"What color is your bedsheet?"

Translation:Jakiego koloru jest wasze prześcieradło?

December 30, 2015

This discussion is locked.


Why not jaki kolor? How do I know which what to use, and how to decline the adjective and/or noun after it?

  • 1083

Jaki kolor jest wasze prześcieradło? is ungrammatical. Generally, you cannot have a noun in nominative on both sides of być.

Jakim kolorem jest wasze prześcieradło? or Jaki kolor jest waszym prześcieradłem? are grammatically correct, but silly – colours aren't bedsheets, and bedsheets aren't colours.

Generally, two correct forms of phrasing this question are:

Jakiego koloru jest wasze prześcieradło?
Jaki kolor ma wasze prześcieradło?

In the former, the genitive implies the relation between the colour and the bedsheet. You're asking of what colour the bedsheet is.

In the latter, kolor is in accusative and you are also asking about a relation, this time the bedsheet having the colour.

As for what "what" to use: it depends on what you are asking for:

  • you're asking for a noun – use co

  • you're asking for an adjective – use jaki

The declension must match the role of the phrase within the sentence.


This right here? Is gold. When you lay it out this way it makes so much sense. Dziękuję bardzo za wytłumaczenie!


Thank you very much!


It makes perfect sense when you say that bedsheets aren't colors, but then in the same exercise is the following sentence. Why is the genitive not used here ?
Jego biurko jest brązowe
Can you explain why it is brazowe ?
Thank you. .

  • 1083

For the same reason that in English you say "his bed is brown", not "his bed is of brown".


Maybe I should rephrase the question. What I really want to know iwhy is this brazowE, with an "e" ? What case is this then ?
What I'm trying to learn is not the translation but which case to use with with "jest" and colors in questions and answers.
Thank you.


Gosh, how I hate how this forum is constructed, not letting me answer to your last comment. Yes, everything in your "Thanks for your post, Arminia11." comment looks good. I would just specify one thing, just in case it wasn't clear (it probably is to you, but maybe not someone else).

"Jaki kolor mają [ściany/jego oczy]" uses Accusative, true. But for the phrase "jaki kolor". The walls/His eyes are the subject of the sentence, so they take Nominative. They 'have' some color. As 'mieć' (to have) takes Accusative, 'jaki kolor' takes Accusative. Which looks identical as Nominative anyway because it's masculine inanimate.

"Jaki masz kolor oczu" isn't in fact really different, "jaki masz" is still in Accusative because of exactly the same reasons. The subject is "kolor oczu" (color of eyes) and the whole noun phrase is in Nominative, but inside it "eyes" are in Genitive because of this 'of'.

Theoretically you could try something like "Jaki masz kolor ścian w domu?" (What color of walls do you have in your house?) and "ścian" would take Genitive, just because it's 'color of walls'.

All those sentences sound natural to me, it's hard to say what is the most common. Maybe "Jakiego koloru", actually... but that's only a guess.


Hi! I've also been thinking about this! I think the distiction between "Jakiego koloru jest ..." and "Jego biurko jest brązowe" is that in the first sentence, you're talking about a colour, and in the second one about a desk. The desk is brown. Jego biurko jest brązowe. But the desk is not a brown colour. It is OF brown colour = genetive. -Jakiego kolorowu jest jego biurko? (Of what colour is his desk?) -Brązowe. (It's brown.) / -Brązowego koloru. (It's of brown colour.)


Since my last post, I have done some thinking about this. My confusion comes from the fact that in the question "Jakiego koloru jest ...", "Jakeigo koloru" appears to be in the genitive.
In the statement : "Jego biurko jest brązowe" appears to take the normal adjective ending "-e".
Can it be simply that the genitive only appears in the interrogative form?
I came to this suddenly remembering that in french, the question is : "DE quelle couleur est le drap" (literally "of" what color is the sheet). But the DE is not used in the answer :"Le drap est bleu.", where the color takes the normal adjective ending to agree with the gender and number of "drap".
Am I on the right track here? Will it always be "Jakiego koloru jest ...?" to ask what color something is?
Many thanks.


