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  5. "nosić" vs "mieć na sobie"; i…


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

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

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. So, the verb "nosić" means "to wear (generally)" but not "to be wearing (now)".

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. You may notice it 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



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.


A while back, Duolingo disabled the feedback lines that we, contributors, meticulously kept entering on our side of the program for common wrong answers, and it haunts us continuously, especially that our Tips & Notes are not available for mobile app users.


As a mere user I'm unsure what the now-disabled "feedback lines that […contributors…] kept entering on our side of the program" might have been – please reveal more!

The Duo App is said to show Tips & Notes for some highly popular languages (e.g. German) – and sometimes for other languages too, depending on device and App (Android or iOS; Version No.).

So (over Christmas 2019) I devised a workaround
(≡ duolingo.com/comment/30759741$comment_id=35743692) to give App-only users browser access to Jellei's Tips & Notes (30/67 Skills) for the Polish for English speakers tree 1.0.

rich739183 warns that the App ignores URLs embedded as clickable text in Forum Comments. Full, legible URLs are (Android) clickable and open in the smartphone browser, or (iOS) can at least be typed into the browser. So the previous paragraph has both:

[17 Oct 2020 20:59 UTC]     This Comment's URL for App users:


Tips&Notes for most languages vanished from iOS and Android apps, but what some popular courses have is just called "Tips" - they're entirely different format... quite a shortened one. Polish doesn't have them available. But you still can read them in the browser version.

I believe that what Dorota refers to are so-called "Report Messages". It's something that has vanished from the user side a long time ago, although we still can write them. Imagine that you have to translate "My mouse is eating cheese" and you write "Mój mysz je ser". That's definitely a common mistake. We'd write a report message for that particular wrong answer, saying for exampke "Mysz looks like a masculine noun, but it's actually feminine" - and that would display immediately to anyone who answered "Mój mysz je ser". But for reasons that I don't really remember (engineering resources?) those messages aren't shown to the users at the moment. We hope they will be.


Hi Jellei! Why are the "Tips" in Polish not available? Can't be done something so that we have them in the mobile version? Otherwise I just try to guess the write answer, to write something without really to understand the reason why it is accepted or declined. And I don't always have the time to log in into the browser version to read the grammar. Having the tips in the mobile version would be a great support for all "newcomers"" to Polish like me! :)


You can access them on any device through this site:



"Tips" is a new version of course teaching materials available only for so called in-house courses, that is, the five main languages developed and maintained by staff at Duolingo, not by volunteer contributors. Those "Tips", which are much shorter than "Tips & Notes" are available on mobile devices, but only for pairs among these five languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguse.

Polish <––> English courses are developed by contributors, not by staff and for such courses, only "Tips & Notes" are available and they are only in a browser version.

A compilation of extracted "Tips & Notes" can be found on an external site duome.eu, as pointed out by alik1989.


How many languages are you learning!


DuoLingoManiac :-))) (in a good way)


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


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".


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"


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.


This "one shirt" is the key here. Otherwise you would rather say "noszę koszule" = shirts are the cloths I usually choose to wear.


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.


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".


I really appreciate your comments. I am having the impression that, like the other English speakers, you are just terribly misunderstood...

I do believe, that the Jellei's post should be reviewed, because it confuses the subject even more and really upsets native English speakers. It explains the Polish understanding of the sentence, but, unfortunately, shows the lack of understanding of the English part of it...

Even though I agree with everything you say, there is one exception:
The verb "noszę" in the sentence "Noszę kapelusz", in clear contrast to "99%
of Polish verbs", refers to the general, possibly habitual activity only. It does NOT refer to the "now". It basically says: "I do this every day (It is my style)".

In reference to the "present moment" you should say in Polish "Mam na sobie kapelusz" or "Mam na głowie kapelusz". Even without saying the words "w tej chwili, teraz, w tym momencie, obecnie, właśnie" (now, at the moment) it is understood that the hat is on your head as you speak, but NOT every day.


Why can't you update the skill so it teaches this?


There's no other way to make changes in the structure of the course (so we cannot add even one new word) without making a whole new version of the course.

[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)


    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.

    [deactivated user]

      Thanks a lot! :)


      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.


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


      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.


      This makes things a lot clearer, thanks!


      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" ) :-)


      thank you for yet another clear and thorough explanation


      This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you


      Wow, I finally get it. Thank you!


      It is also almost the same in Serbian :D

      nosić = nositi

      mieć na sobie = imati na sebi


      OMG... Uwielbiam w jaki sposób tłumaczysz... Uwielbiam cię!!!


      A dziękuję, dziękuję :D


      Even having read this many times, I STILL fall for it every time I come back to strengthen this skill.

      Learn Polish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.