"Are you using a dictionary?"
Well, animate/inanimate is rather important only for Accusative. Although it gives you a hint on the Genitive ending.
So is there a rule in Polish for which verbs use genitive direct objects and verbs use nominative? This is a purely Russian confusion, since that's determined by animate/inanimate, and slowar' is inanimate, so Ispol'zujesz slowar'? stays in nominative.
Is it really Nominative? Isn't it rather Accusative that just looks Nominative?
In Polish, the Accusative for inanimate masculine nouns looks like Nominative, and for animate masculine nouns looks like Genitive. It doesn't change the fact that it is Accusative.
We never use nominative after a verb, we use accusative or genitive. (And accusative can look like genitive (singular masculine animated, plural masculine personal), accusative (neuter, singular masculine not animated, plural not masculine personal), or have it's own distinct form (a -ending nouns)
list of most common verbs that require genitive is here https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16569658
Sorry, asking another question, still confused. Why isn't słownik in instrumental case? This is the perfect structure for instrumental case, since something is being used. A verb is acting upon it. Why would używasz (się) słownikiem be incorrect?
There's no "używać się", I think ;) Unless you literally... use yourself for something?
Hmm. I see the logic in what you're saying, but "używać" (использовать) just needs Genitive. And actually использовать doesn't take Instrumental as well.
"posługiwać się" (this is my understanding of пользоваться) indeed takes Instrumental.
Exactly! That's what it is, then. Makes sense. My brain was interpreting używać as pol'zowat'sja instead of ispol'zowat'.