, na światłach, niech państwo skręcą w prawo, niech państwo idą dalej prosto do następnego skrzyżowania i niech państwo skręćą w lewo... itd.

Apologies for being so long-winded, but I'd really like to get to grips with which form of the Imperative to use, once and for all! It seems to me that replies b) are Informal replies, used with friends and would not be used when addressing a stranger. But then I may well be wrong. Do respective ages of the person asking, the person replying (both or all being strangers) affect the form of Imperative to be used?

Many thanks for any help offered.
Pozdrawiam.
mafketis 24 | 8,916  
13 Mar 2009 /  #7
Imperatives aren't used in giving directions IME.

You might use 'niech' once (though technically speaking niech isn't an imperative), but overall future tense (perfective) and the verb musieć are more used. You can also use trzeba.

Giving your example some wild guesses (which will probably be hilarious to Polish speakers):

Tu pan skręci w prawo, potem pan pójdzie prosto do pierwszej ulicy by skręcić w lewo ....

Pan musi pójść do pierszej ulicy i skręcić w prawo, potem pan pójdzie prosto do pierwszej ulicy by skręcić w lewo....

Trzeba pójść do pierwszej ulicy i skręcić w prawo, potem trzeba skręcić w następną ulicę w lewo ....

Also

zgubiłem się... this has connotations (I think) of existential or moral quandries

zabłądziłem is better, but you generally don't explain yourself like that.

A better tactic is just to ask.

Przepraszam pana, jak można/mogę dójść na dworzec?
or
Przepraszam pana, czy pan wie jak pójść stąd na dworzec?
czarnykot 16 | 28  
13 Mar 2009 /  #8
Imperatives aren't used in giving directions IME.

Thanks for your suggestions... Pan musi + Infinitive, or Trzeba + Infinitive seem to be much better Constructions re 'giving directions'. But in the above quote, what does IME stand for? I don't think I've come across this before...
gumishu  
13 Mar 2009 /  #9
choice 'b' it is informal (question is in formal tone) so this is not a way to go

to me both 'a' and 'c' could well be applied here. both are polite enough
though 'a' seems a bit politer (but maybe it's just me)

Mafketis remarks are very reasonable.
Imperative in case of telling somebody (a stranger) a way is not used that much, at least in everyday speech. (this is an advice, after all, not an order)

Proszę mi przynieść papier - is a polite way of ordering someone to bring you paper
Niech mi pan przyniesie papier - is not that polite, just observes the respectful title pan
however
Pan mi przyniesie papier - looks like future perfective form (but actually you just need to omit niech in the previous sentence); it is in fact often used to give orders or requests (depending on intonation), and may be even less polite than the version with 'Niech' (but not always - 'cause niech might be simply omitted for the sake of economy of speaking)

btw. niech is roughly the same in meaning as 'let' (to let - niechać)
(niech skończy - let him finish)
the verb is, however, not used in modern Polish although some derivates are, like:
zaniechać, poniechać.

well - I guess we pretty much went to a very advanced Polish ;)
the rather advanced nature of the question might be an excuse :)

If I were to choose between the choices 'a' and 'c' i would go for 'a' because it requires considerably less sylables to be spoken ;) and at the same time is more polite :)

(just lazy me)
mafketis 24 | 8,916  
13 Mar 2009 /  #10
what does IME stand for?

In My Experience
orszula  
6 Jun 2009 /  #11
hey guys, my question is : the structure and use of imperative sentences in English and Polish. nigdzie nie moge tego znależć
lukham - | 11  
29 Jun 2009 /  #12
This isn't that difficult, after all. All you need to memorize, assuming you know the present tense forms of a verb, is the singular imperative form for the second person (you). The way you build the imperative is as follows:

to speak - mówić

Singular

1. Niech mówię!
2. Mów!
3. Niech mówi

Plural:

1. Mówmy
2. Mówcie
3. Niech mówią

Now:

To create singular 1st and 3rd person form you just put in the word niech (let; may) and then the present tense form. Like below:

He speaks - (on) mówi
Let him speak! - niech (on) mówi!

Then, plural forms:

1. Mówmy = Mów (imperative form for the 2nd person singular) + my
2. Mówcie = Mów (imperative form for the 2nd person singular) + cie
3. Niech mówią - again, you put in the word niech + present tense form for they (oni)

There are no exceptions from this. To get the 1st and 2nd plural imperative form you always add the ending -my or -cie accordingly to the imperative form of the 2nd singular person (mów in this case).

Now, as usual, there is one situation where it's different. For the verb być - to be you do not use the present tense after niech, but the future tense. Look at the examlpe below:

Singuler

1. Niech będę! (niech + I will be)
2. Bądź!
3. Niech będzie! (niech + he/she/it will be)

Plural

1. Bądźmy!
2. Bądźcie!
3. Niech będą! (niech + they will be)

There is slightly more to it, but in 99% of cases you are going to get it right. I hope this helps.

Cheers.
axid - | 18  
29 Jun 2009 /  #13
respect Lu
lukham - | 11  
29 Jun 2009 /  #14
Let him speak! - niech (on) mówi!

Slight correction: Since let in English is actually a verb, this should be:

May he speak! - niech (on) mówi!

PS. Thanks axid for pointing that out to me. :)
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
3 Jul 2009 /  #15
Or to make it easier...

Proszę + infinitive (of verb)

Examples:
Proszę czekać!
Proszę wejść!
Proszę pokazać (gdzie...)!

Very easy! But pretty formal I guess, probably sounds a little strange to say to your friends.

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