The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Language  % width posts: 18

What is the difference between BYĆ W STANIE, UMIEĆ, and MÓC?


newb
9 Feb 2014 #1
What is the difference between
1. BYĆ W STANIE
2. UMIEĆ, and
3. MÓC?

Thank you!
ShortHairThug - | 1,103
9 Feb 2014 #2
Same difference as in English
1 Being capable of
2 Know how and
3 Being able
OP newb
9 Feb 2014 #3
OK, that is helpful, thank you! By "being capable of," do you mean physically capable? I guess I am confused by Móc and Być w stanie, mostly. I am capable of standing on one leg, and i am also able to stand on one leg, so where is the difference? Or is it a difference of physically capable of lifting a rock and able to go to the movie? Sorry for the confusion here, but thank you for your help!
Wulkan - | 3,251
9 Feb 2014 #4
OK, that is helpful, thank you! By "being capable of," do you mean physically capable?

in most cases, yes
lunacy - | 73
9 Feb 2014 #5
How about:

BYĆ W STANIE - to be able to / being capable of - when telling about the general (either physical or mental) capability of doing something

Jestem w stanie Ci pomóc. - I can help you. / I am able to help you = I have the right resources/ideas or I am in the right state of mind to help you.

MÓC - can / could / may - usually when telling about your own will/wish/mood to do something
Mogę Ci pomóc. - I can help you. = I'm willing to help you (I might not know how yet).
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
9 Feb 2014 #6
A further wrinkle in expressing ability in Polish is the difference between "umieć" vs. "potrafić", both of which can be translated as "to be able to".

Nie UMIEM po polsku. = I am not able (IN TERMS OF KNOWLEDGE) to speak Polish. vs. Nie POTRAFIĘ dzisiaj dojeżdzać pociągem na zajęcia. = I'm not (PHYSICALLY) able to take the train to class today.

In the former, you COULD speak Polish once you knew how being as you are presumable "able" or "capable" mentally, whereas in the latter, you may not be in the position for whatever reason to use public transportation in order to physcially get to school.

Does this make sense to you?
lunacy - | 73
9 Feb 2014 #7
Nie UMIEM po polsku. = I am not able (IN TERMS OF KNOWLEDGE) to speak Polish. vs. Nie POTRAFIĘ dzisiaj dojeżdzać pociągem na zajęcia. = I'm not (PHYSICALLY) able to take the train to class today.

It would be definitely: Dzisiaj nie jestem w stanie dojechać pociągiem na zajęcia = I'm not (physically) able to take the train to class today.

Potrafię - is used about the things we learned to do, the knowledge/skills.
Potrafię gotować - I can cook = I already learned how to cook.
Potrafię jeździć na koniu - I can ride a horse = I already learned how to ride a horse.
Also: Nie potrafię mówić po polsku - I can't speak Polish = I didn't learn [yet] how to speak Polish

Potrafię could be replaced by umiem in most of the cases.

Just thought of another difference between "być w stanie" and "móc".

Nie jestem w stanie dojechać samochodem. - I can't go by car. = I'm not physically able to do it, e.g. I'm sick, have broken leg or the car is broken (things aren't exactly dependant on my will - physical obstacles).

Nie mogę dojechać samochodem. - I can't go by car. = I possibly have other plans and cannot change them just like that, it would be too difficult for me to go by car.

BONUS:
Nie potrafię dojechać samochodem. - I can't go by car. = I just don't know how to drive a car.
kpc21 1 | 763
10 Feb 2014 #8
Languages aren't a good example because we say just "Nie znam angielskiego", meaning literally "I don't know English" and translated as "I don't speak English". In Polish saying even "Nie mówię po angielsku", normal in other languages like English or German, sounds strange. In Polish for languages there is usually used "znam angielski, niemiecki, francuski, rosyjski, włoski, polski" or "nie znam angielskiego, niemieckiego, francuskiego, rosyjskiego, włoskiego, polskiego".

We usually also don't say "jeździć na koniu", but "jeździć konno".

"Nie mogę" is the most general. "Nie mogę pojechać samochodem" - "I cannot go by car". It's not important why. Maybe it's broken, maybe I am drunk, maybe I have no driving license, maybe there are some road works on the only route.

"Nie jestem w stanie" - suggests that I cannot do it because of my current condition or abilities, or even some external factors, but rather not permissions given by other people (although it's not very strict).

"Nie POTRAFIĘ dzisiaj dojeżdzać pociągem na zajęcia." is a very strange sentence. It would mean that somebody don't know how to use trains and have to get to classes for example from home many times during one day. "Potrafię" is for knowing how to do something. And "dojeżdżać" is something like "be doing something" in English.

"Nie mogę dzisiaj dojechać pociągiem na zajęcia" or even "Nie jestem w stanie dzisiaj dojechać pociągiem na zajęcia" - then it might be for example because railway workers are striking and trains don't go today. Or there is any other factor which stopped trains and caused that I must find another mean of transport or miss the classes.

"Nie mogę pojechać samochodem" - "I cannot go by car". It's not important why. Maybe it's broken, maybe I am drunk, maybe I have no driving license, maybe there are some road works on the only route.

And I forgot about one more case possible - there is no person who would give me a lift. In Polish there is no difference between "go", "ride" and "drive" (if talking generally about using a car for transportation, not just sitting behind a wheel and steering it), all three are translated as "jechać". Maybe except "go" as "walk", then it's "iść" instead.
lunacy - | 73
10 Feb 2014 #9
Languages aren't a good example because we say just "Nie znam angielskiego", meaning literally "I don't know English" and translated as "I don't speak English". In Polish saying even "Nie mówię po angielsku", normal in other languages like English or German, sounds strange.

