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Polish conjugation - Present Tense

24 Feb 2015 /  #1

I've been trying to study Polish by myself now the last month as I moved to Poland. I'm a little stuck with learning the Present Tense of Polish verbs.

For some reason all the websites I checked for the explanation on how to form the Present, use 4 Conjugation classes based on the endings of "ja" and "ty". You have class I with "-am, -asz", class II with "-e, -eje", etc.

Fair enough, unfortunately, when I'm reading a Polish text or I wanna say something in Polish and I look up a word, I find the infinitive. I find a verb ending in -ac, -ec, -owac, etc.

Does the Polish language have some groundrules to recognize the conjugation of a verb based on the ending of the infinitive?
For verbs ending in -owac, -ywac or -iwac it's nearly always -uje, -ujesz. Easy to remember. But verbs ending in -ac can have "-am, -asz" (czytac) or "-e, -eje" (mazac). Is there a rule to discern when to conjugate a verb according to the -am, -asz principle and when one uses the -e, -eje principle? After some research it seems a lot of the "ac" verbs conjugated with "-e, -eje" are verbs ending in "-awac". Coincidence?

Same for the verbs ending in -ec. Different rules for rozumiec, slyszec, pachniec, widziec or mdlec.

Are there some basic rules to discern the conjugation of a verb on the infinitive, or is it basically something to learn by heart as one grammar book seemed to suggest?

(Similar example in another language: In french, you see a verb ending -er and you know exactly how to conjugate it as all -er verbs have same conjugation. Same for -ir (except a handful), -re or -evoir verbs.)
24 Feb 2015 /  #2
actually there are umpteen conjugation classes in Polish but all are grouped in 4 main ones - the best way for you to find conjugation forms based on a infinitive is the Dictionary of Polish Language website (Słownik Języka Polskiego) - - just put the infinitive form in their search engine and it will show you the most important forms of conjugation
OP Rhand  
24 Feb 2015 /  #3
Yeah, I read about the umpteen other classes :(

Very cool website, thanks. Although this does make me believe even more there are no standard rules and it is basically a case of learning it by heart.
24 Feb 2015 /  #4
it is basically a case of learning it by heart.

yes it is unfortunately
16 Sep 2018 /  #5
The best way to learn Present Tense is to learn the first two conjugation forms of the verb together with the infinitive. The two first forms are sufficient to correctly predict the class of the verb. Here you can read a couple of articles about the Present Tense
17 Sep 2018 /  #6
Polish can be tricky for those used to the relative regularity of the infinitive or verb stems (verb classes) in French ("-ir", "-aire", "-er"), German ("n") or Spanish ("-ir", "-er", "-ar"), I will agree.

There are approx. eleven different base verb endings and so you should try to learn each newly acquired verb WITH its infinitive before going on so that when

you encounter that verb pattern again, it will be already familiar to you:-)
18 Sep 2018 /  #7
Dana Bielec explains this excellently in her several books on Polish grammar!

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