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Case question works

Maybe someone Polish can answer this.

I understand how the questions are associated with cases ...

nominative/mianownik: kto? co? (who? what?)

genative/dopełniać: kogo? czego? (whose? of what?)

dative/celownik: komu? czemu? (to whom? to what?)

narzędnik/instrumental: z kim? z czym (with whom? with what?)

miejscownik/locative: o kim? o czym? (about whom? about what?)

except ...

accusative/biernik: kogo? co? (whose? what?)

Since the accusative doesn't govern possession, what does it actually really mean that its 'person' question word is kogo?

April 11, 2016



Thanks. But I already know what the (main) role of the accusative case is. I probably didn't explain what I meant very clearly.

What I don't understand is why Polish use the question word "Kogo?" with the accusative case, which I understood to mean "Whose?" (i.e. belong to whom)?. I do understand why "Kogo?" is used with the genitive case, however.

All the other question words make sense to me, except that one.


I would rather say that for accusative it should be "whom?":

  • Peter sees him – Whom does Peter see? – Piotr widzi jego/go – Kogo Piotr widzi?

  • He sees Peter – Whom does he see? – On widzi Piotra – Kogo on widzi?

Hopefully using pronoun – the only part of English that still retains the Case system from Old English, even if accusative and dative merged into oblique – will make it a bit clearer. ;-)


It's in fact tough matter. I (native) made hell of a research and it seems that it all depends on the verb. Most of them generally is used with "biernik": czytać, pisać, lubić, spotykać. Some of them is used with "dopełniacz": używać, pilnować, szukać. And to make all of this more funny, there are some (but few) verbs that can be used with both cases, like pytać czy zapomnieć - without difference in meaning. Moreover, verbs used with "biernik" changes form to "dopełniacz" when used in negation. "Czytam książkę" (I read book), but "Nie czytam książki" (I do not read book). To sum up, it is... difficult. Very. And native speakers confuse this forms quite often. As a result you can find a lot of questions on the Internet asking which form should be used. If you don't know, check it in the dictionary. If you have no such possibility, go with "biernik". Unless it is negation... yea, well, it sounds like a nightmare :)


Because the word "kogo" has two different meanings (kind of) in Polish, it is either the accusative or the genitive of "kto". Just because it’s the same word in Polish doesn’t mean it has to be the same word in English.


whose is usually translated to "czyj?"

and the repeated questions of nominative-genitive/ accusative reflect Masculine declension patterns?

kogo? accusative=genitive co? accusative=nominative


It's a rather tricky matter, I know that accusative is used with the verb 'widzieć' (to see) Widzę (kogo?) Ciebie. (I see you). Furthermore, it is used with "patrzeć na" (to look at) Patrzę na (co?) psa. I'm looking at the dog.

There are probably more expressions that require using accusative but I can't really remember right now. Maybe there's some sort of rule that I'm not aware of.

If you have any other questions about cases, especially their use in context, feel free to ask! :)


Accusative is used for example with "wiedzieć" - "to see" and some other verbs + in sentences with more than one noun only one of them is in Nominative, the other ones must be in different cases, when it answers the question "co?" - "what", but it isn't a subject - it's accusative.


I am polish and I have problems with it.

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