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What is the difference between "płynąć" and "pływać"?

Example: -Oni płyną -Kobiety pływają

September 27, 2018



Oni płyną (teraz) = they are swimming (now) Kobiety pływają (co tydzień) - Women swim (every week)

There is an opposition here between a present activity and an activity that happens every so often. Similar pairs are: biegną - biegają idą - chodzą jadą - jeżdzą lecą - latają fruną - fruwają


^ this, plus also "pływają" may be "they are swimming" (right now), if they are not swimming in any particular direction/to a destination. Which is probably more probable with swimming than with other verbs of motion. So if they are just swimming in a pool or in a lake, that's "pływają". If they are swimming 'to the river bank', that's "płyną".

As all verbs of motion behave similarly, see here: https://www.clozemaster.com/blog/polish-verbs-of-motion/


"Płynąć" present continous and "pływać" simple present and without particular destination?


When you focus on the action of swimming (in a pool, in a lake, the ability to swim) you use the verb 'pływać": 'I can swim - Umiem pływać', 'Pływam w moim basenie - I swim in my pool'. When you focus on the transportation: ('Płynę [promem] do Szwecji - I'm travelling [by a ferry] to Sweden'), destination: ('I'm swimming to the other side of the lake - Płynę na drugi brzeg jeziora') or the move related to water (or another liquid): "Ryby pływają w wodzie - Fish swim in water"... The more I look into this topis, new cases appear (Czas płynie - Time flies', 'Prąd płynie - The elactricity is being delivered', :)

IMHO in most cases I'd translated 'pływać' into 'swim' but "pływać' into 'sail, flow, run, course, pass, ride, drifft, rill, leave, stream, elapse...'

iJany is right as well.

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