Polish Language Blog

Verbs Expressing Feelings and the Nouns that Follow Them Posted by on Jan 31, 2010 in Grammar

So, what were we talking about last time? Ah yes, verbs that express emotions. You know, stuff like love (kochać), hate (nienawidzieć), like (lubić), dislike (nie lubić), etc.

In English, it’s simple, whether you like or don’t like someone (or something), the noun that follows the verb expressing your feeling doesn’t change.
I like winter. I hate winter.
“Winter” stays “winter” no matter what.

As you’ve probably figured out by now, this is not how it works in Polish. Well, nothing is ever simple and straightforward in Polish. It wouldn’t be Polish otherwise.

Remember when we talked about these two cases: dopełniacz (genitive) and biernik (accusative)? No? Then now it’s the time to look up those blog posts (I wrote about those cases in the past) and refresh your memory. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

OK, I see you’re back. Good! We can move on to the fun bits now.

So, this is how those winter (zima) sentences would look like in Polish.

  • Lubię zimę. – I like winter
  • Nienawidzę zimy. – I hate winter.

See what happened to “zima”? Yes… Your worst fears have been confirmed. We have two different cases here.

In “Lubię zimę” we have the accusative case – biernik, which answers to these questions: “kogo?” and “co?”.
Lubię kogo” – when talking about people. Or “Lubię co” – when talking about everything else.

In “Nienawidzę zimy” we have the genitive case – dopełniacz, which answers to these questions: “kogo?” and “czego?”.
Nienawidzę kogo” – when talking about people. Or “Nienawidzę czego” – when talking about everything else.

Yes, you are right – in both of these examples, the “kogo?” question when talking about humans is the same. But that doesn’t actually mean that the noun will stay the same. Not so! (And what did you think, huh?)

For example:

  • Lubię Kasię (or Anię, if you want to talk about me behind my back) – I like Kasia (Ania).


  • Nienawidzę Kasi (Ani) – I hate Kasia (Ania).

Luckily, this is only the issue with feminine humans. Masculine humans stay the same.

  • Lubię Pawła – I like Paweł.
  • Nienawidzę Pawła – I hate Paweł (Paweł, it’s nothing personal, it’s just an example, OK?)

Incidentally, when talking about space aliens in Polish, treat them as humans (at least grammatically), even though they are very clearly not.

So, basically, this is the drill:
If you have positive feelings towards someone or something, use biernik (accusative).
If you have negative feelings towards someone or something, it’s time to use dopełniacz (genitive).

Hey! What happened to you? Wake up! Wake up!!!

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  1. mrtom:

    Everything’s alright but just one remark. The infinitive of the verb “to hate” is “nienawidzić” not “nienawidzieć” as you wrote in the begining of the entry.

  2. mrtom:

    Everything’s alright but just one remark. The infinitive of the verb “to hate” is “nienawidzić” not “nienawidzieć” as you wrote in the beginning of the entry.

  3. Michael:

    Is there any reason for the change from genitive to accusative or is it just the way it is?


  4. Michael:

    Hi mr tom,

    🙂 have a look here


    Maybe Anna will explain to us what he said, Jan Miodek is kind of the pope of the polish language I think.

    My own guess is that one is perfective and the other is imperfective. Jan Miodek is talking about usage of the two inmho, a different matter.

  5. Ilona:

    Hej, podoba mi się Twój punkt widzenia i sposób tłumaczenia. Prowadzę blog w podobnym duchu po hiszpańsku.

  6. Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira:

    I think the nie in nienawidzieć has something to do with it, since negated sentences have the genitive in Polish: Mam piękny dom. Nie mam pięknego domu.

  7. Michael:

    Hi Luciano, that makes sense, thanks

  8. mrtom:

    I tried to open the link you gave me but it doesn’t work. I mean no Miodek’s video (or anything) shows up. Still, there is no such a word like ‘nienawidzieć’ in the Polish language and it’s a common mistake to use it instead of ‘nienawidzić’.

  9. Roman:

    Hi all! Of course there is a word “nienawidzieć”. I use it very often. And, of course, it is quite ungrammatical, but really I don’t care! 🙂 I will speak “nienawidzieć” instead of “nienawidzić” till the end of my life, because it’s easier to pronounce. Good day!

  10. Jonathan Adami:

    So this website seems to be exactly what I’m looking for. Except for one thing: it has a very old “blog” structure :-/ What I mean is “you remember the things I talked about last time, go and look at them” where’s the link? hehe

    Or like a page “Grammar” with “7 cases” and all the articles linked to it! So much good stuff in here, you make it easier to find and I call that a bible 😉 (though… the bible isn’t exactly easy to read…)

    Anyway, I’ll try to find my way, thanks for all the good stuff!