1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Polish
  4. >
  5. "No woman works here."

"No woman works here."

Translation:Żadna kobieta tu nie pracuje.

June 14, 2016



"Nie pracuje tu żadna kobieta" - why not?


Is this a double-negative...in English it translates directly to No woman not work here...why do we need żadna and nie in the same sentence?


Double negatives are frowned upon in BBC English - but some English dialects happily translate the Polish sentence directly to "No woman b'ain't be working here!", or "No woman don't work here!" - or even "No women don't work here!" (breaking a further grammatical rule).

In most forms of English, negatives cancel out pairwise to give a positive, but Polish appears to love multiple negatives (maybe to ensure that hearers really get the negative point), so my rule of thumb (don't tell Jellei!) is to negate every possible word in my Polish translation of a single-negative English sentence. Sometimes I'm OTT, but I'm surprisingly often right.

EDIT: As luck would have it, just to confuse us, today's Polish lesson presented me with a Polish sentence that needs a single negative and is hopelessly messed up by any attempt at more:
"Ona nigdy nie zwiedza z przewodnikiem" –
"She never goes sightseeing with a guide".         [28 Jan 2019]


Unless I'm forgetting something, double negative is generally a must everywhere if only it's possible.

For example if we translate "No woman works here" word-by word, we get "Żadna kobieta pracuje tutaj", and that's nonsense. So it's not like double negative emphasises something, it is just the only way.


Yes perhaps you are forgetting something because there is such a thing as a double-negative in the English language which is a big no-no for grammar in English. However in French and Spanish it's OK, it highlights that something is really bad. Thus why, as a non-native speaker I'm finding it difficult to wrap my head around it.


Things like this remind me that Polish and English are very different languages - all part of the fun, really.


I was only talking about Polish ;) Of course it's a no-no in English.


Ha! I see what you did there. A cleverly disguised double negative...


Thanks for reinforcing my point


zadna kobieta nie tu pracuje, why not?


You negated "here" instead of "works".


One more asking about the order, sorry... "Tu żadna kobieta nie pracuje" ?


I think that it would be "No woman here works", actually. There are women here, none of them works.


Yup, now that you pointed it out, I agree – guess I was too hasty with saying it should be accepted, eh? ;)


Perfectly fine Polish sentence, but it emphasises „nie pracuje”, so there might be women here but even if, none of them are working here, sort of – still, it should have been accepted, if it wasn't, please report it next time. :)


Kobiety tutaj nie pracują?


Women do not work here. More of an interpretation than a translation.


When I see negative, I think genitive, but here it is not used?


There's no verb object to conjugate.


Jellei you stated that "if we translate "No woman works here" word-by word, we get "Żadna kobieta pracuje tutaj", and that's nonsense. " But I do not understand why it is nonsense. Why is it strange to Polish speakers? How would they interpret it? when to me it sounds fine and tells me that in this place there is no woman working.


To you it tells this and makes sense, because you think in English (or your native language if it's different). But really "Żadna kobieta pracuje tutaj" has no meaning. The double negative is a must. To compare, it makes about that much sense as "No woman does not work here".


What is wrong with word order of: zadna kobieta nie tu pracuje?


You try to negate "here" instead of "working here", so you arrive at something like "No woman works not-here".

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