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What is the difference between "lubić" and "podobać się"?

June 21, 2018



In some context there is really no difference between "lubić" and "podobać się". In Polish, when we want to say that we are enjoying something, we can say "lubię to", but also "podoba mi się to". When it comes to feelings, there is a difference between "Lubię tę dziewczynę" - "I like this girl" and "Podoba mi się ta dziewczyna" - "I feel attracted to this girl". Also, "lubić" express your emocional attitude, when "podobać się" is more about your aesthetic feeling. It really depends on the context ;)


I see you learn German too and I noticed that there are no different words for this in English it is both to like something. Let me briefly explain this with German words.

lubić is more like mögen, it is stronger than podobać się which is more like etwas gefallen.

Means if I say "podobaja mi twoje buty" I'd say "I like your shoes" in English, but "mir gefallen deine Schuhe" in German. And "lubie twoje buty" would also mean "I like your shoes" but "ich mag deine Schuhe" in German. I think you get what I mean. lubić is to like something stronger than just podobać się.


Hi, with all respect but it's not that simple :) as a native Polish, I’ll try to explain it a bit.

All discussion is strongly welcomed 

I would never say: Lubię twoje buty. I’d rather Podobają mi się twoje buty.

  • Lubię Cię (I like you, Ich mag dich) is weaker than Kocham Cię (I love you, Ich liebe dich). Podobasz mi się (I like you, Du du gefällst mir) Meaning: I like the way you are or I like the way you look like.

  • Lubię twojego psa (I like your dog), Meaning: I like the way your dog is. Podoba mi się twój pies’ (I like your dog) Meaning: I like the way your dog looks like.*

  • Lubię patrzeć w gwiazdy.’ (I like to watch stars). Meaning: habit Podobają mi się tamte gwiazdy’ (I like those [particular] stars. Meaning: I like the way these particular stars are (look like, behave etc).

Lubię słuchać muzyki (I like to listen to music) or Lubię muzykę (I like music). Meaning: habit. You can omit the verb słuchać but you need to change the grammar case of the noun muzyki (Genitive) into muzykę (Accusative).

Compare the negations: Nie lubię słuchać muzyki and Nie lubię muzyki. Both are Genitive case. Podoba mi się ta muzyka/melodia/piosenka. (I like the/this music/melody/song). Negation: Nie podoba mi się ta muzyka/melodia/piosenka. Meaning: this particular one.

Note: Both the above sentence and current one: Lubię tą muzykę/melodię/piosenkę (I like the/this music/melody/song). Negation: Nie lubię tej muzyki/melodii/piosenki (Acc. -> Gen.) have almost the same meaning: By saying lubię you mean the song is extraordinary to you but podoba mi się means that you find it fine.

  • Lubię oglądać telewizję (I like watching TV) Meaning: habit Podoba mi się ten telewizor (I like this TV set). Meaning: I like the way this TV set is made so that I’d like to buy it.

  • Kocham/lubię [jeść] słodycze (I love/like [to eat] candies). The verb jeść can be omitted in this sentence. Podobają mi się te słodycze (I like this candies) Meaning: I like the way they are arranged in the shop. They make such a colourfull picture!

I’m a native Polish but not any linguist so the topic may be expanded by a professional but I’m gonna try to give a general rule (if there is any): *Lubić* – to like someone, to have a good feeling to someone or to like doing something (Polish verb in infinitive: Lubię OGLĄDAĆ telewizję. Lubię SŁUCHAĆ muzykę. Lubię GRAĆ na kompie. As I wrote above you may sometimes omit the verb and rely on the context… [Czy] lubisz SLUCHAĆ muzyki? = [Czy] lubisz muzykę? (change Gen. into Acc. !) *Podobać SIĘ* – to like someone or something [because of some particular feature]

This is why if you’d told me: Podobają mi się twoje buty - I like your shoes I’d understood that you like the way my shoes look like, you’ll probably buy the same for yourself. If you’d told me Lubię twoje buty – I like your shoes I’d understood that you liked me in this particular pair of shoes (no matter if they are already worn out), you had good memories with them, as if we were in a relationship and those particular pair of shoes were somehow emotionally important through many years, or so… :)


There are also important usage differences between "lubić" and "podobać się" "Lubię" (I like) does not specify, what makes me like a thing: "Lubię tę czekoladę" ("I like this chocolate") lives you uncertain of whether you like the taste, shape, quality... Whereas "Podoba mi się" implies that you like the look of a thing: "Podoba mi się ta czekolada" means that you like the look of the chocolate. You may change it but you have to be explicit: "Podoba mi się smak/aromat/jakość tej czekolady" ("I like the taste /flavor/quality of this chocolate".

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