Here is a list of grammar terms every language learner should know.
- Direct Object
- Indirect Object
- Noun Cases
The gender system in English is limited to only personal pronouns. These personal pronouns are based on if the subject is a male, female, or a sexless object. In other words, in the English language, the only words that change are personal pronouns.
He is short. She is short. It is short.
On the other hand, gender in Polish is very important because there are masculine, feminine, and neuter genders. Based on the noun, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs change.
1. Moi przyjaciele grali w siatkówkę (My (male) friends were playing volleyball).
2. Moje przyjaciółki grały w siatkówkę (My (girl) friends were playing volleyball).
Both sentences have the same translations in English, but are set up differently in Polish because of gender difference. In sentence 1, the subject has at least one male, so the adjective mój (my) changes into moi and the verb grać (play) receives a masculine personal form. In sentence 2, the subject is all female, so the adjective mój changes into moje and the verb grać receive a non-masculine personal form.
In Polish, there are also personal and animate nouns. As their names suggest, personal nouns represent people, and animate nouns represent animals.
Declension is essentially the changing of a word from one form to another. This does not happen nearly as often as it does in Polish.
1. I am in my cousin‘s house.
This example shows how English nouns are declined by adding an ‘s at the end of a word to show possession.
2. One house. Two houses.
This second example shows how nouns in English are usually made plural by adding an s also at the end. These are basically the only ways English nouns are declined.
In Polish, nouns and even adjectives are declined in much more ways. For example, the declensions of nouns depend on gender, number, and case.
Nouns are words that represent people, place, things, or ideas.
Boy. New York. Ball. Freedom.
Verbs are used to describe an action or state.
I am cold. I play soccer.
Adjectives name an attribute and are used to modify or describe a noun.
Marek is tall. She is pretty.
Adverbs modify adjectives, verb, or other adverbs. Most adverbs are derived from adjectives. In English, many adverbs end with -ly.
He drove quickly to the store. I am very hungry.
Pronouns are words that are used to substitute noun.
Marcin jest gruby. On dużo je.
Dziewczyny są w szkole. One się uczą.
Prepositions express a relation of one word to another.
I am at home. I live in Poland.
Conjunctions are used to connect clauses or sentences.
I play soccer and basketball. I was watching the movie, but I fell asleep.
Interjections are used to convey emotion.
Wow! Oh dear!
Articles are used with nouns to specify the definiteness of the noun. These appear in English, but there are no articles in Polish.
I see a house. I see the house.
The subject is the noun of what the sentence is about and who/what is performing the action.
They are funny. The cat ate.
The direct object is the noun the receives the action of a verb.
I bought a computer. They watch television.
The indirect object is the noun that is not the primary receiver of the action of a verb, but is still affected by the verb.
We gave them money. I lent the kids a book.
Noun cases essentially determine what role nouns have in a sentence. In English, personal pronouns use 3 noun cases. All other nouns have only 2 forms; normal forms, and genitive forms (the genitive indicates possession).
English Nominative Case for Pronouns
I like candy.
He is cool.
English Oblique Case for Pronouns
She likes him.
We love them.
English Genitive Case for Pronouns
That phone is hers.
That is ours.
English Normal Noun Forms
1. My brother is tall. (Mój brat jest wysoki)
2. I like my brother. (Lubię mojego brata)
3. I gave my brother food. (Dałem mojemu bratu jedzenie)
In these 3 sentences, the noun brother in English has the same forms, even though it serves different functions. In sentence 1, brother is the subject. In sentence 2, the subject is “I” and brother is the direct object. In sentence 3, “I” is the subject, “food” is the direct object, and brother is the indirect object.
English Genitive Noun Forms
1. I went to my grandfather’s house. (Pojechałem do domu mojego dziadka)
In this sentence, the noun grandfather receives an ‘s in English because it this expresses how the “house” belongs to the grandfather.
English is simpler in Polish in that there are not many forms of nouns. However, in Polish, there are 7 forms of nouns. Here are some quick examples of the various noun cases. These cases are explained in much more depth here.
Moja siostra jest ładna (My sister is pretty).
Jestem w pokoju mojej siostry (I am in my sister’s room).
Dałęm mojej siostrze prezent (I gave my sister a present).
Oglądałem z moją siostrą (I was watching with my sister).
Stoję przy mojej siostrze (I am standing near my sister),
Siostro, chodź tu (Sister, come here).