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  5. "Nie jesteś ptakiem, nie umie…

"Nie jesteś ptakiem, nie umiesz latać!"

Translation:You are not a bird, you cannot fly!

June 11, 2016



To zdanie jest całkiem złe! Nie jestem ptakiem, ale umiem latać, bo jestem nietoperzem!

Z poważaniem,



Maybe he is an ostrich or a penguin? XD


Well, then he would be a bird, but couldn't fly anyway...


WHAT? What else haven't you told me, mother?!


But… I believe I can fly


I believe I can touch the sky.


i sure as hell can try


Ale jestem pingwinem!


isn't umiec to be able? or is there another verb in polish for it?


Yes to both :-) Umieć means to know how to, in the sense of having a skill, being able or capable to do something. There are no specific word in English meaning the same as umieć, so it would be translated using different verbs in different contexts.

  • "Umiem liczyć"-> I know how to count.
  • "Umiem latać" -> I can fly.
  • "Umiem pływać" -> I can swim.


So why is "You are not a bird, you are not able to fly" not accepted?


Oversight, added.


For some reason, "You are not a bird, and you are not able to fly" is flagged incorrect for me.


Well, you added this "and" yourself.


Is there a difference between lecieć and latać here, if so in which situations would you use them? I only remember lecieć from my lessons at my Polish school since we were talking about travel (maybe lecieć is used mostly for the airplane?).


As those are verbs of motion, they actually care about the Present Simple/Present Continuous distinction.

"lecieć" - happens 'right now' or denotes a plan, therefore it translates to Present Continuous. "latać" - happens 'in general', so it translates to Present Simple. It can also mean "to be flying" if you are flying 'right now' but without destination nor direction, just flying around.

As here it's about the general ability to fly, it needs "latać".


awesome, thanks for the clarification!


That's what the people told Icarus too, but see how he flew, and flew, and crash as his wings melted under the relentless sun...


Can both możesz and umiesz be used here for you cannot fly, with możesz implying not being able to, and umiesz implying not knowing how to. In fact “Google translate” will translate “you cannot fly” as nie możesz latać.


Well, Google Translate is hardly a reliable source, but well, it's right here. Although I'd rather say that "not being able to" is still closer to "umiesz", and "nie możesz" is more like "you are not allowed to".


So umić means "to have knowledge" or "to have a skill" while móc means "to be allowed to" or "to have the possibility of" ?


Yes, this seems correct to me. "móc" may also express willingness to do something... basically it's the widest of the Polish verbs for "can".

You have a typo, it's "umieć" ;)


Thank you both for the confirmation and the correction.


Is there no word -fruwacz . I thought it was a word my parents used when I was a little kid.


Fruwać is a lot less common, but still acceptable, added now.

The -acz ending creates a noun which refers to someone or something that performs the action of the corresponding verb. So fruwacz would denote someone/something whose most characteristic property is the ability to fly. But it's a hypothetical word which isn't really in use.


Ok . Won't use it again, I thought maybe my parents made up a baby word back in the fifties


I can imagine they took it from some children's book... but yeah, it's not a common word.


"you are not a bird do you not know how to fly" Why not?


That "do" in the middle of your answer doesn't belong there. Nothing in our sentence is supposed to be a question, "do" creates a question.


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