The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
User: Guest

Home / Language  % width posts: 9

How to understand and remember the Polish nominative plural form?

szveronika 4 | 10
28 May 2011 #1
What is the best way to understand and remember the nominative plural form? I tried to understand the logic, but no success.

I always thought that the most important is to know what is hard and what is soft consonants. But I see not that it's not enough.

Example where I'm confused:
cz or rz is hard but ends differently (-e) than other hard consonants (-y) for masc.personal

For feminine

b, d, f, ch, ł, m, n, p, r, s, t, w, z
ends -y but
c, cz, dz, dż, h, ż, rz, anin, ć, dź, j, l, ń, ś, ź
ends -e (some part is soft some hard)

How can you learn it?

Thank you for any advise...
Koala 1 | 332
28 May 2011 #2
1. Look at the noun in its singular form.
2. Try to pronounce it in a way that's easier to do so.
3. Check the correct version.

Eventually you should get a grasp. It's a bit of a dick advice, but I don't think there's much point in learning the endings of every word. The plural form isn't as irregular as it is in German, anyway.

ta macierz - te macierze
ta klacz - te klacze
So I think the endings are -e in both cases. Hard to explain why though.

macierz - matrix; klacz - mare

edit: just re-read your post and realized you gave the example, and not were asking to explain it; silly me.

Just did some research into -cz feminine nouns, I don't think only the last sound matters.

ta klacz - te klacze
ta rzecz - te rzeczy
ta rozpacz - no plural
ta ciecz - te ciecze (I had to check it to be sure, it doesn't appear in plural too often)
z_darius 14 | 3,965
28 May 2011 #3
ta rozpacz - no plural

plural is te rozpacze
OP szveronika 4 | 10
29 May 2011 #4
Yes, rzeczy and myszy are exceptions. Also for feminine kości and powieści.

I think there is no way that I have to learn plural form for a lot of words and then I will know or I'll feel what to use..

Regarding cz and rz I am confused for masc.personal. For feminine the ending is same (-e) but for masc personal different. So I think I just need to learn, not to understand or find the logic.

Would be easier to learn if there is a logic in it..

Thanks anyway!
2 Jun 2011 #5
The hard-and-fast answer:

-neuter nouns replace -e/-o with -a.

The handful of neuter nouns that end in -ę are irregular, as always.
You're familiar with the division into soft and hard consonants:
b, w, f, s, ł, etc. are hard, also ch and h (where did you find that h in feminine nouns enforces in -e?)

ć, ń, dź, ś, ź, mi, pi, wi, ri, etc. are soft.
sz, dz, cz, dż, rz (all digraphs except ch), and also l, j, ż, c are known as functionally soft consonants: technically they're hard, but in declension they act just like soft consonants (so they require -e in The only difference is that ć, ń and the other accented consnants alternate with ci, ni, etc., whereas functionally soft consonants don't.

Simple feminine noun treatment:
Feminine nouns that end in a soft or functionally soft consonant (or have one just before the final -a) have in -e.

Otherwise, ends in -i (after k or g) or -y.

As noted above, rzecz and mysz are exceptions --> rzeczy, myszy. I can add myśl-->myśli, and brew--> brwi (rather than brwy).

There are also tons of exceptions among nouns ending in -ść, -ć, -dź.
postać-->postaci/postacie (both forms exist in contemporary Polish)

You can never really be sure with these endings, what the is. Beware feminine nouns in -ść, -ć and -dź!

Masculine nouns (not people)
As before, soft and functionally soft consonants require -e (very few exceptions, if any).

Other than that, it's -i (if the noun ends in k or g) or -y otherwise.

Masculine nouns (people)
Functionally soft: ending -e

Exceptions: nouns in -c end in -y: sportowiec-->sportowcy, cudzoziemiec-->cudzoziemcy, głupiec-->głupcy

Otherwise (hard stems) you get consonant alternations!
most consonants get -i
ł would change into l, but can't think of a decent example right now.
t would change into ci and d into dzi

Nouns ending in -a get -i or -y with an alternation where appropriate:
mężczyzna-->mężczyźni (zn, st and some other pairs get softened together)

Pitfall 1:
all of the above (on masculine personal nouns) can be thrown away for some nouns which get the ending -owie in They can't be identified from the form, you need to know where it happens.

syn-->synopwie (but not syny)
ojciec-->ojcowie (not ojce)
wróg-->wrogowie (not wrodzy)

Sometimes -owie is optional, e.g. both profesorzy and profesorowie is ok, so is psycholodzy and psychologowie, and wnuk-->wnuki/wnukowie. But you can't stick -owie arbitrarily onto any noun: nauczycielowie would be spectacularly wrong.

Pitfall 2: (small)
A few masculine nouns have sneaky soft consonants that don't look soft. This is a historical artifact. Many of them are place names. Three most important ones, to my mind:


"Wrocław" also belongs to this group, but you don't often use the plural of a city name (which would be Wrocławie). This has implications for the Locative, though: we say "we Wrocławiu", but "w Krakowie" (it's the different ending that is important, ignore the difference between we/w---that's a whole different story).
Antek_Stalich 5 | 997
2 Jun 2011 #6
-neuter nouns replace -e/-o with -a.

Like in dziecko/dzieci?
2 Jun 2011 #7
The plural of "dziecko" is irregular. As is that of "człowiek", "ucho", "oko", "rok", "ksiądz" and a truckload of other nouns. Every rule has its exceptions.
catsoldier 62 | 595
18 Jul 2012 #9
My question:

Nauczyciele: a group of male teachers
Nauczycielki : a group of female teachers
What do you call them you mix them together?


Home / Language / How to understand and remember the Polish nominative plural form?
BoldItalic [quote]
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.