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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/benny_ns

What is the difference between dużo & wiele/wielu?

All three are supposed to mean "a lot", "many".

I noticed that wiele/wielu decline, but dużo does not. Also, wiele/wielu do not exist in the nominative case, which looks very odd to me.

Anyone care to explain? :)

July 7, 2016

16 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Piotr888102

I don't agree with Jellei answer - using 'wiele' for uncountable nouns is a mistake. 'wiele wody' sounds very odd and I would say that maybe someone from countryside could say like that but certainly it is not polish-proper as you'd encounter in books, school, tv. Also 'dużo' for countable nouns is inferior to 'wiele' - you should say 'wiele krzeseł' and 'dużo wody' or otherwise you'd sound uneducated (if someone would think you're polish, not foreign). On the other hand polish native speakers do make such mistakes so I'd say it's not that important


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Piotr888102

No I didn't, "to sound uneducated" isn't equal to "to be undeducated" certainly. I just said how I perceive using dużo with countable nouns and wiele with uncountable, that's all. Please don't treat it personally - do you always react like that when someone disagrees with your opinion?

I hadn't known you're "our most respected linguist" when I wrote my post - you should consider adding that after all your posts to warn potential disagreeing interlocutors. (sorry for this sarcasm, I just couldn't help myself not writing that one, no offense :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei
Mod
  • 3

You did notice that my comment was one big hyperlink? 'Cause yours seems as if you did not - it would be quite hilarious and absurd if I really called myself "one of our most respected linguists"...

So it's not my opinion that you argue with, but a real linguist's - I myself, about two months ago, would probably claim similarly to you. And then I checked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lyijykyna

Okay, stop arguing! :) 'Wiele wody' is technically correct - but is not very used. (juts to say - I am Polish). I would say - 'wiele wody' sounds very old style to me, nobody speaks like this anymore. And I have to agree, that in general, nowadays you would use 'dużo' for uncountable nouns (like water, sunshine etc.), and 'wiele' for countable nouns. But as I said - such example as 'wiele wody' is not incorrect - but if you speak like this with Polish people you will just sound a bit odd :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei
Mod
  • 3

Well frankly, you yourself said a lot :D

People think that 'wiele' is for countable nouns and 'dużo' for uncountable, but that is actually not true, both can be used in both situations.

"Dużo" doesn't decline, so it can be used only in Nominative, Accusative, and in some cases in Genitive.

The form of "wiele" is dependent on the gender: if it's something singular and uncountable, it's 'wiele': wiele ryżu (masculine), wiele wody (feminine), wiele słońca (neuter); same goes for not masculine-personal (wiele kobiet, wiele kotów), but 'wielu' is needed for masculine personal (wielu mężczyzn, wielu ludzi, wielu policjantów).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Olja.
  • 1872

Amazing explanation, thanks a lot!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/benny_ns

That was quick, thank you!

Reading your post I also realized that wiele needs the noun that follows it to be genitive, so that's one more thing to look out for.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei
Mod
  • 3

True, but so does 'dużo' and I guess any word that denotes an amount of something.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/br0d4
Mod
  • 1902

One of functions of Genitive in Polish is to describe some amount, some portion or undetermined portion of something. If speaking of all the available or desired amount, we use Accusative case: dopełniacz cząstkowy.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kjakubowski2

nie jestem polonistka, ale nie podoba mi sie zwrot "wiele ryzu" na ogol mowi sie duzo ryzu, podobnie duzo wody, "wiele slonca" tez dla mnie brzmi dziwnie... Przepraszam za brak polskich znakow.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei
Mod
  • 3

Szczerze mówiąc zgadzam się, ale wg profesora Bańki są to po prostu zamienne słowa. Natomiast nie przeszkadza to w pozostaniu przy tych wersjach, które wydają się naturalne :)

https://sjp.pwn.pl/poradnia/haslo/duzo-i-wiele;7453.html


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StatStatak

So if people usually use dużo for uncountable and when they have to use some other case besides those 3 they switch to wiele/u + the uncountable?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jellei
Mod
  • 3

Yeah, I believe you could say that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fmarkom

And what if i speak about elephants, children or doors, is there a third word, like wieloro or something? :D By the way, how far do you use the mixed gender numbers (czworo, pięcioro etc), up to 100 I can imagine how to create them, like adding an "-ioro" - like ending to the numbers, but what if I talk about 100 children?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/br0d4
Mod
  • 1902

And what if i speak about elephants, children or doors, is there a third word, like wieloro or something?

The usage of collective numerals is a matter of... gender. Yes, that is another example, that in Polish there are more than just 3 genders.

The word "wiele" is already a numeral - indefinite numeral. It does not have any special form for nouns that take collective numerals.

Types of neuter nouns

As male nouns split into 3 genders (in singular: animate personal, animate impersonal, inanimate) - also neuter nouns split into 2 genders: those that take collective numerals - n1 type neuter nouns and those that take cardinal numerals - n2 type neuter nouns.

The vast majority of neuter nouns are n2.

Then, there are some neuter nouns type n1. They are mostly animate personal and impersonal, especially little ones, with ending in Nominative or ending -ęci-/-ęt- or -ątk- in other cases: dziecko, dziecię, szczenię, kurczę.

There are also a few nouns that are type n1 or n2 depending on meaning: oko is a n1 in meaning "eye" "dwoje oczu", but n2 noun when meaning a hole of a mesh or netting: "dwa oka"; ear is n1 as hearing organ, but n2 when meaning a lug.

Besides, there are around 100 nouns that are theoretically type n1, but in everyday (careless) speech it is accepted to use cardinal numerals with them as with n2 neuter nouns, like: zwierzę, dziewczę.

Plural tantun nouns

Also plural tantum nouns (rzeczowniki przymnogie) split into 3 types p1 (personal nouns, that generally do not take numerals), p2 (impersonal nouns taking collective numerals) and p3 (impersonal, that do not take numerals at all).

Plural tantum nouns type p1 are e.g. państwo - meaning a couple or Sir and Madam. It means a pair, and it does not need any numeral, as it already means 2 persons, so it has implied numeral 2. (There is also n2 noun "państwo" meaning country, state). Another p1 rodzice meaning parents also means 2 persons, so it has implied numeral 2.

Plural tantum nouns type p2 are e.g. drzwi doors, skrzypce violin. They all take collective numerals: "troje drzwi", "pięcioro zkrzypiec".

Plural tantum nouns type p3 group 2 types of nouns: those that are understood as pairs: spodnie trousers, majtki underpants, okulary glasses. Their plurals are used very much the same as in English: "2 pary spodni" - two pairs of trousers, "3 pary okularów" - 3 pairs of glasses". The second group are noncountable nouns that do not take numerals at all, and if you want to express a certain amount of it, you need to use some special expression: imieniny name day eg. "1 imieniny" - "2 imprezy imieninowe"; fusy dregs, used coffee grounds - does not have any form of plural, can be only used in quintities, e.g. "wiadro fusów" - a bucket of dregs.

So, referring to your questions: elephant (słoń) is male animate impersonal m2, so it does not take collective numerals. Door (drzwi) is plural tantum type p2, so it takes collective nouns.

how far do you use the mixed gender numbers

For numbers higher than 100 only the last 1-2 digits are used as collective, eg. "100 children" - "sto dzieci", but "140 dzieci" - "sto czterdzieścioro dzieci", "144 dzieci" - "sto czterdzieścioro czworo dzieci" or more casual "sto czterdzieści czworo dzieci".

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