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Usage of Polish Instrumental Case?

patryk_sudol 6 | 23
4 Oct 2007 #1
When I just the 3rd person singular conjugation of the verb byc which is jest, do I change the do noun to make it have the ending with -em or -a. Or jest does not change the noun and it stays nominative?
5 Oct 2007 #2
Hmmmm... Which noun? Assuming you want to say 'this animal is a cat' == 'to zwierzę jest kotem' thie first noun stays nominative, the second does not.

Give an example.
Michal - | 1,865
5 Oct 2007 #3
Yes, as an example, ja jestem anglikiem-I am an Englishman, is in the instrumental case.
OP patryk_sudol 6 | 23
5 Oct 2007 #4
But if you say to jest tygrys. you don't add the -em because of the to but if you omit that, than you would add the -em like jest tygrysem.
5 Oct 2007 #5
Well, if you try to describe (or make it more specific) one nount with another there will be -em added to the describing noun (if this noun is masculine or neutral, otherwise it will be -ą). 'To zwierzę jest tygrysem' is equivalent to 'This animal is a tiger'- so you make it more specific. Remember, that even if you don't add explicitly a second noun in 'jest tygrysem', it is still there- this sentence efectively has two nouns- what you say is actually "On/ona/ono jest tygrysem"!

Just a small addition: the change from 'to jest tygrys' to 'jest tygrysem' is actually a change from 'this is a tiger' to 'he/she/it is a tiger'. Quite a big change, I'd say :).
Marek 4 | 867
15 Oct 2007 #6
The Instrumental Case ("narzednik", in Polish!) is funny. On the one hand, it's true that what seems to English speakers as pure nominative, e.g. the verb "to be", takes the Instrumental in Polish "Jestem Polakiem.", "On jest lekarzem.", "Czy Pan jest tlumaczem?" etc. The exception here is in more informal speech, such as "On nauczyciel, nieprawda?", without the verb 'to be' in the clause.

There are, by the way, a number of verbs which require the Instrumental Case, as other verbs require the Dative, Accusative or Genitive, which I frankly don't all recall, except, oddly enough, the verb "interesowac sie" = to be interested in

"Interesuje sie rolnictwem." = I am interested in agriculture

Like in German, in Polish, a case ending will be used without a preposition which would be necessary in English, for example, "to be interested IN" ....

30 Apr 2010 #7
Have a look at this. Hope it helps.
brzmibrzmi - | 18
11 Oct 2012 #8
So... If I want to say

'I am lazy' = Jestem leniwiem
'They are lazy' = Oni są leniwy.

However, looking at my narzednik table, for plural adjectives (as in lazy leniwy), it reads that the end of plural adjectives should be -ymi, eg, sympatycznimi, wysokimi, dobrymi.

Why isn't the above 'Oni sa leniwymi'?.

This may seem a rather basic question, but are the two examples correct... Any help?


ps.....I'm not lazy! It's just an example ... honest. ;-)
boletus 30 | 1,361
11 Oct 2012 #9
However, looking at my narzednik table, for plural adjectives (as in lazy leniwy), it reads that the end of plural adjectives should be -ymi, eg, sympatycznimi, wysokimi, dobrymi.

Jestem leniem. (noun: leń)
Jestem leniwy. (adj)
Jestem leniwym uczniem.

Oni są leniami. (noun: lenie)
Oni są leniwi.
Oni są leniwymi uczniami.
brzmibrzmi - | 18
11 Oct 2012 #10
Thanks boletus....

So 'I am lazy' = 'Jestem leniem', not 'Jestem leniwy'?

'They are lazy' = 'Oni sa leniwymi'??

Thanks - I will get the hang of this!
boletus 30 | 1,361
11 Oct 2012 #11
No, you missed the point. All six examples I gave are correct. Read them again very carefully.

I am a deadbeat, a sluggard, a lazybones. Jestem leniem.
I am lazy. Jestem leniwy.
I am a lazy worker. Jestem leniwym robotnikiem.
brzmibrzmi - | 18
11 Oct 2012 #12
ahem... yes boletus. I have read and re-read you message.

I have Polish friend, and I asked him the same questions. He said that 'They are lazy' = 'Oni sa leniwy'. I'm still confused... Sorry boletus.

Could you give specific examples (sentences) with your examples as above? I feel a little stupid asking again...
rybnik 18 | 1,453
11 Oct 2012 #13
I feel a little stupid asking again...

don't feel that way!
keep asking questions until you get it.
Polish grammar is very difficult.
No one gets it without shedding a few tears.
I'd like to help you but I'll defer to Boletus.
He's quite good at this.
11 Oct 2012 #14
Instrumental vs. Nominative might well be summed up as follows:

KTO to jest? = To jest Gerda. (Nominative -naming case) = WHO's that? - That's Gerda.

KIM jest Gerda? = Ona jest NiemkĄ. (Instrumental - case of purpose) = WHAT's Gerda? = She's German.
brzmibrzmi - | 18
11 Oct 2012 #15
Thanks Lyzko

I understand your examples. Well explained, but going back to my question on how to say 'I am lazy' / 'They are lazy'. The word lazy in both sentences are adjectives, and am extremely confused if I should say Jestem leniem, or, Jestem leniwy. What's the difference? I do understand Jestem leniwym robotnikiem. (thanks Boletus).

I am sad - Jestem smutny. ?Correct
I am a sad worker - Jestem smutnym robotnikiem.
rybnik 18 | 1,453
11 Oct 2012 #16
am sad - Jestem smutny. ?Correct
I am a sad worker - Jestem smutnym robotnikiem.

boletus 30 | 1,361
11 Oct 2012 #17
I have Polish friend, and I asked him the same questions. He said that 'They are lazy' = 'Oni sa leniwy'. I'm still confused... Sorry boletus.

