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

September 27, 2018

^ 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:

September 30, 2018

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

September 30, 2018

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.

January 9, 2019
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