Polish grammar

Verb forms.

Polish has less verbal tenses than English or German. Polish verbs have following forms :
personal forms:
- present tense (only imperfective verbs) : jestem, idę, daję
- past tense (all verbs): byłem, szedłem, dawałem ; dałem, poszedłem
- future tense (differently formed with perfective and imperfective verbs): będę, będę iść, będę dawać ; dam , pójdę
- imperative (all verbs): bądź, idź, dawaj, daj, pójdź
- conditional (all verbs): byłbym, szedłbym, dawałbym , dałbym, poszedłbym.
Impersonal forms :
- infinitive (form in the dictionary): być, iść, dawać, dać, pójść
- present participle (only imperfective verbs): będący, idący, dający; będąc, idąc, dając
- past participle : dany, dawany ; dawszy.


The grammatical category of aspect is very important in Polish. The perfective type of action is used when an activity is already finished (or will be finished), the imperfective type of action concerns the activities that are still ongoing.

Most verbs are either perfective or imperfective. So e.g. For example, the English word “bauen” corresponds to two verbs in Polish: budować (imperfective) and zbudować (perfective).

Both forms can usually be looked up in the dictionary. The rules of their formation are extremely complicated. Perfective forms are mostly made with the help of prefixes: modyfikować - zmodyfikować, aranżować - zaaranżować. Sometimes the suffix -nąć is also used: klaskać - klasnąć. Often the perfective form is a completely different word: brać - wziąć.

Imperfective forms are formed using suffixes -ywać, -iwać, -awać, formed (often with vowel change): wykonać - wykonywać, wypracować - wypracowywać, wymyć - wymywać.

Perfective verbs do not form present tense: buduję - I build, but: zbuduję (in inflection exact correlate of buduję) means: I will build.

Perfective verbs also have no participle I ending in -ący, -ąc. Imperfective verbs do not have a future tense with “będę”. They also don't have a perfect participle ending in -wszy, -łszy.

Some verbs have only an imperfective form: być, mieć, rarer are only perfective verbs: runąć.

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