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Polish locative and case declensions

Derevon 12 | 172
22 Jan 2010 #1
Locative case declensions are among the hardest in the Polish language due to
the sheer number of declension patterns, so I decided to put together some
descriptions on how they're formed (with a bit of help from my grammar book of

Adjectives in the male and neuter locative singular take "-ym"/"-im"-ending. To
form the locative of a male adjective in the singular, simply add an "m" at the

mały -> małym
stary -> starym
tani -> tanim
głupi -> głupim

The female locative singular form of an adjective can easily be created by
removing the final "y" from the male nominative singular form and by adding "ej" at
the end:

mały -> małej
duży -> dużej

In the event that the male nominative singular form of a noun ends in "-i", keep
this "i" and append "ej" at the end:

lekki -> lekkiej
głupi -> głupiej

To form the plural locative from a male singular nominative adjective, simply add
"ch" at the end:

mały -> małych
stary -> starych
lekki -> lekkich
tani -> tanich


In this part, the locative noun declensions in the singular will be listed. They are
here divided into four different categories: Declensions for all genders and
female-specific genders ending in "-e" (2.1), male and neuter gender declensions
in "-u" (2.2), female gender declensions in "-y"/"-i" (2.3) and neuter gender
specific declensions (2.4). Aside from the endings, vowel transformations (and
also consonant transformations) frequently occur all the way back to the last
vowel of the stem.

A ===> E (gwiazda -> gwieździe)
Ą ===> Ę (wąż -> wężu)
E ===> - (lew -> lwi)
O ===> e (anioł -> aniele)
Ó ===> O (gwóźdź -> gwoździu)
Ó ===> E (popiół -> popiele)


Nouns whose stems end in a hard consonant (except male nouns in -g, -k and
-ch) have declensions with "-e"-endings of some kind (with the exceptions
of neuter gender nouns in "" and "-ię"). Sometimes consonant- and/or
vowel transformations occur.
B: choroba -> chorobie[b -> bie]
D: błąd -> błędzie[d -> dzie]
F: szefa -> szefie[f -> fie]
£: piła -> pile[ł -> le]
M: prom -> promie[m -> mie]
N: okno -> oknie[n -> nie]
P: sklep -> sklepie[p -> pie]
R: doktor -> doktorze[r -> rze]
S: los -> losie[s -> sie]
T: rata -> racie[t -> cie]
W: piwo -> piwie[w -> wie]
Z: obóz -> obozie[z -> zie]


Female gender nouns ending in -ga, -cha, -ka, and -sna are all declined with
"-e"-endings as follows:
GA: potęga -> potędze[ga -> dze]
CHA: blacha -> blasze[cha -> sze]
KA: Ameryka -> Ameryce[ka -> ce]
SNA: sosna -> sośnie[sna -> śnie]


Male and neuter gender nouns with soft stem endings or so called functionally
soft stem endings along with nouns having hard stem endings in -g, -k or -ch
all take some form of "-u"-ending with softenings occurring as appropriate.
Occasionally some nouns whose nominative forms end in a hard consonant
may have a stem whose ending is soft. These nouns also belong in this
category, e.g. żółw -> żółwiu.
C: koc -> kocu[c -> cu]
G: stóg -> stogu[g -> gu]
CH: ucho -> uchu[ch -> chu]
J: jajo -> jaju[j -> ju]
K: mak -> maku[k -> ku]
L: szal -> szalu[l -> lu]
Ż: wąż -> wężu[ż -> żu]
RZ: morze -> morzu[rz -> rzu]
SZ: gulasz -> gulaszu[sz -> szu]
CZ: mecz -> meczu[cz -> czu]
D-: gwóźdź -> gwoździu[dź -> dziu]
Ć: gość -> gościu[ć -> ciu]
Ń: kamień -> kamieniu[ń -> niu]
Ś: struś -> strusiu[ś -> siu]

IE: wyrażenie -> wyrażeniu [ie -> iu]
IO: dziadzio -> dziadziu [io -> iu]

IEĆ: paznokieć -> paznokciu[ieć -> ciu]
NIEC: koniec -> końcu[niec -> ńcu]
RZEC: dworzec -> dworcu[rzec -> rcu]


Female gender nouns whose stem end in a soft or functionally soft consonant
are declined in the exact same way as female gender nouns in the genitive.
C: czarownica -> czarownicy[ca -> cy]
Ż: wieża -> wieży[ża -> ży]
CZ: tęcza -> tęczy[cza -> czy]
RZ: burza -> burzy[rza -> rzy]
SZ: dusza -> duszy[sza -> szy]
Ć: sieć -> sieci[ć -> ci]
JA: Rosja -> Rosji[ja -> ji]
VOWEL + J/JA: aleja -> alei[ja -> i]
L: czapla -> czapli[l -> li]
Ń: przyjaźń -> przyjaźni[ń -> ni]
Ś: wieś -> wsi[ś -> si]
-: więź -> więzi[ź -> zi]
IA: szklarnia -> szklarni[ia -> i]
IA*: awaria -> awarii[ia -> ii]
D-: mie -> miedzi[ź -> zi]
* Words of foreign origin ending in "-ia" take the "-ii"-ending rather than "-i".

