"This animal is a tiger."
Translation:To zwierzę jest tygrysem.
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Thinking of 'short' and 'long' forms of the noun won't get you anywhere, I'm afraid. You really have to think in terms of the grammatical cases. This sentence here is an example of a simple "X is Y" sentence, with both X (This animal) and Y (a tiger) being noun phrases. If you have a sentence like that, with two noun phrases, you can translate it into Polish in two ways:
- X in Nominative + a form of 'być' + Y in Instrumental: To zwierzę jest tygrysem.
- X in Nominative + to + Y in Nominative: To zwierzę to tygrys.
Note that the first 'to' is a pronoun 'this' for a neuter noun, but the second 'to' means 'is'/'are'.
I don't know how much of this you already knew, but I just wanted to clarify everything (I hope).
in this sentence yes. if you can access tips¬es, read this https://www.duolingo.com/skill/pl/Defining
"to" is useful, but can be used only in noun is noun sentences. Also there are more "long" forms of w noun. this one is called instrumental. (there are 14 forms in theory, but in reality some are the same so tygrys has 6+5=11 forms
The Polish word for "this" has multiple forms, dependent on the gender of what it describes and the grammatical case needed by the sentence.
"zwierzę" is neuter, and "this animal" is the subject of this sentence, so the right form is "to".
"tę" is feminine and Accusative (used for the direct object of this sentence), e.g. "To zwierzę je tę kanapkę" (This animal is eating this sandwich).