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Numbers in the Polish Language

Ivonka 10 | 4  
2 Mar 2007 /  #1
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.

daffy 23 | 1,508  
2 Mar 2007 /  #2
wow - dziekuje bardzo!
2 Mar 2007 /  #3

You i have said it before and will say again you are a gem!
jimbo 2 | 13  
3 Mar 2007 /  #4
Hell of a lesson Ivonka ! Do you happen to be a teacher ?
hyypia 3 | 41  
3 Mar 2007 /  #5
i can count from one to four in polish now! :-)
but some words are hard to pronounce
Marek 4 | 867  
17 Mar 2007 /  #6

Upwards from "five" - piec - it can get complicated, for instance, the nouns will change form on occasion to conform to the genitive case. This phenomenon exists in Russian as well:

2-4 lata, but piec, szesc etc. "lat"
2-4 paczki (small Polish filled dessert puffs), piec "paczkow"

Counting of mixed genders is also different after "piec", the declension variations too numerous to list right at the moment. All numbers of course, are declined.

HAL9009 2 | 325  
19 Mar 2007 /  #7
Thanks for this Ivonka :) my Polish counting is on the weak side, this ought to help.
Michal - | 1,865  
21 Mar 2007 /  #8
it also effects verb endings which is more important. For example, pietnascie kobiet pracuja ale pietnastu panow pracuje. Two, three and four also conform to the genitive case only here they have a genetive singular ending. Five and upwards have the genitive plural ending. Any good book will show you these rules.
hyypia 3 | 41  
21 Mar 2007 /  #9
now i can do it from one to nine!! :)
really takes me a long time haha
Huegel 1 | 296  
21 Mar 2007 /  #10
Keep at it hyypia! Only infinity -9 to go! :)
Marek 4 | 867  
22 Mar 2007 /  #11

I was recommended "Polish Reference Grammar" by Dana Bielec, put out by Routledge Press. It's fairly comprehensive as grammars go and seems to have zero typos, compared to some other texts I've seen.

Michal - | 1,865  
22 Mar 2007 /  #12
Actually, I was incorrect on what I said. jeden, dwa, trzy i cztery plus nominative plural e.g. dwie ksiazki but then piec ksiazek so for example piec, szesc ect will have the gen. plural. I think that this is now right but I have not studied Polish grammar for so long that I need to re-read everything and that takes ages...Being in England gives little motivation to learn another labguage, better when you are there involved on a day to day basis.
Marek 4 | 867  
22 Mar 2007 /  #13

I'm not a native speaker either, not even a bilingual (-born), but you are in fact right, because the rule about plurals does indeed cover ALL genders, after the number "piec":

"Dwie ksiazki" "matki", "panstwa", "stoly" etc. , but "Piec"/"Szesc ksiazek, matek, panstw, "stolów" though, is perfectly correct. :)

12 Nov 2007 /  #14
Dwie ksiazki, dwie matki = correct


Dwa panstwa, dwa stoly
gdj67 15 | 154  
18 Nov 2007 /  #15
Going to print that out and pin it to the fridge! Dzęki Bardzo Ivonka.
czarnykot 16 | 28  
10 May 2008 /  #16
Cześć Ivonko. Please can you help me with higher Polish numbers? I think I'm right in saying that nouns following numbers 2, 3 and 4 are in either Nominative or Accusative case, and numbers 5 and over are in the Genitive case:

dwa samochody, trzy samochody, cztery samochody BUT pięć samochodów, sześć samochodów etc. My problem is with higher numbers ending in 2, 3, and 4 such as 22, 33, 44. My grammar book suggests that numbers ending in 2, 3, or 4 do NOT take Genitive case. (Intermediate Polish by Dana Bielec, ISBN = 041522439X - Unit 17, page 77, Ex.1 - answers page198). I have found Dana Bielec' books to be very good, very helpful. Could the answers possibly be printing errors? The following answers are given for:

25 books = dwadzieścia pięć książek - OK
66 flats = sześćdziesiąt sześć mieszkań - OK
57 houses = pięćdziesiąt siedem domów - OK
32 schools = trzydzieści dwie szkoły - ??? Why not 32 szkół ?
33 chairs = trzydzieści trzy krzesła - ??? Why not 33 krzeseł ?

I would expect something like:
Miasto ma dwie szkoły
Rejon ma trzydzieści dwie szkół
Mam dwa samochody
Ojciec ma pięć samochodów
Król ma dwadzieścia dwa samochodów (and NOT 22 samochody)

I apologise for being so long-winded but maybe you could clarify this matter for me?
Many thanks, czarnykot
10 May 2008 /  #17
My grammar book suggests that numbers ending in 2, 3, or 4 do NOT take Genitive case.

Your grammar book is right.

32 schools = trzydzieści dwie szkoły - ??? Why not 32 szkół ?
33 chairs = trzydzieści trzy krzesła - ??? Why not 33 krzeseł ?

