https://www.duolingo.com/JerryMcCarthy99

Jesteśmy, jeśli pamiętasz.

A short video bearing this title recently appeared on various Polish sites, as a commemoration of the Warsaw Uprising.

Although I think that I understand it perfectly, I'm curious about two points of grammar.

1) I am wondering why "być" is being used, rather than "istnieć". It does seem that it should mean "we exist", rather than "we are (with no object)". Is there any stylistic difference between the two?

2) Why is it addressed to one person "pamiętasz" rather than using a plural "you"? It does, in effect, address the whole Polish-speaking world...

Dziękuję za uwagę....

August 5, 2018

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Anna_Elsa_J.
  1. Not really sure, but "istnieć" in some context sound unnatural and/or really formal, while "być" can be used everywhere and is more natural :)
  2. My best guess it that they address each person separately, it's often used in appeals or other things like this... It's like addressing someone in person, probably to influence the listener more :)
August 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/witchdoctah

I agree. In many cases "istnieć" is used to bring out the formal or artistic character of a sentence. During a casual conversation it's likely to be perceived as pretentious and unnecessary.

August 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Kozuch9

When it comes to the first question. "Być" is exactly the same as English "to be" while "istnieć" is a verb "to exist". See the difference now?

August 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JerryMcCarthy99

Which is why I imagined that "istnieć" would be a more appropriate form -> "We exist, if you remember".

August 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jellei

Both sound strange to me, "Istniejemy" sounds stranger.

August 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JerryMcCarthy99

Out of interest, can "istnieć" be used in "X is Y" sentences? And if so, does it take instrumental like "być"?

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jellei

I'm not sure how you would like to use it... it really simply means "to exist", it has no business in an "X is Y" sentence ;)

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JerryMcCarthy99

So they are not actually "synonymous" as per another response in this thread....

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jellei

I don't think that any comment claimed that, people just considered both words to make some sense in this particular phrase.

August 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KVRMx

Thanks for inquiring. Your questions and their answers helped me as well.

August 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/bajers

i think the use of 'pamiętasz" is because it makes it more personal, targeting the reader rather than just everyone.

as for "być", it probably sounded better or more natural, but i don't know, they're mostly synonymous.

August 14, 2018
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