The Instrumental Case

Learning the instrumental case (narzędnik) allows you to form a whole range of useful sentences, including describing your job and talking about things that you are interested in.

The endings used to form the instrumental are straightforward, and for now I’ll focus on the singular:

Instrumental Singular

For feminine nouns, is added to both the noun stem and that of the adjective describing it:

mała ryba (small fish) becomes małą rybą

For masculine and neuter nouns, add -ym to the adjective stem (but you can’t have -kym so use -kim instead). E.g.

smutny (sad) becomes smutnym
niski (short) becomes niskim

And to form the noun, add -em to the stem unless the noun ends in one of the letters at the bottom of the table, in which case add -iem and remove the accent from the letter as shown. E.g.

kot (cat) becomes kotem
koń (horse) becomes koniem
 

Describing Your Job

 
If you want to form a sentence using the verb być (to be) followed by a noun, you need to use the instrumental case.

That means that to answer the question kim jesteś z zawodu? (what do you do for a living?) with ‘I am an architect‘, you don’t say jestem architekt, but jestem architektem.

Try forming these sentences using być, the instrumental case and the jobs and professions on our vocabulary page. If you’re not sure how to type Polish letters look here first.
 

 


 

Describing Your Interests

 
Another use for the instrumental case is for nouns following the verb interesować się (to be interested in).

Verbs ending -ować are unusual, in that to make the first person singular, -ować is removed and -uję added, and from then on the pattern of a class 1 verb is followed. This gives interesuję się, interesujesz się, interesuje się etc.

Now you don’t have to use lubić and another verb to describe things you like. Instead of lubię czytać (I like reading), you could say interesuję się książką (I am interested in books).

Try these four sentences using the instrumental case:
 

 


 
That’s all for now. There are other uses for the instrumental case including describing modes of transport – I’ll look at this as part of an upcoming post on verbs of motion.

2 thoughts on “The Instrumental Case

  1. Hi Rich,
    There’s a typo in one of your examples: kot translates as cat not window…
    Anyway, I’m slowly working my way through your blog and it helps me a lot to revise! 🙂
    David

    1. Oops.. that will teach me to proofread better. Typo fixed, thanks very much. Glad it’s helping. I’m taking a short break at the moment but there will be more posts soon, promise!

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