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Polish Question-Words

I just completed the skill about questions, leaving me with a few 'pytania' myself. First, what is the difference between 'kto' and 'kogo'? Second, what is the difference between 'co' and 'jaka'?

January 2, 2016



'Kto' means 'who', and 'kogo' means 'whom'. The second question is hard to explain for me but 'jak' is closer to 'which' and you expect an answer to be some adjective. With 'co' the answer is a noun or some explanation. Polish is not my native so I hope I didn't write something wrong :-)


You're right! :D "Kto" is in mianownik (nominative) and "kogo" is in dopełniacz/biernik (genitive/accusative). "Co" means "what" and answer in a noun or something like that. "Jaka" is a question about feminine noun, meaning "how" or "what kind of" and an answer is an adjective (here it's feminine form, with -a ending). I guess it's similar in your language (Croatian) too?


So "co" would be used like "what is that?" or "what is eating my sandwich?", and "jaka" (and its forms) wouls be used like "what color is your cat?" or "what sandwich are you talking about?". In other words, " co" acts like a noun and "jaka" (and friends) acts like an adjective. Do I have this right? Otherwise, thanks for the help, it makes more sense now!


You're almost right: "What is that?" - "Co to [jest]" "What is eating my sandwich?" - "Co zjada/je moją kanapkę?" "What color is your cat?" - "Jakiego koloru jest twój kot/twoja kotka" "What sandwich are you talking about?" - "O czym [ty] mówisz?"* What do you mean when you say "friends"? "Jest" might be added, but it isn't a must-be. I think both are correct, but I prefer the 1st one kot- male or unknown gender cat kotka - female cat "Ty" might be added, but it isn't a must-be. I hope I helped you :)


By "friends", I meant the other gender-forms that go with " jaka". Sorry about that, I should've been clearer.


Exactly, 'co' is 'što' and ' jak' is 'koji' in Croatian. :)

  • 1906

"Co" is a question about an object: "Co to jest?" [What is this?], "Co masz?" [What do you have?], "Co myślisz?" [What do you think?], "Co widzę?" [What do I see?].

"Jaki" is a questioning pronoun about the properties of given object(s). "Jaki" (unlike "co", see my explanation for "co") changes its form for every grammatical gender: "jaki" (male singular) / "jaka" (female singular) / "jakie" (neutral singular) / "jacy" (male plural) / "jakie" (not-male plural) - so, "jaki" and "jaka" are male and female forms of the same pronoun. "Jaki" has specified form for all cases, as it should match the case of the noun it is connected to. Generaly the case of noun is ruled by verb: every verb requires specified case for the noun (sometimes there are more cases possible, then they give different meanings to the phrase) - and the pronoun has to follow the case required for the noun.

JAKI / JAKA / JAKIE (singular)

Case PL Case EN singular male singular neutral singular female
1.Mianownik Nominative jaki? jakie? jaka?
2.Dopełniacz Genitive jakiego? jakiego? jakiej?
3.Celownik Dative jakiemu? jakiemu? jakiej?
4.Biernik Accusative jaki? 1 / jakiego? 1 jakie? jaką?
5.Narzędnik Instrumental (z) jakim? (z) jakim? (z) jaką?
6.Miejscownik Locative (o) jakim? (o) jakim? (o) jakiej?
7.Wołacz Vocative -- -- --

Footnote 1: the form of accusative for male gender non-living objects is "jaki" , for living "jakiego".

JACY / JAKIE (plural)

Case PL Case EN plural male plural not male
1.Mianownik Nominative jacy? jakie?
2.Dopełniacz Genitive jakich? jakich?
3.Celownik Dative jakim? jakim?
4.Biernik Accusative jakich? jakie?
5.Narzędnik Instrumental (z) jakimi? (z) jakimi?
6.Miejscownik Locative (o) jakich? (o) jakich?
7.Wołacz Vocative -- --


"Jaka jest twoja sukienka?" [What is your dress like?]

"Jaki chcesz kolor?" [What colour do you want?]

"Jakim (Instrumental case) jesteś przyjacielem (Instrumental case)? [What kind of friend are you?]"

"Jaka jest pogoda?" [What is the weather like] - Yes, in Polish we ask about the property of the weather, not the weather itself - we know, that there is a weather, but want to now what is it like.

Usage of both "co" and "jaki" in a dialogue:

"Co chcesz kupić?" [What do you want to buy?] -- "A house" [Dom] -- "Jaki (Accusative case for non living singular male) dom (Accusative case, non living singular male)" [What a house?] -- "Duży" [A big one].

"Co masz w pudełku" [What do you have in the box?] -- "Kotka" [A pussycat] -- "Jakiego (Accusative case for living singular male) kotka? (Accusative case living singular male)" [What a pussycat like?] -- "Czarnego (Accusative case)" [A black one].

"Co mi dasz?" [What are you going to give me?] -- "Sukienkę" [A dress] -- "Jaką (Accusative for female noun) sukienkę (Accusative female)? [What kind of dress?] -- "Ładną" [A nice one].

In some cases you may ask question either with "co" or with "jaki", but then the structure of question is different:

"Mam problem" [I have a problem] -- "Jaki (nominative case) problem (nominative case) ?" [What kind of problem?]

OR "Co jest twoim (Instrumental case) problemem (Instrumental case)?" [What is your problem?]

OR "Co (to) za problem (Nominative case)?" [What is the problem?] - the last is an idiomatic expression which is a bit hard to explain. Particle "to" replaces verb (see my explanations fot "to" in this thread ) - but in this case it is optional. "Za" is a preposition which replaces question about properties, it changes the case of noun back to Nominative, and in this case it can additionally replace the verb, just like "to".


Thank you so much! These tables really cleared everything up! I hope this helps others in the future as well!

[deactivated user]

    I'm sorry that I don't have anything useful to add to the discussion; but, thank you for the insights! xx

    • 1906

    "Kto" [who] is a pronoun and it inflects exactly like nouns. So"kto" and "kogo" are two cases of the same word. Generaly the case of noun is ruled by verb: every verb requires specified case for the noun (sometimes there are more cases possible, then they give different meanings to the phrase) - and the pronoun has to follow the case required:

    KTO / CO

    Case PL Case EN personal question impersonal question
    1.Mianownik Nominative kto jest? co jest?
    2.Dopełniacz Genitive kogo nie ma? czego nie ma?
    3.Celownik Dative komu się przyglądam? czemu się przyglądam?
    4.Biernik Accusative kogo widzę? co widzę?
    5.Narzędnik Instrumental (z) kim idę? (z) czym idę?
    6.Miejscownik Locative (o) kim myślę? (o) czym myślę?
    7.Wołacz Vocative --
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