"Potrzebujemy domu."

Translation:We need a home.

December 21, 2015

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Hello everyone, the verb potrzebować always goes with a noun in the genitive case? I am quite confused with this, because for me "what is needed" (in this sentence a house) should be in the accusative case since it is the direct object of the sentence. Could anyone give me some clues? Dziękuję


Some verbs connect with nouns in genitive case. Some of the common ones are (taken from http://portalwiedzy.onet.pl/140223,,,,dopelniacz,haslo.html):

bać się - to be afraid

brakować/ braknąć - to be missing, to be insufficient

chcieć - to want

dokonywać/ dokonać - to achieve

domagać się - to demand

dotyczyć - to apply to

dotykać/ dotknąć - to be touching/ to touch

doznawać/ doznać - to experience, to feel

lękać się, obawiać się - to be afraid

oczekiwać - to wait for

odmawiać/ odmówić - to refuse

pilnować - to guard

potrzebować - to need

pragnąć - to desire

próbować/ spróbować - to be trying/ to try

słuchać - to listen

spodziewać się - to expect

szukać/ poszukać - to look for

uczyć się/ nauczyć się - to study/to learn

udzielać/ udzielić - to grant

unikać/ uniknąć - to avoid

używać/ użyć - to be using/ to use

wymagać - to demand

wstydzić się - to be embarrassed

wystarczać/ wystarczyć - to be sufficient

zabraniać/ zabronić, zakazywać/ zakazać - to forbid

zapominać/ zapomnieć - to forget

zazdrościć - to envy

żałować - to regret

życzyć - to wish


Thank you very much for this! Though I really hoped there was a deeper reason for this, but well, I think all this information will be absorbed by my brain over time with a lot of practice.


Though this not going to be the solve it all or most of it deeper reason you're looking for, I have a couple of observations and ideas. First of all, my thoughts are based more on my knowledge of grammatical case grammar in German and Russian (& observations about English), than my current miniscule familiarity with Polish. In languages with more distinctions of case than we have in English, case often performs functions that we use prepositions for. Where we can use 's or OF to indicate possession, etc., the genitive case is used. For negatives where the genitive is called for we might think: We have / see none OF X. The genitive can also sometimes be used for what is called the partitive: some OF X.

As a trick to aid learning, some of the verbs in tadjanow's very helpful list can be can be memorized in rephrased fashion using OF. Instead of need or want as transitive verbs, you could be 'in need OF' or 'in want OF' something. Likewise, 'be afraid OF.' Whether or not you can rephrase a verb with OF, you might nonetheless identify several verbs with something semantically in common that helps you remember them as a group, rather than one by one. Could we group demand, desire, wish, and envy (be envious of) with want and need?

Ultimately, of course, we must memorize and internalize the appropriate cases, much as a student of English must do while learning which verbs take a direct object and which require the use of a preposition, and which preposition: see / watch X, but look AT X; hear X, but listen TO x.


Hey there, it's weird to come back to this comment after a year. It really makes me realise how much I have improved my Polish. One of my friends, who is native in Polish, gave me a similar explanation some time ago when I was struggling with this, and it was a great help indeed. I wanted to thank you anyways for your answer, as I am pretty sure it will be of help to many others! Cheers man!


Thanks. Nice to hear you thought it could be helpful to others.


What was the explanation?


you should make a post, It would make linking people here easier


Yeah, I've tried to bookmark links to useful content in these discussions attached to exercises, but the backlink doesn't work (with diigo anyhow).


Do these verbs also require genitive when negated? Or is it then accusative because ❤❤❤❤ it? :D


potrzebować domu - (kogo? czego? Dopełniacz/Genitive)
nie potrzebować domu ( kogo? czego?) Dopełniacz/Genitive)


Why 'domu' is a home, but not a house?


It is a house, of course it is. Was it not accepted? That would be... very surprising.


Yes. I wrote "We need a house"


How would you say in polish "we need THE home" ?


the/this/that house - (kto? co?) Mianownik (Nominative) - ten dom

Potrzebujemy - (kogo? czego?) Dopełniacz (Genitive) - tego domu
Nie potrzebujemy - (kogo? czego?) Dopełniacz (Genitive) - tego domu


It's the same. ('This house' is 'tego domu', I think)


Maybe try to emphasise by using tego/tamtego?


Wow!That is crazy


My sentiments are those of NanoRicci 5 years ago. Am I right in thinking potrzebowac is another verb that takes the genitive (because of the u at the end of dom) and if so does this override the accusative case?


Yes, you are right, it takes Genitive.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'override the accusative case'. There's just no Accusative here simply because this verb takes Genitive.

Yes, usually the direct object takes the Accusative case, but there is a list of verbs for which that is not true and Genitive is used instead.

On a separate note, you are very likely to hear native speakers using Accusative with those verbs as well, but as this is still considered a mistake and you'd be failed on a language test for that, we do not accept it.

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