Instrumental Case in Polish (Narzędnik)

Category: Polish Cases

Introduction to the Instrumental case in Polish Language

The instrumental (narzędnik) case is the 5th case of the Polish language.

How to form (conjugate) instrumental case - singular

The instrumental case is one of the easiest to learn, and definitely the easiest to notice. In singular if you see a word end in -em (masc/neutral) or -ą (fem) then it is probably in the instrumental case.

Masculine Adjective -ym

sometimes -im after g or k
Noun -em
Feminine Adjective

Neutral Adjective -ym
Noun -em

Of course there are some exceptions but they are the general rules that apply in the vast majority of situations.

How to form (conjugate) instrumental case - plural

The plural instrumental conjugations are really easy to remember. The nouns end in -ami, and adjectives end in -ymi (or end in -imi if the word normally ends in g or k).

An easy (if a bit silly) way to remember this: Plural nouns say "am Instrumental?". Plural adjectives answer "why me (-ymi).

Nouns (all genders) -ami

Adjectives (all genders) -ymi (or -imi after g or k)

Instrumental case is used in the following situations:

after the z proposition for 'with'

'With' in this context for things such as "I am going with John". This is quite a common use case of the instrumental case and you will see this quite often.

With certain other proposition words: Przed, nad and pod

When you use Przed, nad and pod, you should use the instrumental case.

To say your interests

You use the instrumental case with the interesować się (to be interested in) verb.

You also use instrumental case with a few other verbs such as zostać (to become).

To describe a relationship (e.g. ... is my brother)

For example Paweł jest moim bratem.

When talking about a method of travel

In English we would use the phrase 'by', as in 'I went by car/bike'. In Polish you don't say 'by', but just use the instrumental case. E.g. Jadę autem (I go by car. Car in [nominitive] case is auto, but autem in Instrumental)

When using a tool (or instrument)

For nationalities

Use instrumental when describing a person's nationality for sentences like "I am french" etc.

For example Jestem anglikiem/Jestem angielką ('I am an Englishman/Englishwoman')

For describing professions and job titles

Use the instrumental case in Polish when describing people's professions and job titles.

For example "He is an architect" would use the instrumental case.

English Polish
I am a teacher (male) Jestem nauczycielem
I am a teacher (female) Jestem nauczycielką

Certain time and date expressions

For example to say "in the evening" you use instrumental case (wieczorem)

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