Polish Cases: The Locative (miejscownik) 3.75/5 (4)

Find out everything you need to know about locative case in the Polish language and its usage, using many practical examples!

This page is part of the chapter “Cases in the Polish language“.

This article is under development. It may still contain presentational or spelling errors that will be resolved shortly.

Locative (miejscownik)

Locative (miejscownik) is the sixth of seven cases in the Polish language, and the only one that does not fuction as a case alone as it’s dependent on verbs, adjectives, nouns and prepositions. Because of this, it is often called a prepositional case. Locative answers to the questions o kim? (about who?) and o czym? (about what?).

The preposition “o” may be used in both question and the answer, be replaced by another preposition or just dropped. Locative is often used with the question kiedy? (when?) or gdzie? (where?).

locative = miejscownik

Questions:

  • o kim? (about who?)
  • o czym? (about what?)

In both German and English languages there is no equivalent for this case. It is sometimes comparable with the dative, especially when using the question “where?” (gdzie?) or with the accusative when using “about who/what?” questions. Please refer to the following examples demonstrating the usage of locative:

Gdzie byłaś?
Where were you?

Byłam właśnie w sklepie.
I was just in the shop.

O kim rozmawialiście?
Who were you talked about?

O naszym sąsiedzie.
About our neighbour.

Usage

Locative in the Polish language has a rather limited usage range, and is restricted to five prepositions, four of which also govern the accusative case and only one is used exclusively with the locative. The following prepositions in the Polish language grammar are used with the locative: przy (by, near), na (on, at), po (after), o (of, about), w (in). The last four prepositions can be alse used with the accusative.

Example sentences:

Ona mieszka przy ulicy Chopina.
She lives on the Chopin’s street.

Gdzie ona mieszka?
Where does she live?

Ona siedzi przy stole i je.
She sits at the table and eats.

Gdzie ona siedzi?
Where does she sit?

Ona często myśli o swoim przyjacielu.
She often thinks about her friend.

O kim ona często myśli?
Who does she often think about?

Po pracy poszła do kina.
After work she went to the cinema.

Kiedy poszła do kina?
When did she go to the cinema?

Na biurku leży książka.
On the desk lies a book.

Gdzie/na czym leży książka?
On what does the book lie?

Nouns in locative – declension

Masculine singular (Liczba pojedyncza rodzaju męskiego)

For masculine the locative uses -e and -u endings. When choosing one of these endings the last consonant of masculine form plays crucial role.

The -e ending works for all masculines ending, for example, with the following consonants:

-b, -d, -f, -ł, -m, -n, -p, -r, -s, -t, -w, -z

NominativeLocative
chleb (bread)chlebie
instytut (institute)instytucie
sąsiad (neighbour)sąsiedzie
stół (table)stole
sklep (shop)sklepie
teatr (theatre)teatrze
pies (dog)psie
student (student)studencie

A consonant change or softening occurs very often, for example: the ending -t will be replaced by –cie, -d by –dzie, by –l and -r by -rze. Many consonants are softened by -i, for example: p (change to -pi), m (-mi) or n (-ni). We already know the change in the -ie part of the words.

Exceptions are the masculine nouns: dom (house), pan (mister) and syn (son), which receive the -u suffix instead of -e during the creation of locative forms:
dom – domu
pan – panu
syn- synu

The ending -u is used among others in the masculine with the following consonants:

-ch/-h, -g, -k, -c, -cz, -dz, -dż, -j, -l, -rz, -sz, -ż, -ć, -dź, -ń, -ś, -ź

NominativeLocative
dach (roof)dachu
lekarz (doctor)lekarzu
hotel (hotel)hotelu
kraj (country)kraju
słuchacz (listener)słuchaczu
ptak (bird)ptaku
nauczyciel (teacher)nauczycielu
dzień (day)dniu *
mąż (husband)mężu *

During the declension, any known consonants change and softening may occur.

Neuter singular (Liczba pojedyncza rodzaju nijakiego)

Neuter nouns in the locative forms are similar to the masculine nouns, so they receive the -e/-u ending.
As a rule one can (taking all possible changes of consonants and vowels into account) assume that the feminine nouns ending with -o in the locative forms receive -e ending. On the other hand nouns that edns with -e or -cho, -go or -ko receive the -u suffix.

