The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
User: Guest

Home / Language  % width posts: 59

Having a really hard time with Polish cases

terenia 2 | 2
3 Oct 2007 #1
I generally do really well in my Polish course, but lately I am having a real hard time trying to determine when to use which case. I understand how to change the case endings, however when to use them is becoming a nightmare. I have just started my third Polish course and it is becoming increasingly difficult because I do not understand how to do this. We are writing stories and what not and my cases are all over the place. If anyone can give me an explanation or a thorough reference book I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks :)
Michal - | 1,865
3 Oct 2007 #2
There are plenty of good books on the market and Colloquial Polish by W Mazur is a very good buy should you not already have a copy.
kochanie 3 | 58
3 Oct 2007 #3
Michal, this was so polite!! x
z_darius 14 | 3,964
19 Oct 2007 #4
The rules of Polish grammar in tabular formats (at least most of them). The rules are explained in both Polish and English.

Good luck:
Marek 4 | 867
19 Oct 2007 #5

For my two zloty, i.e. euros, worth, cases in any language are not transparent in the beginning to intermediate stages (just try German, for instance, much less Finnish or Hungarian, with respectively 32 such cases, on for size!!!).

Attempt instead to learn them in context. I don't know either your Polish level or your instructor's method, but I dare say, that just drilling cases all class long, is clearly drudgery and NOT the best way to do things. In the long run too, it is mostly likely not the most productive.

Admittedly, memorization/repetition, should be contextual, i.e. showing situations where, for example the instrumental vs. the dative case are used, rather than merely through dry charts or tables. The latter is a supplement rather than a subsitute, for more use-friendly learning.

HAL9009 2 | 323
22 Oct 2007 #6
Try these two grammar books, both free downloads. You may find them useful:

Small grammar book about the Polish language:


big grammar book

The larger book goes through the cases in some detail.

The remainder of the material on the web site is also well worth a look.

...oop, forgot the website url:
OP terenia 2 | 2
23 Oct 2007 #7
Thank you all so much for your help and information, I will check it all out and hopefully get a better understanding when to use the cases. I am so excited to finally have some helpful guides. Thank you again!

porta 18 | 297
23 Oct 2007 #8
I understand your problem ,identifying the cases is my biggest problem also. :)
24 Oct 2007 #9
I am so excited to finally have some helpful guides

its amazing what you can find :) try the videos by janusz
patryk_sudol 6 | 23
6 Dec 2007 #10
If I use the verb byc, what do I use as the direct object with pronouns?
z_darius 14 | 3,964
6 Dec 2007 #11
do you mean conjugation?
See this:
30 Apr 2010 #12
I have just dicovered some lessons with polish cases. Have a look at this:

I hope it helps
AdamKadmon 2 | 501
30 Apr 2010 #13
Try A Grammar Of Contemporary Polish by Oscar E. Swan, page 327 - Uses of the Cases


There are too many possible noun-functions in sentences, and too few
Polish cases, for each noun-function to be associated with a specific case.
Instead, the same case may be used to express different functions, and dif-
ferent functions may be expressed not only by case-endings alone but also
with prepositions plus cases. By and large, prepositions serve to make general
case meanings more specific. As a rough characterization, one may dis-
tinguish among (a) "bare" or basic syntactic uses of cases; (b) governed uses
of cases, including especially uses after prepositions and verbs; (c) idiomatic
uses of cases, often figurative extensions of the basic case-use, used to express
adverbial ideas. For example, the Genitive case is used BASICALLY to express
noun-to-noun relationships, as in dom ojca house of father, father's house.
Additionally, the Genitive is GOVERNED (required) after certain prepositions
and verbs, as in bez wody without water-G, or s∏ucham muzyki I'm listening to
music-G. Finally, the Genitive occurs IDIOMATICALLY, as in the expressions of
dates; see pierwszego maja on the first of May.

You can find more detail in the book.
Witamy 1 | 1
22 Jan 2012 #14
Merged: Polish noun cases

Can someone explain the different endings cases and genders because I'm totally lost
catsoldier 62 | 595
22 Jan 2012 #15
Can someone explain the different endings cases and genders because I'm totally lost

You need a book and maybe a teacher really. I recommend Hurra Po Polsku 1 which covers 5 of the cases with exercises, rules and examples etc. This video may help you:

There are 3 genders.

There are 7 cases.

There are rules for declining nouns and adjectives based on gender and case, of course there are exceptions also which need to be learnt.

