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Polish Accusative / Genitive case

Nightglade 7 | 97
8 Mar 2011 #1
So I think I finally understand the accusative case (please correct me if not). It refers to the direct object of a sentence, so I have a book, I watch television, I have a new car, I want coffee (The bolded are the direct objects, which must be in accusative along with their accompanying adjectives

* Masculine nouns (only those which refer to people and animals) add -a
* Their adjectives add -ego

* Masculine inanimate nouns (things) remain nominative

* Neuter nouns / adjs. remain nominative

* Feminine nouns (both animate and inanimate) change a to ę
* Adjectives change a to ą

Thus: Masculine accusative;
- Mam dobrego kota (Mam dobry kot in nominative) I have a good cat

Masculine accusative (inanimate)
- Mam dobry regał (Unchanged) I have a good bookcase

Feminine accusative:
- Mam dobrą książkę (Mam dobra ksziążka in nominative) I have a good book

Neuter accusative:
- Mam dobre łóżko (Unchanged) I have a good bed


Now to the genitive case...

It's used in 5 different ways:

1.) Posessives.. equivalent to english 's, eg Marks brother (brata Marka) - the possessed object comes first
2.) Negated verb.. genitive replaces direct object, eg Mam siostrę.. Nie mam siostry (I have a sister / I don't have a sister)
3.) After some prepositions such as od / do.. (z Poznania do Warszawy)
4.) After quantities; Mam małó czasu
5.) After some verbs like szukać, słuchać, uczyć się, życzyć

* Masculine animate nouns (people, animals) have same ending as in accusative (-a)
* Masculine inanimate nouns (things) add -u
* Neuter nouns also take masculine acc form and add -a
* Genitive ending for masculine / neuter adjectives is -ego

* Feminine nouns take -i after k,g or soft consonants
* Other nouns take -y
* Feminine adjectives add -ej

Thus, Masculine genitive (Animate):
- Nie mam brata

Masculine genitive (Inanimate):
- Nie lubię brązowego regału

Neutral genitive:
- Muszę iść do miasta

Feminine Genitive:
- dom mojej siostry

So I think I kind of understand all of this, it makes sense as I wrote all of the things above .. but I'm having real difficulty trying to determine if something should be in genitive when speaking or writing. Will it always be so analytical or will it come eventually? Does anyone have any suggestions or links to some excercises (with simple vocabulary) on accusative and genetive? I thought I would learn about accusative / genetive / locative before I start learning all of the vocabulary, since these 3 (+nom) make up for the majority of stuff. I'm learning only from a book I have as I don't really have the money to afford private lessons here in Poznań :)

Appreciate any help, thanks

PS> I found this:
sausage 19 | 775
8 Mar 2011 #2
since these 3 (+nom) make up for the majority of stuff

Instrumental also fairly useful and easy to learn the rules for
8 Mar 2011 #3
Czesc Nightglade,

My opinion is that this kind of "analytical" approach might not work very least at the beginning. I am a Polish teacher - long time ago I used to experiment with various methods, including teaching complicated rules of grammar from the very beginning. It was confusing and discouraging even for myself...

I still teach rules of grammar, but try to make it only a small part of a lesson and introduce new information step by step. My suggestion is: make vocabulary your first objective. Read and listen as much as you can, start with primitive phrase books. I don't know what is your level of Polish, but believe me that practicing cases will become much easier if you pick up some basics first. It must be really difficult to practice case endings if you know only a few nouns and verbs. After all, in most situations you don't have to decline nouns to communicate your basic needs...But obviously - I don't know what is your purpose of learning Polish :)

One thing I know for sure - if are planning to use the cases you mentioned above in "real life", you need to know the gender of a noun immediately, almost intuitively. So make sure you use correct adjective endings in nominative case, and then move on to accusative. Don't learn more then one case at once. You need to practice a lot to fully grasp the sense and purpose of using one case. And most importantly, perceive learning cases as an opportunity to learn new vocabulary. Focus on verbs that are used with accusative case, because, as you mentioned above, from time to time we also use genetive case for direct objects...(e.g. after szukać or uczyć się). So learn some typical phrases such as mieć+accusative (mam dobrego męża, mądrą corkę i piekny dom) lubić + accusative (np. lubię twoją koleżankę), jeść + accusative (jem dobre jabłko), kupować + accusative (kupuję nową sukienkę), robić + accusative (robię obiad) etc. Write sentences with verbs that take accusative case. Do a lot of gap-filling exercises.

If you want, can send you some exercises for accusative case that I used during my lessons.
Good luck,
OP Nightglade 7 | 97
8 Mar 2011 #4
Cześć i dziękuję bardzo Ania.

That's very helpful, I know quite a lot of vocabulary (mostly nouns and adjectives), not so many verbs (I might pick up '301 polish verbs' that I keep hearing about). However, I've found whenever I'm trying to use words in a sentence, even if I just stick to conveying thoughts in a basic sense using nominative, people insist on correcting my use of cases and it's very frustrating(the woman at the store below us always insists on emphasizing the correct casing and even goes so far as to say she doesnt understand if I try to use nominative, when the rest of them understand me completely:)), that's why I was thinking it'd be a valuable idea to first learn at least accusative and genetive so when I learn a few new words I can start using them with the proper declinations when trying to express myself.