Ę: zwierzę -> zwierzęciu [ę -> ęciu]
: im -> imieniu [ię -> ieniu]
UM*: muzeum -> muzeum [um -> um] (no change)
* Neuter gender words in "-um" are not inflected in the singular.

Certain nouns, for example some ending in "-owy" and "-owa", are declined
just as if they were adjectives of genders matching their ending.

szeregowy -> szeregowym
krawcowa -> krawcowej

Many common Polish surnames are declined as adjectives, for example:
Kowalski -> Kowalskim (man), Kowalska -> Kowalskiej (woman).

Place names ending in "-e" which are declined as adjectives take "-em"-ending
rather than "-ym"/"-im"- or "-ej"-ending:

Zakopane -> Zakopanem
Szczodre -> Szczodrem


The plural form of nouns in the locative is normally formed by simply attaching
"-ach" at the end of the stem, or if necessary, -"iach".
Nouns whose stems end in B, C, D, F, G, CH, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, W, Z,
Ż, CZ, RZ and SZ, have their locative plural forms created simply by adding
"-ach" to the stem, unless they have a soft stem ending not obvious from the
male nominative form, like "żółw" (żółwiach). Examples: droga -> drogach,
stół -> stołach

Nouns ending in Ć, Ń, Ś and - have their respective final letter lose their
accent and have "-iach" attached at the end, e.g. ćwierć -> ćwierciach

Nouns ending in "-i" + a vowel have their final vowel removed and "ach" added:
awaria -> awariach, dziadzio -> dziadziach

Neuter gender nouns ending in "" (not "-ię") take the ending "-ętach":
zwierzę -> zwierzętach

Neuter gender nouns ending in "-ię" take the ending "-ionach":
im -> imionach

A few countries which are in the plural have irregular locative plural forms:
Niemcy -> Niemczech (Germany)
Węgry -> Węgrzech (Hungary)
Włochy -> Włoszech (Italy)

I hope this makes some sense and that I didn't make too many errors.
Comments are appreciated. Always remember that practice makes perfect.
Good luck!
bravo 4 | 63
22 Jan 2010 #2
My God.

That gives me a nose bleed. Hats off to you for knowing all that. Are you a native Polish speaker>
OP Derevon 12 | 172
22 Jan 2010 #3

No, I'm just a learner. Poles don't really need to know this stuff, because it all comes natural to them. ;)
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,594
22 Jan 2010 #4
I haven't read all of it. But it seems to be very good. It's a lot of work, I'm very impressed.
bravo 4 | 63
22 Jan 2010 #5
Of course. Duh me!!!

Fair play for learning it though. I keep saying I'm gonna take it up properly. I'm kind of ashamed at this stage. This year hopefully...fingers crossed.
22 Jan 2010 #6
E ===> - (lew -> lwi)

It’s probably a typo on your part and you forgot “e” at the end of “lwie” , this is true for both the name of a person as well as the animal.

But if it’s Bulgarian currency “Lew” then locative singular form is “lewie” and plural is “lewach”

F: szefa -> szefie [f -> fie]

Similarly here, probably a typo no “a” in “szef” if it was feminine form it would have been “szefowa -> szefowej”.
Otherwise it all looks good to me and for a Swede I have to say; outstanding job you did there.
OP Derevon 12 | 172
22 Jan 2010 #7
*Sigh* I knew I would do some stupid mistakes. "a" in szefa? I have no idea what I was thinking. Thanks for the corrections, though. If some admin would like to fix those two errors in the first post it would be nice. lwi -> lwie and szefa -> szef. I tried to go through it very thoroughly in order to weed out all sorts of errors, so I don't think there should be too many of them.
emmajo 3 | 19
22 Jan 2010 #8
All I can say Derevon is...WOW!!

