Polish/More on adjectives

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More on adjectives[edit | edit source]

Adjectives in Polish may be used in many ways, including:

  • in constructs "X is Y"
  • as nouns
  • as describing words for nouns, usually placed before nouns

The English "X is Y" has many meanings. If Y is a noun, it usually means that X is a member of some class, for example "Kasia jest dziewczyną" (Kasia is a girl). In that case Y should be used in the instumentative. But if Y is an adjective, it means a completely different thing - that Y has a certain feature. For example "Kot jest czarny" (cat is black) doesn't mean that cat is member of class of black things. To mark that this is a different situation the nominative is used for Y. In the case of adjectives that can be used as nouns both cases may be used, but the nominative is much more common.

Conjugation of the verb "to be":

Singular Plural
First person jestem jesteśmy
Second person jesteś jesteście
Third person jest
  • Agnieszka jest ładna - Agnieszka is pretty
  • Kot Basi jest czarny - Basia's cat is black
  • Krowy rolnika są białe - The farmer's cows are white
  • Jestem wysoki - I'm tall
  • Jesteś gruby - You're fat (singular you)
  • Jesteśmy młodzi - We're young
  • Jesteście bogaci - You're rich (plural you)

Adjectives used and their antonyms, in the feminine singular nominative

  • ładna - pretty
  • brzydka - ugly
  • czarna - black
  • biała - white
  • wysoka - tall/high
  • niska - short (height)
  • gruba - thick/fat
  • chuda - thin
  • młoda - young
  • stara - old
  • bogata - rich
  • biedna - poor

Some examples with adjectives used as nouns:

  • Czarni lubią muzykę - black people like music (the fact that it's black people discussed must be found out from context)
  • Basia lubi czarną - Basia likes black coffee (of course it could have also been in the context of "pornography")
  • Bogaci lubią golf - rich people like golf

If an adjective describes some noun, it has to be used in the same case, number and gender as the noun. Here are some examples:

  • Biały kot pije mleko - A white cat drinks milk (white in nominative)
  • Ładna dziewczyna ma białego kota - The pretty girl has a white cat (pretty in nominative, white in accusative)
  • Gruby chłopak nie ma czarnego kota - The fat boy doesn't have a black cat (fat in nominative, black in genitive)
  • Czarne oczy Marty są ładne - Marta's black eyes are pretty (black and pretty in nominative)
  • Dorota jest stara - Dorota is old (old in nominative)
  • Dorota jest starą kobietą - Dorota is an old woman (old in instrumental)

You can also stack adjectives:

  • Basia ma grubego czarnego kota - Basia has a fat black cat (fat and black in accusative)