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Dative Case, part 2 Posted by on Sep 21, 2008 in Grammar

After studying Fran’s wonderful poem in the last post, you should know a little bit about the dative case (celownik) already. It’s a very unassuming case, really. And when you see it in a sentence, it will be most likely used to modify a personal pronoun in expressions like these:

  • Jest mi gorąco. – I am hot (as in, the temperature is so high that I’m sweating)

Mi” in that sentence is in the dative case. And of course, as you’ve already probably figured out, it’s the personal pronoun “I” – “ja”, which as almost everything else in Polish, also declines.

The same happens in these examples, but with different words, naturally:

Here “nam” is in the dative case. And yes, in the nominative version it would be “we” – “my”.

Wam” is the dative form of plural “you” – “wy”.

So, I think I should use this lovely dative excuse and show you all the other personal pronouns, as well. Let’s go!

  • ja – I
  • ty – you
  • on– he
  • ona – she
  • ono – it

And now in plural:

  • my – we
  • wy – you plural
  • oni – they masculine and mixed gender
  • one – they feminine and neuter

You may have also noticed that unlike in English, the word “ja” (“I”) is not capitalized in Polish. Instead, when writing to somebody, both in personal and official correspondence, Poles capitalize the word “ty” (“you”) in all its permutations. And yes, if talking to more than one “you”, the word “wy” is capitalized, as well. It’s done to be polite, and other than that, has no other stylistic function. You can tell a Polish speaker writing in English by the fact that he or she will most likely stubbornly write “you” with the capital letter.

But enough of this digression. Let’s get back to the dative case and see how those personal pronouns would look then. You already have some examples above, and here’s a complete list:

See, it wasn’t so bad. One use of the dative case and a whole stack of Polish personal pronouns is what you get today. Next time we will talk about something more exciting – I’m planning to make a typical Polish cheesecake!

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