Past Continuous and Past Simple 2

The past simple usually answers the questions;

Co zrobiłeś?
Jak często robiłeś?

The past continuous answers the question

Co robiłeś?

You can see that the past simple is not the same as dokonany przeszły in Polish. The dokonany aspect always tells you that an action is completed. The simple aspect in English does not tell us whether an action is completed or not.

This difference means that past simple sentences can sometimes be translated in two different ways. The normal translation is to use a dokonany verb.

What did you do yesterday?
I read a book. – Przeczytałem książkę.

However, in English, I read a book does not tell us if I read all of the book. This means that, in this situation, you could also translate the sentence using a niedokonany verb.

What did you do yesterday?
I read a book. – Czytałem książkę.

In English, we use the simple aspect to focus on a single action, and it isn’t important in this example, if the book was finished or not.

We use the continuous aspect to focus on an activity in progress at a particular time, and this will always be translated as a niedokonany verb.

What were you doing yesterday at eight o’clock?
I was reading a book. – Czytałem książkę.

Present Simple

There are two aspects in Polish, niedokonany and dokonany. English has three aspects, simple, continuous and perfect.

To show which aspect you are using in Polish, you use a different main verb e.g. iść and pójść. To show which aspect you are using in English, you use a different auxiliary verb e.g. do, be and have.

If we want to use the simple aspect we use the verb do. For present tenses, the verb do has the following forms:

I do
you do
he, she, it does
we do
they do

Positive sentences

Normally, we use the auxiliary verb to tell us which aspect and tense we are using, and we then only need to remember one form of the main verb for each aspect:

simple – do + infinitive (bezokolicznik)

continuous – be + present participle (imiesłów czasu teraźniejszego – verb+ing)

perfect – have + past participle (imiesłów czasu przeszłego – 3rd form)

Using these rules, we should make the present simple by using a present form of the verb do + infinitive for the main verb.

I do go
you do go
he, she, it does go
we do go
they do go

This form is correct, but it is used as a special way to emphasize a verb;

I do like that film. – Ten film naprawdę lubię.

Yes, I do often go to the pub, but I like beer. – Masz rację, że często chodzę do pubu, ale lubię piwo!

When we use the present simple in a positive sentence, and we don’t need to emphasize the main verb, we don’t use the auxiliary verb do.

The form of the auxiliary verb do is usually the same as the infinitive. This means that we also don’t need to change the main verb and can use the infinitive form.

I do like that film. -> I like that film. – Ten film lubię.

I do often go to the pub. -> I often go to the pub. – Często chodzę do pubu.

There is however one problem, the he, she, it form of do has the ending es added to it.

He, she, it does

In this situation, we have to move the es ending from the auxiliary verb, which we don’t use, to the main verb.

He, she it does go -> He, she, it goes

This why we have to remember to add s or es to the main verb in positive sentences.

I like that film. – Lubię ten film.
He likes that film. – On lubi ten film.

I often go to the pub. – Często chodzę do pubu.
He often goes to the pub. – On często chodzi do pubu.

For negative sentences and questions we always use do or does as the auxiliary verb, so we can always use the infinitive form of the main verb.

Negative sentences

I don’t like that film. – Tego filmu nie lubię.

He doesn’t often go to the pub. – On nie często chodzi do pubu.

Questions

Do you like that film? – Czy lubisz ten film?

Does he often go to the pub? – Czy on często chodzi do pubu?

Past Continuous and Past Simple 1

When we talk about the past, there are three different situations which we might want to describe:

1 Somebody did something regularly in the past.

On (zawsze) chodził do sklepu o ósmej.

2 Somebody was doing something in the past, and the action was in progress at a particular past time.

On szedł do sklepu wczoraj o ósmej.

3 Somebody did something one time at a particular past time.

On poszedł do sklepu wczoraj o ósmej.

In sentences 1 and 2, you use a different niedokonany verb to show the two different situations.

In sentence 3, you use a dokonany verb.

Sometimes, you don’t have a different niedokonany verb to show the difference between situations 1 and 2, and you use the same verb. To show which meaning you want to use, you have to use an adverb or a time phrase.

1 Somebody did something regularly in the past.

On zawsze czytał gazetę o ósmej.

2 Somebody was doing something in the past, and the action was in progress at a particular past time.

On czytał gazetę wczoraj o ósmej.

In English, we don’t have niedokonany and dokonany. We use simple and continuous. People often think of the continuous aspect as being the same as niedokonany in Polish, but this isn’t true.

You can see the difference when you compare these Polish sentences with their English translations.

1 Somebody did something regularly in the past.

On zawsze chodził do sklepu o ósmej. – niedokonany
He (always) went to the shop at eight o’clock. – past simple

2 Somebody was doing something in the past, and the action was in progress at a particular past time.

On szedł do sklepu wczoraj o ósmej. – niedokonany
He was walking to the shop at eight o’clock yesterday. – past continuous

3 Somebody did something one time at a particular past time.

On poszedł do sklepu wczoraj o ósmej. – dokonany
He went to the shop at eight o’clock yesterday. – past simple

In English, we use the past simple for something which happened one time in the past and also for something which happened regularly in the past. We have to use an adverb to show which meaning we want to use.

He always went to the shop at eight o’clock.
On zawsze chodził do sklepu o ósmej.

He went to the shop at eight o’clock yesterday.
On poszedł do sklepu wczoraj o ósmej.