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Pronouns in the Accusative

When it comes to using pronouns in Polish, it's very important that the learner gets to grips with the variety of forms for each word that are made possible by the Polish case system. It is important, because if one simply learns the nominative form of pronouns and applies these to situations which require an accusative rendering (perhaps in conjugation with a transitive verb), a genitive rendering (maybe when speaking of possession) or an instrumental rendering (perhaps when talking about someone's occupation) for example, it will simply be incorrect, and often incomprehensible. In fact when I started learning Polish, in Poland, my misuse of pronoun forms was one of the main sources of confusion when it came to speaking.

Polish Accusative Pronouns

So, difficult as it may be to remember the case endings of all the pronouns, it is definitely worth trying, particularly with the more common of the polish cases. Just take a look at the bracketed examples I have given above, of instances where pronouns will need to change form; they are common and every day, and often absolutely central to being able to express yourself clearly. Here we'll look at the various conjugations for some of the most important pronouns in Polish, and check some examples of their usage in the accusative case (one of the more commonly used of grammatical cases) with the hope that this will give you a good grounding for pronoun use and study across the board.

Conjugations of First Person Pronouns

The first person nominative pronouns in Polish are ja (I), for the singular, and my (we), in the plural. Each is rendered differently in the accusative and genitive case.

In the accusative case the singular form of ja is 'mnie' (me), and the plural form of my is, nas (us). With the change of form, these pronouns are now rendered properly for use in the accusative, as direct objects of a transitive verb. So, if I wanted to say 'wait for me', where the verb 'to wait' czekać requires the object to be in the accusative, I would have to use the conjugated form of ja (I), giving 'czekasz na mnie (where the ending -asz indicates the second person form of 'to wait', and na is the preposition 'for').

Similarly, if I needed to use the plural form of 'my', and say 'wait for us', my sentence would then become, 'czekasz na nas' (wait for us).

Conjugations of Second Person Pronouns

The second person nominative pronouns in Polish are ty (you), for the singular, and wy (plural 'you'), in the plural. Each is rendered differently in the accusative and genitive case.

In the accusative case the singular form of ty is 'cię' or 'ciebie' (you), and the plural form of wy is, was ('you' in the plural). Let's take a sentence that again requires the use of the accusative case due to a transitive verb. To say 'I have you', we need to say 'mam cię', instead of 'mam ty', and to say 'I love you', it's kocham ciebie (not 'kocham ty').

Similarly, if I was addressing a crowd and using a transitive verb, I would need to use the plural in the accusative. If I wanted to say 'I love you all', my sentence would need to use the conjugated form of 'wy' (you [plural]) giving, 'kocham was'.

Conjugations of Third Person Pronouns

The nominative third person pronouns and their accusative form are as follows: on (he) becomes jego (him), ona (she) becomes (her), and ono (it), becomes je (it). With a transitive verb, the same applies with third person pronouns as with second and first: To say, 'I love him', I would use the conjugated form and say, 'kocham go'.