"He needs a glass of water."

Translation:On potrzebuje szklanki wody.

January 28, 2016

This discussion is locked.


its accusative singular shouldnt it be 'potrzebuje sklankę wody"


Needs (Potrzebuje) needs genitive. Even Poles forget about that though.


Here is another case my native polish wife disagrees with. She says that requiring the genitive implies that "potrzebuje" always means "requires the assistance of" rather than just "needs" or "requires". According to her, in some cases genitive is appropriate, but it is situational.

Her example: Potrzebuję dziewczynki - I need a girl['s help] Potrzebuję dziewczynkę - I need a girl [in my life]

As such, she finds "Potrzebuje szklanki wody" very odd as it is difficult to imagine a scenario where you would need help from a glass of water.

Can you explain why her explanation is wrong? Is it really true that "potrzebować" must always be followed by genitive?


Take a look at this dictionary entry: https://www.wsjp.pl/index.php?id_hasla=38673&id_znaczenia=4499712&l=21&ind=0

Click through the "Połączenia", "Cytaty" and "Składnia" tabs. You or your wife will notice that it takes genitive (there represented by the question CZEGO).

For all the different entries for "potrzebować" you can go here: https://www.wsjp.pl/index.php?id_hasla=38673&ind=0&w_szukaj=potrzebować+

For our discussion only entries 1 and 2 are relevant, but still, it's always genitive.

I did notice that some people may use accusative with potrzebować (even I do it sometimes when I'm not careful), but this is not considered correct in formal language, and dictionaries don't even mention it as informal. You might argue that dictionaries should allow it, but until they do, we would rather not teach you that.


Mianownik (M.) - kto? co? (jest) - np. wiatr, misie, szklanka wody Dopełniacz (D.) - kogo? czego? (nie ma) - np. wiatru, misiów, szklanki wody Celownik (C.) - komu? czemu? (się przyglądam) np. wiatrowi, misiom, szklance wody Biernik (B.) - kogo? co? (widzę) np. wiatr, misie, szklankę wody Narzędnik (N.) - (z) kim? (z) czym? (idę) np. (z) wiatrem, misiami, ze szkanką wody Miejscownik (Ms.) - o kim? o czym? (mówię) np. (o) wietrze, misiach, szklance wody, Wołacz (W.) - zwrot do kogoś lub czegoś np. góro! misie! szkalnko wody!


It definitely should be szklankę not szklanki


While many natives use Accusative with "potrzebować", it does indeed need Genitive. Potrzebować (kogo? czego?) - szklanki.


Potrzebować kogo? czego? - szklankę!

  • Kogo? Czego? - Szklanki.
  • Kogo? Co? - Szklankę.


Hey alik. Can you explain this comment.

Unlike others (as you guys say, "some polish natives make this mistake") I have no problem in remembering that potrzebować requires genetive.

What I would like to know is in which situation is accusative more suitable?

If you could explain your above comment pls.


Those are question words (interrogative pronouns) that are inflected in a certain case. If natives hear them, they are usually able to come up with the correct inflection of the noun in the same case, even if they don't know what grammatical cases are. This method failed above, but it usually never does.

I can't really demonstrate this in English, but it's like I want to hear the response "of the glass", so I ask the question "of whom?/of what?"

I'd say that the less formal the situations is, the more likely it is that potrzebować + accusative won't be seen as a mistake. But you should definitely avoid it in written form.

As of now, there is no semantic distinction between those two options (like abstract vs. phyical), but who knows, maybe it could develop in the future. It is also possible that in a couple of decades from now, potrzebować + accusative will become the standard.


Ah ok.

I was thinking you may respond with a difference (such as like how we have subtle differences between idę and chodzę, or between znam and wiem) but if, as you say, there is none, then cool, I will stick to genetive.



po polsku to chyba jest potrzebuje szklakę wody. i tyle w tym temacie


Potrzebować należy do czasowników rządzących dopełniaczem.


On potrzebuje szklanki z wodą?


"of water" to jednak po prostu dopełniacz "wody", zostańmy przy tym.

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