Thanks for your post, Arminia11.
A lot of this seems more natural to me since my post seven months ago. I'm not sure which part of my question you were curious about.

I can tell you that I have noticed in the pattern:
"Jego biurko jest brązowe"
that brązowE ends in an "e" because biurko is neuter, and "e" would be the appropriate neuter ending, just as it would with any adjective, as in :
To zwierzę jest małe.

If the sentence were :
"Jej sukienka jest czarna",
czarnA ends in "a" because sukienka is feminine.

and finally,
"Ten pies jest biały."
biały ends in "y" because pies is masculine.

However, as to the last part of the question, is it always "Jakiego kolor jest...?", apparently that is not the only way to ask that question

In the Reverso dictionary I found :
Jaki kolor mają jego oczy?"
(What color are his eyes?)
Jaki kolor mają ściany?
(What color are the walls?)
Note the use of the accusative in this construction.

In the Pons dictionary I found :
Jaki mam kolor oczu?
(What color are my eyes?)
Jaki masz kolor oczu?
(What color are your eyes?)
Note the use of the genitive in this construction.
[Edit: or maybe a closer translation for this construction would be : What is the color OF your eyes?, which would explain the use of the genitive in "oczu". mam/masz/mają/etc. take the accusative in both cases. See Jellei's post beginning with "Gosh".]

Maybe sometimes the answer is just "this is how we say this in Polish". It's idiomatic, and we need to learn the follow the patterns.
As to which way of saying all of this might be preferable, that would be for a native speaker to tell us.
I hope this helps and that I haven't made any blunders. I did try to proofread carefully.


Can the "Since my last post," Augustine2017 question be answered by someone, please?



Thank you so much vytah


I know what you're saying, they should really add some lessons by this point out perhaps earlier where they really dive into defining the noun cases and give you some lessons in identifying when each is called for. I've read a bunch on it, but without the practical part of using it in the app, i can't seem to bridge that gap.... Yet


but regarding your second suggestion, if we were to say ,for example, I have a cat or I have a dog, wouldn't you say that is a relation too ? Yet that would (I think) be nominative (not accusative) . and if I say I have a black dog or a black cat, I am saying what colour the cat or dog is but this is not genitive nor is mam a genitive verb anyway. All I can say is this Polish sentence seems very odd.


I won't argue here, "jakiego koloru jest" is not the most... obvious construction.


The word "prześcieradło" is cool. Trying to make parallels from my Russian and Ukrainian knowledge, but is looks completely alien :)


"prześcieradło" Cool and alien, indeed. How was I going to remember THAT word? Came up with precious; followed by some idea of sierad as meaning a jewel in some language* and woe. All to do with the idea of going to bed with someone.

*Oh no, I created a hybrid of the German schmücken and verzieren, both meaning to decorate. So, precious decoration and woe.


Hahah I love mnemonics! For me cieradło kind of sounds like "Cerrado" in Spanish, which it means closed. So a bedsheet makes me think of business is closed, time to sleep. Now for the first part prześ- I just memorize it.


Sorry, but you don't right. This word is not spelling "alien" for my native Ukrainian ears. Because in Ukrainian we have a very similar word "простирадло" which means the same.


I can't imagine spelling tests in grammar school. I suppose they have seen the words in daily life and learn to match them but wow. That r again, out of nowhere. Heck even the p...


Augustine2017's question has been answered by KlaraDahlb. Genitive is used because this actually is "Of what color is your bedsheet?". You can simply say "Moje prześcieradło jest białe" with an adjective that simply takes Nominative, but you can say "Moje prześcieradło jest koloru białego/białego koloru" with a noun phrase in Genitive. The Genitive option doesn't sound that probable in the answer, you'd rather just use the adjective, but it seems pretty common to use it in the question.


