The negation in Polish language works a bit different than in English. Firstly, we don’t use any additional verbs (auxiliary verbs) to express the negation. Secondly, very often we use double, or even triple negation.

Simple negation

To make any affirmative sentence a negation, you can simply put the word “nie  – no” before the verb. Examples:

Polish English
Nie wiem. I don’t know.
Nie chcę iść do szkoły. I don’t want to go to school.
Nie słyszę telewizora. I don’t hear the TV.
Nie mogę jej zrozumieć. I cannot understand her.
Nie widzę w tym sensu. I do not see any sense in it.

Short negation sentences

As I said before, we don’t use auxiliary verbs in Polish language. Because of that, we don’t have short answers like in English “No, I don’t“. Instead of that, we use the word “nie” and the verb from the question (conjugated according to the subject of the sentence). Examples:

Czy chcesz iść do kina? Nie, nie chcę.

Do you want to go to the cinema? No, I don’t.

Czy słyszycie muzykę? Nie, nie słyszymy.

Do you hear the music? No, we don’t.

Double and triple negation

When in English we want to use words like never, noone, nothing etc, then we skip the auxiliary verb and the word “not“. In Polish language we don’t omit the word “nie” in such cases. It stays in the same place, which makes the negation look like double negation, but it should be understood as single negation. Apart from that, English sentences with “anything, anywhere etc” are translated into Polish as double negation. Examples:

Polish English
Nikt nie wie. Noone knows.
Nigdy nie piję alkoholu. I never drink alcohol.
Nic nie ma znaczenia. Nothing matters.
Nic nie rozumiem. I don’t undestand anything.
Nikogo nie znam. I don’t know anyone.
Nikt nigdzie nie idzie. Nobody is going anywhere.

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Questions in Present Tense


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