Formal you

Can anyone give me a clear explanation of when to use 'pana, panią, państwa, panów, panie'? I'm finding it difficult to work out! Thanks! :)

April 2, 2017


Firstly: Formal You got very little attention in the current version of the course, unfortunately. It really is very important, because you shouldn't use "ty" to almost any stranger, unless the situation seems really totally informal and both of you are rather young.

As for the forms, in Nominative you have: "pan" (for a man), "pani" (for a woman"), "panowie" (for men), "panie" (for women), "państwo" (for a mixed group). And this is what you should use, remembering that they take 3rd person verbs.

Now, the forms that you wrote could all be considered Accusative. In Accusative, imagine that you want to say "I remember you". This will be, leaving the same order: Widzę pana/panią/państwa/panów/panie.

And then of course they undergo declension through every other case, just like normal personal pronouns.

April 2, 2017

Thanks so much for the reply! That really helps to clear things up! :D

I have one more question though! Do pan/pani/panowie etc. decline like the adjectives do? And if these forms are already accusative then why do we say 'Kocham panią'?

April 3, 2017

I read what I wrote and it seems too harsh, because it's really hard for me to specify when to use Formal and when not. So let's just say that a situation of 'studying at the university' is informal enough and it would sound very strange to say 'pan' to another student, even if you don't know him at all. Sometimes it's really hard to say.

Just like the adjectives do? I mean... they do decline, but like nouns, and actually if you treat them as nouns (ta pani = this lady), that is exactly the same declension.

Yes, "Kocham panią" is already Accusative.

April 4, 2017

Ahhh... they decline like nouns! Things make sense now! Thanks so much for the explanations :) :)

April 4, 2017

BTW, this might be of some use – while it doesn't get into specifics, it's still a good description of how we use these forms. ;)

April 4, 2017

That was pretty interesting! Thanks :)

April 10, 2017

I think that literally, it's something like "Does the lord want coffee? Does the lady want coffee?"

Which also explains why the verb is third person - it agrees with "he" (the lord) or "she" (the lady) or "they" (the lordships etc.).

August 30, 2017
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