Can anyone please give me a clear definition on the pronoun "na"? Like, when do you use it.

It seems to me that I confuse "na" with "do". For example:

I once said to someone "Pojedziemy do statcji benzynowej." But she corrected me, saying "No, it's 'pojedziemy na stację benzynową.'" Any explanations here?

Dziękuję z góry!

February 7, 2017


Yeah, it only sounds little bit unnatural. Generally one goes do or na. Na can be treated as a preposition that tells you that something is on something, but that's not the whole truth. We use do when we imagine that we will enter a building like e.g church. But we go na if we go to participate in a mass na mszę. Therefore Na is used with activities or events. I go to school = Idę do szkoły. I go to lessons/lectures = Idę na lekcję.

That is by no means an end. If a place where I want to go is not a building but e.g market square we use na - idę na plac/ idę na parking. We think here about places with no roof.

To summarize:

  • do kościoła - into the church
  • na mszę - to participate in a mass
  • na kościół - onto the roof of the church

PS. There are many irregularities here.

February 8, 2017

You have been corrected because in Polish when we describe a place or activity in the direction of the movement in using the word "na" and "do". In my opinion the easiest way to divide those cases is this: Use "do" when you tell about going: to someone (to dentist - do dentysty, do księdza - to priest, do mamy - to mom) to building that have roof and walls each side (do szkoły - to school, do szpitala - to hospital) Use "na" when you are going: to place that hasn't walls each side (na dworzec - to station, na cmentarz - to cemetery, na stacje benzynową - to gas station)

February 8, 2017

You must bear in mind that the difference between do and na is historical and not only 'big open space'.

Although, for example, your university is a "building with a roof", it used to describe a campus: Idę na uczelnię. Idę na politechnikę. Idę na uniwersytet.

The same with poczta (post office). Once it was not an "office", but just a place where the messenger announced the news: Idę na pocztę.

The same is the difference between strych (an attic) and piwnica: Idę na strych, Idę na poddasze and Idę do piwnicy. An attic was big open space - in times without electricity it had windows that let light into the staircase into the building. Piwnice were often separate buildings that were used for storage (cellars).

I should also mention cities (do), voivodships (do / na) and countries (do / na). The history of the areas is also important here - but this would require a very long comment.

July 18, 2018
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