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  5. "Pies to zwierzę."

"Pies to zwierzę."

Translation:A dog is an animal.

December 12, 2015



Why not "jest"? I was marked correct for "a dog is an animal"... is "this dog" more correct?

  • 1992

The word "to" is a bit special - it is actually not one word, but these are 5 different words, that are written the same. Here is a full dictionary entry on that subject: "to" (in Polish).

Putting it shortly, the word "to" may be:

1) A particle, that replaces verb "być" (to be) in complex predicate This is the case here: "Pies to zwierzę" (Dog is an animal); "Warszawa to stolica Polski" (Warsaw is the capital of Poland) , "Ania to dobra uczennica" (Ania is a good student) , "Czas to pieniądz" (Time is money); This particle may also replace a contruction "to jest" (this is, it is): "To ja" (This is me), "Kto to?" (who is this?), "To prawda" (This is true), "To tu" (It is here), "To za daleko" (It is too far away).


  • With "to", you have to use the noun in nominative case: "Pies to zwierzę"; "Warszawa to stolica Polski"; "Ania to dobra uczennica".
  • With "jest" you have to use the noun in instrumental case: "Pies jest zwierzęciem"; "Warszawa jest stolicą Polski"; "Ania jest dobrą uczennicą". This thread can also be interesting: "To jest kaczka"

Declension of zwierzę - animal; neutral declension type IV

  1. Mianownik (Nominative) - kto? co? (jest): zwierzę - zwierzęta
  2. Dopełniacz (Genitive) - kogo? czego? (nie ma): zwierzęcia - zwierząt
  3. Celownik (Dative) - komu? czemu? (się przyglądam): zwierzęciu - zwierzętom
  4. Biernik (Accusative) - kogo? co? (widzę): zwierzę - zwierzęta
  5. Narzędnik (Instrumental) - z kim? z czym? (idę): ze zwierzęciem - ze zwierzętami
  6. Miejscownik (Locative) - o kim? o czym? (myślę): o zwierzęciu - o zwierzętach
  7. Wołacz (Vocative) - o!: zwierzę! - zwierzęta!

Footnote 1: before words beginning from some letters (z, s, ś, sometimes w - and some other rare cases in selected words) the preposition "z" (with, from, of) changes its form to "ze" - just for easier pronunciation.

2) One of the most important pronouns. They very often replace that, what in English is written this, it or even the. "To" is used for the nouns that have either neutral or unknown gender (while asking "what is this?" about an unknown object); there is also form "ta" for feminine nouns and "ten" for masculine. "To" is singular, but may be also used to ask about nouns in plural (this is probably the only exception to the rule, that pronoun matches the noun in gender and number).


"To to jabłko, o którym mówimy" (This is the apple that we are talking about) - here are 2x "to": case 1 and case 2, side by side!

3) A connective that joins two sentences, of which the second is the consequence of the first: "Zdejmij koszulę, to ci przyszyję guzik" (Take off the shirt, then I'll sew the button), "Przyjechał wcześnie, to dużo załatwił" (He came early, so he arranged a lot). It may also connect sentences in a dialogue: "Kupiłem chleb. -- To dobrze." (I bought bread. -- Good.); "Przestępczość wzrasta. -- To źle" (The crime rate is rising. -- Too bad"); "Pewnie on ukradł konia! -- To, to, to, to!" (It was probably him to steal the horse! -- Yes, yes, yes, yes!);


In this sample dialogue: "Źle wyglądasz. Czy jesteś chory? -- To nie to. Mój kot dziś zdechł." (You look bad. Are you sick? -- No, it's not that. My cat died today.) - there are 2x "to": case 2 and case 3. The phrase "To nie to" or "Nie, to nie to" is a very popular expression serving as an introduction to explanation of negative answer.

4) A particle serving for greater expression: "Któż to przyszedł?" (Who came!?); "A to się wszyscy zdziwią!" (Oh, everybody will be surprised!)

5) A particle serving in a sentence as a sort of interlude, for example to separate the known (or obvious) information from something new, or to put more stress on that: "W zeszłym roku o tej porze, to lało" (Last year in this season, it was heavily raining); "Tę książkę, to pamiętaj mi oddać" (That book, well, remember to give it back to me).

This may be also interesting to read:


What an outstanding contribution, dziękuję!


dziękuję for the explanation :)


Thanks so much for taking the time to write this illustrative and informative comment!


We need more people like you :D Thank you very much, that was so useful for me


THIS is why Polish is so hard to learn.


Dziękuję !! Fabulous write-up contribution dedicated to the Polish "to" !


Pies to zwierzę and Pies jest zwierzęciem mean the same and you can use both of them, but remember that you have to decline a noun after jest.


The word "to" is used instead of an omited verb (jest). It's the most simple way to present and name things and people. You can say "To Anna" ("This is Anna"),"To mama" (This is mom") "To mój pies" ("this is my dog"). It's bit similar to Russian sentences like "Это мама" (this [is] mom). "This dog is an animal" - would be "Ten pies to zwierzę".


i don't get this grammar


Yes, People! Use the duolingo.com website to learn the lessons before you start the exercises. The app ONLY has the exercises, and the answers are given away in the app. It's not a good way to learn when it's too easy.


Did not know that before! Dziękuję!!!!!


Helpful learning tool suggestion:

nom: That is an (male, neuter,fem noun) gen: That is the X's house dat: We are getting food for the X acc: I am petting the X inst:I am walking with the X loc: The collar is on the X

Go to google translate. Replace your favorite noun with X...

