"Oni są starzy."

Translation:They are old.

December 11, 2015

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Wasn't expecting the "z" there! Is this irregular?

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It's a normal thing with nominative masculine personal plural for adjectives. I penned a quite long thingy about consonant changes here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/12262354


Wow that's wonderful vytah! There seemed to be quite good explanations before the first few units and then there were none... Do you have other gems like this hidden throughout the learning tree?

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The only other thing I wrote is a bit about verb conjugation: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/12281032


Thank you vytah! I've been using Duolingo for 3 years and until your post, I never realized that the Discussion section could be a great source for additional tips. Dziękuję bardzo vytah for all the time and care you took in creating these.


Yes, thank you so much Vytah. I have only just found this too, after 18 months kn Duolingo.


Does "oni" only refer to personal nouns? Or can it be a mixed group, too? Mężczyźni są starzy = Oni są starzy. Mężczyzna i jego pies są starzy/stare [?] = Oni/One są starzy/stare [?] Psy są stare. = One są stare.

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As long as the group contains at least one masculine animate word and one word referring to a person.

For example:

mężczyzna i jego pies – oni

kobieta i jej pies – oni (despite no man in the group)

kobieta i jej pierścionek– one

The actual gender of the group that is referred to with a plural noun doesn't matter:

dzieci – one (regardless of genders within the group, since dziecko is neuter)

osoby – one (ditto, since osoba is feminine)

psy – one (since dogs aren't persons)

prawnicy – oni (regardless of gender, although for an all-female group of lawyers you can use the word prawniczki – one)

Non-human sentient beings vary:

bogowie – oni (deities are considered persons)

anioły – one (angels for some reasons aren't)

tytani– oni

centaury – one

When it comes to some fantasy sentient beings, their grammatical personhood often varies and depends on personal preferences, which is then reflected in the declension:

elfy –one (elfowie – oni is less common)

krasnoludy – one (krasnoludowie – oni is less common)

orkowie – oni (orki – one is way less common since orki is plural of orka and it would be confusing)

Remember the "As long as the group contains at least one masculine animate word and one word referring to a person" rule? In fact, it doesn't concern itself with grammatical personhood:

krasnolud i elf – oni

There are some corner cases with masculine words describing professions and referring to women, or different sequences of subjects or various pluralities and genders, but they are rare enough and even as a native speaker I'm not sure about the grammar regarding those. For example, I still don't know what is the grammatical gender of the phrase "kobieta i jej psy".


Dziękuję bardzo for this elaborate explanation! This helps a lot :)

[deactivated user]

    In the last lesson we had a sentence "konie są duże", and I thought that the ending of "duże" is "e" because "konie" is plural. In this case we have "oni" which is a plural personal pronoun, but the ending of the adjective is "y", not "e". Why so?


    "(Te) Konie są duże i stare. (Ci) Mężczyźni są duzi i starzy". The personal men plural adjectives have the -i/y ending, while the rest have the -e ending.


    Is there a rule for when it is -i and when it is -y ?
    Seems I should know this by now. Thanks.


    There are five stem endings which produce a -y in virile (masculine personal) nominative:

    -g: drogi -> drodzy
    -k: lekki -> lekcy
    -r: szary -> szarzy
    -c: obcy -> obcy
    -cz: uroczy -> uroczy

    Note that with the last two, there is indeed no difference between the masculine singular and the virile plural versions.


    Ive seen both "to" and "są" be used as a word for "are". Are there some rules about which one i should be using or does it not really matter?


    In short (very): A „to” B, both A and B must be nouns and in nominative case (nearly always), when we use „to” we don't use verb „być”. A + „być” + B is different as it is not limited only to nouns but we must remember to use correct case and correct conjugation of „być”

    Here is good introduction written by Jellei:


    They are elderly


    OK, why not, added.


    How do I know when to use starzy, stara, etc?


    You need to know the gender of the word that is described by the adjective.

    "stary" is masculine. "stara" is feminine. "stare" is neuter. "starzy" is 'masculine personal plural'. "stare" is 'not masculine-personal plural'.

    Here you have two options. You can either assume that there is at least one man among 'them' and say "Oni są starzy", or assume that 'they' are only women and say "One są stare".


    I wonder if I use "older" instead "old" it would be a mistake? Intuitevly I think "older" is more correct here. But it is only my opinion as russian languages man.


    Well, that's "starsi"/"starsze".


    Why not in instrumental? Oni są starznami


    I think because starzy is an adjective, not a noun. Only nouns change to instrumental after "to be."


    whoa this course has gotten a lot prettier since my last attempts at polish

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