Nominative
(-o)
Locative
(-e)
okno (window)oknie
drzewo (tree)drzewie
miasto (city)mieście
kino (cinema)kinie
pióro (feather)piórze
niebo (heaven)niebie
pismo (writing)piśmie

Exceptions: there are some exceptions to these rules, for example:.

radio – radiu, dobro – dobru, zło – złu

Nominative
(-e)
(-cho, -go, -ko)
Locative
(-u)
(-u)
mieszkanie (flat)mieszkaniu
miejsce (site)miejscu
morze (sea)morzu
narzędzie (tool)narzędziu
jedzenie (food)jedzeniu
pole (field)polu
słońce (sun)słońcu
jajko (egg)*jajku *
tango (tango)*tangu *
echo (echo)*echu *

Feminine singular (Liczba pojedyncza rodzaju żeńskiego)

The locative of feminine nouns is without any exceptions the same as their dative forms. Consequently most of them in the locative have -(i)e ending. The consonant change and softening occurs very often.

Some feminine nouns, often ending with consonant or of foreign origin, in the dative have the same ending as in the genitive case, for example -y/-i.

Here are just a few examples presented. More details about this topic can be found in the chapter >em>Feminine in dativefeminine.

NominativeLocative
koleżanka (colleague)koleżance
mama (mom)mamie
siostra (sister)siostrze
książka (book)książce
gazeta (newspaper)gazecie
praca (work)pracy
lekcja (lesson)lekcji
twarz (face)twarzy
krew (blood)krwi

Locative Plural (miejscownik liczby mnogiej)

All feminine, masculine and neuter nouns in the locative receive -ach ending. The feminine form ending with -a will receive shortened, -ch suffix.

Locative Pl. = -ach

Nominative sing.Locative pl.
Femininegazeta (newspaper)gazetach
siostra (sister)siostrach
babcia (grandma)babciach
książka (book)książkach
Masculinegazeta (newspaper)gazetach
dom (house)domach
zeszyt (notebook)zeszytach
pies (dog)psach
koń (horse)koniach
Neuterokno (window)oknach
jajko (egg)jajkach
krzesło (chair)krzesłach
dziecko (kid)dzieciach
niemowlę (baby)niemowlętach*
muzeum (museum)muzeach*

Examples above show clearly that the declension in most cases is very regular. Only sometimes the vowel dropping (-ie) or softening occurs. There are few exceptions marked with (*).

Overview of common locative endings

Masculine

  • -e/–u

Neuter

  • -e/–u

Feminine

  • –(i)e/–y/-i

Plural

  • -ach

Adjective in the locative (Miejscownik przymiotnikowy)

Masculine and neuter

Adjectives and pronouns referring to masculine and neuter nouns in the locative form receive the extension -ym/-in.

Example sentences:
Uczniowie rozmawiają o nowym nauczycielu.
Students talk about the new teacher.

Ona chętnie siedzi przy swoim małym synku, kiedy on śpi.
She likes to sit with her young son while he sleeps.

On marzy o drogim aucie.
He dreams about an expensive car.

Most adjectives referring to masculine and neuter nouns in their locative form have -ym ending. Among those with soft consonants at the end or those ending with -g, -k, -n, the suffix -in is used instead of -ym.

Masculine/neuter

Adjective Noun
-e/-u -ym/-im

Feminine

All adjectives and pronouns referring to the feminine nouns in the locative form receive -ej ending and thus are similar to their dative forms.

Example sentences:
Po męczącej podróży poszedł pod prysznic.
After the tiring journey he went to shower.

On niechętnie opowiada o swojej teściowej.
He reluctanly speaks about his mother in law.

Babcia czuwa przy swojej chorej wnuczce.
Grandma guards her sick granddaughter.

Feminine

Adjective Noun
-ej –(i)e –y/-i

Plural

All adjectives and pronouns in their locative plural forms have the -ych/ -ich ending. Choice between -ych or -ich is based on known rules.

Examples:
Przy małych dzieciach zawsze jest dużo pracy.
By small children there is always plenty work to do.

Oni chętnie opowiadają o swoich podróżach zagranicznych.
They eager to talk about their voyages abroad.

Note:In the Polish language the attributive adjective may be placed before or after the noun, as shown in the last sentence.

Plural for all three grammatical genders

Adjective Noun
-ych/-ich -ach

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5 Responses to Polish Cases: The Locative (miejscownik)

  1. Bob says:

    on second thought i wasnt reading closely enough

  2. Bob says:

    Hey

    Your 1st group of example sentences is mostly (all?) in the accusative. I think this should be made clearer that it is just examples of the usage of these prepositions….

    Also i would love to see section in the cases explaining differences with related cases or points of confusion

    for locative… accusative and instrumental are confusingly close sometimes

    Loc //acc
    Byłem w Polsce /// Wracam z Polski

    Loc // Inst
    Jestem w budynkach // Jestem między budynkami
    Jestem na łodzi // Jestem pod łodzią

    Overall i think this is a great site. Keep up the good work.

  3. Tom says:

    I’ve been struggling with Polish for years. Your description of cases is the best I’ve come across.
    Really appreciate your efforts!

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