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The Polish accusative case


SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
7 Oct 2009 #1
Lefty wanted me to write something about the case system in a way that is easy to understand.

Basic information about the accusative case. There are exceptions to all rules, but I will only mention the most important ones.

Nouns
Masc. (living): -a
Masc. (non-living): same as the nominative case
Neutr: same as nom.
Feminine: -ę

Adjectives
Masc. (living): -ego
Masc . (non/living): same as nom.
Neutr: same as nom.
Fem.: -ą

To find the proper endings for pronouns (such as mnie, cię etc.) please look for a declination table.

The accusative case is closely related to the direct object. The direct object is usually the thing (or person) that someone is doing something with. This applies to a very broad spectrum of constructions. Even to like something or to have something, is considered to be something you do (from this point of view).

For example (the direct objects are bold):
Peter has a red car.
Sarah buys a map.
Steven likes tea.
You must give the paper to me.

The direct object should be in accusative case.
Eg. Steven lubi herbatę.

There is one exception to this. If the sentence is "negative", with nie before the verb, you should use the genitive case.
E.g. Steven nie lubi herbaty.

Adjectives are also declined in the same situations.
E.g. Magda kupi białą czekoladę.

The other important thing is about prepositions.

Przez is (always) associated with the accusative case.

The following are sometimes associated with the accusative case:
-na (when it is not about a location, and when it is a motion)
-w (on days of the week)
-po (for, in order to bring sth)
-nad (when motion)
- pod (when motion)
-przed (when motion)
-za (when motion)

Na is also accusative in some common expressions such as:
-Mieć ochotę na X.
-Oglądać X.
-Czekać na X.
-etc...

Hope it helps!
gumishu 11 | 5,017
7 Oct 2009 #2
you put us Poles to shame Szwed :)
Polson 5 | 1,771
7 Oct 2009 #3
Man, how long have you been in Poland? ^^
I wish i could know all that by heart.
OP SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
7 Oct 2009 #4
The thing with grammar is that you should learn the structures, not random rules. If you just learn some random stuff here and there, it's almost impossible to remember it. If you learn the structure it's much easier, and sometimes you can even figure out rules no one told you about.

For example, it's crazy to learn all different sentences when nad, po, przed etc are accusative, and when they are associated with the instrumental case, by heart. But if you learn the structure, that when it's a motion involved it's usually accusative, it's not difficult at all.

Man, how long have you been in Poland? ^^

Hehe... 2 years. Probably I am a little grammar nerd. I should go out and learn some new words instead.
Lyzko
7 Oct 2009 #5
Szwedwpolsce, you're to Polish what another US-friend/colleague of mine is to Swedish; she knows the grammar better than many Swedes, e.g. she uses 'Jag skulle ville hava...' rather than 'Jag kommer att...', 'Vi fingo' rather than 'fick' and staunchly refuses to use any of the post-WWII adopted 'slang' such as pronouncing 'de' as 'dom', saying 'mej' instead of 'mig' etc...

When she speaks, Swedes frankly think she's much older than she is, since she knows the much more formal, older register of the language, not even familiar to the majority of contemporary Swedish uses under 40:-)
Vincent 9 | 803 Moderator
7 Oct 2009 #6
Lyzko
Guest

This is a an excellent thread written by the OP to help others learn the Polish cases and it will be a great resource for others in the future. Lets not start talking about Swedish language, or any other for that matter, and keep this thread for what it was intended. Thank you.
Leopejo 4 | 120
8 Oct 2009 #7
I hope I can ask in this thread.

Some masculine inanimate nouns have accusative in -a, at least in some expressions:

grać w pokera, grać w tenisa, ...

Is there a rule on this? And whose "fault" is it, of the verb grać or of those nouns?
polishcanuck 7 | 462
8 Oct 2009 #8
okay szwed, be honest now, what website did you plagarize that grammar lesson from???

