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) 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
- 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:
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.
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.
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
A consonant change or softening occurs very often, for example: the ending -t will be replaced by –cie, -d by –dzie, -ł 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
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
|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.
Exceptions: there are some exceptions to these rules, for example:.
radio – radiu, dobro – dobru, zło – złu
(-cho, -go, -ko)
|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.
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.|
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
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.
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.
All adjectives and pronouns referring to the feminine nouns in the locative form receive -ej ending and thus are similar to their dative forms.
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.
-ej –(i)e –y/-i
All adjectives and pronouns in their locative plural forms have the -ych/ -ich ending. Choice between -ych or -ich is based on known rules.
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
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