When I can actually get to the stage where I understand which case to use when, that will be extremely helpful ;)
OP Derevon 12 | 172
22 Jan 2010 #9

This case is quite easy to know when to use, though. Basically it's used with the prepositions "w" (in), "na" (on) and "przy" (by) e.g. when they describe where something is, e.g:

Jestem w Polsce - I'm in Poland
Jestem na pokładzie - I'm on board
Jest przy umywalce - It's by the washstand

And it's sometimes used after the preposition "o" (about) with certain verbs like "myślić" (to think). Myślę o rzeczach - I'm thinking about things.
Lorenc 4 | 28
26 Jan 2010 #10
Hi Darevon,
What you've put together is a truly impressive and comprehensive piece of work!
However, if I make make a comment (not a criticism!), some of the feature you listed are the consequences of some general Polish rules, which are not specific to the locative case.

Of course what you've done is not wrong, and it's always nice to write down things in full, but it also renders the discussion more complicated than it might otherwise be...

I'll quote some of the features you listed, making a few comments.
Again, this is not a criticism. I hope these remarks may be of use in rationalising the rules.
I'll use these acronyms: H=hard; S=soft; HNV=hard non-velar; HV= hard velar [i.e., k,g,ch]; PS=phonetic ["true"] soft; HS=historical soft

Adjectives in the male and neuter locative singular take "-ym"/"-im"-ending.


The alternation i/y is regular and always present: HNV and HS want -y, HV and PS want -i.
This means that in Polish the sounds (say) ń+y, c+i cannot occur, ever. It's always ń+i, c+y (and so on).

SNA: sosna -> sośnie [sna -> śnie]

This kind of behaviour, and similar ones like miasto->mieście, are necessary to respect the Polish phonotactic rule which says consonants in the same sillable must be all soft or all hard.

Softening of the final n to ń induces the softening of the preceding consonant to respect the rule... there's really no other possibility...

Ę: zwierzę -> zwierzęciu [ę -> ęciu]
IĘ: imię -> imieniu [ię -> ieniu]
UM*: muzeum -> muzeum [um -> um] (no change)

Neuter nouns ending in ę (and often referring to the young of animals etc.) acquire a further syllable in all cases different from nominative. Latin names in -um are invariable in the singular. So there's no irregularity of any kind here.

Nouns ending in Ć, Ń, Ś and - have their respective final letter lose their
accent and have "-iach" attached at the end, e.g. ćwierć -> ćwierciach

Of course this a general orthographic rule: the sound ć+vowel is spelled ci+vowel, always.
I won't comment here on the vowel alternation but them too are (to an extent) predictable: e.g. ó in closed syllables, o in open syllables; e.g. take gwóźdź->gwoździu (nail). The nominative is a single-syllable word and hence a closed syllable. The locative is gwo-ździu: open syllable and alternation to o. The same occurs e.g. in the genitive sing. (Kraków->Krakowa), genitive pl. (słowo->słów) etc.

If it is possible to assume that general phototactic/orthographic rules like the ones above have been acquired, the locative case rules can be stated in a much more compact way:

MASC,NEU -HV or -S => -u
FEMM, -HV => '-e
FEMM, -S => -i/-y
Where the apostrophe ' indicates softening/vowel alternation (if relevant). The rest are details :)

Anyway, congratulations again on the job you've done :-)
OP Derevon 12 | 172
26 Jan 2010 #11
Thanks for your input. There are for sure more compact ways to present how the Polish locative case works, you're right, but I would say this way is more manageable to deal with for the brain. Take one word at a time, see how it changes... One problem I have with most grammar books is that they're a bit too compact. They say something like "words with soft and functionally soft stem endings act in this and this way". But in reality, you don't want to have to reflect over whether a word has a soft ending or not. You want to know if it's this ending, then it means this... it means more tables, but in the end, at least for me, easier to assimilate. I learned a lot while making those tables.
catsoldier 62 | 595
3 Jul 2011 #12
Merged: miejscownik (Polish locative) - 'o pani?'

o mnie (ja)
o tobie (ty)
o nim
o niej
o nim
o ??? (pan)
o ??? (pani)
o ??? (państwo)
grubas 12 | 1,384
3 Jul 2011 #13
o mnie (ja)o tobie (ty)o nim o niejo nimo ??? (pan)o ??? (pani)o ??? (państwo

o mnie (ja)
o tobie (ty)
o nim
o niej
o nim
o ??? (pan)u
o ??? (pani) correct
o ??? (państwo) państwu

grubas 12 | 1,384
3 Jul 2011 #15
No prob.I don't want to confuse you but did you get to o sobie yet?
catsoldier 62 | 595
3 Jul 2011 #16
Not yet but tomorrow is another day!

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