Polish Determiners

I do not understand and Duolingo does not explain it within the application, how do you know when to use these?

Especially since some of them from my short amount of experience with them seem to mean the exact same thing:

Tym, tamten, tej, tamta, to, tamto, tamtych

February 19, 2018


@Hawick_2709: I'll try to make it a little easier for you, I hope you're not easily scared by huge blocks of text, though. ;) I like giving lots of examples.

  1. If you have "THIS" in English, you would use: "ten" / "ta" / "to" (masc./femin./neuter), e.g. this man = TEN mężczyzna, this woman = TA kobieta, this child = TO dziecko

  2. If you have "THAT" in Engish, you would use "tamten" / "tamta" / "tamto" (masc./femin./neuter), e.g. that man = TAMTEN mężczyzna, that woman = TAMTA kobieta, that child = TAMTO dziecko

  3. If you have "THESE" in English, you would use: "ci" (only masculine personal, e.g. boys, men, politicians) / "te" (all the rest), e.g. these men = CI mężczyźni, these women = TE kobiety, these tables = TE stoły ("stół" is masculine but it's not a person)

  4. If you have "THOSE" in English, you would use: "tamci" (only masculine personal) / "tamte" (all the rest), e.g. those men = TAMCI mężczyźni, those women = TAMTE kobiety

  5. If you have "THE" in English, you MAY sometimes use the same as in point 1 or 3 ("ten" / "ta" / "to" / "ci" / "te") but normally "the", just like "a"/"an", is just omitted in Polish, e.g. "I have a cat. The cat is black." --> "Mam kota. (Ten) kot jest czarny.", where it's more natural to just leave it without a determiner. "The keys are in the car" would also naturally be translated as "Klucze są w samochodzie", no determiners necessary.

  6. Unfortunately nearly everything is inflected by cases in Polish, including the determiners. ;) It's not that hard to learn, though, if you already know how to inflect e.g. adjectives like "gruby" (fat) or "nowy" (new) as they inflect practically in the same way. Here's the full declension with all the differences marked by ^ (WARNING: contains lots of fat people):


^Nominative (e.g. This is ...): GRUBY mężczyzna --> ^TEN mężczyzna, ^TAMTEN mężczyzna

Accusative: (e.g. I see ...): GRUBEGO mężczyznę --> TEGO mężczyznę, TAMTEGO mężczyznę

Dative: (e.g. I give it to ...): GRUBEMU mężczyźnie --> TEMU mężczyźnie, TAMTEMU mężczyźnie

Genitive: (e.g. a friend of ...): GRUBEGO mężczyzny --> TEGO mężczyzny, TAMTEGO mężczyzny

Instrumental: (e.g. with ...): GRUBYM mężczyzną --> TYM mężczyzną, TAMTYM mężczyzną

Locative: (e.g. about ...): GRUBYM mężczyźnie --> TYM mężczyźnie, TAMTYM mężczyźnie

^Vocative (Oh, ...! - calling someone): GRUBY mężczyzno! --> X (determiners not really used in this case)


Nominative (e.g. This is ...): GRUBA kobieta --> TA kobieta, TAMTA kobieta

^Accusative: (e.g. I see ...): GRUBĄ kobietę --> ^TĘ kobietę (in writing) / TĄ kobietę (speech only), TAMTĄ kobietę

Dative: (e.g. I give it to ...): GRUBEJ kobiecie --> TEJ kobiecie, TAMTEJ kobiecie

Genitive: (e.g. a friend of ...): GRUBEJ kobiety --> TEJ kobiety, TAMTEJ kobiety

Instrumental: (e.g. with ...): GRUBĄ kobietą --> TĄ kobietą, TAMTĄ kobietą

Locative: (e.g. about ...): GRUBEJ kobiecie --> TEJ kobiecie, TAMTEJ kobiecie

^Vocative (Oh, ...! - calling someone): GRUBA kobieto! --> X (not used)


^Nominative (e.g. This is ...): GRUBE dziecko --> ^TO dziecko, ^TAMTO dziecko

^Accusative: (e.g. I see ...): GRUBE dziecko --> ^TO dziecko, ^TAMTO dziecko

Dative: (e.g. I give it to ...): GRUBEMU dziecku --> TEMU dziecku, TAMTEMU dziecku

Genitive: (e.g. a friend of ...): GRUBEGO dziecka --> TEGO dziecka, TAMTEGO dziecka

Instrumental: (e.g. with ...): GRUBYM dzieckiem --> TYM dzieckiem, TAMTYM dzieckiem

Locative: (e.g. about ...): GRUBYM dziecku --> TYM dziecku, TAMTYM dziecku

^Vocative (Oh, ...! - calling someone): GRUBE dziecko --> X (not used)


^Nominative (e.g. These are...): GRUBI mężczyźni --> ^CI mężczyźni, ^TAMCI mężczyźni

Accusative: (e.g. I see ...): GRUBYCH mężczyzn --> TYCH mężczyzn, TAMTYCH mężczyzn

Dative: (e.g. I give it to ...): GRUBYM mężczyznom --> TYM mężczyznom, TAMTYM mężczyznom

Genitive: (e.g. a friend of ...): GRUBYCH mężczyzn --> TYCH mężczyzn, TAMTYCH mężczyzn

Instrumental: (e.g. with ...): GRUBYMI mężczyznami --> TYMI mężczyznami, TAMTYMI mężczyznami

Locative: (e.g. about ...): GRUBYCH mężczyznach --> TYCH mężczyznach, TAMTYCH mężczyznach

^Vocative (Oh, ...! - calling someone): GRUBI mężczyźni! --> X (not used)

PLURAL NON-VIRILE (anything plural that's NOT actually a man or a boy) (these - TE, those - TAMTE)

Nominative (e.g. These are...): GRUBE kobiety --> TE kobiety, TAMTE kobiety

Accusative: (e.g. I see ...): GRUBE kobiety --> TE kobiety, TAMTE kobiety

Dative: (e.g. I give it to ...): GRUBYM kobietom --> TYM kobietom, TAMTYM kobietom

Genitive: (e.g. a friend of ...): GRUBYCH kobiet --> TYCH kobiet, TAMTYCH kobiet

Instrumental: (e.g. with ...): GRUBYMI kobietami --> TYMI kobietami, TAMTYMI kobietami

Locative: (e.g. about ...): GRUBYCH kobietach --> TYCH kobietach, TAMTYCH kobietach

^Vocative (Oh, ...! - calling someone): GRUBE kobiety! --> X (not used)

February 20, 2018

Here is a good explanation of some of these words:

And in these links you can find tables of declensions for words "to", "ten" and "tamten".

You might also want to learn something about Polish grammatical cases:

Don't be to much overwhelmed by these declensions tables and rules. Native Polish speaker can generally understand you(especially if the context of the conversation is know) even if you make plenty mistakes when using declensions.

February 20, 2018
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