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by, aby, żeby differences?


bond 3 | 10
13 Mar 2015 #1
Hi,

What are the differences between these 3 words?

An example of usage would be great. I made up 3 sentences and can't tell which is more appropriate. How do I use these words please?

Nie byłem tam by się bawić.
Nie byłem tam aby się bawić.
Nie byłem tam żeby się bawić.
Looker - | 1,052
13 Mar 2015 #2
As a native Polish speaker I can tell you, that these words mean exactly the same - no any difference, they are used alternately in Poland (most often 'żeby', and 'aby')
DominicB - | 2,704
13 Mar 2015 #3
What are the differences between these 3 words?

There are four, actually. You forgot "ażeby".

The most "normal" and safest one to use is "żeby".

The others are more literary, and could sound odd in normal spoken language.

Sometimes "aby" is used to avoid using "żeby" twice in the same sentence. Otherwise, stick with "żeby" and you won't go wrong. It works for every purpose from super-relaxed to super-formal.
jon357 63 | 15,163
13 Mar 2015 #4
Otherwise, stick with "żeby" and you won't go wrong. It works for every purpose from super-relaxed to super-formal.

Fairly good advice. Aby (especially to start a sentence) sounds good but formal. Elegant even, thinking about some of the contexts in which one hears it. I never know when to use ażeby so tend to avoid it. I do worry that I overuse żeby - partly transference from English.

There's also oby, rather different but sometimes has its uses.
DominicB - | 2,704
13 Mar 2015 #5
I do worry that I overuse żeby - partly transference from English.

Don't worry. Żeby is never a worse choice than any of the others for any level of Polish. You can't really "overuse" it. "Aby", on the other hand, can sound pretentious in normal everyday speech, and even in casual writing.

There's also oby, rather different bu

Use that only for translating "I wish" or "If only".
jon357 63 | 15,163
13 Mar 2015 #6
If only

That's how I tend to hear it (and use it), rather than "I wish". I do know people, very educated and older, who use aby, however I'm more used to hearing it in a very formal context. You've got me thinking about ażeby. My partner uses it sometimes and I'm going to set myself a challenge to use it 5 times per day in normal speech for a week :-)
jon357 63 | 15,163
14 Mar 2015 #7
Here's a good example. Aby fits much better here. Żeby would be different.



Lyzko 25 | 7,009
14 Mar 2015 #8
"On studiował polską literaturę, BY zostać dziennikarzem." or "On studiował polską literaturę ABY zostać dziennikarzem."

Would both of the above sentences be considered correct?
Czarek81 - | 8
14 Mar 2015 #9
The both sentences are correct and natural. You can also say: "On studiował polską literaturę, żeby zostać dziennikarzem" - this sentence means the same like the both sentences above.
Lyzko 25 | 7,009
14 Mar 2015 #10
Great! I'm much relieved:-)

Having been away from native speakers for as long as I have, it's indeed reassuring to know that I still remember what I learned in school.


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