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Prepositions of Motion Posted by on Jul 22, 2010 in Grammar, Vocabulary

Writing for this Polish blog, I heavily use a notebook in my creative process. I get ideas at random times in my day and in the most random of places, so the notebook is the one constant that holds all this together. So eleven pages into my notebook, I wrote “Prepositions” on the top of the page. The ten pages prior to that all have titles at the top, and they all have drawings or a rough layout of how I am organizing my thoughts for that entry. Similarly, the thirty-two pages after that one have titles and the scribble that is my creative process. But that page eleven only has a title. No scribble, no rough layout, nothing but the title. And I have to sadly admit, I have flipped past the page several times, bypassing that topic for something more fun, like the beach (To the beach – Na plażę!) or imperatives (Przeczytajcie to – It’s Imperative!). Yeah, I chose imperatives over prepositions.

Prepositions are a necessary evil. They are very necessary in the learning of a language, but they tend to be very evil in that they are difficult to learn (see Anna’s first lesson on prepositions, Prepositions, part 1). So rather than calling this a part 2 lesson, I am going to attempt to cover a few prepositions at a time. Today, I’ll cover prepositions of motion.

Now, as a refresher, prepositions link nouns and pronouns to other words in the sentence. They usually help define the the relationship of the words with respect to space and time.  Typically, when a word has a noun or pronoun following it, it’s a preposition. So we’ll start with a simple sentence.

  • The boy slid through the tunnel.
  • Polish: Chłopiec zjechał przez tunel.

The preposition through is przez. I have heard it translated as poprzez as well. I believe both of these words mean one in the same and can be used irreversibly.

Let’s try another one.

  • The boy ran down the hill.
  • Polish: Chłopiec pobiegł w dół.

This one, w dół, really seems to play the role of adverb and preposition all in one.  Not very exciting, I know, but it does come into reference when you’re speaking.

We have covered przez and w dół, and now I want to present a few more to you for reference:

  • around ~ wokół
  • toward ~ ku
  • across ~ poprzez
  • out of ~ z, ze
  • over ~ przez
  • to ~ do, na
  • from ~ z, od
  • up ~ pod
  • into ~ w, we, do

The tricky thing about prepositions in any language is knowing which case they are to properly use them. I am going to save this for a part two lesson. In the meantime, take some time with the vocabulary presented here and get familiar with prepositions of motion and how they would be used. You’ll be well-prepared for the next installment when we review examples of prepositions of motion and how to use them appropriately, including a review of cases and how the prepositional phrases will be declined.

Do następnego czytania…

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Comments:

  1. Sam:

    What is the difference between z and od in the “from” sense?

  2. Simon:

    Now I’m not sure about this, not being a native Polish speaker myself, but I THINK ‘z’ is usually about origins, either in terms of a journey or nationality, or place of production, etc. I think ‘od’ refers to concepts and time, or basically non-physical things. I’m pretty sure there are a lot more nuances to it (like ‘mleko od krowy’ I can’t quite get my head around that), but I use that as a general guideline and it usually seems ok.