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"I'm married" in Polish

Hello all,
"Jestem żonaty." (for a man who is married)
"Jestem mężatką." (for a woman who is married)

Here is my question:
żonaty appears to be in the nominative case, and
mężatką appears to be in the instrumental case.

Why ? Am I mistaken ? Can someone enlighten me on this ?
Many thanks.

October 16, 2018



Żonaty is an adjective and so is in the nominative case like any other adjective describing something or someone. Mężatka is a noun and so takes the instrumental case when used to describe someone as "being something" similar to a nationality or profession.


Thank you. Interesting that it would not be a noun in both cases or an adjective in both cases.
Pons dictionary, BTW, has żonaty listed as an adjective (married) and as a noun (a married man).


I think Pons might have this one wrong, I just checked two dictionaries I use normally and it's an adjective only. I've also just spoken to three Polish people and it declines like an adjective, not like a noun. Very odd. Far be it for me to correct a dictionary but the explanation above is probably correct


Thanks. it's always best to go with the way people actually use it.
Pons does mention that it is declined as an adjective but definitely calls it a Noun (second definition. It is listed first as an adjective). What are your favorite dictionaries for Polish/English ?


Yeah, I've just seen that, weird, I have never used Pons actually. My favourites are google translate and wiktionary because google gets feedback and wiktionary can be edited so they are constantly being updated by people who want good translations. Wiktionary is especially good for verb conjugations and declension of nouns and adjectives. Google translate is good for trying to see if the word works in the same contexts as in English, using trial and error, for instance, the verb to go will be used differently depending on the sentence. Talking to Polish people about how the words are used is the best way, but the more sources the better, you'll get a fuller understanding.


I think rarely it can be sort of used as a noun, when it's plural. But it's not exactly grammatical. I mean, you can, in casual speech, omit "mężczyźni" in "żonaci mężczyźni". Grammatically it's still an adjective, though. E.g.:

Dlaczego zatrudnia pan tylko żonatych (mężczyzn)? = Why do you only hire married men?

Ona spotyka się tylko z żonatymi (mężczyznami). = She's only dating married men.


So to add a little addition from a native speaker's point of view.

zamężna kobieta (a woman that is married, so it's an adjective), but I think this is a bit of an outdated way to say it.

żonaty is used as an adjective, but if you pair it up with the word 'man' (żonaty mężczyzna), then it is a noun.

In case of confusion, you can always say "I have a husband/wife" (mam męża/żonę), which is a bit easier.


In "żonaty mężczyna", the word żonaty is an adjective like zamężna and mężczyzna is the noun like kobieta. After jestem, żonaty becomes żonatym in the instrumental in order to agree with the noun it is describing, not because it is a noun in itself. For instance, "nie widzę żonatego mężczyzny" is a sentence where żonaty declines as an adjective and mężczyzna declines as a noun. (i think)


In my original example, żonaty didn't become żonatym after jestem, which is why I asked the question. But maybe you are aiming at something else here.


Yes, I was referring in this case to jestem żonatym mężczyzną as opposed to jestem żonaty.


Yes, that's what I thought, but I don't like to assume. Thanks.


Yes, there always another way, sometimes easier to say something. I noticed the two examples that I gave in a reading passage for beginners and noticed right away that there was a difference in the way "married" was being used grammatically in each sentence.


You can say jestem żonaty or jestem zamężna You can also say jestem mężatka or jestem mężem

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