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Share Perfective and Imperfective Polish verbs

16 May 2009 /  #91
These parallel verb forms drive me crazy in Polish, and nearly every verb has a parallel. I used to call them perfective and imperfective forms, but even this doesn't work. In Polish there's no distinction between perfect and imperfect forms. I have done and I did are both translated as Zrobiłem. The difference, in past-tense, lies in what we'd call in English the continuous tense. Robiłem is roughly equivalent to I was going.

Outside past-tense the difference creates the present and future tense. Robię means I do/I'm doing while Zrobię means I will do/I'm doing (it on friday, for example)

Dać and dawać is an equivalent verb pair meaning 'to give'. In this case, dam means I'll give, I give (this to you in a single instantaneous action, for example, while daję (from dawać) means I'm in the process of giving. And in a similar way, the past can be translated this way: Dałem = I gave, I have given, dawałem = I was giving.

So for the imperative, the future/perfective tense daj mi sól means give me the salt (at some point in the immediate future, in a reasonably expectable time), whereas dawaj mi sól means give me the salt now, at this instant (literally 'be in the process of giving me the salt as I speak')

Okay, I'm by no means fluent in Polish, but this is how I view these verb forms. I'd love it if somebody fluent in Polish can confirm or negate the accuracy of this explanation.

Davey 13 | 388  
16 May 2009 /  #92
if anything, i'm the dictionary ;)

You should teach Polish or something....
JustysiaS 13 | 2,240  
16 May 2009 /  #93
i don't think i have the patience ha ha
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
4 Jul 2009 /  #94
The book 301 Polish Verbs by Janecki has a section in the beginning with pretty good explanation of the differences between perfect and imperfect forms of Polish verbs.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,347  
6 Jul 2009 /  #95
What's the difference between daj and dawaj then?

There doesn't seem to be any real difference between daj and dawaj in the imperative except - as has already been stated here - that the latter is stronger which will most often translate into being very familiar or just impolite. This is different, however, with the negative form of the imperative where the almost excusively heard form is nie dawaj rather than nie daj. Hence:

"Daj osłu marchewkę!" versus "Nie dawaj osłu marchewki!".

In sentences like: "Nie daj osłu marchewki ..." the imperative form "daj" sounds like expressing a certain condition in a conditional clause: "Nie daj osłu marchewki, a zobaczysz co ci zrobi", with the sense of: "Jeśli nie dasz mu marchewki, to na pewno coś ci zrobi". The same is true the other way round; "dawaj" will serve as a condition in sentences like: "Dawaj dzieciakowi pieniądze, a nie będzie chciał ich sam zarabiać." In the both given examples daj and dawaj seem to escape their literal meaning of a simple imperative.
michalek - | 42  
6 Jul 2009 /  #96
What's the difference between daj and dawaj then?

it means the same :) but in sentence like "dawaj mi piwo" (give me a beer) dawaj sounds more rude for me :P

it's hard to explain but i will try
daj - means i want to drink this beer
dawaj - i have to drink it right now! i don't want to wait anymore

something like that :)
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
6 Jul 2009 /  #97
The usage is nicely illustrated by this fragment from a prominent poet of the Polish Renaissance (Jan Kochanowski):

Daj, czegoć nie ubędzie, byś najwięcej dała;
Daj, czegoć próżno dawać potym będziesz chciała,
Kiedyć zmarszczki twarz orzą (…).

I'm not a poet so only a ballpark translation:

Give (me) what you won't lose regardless how much you give;
Give (me) what in vain you will like to give
When wrinkles mark (your) face (...)
little elf  
11 Oct 2009 /  #98
Where are Krzysztof and Iwonkaąs detailed explanations on Perfective and Imperfective? I want to learn!
Kenji75018 4 | 25  
13 Dec 2009 /  #99
Merged: Verb + perfective infinitive or imperfective infinitive form

Hi there.
I'm new here and I've been learning polish for years now but this language still has secret for me.

So can someone explain me when we use Verb + perfective infinitive or verb + imperfective infinitive form?

When we say
I want to read
Do we say chcę czytać or chcę przecytać?
Do we say
Lubię czytać or lubię przeczytać?

Thanks for your help
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098  
13 Dec 2009 /  #100
Do we say chcę czytać or chcę przecytać?

chcę przeczytać is more safe

Do we say Lubię czytać or lubię przeczytać?

Lubię czytać do poduszki. (in bed)
Lubię przeczytać umowę zanim podpiszę. (paperwork, agreement)

Lubię czytać is better and safer
RubasznyRumcajs 5 | 491  
13 Dec 2009 /  #101
"I want to read a book"
Chcę (prze-)czytać książkę

both forms are correct, but perfect form indicates that you would like to read it whole, from beginning to end- and imperfect indicates that you would like to 'perform act of reading'

"Lubię czytać książki"
I like reading books

This is repetitive action (you read a lot of books, not one book), so imperfect form is more adequate

hope it was helpfull (a bit)
Kenji75018 4 | 25  
13 Dec 2009 /  #102
Dziękuję, to pomaga.

Ale kiedy mówisz:
... indicates that you would like to read it whole, from beginning to end.
Does it means the whole book in one time or in several times?

SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
13 Dec 2009 /  #103
Perfect focus on completing the action (to finish the book).
Imperfect focus on the reading itself, not the result of finishing the book. And repeated actions, eg. "i like to read books every weekend".
cinek 2 | 345  
14 Dec 2009 /  #104
Does it means the whole book in one time or in several times?

Doesn't matter. You just want to have it read, today or in a year.


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