Polish Cases: The Nominative (mianownik) 4.13/5 (24)

Find out everything you need to know about nominative 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.

Introduction

Nominative, called mianownik in the Polish language, is the first of the seven Polish cases. It describes people, objects and facts, and answers to the questions

  • kto? – who?
  • co? – what?

The nominative’s main function is the subject.

Example sentences:

  1. Kto pomaga dziecku? Mama pomaga dziecku.
    (Who does help the kid? Mother helps the kid.)
  2. Co jest interesujące? Ta nowa książka jest bardzo interesująca.
    (What is interesting? This new book is very interesting.)

Questions of nominative: kto? (who?) and co? (what?)

Noun in nominative

Singular

Since there is no specific article in the Polish language, noun endings have an important role in the distinction of grammatical genders. Generally speaking, for all nominative singular nouns the basic rule is:

Nouns ending with consonant are masculine, with the vowel -a or -i feminine, and those ending with -o , -e or -um are neuters.

However, in Polish grammar one can findmany exceptions to the above rule. The subject has been extensively described in the chapter grammatical genders in the Polish language

Plural

Many Polish nouns in their plural form have the endings –y, -i or –e. However, there are many exceptions and phonetic changes, especially for the masculine, so this is not a perfect rule and the proper plural form of many nouns has just to be memorized.

Below we’ll will give you an overview of some possible forms and the process of their creation:

Masculine (rodzaj męski)

Plural endingsExampleUsage
-(i)e
  1. lekarz – lekarze
    (doctor – doctors)
  2. nauczyciel – nauczyciele
    (teacher – teachers)
  3. gołąb – gołębie*
    (pigeon – pigeons)
  4. klucz – klucze
    (key – keys)
Masculine nous with the stem ending with soft consonants (-ć, -dź, -ś, -ń, -ź) as well as with -c, -dz, -cz, -dż, -sz, -ż, -rz, -l, -j.
-i
  1. student – studenci
    (student – students)
  2. śmieć – śmieci
    (litter)
  3. sąsiad – sąsiedzi*
    (neighbour – neighbours)
  4. ogórek – ogórki
    (cucumber – cucumbers)
Masculine nouns with the stem ending with -ł, -m, -r, -b, -d, -w, -z, -ch, -s, -p, -t and many more. In this case softening of consonants occur: z -> ź, d -> dz, t -> c und ch -> s.
-y
  1. dom – domy
    (house – houses)
  2. kierownik – kierownicy
    (manager – managers)
  3. dyrektor – dyrektorzy
    (director – directors)
  4. stół – stoły
    (table – tables)
  5. Niemiec – Niemcy
    (German – Germans)
Many masculine nouns with stem ending with –k, -g, -or, -ec, -er, but not only them. In this case k to c, g to dz and r to rzchange occur.
-anie
  1. Amerykanin – Amerykanie
    (American – Americans)
  2. Rosjanin – Rosjanie
    (Russian – Russians)
Masculine noun ending in singular form with -anin.
-owie
  1. syn – synowie
    (son – sons)
  2. ojciec – ojcowie
    (father – fathers)
  3. pan – panowie
    (man – men)
Masculine nouns referring to people, family relations, titles and rarely nationality.
Particularities
  1. brat – bracia
    (brother – brothers)
  2. człowiek – ludzie
    (human – humans)
  3. ksiądz – księża
    (priest – priests)

Feminine (rodzaj żeński)

All feminine plural nouns are ending with –y or -i(e).

Examples:

  1. pani – panie
    (woman – women)
  2. córka – córki
    (daughter – daughters)
  3. mama – mamy
    (mother – mothers)
  4. szafa – szafy
    (wardrobe – wardrobes)
  5. książka – książki
    (book – books)
  6. lodówka – lodówki
    (fridge – fridges)
  7. kawa – kawy
    (coffee)
  8. znajoma – znajome
    (acquaintance – acquaintances)

Exceptions (feminine ending with consonants):

  1. noc – noce
    (night – nights)
  2. wieś – wsie*
    (village – villages)
  3. myśl – myśli
    (thought – thoughts)

Neuter (rodzaj nijaki)

Neuter in the Polish language may end with –o, –e or -um and in the plural form receive –aending.

Examples:

  1. okno – okna
    (window – windows)
  2. piwo – piwa
    (beer – beers)
  3. auto – auta
    (car – cars)
  4. jabłko – jabłka
    (apple – apples)
  5. morze – morza
    (sea – seas)
  6. danie – dania
    (dish – dishes)
  7. muzeum – muzea
    (museum – museums)
  8. akwarium – akwaria
    (aquarium – aquariums)

Few neuter nouns ending with –ę receive -ta or -ona suffix.

Examples:

  1. zwierzę – zwierzięta
    (animal – animals)
  2. niemowlę – niemowlęta
    (baby – babies)
  3. imię – imiona
    (name – names)
  4. znamię – znamiona
    (mark – marks)

Exception:

  1. dziecko – dzieci
    (kid – kids)

Adjectives in nominative

Similar as in the German language, adjectives in Polish are also declined. It means that they may have different endings.

Masculine adjectives in the nominative end with –y or -i in feminine with -a and in neuter with -e . Plural get the –e or –y/-i ending.

Except for the masculine the majority of adjectives endings are the same as nouns.

Take a look at some examples to demonstrate this:

Adjective endings in nominative

Masculine
  1. dobry kolega
    (good colleague)
  2. wysoki dom
    (tall house)
  3. drogi samochód
    (expensive car)
Feminine
  1. szeroka ulica
    (wide street)
  2. młoda kobieta
    (young woman)
  3. mała dziewczynka
    (small girl)
Neuter
  1. małe dziecko
    (small kid)
  2. duże okno
    (large window)
  3. trudne zadanie
    (hard task)
Plural
  1. dobrzy synowie / dobre córki
    (good sons / good daughters)
  2. ładni chłopcy / ładne dzieci
    (pretty boys / pretty kids)
  3. starzy ludzie / stare domy
    (old people / old houses)

In plural there are two possible adjective endings, which follow rules for personal masculine (–y ending) and the so-called mixed masculine (-ee ending) is applied. After consonants -g and -k the masculine form has –i ending instead of -y.

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One Response to Polish Cases: The Nominative (mianownik)

  1. Antonio Carrillo says:

    I like Polish very very much. It seems to be partly Spanish and German! jenkooyeh!

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