Questions 2

Previous: Questions 1

A sentence can contain several different things, a subject (kto? co?), a verb, a direct object (kogo? co?) and an indirect object (komu? czemu?). In Polish, you have different question words to ask about these different things.

Michał często kupuje Agnieszce kwiaty.

1 Kto często kupuje Agnieszce kwiaty?
2 Komu Michał często kupuje kwiaty?
3 Co Michał często kupuje Agnieszce?

Look at the different questions and compare question 1 to questions 2 and 3. What is different about these questions? Questions 2 and 3 contain the subject of the verb, Michał.

In English, we divide these questions into two types:

Question 1 – Subject question – kto? co?
Questions 2 and 3 – Object questions – kogo? co? and komu? czemu?

Subject question

Look at the following sentences to see how you make a question asking about the subject in Polish.

Michał często kupuje Agnieszce kwiaty.
Kto często kupuje Agnieszce kwiaty?

You simply replace the subject with the question word ‚kto’. We do exactly the same thing in English.

Michał often buys Agnieszka flowers.
Who often buys Agnieszka flowers?

Object questions

In Polish, these questions begin with question words such as kogo. komu, gdzie, kiedy, etc. The question words in English are:

who – kto, kogo, komu
what – co, czemu
which – który
where – gdzie
when – kiedy
why – dlaczego
whose – czyj
how – jak

You can see that all of the questions words, except ‚how’, begin with the letters ‚wh’, so these words are called ‚wh-question words’.  Questions which use these words are called ‚wh-questions’. Look at the sentences below to see how you make this type of question in Polish.

Komu Michał kupuje kwiaty? – ktoteraźniejszy niedokonany
Co Michał kupił Agnieszce? – ktoprzeszły dokonany

You can see that you need to know the subject, Michał, and the tense and aspect of the verb. In Polish, this information about the aspect, dokonany or niedokonany, and the tense, przeszły, teraźniejszy or przyszły is shown by the main verb.

To make these questions in English, we also need to know the subect, Michał, and we need to know which tense and aspect we are using. This tense and aspect information is given using auxiliary verbs, the same as in yes/no questions.

Czy Michał kupuje Agnieszce kwiaty? – ktoteraźniejszy niedokonany
Does Michał buy Agnieszka flowers? – present simplesubject

Now that we have all the information we need about tense and aspect, we can simply add a wh-question word to the beginning of the question, the same as you do in Polish.

Komu Michał kupuje kwiaty? – ktoteraźniejszy niedokonany
Who does Michał buy flowers? – present simplesubject

Co Michał kupił Agnieszce? – ktoprzeszły dokonany
What did Michał buy Agnieszka? – past simplesubject

Next: Questions 3

Questions 1

The simplest type of question is called a yes/no question, because the answer is always yes or no. In Polish, you use the word czy, which you put at the beginning of the sentence.

Michał często kupuje Agnieszce kwiaty.

Czy Michał często kupuje Agnieszce kwiaty?

In Polish, you show the aspect, dokonany or niedokonany, by using a different main verb e.g. kupować/kupić.

Czy Michał często kupuje Agnieszce kwiaty? – niedokonany

Czy Michał wczoraj kupił Agnieszce kwiaty? – dokonany

Czy Michał kupował Agnieszce kwiaty kiedy wczoraj go  widziałeś? – niedokonany

English doesn’t have a word which means czy and we use auxiliary verbs instead. Remember that different aspects, simple, continuous and perfect, use different auxiliary verbs:

do, does – Present Simple
did – Past Simple

am, are, is – Present Continuous
was, were – Past Continuous

have, has – Present Perfect
had – Past Perfect

In English, unlike in Polish, the information about tense and aspect is shown by the auxiliary verb and NOT the main verb.

Czy Michał często kupuje Agnieszce kwiaty? – teraźniejszy niedokonany
Does Michał (often) buy Agnieszka flowers? – present simple

Czy Michał wczoraj kupił Agnieszce kwiaty? – przeszły dokonany
Did Michał buy Agnieszka flowers yesterday? – past simple

Czy Michał kupował Agnieszce kwiaty kiedy wczoraj go widziałeś? – przeszły niedokonany
Was Michał buying Agnieszka flowers when you saw him yesterday? – past continuous

To answer a yes/no question we use the same auxiliary verb as the question, we don’t use the main verb.

Czy Michal często kupuje Agnieszce kwiaty? – Tak, często kupuje.
Does Michał (often) buy Agnieszka flowers? – Yes, he does.

Czy Michał teraz kupuje Agnieszce kwiaty? – Tak, teraz kupuje.
Is Michał (now) buying Agnieszka flowers? – Yes, he is.

Czy Michał wczoraj kupił Agnieszce kwiaty? – Tak, kupił.
Did Michał buy Agnieszka flowers yesterday? -Yes, he did.

Czy Michał kupił Agnieszce kwiaty? – Tak, kupił.
Has Michał bought Agnieszka flowers? – Yes, he has.

We don’t have to use an auxiliary verb to make a yes/no question, we can also use modal verbs e.g. should, can, etc.

Czy Michal powinien często kupować Agnieszce kwiaty? – Tak, powinien.
Should Michał (often) buy Agnieszka flowers? – Yes, he should.

Czy Michał może kupić Agnieszce kwiaty? – Tak, może.
Can Michał buy Agnieszka flowers? -Yes, he can.

Next: Questions 2