Return PolishForums LIVE
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2005-2009 / Language  % width 130

Polish grammar exercises from hell


Derevon 12 | 172  
11 Oct 2009 /  #1
I was thinking it could be nice to have a thread with tricky grammar exercises for people to practise with.

I just made up one here with the infamous Polish numerals. Anyone may participate, even native speakers, but please let some foreigner(s) try first. ;)

Translate to gramatically correct Polish ("dwójka", "trójka", "czwórka" etc are not allowed):

A mother together with her two uncles, three aunts and fifteen younger siblings bought
twohundred and fifty-three pliers, forty-five pairs of scissors and eighty-two sleighs in
ninety-seven different shops.


Good luck. :)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
11 Oct 2009 /  #2
Matka razem z jej dwoma wujkami, trzema ciotkami i z piętnaściorgiem młodszego rodzeństwa kupiła dwieście piędziesiąt trzy (troje?) kleszczy, czterdieści pięć nożyczek i osiemdziesiąt dwoje sań w dziewiędzisięciu siedmiu różnych sklepach.

Forgive me, I am not a native speaker of Polish and have likely made some mistakes. I ran it through my head rather than following rules, that's how my Polish tends to be. My grammar awareness is limited but I think that a native Pole may have problems with the above.
OP Derevon 12 | 172  
11 Oct 2009 /  #3
The word for "pliers" that I had in mind was "szczypce". ;)

I'm not a native speaker myself, so I don't know the correct answer with 100% certaintly. I hope some native speaker with a good knowledge of grammar can give us the correct answer though. ;)

My best try is:

Matka razem ze swoimi dwoma wujkami, trzema ciotkami i ze swoim piętnaściorgiem młodszego rodzeństwa kupili dwieście pięćdziesięcioro troje szczypiec, czterdzieście pięć par nożyczek i osiemdziesięcioro dwoje sań w dziewięćdziesięciu siedmiu różnych sklepach.

But I might be totally wrong.
gumishu 11 | 5,017  
11 Oct 2009 /  #4
kleszczy

pary kleszczy or kleszcze

the latter is however at least ambiguous if correct at all

it's because trzy requires nominative btw

and Seanus i really appreciate your effort - nearly perfect - and yes many Poles would have a hard time with that one
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
11 Oct 2009 /  #5
45 pairs of scissors would be 90 in Polish I think. I'd say kupiła because she bought the goods. It's like a non-defining relative clause. Kupili is possible too, though.

I forgot about the cioro ending :( I don't often use it as I keep it simple as much as possible.

Thanks, Gumishu. I was a little quick with it and made some basic mistakes but I felt it reasonably well.
gumishu 11 | 5,017  
11 Oct 2009 /  #6
kupiła is equally suitable here and does not change the meaning (and it's more colloquial)

man I have myself doubts here - and with that troje skrzypiec/szczypiec/kleszczy you actually put me to shame
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
11 Oct 2009 /  #7
Any more, Derevon?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730  
11 Oct 2009 /  #8
A mother together with her two uncles, three aunts and fifteen younger siblings bought two hundred and fifty-three pliers, forty-five pairs of scissors and eighty-two sleighs in ninety-seven different shops.

Matka waz z jej dwoma wujami, trzema ciotkami i piętnaściorgiem młodszego rodzeństwa kupiła dwieście pięćdziesiąt trzy pary kombinerek, czterdzieści pięć par nożyczek i osiemdziesiąt dwie pary sani w dziewięćdziesięciu siedmiu różnych sklepach.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
11 Oct 2009 /  #9
Delph, 45 pairs of scissors means 90 in Polish.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730  
11 Oct 2009 /  #10
Don't look at me, my girlfriend demanded to write it :P

Apparently according to the dictionary, you're both right...

(my head hurts)
Ziemowit 12 | 3,582  
11 Oct 2009 /  #11
Matka razem ze swoimi dwoma wujkami, trzema ciotkami i ze swoim piętnaściorgiem młodszego rodzeństwa kupili dwieście pięćdziesięcioro troje szczypiec, czterdzieście pięć par nożyczek i osiemdziesięcioro dwoje sań w dziewięćdziesięciu siedmiu różnych sklepach.

Excellent! You've been careful enough to pick up nouns that come only in the plural form (szczypce, sanie) which, the same as nouns describing groups of people or animals consisting of members od both sexes, require the numeral forms of dwoje, troje, czworo etc. Although "nożyczki" as well as "spodnie" fall in the same category, we tend to say "trzy pary nożyczek/spodni" instead of "troje nożyczek/spodni".

I would say: dwoma wujami rather than wujkami as this is rather a formal context for describing such a person.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
11 Oct 2009 /  #12
Delph, right enough :)

Ziemowit, Polish is a context-based language. To use 'pary' gets confusing as it appears to be ambiguous. When you say a pair of pants/trousers/breeks to a native speaker, they will know exactly what you mean.
OP Derevon 12 | 172  
11 Oct 2009 /  #13
To straighten out a few question marks:

Should I use "para" about scissors, trousers etc, or should I use the collective numerals? If I say "dwie pary nożyczek", how many tools do I mean exactly?

