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  5. "Napisała tylko jeden list."

"Napisała tylko jeden list."

Translation:She has written only one letter.

December 15, 2015

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dfwgator

How do we know it's "she" who wrote the letter and not "he"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silmeth

Because napisała is feminine. “He wrote” (he being any masculine noun) would be napisał and “it wrote” (subject of neuter grammatical gender) would be napisało.

On a side note, the sentence in some really odd contexts would actually translate to “it wrote only one letter” in English (eg. Książka. Napisała tylko jeden list. = “A book. It wrote only one letter.”, because a book is feminine in Polish) but I cannot come up with anything grammatically correct that makes it translate to “he wrote”.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dfwgator

Ah, so past tense does conjugate by gender unlike present tense. Thanks.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silmeth

Yes. And it has actually pretty good reason – the past tense formed out of what earlier had been active past participles, which would decline just like adjectives. (And instead of he wrote it one had to say he he-who-wrote is, on napisał jest in Old Polish, or I he-who-wrote am, ja napisał jeśm in Old Polish. Those lost their old to be verb and also their adjectival flavour, but the inflection by gender remained. ;-))


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IE99

So is it incorrect/uncommon to say "Ona napisała tylko jeden list" given that the information about gender is already there?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

Definitely correct, uncommon... hard to say, just unnecessary.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dont_tread_on_me

Interesting... as far as I remember in Slovak (maybe in Czech too?) this old formula stayed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/antoniinotna

He wrote only one letter = Napisał tylko jeden list


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iso174941

Can you also say she only wrote one letter or does it have to be translated as has written?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

Your version works.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/claudiuas

Why a letter is not accepted? It corrects me always to 1 letter


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

Well, "a" is not a numeral, they're technically different even if they say more or less the same thing. Actually, "only a letter" and "only one letter" are quite different, I'd say. "only a letter" seems to mean something "it was only a letter, not a book!"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/claudiuas

so as in english one letter from a word has the same form as one letter that you send to a friend?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei

I am not sure what you mean... do you mean the word "letter" (A, B, C etc.) vs the word "letter" (written to a friend)?

The first one is "litera" in Polish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/claudiuas

ok, now I understand: only one letter means I wrote and sent only one letter; a letter means more likely how much I wrote and litera is the one character :D Thanks

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