Level: Beginners (A1/A2)
Ultimate Guide to Personal Pronouns in Polish Language Table of contents
- When to use Personal Pronouns in Polish
- Singular Personal Pronouns in Polish (in Nominative case)
- Plural Personal Pronouns in Polish (in Nominative case)
- How to decide which 'they' to use (oni or one)
- Formal Personal Pronouns
- How personal pronouns conjugate for different cases
Personal pronouns (zaimki in Polish) are words like "I", "You", "He", "She", "it", "We", "They" in English.
When to use Personal Pronouns in Polish
Personal pronouns are rarely used in Polish. This is because it can be inferred which one would be used from how the verb looks.
For example "I have" = ja mam. "You have" = ty masz.
Because the verb changes (mam/masz), you can easily tell that ja mam = mam
Singular Personal Pronouns in Polish (in Nominative case)
These are the basic personal pronouns (singular) in Nominative case. For example, when saying "He is eating", "I am cleaning" etc.
These are really important and should be memorised by anyone learning Polish!
- ja (I)
- ty (you)
- on (he)
- ona (she)
- ono (it)
Plural Personal Pronouns in Polish (in Nominative case)
These are similar to the above group, but the plural version.
Note that in English we just have "You" for both singular ("Hey Dave, You are here") and for plural ("Hey Dave and John, You are here!") but in Polish there are two versions (ty = singular, wy = plural). There are also two versions of 'they' in Polish (for masculine, and non masculine).
- my (we)
- wy (you (plural))
- oni (they (masculine))
- one (they (non masculine))
How to decide which 'they' to use (oni or one)
- If the group that it is referring to contains at least one male, then use the masculine version (oni)
- If it is completely full of females (or feminine words) and/or neutral words, then use the one version.
Formal Personal Pronouns
It can be considered rude to address someone with 'ty' (especially if they are older than you, or in a formal setting such as for business). In this case you can use the format personal pronouns:
Singular Formal Personal Pronouns
- Pan sir/Mr
- Pani (Ma'am/Mrs/Ms)
Plural Format Personal Pronouns
- Panowie (Gentlemen - for groups of men)
- Panie (Ladies - for groups of women)
- Państwo (For mixed groups)
How personal pronouns conjugate for different cases
So far this page has only been dealing with personal pronouns in the basic case: Nominative.
But of course, there are 7 cases in the Polish language. And the pronouns change for each case!
For example, to say "I like you" = (ja) lubię ciebie.
The verb lubić (= to like) (which is 'lubię' when saying "I like") uses the accusative case. And the accusative case version of 'you' is ciebie.
Does that make sense?
It is a weird concept (for native English speakers).
|Basic form (english)||Nominative||Genitive||Dative||Accusative||Instrumental||Locative|
(The english translation isn't for every single item - ja = I, mnie = me, etc)
There are sometimes 3 options in the table above. The first line (with no astrix/star/†) is what you normally use. Any on the 2nd line (with one *) = for use after prepositions (such as od, na, bez etc. Any on the third line (marked with †) can be used instead of the one on the first line when you want to put more emphasis on it.