Appendix:Polish pronouns

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First-person pronouns[edit]

The first person uses the pronouns ja (I) and my (we). These pronouns inflect for number and case, but not for gender.

Using mnie instead of mi puts stress on the pronoun.

Second-person pronouns[edit]

The second person uses ty (singular you) and wy (plural you). These also do not inflect for gender. These forms are used between peers or people familiar with each other. When addressing someone in a formal context, the pronouns pan, pani, państwo are used instead, and the sentence changes to third person, with the pronouns coming after the verbs.

Using ciebie or tobie instead of cię or ci puts stress on the pronoun.

Third-person pronouns[edit]

The third person uses on (he) and its inflected forms ona (she), ono (it), oni (they, group including men), one (they, group that does not include men). The third person pronouns inflect for number, case and gender.

Note that in Polish, nouns have lexical gender, so that for non-personal objects on and ona would be rendered as it upon translation to English.

Using jego or jemu instead of go or mu puts stress on the pronoun. The forms niego, niemu, niej, etc. are only used after prepositions: Na niego patrzę, I look at him, but Jego widzę, I see him. is a short masculine form suffixed to prepositions, for example: nań, doń; Patrzę nań, I look at him.

Formal second- and third-person pronouns[edit]

The formal second- and third-person pronouns pan (Mister, Mr., Sir), pani (Madame, Mrs.) inflect for number and case. For couples and groups of people of mixed gender, the pronoun państwo is used. Sentences in formal second person put the pronouns after the verbs to distinguish them from sentences in third person where these words are used as simple nouns.

Ten pan widział złodzieja.
This sir saw the thief.
Czy widział pan złodzieja?
Sir, did you see the thief?

The dated pronoun panna (Miss) was used for unmarried women. In modern usage, it is usually considered patronizing, and replaced with pani. In addition to these, many nouns that specify a title or a honorific can be used as pronouns in the formal second person in the same way: ksiądz, ojciec (for a priest), ekscelencja, eminencja, waszmość, waćpan, waćpanna, waść, etc.

Possessive pronouns[edit]

First person[edit]

The first-person possessive pronoun mój (my) inflects for number, case and gender of the object, as well as the number of the subject.

Singular subject: mój[edit]

The form mojego in the accusative, equal to the genitive, is used for personal and animate objects, while mój, equal to the nominative, is used for inanimate objects. This rule is also in force for twój and swój. Additionally, there is an alternative short declension, which is literary and used e.g. in poetry. It elides -oj- and converts -oi- to -y-, except at the end of the word.

Plural subject: nasz[edit]

The form used for plural subject is nasz (our). It inflects exactly like the hypothetical adjective naszy, but loses the -y in masculine nominative singular and masculine inanimate accusative.

Second person[edit]

In the second person, the pattern is the same as in the first person. The pronoun twój inflects for number, gender and case of the object, as well as the number of the subject.

Singular subject: twój[edit]

The second-person possessive pronoun twój (your) has exactly the same inflection as mój. As before, there is also a literary alternative short declension.

Plural subject: wasz[edit]

The plural pronoun wasz (plural your) inflects exactly like nasz.

Third person: jego, jej, ich[edit]

The third person possessive pronoun jego inflects only for gender and number of the subject. The forms are:

  • m sg or n sg: jego (his, its)
  • f sg: jej (hers)
  • pl: ich (theirs)

Impersonal: swój[edit]

The pronoun swój (one's, one's own) does not indicate the person and number of the subject. It inflects like mój and twój, and like them, has a literary alternative short declension.

Demonstrative pronouns: ten, tamten[edit]

The demonstrative pronouns ten (this), tamten (that) inflects for gender, number and case of the subject. The pronoun tamten derives from tam (there, over there) + ten. It is used only in the third person. There is no demonstrative pronoun for first and second persons. Note the change from -ę to -ą ending in feminine accusative singular of tamten.

Interrogative and relative pronouns: kto, co, jaki, który, czyj[edit]

The pronoun jaki (how, what) is used to ask for a choice from a potentially uncountable set. Sometimes it is also used to connect subordinate clauses that refer to a similar category of objects, but this usage is proscribed. It inflects like adjectives.

The pronoun który (which, who) is used for two purposes: to connect subordinate clauses and to ask for a choice from a gramatically countable number of options.

Która z tych sukienek najbardziej ci się podoba?
Which of those dresses do you like most?
Mężczyzna, który dokonał napadu, został już schwytany.
The man who committed the robbery was already caught.

The pronoun inflects for number, gender and case like an adjective.

Finally, we have the pronoun czyj (whose) and its related forms czyjś (somebody's), niczyj (nobody's) and czyjkolwiek (anybody's).

Indefinite pronouns: ktoś, coś, jakiś[edit]

The pronouns ktoś (someone, somebody) and coś (something) specify unknown grammatical objects.

The pronoun jakiś (some) is used when the particular object is not known, only its category. Examples:

Widziałem jakieś zwierzę.
I saw some animal. (and I'm not sure what it was)
Jeśli będziesz w sklepie, to kup jakąś herbatę.
If you visit a store, buy some tea. (any tea will do)

This pronoun inflects for number, gender and case. The inflection is exactly like jaki, but with added to the end in every case.

The pronouns ktokolwiek (anybody) and cokolwiek (anything) indicate that the sentence applies to any object that matches the category. They are formed from the relevant form of the pronouns kto, co and the suffix -kolwiek.

Negative indefinite pronouns: nikt, nic[edit]

The negative pronouns are nikt (nobody, no one) and nic (nothing). They work similar to their English equivalents.

Selective indefinite pronoun: niektórzy[edit]

The selective pronoun niektórzy (some) is used when the sentence refers only to some people in a group. When used as pronoun rather than as an adjective, the word is often pejorative.

Niektórym się to nie spodoba.
Some may not like this.

Reflexive pronoun[edit]

The reflexive pronoun się, used like "yourself" or "myself" in English, indicates that the subject is both the origin and receiver of the action, e.g. Widzę się w lustrze (I see myself in the mirror). It inflects for case, but not for person, number or gender. The long form siebie is used when detached from the verb. Note that the reflexive pronoun is distinct from the particle się in reflexive verbs, which never inflects.