Present Tense in Polish language is quite tricky. There are 4 groups of endings and you have to learn by heart which group of endings to use with a given verb.
All verbs in Polish language end with -ść, -ć or –c (but it doesn’t mean that each word, which has such ending, is a verb).
Examples of Polish verbs:
|Polish verb||English translation|
Most of the verbs in Polish language come in aspect pairs: imperfective – perfective. Imperfective verbs describe continuous, on-going activity. Perfective verbs describe completed activity. In Polish language in Present Tense you can only use imperfective verbs.
Examples of verb pairs:
|imperfective verb||perfective verb|
|pisać – to be writing||napisać – to have written|
|czytać – to be reading||przeczytać – to have read|
|kupować – to be buying||kupić – to have bought|
|robić – to be doing||zrobić – to have done|
|budować – to be building||zbudować – to be built|
Structure of affirmative sentence in Present Tense
To build an affirmative sentence in Polish language firstly you must put the verb in correct, conjugated form, then put the rest of the sentence. As opposed to English language, in Polish language the personal pronoun (I, You, He…) is not required on the beginning of the sentence. The subject of the topic is deduced from the ending of the verb.
Czytam książkę. – I’m reading a book. verb
Czytasz książkę. – You’re reading a book. verb
If the person or object we are talking about is not obvious, then we put them on the beginning of the sentence, so that the person, who listens to us knows, who/what we are talking about. It is required only in the first sentence. Example:
Ania idzie do sklepu. Chce kupić chleb subject verb verb
Ania goes to a store. She wants to buy some bread.
As you can see, in the first sentence we use the word Ania to communicate who we are talking about, but in the second sentence it is redundant. If you use the subject in the second sentence too, then it will sound very unnaturally for a Polish speaker.
To describe how, where or when the activity is being done we use adverbs. In Polish language the adverb usually stands before the verb.
Ania bardzo szybko czyta. – Ania is reading really fast. subject adverbs verb
Examples of sentences in Present Tense:
|Sentence in Polish||English translation|
|Piszę książkę.||I’m writing a book.|
|Mówisz za szybko.||You speak too fast.|
|Śpimy w namiocie.||We sleep in a tent.|
|Dzieci idą do szkoły.||Children go to school|
|Mogę zrobić to szybciej.||I can do it faster.|
|Codziennie myślimy o tobie.||We think about you every day.|
|Ładnie śpiewasz.||You sing good.|
|Pływacie w zakazanym miejscu.||You are swimming in a forbidden place.|
|Moja mama pracuje w szkole.||My mother works at school.|
|Siedzę na kanapie.||I’m sitting on a couch.|
Continuity – Present Simple vs. Present Continuous (-ing)
In English language we can express present activity using Present Simple or Present Continuous tenses depending on what we want to say. In Polish language we don’t have such distinction. We use the same verb form for both cases.
Dużo pływam. – I swim a lot.
Pływam w basenie. – I’m swimming in a pool.
“się” – reflexive verbs
In Polish language we have reflexive verbs (in English they are expressed by the usage of the reflexive pronouns “myself”, “himself” etc). In English language we have to use different reflexive pronouns depending on the subject of the sentence. In Polish language reflexive verbs have only one form of the reflexive pronoun – się. The pronoun się usually stands after the verb.
Myję się. – I’m washing myself.
Myjemy się. – We’re washing ourself.
There are verbs, which are reflexive in Polish language and not in English language. Example:
Uczę się na egzamin. – I’m learning for the exam.
English language very often uses auxiliary verbs to express something. For example:
I am writing.
The verb to be in the sentence above has no direct meaning. It is only a grammar construction. In Polish Present Tense we don’t use auxiliary verbs.