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Can someone explain Polish cases to me?

I speak German btw.

January 10, 2016



Polish cases are used to determine a noun's place in the sentence. In German, this affects articles, and some possessive pronouns, but in Polish it actually changes a noun's suffix. Here are the basics of the cases:

Nominative: Subject of the sentence, does not affect the noun.

Accusative: Direct object of the sentence.

Dative: Indirect object of the sentence.

Genitive: Used to demonstrate possession, and used during negation.

Instrumental: Shows that the object is acted upon "with" or "by means of" this.

Locative: Shows direction.

Vocative: Used when directly addressing someone.

These are the basics, so take this explanation with a grain of salt... there are more in-depth descriptions about cases on many sites, with a list of suffixes.


Could you maybe give some examples because I still don't really get it


That's pretty much the extense of my knowledge on cases. http://www.skwierzyna.net/polishgrammar.pdf does have a good explanation; I personally thought wikibooks explained it well too. You'll understand it with time.


You are a saint! Thank you


What I like about Polish case names is that they explain some of their uses. Of course this is simplification.

Nominative – Mianownik – Namer: It names stuff, used also as a sentence subject.

Genitive – Dopełniacz – Filler: Expresses the lack of something (so might appear in certain negations). Also used for an object owned.

Dative – Celownik – Purposer: Expresses for whom the action is being performed.

Accusative – Biernik – Passiver: Expresses what the action is performed on.

Instrumental – Narzędnik – Tooler/Instrumental: Expresses the object used to perform an action, also used (with „z” preposition) to say the companions who participate in an action together with the main subject.

Locative – Miejscownik – Placer/Locative: The name might be misguiding. It's used only with certain prepositions and can be used to express certain locations, but not all of them, and it's not just used for locations.

Vocative – Wołacz – Caller/Vocative: Used when adressing someone. Nowadays, for first names, nominative is more common, but it's still required for professions etc.


Namer: To jest Piotrek – This is Piotrek

Filler: Potrzebujemy mleka – We need milk

Purposer: Malujemy dom Piotrkowi – We are painting a house for Piotrek

Passiver: Głaszczę kota – I'm petting a cat

Instrumental: Jadę samochodem – I'm driving a car

Locative: Jesteśmy w Warszawie – We're in Warsaw

Vocative: (Panie) doktorze,… – (Mr.) doctor,…

PS: The link posted earlier explains it in greater detail, of course.


It may be easier for people to give examples if you describe what exactly you think you're confused about, or perhaps ask some specific questions about sentences you've seen. :)


Do you mean cases, declension or both?

CASES do you know names and basic rules of German cases?, read about Polish cases and decide when it is the same and when not. / I think genitive in German often translates to genitive in Polish/

there are verbs and/or prepositions that "rule" object case and like in German after one preposition two cases are possible one for "motion" and one for "static" (if there are more, then it's verb+prepositon "rule")

DECLINATION nouns or adjectives+nouns change according to the case. In German it's prepositions, and sometimes few letters at the end (my German grammar very is rusty)

In Polish it's the endings and they are different depending on gender, and last letters and there are 10 tables for nouns and many exceptions.


well I'm a native german speaker but I don't know the names and basic rules, I just know how to use them.


Do you have a link for these 10 tables of which you speak? I get the concept of cases, but the actual declension of the nouns, especially the masculine ones, is killing me. It seems like there's nothing but exceptions. Lol.


These are simplified charts that are very useful to print out: http://www.polish-translators.com/deklinacja.html http://www.polish-translators.com/przymiotniki.html

As far as exceptions, usually if you look into the structure of the word (try Wiktionary or a Google search) you can find reasons why these exceptions exist. Sometimes they have specific/recognizable suffixes, for example, or something else along those lines.

Also, for verbs: http://www.polish-dictionary.com/polish-verb-classes


This last site is a gold mine! It covers all sorts of aspects in a really accessible way.

Can't nominate you for a peerage, so have a lingot! Many thanks


Thanks and thanks!

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