Polish/Nouns - Gender

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Dialogue[edit]

Łukasz and Beata are friends who meet on the street and exchange a few quick words.

Polish English
Beata Cześć Łukasz. Jak się masz? Hi Łukasz. How are you?
Łukasz Dobrze. A ty? Well. And you?
Beata Nieźle. Not bad.
Łukasz Miło Cię zobaczyć ale muszę wracać do domu. Porozmawiamy później. Nice to see you but I must return home. We will talk later.
Beata Dobrze. Cześć. Okay. Bye.

Dialogue Notes

  • The word cześć means both hi and bye, similar to ciao in Italian.
  • The word dobrze is an adverb and can mean fine, well, or okay.
  • Cię, meaning you, is capitalized out of respect. Oftentimes, when writing to someone, the pronoun you and your will be capitalized.
  • The verb porozmawiamy is not preceded by the pronoun we. Pronouns in Polish are implicit in the verb form and may be dropped just like in Spanish.

Grammar I: Greetings and Farewells[edit]

Different greeting and farewells are used depending on the time of day:

  • dzień dobry
    • greeting used for good morning, good afternoon, and good day
  • dobry wieczór
    • greeting used for good evening
  • dobranoc
    • farewell used for good night

The words dobry and dobra mean good and are used for masculine and feminine nouns, respectively. Notice that while dzień dobry and dobry wieczór are written separately, dobranoc is written together.


Other farewells include:

  • cześć
    • means both hi and bye
    • very informal; used between friends
  • do widzenia
    • standard way to say goodbye
    • lit. means until seeing
  • do zobaczenia
    • slightly more cordial and warm than do widzenia
    • lit. means until seeing
  • do usłyszenia
    • used when one expects to hear from the other person but not necessarily see them
    • lit. means until hearing
  • żegnaj
    • used when saying goodbye forever or a very long time


On the phone:

  • halo - hello
  • słucham
    • standard way of answering the phone
    • lit. means I am listening
    • the two can be combined into halo słucham


Exercises[edit]

Determine the appropriate greeting or farewell in the following cases (Click "▼" to check your answer):

saying hello at 7 PM
dobry wieczór
dobry wieczór
saying bye at 7 PM
dobranoc
dobranoc
answering the phone
halo, słucham, or halo słucham
halo, słucham, or halo słucham
saying bye to your best friend
cześć or do zobaczenia
cześć or do zobaczenia
saying bye to your mailman
do widzenia
do widzenia


Grammar II: Introduction to Nouns[edit]

Polish nouns can generally be classified into three genders:

  • masculine (m) - męski
  • feminine (f) - żeński
  • neuter (n) - nijaki


The gender of a noun can be usually determined by its ending.


If the noun ends in -a, it is usually feminine.

  • ulica - street

Notable exceptions include the word for man and male occupations

  • mężczyzna (m) – man
  • okulista (m) – eye doctor
  • poeta (m) – poet
  • kierowca (m) – driver


If the noun ends in -o, -e, , and -um (of Latin origin), it is usually neuter.

  • okno - window
  • pole - field
  • imię - name
  • muzeum - museum


If the noun ends in a consonant, it is usually masculine.

  • kot - cat

Notable exceptions include Latin-derived words ending in -um which are neuter, words ending in -ść which are feminine, and a few others.

  • akwarium (n) - aquarium
  • miłość (f) – love
  • krew (f) - blood
  • noc (f) - night


Exercises[edit]

Determine the gender of the following nouns (Click "▼" to check your answer):

zupa
feminine
feminine
słońce
neuter
neuter
rekin
masculine
masculine
godło
neuter
neuter
zwierzę
neuter
neuter
mężczyzna
masculine
masculine
noc
feminine
feminine
babcia
feminine
feminine
kotlet
masculine
masculine
liceum
neuter
neuter