Where are you from? Where do you live?

Taking our Polish conversation a little further from saying hello and introducing ourselves, let’s take a look at how we can ask and answer the questions where are you from? and where do you live?

Skąd jesteś? / Skąd pan/pani jest? – Where are you from?

And here’s how you say skąd 🙂

If you’ve read the last language post on być (to be), then you’ll recognise that in these questions, jesteś addresses you and jest addresses he/she/it.

Asking a question of someone directly using the you form is reserved for informal situations – in a formal environment, jest is used along with pan (Mr) or pani (Ms).

This question is answered with jestem z [country]:

Jestem z Ameryki I am from America.
Jestem z Anglii I am from England.
Jestem z Francji I am from France.
Jestem z Niemiec I am from Germany.
Jestem z Hiszpanii I am from Spain.
Jestem z Włoch I am from Italy.

Combine the above with you knowledge of być and you should already be able to understand some different sentences. How about:
On jest z Anglii.
Jesteś z Francji?
Anna i Tomasz są z Ameryki.

Gdzie mieszkasz? / Gdzie pan/pani mieszka? – Where do you live?

The verb mieszkać means to live (you’ll notice that the infinitive form of the verb, the one you’ll find in a dictionary, always ends in ć). Mieszkać is a regular verb, and in our next lesson we’ll look at how to conjugate it, and other verbs in the same category. For now, you’ll notice that the ‘you’ form is mieszkasz and the ‘he/she/it’ form is mieszka, and to form the answer, we use the ‘I’ form mieszkam:

Mieszkam w Londynie I live in London.
Mieszkam w Nowym Jorku I live in New York.
Mieszkam w Rzymie I live in Rome.
Mieszkam w Wiedniu I live in Vienna.
Mieszkam w Paryżu I live in Paris.

And once again, you should now be able to understand some other constructions:
Ona mieszka w Rzymie.
Mieszkasz w Paryżu?

Note that when answering Where are you from? and where do you live?, the country or city isn’t in the form you’d find in the dictionary, e.g. Londynie instead of London. This is because the ending of a word changes after z or w – the reason why will be covered in a later post!

A Pronunciation Tip

Pronouncing the word z (from) or the word w (in) separately feels difficult without breaking up the flow of the sentence – so it’s good news that you don’t have to. They tend to ‘merge’ into the next word – such that jestem z Anglii sounds a bit like jestem zanglii.


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Bardzo mi miło: Polish Introductions



In our last Language post, we learned how to greet people in Polish. The obvious next step is to ask people their name, and find out how they are doing.

Let’s look at a basic (and slightly forced!) introduction and translate it into Polish:

A Hello. My name is Piotr. What is your name?
B My name is Agata.
A Nice to meet you.

This introduction, like much of everyday Polish, will sound very different depending whether it is in a formal or informal context. Note the use of pan/pani, which are often used in formal language and correspond roughly to Mr/Ms.

Formal Informal
A Dzień dobry. Mam na imię Piotr. Jak ma pan/pani na imię? Cześć. Jestem Piotr. Jak masz na imię?
B Mam na imię Agata. Jestem Agata.
A Miło cię poznać. Bardzo mi miło.

And now, assuming that introductions are over:

A Hello. How are you?
B I'm very well. And you?

Formal Informal
A Dzień dobry. Jak się pan/pani ma? Cześć. Jak się masz? OR Cześć. Co słychać?
B Bardzo dobrze. A pan/pani? Bardzo dobrze. A u Ciebie?

Other options for answering “how are you?” (if you’re not ‘very well’) include:
10/10 – świetnie
7/10 – dobrze
5/10 – tak sobie
2/10 – źle
0/10 – fatalnie

or perhaps, nic nowego (nothing new) or wszystko w porządku (everything is fine)!


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