Your friend could have made a mistake the first time. But since he repeats it again it looks like he has no understanding of Polish grammar. I can accept mistakes, but I really hate when people mislead the others purposely.

"Oni są leniwy" is wrong, wrong, definitely wrong.

Here is the entire battery for you.
1. Instrumental noun. Singular: from leń => leniem; Plural: from lenie => leniami
I am a sluggard. => Jestem leniem.
You are a sluggard. => Jesteś leniem.
He/she/it is a sluggard. => On/Ona/Ono jest leniem.
We are sluggards. => Jesteśmu leniami.
You are sluggards. => Jesteście leniami.
They are sluggards. => Oni/One/One są leniami.

2. Stand alone adjective, takes Nominative form if no object is following it
Singular: leniwy (masculine), leniwa (feminine), leniwe (neutral)
Plural: leniwi (masc), leniwe (fem and neut)

I am lazy. => (Ja) jestem leniwy. (Ja) jestem leniwa (feminine). (Ja) jestem leniwe (neutral).
You are lazy. => (Ty) jesteś leniwy. (Ty) jesteś leniwa (feminine). (Ty) jesteś leniwe (neutral)
He is lazy. She is lazy. It is lazy. => On jest leniwy. Ona jest leniwa. Ono jest leniwe.
We are lazy. => (My) jesteśmy leniwi (masc or mixed). (My) jesteśmy leniwe (fem or neut).
You are lazy. => (Wy) jesteście leniwi (masc or mixed). (Wy) jesteście leniwe (fem or neut).
They are lazy. => Oni są leniwi (masc or mixed). One są leniwe (feminine or neut).

3. Adjective preceding an object
Nominative in both languages:
This is a lazy student. => To jest leniwy uczeń, leniwa uczennica, leniwe dziecko.
These are lazy students. => To są leniwi studenci, leniwe studentki, leniwe dzieci.

Nominative in English , Instrumental in Polish
Singular, instrumental: leniwym uczniem, leniwą uczennicą, leniwym dzieckiem
(all forms the same in all cases, differences only between masculine, feminine and neutral forms)
Plural, instrumental: leniwymi uczniami, uczennicami, dziećmi.
(all forms the same, adjectives: no differences btw m, f, n; differences only in nouns (uczeń, uczennica))

I am a lazy student. => (Ja) jestem leniwym uczniem. (Ja) jestem leniwą uczennicą. (Ja) jestem leniwym dzieckiem.
You are a lazy student. => (Ty) jesteś leniwym uczniem. (Ty) jesteś leniwą uczennicą. (Ty) jesteś leniwym dzieckiem. (neutral)
He is a lazy student. => On jest leniwym uczniem. Ona jest leniwą uczennicą. Ono jest leniwym dzieckiem.
We are lazy students. => (My) jesteśmy leniwymi uczniami. (My) jesteśmy leniwymi uczennicami. (My) jesteśmy leniwymi dziećmi.
You are lazy students. => (Wy) jesteście leniwymi uczniami. (Wy) jesteście leniwymi uczennicami. (Wy) jesteście leniwymi dziećmi.
They are lazy students. => Oni są leniwymi uczniami. One są leniwymi uczennicami. One są leniwymi dziećmi.
brzmibrzmi - | 18
11 Oct 2012 #18
Boletus, oh boletus! Wow wow wow!

That was a fantastic reply. I think my problem is thinking too deep. 'I am English' - 'Jestem Anglikiem'. Jestes Polakiem...

You're a star! brzmibrzmi :-)
26 Oct 2014 #19
Merged: a little help with instrumental case?

I can't find any answer for this, can you tell me which one is the correct form?

To jest ładna kobieta


To jest ładną kobietą


If the latter one, then it means that the instrumental case is applied for "to jest..." sentences too?
Looker - | 1,130
26 Oct 2014 #20
To jest ładna kobieta

This form is ok.

To jest ładną kobietą

If changing to "Ona jest ładną kobietą" (ona=she) - it would be correct to, and I'd choose this form.
Sam Malone
30 Apr 2015 #21
Merged: Instrumental case on adjectives

Hi everyone,

I am a native speaker of Polish, and I am currently trying to survey some very finely-grained semantic differences that seem to arise once the case of an adjectives is changed. I am talking about sentences like the following:

1. Wiedzieliśmy go pijan-ego / pijany-m (We.saw him-ACC drunk-ACC / drunk-INST)

2. Jak można byc taky leniwy / taki-m leniwym (How can be so.NOM lazy.NOM / so-INST lazy-INST)

3. Znamlismy go pijany-m / pijan-ego (We.knew him.ACC drunk-INST / drunk-ACC) --> here I would not accept the accusative on the adjective

I know that some of these sentences are not the most natural ones (for me at least), but they exist, and it's hard to put it into words what the difference in interpretation is.

To me, as a native speaker, the following minimal pair seems to be ok as well

4. On jest miły (He is nice.NOM)

5. On jest miły-m (He is nice-INST)

While (4) sounds more natural and better, I would accept (5) as well (with special intonation maybe, or more context), but it does not seem to mean the same as (4). Would you accept (5) as well, and if you do, do you feel a difference w.r.t. to (4)?

I hope you can help me - I need your intuitions, not grammatical rules :-)))

30 Apr 2015 #22
No1 Widzielismy go pijanego
No2 jak mozna byc tak leniwym
No3 Znalismy go pijanym

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