Learn everything about the present tense and its usage in the Polish language using many practical examples!
This page is part of the chapter “Polish Grammar: Tenses“.
This article is under development. It may still contain presentational or spelling errors that will be resolved shortly.
Present tense of verbs (czas teraźniejszy czasowników)
The present tense in Polish refers, as well as in English and German languages, to the activity being held in current time. Most Polish verbs end with -ć (-ać/-eć/-ić/-yć), for example:
- kochać (love)
- czekać (wait)
- czytać (read)
- mieszkać (live)
- mówić (talk)
- życzyć (wish)
- myśleć (think)
There are also few verbs ending with -c, -ść, -źć:
- biec (run)
- iść (walk)
- jeść (eat)
- nieść (carry)
- wieźć (transport)
All verbs in Polish grammar are subject to conjugation (refer to the chapter “Conjugation of Polish verbs“), they are inflected by grammatical persons. In different situations verbs use different conjugation rules. The same final form of the verb is not always tantamount with belonging to the conjugacy group and numerous exceptions occur even within the same conjugation group. Because of this following conjugation groups are recognized:
The main feature of the first conjugation group is appearing of the a letter at the ending of each conjugated form, most verbs ending with -ać like kochać (love), czekać (wait), czytać (read) are inflected according to rules of this group. Inflection of these verbs is in general quite straightforward and does not cover any phonetic changes.
kochać (love) / mieszkać (live)
|I||ja kocham / mieszkam|
|you||ty kochasz / mieszkasz|
|he||on kocha / mieszka|
|she||ona kocha / mieszka|
|it||ono kocha / mieszka|
|we||my kochamy / mieszkamy|
|you||wy kochacie / mieszkacie|
|they||oni, one kochają / mieszkają|
Personal pronouns (ja, ty, on, etc.) unlike English language, are in general not used in most conjugation forms because conjugation endings of the verbs in Polishs are very unique. That means that each grammatical person has its own ending specific only for itself and therefore unique.
- Czytam dużo książek niemieckojęzycznych.
I read many books in German language.
Conjugation -a endings
|On, ona, ono||-a||Oni/one||-ają|
This inflection schema includes most verbs ending with -ić or -yć like: kupić (buy), lubić (like), mówić (talk), dzwonić (ring/call), robić (make), as well as many verbs ending with -eć (myśleć – think, słyszeć – hear). The main feature of this conjugation is the appearance of i or y letters in the conjugation suffix, so this scheme applies mainly (but not only) to verbs whose infinitive ends with -ić / -yć .
kupić – buy (conjugation -i)
|On, ona, ono||kupi||Oni/one||kupią|
liczyć – count (conjugation -y)
|On, ona, ono||liczy||Oni/one||liczą|
If you meet verbs with the -ić/-yć ending, you can immediately assign it to the the appropriate conjugation group, which is not possible for verbs ending in -eć. Both conjugations, -y and -i are possible in this case.
|On, ona, ono||myśli||Oni/one||myślą|
|On, ona, ono||leży||Oni/one||leżą|
Detailed information about this and other helpful hints that can help you to recognize the right conjugation group as well as numerous exceptions are covered in chapter Conjugation of Polish verbs, in the Verbs ending with –ić / –yć and –eć section.
Conjugation -i/-y endings
|Ja||-ę||My||-imy / -ymy|
|Ty||-isz / -ysz||Wy||-icie / -ycie|
|On, ona, ono||-i / -y||Oni/one||-ą|
This conjugation group covers mostly verbs that end with -ować/-awać, as well as many verbs ending with -eć and -ać that do not belong to the conjugation -a and -i/-y groups, like kaszleć (cough) and rozumieć (understand).
This inflection schema contains vowel or consonant change in each grammatical person as well as numerous exceptions. Within that scheme there are possible two endings for the first person singular and third plural. Please refer to following examples:
pracować (work) / umieć (can)
|Ja||pracuję / umiem||My||pracujemy / umiemy|
|Ty||pracujesz / umiesz||Wy||pracujecie / umiecie|
|On, ona, ono||pracuje /umie||Oni/one||pracują / umieją|
Conjugation -e endings
|Ja||-ę / em*||My||-emy|
|On, ona, ono||-e||Oni/one||-ą / eją*|
Because the conjugation -e is probably the most difficult conjugation you’ve ever heard about, it is impossible to describe it in few words. Detailed explanations about this topic are available ain the chapter Conjugation of Polish verbs.
The term Sonderkonjugation many common verbs that are unique to any of the above group hide (More details about this with these and other examples can be found in Chapter conjugation of verbs Special Features). . The main verbs in the so-called Sonderkonjugation are:
This conjugation called special covers many common verbs that do not belong to any of the groups described above (detailed information about this with these and other examples can be found in the chapter Conjugation of Polish verbs, refer to Particularities section). Most common verbs in the so-called special conjugation are:
- być (be)
- wiedzieć (know)
- mieć (have)
|On, ona, ono||jest||Oni/one||są|
mieć (have) / wiedzieć (know)
|Ja||mam / wiem||My||mamy / wiemy|
|Ty||masz / wiesz||Wy||macie / wiecie|
|On, ona, ono||ma / wie||Oni/one||mają / wiedzą|
The conjugation of Polish verbs often creates lot of problem for learners due to numerous exceptions and vowel-consonant changes. In most cases the only solution to these problem is to master the complicated grammatical phenomenon and to learn the individual verbs within the appropriate conjugation group.
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