Polish Nominative Case
- Singular Nouns
- Singular Adjectives
- Plural Nouns
- Plural Adjectives
- Declension Tables
The nominative is the first of the 7 cases.
It’s main function is as the subject of the sentence.
It answers the questions:
– kto? (who?)
– co? (what?)
Nominative Case Usage
1. Subject of the sentence
Kto jest wysoki? On jest wysoki.
(Who is tall? He is tall)
Co jest nudne? Szkoła jest nudna.
(What is boring? School is boring)
2. In constructions with “to jest”
“To jest” in English translates to the verb “be”.
Mój kuzyn to jest mój przyjaciel.
(My cousin is my friend)
To jest mój syn.
(This is my son)
3. With the verb “być” to express an adjective
Note: When “być” (be) expresses another noun, the instrumental case is used. But when only an adjective is expressed, the nominative case is used.
Moja żona jest miła.
(My wife is nice)
Moja żona jest miłą osobą.
(My wife is a nice person)
Since “jest” describes another noun, the instrumental case is used above.
Nominative Case Declension
Nominative Singular Nouns
These are the dictionary forms of nouns. All nouns in their respective cases decline based off of this form.
– Mostly end with a consonant. If a noun ends with an a but denotes a male person, the noun is still masculine.
– Mostly end with a. Some end with a consonant. Many abstract nouns that end in -ść are also feminine.
– End with e, o, ę, or foreign words ending with –um.
Nominative Singular Adjectives
The endings of adjectives are based on the gender, case, and number (singular or plural) of the nouns that they are modifying. Their dictionary forms are in the masculine gender, ending in either y or i.
– Adjectives that modify a masculine, singular noun in the nominative case and end with a hard consonant, except k or g, or hardened consonant receive y ending.
duży (big) Dom jest duży (The house is big).
– Adjectives that modify a masculine, singular noun in the nominative case and end with a soft consonant, or k or g receive i ending.
tani (cheap) Samochód jest tani (The car is cheap).
– Adjectives that modify a feminine, singular noun in the nominative case end receive a ending.
duży (big) Piłka jest duża (The ball is big).
drogi (expensive) Szkoła jest droga (School is expensive).
– Adjectives that modify a neuter, singular noun in the nominative case end receive e ending.
duży (big) Pole jest duże (The field is big).
tani (cheap) Auto nie jest tanie (The car is not cheap).
Nominative Plural Nouns
Masculine nouns in the nominative plural are divided into masculine personal and masculine non-personal declensions.
– Masculine personal nouns that end with a hard consonant except k, g, and r receive i ending. The hard consonant softens.
student (student) → studenci (students)
kuzyn (cousin) → kuzyni (cousins)
– Masculine personal nouns that end with k, g, r, or sometimes c receive y ending. K, g, and r soften.
doktor (doctor) → doktorzy (doctors)
Anglik (Englishman) → Anglicy (Englishmen)
chłopiec (boy) → chłopcy (boys) (*notice the removal of the “ie”)
kolega (colleague) → koledzy (colleagues)
– Masculine personal nouns that end with a hardened or soft consonant receive e ending.
rodzic (parent) → rodzice (parents)
nauczyciel (teacher) → nauczyciele (teachers)
lekarz (doctor) → lekarze (doctors)
– Masculine personal nouns that end with -anin receive -anie ending. These verbs usually represent nationalities.
Rosjanin (Russian) → Rosjanie (Russians)
Amerykanin (American) → Amerykanie (Americans)
– Some masculine personal nouns receive -owie ending. There is no completely strict rule for which nouns have this ending, but it is usually for nouns referring to family relations and titles.
syn → synowie (sons)
pan → panowie (men)
ojciec → ojcowie (men) (*notice the stem change)
oficer → oficerowie (officers)
– Some masculine personal nouns are irregular:
brat → bracia (brothers)
człowiek → ludzie (humans)
– Masculine non-personal nouns that end with a hard consonant except k and g receive y ending.
dom (home) → domy (houses)
komputer (computer) → komputery (computers)
rekin (shark) → rekiny (sharks)
– Masculine non-personal nouns that end with a k or g receive i ending.
pociąg (train) → pociągi (trains)
ołówek (pencil) → ołówki (pencils) (*notice the removal of e)
guzik (button) → guziki (buttons)
– Masculine non-personal nouns that end with a hardened or soft consonant receive e ending.
fotel (armchair) → fotele (armchairs)
palec (finger) → palce (fingers) (*notice the removal of e)
miecz (sword) → miecze (swords)
– Feminine nouns that end with a hard consonant except k and g receive y ending.
kobieta (woman) → kobiety (women)
dziewczyna (girl) → dziewczyny (girls)
osoba (person) → osoby (people)
– Feminine nouns that end with a k or g, and most with -ść, receive i ending. Some other feminine nouns ending in a consonant also receive i.
piłka (ball) → piłki (balls)
warga (lip) → wargi (lips)
córka (daughter) → córki (daughters)
możliwość (possibility) → możliwości (possibilities)
więź (bond) → więzi (bonds)
– Feminine nouns that end with a hardened or soft consonant receive e ending.
lekcja (lesson) → lekcje (lessons)
noc (night) → noce (nights)
smycz (leash) → smycze
– All neuter nominative plural nouns receive a ending. Some have stem changes.
okno (window) → okna (windows)
pole (field) → pola (fields)
biuro (office) → biura (offices)
– Neuter nouns ending with ę receive either -ta or -ona endings.
imię (name) → imiona (names)
zwierzę (animal) → zwierzęta (animals)
– Neuter nouns ending with um remove the um and replace it with a ending.
muzeum (museum) → muzea (museums)
liceum (high school) → licea (high schools)
Nominative Plural Adjectives
Masculine plural nominative adjectives are also divided into masculine personal and masculine non-personal declension.
– Masculine personal adjectives ending with a k, g, r, c, cz, or dz receive y ending. K, g, and r soften.
Mój syn jest wysoki (My son is tall) → Moi synowie są wysocy (My sons are tall).
– Masculine personal adjectives ending with another consonant receive i ending. Sz changes into si, and ż changes into zi.
Nasz kolega jest duży (Our colleague is big) → Nasi koledzy są duzi (Our colleagues are big).
– Masculine non-personal adjectives receive e ending.
Dom jest duży (The house is big) → Domy są duże (The houses are big).
Samochód jest tani (The car is cheap) → Samochody są tanie (The cars are cheap).
– Feminine plural adjectives receive e ending.
Piłka jest duża (The ball is big) → Piłki są duże (The balls are big).
– Neuter plural adjectives receive e ending.
Pole jest duże (The field is big) → Pola są duże (The fields are big).
To conclude, declension tables of the grammatical endings will be listed below. These tables do not take into account every single possible ending because irregulars do exist in Polish, but they represent the majority of grammatical endings.
Note: the symbol – expresses that no ending is added, and ‘ means that the previous consonant softens.