AND = "A" when there is any type of contradictory between both parts:
- "I love you and you love him" - "Ja kocham ciebie a ty (kochasz) jego."
- "He cooks and she cleans the house" - "On gotuje a ona sprząta dom"
- "She is young and he is old" - "Ona jest młoda a on (jest) stary." (In the phrases containing contradiction, the repeated verb can be omitted). BUT: if the contradiction is not real, you only use different words to describe similar state, you go into nuances: "He is old and she is also not quite young" - "On jest stary a ona też niemłoda" (there is however some age difference between them, so she is younger than him) or "On jest stary i ona też niemłoda" (they are pretty similar, only you want to be polite and do not use the word "old" to describe a woman).
- "Her blouse is white and her skirt is red" - "Jej bluzka jest biała a jej spódnica (jest) czerwona." - it is so when the used verb is concerns the clothes itself, not the person who wears them; It works the same for longer lists: "Her hat is blue, her blouse is white, her skirt is red and her shoes are black" - "Jej kapelusz jest niebieski, bluzka biała, spódnica czerwona a buty czarne." see also below
AND = "I" when there is clear connection between both parts:
- "I love you and you love me" - "Ja kocham ciebie i ty kochasz mnie." (Attention, in this very case it would be also correct "Ja kocham ciebie a ty mnie", to underline sort of dualism: "you"-"me", while usage of i underlines the mutual similarity. With the usage of a, the repeated verb should be omitted).
- "He cooks and she cooks, too" - "On gotuje i ona też." or "On gotuje i ona też gotuje." or "On gotuje i ona gotuje."
- "She is young and he is young" - "Ona jest młoda i on jest młody."
- "Her blouse is white and her skirt is white" - "Jej bluzka jest biała i jej spódnica jest biała." or "Jej bluzka jest biała i jej spódnica też."
- BUT: when you enumerate the parts of clothing that somebody wears i.e. it is about the person, and not about one's clothes, you rather use i no matter, whether they are similar or different (as there is no contradictory within the person itself, and the verb relates to the person, not the clothing): "She wears a white blouse and a white skirt" - "Ona nosi białą bluzkę i białą spódnicę."; "She wears a white blouse and a red skirt" - "Ona nosi białą bluzkę i czerwoną spódnicę."
I follow this rule and, as far as I know, I haven't missed anything yet:
If in English, you can use either but or and without changing the meaning, use "a."
If you must use but, use ale.
If you must use and, use i.
The only exception I know of is if you say something like, "And you?" Instead use "A Ty?"
It's common to use "a" when you compare two different activities, for example "My kupujemy, a oni sprzedają", "Ona pracuje, a oni śpią", "Ja biegnę, a ty nie (biegniesz)". "I" can be used for the same activity ("Ja lubię i ty lubisz", "Ja czekam i oni czekają") or when you list something ("Lubię biegać, spać i jeść").
This seems to be a chronic problem: the final vowel in "oni" does not come through when spoken by the synthesized voice. I only realize that it is the third person plural pronoun when I hear the verb, but I am forced to go back and try to discern which pronoun, "oni," or "one," has been spoken. I always end up guessing, and choosing each version about half the time, but I ultimately guess wrong well over half of the time. Still, listening through headphones with the volume turned up to the maximum, I miss the final vowel of that particular word (oni/one) because it is always cut off. I know that there is very little that you can do about it, but I just wanted to point the problem out.
I wonder if other users experience the same issue?
- Usually you can omit the subject if it is a pronoun in 1-st or 2-nd person, but it is advised not to omit it, if it's 3-rd person.
- However, if each clause in a sentence has different subject, you should better specify the subject of the first clause and you have to specify the subject of the second clause.