So for butelka there are 7 possible endings in singular and 7 possible endings in plural.

The video left out the case wołacz.

Gumishu has an explanation about cases here that I found interesting:
24 Aug 2022 #16

Polish cases are confusing


I've been trying to learn Polish for awhile now, and my biggest holdup has been the 7 Polish cases and conjugations. I've looked far and wide for explanations and ways to learn them but without much success. Could someone explain them? Thank you very much.
Lyzko 45 | 9,438
25 Aug 2022 #18
Polish inflections can and often do look rather daunting in the beginning, I will confess.
Having said that, there are in fact on occasion regular patterns which emerge, particularly in the feminine gender or "rodzaj zenski".

Too little space to enumerate right here, but sometimes, the best way to internalize such endings is to read as much as possible in the beginning, everything from instruction manuals, kiddie mags, even tooth paste tubes (quite literally!) in order to simply gain a feel for the language as an outsider.

Believe me, it works, oddly enough:-)
27 Nov 2022 #19
The cases are explained better or worse here : Maybe this can be useful.
Lyzko 45 | 9,438
27 Nov 2022 #20
Probably a decent source, RobertP12.
Not to knock the other fellow's merchandise, there are so many sources both online as well as in paper form from which to choose, surely there can be no definitive site!

But again, wrapping oneself up in case endings right at the start without learning to simply communicate in the basic spoken language, is a mistake in my opinion.

I've taught German for nearly thirty-odd years and I try to spare my beginners the pain of too much immersion in the grammar right at the outset.

Learning in context is to my mind the ideal way of learning any language after the age of childhood.

Ania Polka Dot 2 | 4
6 Jan 2023 #21
Yes, it is true that Polish cases are complicated. But you can learn them. I recommend interesting materials on the Instagram of the Online Polish Courses account ( I also recommend taking a look at the website's blog (, where interesting materials are published.
pawian 224 | 24,465
6 Jan 2023 #22
Yes, it is true that Polish cases are complicated.

Yes, but only for the first 40 years of dealing with them. Later on they become a bun with butter which means a piece of cake.
Lyzko 45 | 9,438
6 Jan 2023 #23
Polish cases MUST once again, be learned in context rather than as isolated grammar!

"Grammar" is an abstraction anyhow and obscures actually getting a handle on the nuts and bolts of speaking another language.

While nobody denies that the cases in Polish are crucial, merely going down a list of each seven cases in singular and plural, will create more headaches and disillusionment in the long run than true learning success:-)

Furthermore, many Poles will say that they don't know their own grammar perfectly either, not even close, except for university-educated ones.
Alien 20 | 5,024
6 Jan 2023 #24
Furthermore, many Poles will say that they don't know their own grammar perfectly either, not even close, except for university-educated ones.

No @Lyzko, you are wrong this time. Poles know their Polish language and they learn grammar just by listening.
Lyzko 45 | 9,438
6 Jan 2023 #25
Instinctively though.
I will agree that Poles, as with all native speakers of their mother tongue, acquire their first language by listening, not via the institutional methods of foreigners trying to learn a foreign language!

Often times, I remember asking rank-and-file Polish native speakers both here and in Poland, which case was required in any given instance. Except for one young woman who was a teacher/translator or Polish, the rest balked at providing an Polish OR English.
mafketis 37 | 10,906
6 Jan 2023 #26
asking native speakers which case was required in any given instance.

terrible idea, most Poles can't even match the (Polish) names of cases with the forms... you ask what case is used by using frames (I used to have a bunch of them for that purpose)

you can also ask kto co, kogo co, kogo czego etc.
pawian 224 | 24,465
6 Jan 2023 #27
you are wrong this time. Poles know their Polish language and they learn grammar just by listening.

Lyzko meant Poles don`t know how to name grammar concepts in Polish. He didn`t mean that Poles don`t know how to use their language grammar correctly.

And he was right. When I ask my mature students about cases, they look at me in complete amazement.
Alien 20 | 5,024
6 Jan 2023 #28
complete amazement

I wonder why? It is very simple: mianownik, dopełniacz, celownik, biernik, nadrzędnik, miejscownik and wołacz. Even Alien knows that.
pawian 224 | 24,465
6 Jan 2023 #29
Even Alien knows that.

Lyzko said: except for university-educated ones.
And he was right again.
Alien 20 | 5,024
6 Jan 2023 #30
I understand, Lyzko is always right.... .

Home / Language / Having a really hard time with Polish cases