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Iść versus Chodzić

I am just looking for some solid feedback and of examples regarding the use of iść and chodzić. For starters, the conjugation is easy enough, but the system has a strict interpretation. It only uses the simple present, however, I feel that the continuous present might be an appropriate answer as well.

Ja idę. I walk. or I am walking. Ty idziesz You walk. or You are walking. On idzie He walks. or He is walking. and so on.

Idę do szkoła. I walk to the store. or I go to the store. I go to the store (on foot). I am going to the store.

Would someone be able to then explain when I should use chodzić versus iść. I know that we could also add pójść, but at this point, I want to make sure that I know how to use these two verbs correctly (iść, chodzić). The grammar notes are not available for this skill. BTW, the course in general has been excellent!!!


December 24, 2015


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In Polish there is not Present Continuous and Simple Present. Instead, for some actions there exist different verbs to mean something that is taking place right now, different for something that is happening repetitively or continues during a longer period of time. Some of the verbs even have third form meaning that something takes place frequently or from time to time.

The verb "iść" is one of them, that form a group of verbs:

  • "Iść" - "to go, now", translated to Present Continuous: "Idę do szkoły (teraz)" - "I am going to school (now); I am on my way to school". "Idę do szkoły (zaraz)" - "I am going to school (just in a moment)". In other tenses it takes different forms: iść - click on "[pokaż▼] pozostałe formy" to see all.

  • "Chodzić" - "to go always or often, to attend" translated to Simple Present "Chodzę do szkoły" - "I go to school; I attend to school". Other tenses: chodzić.

  • "Chadzać" - "to go sometimes", translated to Simple Present - "Chadzam do szkoły (ale często wagaruję)" - "I sometimes go to school (but I often skip off)". Other tenses: chadzać.

Another such a group of verbs:

  • "Lecieć" - "to fly, now"

  • "Latać" - "to fly, always or often" ; This may may be used also in meaning " to fly sometimes" when applied to humas - but then the word "czasami" (sometimes) must be added: "On czasami lata do domu samolotem" (Sometimes he flies home on a plane).

  • "Polatywać" - "to fly sometimes" (may apply to a wounded bird or some lazy butterflies, but rather not to a human, who can not fly by himself)

Some verbs exist only in two of the above types, for example:

  • "Biec" - "to run, now"

  • "Biegać" - joins 2 of meanings "to run, always or often" and "to run sometimes"

Other cases:

  • "Sadzić" - joins 2 of meanings "to plant (plants), now", and "to plant, always or often"

  • "Sadzać" - "to plant sometimes". (This one has also another meaning, actually more used: "to make somebody sit down".)

Again a different case:

  • "Płynąc" - "to swim, now" (about a human), "to cruise, now" (about a ship)

  • "Pływać - "to swim, always or often" (about a human), "to cruise, always or often" (about a ship)

  • a form for swimming/cruising "from time to time" does not exist, is created with "pływać" + "czasami".

  • "Jechać" - "to go by a vehicle equipped with wheels, now " (may apply to going by a car, train, bike, rollerblades, etc..).

  • "Jeździć" - "to go by a vehicle equipped with wheels, always or often ".

  • a form for going on wheels "from time to time" does not exist, is created with "jeździć" + "czasami".

Further reading: an article (in Polish) about the aspect of verbs, with particular attention to verbs meaning movement: Aspekt czasowników w języku polskim


Bardzo dziękuję! To ma sens! I learned a lot from your post. It will help me greatly in the future.


iść=to go

chodzić=to go habitually

If you are talking about what you are doing, use iść. If you are talking about something that you do regularly, but not doing at the moment, use chodzić.

So "on idzie do szkoły" is "he is walking to school" but "on chodzi do szkoły" is "he habitually walks to school"

You can put them together with something like "On idzie do szkoły, bo on zawsze chodzi do szkoły" "He is walking to school because he always walks to school."

There are more than a dozen verbs of motion in Polish that come in triples like this.


This sort of system is a common staple of Slavic languages, though I don't think it's present in South Slavic languages at all (it certainly doesn't exist in Serbo-Croatian).


Doesn't Croatian have ići/hoditi(?). Or is the usage different? (I truly can't remember, it's been like 14 years 8-o)

(Slavic languages without having to think about verbs of motion being all twisty? Gimme! ;))


In the Serbian standard at least (which is grammatically almost identical) there really isn't that kind of a distinction, despite those two verbs existing.


Okay. I reeeeeally need to find my Croatian books :-/


Your first sentence should be in the introduction of the lesson where either of these verbs is first used. It is a simple explanation of something that has been driving me crazy for a while. In the exercises I always guessed the wrong one because I couldn't see a pattern of when to use one instead of the other.


Thank you this was very helpful


**Polish is my second language, so I hope somebody with more knowledge can confirm or correct what I'm writing here.

Two small corrections: you wrote sczkoła when it should be Idę do szkoły, and szkoła means school, not store. A store is a sklep (Idę do sklepu).

Some other examples I can think of are:

  • Chodźmy! - Let's go!

  • Chodź tutaj. - Come here.

  • Idź tam. - Go there.

  • Idziemy na spacer. - We're going for a walk.

  • Idź do domu. - Go home.

  • Chodź do domu. - Come home.

  • Gdzie idziesz? - Where are you going?

Some notes on Iść and Chodzić would be helpful I think. They are very similar


Are you sure about your dots on "idż" and "chodż"? I think it should be accents instead.


Good catch, thanks a lot. I used ż when I meant ź in some examples.

I have my text size set really small, it's hard to tell apart ż and ź.


Should be idź and chodź. This little mark ' over the letter means it is soft. Here we have dź - one of double consonants that are pronounced together (others are cz, sz, dz, dż, rz, ch).


Iść = be going, Chodzić = Go. Idę do szkoły = I am going to school, Chodzę do szkoły = I go to school. Other examples: Lecieć = be flying, latać - fly, Płynąć = be swimming, pływać = swim and so on.


Thanks for the feedback!


This ought to be included in the tips and notes. It is just THAT helpful. Bardzo dziękuję. Take my lingots.

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