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idę i chodzę

I've just encountered these two words in the skill Present 2. Both are translated "go" or "walk". Is there a difference in the way they are used? By the way, what are the infinitive forms of the two verbs? That would make it easier to look them up.

June 14, 2016



iść and chodzić

They roughly correspond to "I am going/walking" and "I go/walk".

"Idę do szkoły" (I am going to school - mostly 'right now', but can have the future meaning of "I am going to school next Tuesday")

"Chodzę do szkoły" (I go to school - regularly, generally - probably because I am a pupil)


I thought that in polish that "ona je jabłko" could be translated as "she eats an apple" or " she is eating an apple". Other verbs seem to work the same way. But " idę" is only accepted as "I am walking" and not "I walk" . So, this verb is different ?


Yes. I usually write that 99% of verbs are translated into Polish the same way, regardless on Present Simple/Present Continous difference. Verbs of Motion are different indeed.

And there are also 'habitual verbs', but they are outside the scope of this course and also there aren't many of them (an example, if you're curious is 'jadać', a habitual form of 'jeść').


Polish (and in the other Slavic languages) 'aspect' is very important. Different verbs are used depending on whether an action is 'in progress' 'repeated' or 'completed'. So for 'to walk you've got 4 verbs. Yeah, really :-) To walk, to complete walking, to walk often and to complete walking often.

The complete/incomplete applies to all verbs, the continous form is more unusual.

The concept does not exist in English or other European languages.

It is, unfortunately, one of those things you have to get your head round. The good news is that once you've cracked it for Polish, the same system applies for Czech and Russian.

The Slavic languages are, because of the 'aspect' system capabable of great precision in meaning.


My thanks to all three of you who answered my question. I learned quite a bit. I now know the distinction between "idę" and "chodzę" and the base forms of the two verbs (iść and chodzić). I was also interested to find out that in Polish, as in English, you can use the present tense for a future action as in "I am going to a play next Saturday."


"Iść" - go/walk now or in the past or future, rather once, for example - Idę do szkoły. - I go to school [now]./I'm going to school. Poszłam tam. - I went/walked there (for girls/women). Pójdę do sklepu. - I'll go to the shop./I'm going to go to the shop. "Chodzić" - go/walk (for example usually, often, always), for example - Chodzę do szkoły. - I go to school (really often, every weekday - meaning I go there everyday, so I'm a pupil ).

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