I was also wondering if it's really correct to use "razem z jej" here. I thought use of the reflexive pronoun "swój" was mandatory in the third person when it refers back to an earlier mentioned subject.

Also I don't get it how it can be correct with "kupiła" since not only the mother, but also the other people were involved in the buying.

Later I will try to make up some even trickier practice exercises. ;)
Bzibzioh  
11 Oct 2009 /  #14
Should I use "para" about scissors, trousers etc, or should I use the collective numerals? If I say "dwie pary nożyczek", how many tools do I mean exactly?

Just nożyczki (singular) as in 'pożycz mi nożyczki' but two would be "dwie pary nożyczek" as in 'kupiłam dwie pary nowych nożyczek'

Also I don't get it how it can be correct with "kupiła" since not only the mother, but also the other people were involved in the buying.

It depends what's your focus in the story: the mother or the rest.
OP Derevon 12 | 172  
11 Oct 2009 /  #15
Thanks everyone.

Now for the second exercise, although I fear it might be even too convoluted (text within parentheses is not to be translated):

Two men and a woman sitting on a bench in a park reading newspapers were approached by six police officers (of mixed sex) who gave four passers-by (also of mixed sex) an order to tell them what they think about the three people sitting on the bench.

Don't ask me for the correct version of this one. ;)
Bzibzioh  
11 Oct 2009 /  #16
Sześciu policjantów wydało polecenie czterem przechodniom powiedzenia im co myślą o dwóch mężczyznach i kobiecie siedzących na ławce w parku i czytających gazety.

:)

I really should be doing something constructive today
OP Derevon 12 | 172  
11 Oct 2009 /  #17
Hey, you cheated. :)

It was supposed to be what they think about the "3 people sitting on the bench", not "2 men and a woman". ;) Also you changed the order completely, but maybe it's necessary, I don't know. ;)
Bzibzioh  
11 Oct 2009 /  #18
It was supposed to be what they think about the "3 people sitting on the bench", not "2 men and a woman". ;)

And those "3 people sitting on the bench" are not the same "2 men and a woman"?

Frankly, your sentence was confusing. I changed it to what makes sense to me.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
11 Oct 2009 /  #19
Two men and a woman sitting on a bench in a park reading newspapers were approached by six police officers (of mixed sex) who gave four passers-by (also of mixed sex) an order to tell them what they think about the three people sitting on the bench.

Do dwóch mężczyzn i jednej kobiety, siedziących na ławce w parku i czytających gazety, podeszło sześciu policjantów, którzy rozkazali czterem przechodnim powiedzieć im, co myślą o tych trzech ludziach siedziących na ławce.
Bzibzioh  
11 Oct 2009 /  #20
co myślą o tych trzech ludziach siedziących na ławce.

co myślą o tych trzech osobach siedziących na ławce
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
11 Oct 2009 /  #21
And why is that?
Bzibzioh  
11 Oct 2009 /  #22
Peoples and person. I think.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
11 Oct 2009 /  #23
Come again, that makes no sense. Tell me, Bzibzioh, when do you use persons and when do you use people in English? You have to feel this difference if you are gonna tell me that it's wrong in Polish.
OP Derevon 12 | 172  
11 Oct 2009 /  #24
Yeah well, sorry. This was a poor exercise. I will try to make up a better one tomorrow. ;)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
11 Oct 2009 /  #25
Did I cheat? ;) ;) Any suggested improvements?
Bzibzioh  
11 Oct 2009 /  #26
Tell me, Bzibzioh, when do you use persons and when do you use people in English? You have to feel this difference if you are gonna tell me that it's wrong in Polish.

I can tell you for sure the difference in Polish but in English I'm struggling with this. It's hazardous guess usually for me :)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
11 Oct 2009 /  #27
Well, persons is more formal. The most common use is when making reservations, e.g how many persons per table. People is more general.

There is a difference between osobach and ludziach but not in the above example. Pierwsza osoba but NOT pierwsza ludzi. If the police were conducting a formal investigation and they were the 3 'persons' in question, then maybe but that's not for sure in the example.

It was a bit messy!
OP Derevon 12 | 172  
11 Oct 2009 /  #28
Seanus

I don't think you cheated. ;) Your sentence looks fine to me, but then again, I don't really have much feeling for what's correct in Polish, so I let somebody else be the judge. ;)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
11 Oct 2009 /  #29
It's hard. I don't go strictly by book rules, more by feel.
z_darius 14 | 3,969  
11 Oct 2009 /  #30
In general English language gurus cannot reach a consensus in the matter of people vs. persons.

The guidelines I follow are that persons is mostly used in legal contexts, and also to emphasize that each member of the group of people is being considered individually. Otherwise people is just fine.

As with so many other words some contextual exceptions, stylistic rather than grammatical, apply.

Archives - 2005-2009 / Language / Polish grammar exercises from hellArchived