"nosić" vs "mieć na sobie"; i.e. "to wear" vs "to be wearing".

The main purpose of this post is to direct people asking (unsurprisingly) the same question here for an answer :)

Recently there have been many comments asking about "I am wearing", "he is wearing", "they are wearing" and similar. Why aren't those accepted? I am not surprised in the slightest. You got used to those answers being accepted. But well, those weren't actually correct answers.

You are used to the fact that almost all Polish verbs don't care about the Present Simple/Present Continuous distinction. But that's only 'almost'. You know that Verbs of Motion do care and use different verbs for those aspects. And the idea of 'wearing', whether we consider it a verb of motion or not, is also among those verbs that have a distinction here.

The problem is that in the process of creating this course, the construction "mieć na sobie" has clearly been forgotten. "mieć na sobie" literally means "to have on oneself". And this is the real translation of "to be wearing" (right now). This is what should be used, but unfortunately is not taught. So because this phrase was missing, we used to accept "to be wearing" for "nosić" because the real translation wasn't taught. But finally it has been decided that we shall not accept an answer that is in fact wrong. "to be wearing" has been removed from all sentences about "nosić", so in fact it's not accepted anywhere. You may notice that it's also in the hints: for example the hints for "noszę" are: "(I) wear", "(I) carry" and "NOT am wearing" :D

As no English sentence in this course should have "to be wearing" as the main answer, "mieć na sobie" also shouldn't be accepted anywhere.

"mieć na sobie" is simply the verb "mieć" + "na sobie", so there are no problems with conjugation, you know how to conjugate "mieć" ;)

So, shortly:

nosić = to wear / to carry

mieć na sobie = to be wearing

nieść = to be carrying

If anything is missing from this explanation, please don't hesitate to ask.

June 13, 2018


Thank you.

June 13, 2018

Nosić seems to be "to wear" in a general sense, e.g. "I do not wear skirts", and mieć na sobie would be used when saying "I am not wearing a skirt".

June 18, 2018

Seems that way to me, too. Which leads me to ask, is it common in Polish to say "noszę koszulę"? Because in English it is not common to say "I wear a shirt" (the only situation I can think of is "I wear a shirt when..."). Much, much more common is to say "I'm wearing a shirt"

August 16, 2018

Well, if you wear one shirt often... sure, a lot of sentences, those about a singular clothing item, would be definitely better in Present Continuous, but then they would have to use "mieć na sobie" in Polish.

August 16, 2018

[deactivated user]

    What is the difference between "nosić" and "nieść". If I am carrying for example a rope I can say that I carry rope too? If I put that rope on my head and told that is a cap I am wearing rope? Diference between to carry and to be carrying is for example when I carry something I usually have that in pocket and If I carrying somethink for example I take a hammer and I am carrying him to somewhere? (sorry for probably realy easy question for you but I am started studying English a 2 weeks ago)

    June 13, 2018

    We could have some doubt whether the idea of wearing clothes is connected with Verbs of Motion, but "carrying" is definitely a Verb of Motion. And as such, it uses different verbs for Present Simple and Present Continuous.

    So "W pracy noszę ciężkie meble" (At work I carry heavy furniture) is a general statement. I regularly carry heavy furniture. I work in a moving company. That's why it uses "nosić" in Polish and Present Simple "to carry" in English.

    "Niosę ciężką szafę" (I am carrying a heavy wardrobe" is a sentence about what is happening right now. And right now I have a heavy wardrobe in my hands. That's why it uses "nieść" in Polish and Present Continuous "to be carrying" in English.

    June 14, 2018

    [deactivated user]

      Thanks a lot! :)

      June 14, 2018

      Speaking to my Polish wife, she agrees that this is correct at least technically.

      Noszę spodnie = I wear trousers (as in, I often wear trousers) Mam na sobie = I am wearing trousers

      However, if someone wanted to know what I'm wearing at that moment and I answered "Noszę czarne spodnie" they would absolutely understand and not find a problem with it.

      And further, this tense is acceptable and accepted for other things like "Jem jabłko" by Duolingo and native speakers. And the grammaticallly correct case (Mam na sobie) is not taught in any of the lessons.

      So instead you simply have a rejection of what is otherwise an acceptable tense in this one grammatical case. And there is no explanation (other than in the discussion forums) as to why the answer is not accepted.

      Rejecting "I am wearing" without explanation just causes confusion, and doesn't particularly make any great improvement in the learning outcome of the student.

      October 13, 2018

      Sometimes you Chastise me for what you believe to be "multiple" requests for the same issue. Please know that I do NOT send but ONE question per issue, at a time. I believe my Server repeats the request without my knowledge or permission? I'm almost 80 years old and I just survive at the computer keyboard.

      August 16, 2018

      I will have it in mind. I'm sorry if I made you feel bad on any occasion. Good luck with your further learning :)

      August 18, 2018

      That's happened to me a couple of times on Duolingo. I just deleted my repeat questions from the Forum, and all was well.

      Once, when my Internet connection was particularly slow and unreliable, 'it' posted ca. 13 identical questions in my name - but I first noticed a few months later...

      PS: I'm now following you on Duolingo to watch your progress in Polish - we're at similar levels. If you'd like to follow me back, click on my image and then click the 'Follow' button on 'my' page.

      August 19, 2018

      Interestingly perhaps, Swedish (and perhaps other related languages) uses the same construction. "I am wearing" -> "Jag har på mig", etc.

      December 29, 2018

      Many thanks Jellei.

      September 9, 2018

      I agree with Nicole892727. Since there is no distinction between present simple and present continuous in Polish language, both answers should be accepted.

      For example, "Noszę kapelusz" can mean that I am wearing a hat right now and also that I wear a hat in everyday life, but not exactly at the moment. All depends on the context.

      "Niosę kapelusz" means that I am carrying a hat, in my hand, or maybe in a bag, but definitely doesn't imply that I am wearing it. And again, this sentence could be translated to English in both present simple or continuous (depending on the context), meaning that I am carrying the hat right now, or carrying it every day, when I go to work, because I am selling hats.

      And just because the fact that there is no context in some sentences (throughout all the courses, not only Polish), you shouldn't force just one, "true and only" right answer, especially when both make sense.

      I appreciate the effort, really, but I think you have overdone it. This might discourage some people some from learning polish, especially because this is an issue that occurs almost on the beginning of te course, and may cause some confusion for new learners.

      October 2, 2018

      Haven't seen this comment until now... but the thing is, that we generally say that 99% (actually more, of course) of verbs don't show any distinction between Present Simple and Present Continuous, but some do. These ones do. So "Noszę kapelusz" simply doesn't mean "I am wearing a hat".

      January 29, 2019

      This makes things a lot clearer, thanks!

      January 11, 2019

      why does it matter how you sat it/translate it in english

      January 28, 2019

      It matters to know what it means and what it doesn't mean.

      January 29, 2019

      thank you for this explanation, but I think every language has its own ways of thinking and speaking and it is sometimes very difficult to find the exact translation. somehow every language works differently, and you really have to make it "yours" to understand the shades, hues, which is the subject of this post. I had to look up on "reverso" the translation of the french "nuance", and I hope this is comprehensible for you (to my relief the polish word seems to be "niuans" ) :-)

      March 8, 2019

      thank you for yet another clear and thorough explanation

      May 4, 2019
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