:)
Lefty 13 | 124
8 Oct 2009 #9
SzwedwPolsce

You have mine and others praise for writing this! I am printing it tomorrow and sticking it on my bedroom wall in an attempt to memorise this!

I realise that this is extremely difficult and time consuming to write and I really appreciate the effort you are putting in!

DZIĘKUJĘ BARDZO SZWEDWPOLSCE!
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
8 Oct 2009 #10
okay szwed, be honest now, what website did you plagarize that grammar lesson from???

:)

or maybe he is a smart cookie:)
Lefty 13 | 124
8 Oct 2009 #11
okay szwed, be honest now, what website did you plagarize that grammar lesson from???

Even if he did (which I don't think he did!) he is helping me and others by trying to explain this in plain English!

I understand this! :)
OP SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
8 Oct 2009 #12
DZIĘKUJĘ BARDZO SZWEDWPOLSCE!

Proszę bardzo!

okay szwed, be honest now, what website did you plagarize that grammar lesson from???

szwedwpolsce.com

Some masculine inanimate nouns have accusative in -a, at least in some expressions:

grać w pokera, grać w tenisa, ...

This is an exception. Grać w X is accusative and inanimate nouns take -a. I wrote that in this thread, but then I removed it not to confuse people. It's not a very important part, but it can be confusing. It's not a rule, only an exception.
Leopejo 4 | 120
8 Oct 2009 #13
Thank you.

This is an exception. Grać w X is accusative and inanimate nouns take -a. I wrote that in this thread, but then I removed it not to confuse people. It's not very important part, but can be confusing. It's not a rule, only an exception.

So it's only grać w.. ? I was having nightmares of "double forms of accusative" and other tragic grammar happenings.
OP SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
8 Oct 2009 #14
Exceptions will always exist. But this an exception that occurs extremely seldome. We shouldn't make things more difficult than there are. Follow the rules I wrote about, and it will be correct in 99% of the situations.
Leopejo 4 | 120
9 Oct 2009 #15
Follow the rules I wrote about, and it will be correct in 99% of the situations.

Sure! Polish is already difficult enough...

Seriously, from the little Russian and Polish I know, Russian cases seem easier and more regular to me.
GARRAMORE
13 Nov 2009 #16
You are absolutely right. I want to learn the "structure" but no polish grammar is written in a manner where you can learn the structure. Irritatingly they only give you the singular and as there is never a proper index you cannot find the plural. For example I want to learn plural adjectives in the accusative. Why do they not put the total Accusative together sequentialy, which the mind likes to understand and store. Instead everything iscattered any old way throughout the book, wit no index. PLEASE DOES ANYONE KNOW OF A POLISH GRAMMAR WHERE CASES ARE COMPLETELY REPRESENTED FOR STUDENTS, WHO DO NOT HAVE SCRAMBLED BRAINS TO LEARN?
OP SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
13 Nov 2009 #17
When it comes to endings you must learn them by heart. There are declination tables in every grammar reference where you have all the endings in one place. Both for nouns and adjectives.
Derevon 12 | 172
13 Nov 2009 #18
This site has some pretty nice tables with adjective declensions (also pronouns etc):

polish-translators.net

Memorizing tables is rarely a good idea, but it's a good reference from which you can make your own sentences and learn them by heart. Eventually with enough sentences after lots of practice you will start developing some kind of feeling for the declensions.
OP SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
13 Nov 2009 #19
Memorizing tables is rarely a good idea

I don't like learning by heart. But endings of nouns and adjectives in all cases you should memorize and learn by heart. Because it's so elementary, and it will be so much easier to speak and write Polish if you know this without thinking. There are so many other grammatical things you need to think about when you have to create a sentence fast in your head while speaking.
Derevon 12 | 172
13 Nov 2009 #20
Yes, it's absolutely necessary to learn endings by heart, however, to learn them in the form of a table is rarely advisable as it is too slow.
btheman
30 May 2010 #21
Hi,

I have a question regarding the accusative.
I understand that for masculine Animate ending is -a.
However, I read sometimes also the ending -a when the
noun is not animate.
For example I read: wysyłam sms-a, kupiłem laptopa
I thought there would be no ending in these cases.

