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  5. "My to znamy."

"My to znamy."

Translation:We know it.

December 17, 2015



Does Polish follow any hard and fast rule about the position of the verb? like SVO, L2, ... etc.? And how does this fit into that?

  • 1902

You have here 2 different things: word order an a special word "to".

1.) Polish "generally" has SVO scheme, and in most cases, phrases with SVO sheme are considered "neutral". But firts of all - the grammar of Polish is almost entirely based on endings (Inflection). One of the interesting consequences of the above is that you may put words in a (simple) sentence in almost any order: the phrase will mean almost the same, but the words will have different "importance": the most important is the last word (or last group of words, if they are connected). It means for example, that depending on the words order, the phrase "answers" to different (theoretical or actual) questions. There are some exceptions - conjunctions are "glued" to their respective nouns, or adverbials should have specific form.

2.) The word "to" is a bit special - it is actually not one word, but these are 5 different words, that are written the same. This may be interesting to read: "to"

  • One of the most important pronouns. This is the case here. 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 ibject); there is also form "ta" for feminine nouns and "ten" for masculine. And the above is a sentence that puts some stress to "knowledge", not to the "thing that is known". Sequence "My znamy to" is as well correct, but less used, because if you want to say that you know something, you more frquently stress that "you know that thing" , than that "this thing is known to you". However if you say "My znamy te numery" (We know these tricks), you rather stress "these tricks"... Other sample: "To jest jablko" (This is an apple).

  • A particle, that replaces verb "być" (to be) in complex predicate: "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). Attention: {@style=color: red} "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! This thread can also be interesting: "To jest kaczka"

  • 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!); Attention: {@style=color: red} "Źle wyglądasz. Are you sick? -- To nie to. Mój kot dziś zdechł." (You look bad. Are you sick? -- No, it's not that. My cat died today." - here are 2x "to": case 3 and case 1. The phrase "To nie to" or "Nie, to nie to" is a very popular expression serving as an introduction to explanation of negative answer.

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

  • 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: "to"


Very informative, thank you! One note: "bread" and "information" are mass nouns in English; you can't say "a bread", or "an information".

  • 1902

Thanks, I made corrections. It seemed to me that they might be non-count, but I was too lazy to check it...


Double thumbs up, for real - Well written and very informative!


Dziękuję bardzo! Thanks for the detail!

  • 2215

Generally Polish is a SVO language. I don't know the gramatical rule in this case, and why is it SOV, but i think it may be connected to logical accent in the sentence, because saying 'My znamy to', although clumsy to my ear, shold also be correct.

I'll write more if i find it.

EDIT: accordig to what I found (Polish wikipedia) in this case the object is before verb, because it is adviced to avoid using short, non-stressed words (mainly pronouns) at the end of a sentence.


because it is advised* :) ... good to know that short, non-stressed words shouldn't come at the end of a sentence.


(S)VO is the default and most neutral word order, but Polish is pretty flexible in its word ordering and you are able (within certain constraints) order the words however you want, but when you use something other than VO, you move the logical stress of a sentence in a way that is too hard for me to explain. Various combinations sound more fitting in various situations.

For example, a simple sentence like "Ala ma kota" can have its three words ordered in all of its six mathematically possible combinations and still be gramatically correct and meaning the same thing, but stress different parts.


Could this also be translated as "We know"?


Technically, perhaps, if we would treat „to” as merely an emphasis particle for „znamy”. But this isn't the first thing that comes to my mind when I see it nor I would expect such construction from somebody who is just learning the language. That's certainly beyond what Duolingo will teach you in this course.

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