To jest ptak. To jest dom ptaka. Dostajemy jedzenie dla ptaka. Pieszczę ptaka. Chodzę z ptakiem. Naszyjnik jest na ptaszku ..

To jest zwierzę. To jest dom zwierzęcia. Dostajemy jedzenie dla zwierząt. Pieszczę zwierzęta. Chodzę ze zwierzęciem. Naszyjnik jest na zwierzęciu.

To jest kaczka. To jest dom kaczki. Dostajemy jedzenie dla kaczki. Pieszczę kaczkę. Chodzę z kaczką. Naszyjnik jest na kaczce.

nom: That is a hammer gen: That is hammer's toolbox dat: We are getting a box for the hammer acc: I am painting the hammer int: I am pounding with the hammer loc: The paint is on the hammer

Google it....

nom: To jest młotek gen: To jest skrzynka narzędziowa młotka dat: Otrzymujemy pudełko na młotek acc: Maluję młotek int: Walę młotkiem loc: Farba jest na młotku


Wouldn't it be "Pies to zwierzęciem" because it is the instrumental case? I thought if you said x=something, the something is in the instrumental case.


It's explained in the notes: "Anoter [sic] way of defining things is using to + a noun in the Nominative."


Are there notes for these lessons? Where are they as all I have found are the comments and the questions. Could really do with the explanations!


When you open the set of lessons ("Defining" in this case), there are notes before you click on the individual lessons.


Aha! They exist on the website but not on the app. No wonder I've been struggling! Thanks... can now read what all these lessons have been about!


I'm a little confused as to why this is zwierze and not zwierzęciem.


Both work, depending on which construction you decide to use. It's either "Pies to zwierzę" (X in Nominative + "to" + Y in Nominative) or "Pies jest zwierzęciem" (X in Nominative + a form of "być" + Y in Instrumental).


Dziękuję Bardzo


I don't get these grammar.


I get that zwierze and zwierzęciem are the same word for different cases, but why are there wrong answers for this? The question JUST beforehand is the same set up. It was essentially a guessing game as to which one they wanted at the time! Went ahead and ruined my streak!


I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but only a bug could cause a correct answer to be rejected. Even if the English sentence was constructed upon "Pies to zwierzę", "Pies jest zwierzęciem" is still a perfectly correct answer when you translate it back.


Why not zwierzęciem ?


Why not "pies to zwierzęciem"?


Dog this animal. What does "to" mean ?

  • 1992

Please read older comments, notably mine up this thread - and see https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/16373167

Shortly, "to" has many meanings, sometimes it is a word, that can be used instead the verb "jest" or instead of group "to jest".


Does zwierzę not the same as zwierzęciem

  • 1992
  • "Zwierzęciem" is Instrumantal case, used with "być" (to be): "Pies jest zwierzęciem".

  • "Zwierzę" is Nominative case (used with the word "to", which may replace the verb "jest" in structures of type "Subject is object"): "Pies to zwierzę" - see the long explanation above.


To add to the confusion - what about "Pies jest to zwierzęciem" or "Pies jest to zwierzę"?

  • 1992

If you use "to", with or without "jest" - you have to use object in nominative case:

  • Pies to zwierzę
  • Pies to jest zwierzę
  • Pies jest to zwierzę (unusual)

If you use only "jest" - then object is in instrumental case:

  • Pies jest zwierzęciem


Thanks a lot! So "to" with nominativ beats all other cases, for example with negation like "Pies to nie zwierzę"?

  • 1992


  • Pies to nie zwierzę - A dog is not an animal
  • Pies to nie jest zwierzę - A dog is not an animal
  • Pies nie jest to zwierzę (unusual) - A dog is not an animal
  • Pies, czyż to nie zwierzę? - Isn't a dog an animal?
  • Pies, czy to nie zwierzę? - Isn't a dog an animal?
  • Pies, [czy/czyż] to nie jest zwierzę? - Isn't a dog an animal?
  • Pies, [czy/czyż] nie jest to zwierzę? - Isn't a dog an animal?
  • [Czy/Czyż] pies to nie zwierzę? - Isn't a dog an animal?
  • [Czy/Czyż] pies to nie jest zwierzę? - Isn't a dog an animal?
  • [Czy/Czyż] pies nie jest to zwierzę? (this is pretty unusual) - Isn't a dog an animal?
  • To zwierzę, to nie pies (attention, the first "to" works as pronoun and can be translated to "this/the") - The animal (I think/talk about) is not a dog / This animal is not a dog
  • To zwierzę, to nie jest pies - The animal (I think/talk about) is not a dog / This animal is not a dog
  • To zwierzę, nie jest to pies (this puts a very strong emphasis on "nie jest" and requires a special intonation) - The animal (I think/talk about) is not a dog / This animal is not a dog


  • Pies nie jest zwierzęciem - A dog is not an animal
  • Pies, [czy/czyż] nie jest zwierzęciem? (again, pretty unusual) - Isn't a dog an animal?
  • [Czy/Czyż] pies nie jest zwierzęciem? - Isn't a dog an animal?
  • To zwierzę nie jest psem - The animal (I think/talk about) is not a dog / This animal is not a dog


I would consider "Pies (nie) jest to zwierzę" also a pretty unusual word order. We teach and recommend only two variants:

  • Pies to (nie) zwierzę.

  • Pies (nie) jest zwierzęciem.

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