Could anybody pls. explain tis?

thanks in advance
Derevon 12 | 172
30 May 2010 #22
Some "non-alive" words are treated as animate and have "-a"-ending also in the accusative. These words all have in common that they have "-a"-ending in the genitive, but not all non-alive masculine words with "-a"-ending in the genitive are treated as animate. Also some of these words exhibit more "animate" tendencies than others. It's all quite confusing and arbitrary, but some kind of guideline could be what Moonlighting wrote in another thread: https://polishforums.com/archives/2005-2009/language/dostal-buta-genitive-accusative-40442/

"From what I have learnt, masculine names of fruits, vegetables, vehicles, currencies, games, dances, tobaccoes and technologies get the declension of animate masculine at the biernik case."

Examples:

Daj mi papierosa (cigarette), pomidora (tomato), Forda (a Ford)...

Gram w tenisa - I'm playing tennis
OP SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
30 May 2010 #23
I understand that for masculine Animate ending is -a.
However, I read sometimes also the ending -a when the
noun is not animate.

Yes. All rules have exceptions.

But the rule is for masculine accusative, as you say;
1. masculine Animate ending is -a
2. masculine inanimate = no ending

"From what I have learnt, masculine names of fruits, vegetables, vehicles, currencies, games, dances, tobaccoes and technologies get the declension of animate masculine at the biernik case."

Maybe we can call this a rule of the exceptions.

Gram w tenisa - I'm playing tennis

"Grać w..." is a classic exception. In this construction "all" masculine nouns take -a ending.
tankacz 3 | 17
6 Jan 2011 #24
SzwedwPolsce - You are a star :-)
Mr v - | 7
22 Apr 2011 #25
-nad (when motion)

Just wondering, I would say that -nad- is more associated with water? ....the beach/sea or lake etc.
Nad jeziorem....(+N)instr Static
Iść nad jezioro (+B)acc Dynamic

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
22 Apr 2011 #26
Nad jeziorem....

NAD WODĄ WIELKA I CZYSTĄ Adam Mickiewicz

Nad wodą wielką i czystą
Stały rzędami opoki,
I woda tonią przejrzystą
Odbiła twarze ich czarne;

Nad wodą wielką i czystą
Przebiegły czarne obłoki,
I woda tonią przejrzystą
Odbiła kształty ich marne;

Nad wodą wielką i czystą
Błysnęło wzdłuż i grom ryknął,
I woda tonią przejrzystą
Odbiła światło, głos zniknął.

A woda, jak dawniej czysta,
Stoi wielka i przejrzysta.

Tę wodę widzę dokoła
I wszystko wiernie odbijam,
I dumne opoki czoła,
I błyskawice - pomijam.

Skałom trzeba stać i grozić,
Obłokom deszcze przewozić,
Błyskawicom grzmieć i ginąć,
Mnie płynąć, płynąć i płynąć -
Mr v - | 7
22 Apr 2011 #27
NAD WODĄ WIELKA I CZYSTĄ Adam Mickiewicz

So you agree with me? Great. Thanks
chichimera 1 | 186
22 Apr 2011 #28
Ale piękne.. Dzięki za przypomnienie :)
catsoldier 62 | 596
2 Sep 2012 #29
Proszę Panią mam............ using Panią is incorrect.

Proszę Pani mam.......... is correct Pani is correct.

Przepraszam Panią is correct.

How do you know when to use Pani or Panią after a verb or is there a rule about when another verb follows Pani that you do something different?

The example in the video is what I am interested in.
Vincent 9 | 803 Moderator
2 Sep 2012 #30
This may help polishforums.com/archives/2009/general-language-17/prosze-pani-prosze-pania-34380


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