"You are a boy."
https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Polish/Noun_cases Cases explained. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ch%C5%82opiec#Polish Click on "show" declension to see the word endings for boy in Polish.
Generally, age. "chłopiec" is a younger boy, "chłopak" is an older one, up to a young adult.
The border between those two is very subjective. One can say that an 8-year-old is already "chłopak", one can think that the right age is 13... depends on a person.
"chłopak" can also mean a boyfriend. But it has to be "someone's chłopak".
It seems that most of the examples have "chłopiec" for "boy" where it is nominative but examples where instrumental is required have "chłopakiem". This is a bit confusing.
In my studies I found that as well as 'chłopiec' being the diminutive if 'chłopak', 'chłopiec' itself has a diminutive: 'chłopczyka'. Surely this form should also be put into some of the examples, to keep us on our toes and give us the full flavour of the wonderful Polish language.
How do you know which one Duolingo is looking for? I've answered 'Jestes clopiec' and it's told me I'm wrong and that it should be 'Jestes Chlopczykiem', which I'm sure was never a word in Basics 1.
Now i've just answered 'Jestes chlopiec' and I was wrong, it wanted 'Jestes Chlopcem'.
I'm totally confused..!!
There are at least three translations of the English word "boy". Two of them are taught in this course. Those are: [chłopiec/chłopak/chłopczyk]. Their Instrumental forms are: [chłopcem/chłopakiem/chłopczykiem].
You need Instrumental in a sentence like this one. "Jesteś chłopiec" is grammatically wrong. More info here: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/16373167
As for why Duolingo suggested two different answers... well, it doesn't always suggest the main answer. Maybe it considered that "chłopczykiem" is closer to what you answered.
"Jesteś chłopiec" - do not say this because it is incorrect.
"chłopiec" should be used when a boy is the subject of the sentence. For example, "Chłopiec piję wodę." The boy is the subject, it is the boy who is drinking. What is the boy drinking? Water. Observe that normally water is spelled "woda" when it is the subject, but since it is the instrument it gets the weird ending, just like with "chłopiec"/"chłopcem".
In "Jesteś chłopiec" the subject is "Ty" (you). You already have 1 subject, but you cannot have 2. You must use "chłopcem" here.
As others have commented,
"chłopiec"/"chłopcem" - a young boy "chłopak"/"chłopakiem" - an older boy
So if you are speaking of a young boy playing on the floor with his toy trucks, you would use "chłopiec"/"chłopcem".
If you are speaking of a teenage boy smoking cigarettes after school, he is probably an older boy, so use "chłopak"/"chłopakiem".
Where to draw the line in-between is subjective, but you will probably know it when you see it.
Am i missing something to Duolingo? Is there somewhere that it actually TEACHES us why and when to use certain forms? The previous example just said: "Ty jesteś chłopcem". We drop the "ty" and now it's "jesteś chłopakiem"? Its the ty that makes the difference?
I feel like I'm being tested on a course i never took!
The correct translations are "[Ty/] jesteś [chłopcem/chłopakiem]". "ty" can always be omitted. "chłopcem" (from "chłopiec") is a younger boy while "chłopakiem" (from "chłopak") is an older one.
A significant portion of the course has T&N (Tips and Notes) available, but they are only available from the browser version. It's the lightbulb button.