Well, to us all the sounds make sense. It's not French where you have letters out of nowhere, that you absolutely can't hear in the pronunciation ;) The first sounds is definitely P, and then it's followed by RZ, even if it sounds more like SZ.


lol about all the sounds being there. I will keep laughing. At least for now. And really great, Augustine2017, to hear about all your progress. I need to get my (clear) head down with this. I go pretty cross-eyed quickly with all of this, sadly.


I had to smile at this one, too, and letters out of nowhere. Still smiling. :-) Still, at least french is consistent. English must be more difficult in that way. We are used to silent letters, but the inconsistency in pronunciation must be challenging. A favorite example is the -ough- sound (bough, tough, cough, through, though ...)


Ha ha. Proof that it isn't so much that other languages are difficult rather than that is an advantage to have grown up hearing that words are pronounced a certain way. That and as kid I lived for stars on spelling tests (yes, stars, not stickers) and actually enjoyed teasing these things out.

Also, to be chauvinistic ;-), there is a REASON for those letters being in the words, unlike p's and r's and w's in Polish. ;-D


Shouldn't 'Jakiego koloru jest twoje przescieradlo' be accepted?


Well it wasn't :(


If a moderator claims that an answer should have been accepted, but it's not accepted for you, please provide a screenshot and/or click the 'report' button after your answer was rejected, so we can see some proof and investigate.


Ok sure, if it comes back I will take a snapshot and I did already report it :0 Thanks


Yes that's exactly what I did


And how do I send a snip of my picture into this discussion?


Upload it to any filehoster, for example here: https://imgur.com/upload
and paste the link into your comment.


Hm... that's weird, cuz the last report for this exercise is two months old. Did you click on the flag symbol on the bottom of the screen and did then select 'my answer should be accepted'?

[deactivated user]

    It still not accepted...


    Luckily you reported your answer (thank you, it's really appreciated because we know what the learner really put as the answer, not what they think they put), and I'm afraid that you used "twój" instead of "twoje". That's what made it rejected.

    (Technically the reports are anonymous, but that one is 10 hours old and so is your comment, so it seems pretty obvious)


    Jellei, Thanks for your last post (Gosh). I appreciate the affirmation and the clarification.


    I answered "Jakiego koloru jest twoj przescieradlo (with the correct accents, but I cant access the button in these comments) and knowing now that I used the incorect from of the singular form of you, the correction shown to me uses the plural form wasze. Why does it not use the singular form, when that's what I used in my original answer?


    The grading algorithm works in mysterious ways.

    But seriously, it usually is that you get corrected to what is the original sentence (the one that someone put in the database), and that one uses "wasze" simply because its writer chose so. But sometimes the algorithm suddenly decides to do something different and then we can't really predict what will be shown.

    I personally don't like the 'showing the original sentence' approach because it often makes the learners think that their answer was completely wrong, although in fact it was just a typo... :/


    what case is this? if it's accusative and this why we use ''jakiego''; how am I supposed to know that kolor transforms to>koloru? Questions are confusing me BIG time!!


    This one is probably something you should learn by heart as a phrase, asking "What color...?" is usually in the Genitive case, starting with "Jakiego koloru...?" - you can think of it as "Of what color is your bedsheet?".

    Alternatively, you can use a perhaps more logical construction, with Accusative "Jaki kolor" by asking "What color does your bedsheet have?" = "Jaki kolor ma twoje prześcieradło?".


    Why does it use wasz and not twoj, i thought wasz was only used for plurals?


    Both forms are wrong here, it's either "twoje" or "wasze", as "prześcieradło" is a neuter noun.

    You're right that "wasz" is used for plurals, but not exactly for 'nouns in plural' ("dogs" as opposed to "dog" etc.), but for plural 'you'.

    Therefore, "twoje prześcieradło" is 2nd person singular (your bedsheet, John) and "wasze prześcieradło" is 2nd person plural (your bedsheet, John and Susan).

    Both those pronouns can be used both for singular and plural nouns.

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