Those excercises would be perfect, I can't find many on the web and the ones I do tend to be a little more complicated than they need to be and may be aimed at higher-level students.

gumishu 15 | 6,272
8 Mar 2011 #5
(the woman at the store below us always insists on emphasizing the correct casing and even goes so far as to say she doesnt understand if I try to use nominative, when the rest of them understand me completely:)),

don't get intimidated by such attitudes - just accept some people have trouble understanding nominative case+infinitive speech which most people seem to catch pretty quickly - you can figure out ways around such obstacles as the woman you mention

the search option in this forum seems not to work properly but you can try to search this forum through google - you just need to enter the address of the forum as one of the arguements (inputs) of the google search - hope this works for you - you may find many previous (including archive) posts useful to your endavours of learning many aspects of the Polish language

as for the google search again - when using the method I described - like searching for ' accusative' for example - you have to look at the bottom of the first result where you shoold see a tag 'More results from '' - click it and you have just gained entry to the language treasuries of (you may have to try '' instead of '' if the latter doesn't produce much result)
Anna86 - | 7
8 Mar 2011 #6
Instrumental also fairly useful and easy to learn the rules for

Yes, I agree that instrumental is good to start with. It's easier because doesn't involve "żywotne" and "nieżywotne". But I also agree that it's not as useful as accusative, genetive or locative - the structure S+to be+Instrumetal can sometimes be replaced with S+to+Nominative. However, instrumental is also used with preposition "z", and phrases like "ryba z frytkami", "herbata z cytryną" or "wódka z sokiem" might be useful in everyday life :)

I am new to this forum and cannot send you an e-mail or paste a link to sendspace, but maybe you can contact me. I found some exercises, there are not many of them but I hope you will find them useful. There is no key (I made it for class purposes), but you can always ask if you have any problems. I'll let you know if I find more. Please send me an e-mail and I will send you the document.

brzmibrzmi - | 18
16 Oct 2012 #7
... hi...

Have to complete this table with the correct case (genitive or accusative) endings

Czy lubisz? On/ona lubi ... On/ona nie lubi ...
herbata herbate herbaty
sok sok soka
chleb chleb chleba
maslo maslo masla
szynka szynke szynke
mieso mieso miesa
makaron makaron makarona

Is there a rule for endings for masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns (there probably is!)
strzyga 2 | 993
16 Oct 2012 #8
sok sok soku

szynka szynke szynki

makaron makaron makaronu

corrections in bold, the rest is fine

Is there a rule for endings for masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns (there probably is!)

there probably is :D
17 Oct 2012 #9
However, Nightglade, Iwona Sadowska gives unequivocal example sentences in her latest reference grammar which appear to contradict this first notion (considering that I understand her correctlyLOL), e.g. "Widzę pSY...." vs. "Widzę pSÓW.." etc...

Could someone clarify or is even the supposed expert incorrect on this seemingly major point of Polish grammar?
brzmibrzmi - | 18
22 Oct 2012 #10
So, the Genitive ...

Is there a 'rule' which dictates the ending from the accusative to the genitive.

Czy lubisz mleko? ---- Tak, lubie MLEKO ---- Nie, nie lubie MLEKA
Czy lubisz salata? ---- Tak, lubie SALATĘ ---- Nie, nie lubie SALATY
Czy lubisz maslo? ---- Tak, lubie MASLO ---- Nie, nie ubie MASLA
Czy lubisz chleb? ---- Tak, lubie CHLEB ---- Nie, nie lubie CHLEBA
Czy lubisz szynka? ---- Tak, lubie SZYKĘ ---- Nie, nie lubie SZYNKI
Czy lubisz wino? ---- Tak, lubie WINO ---- Nie, nie lubie WINA
Czy lubisz ryz? ---- Tak, lubie ryz ---- Nie, nie lubie RYZA

Any helpful hints out there? Please?
22 Oct 2012 #11
Nie, nie lubię RYŻu
rkonczyk - | 4
6 May 2022 #12

Accusative case grammar question

something i can't seem to find any info on: there seems to be a change when negating a direct object noun.
example: he has a car "on ma samochód" vs. he does not have a car "on nie ma samochodu".
i can find a lot of info about the accusative case but nothing that seems to address this one specific issue. can anyone shed some light on this or have a link?
jon357 75 | 22,602
6 May 2022 #13
To negate in this situation, you use the genitive (dopelniacz). In the example you give, samochodu is genitive.

direct object noun.

It's best not to get bogged down in grammar terminology. Remember, the grammar follows the speaking and not the other way round. It's better to make a hundred mistakes than hesitate to speak.

a link?

These might be useful:ód
rkonczyk - | 4
6 May 2022 #14
thanks! aounds like maybe i was googling the wrong thing
Lyzko 42 | 9,494
6 May 2022 #15
This whole genitive/accusative thing is best learned in context, rather than as a series of isolated rules.

Suffice to reiterate some of jon's post that for every verb in the negative (except for "byc" or "bywac" = to be), the genitive case is automatically required, much as for every verb governed by the direct object in the affirmative, naturally the accusative case is normally required.

Of course, mattters do indeed get rather more complicated when the issue of "living vs. non-living virile or masculine" nouns and the accusative come into play:

Widze sklep okolo banku. = I see the (masc.non-living) SHOP next to the bank. (acc.)
Widze chlopcu na rogu. = I see the (virile LIVING) boy at the corner. (genitive)

The stuff is invariably learnable, so don't throw in the towel!

Whoops, typo! First sentence should read: Widze sklep obok banku.
Lenka 5 | 3,498
6 May 2022 #16
Widze chlopcu na rogu. =

Lyzko 42 | 9,494
6 May 2022 #17
Ach, przepraszam! Dzieki, Lenku-:) Chyba to bylo blad typograficzny.
Alien 20 | 5,192
7 May 2022 #18
Lenka 5 | 3,498
7 May 2022 #19
Dzieki, Lenku-:)

Lyzko 42 | 9,494
7 May 2022 #20
Tak, siódmy przypadek wolacz!

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