Translating "and" into Polish explained
In other words: the English conjunction "and" is Polish "a" or "i"?
AND = "A" when there is any type of contradiction or clear contrast between the parts of the phrase .
If in English phrase you can replace
and by but, while, whereas without changing much of the meaning - then in Polish it has to be translated into
- "I love you and you love him" - "Ja kocham ciebie
aty (kochasz) jego."
- "He cooks and she cleans the house" - "On gotuje
aona sprząta dom".
- "She is young and he is old" - "Ona jest młoda
aon (jest) stary." (In the phrases containing contradiction, the repeated verb can be omitted). BUT: if the contradiction is not real, you only use different words to describe similar state, you go into nuances: "He is old and she is also not quite young" - "On jest stary
aona też niemłoda" (there is however some age difference between them, so she is younger than him) or "On jest stary
iona też niemłoda" (they are pretty similar, only you want to be polite and do not use the word "old" to describe a woman).
- "Her blouse is white and her skirt is red" - "Jej bluzka jest biała
ajej spódnica (jest) czerwona." - it is so when the used verb is concerns the clothes, not the person who wears them; It works the same for longer lists: "Her hat is blue, her blouse is white, her skirt is red and her shoes are black" - "Jej kapelusz jest niebieski, bluzka biała, spódnica czerwona,
abuty czarne." see also below.
AND = "I" when there is a clear connection or similarity between both parts:
If in English phrase you can replace
and by also, as well as, in addidion - then in Polish it has to be translated into
- "I love you and you love me" - "Ja kocham ciebie
ity kochasz mnie." (Attention, in this very case it would be also correct "Ja kocham ciebie
aty mnie", to underline sort of dualism: "you"-"me", while usage of
iunderlines the mutual similarity. With the usage of
a, the repeated verb can or sometimes even should be omitted).
- "He cooks and she cooks, too" - "On gotuje
iona też." or "On gotuje
iona też gotuje." or "On gotuje
- "She is young and he is young" - "Ona jest młoda
ion jest młody."
- "Her blouse is white and her skirt is white" - "Jej bluzka jest biała
ijej spódnica jest biała." or "Jej bluzka jest biała
ijej spódnica też."
- BUT: when you enumerate the parts of clothing that somebody wears i.e. it is about the person, and not about the clothes, you rather use
ino matter, whether they are similar or different (as there is no contradictory within the person itself, and the verb relates to the person, not the clothing): "She wears a white blouse and a white skirt" - "Ona nosi białą bluzkę
ibiałą spódnicę."; "She wears a white blouse and a red skirt" - "Ona nosi białą bluzkę
I am not a linguist, but an engineer who loves his mother tongue. If there is something missing above, something is wrong or unclear, please do not hesitate to suggest corrections.
You may also want to check:
- Conjugation of Verbs in Polish
- Aspect of Verbs in Polish, Verbs of Singular, Multiple and Completed actions
- What is Genitive Case Useful For
- The Mysterious Pronouns swój, swoja, swoje
- The Meaningful Position of Adjective
- The verbs znać, wiedzieć and umieć
- English "that" is sometimes Polish ten, sometimes tamten
- The versatile word to
- The Logical Accent in Polish
Nice summary. I'd like to add some further examples and meanings from Wikisłownik:
- (implication) As pogryzł Alę, a to oznacza wściekliznę. - As (Ace) has bitten Ala. That means (she will get infected with) rabies.
- (explanation) Ala ma Asa, a jest to mądry pies. - Ala has As, which (by the way) is a clever dog.
Also a can be used to start a question or to stress something.
- A nie mówiłem! - I told you so!
- A ten cały austriacki kapral,... jak on się nazywał? - This Austrian corporal... what was his name?
- Porozmawiajmy chwilę. -A musimy teraz? - Let us talk for a moment - Do we really need to do it now?