Why? It is normal. "Nie znam angielskiego" = I can't even say a word in English, "Nie mówię po angielsku" (or e.g. "Nie mówię dobrze po angielsku") = I maybe know a few phrases, but I can't use English fluently / I don't speak English on a daily basis.

We usually also don't say "jeździć na koniu", but "jeździć konno".

There's also a slight difference, for example: "Nie potrafię jeździć na koniu" = I can't even keep myself on the saddle, I probably never rode a horse before, "Nie potrafię jeździć konno" = I can't ride a horse (professionally by implication).

Polish language is very rich and full on nuances.
kpc21 1 | 763
10 Feb 2014 #10
Why? It is normal. "Nie znam angielskiego" = I can't even say a word in English, "Nie mówię po angielsku" (or e.g. "Nie mówię dobrze po angielsku") = I maybe know a few phrases, but I can't use English fluently / I don't speak English on a daily basis.

You're right, but for example a lady in a ticket office servicing a foreigner and not speaking English, will ask a collegue for help saying rather "Nie znam angielskiego, pomóż mi" than "Nie mówię po angielsku, pomóż mi". Actually both options are correct, Polish is generally very flexible, but I think the first one is more common.

For me "Nie potrafię jeździć na koniu" and "nie potrafię jeździć konno" would mean exactly the same, and be practically interchangeable - if there is any difference, then not in meaning. I can't ride a horse, meaning I can't get on the saddle and steer it on my own (sitting on it, at least if the horse is walking and not running, really isn't a problem, you just have to sit and that's all). If I could do it, I would "umiał jeździć konno", tudzież "umiał jeździć na koniu". "Konno" just sounds better than "na koniu". "Na koniu" rather wouldn't be used in a formal language. And that's all.
lunacy - | 73
10 Feb 2014 #11
You're right, but for example a lady in a ticket office servicing a foreigner and not speaking English, will ask a collegue for help saying rather "Nie znam angielskiego, pomóż mi" than "Nie mówię po angielsku, pomóż mi". Actually both options are correct, Polish is generally very flexible, but I think the first one is more common.

Yes, that's the point:) She'd rather say "Nie znam angielskiego" = I can't even say/understand a word in English. A person who "mówi po angielsku" would at least try to communicate:)

Both phrases are clear - everyone will understand that a person saying one of them can't speak English. Still, there's a tiiiny difference between the meaning of them, difference that is getting lost in the everyday language (sadly).

As it comes to the phrases meaning to ride a horse - I know the difference that I wrote about before from the people who are riding horse professionally. The best example: they would say "Jeżdżę konno" to tell that they ride a horse professionally (they are jockeys/it's their hobby/they do it often) versus "Idę pojeździć na koniu" to tell they are going out to ride a horse now (just the act of riding a horse). A person learning to ride a horse "uczy się jeździć na koniu" (the beginnings - how to - usually with a qualified teacher that holds the horse on a line - learns just the act of riding a horse) while later "uczy się jeździć konno" (by him/herself - the actual horseback riding in the open space). That's all I know:)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
10 Feb 2014 #12
Thank you, lunacy! Of course it ought to have been "....POTRAFIĘ 'dojechać'/...", dokonany vs. niedokonany... Really sorry for the typo.
Thanks again. It was a typo, however, I knew the difference. Twenty-twenty hindsight, I supposeLOL
cinek 2 | 345
11 Feb 2014 #13
Of course it ought to have been "....POTRAFIĘ 'dojechać'/..."

Sorry, I'm afraid you missed again... This sentence means more or less: 'I'm not a fool, I know how to use the train to get there

Cinek
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
11 Feb 2014 #14
And yet the verb implies ability! It's all a matter of interpretation, really. You interpret the sentence correctly as a Polish native speaker and I interpret it differently as a non-native speaker:-)
lunacy - | 73
11 Feb 2014 #15
Potrafię implies the skills/abilities you learned or trained yourself (I know how to), like:
potrafię play the guitar, potrafię draw and paint, potrafię bake a cake, potrafię do a backflip, etc.
Little kids often yell "Potrafię zrobić to sam/sama!" = I [already] can do it myself!

If you're saying "Potrafię dojechać pociągiem" it sounds like a kid moaning "But I know how to get there by train, I can do it myself";)

In such situations we use "Mogę dojechać pociągiem" = I can go by train (meaning: I have the possibility of going by tran, it will be convenient/suitable for me to go by train today)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
11 Feb 2014 #16
As I said, I as a non-native Polish speaker will see the same idea in a completely different manner. It's rather like when Poles write in English. The words may be in the right place, yet the sentence has a noticable "foreign accent":-)
lunacy - | 73
11 Feb 2014 #17
That's obvious:) On the other hand I probably still have a kind of "foreign accent" as I'm not a native English speaker;)

The point is to learn how the natives understand their language and ideas behind the words. That's why I'm trying to clarify the idea of "potrafię", it just would sound too silly or even unintelligibly if used in a wrong way.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
12 Feb 2014 #18
Agreed, lunacy! And for this explanation, I'm as always of course no end grateful:-)

I'd be pleased to correct any of your English texts (naturally off line)
marekzgerson@yahoo


Home / Language / What is the difference between BYĆ W STANIE, UMIEĆ, and MÓC?
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.