Genitive Case, part 2 Posted by Anna on Jul 21, 2008 in Grammar
Since we’re in the midst of a little grammar kick, I thought we might as well continue. But to keep things interesting, we should let the adjectives rest for a while and talk about something else. Remember when we discussed the genitive case – dopełniacz? Yes, I know, it was a while back. So here I’m going to give you some time to go and read the past entry about dopełniacz. It’s no rush, I’ll be here when you’re done. In the meantime, while you’re busy reading, I will prepare some new interesting dopełniacz examples.
OK, you’re back? That was quick!
Last time when talking about dopełniacz, I said that it has five different functions in Polish. And I think we discussed two of them in that post. Let’s review:
1. Possession – such as when something belongs to somebody.
- Kot Alicji = Alicja’s cat (and here Alicja is in genitive)
- zabawka kota = cat’s toy (here kot is in genitive)
- dziecko sąsiada = neighbor’s baby/child (and here sąsiad is in genitive)
2. When a verb affecting the object expresses negation, the object’s case changes to genitive.
- Dzieci nie mają kota. = The children don’t have a cat. (again, kot is in genitive)
- Alicja nie słyszy telefonu. = Alicja doesn’t hear the phone. (telefon is in genitive)
So now that we’ve reviewed the two uses of genitive you should be familiar with already, let’s tackle some new ones. Ready?
3. Dopełniacz is used in expressions of quantity.
In English you say:
some water, a lot of money, a few hours
In Polish you say:
woda (noun, feminine, plural: wody – yes, it can be a plural noun in Polish! singular genitive: wody) = water
pieniądz (noun, yes, it can be singular in Polish! masculine, non-person, plural: pieniądze, plural genitive: pieniędzy) = money
godzina (noun, feminine, plural: godziny, plural genitive: godzin) = hour
4. Dopełniacz is used in expressions of description or origin:
In English you’d say:
a girl from Poland.
And this is how it looks in Polish:
Polska (Poland) is a noun, and just like all the other nouns in Polish it declines, so the genitive of Polska is Polski (not to be confused with “polski” which is an adjective meaning “Polish”)
And what about description? How about:
season of the year
author of the book
owner of the house
rok (noun, masculine, non-person, plural: lata – yep, it’s one of them irregular nouns, singular genitive: roku) = year
książka (noun, feminine, plural: książki, singular genitive: książki) = book
dom (noun, masculine, non-person, plural: domy, singular genitive: domu) = house, home
So, now we’ve covered 4 out of 5 genitive uses in Polish, and I think we need a little break from grammar here. Wouldn’t you agree? Especially, since the last instance when this pesky dopełniacz is used will need a bit more explaining. But once when it’s explained, you’ll see, it will be actually very easy!
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