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  5. "A dog is an animal."

"A dog is an animal."

Translation:Pies to zwierzę.

January 12, 2016



Why not ¨Pies jest zwierzę?"


Pies jest zwierzęciem. (instrumental) Pies to jest/jest to/to zwierzę.

If the sentence is Noun to (jest) noun - both in nominative, but without "to" second noun changes to instrumental

  • 1787

Exactly as it is described in the "Tips Notes" in Defining - it is a construction type:

  • Noun/Pronoun (nom. case) is (a, a type of) Other Noun (instr. case)


  • On (nom. case) jest chłopcem (instr. case) - [He is a boy]
  • Ona (nom. case) jest kobietą (instr. case) - [She is a woman]
  • Pies (nom. case) jest zwierzęciem (instr. case) - [Dog is an animal]

There are also similar constructions of the same type in other tenses:

  • Ten chłopiec (nom. case x2) chce być policjantem (instr. case) - [This boy wants to became a policeman]
  • Te kobiety (nom. case x2) zostaną pielęgniarkami (instr. case) - [These women will become nurses]
  • Ten pies (nom. case x2) będzie psem przewodnikiem (instr. case x2) - [This dog will be a guide dog]
  • Ci panowie (nom. case x2) byli żołnierzami (instr. case) - [These men were soldiers]


This is the way I explain it...you can tell me if I am correct...

If you have a dog and I am looking at your dog, I can say "The/This dog is an animal". But if I am not talking about a specific dog, just speaking generally, I would say "Dogs are animals". In English we tend to make things plural when we generalize them.

So... Pies jest zwierzęciem (is the same as This dog is an animal) And... Pies to zwierzę (is the same as in general Dogs are animals)


  • 1787

So... Pies jest zwierzęciem (is the same as This dog is an animal) And... Pies to zwierzę (is the same as in general Dogs are animals)


Not exactly.

"Pies jest zwierzęciem" means exactly the same as "pies to zwierzę" and both are general statements. You may also pluralize the phrase, and they will be also general statements: "psy są zwierzętami" or "psy to zwierzęta". In Polish this is mostly a matter of style, but you are more likely to use singular if you speak about just one kind of things, and plural if you speak about several of them, like e.g. "butterflies are insects while snails are molluscs".

If you want to talk about a specific object, you need to indicate which one you mean. And since definite articles are not used in Polish, you need to use indicative pronoun: "ten pies jest zwierzęciem" ["this dog is an animal"], or if there are also others to speak about, you may say "ten pies jest zwierzęciem, a tamten (jest) zabawką" (you may omit the second "jest" if you like) ["this dog is an animal, while that one is a toy"]. Of course, you may also indicathe these objects otherwise: "pies Ani jest zwierzęciem, a pies Pawła zabawką" [Anna's dog is an animal, while Paul's dog is a toy].

You may also use "to" structure here, but the second "to" should not be repeated, you need to put a dash "-" in place of it: "ten pies to zwierzę, a tamten - zabawka" or "te psy to zwierzęta, a tamte - zabawki".

You may also mix both structures: "ten pies to zwierzę, a tamten jest zabawką" or "ten pies jest zwierzęciem, a tamten to zabawka", or as well in plural "te psy są zwierzętami, a tamte to zabawki". In most cases you use "jest + instrumental" structure for objects that are more important in the communication and "to + nominative" for objects that are less important. If you use "jest + instrumental" for both, it means that you treat both subjects as important ones, while when you use "to + nominative" for both - it does not indicate anything about the importance of the objects or your aptitude towards them, it may only indicate that you are in hurry when saying it.


This is very helpful and well explained. Thank you.


Is there some kind of link i can look at to understand all this polish grammar? Im really struggling with it

  • 1787

You may:


what about pies jest zwiezrentem?


"pies jest zwierzęciem" is OK.


But the word 'to' is not available amongst the answers

  • 1787

Using "to" instead of "jest" is not so evident and definitely should not be the best answer, and should not be in the hints, because then it would also be suggested for phrases, in which it cannot be used.

You can read about it in A guide on "X is Y" and "This is Y" constructions


Many things are suggested in phrases in which they cannot be used, we can't avoid it completely. "to" doesn't exactly mean "is", yet I have no doubt that it should be in the hints.

"Pies jest zwierzęciem" is a better sentence, true, but this is the beginning of the course and we treat those two as equivalent.


I really hope in the future they fix the problem where it thinks I made a typo when I actually didn't know the answer. I need to practise any tasks I do wrong :/


It isnt an issue. Gentle correction is better than having new learners walk on eggshells with strictly binary choices.

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