Why not? Because your grammar book is right :) 'szkół' is genitive and 'krzeseł' is also genitive.
tawalan77 1 | 7  
10 May 2008 /  #18
Thank you Ivonka! :) i'm learning Polish very slow but i'm happy for that
czarnykot 16 | 28  
10 May 2008 /  #19
Dobry wieczór!
Dziękuję za odpowiedź. OK. Teraz, które zdanie jest poprawne, a) lub b)?

a)Rejon ma dwadzieścia dwie szkoły

b)Rejon ma dwadzieścia dwie szkół

Pozdrawiam szerdecznie
od czarnykot
Seanus 15 | 19,704  
10 May 2008 /  #20
Very thorough from Ivonka, mightily impressive
osiol 55 | 3,922  
10 May 2008 /  #21
your grammar book is right :) 'szkół' is genitive and 'krzeseł' is also genitive

Haven't you just contradicted yourself?
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
10 May 2008 /  #22
Król ma dwadzieścia dwa samochodów (and NOT 22 samochody)

it's: Król ma dwadzieścia dwa samochody

a)Rejon ma dwadzieścia dwie szkoły

with higher numbers ending in 2,3,4 (except for 12, 13, 14) you simply use the endings that apply for the numbers 2,3,4 (so Genitive only with masculin human nouns, for example 102 mężczyzn, 1203 zawodników, 44 rozbójników, otherwise - with feminine, neuter and masculin, but non human, nouns you use Nominative)
11 May 2008 /  #23
Haven't you just contradicted yourself?

czarnykot 16 | 28  
11 May 2008 /  #24
with higher numbers ending in 2,3,4 (except for 12, 13, 14) you simply use the endings that apply for the numbers 2,3,4 (so Genitive only with masculin human nouns, for example 102 mężczyzn, 1203 zawodników, 44 rozbójników, otherwise - with feminine, neuter and masculin, but non human, nouns you use Nominative)

Many thanks Krzysztof for explanation. All is now clear.
Dziękuję bardzo za wytłmaczenie. Teraz wszystko jest jasne. W końcu rozumiem! Hooraz!
osiol 55 | 3,922  
11 May 2008 /  #25

Good. I think Krzysztof's post afterwards cleared something up.
Today I have learnt something and it's only twenty to eleven.
mafketis 36 | 10,336  
14 May 2008 /  #26
It would also be useful (for those having to deal with real spoken Polish) some of the abbreviated forms one is likely to hear:

warning: Some (most) of what follows is not "correct" - a concept with very different practical meanings in English and Polish.

Anyhoo, off the top of my head, some unofficial number forms that are frequently heard:

dwadzieścia = dwajścia (or maybe dwejścia or even dwaeścia?) I only realized this when I heard myself say it after hearing it a zillion times).

with some numbers -dziesiąt is reduced to -siąt

sześć = often reduced to szej- in larger numbers, especially 60 and 600 (szejsiąt and szejset respectively)

siedem = sometimes reduced to siem- (17=siemnaście, 70=siemsiąt)

As for accent, I've heard 400 as one word czterysta (stress on -y-) and two (cztery sta with the stress on czte-) I don't know which is 'correct'.

Also 15 is usually pronounced pietnaście (no nasal element in piet-) and 19 is usually dziewietnaście.

there's more, but that will do as a start.

Also in practical terms (warning: inelegant but useful usage coming up) don't worry about declining numbers. Even native speakers of Polish have trouble spontaneously navigating the nest of vipers known as correct number declination (and agreement) without getting bit. You'll understand most of the weird stuff when you hear it, but it's really a waste of effort (until you're pretty advanced) to worry about the difference between pięć and pięcioro (not to mention pięciu or pięciorga). I completely ignored huge parts of correct usage of numbers for years and was never misunderstood (except for 30 and 40 but Poles also often mishear those)

In the beginning just use the basic cardinals all the time and you'll be understood just fine. Start adding other endings slowly as you're comfortable with them. But in the early stages there's lots more worth worrying about.
parrish 1 | 12  
14 May 2008 /  #27
here is one website that offers some lessons in the polish language From what i understand, Polish is not easy to learn. I just completed one year of Polish at a community college in Chicago. It really feels like my knowledge is just skin deep
Crazy Toad 6 | 17  
29 Jun 2009 /  #28
Jun 29, 09, 21:28 - Thread attached on merging:
Ok so Ive just learnt numbers 1 to 10

Is there any games in polish(preferably) sums help practice them at speed. I dont care how childish the page is haha.
10 Jul 2009 /  #29
Good piece of work. Congratulations.
Can you do the same for dates.
In 2000, in 2009, in 1000, in1938 etc.
it would be of great help.
6 Nov 2009 /  #30
hello i just founf this site i was wondering if you know what 10000 DZIESIEC TYSIECY ZLOTYCH is? polska rzeczpospolita ludowa?????? I have a paper money here and i dont know what it is or how much?

thank you

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