Polish Language Blog

Genitive Case, part 3 Posted by on Aug 18, 2008 in Grammar

I just realized that we’ve never really finished talking about the genitive case (dopełniacz in Polish). My bad. We had too much fun with all the other things, lazy males and beetle tongue-twisters, and we totally forgot about the declensions. So, let’s get it done and over with this genitive.

I told you that in Polish this case has five different uses, or rather, it’s used in five different situations. We’ve already covered four of them, if I remember correctly. I didn’t really want to talk about the last one, because needless to say, it’s my least favorite, and that’s why I’ve been procrastinating.

Anyway, let’s quickly recap. The genitive case is used:

  • 1. to indicate when something (or someone) belongs to someone
  • 2. when a verb affecting the object expresses negation
  • 3. in expressions of quantity
  • 4. in expressions of description or origin

and finally, the last one:

  • 5. with certain verbs.

I feel your pain. And believe me, I totally understand. But this is something we will get through together. Because, you know, to be honest, I’ve never really thought about this last application myself.

To understand this use, you should know that the genitive case, just like all the other cases in Polish, answers to some specific questions, like this:

Dopełniacz – kogo? czego?

Kogo dom? = whose house?
Czego nie rozumiesz? = what don’t you understand?

Voice file here.

The questions “kogo?” and “czego?” rule the genitive case.
As you will see, it’s good to know these questions, because they kind of go together with many verbs that govern the genitive case.

Here are a few examples:

  • szukać = to look for (in Polish we look for kogo? and czego?)
  • Ja szukam męża = I’m looking for a husband. (audio) Just as an example.

szukam – first person singular, present tense “look for”
mąż (husband) is in genitive.

  • słuchać = to listen to
  • Słucham piosenki = I’m listening to a song. (audio)

słucham – first person singular, present tense “listen (to)”
piosenka (song) is in genitive.

  • bronić = to defend
  • Broniłam mojego dziecka = I defended my child. (audio)

broniłam – first person, singular feminine, past tense “defended“
dziecko is in genitive

  • życzyć = to wish
  • Życzę ci zdrowia = I wish you good health (audio)

życzę – first person, singular, present tense “wish“
zdrowie (good health) is in genitive

There are many others, and I will keep adding them as they pop into my head (my head is particularly barren today, don’t know why).

To help you with those verbs, it’s also good to remember that dopełniacz sticks to certain prepositions such as:

  • od (from)
  • do (to)
  • dla (for)


See, it wasn’t too bad, now was it? Now we’re done with the genitive case and can move on to more exciting declensions.

All Polish words and sentences from this post in one big voice file are here.

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  1. Helena:

    I wish all Polish words and sentences on audiofiles I heard on the Internet were spoken so beautiful like yours… I could easy learn to say and speak Polish listening to you speaking.

    GREAT voice, speaking slowly with beautiful gentle tones.

  2. Anna:

    Hi Helena!
    And thank you for your super kind words! I record my audiofiles exactly how I’d like to hear them when learning a foreign language. So I know exactly what you mean! 🙂
    Once again, thank you so much and enjoy the blog!