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Polish Present Tense - Please Help Me.

Jacob_K 1 | 2  
4 Aug 2009 /  #1
I have a question about the Polish present tense.
I saw that there are a lot of conjugations. Can someone explain me about them, and how should I know what verb is which conjugation? If you can write the inflections of the verbs in every conjugations.

Thx a lot!! :)
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
4 Aug 2009 /  #2
This a very complex question.

There are many different groups of verbs that conjugate differently. Most of these groups have some personal endings in common. Compared to English, Polish verbs are much more irregular.

Here are some common endings of Polish verbs in the present tense. Of course it is a simplification.

ja (I) often ends in . If the infinitive of the verb ends in -ać it often ends in -am.
ty (you singular) -sz
on/ona/ono (he/she/it) often no ending, only stem.
my (we) -my
wy (ýou plural) -cie
oni/one (they)

There are 2 extremly important verbs that don't follow these rules at all, it's być (to be) and mieć (to have). You should learn conjugation of these verbs by heart as soon as possible. See link below.

The best reference is the book 301 Polish Verbs by Janecki.

Here is another list of conjugation of some common Polish verbs:

You can read more about conjugation of different groups of verbs in this short Polish grammar book.

And go to the chapter about Verbs, and then to the Present tense.
Ystad 2 | 16  
4 Aug 2009 /  #3
I still fear the present tense more than any other aspect of Polish, and I do my damnedest to avoid it in coversation, using modal verbs (muszę + infinitive; mogę + infinitive) whenever possible:) Sadly I realise that this is not a viable long-term strategy.

I asked myself exactly the same questions as you, Jakob, and as far as I know, there really is no perfect "rule" for deducing the present tense endings from the infinitive, although most (all?)-ać and -ować/-iwać/-ywać verbs are relatively friendly. The books seem to suggest that 4 "regular" conjugations exist, but there are complexities even within those patterns. Thankfully, other tenses and moods in Polish derive solely from the infinitive.

I certainly endorse SzwedwPolsce's recommendation of 301 Polish Verbs. It's been of enormous help.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
7 Aug 2009 /  #4
I still fear the present tense more than any other aspect of Polish

Present tense is easier than the past tense I think. You don't have to think about the perfective/imperfective aspect. This aspect is usually manageable in the future tense, but it's a pain in the @ss in the past tense.
gumishu 11 | 5,681  
7 Aug 2009 /  #5
its true that there is no aspect thing to the prestent tense but the way it is formed is often quite irregular (so not easy to predict - you simply need to learn some instances and remember what they look like - by contrast past tense forms are pretty regularly built and easy to predict)
10 Aug 2009 /  #6
Attention, folks!

I noticed several errors (possibly typos) in Wikipedia's entry of 'Common Polish Verbs':
For the singular forms of 'poznać', it reads 'poznam', 'poznasz', and 'pozna' rather than 'poznaJĘ, 'poznaJESZ', and 'poznaJE', at least according to Janecki's Bible "301 Polish Verbs - In all Conjugations".

??? Or am I missing some subtlety here?
Pio - | 16  
10 Aug 2009 /  #7
inf. poznać
Sg1 poznam
Sg2 poznasz
Sg3 pozna

inf. poznawać
Sg1 poznaję
Sg2 poznajesz
Sg3 poznaje

"poznać" has perfective aspect, so it denotes the future tense.
"poznawać" has imperfective aspect and denotes the present tense.

The meaning of both is the same.
10 Aug 2009 /  #8
Wonderful, many thanks!! You see?? I'm never soooo arrogant as to think I wasn't missing something here-:) LOL

Curious though, that Janecki (as well as Wiki) ignored that overt distinction and missleadingly entered one verb form as valid in either context.

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