"I cannot do it."

Translation:Nie mogę tego zrobić.

May 29, 2016

This discussion is locked.


how could I know that it is 'zrobić' instead of 'robić'?


What is distinguished in English as perfective/imperfective, is called in Polish dokonany/niedokonany. Roughly translating: accomplished/not accomplished. Zrobić is 'accomplished' - you did it, finished the job. Robić is not. By logic, you cannot use verbs that are 'accomplished' (perfective) in present tense.

Here, the precise difference would be:

Nie mogę tego zrobić (you asked me to do something, and I cannot do it. by 'do it' we understand accomplishing it to the very end)

Nie mogę tego robić = I cannot be doing that. For example, a man cheating on his wife, who suddenly realizes that he loves his wife and has to stop the affair, can say to his lover: Nie mogę (dłużej) tego robić = I cannot be doing that (any longer). OK, that would probably still be simple 'do' in English, but I hope it helps.

  • 1216

Good explanation about perfective and imperfective. I hope someday not far to have this course in Spanish too.


Thank you, That example is very useful. For once the situation is more complex than the Polish grammar used to describe it!


My native Polish girlfriend tells me "nie mogę zrobić tego" should also be correct, but Duo says its wrong?


We believe that pronouns, such as "tego", should not be placed at the end of the sentence if possible.


Ale można powiedzieć "nie mogę ci zrobić tego", chociaż lepiej brzmi "nie mogę ci tego zrobić " I cannot do that to you.


What is wrong with "Nie umiem tego"?


I think it should rather be "Nie umiem tego zrobić".


Why is it 'tego' instead of 'to'. Is this because it is Genetive?


Yes. "mogę to zrobić", but "nie mogę tego zrobić" (negated Accusative results in Genitive, other cases stay unchanged when negated).

Learn Polish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.