Verb Conjugation (present tense)

Guide to present tense verbs and how to conjugate them

When you read in a dictionary, you will find words like jeść (to eat (imp.)). This is the infinitive (the basic form). But you must know how to conjugate the infinitive into personal forms ('I', "you" (singular - when talking to one person), "he", "she", "it", "you" (plural - when talking to groups), "us", "them").

In English, the infinitive is "to eat", but you would say "he is eating" (or "he eats"). In Polish jeść conjugates to on je ('he eats/he is eating').

It is easy to conjugate verbs in English. But in Polish there are a few rules to learn.

There are three main groups of verbs, based on the endings of the words. There are also lots of irregular verbs which must just be learnt.

BTW, all of present tense verbs are (imp.). You can't get present tense perfective verbs. So everything here relates to imperfective aspect.

The Polish Present Tense Groups

Group 1: -ę, -esz

Who (eng) suffix Example
Ja I piszę
Ty You -esz piszesz
On/ona/ono He/she/it -e pisze
My Us -emy piszemy
Wy You (plural) -ecie piszecie
Oni/One They piszą

The -ować set of verbs (add ej!)

But there is something very important to remember if the verb infinitive ends in -ować (many do!)

They are basically the same as the table above, but you first replace -ować with uj, then add the ending. See the table below, hopefully it'll make sense!

Pracować = to work

Who (eng) suffix Example
Ja I -uję pracuję
Ty You -ujesz pracujesz
On/ona/ono He/she/it -uje pracuje
My Us -ujemy pracujemy
Wy You (plural) -ujecie pracujecie
Oni/One They -ują pracują

As you can see it is the same endings as in the first table, but with the ować taken off the end of the verb, then uj put there, then the normal endings from the first table.

Group 2: -ę, -isz / -ysz

Who (eng) suffix Lubić (to like) Mowić (to say) Uczyć się (to learn)
Ja I lubię mowię uczę się
Ty You -isz/-ysz lubiisz mowiisz uczysz się
On/ona/ono He/she/it -i / -y lubi mowii uczy się
My Us -imy / -ymy lubiimy mowiimy uczymy się
Wy You (plural) -icie / -ycie lubiicie mowiicie uczycie się
Oni/One They lubią mowią uczą się

Group 3: -m, -sz

For verbs such as:

  • czytać - to read
  • grać - to play
  • jeść - to eat
  • nazywać się - to be called
  • oglądać - to watch
  • otwierać - to open
  • przepraszać - to apologize
  • pytać - to ask
  • pływać - to swim
  • rozmawiać - to talk
  • szukać - to look for
  • umieć - to be able to
  • wiedzieć - to know
  • zamykać - to close
  • znać - to know
BTW, mieć (to have) changes the 'ie' into 'a' when conjugating.
Who (eng) suffix Mieć (to have) Mieszkać (to live)
Ja I -m mam mieszkam
Ty You -sz masz mieszkasz
On/ona/ono He/she/it nothing! ma mieszka
My Us -my mamy mieszkamy
Wy You (plural) -cie macie mieszkacie
Oni/One They -ją ma mieszka

Irregular verbs that you must just learn

Coming soon, but they include verbs like jeść (to eat).

Być - to be

This is a very useful one to learn, but it is very irregular. Just learn it from scratch!

Ja jestem I am
Ty jesteś You are
On/Ona/Ono jest He/she/it is
My jesteśmy We are
Wy jesteście You (plural) are
Oni/One They are

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