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Present Tense - Verbs conjugation

Verbs conjugation classes

In Present Tense the form of the verb depends on the subject of the sentence. In the table below you can see all the possible subjects. Pan / Pani is the formal way to address a man / woman. Panowie / Panie / Państwo is the formal way to address men / women / men and women. So when you want to speak to someone in formal way, then you should start the sentence with Pan / Pani / Panowie / Panie / Państwo and then use the adequate form of the verb in third person singular or plural.

Subject (singular) – English Subject (singular) – Polish Subject (plural) – English Subject (plural) – Polish
I Ja We My
You Ty You Wy
He / She / It On / Ona / Ono / Pan / Pani They Oni / One / Panowie / Panie / Państwo

In present tense there are 4 groups of endings. Usually they are called classes. Below I present you all of them:

First class: -esz verbs

Subject (singular) Ending Subject (plural) Ending
I –ę We –emy
You –esz You –ecie
He / She / It –e They –ą

Second class: -ię / ę -isz / ysz verbs

Subject (singular) Ending Subject (plural) Ending
I –ię / ę We –imy / ymy
You –isz / ysz You –icie / ycie
He / She / It –i / y They –ią / ą

Third class: -am -asz verbs

Subject (singular) Ending Subject (plural) Ending
I –am We –amy
You –asz You –acie
He / She / It –a They –ają

Fourth class: -em -esz verbs

Subject (singular) Ending Subject (plural) Ending
I –em We –emy
You –esz You –ecie
He / She / It –e They –eją

These are all the endings in Present Tense. The biggest struggle is to know to which class each verb belongs. More information about it in the next section. Before that, below you can see example conjugation for each class:

pisać – to write

Subject (singular) Verb Subject (plural) Verb
I piszę We piszemy
You piszesz You piszecie
He / She / It pisze They piszą

myśleć – to think / słyszeć – to hear

Subject (singular) Verb Verb Subject (plural) Verb Verb
I myślę słyszę We myślimy słyszymy
You myślisz słyszysz You myślicie słyszycie
He / She / It myśli słyszy They myślą słyszą

śpiewać – to sing

Subject (singular) Verb Subject (plural) Verb
I śpiewam We śpiewamy
You śpiewasz You śpiewacie
He / She / It śpiewa They śpiewają

rozumieć – to understand

Subject (singular) Verb Subject (plural) Verb
I rozumiem We rozumiemy
You rozumiesz You rozumiecie
He / She / It rozumie They rozumieją

Deciding to which class a verb belongs

There are quite complicated rules deciding to which class of endings a verb belongs and it is not recommended to learn them. It is not effective at all. If you want to know to which class a verb belongs, then better solution is to learn its first form from conjugation (first person singular – I). Additionally, if the first form ends with , then you should also learn its second form (second person singular – You). The two first forms are sufficient to correctly predict the class of the verb.

Here are the two first endings from each class:

I You (singular) Class
–ę –esz -ę -esz verbs
–ię / ę –isz / ysz -ię / ę -isz / ysz verbs
–am –asz –am –asz verbs
–em –esz –em –esz verbs

Here is an example of how the deduction of the class works. Let’s say you have this verb:

myśleć – to think

This is the infinite form of the verb to think (inifnite form is the form of the verb, which you can find in dictionary). Can you tell now to which class of endings this verb belongs? I guess no 😉 Now let’s see its first form:

myśleć – to think

myślę – I think

This time I provided you the first form of the verb. Look at the ending. Can you tell now, to which class this verb belongs?

It is still not possible, because there are two classes ( -esz verbs, -ię/ę -isz/ysz verbs), which match this ending. But for sure this verb doesn’t belong to the last two classes from the table above. Let’s add another form:

myśleć – to think

myślę – I think

myślisz – You think (singular)

Can you now tell to which class this verb belongs? 🙂 Yes! It belongs to the second class.

As you can see, you have to learn the first two forms of the verb only for the first two classes, but I encourage you to learn the first two forms for all the verbs, because it will help you later with the irregularities during conjugation! These irregularities happen quite often, more about them in the next section below.

How to conjugate a verb

So far you know to which class a verb belongs, but how to conjugate it? There is an easy rule to follow. Look at the examples below, maybe you’ll be able to guess the rule! Focus on the stem of the verb in each form. Remember, that you always know the first two forms, because you should learn them together with the infinite form of the verb.

brać – to take

Subject (singular) Verb Subject (plural) Verb
I biorę We bierzemy
You bierzesz You bierzecie
He / She / It bierze They biorą

jechać – to drive

Subject (singular) Verb Subject (plural) Verb
I jadę We jedziemy
You jedziesz You jedziecie
He / She / It jedzie They jadą

myśleć – to think

Subject (singular) Verb Subject (plural) Verb
I myślę We myślimy
You myślisz You myślicie
He / She / It myśli They myślą

Do you see the stem pattern? If not, look on the table below:

Subject (singular) Verb Subject (plural) Verb
I X We Y
You Y You Y
He / She / It Y They X

So following the pattern the rule says:

  • Y to create the third person singular, the first person plural and the second person plural forms, you should take the verb stem from the second person singular and then add the adequate ending
  • X to create the third person plural form, you should take the verb stem from the first person singular and then add the adequate ending

The only thing left unclear is the second class of verbs, because it has two versions of endings. Which one should you use? The answer is easy – just follow the same pattern. In the second class of verbs:

  • Y the third person singular, the first person plural and the second person plural take left side ending, if the second person singular takes left side ending. They take right side ending, if the second person singular takes right side ending
  • X the third person plural takes left side ending, if the first person singular takes left side ending. It takes right side ending, if the first person singular takes right side ending.

You can observe this behaviour above in the verb myśleć. It has always the same verb stem myśl-, but uses both - left and right - endings depending on the first two forms of the verb and the pattern.

Subject (singular) Verb Endings Subject (plural) Verb Endings
I myślę –ię / ę We myślimy –imy / ymy
You myślisz –isz / ysz You myślicie –icie / ycie
He / She / It myśli –i / y They myślą –ią / ą

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