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  5. "How can you not know what sh…

"How can you not know what shape it is?"

Translation:Jak możesz nie wiedzieć co to za kształt?

July 9, 2016


  • 1681

"Jak możesz nie wiedzieć co to za kształt?": What does za stand for in this context?


It doesn't have any English equivalent in the sentence, but is needed in such a construction. Compare with simpler sentences:

"Co to był za hałas?" - What was that noise?

"Co to był za fantastyczny mecz!" - What a fantastic game that was!

"Co to za kobieta?" - Who is that woman? (Yes, 'co' is used here and not 'kto')

Without 'za' the sentence either wouldn't make sense, or would ask to define the last word: What is "a woman"?

  • 1681

So I assume "co to za" is kind of like asking for the definition of something. Thank you!


No, it's not that! That's what I tried to say with the last sentence, that it's not that. For example if you really had no idea what "a woman" is, in Polish you'd say: Co to jest "kobieta"? (Or: Kto to jest "kobieta"? if you at least understood that it's a human person)

It's hard for me to explain it differently than by putting these examples... it mostly implies either wondering about something (the examples with noise and woman, also let's say "Co to za zapach?" = "What's that smell?"), and sometimes it strengthens what you say as in the example with the 'fantastic game'. Also for example: Co to była za piękność... = What a beauty she was...


Forms of wiedzieć are usually followed by a comma, aren't they? Is it okay if I put a comma after it here?


Yes, that would be correct. Some sentences in this course could definitely use a comma.

I'd just rather say that a comma precedes a new clause, and "Co to za kształt?" can easily be a sentence on its own.


Why wiedzieć not znać?? Another similar question in this lesson uses znać???



"znać" = to know X

"wiedzieć" = to know about X, to know that X

So this sentence is rather like the latter, it has "to know what X is...".


I agree, however a previous question asking about shape uses znać in the answer, next time i see it I will point it out. Great course by the way, I spend far too much time on this!


Thanks :) I mean, I didn't create it, but still ;) And I don't know if you can spend 'too much time' learning... ;)

The sentence you're referring to is "Przepraszam, nie znam tego kształtu." ("Sorry, I do not know this shape.") - grammatically it's constructed as 'to know X'. It's like saying "I am not familiar with this shape". Meanwhile here, it's grammatically "to know what this X is", so it's different.


Why is the third option wrong?


nobody knows what "the third option" is. the wrong answers are generated by the program.


It's like every sentence in this language is a ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ tongue-twister.


Can you use jaki here, for instance, "Jak możesz nie wiedzieć, jaki to kształt"?


Yes, you can. Added now.


I am still confused about znac and wieziec. I thought knowing a fact was znac. Surely this is a fact?


I think the easiest rule is that "znać" takes a direct object ("to know X", a noun phrase in Accusative follows immediately) and "wiedzieć" does not (it takes some more 'descriptive' construction). So "wiedzieć" is for example "to know about X", "to know, that X" and so on.


That's really straightforward. Thanks very much


So for example in these sentences 1 I know the sum of two plus two 2 I know what the sum of two plus two is 3 Do you know the metro 4 Do you know where the metro is 5 I know Pythagoras Theorem 6 I know how to prove Pythagoras Theorem

In 1,3 and 5 it is znac In 2,4 and 6 it is wieziec Is that right?


Yes, perfect :)

Just to point out in case it's not just a typo, because you wrote that twice: it's "wiedzieć", with a "d". "dzi" is one sound here, so you won't hear the 'd' alone.

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