There are four important verbs of motion in Polish – iść, chodzić, jechać and jeździć. This might seem complicated, since in English you can pretty much get away with using the verb ‘to go’ in place of all of them, but each of the verbs has its own special use, and once you can remember which is which, they aren’t so problematic.
Mode of Travel
Two of these verbs (iść and chodzić) are used to talk about going somewhere on foot
The other two (jechać and jeździć) are used to talk about going somewhere by vehicle
The verbs iść and jechać are used to talk about something done once or that you’re doing now (the determinate verbs).
These determinate verbs can also be used to talk about things happening in the near future.
The verbs chodzić and jeździć are used to talk about something you do regularly or habitually (the indeterminate verbs).
Adverbs of frequency that can be used with these indeterminate verbs include rzadko (rarely), od czasu do czasu (from time to time), czasem (sometimes), często (often) and zawsze (always).
I’ve put together this table to help make sense of these verbs in the present tense:
Note that the preposition do (to) is followed by a noun in the genitive case. It’s used for travel to cities, most countries and inside most buildings.
|Gdzie jedziesz? Jadę do Krakowa||Where are you going? I'm going to Kraków (by vehicle)|
|Gdzie idziesz? Idę do sklepu||Where are you going? I'm going to the shop (on foot)|
|Często chodzimy do kina||We often go to the cinema|
|Czasem chodzimy do klubu||We sometimes go to the club|
But for certain places, other prepositions are used, such as w + accusative plural (for mountains) or nad + instrumental (for a body of water), or na + accusative (for events and certain other places):
|Idę…||w góry||to the mountains|
|w Alpy||to the Alps|
|na siłownię||to the gym|
|na koncert||to a concert|
|nad morzem||to the seaside|
|nad jezioro||to the lake|
Specifying the Vehicle Used
The instrumental case can be used to add more detail about exactly how you’re travelling:
|samochód||car||jedziemy do Krakowa samochodem||we're going to Kraków by car|
|pociąg||train||jadą do Paryża pociągiem||they're going to Paris by train|
|tramwaj||tram||on czasem jeździ do szkoły tramwajem||he sometimes goes to school by tram|
|autobus||bus||często jeżdżę do Londynu autobusem||I often go to London by bus|
|taksówka||taxi||jadę do domu taksówką||I'm going home by taxi|
|rower||bicycle||jeżdżę do pracy rowerem||I go to work by bicycle|
|metro||metro/subway||rzadko jeżdżą do supermarketu metrem||they rarely go to the supermarket by metro/subway|
Try filling in the gaps!
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I often go to Madrid by bus (Madryt) Często (jeżdżę) do (Madrytu autobusem).
We're going to the theatre (teatr, on foot) (idziemy do teatru).
I rarely go to the gym (on foot) (rzadko chodzę) na siłownię.
They're going to a concert (on foot) (idą na koncert).
I sometimes go to Warsaw by train (Warszawa) Czasem (jeżdżę do Warszawy pociągiem) .
- I often go to Madrid by bus (Madryt) Często (jeżdżę) do (Madrytu autobusem).