Polish/Prepositions as hints to declensions

Prepositions as hints to declensions Edit

Prepositions, which generally show some sort of literal or figurative relationship between events, very rarely overlap exactly between different languages, both in literal and figurative usages. For example, to a non-native English speaker, it is not obvious why we talk about something, rather than talk on, at, or in something.

The correspondence shown below between some key Polish and English prepositions should not be taken as a relation in terms of meaning (semantics); it is only a rough approximation.

However, in Polish, both the choice of verb and the preposition (the Polish preposition, of course) are constrained by the declension. Once you develop some intuition as to which preposition you should use, or which declension, the relation between these can be used to guess the declension from the preposition or vice versa. Common links are as follows.

Note that some prepositions, these regarding to place, can be used with two possible cases. Usually, a locative or instrumental are used when the acting takes place in this place and accusative when it is going towards the place. Compare:

Kot siedzi na stole. - The cat sits on the table. (table - locative)
Kot wskakuje na stół. - The cat jumps onto the table. (table - accusative)
Kot nie wskakuje na stół. - The cat doesn't jump onto the table. (table still in accusative, not genitive, because it is not an object here!)
  • siedzi - 3rd person sing. present tense from "siedzieć" - sit
  • stół - table (gen. stołu, loc. stole, pl.nom. stoły)
  • wskakuje - 3rd person sing. present tense from "wskakiwać" - jump on

similar English preposition genitive (dopełniacz, D.) dative (celownik, C.) accusative (biernik, B.) instrumental (narzędnik, N.) locative (miejscownik, Ms.)
to, from, for do, od, dla
at (place) u
during podczas
among, amid wśród, pośród
next to, beside koło, obok
near, close to blisko, nieopodal
opposite, across naprzeciw, naprzeciwko
without, except bez, oprócz
with, from z, ze z, ze
towards ku
thanks to dzięki
against wbrew, przeciwko
by, through przez
at, about; on; after o, na, po o, na, po
behind, under za, pod za, pod
in w, we w, we
by, next to przy
through, among/between, on (spatial) przed, między, nad przed, między, nad