1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Polish
  4. >
  5. "This is a tasty fish."

"This is a tasty fish."

Translation:To jest smaczna ryba.

December 14, 2015



"ryba" is feminine, so shouldn't we use "ta" instead of "to" (neuter) or "ten" (masculine)?


"To" isn't modifying "ryba" in this sentence! It doesn't say "this fish" (though that could be implied). You're not picking this fish from among other fish, you're picking this thing from among other things (and saying that it's a tasty fish).

If you were to say "this thing" in Polish, it would be "ta rzecz," not because "ryba" is feminine, but because "rzecz" is. But as in English, you're allowed to use what linguists call a "zero mark" or "∅" here (i.e., leave out a normally expected noun).

Imagine for the sake of illustration that "∅" were a neuter Polish word meaning "thing." To agree with the gender of ∅, you'd say "to ∅ jest smaćna ryba."

Think of it the same way. The zero noun here happens to be formally neuter, so no matter the gender of the other thing the "jest" attaches to, you'll still say "to jest."


Thank you Tim!


Putting it simple: when the sentence would translate as "this is", you always use "to" regardless of gender. Or to put it in another way, when all you do with a fish is to point at it/name it, rather than making it a part of another action.


Dziękuję Adrian!

[deactivated user]

    Why isn’t the instrumental case, i.e. “smaczną rybą” used here?


    You use the Instrumental case in sentences like "X is Y", when Y is a noun phrase and X is either a noun phrase or a personal pronoun.

    You use Nominative in sentences like this: "This is Y".

    More information here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16373167


    "Ta ryba jest smaczna" is my sentence incorrect?


    It is correct on its own, but it's not a translation. The subject here is "This" (a dummy pronoun), you changed it to "This fish".

    This is one of our most important rules in this course - don't change the subject of the sentence.


    jaka jest różnica między "to jest smaczna ryba"a"ta ryba jest smaczna"powiem więcej po Polsku poprawnie było by "ta ryba"bo ryba to rodzaj żeński


    you should be able to say "ta ryba jest przepyszna" as well


    You not only used the word for "delicious" instead of just "tasty", but even changed it to say "very delicious".


    It marks "to smaczna ryba" as correct. Does that mean "to smaczne zwierzę" can be both "this tasty fish" and "this is a tasty fish"?


    Actually it depends on the noun's gender. "to" can be either a dummy pronoun (like in "[This/That/It] is a tasty fish") and then it is used with absolutely any noun. But it can also be a neuter singular determiner (like in "this child" = "to dziecko").

    So for neuter nouns, like "To smaczne zwierzę", it can be indeed ambiguous and it can means both "this tasty animal" and "this is a tasty animal".

    For any other noun, using "to" definitely means "this/that/it is...", and you need to use another form as a determiner. For example "this tasty fish" is "ta smaczna ryba", as "ryba" is a feminine noun.


    Why is To ryba jest smaczna incorrect?


    Ryba is feminine as it ends in an a, so it has to be Ta ryba jest smaczna


    Why is "To ryba jest smaczna" incorrect?


    You already got the answer, but I can add that your sentence incidentally means "It's the fish that is tasty" (out of the three things in front of you, only one is tasty - it's the fish).

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