The Accusative Case

celfred_Pointing_finger

So far we’ve looked at the basics of the nominative case and the instrumental case, which means we have five of the seven cases still left to learn.

The accusative case (biernik) is particularly useful: if you’re using a verb which takes a direct object (transitive verbs, usually labelled VT in a dictionary), then you’ll usually need to use the accusative case endings for that object.

That means that the accusative is used for the complement of a whole range of useful verbs, including all of the following and hundreds more:

mieć to have kupować to buy
lubić to like prosić to ask (someone for something)
znać to know robić to do
woleć to prefer gotować to cook
jeść to eat pić to drink
oglądać to watch czytać to read

 
Let’s look at how to form the accusative first, and then we’ll try examples using the verbs above. It’s more straightforward than it looks at first glance:
 
Polish Accusative Case Endings

 
The first thing to notice is that the accusative plural is the same as the nominative plural. The neuter singular is also the same as the nominative. So is the masculine singular, for all inanimate (non-living) nouns. So all you need to know is the endings for feminine nouns and the adjectives that describe them, and masculine animate nouns and the adjectives that describe them.

For feminine nouns, the ending is used for the adjective, and for the noun. Thus:
 
zielona żaba (green frog) becomes zieloną żabę
 
Remember that at the end of a word loses its normal pronunciation…

…and becomes more like -e. Listen to naprawdę:

 
For masculine animate nouns (including people and animals), the ending -ego is used for the adjective, and -a for the noun. Thus:
 
czarny kot (black cat) becomes czarnego kota

Czarne Koty

Try translating the following sentences using the above. The Polish words given are in the nominative singular, as you’d find them in a dictionary.

 

One thing to note is that the accusative is no longer used if you negate any of these sentences, so you can’t have nie lubie banany. For this purpose the genitive case is used, which we’ll cover soon.
 

Preferences:

 
We’ve already seen that you can talk about things that you prefer to do using woleć. For example:

Wolę biegać niż pływać – I prefer running to swimming
Wolę czytać niż oglądać telewizję – I prefer reading to watching television (note that telewizja is in the accusative as it is the complement of oglądać).

But what about if we are comparing two things instead of activities? Just use nouns in the accusative instead of the verbs above:

Wolę zieloną herbatę niż kawę – I prefer green tea to coffee

Try these three examples:

 

That’s all for now. Next we’ll look at how to form questions, before moving on to shopping and ordering food using proszę and the accusative case.

 



Audio credits: Pl-ę.ogg and Pl-naprawdę.ogg by Equadus (both CC-BY-SA-3.0)

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