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Usage

Below you can learn about the usage of Dative Case. Don't worry for now how to create a word in this Case. All the endings and declension explanation are in separate articles.

With certain verbs

As I said in the introduction article, Dative Case is used for indirect objects in the sentence. It describes to whom something is done, given or taken from. There are many verbs, which perfecly match this use case. They may have the object, which is used to perform the action and the actor affected by that action.

Example:

Oddaję koleżance książkę. - I return the book to friend.


*oddaję (I return) * - this is the action being performed

*koleżance (friend) * - this is the actor affected by the action

*książkę (book) * - this is the object, which is used to perform the action


Thus the word koleżance is in Dative Case.

Below you can see a table with many such verbs and example sentences:

Polish English
dawać to give (imperf)
dać to give (perf)
pomagać to help (imperf)
pomóc to help (perf)
sprzedawać to sell (imperf)
sprzedać to sell (perf)
kupować to buy (imperf)
kupić to buy (perf)
pokazywać to show (imperf)
pokazać to show (perf)
oddawać to give back (imperf)
oddać to give back (perf)
zabierać to take (imperf)
zabrać to take (perf)
dziękować to thank (imperf)
podziękować to thank (perf)
opowiadać to narrate (imperf)
opowiedzieć to narrate (perf)
pozwalać to let (imperf)
pozwolić to let (perf)
pożyczać to borrow / to lend (imperf)
pożyczyć to borrow / to lend (perf)
odpowiadać to answer (imperf)
odpowiedzieć to answer (perf)

Examples

dawać - to give (imperf)

Co miesiąc daję dzieciom kieszonkowe. - I give my children pocket money every month.


dzieciom - Dative

dzieci - Nominative equivalent

dać - to give (perf)

Dałam chłopakowi ostatnią szansę. - I gave (my) boyfriend the last chance.


chłopakowi - Dative

chłopak - Nominative equivalent

pomagać - to help (imperf)

Będę pomagać mamie przy sprzątaniu. - I will help my mother clean up.


mamie - Dative

mama - Nominative equivalent

pomóc - to help (perf)

Czy możesz mi pomóc? - Can you help me?


mi - Dative

ja - Nominative equivalent

sprzedawać - to sell (imperf)

Nie wolno sprzedawać niepełnoletnim alkoholu. - You must not sell alcohol to minors.


niepełnoletnim - Dative

niepełnoletni - Nominative equivalent

sprzedać - to sell (perf)

Sprzedałem bratu samochód. - I sold (my) car to (my) brother.


bratu - Dative

brat - Nominative equivalent

kupować - to buy (imperf)

Co roku kupowałem dziecku klocki LEGO. - Every year I bought LEGO bricks for (my) child.


dziecku - Dative

dziecko - Nominative equivalent

kupić - to buy (perf)

Kupiłem rodzicom nowy komputer. - I bought a new computer for my parents.


rodzicom - Dative

rodzice - Nominative equivalent

With certain adverbs

There are some adverbs, which are used in impersonal expressions together with Dative Case to describe the state of someone. I know it sounds very misterical and unclear, but when you analyse the examples below, then it become clear.

For example, if you want to tell in English, that it is warm for you, you would say I'm warm. In Polish we would say Is me warm. And that's the impersonal expression. There is no subject I in this sentence. The personal pronoun me will be declined in Dative Case in Polish. The sentence looks like this in Polish:

Jest mi ciepło. - I'm warm.


mi - Dative

ja - Nominative equivalent

If you want to know, how the english me has become mi in polish, check personal pronouns in Dative Case

Another examples

Było mu smutno. - He was sad. (literally: Was him sad)


mu - Dative

on - Nominative equivalent

Będzie nam przykro. - We'll be sorry. (literally: Will us sorry)


nam - Dative

my - Nominative equivalent

Jest jej niedobrze. - She feels sick. (literally: Is her not good)


jej - Dative

ona - Nominative equivalent

List of adverbs, which can be used in such construction:

Polish English
zimno cold
chłodno cool
ciepło warm
gorąco hot
smutno sad
dobrze good
źle bad
miło nice
przykro sorry
łatwo easy
ciężko hard
okropnie terribly
niewygodnie uncomfortably
wygodnie comfortably
duszno stuffy
głupio silly

After certain prepositions

Some prepositions require to use Dative Case after them:

Polish English
przeciw, przeciwko against, opposed to
wbrew against to, contrary to
dzięki thanks to, due to

Examples

Twoje słowo przeciwko mojemu słowu. - Your word against my word.


mojemu słowu - Dative

moje słowo - Nominative equivalent

Wbrew zdrowemu rozsądkowi postanowiła zmienić pracę. - Contrary to common sense, she decided to change her job.


zdrowemu rozsądkowi - Dative

zdrowy rozsądek - Nominative equivalent

Dzięki ciężkiej pracy udało mi się zaoszczędzić pieniądze na wakacje. - Thanks to hard work, I managed to save money on holidays.


ciężkiej pracy - Dative

ciężka praca - Nominative equivalent

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