1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Polish
  4. >
  5. "He is a man."

"He is a man."

Translation:On jest mężczyzną.

December 12, 2015



In which cases do you use mężczyzna and mężczyzną ?


When is it Jest or Jestes.


jestes for you, jest for he/she


Jest goes with he/she/it (on/ona/ono). Jesteś goes with you (singular) ty jesteś.


What's the difference between mężczyzna and mężczyzną?


"Mężczyzna" is Nominative; use it as the subject of a verb, or after "to". "Mężczyzną" is Instrumental; use it after the verb "jest".

See other comments on here for other answers....


How does one conjugate verbs in Polish...?


Well, that's a very broad topic. I would suggest taking a look here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/13589661


What does instrumental mean? I understand that it has a -ą at the end of it.


Well, as you probably know, Polish has 7 cases, which depend on the function in the sentence, the fact that certain verbs or prepositions need certain cases, etc. Without understanding them, you will not be able to learn Polish.

Now, Instrumental is a case that has three main meanings: one, that you use X as an Instrument; two, that you are doing sth "with X"; and three, in defining. At the beginning of the course, we focus on the third meaning.

First, I'd recommend taking a look here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16373167 - especially Parts 1 and 2.

Secondly, you can search for topics about cases in this post: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16296174

As for the -ą ending, it is true for nouns that end with -a in their basic, Nominative form. These are almost all feminine nouns and a few masculine ones. As "mężczyzna" means "a man", it is one of those masculine examples.


I thought the word man was in the Accusative...


After forms of the verb "być", object nouns are always in the Instrumental.

For more details, please see: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/16373167/A-guide-on-X-is-Y-and-This-is-Y-constructions as mentioned above....


Thank you fellas for the rich discussion here!

(I originally came here to check wether others had experienced a hard time discriminating the sounds of "mężczyzną" too, when I felt that the audio had metallic sounding distortions.)

But I was blown away by the incredible helpful input on polish declension and I am thrilled about the links that treasue so much more.

This is a huge thank you to those native speakers and advanced learners that spend their time on sharing this basics in a beginners lesson!

Thank you for your time & effort!


Why doesnt it accept człowiek?


It does accept "człowiekiem", which is the correct form here.


The verbs jest and jestam seems really similar to their equivalent Persian verbs hast and hastam.


Well, both Persian and Polish are Indo-European languages, albeit with quite a bit of distance between them. Latin has "Sum" and "Est" for "Jestem" and "Jest"; English has "Am" and "Is" and it's still possible to see some connection.


How do I get the options to add the accents on my phone? My phone does not give me option for Polish accents


It will if you go to the settings and change the language(s) of your keyboard. A Polish keyboard has everything you need for English in the same places.

Alternatively, I can recommend downloading the app SwiftKey, you can have up to five languages on one keyboard.


Jest takes instrumental and to takes nominative all the time?


I think "all the time" may potentially be too strong. Who knows what finer skills (or even nuances) we may learn when further in the course.

But as far as your first year or so of learning (or at least the early parts of the Duo tree) are concerned, then if the sentence is "Noun A jest Noun B", then the answer to your question is an emphatic YES.

Not only for 'jest'. Even for jestem, jestescie, są, byłem etc (so any form of the verb być)

Być's object will take instrumental.

Where być (or jest in your example) is replaced by to then the object (as you guessed) remains in nominative.

It may help to remember that saying A jest B is like saying A is a B, whereas saying A to B has the flavour of saying A = B.

Make of that subtle difference what you will.

But also note that.....

Only an object which has a noun (or adjective-noun) will decline to instrumental after 'być'. If there is not a noun in the object (so only an adjective) then the adjective DOES NOT decline case (Though it will still decline for gender and sing/plural).

If however the adjective DOES have a noun attached to it, then now both the noun AND the adjective will decline.

I won't put examples here as you will come across many in this course. Just remember that the object's noun declines for case after być, but a standalone adjective does not. But if the adjective is NOT standalone, then it WILL decline for case along with its noun.

However, adjective will always decline for sing/plural and gender, regardless of whether it is standalone or has a noun attached to it.

Also remember, that instrumental after być/jest etc is only if the subject (let's say Noun A) is also a noun or pronoun. If the subject is 'to'.... Eg "To jest Noun B", then Noun B doesn't decline. The subject has to be a noun or pronoun for the object to take instrumental.

One last thing.....

You may think that saying "Noun A jest Noun B (instrumental)" and saying "Noun A to Noun B (nominative)" are interchangeable.

But DO NOT use that second version ('to') when Noun A is a personal-pronoun. (So do not say "Ona to kobieta". Use 'Ona jest' and change object into instrumental!)

That will come up again so remember that!!

Lots of long info there, but really only a couple of rules. Learn them and you'll cruise through the whole "instrumental or nominative?"...."być or to?".... "on jest or to jest?".... type of issues smoothly


What is the distinction between mezczyzna and czlowiek?


"mężczyzna" - a male adult human being

"człowiek" - technically, any human being

In many sentences about some specific "man" (mostly for "this/that man"), "człowiek" becomes basically a synonym of "mężczyzna", often more natural. However, in a sentence like this one, "On jest człowiekiem" would mean exactly "He is a human (being)", so it makes little sense outside of a fantasy/science fiction context.


When do I use "mężchzyzną" and "mężchzyzna"?


Firstly, it's "cz" in both, not "ch". "cz" makes a sound that English often writes as "ch", but Polish "ch" is identical in sound to "h" and that's a completely different matter.

To answer your question, "mężczyzna" is the basic, Nominative form, used mostly for the subject of the sentence. "mężczyzną" is the Instrumental form, used mostly in sentences built as "[pronoun/noun] is [noun]" after a form of the verb "być" (to be). So basically as here.


My keyboard wouldn't let me do proper accents


May I suggest that you install one that does do proper accents?

Learn Polish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.