Adjectives to adverbs (-o)

Last post I looked at the way many adjectives can be closely mapped to corresponding adverbs, focusing on those which resulted in an adverb ending in -e.

In this post, I’ll cover the other category; those that result in an adverb ending in -o.  As last time, I’ll quote examples of masculine adjective endings, but of course the same patterns apply for feminine and neuter versions.

Adverbs to end in -o

I’ll quote the full list of adjective endings which typically map to a adverb with -o, but effectively, it seems to be everything which isn’t in the list on the previous page for -e.

Soft endings: -ni, -pi, -wi, -si, -cy, -czy, -ży, -chy, -szy

The perennial special cases : -gi, -ki

And finally : -owy

As far as I can tell, there is only one common special change, where it’s not simply i to o, or y to o.

Adjective ending Adverb ending
ni nio

Some common examples

Adjective Adverb English
bliski blisko closely
cichy cicho quietly
drogi drogo expensively
duży dużo a lot
gorący gorąco hot
lekki lekko lightly
ostatni ostatnio lately
suchy sucho dry
tani tanio cheaply
wysoki wysoko high
zdrowy zdrowo healthily


There is a special rule for colours, which also map to an adverb ending with -o.  The preposition ‘na‘ is added to a colour in order for it to make sense as an adverb,

Adjective Adverb English
biały na biało in white
czerwony na czerwono in red
niebieski na niebiesko in blue
ciemny na ciemno in a dark colour
jasny na jasno in a bright colour

Adjectives to adverbs (-e)

Adjectives and adverbs are a great example of knowing two words as a result of memorizing only one & the rules are largely consistent and predictable for what ending to apply.

Adverbs to end in -e

It seems typical to quote the adjectives in their masculine form for these mappings, so I’ll do likewise.  But each of the endings below typically results in an adverb ending in -e, sometimes with other slight changes to the suffix.

Adjective ending Adverb ending
ły le
ny nie
sny śnie
sty ście
wy wie

Some examples

Adjective Adverb English
ciekawy ciekawie interestingly
doskonały doskonale perfectly
ładny ładnie prettily
osobisty osobiście personally
radosny radośnie joyfully
zły zle wrongly


  1. While -wy ⇒ -wie, this isn’t the case when the ending is -owy.  They map to owo.
  2. Colours.  These also map to the -o ending.
  3. There are just some exceptions to every rule.  Common ones that I’ve see so far include :
Adjective Adverb English
mroźny mrózno freezing
późny późno late
wolny wolno slowly

Next post, I’ll look at the other adverb suffix which I’ve mentioned in the exceptions, -o.

The gender of numbers

In Polish, you get used to changing the ending of adjectives to suit the gender of their associated noun.  Numbers are similar, but fortunately only the first two, which makes life simpler!  In the table below you can see that for one and two, the word changes for a Masculine, Neuter & Feminine noun.  Whereas for three and greater, the word for the number is the same for all.

Masculine Neuter Feminine
jeden kot jedno jabłko jedna kobieta
dwa koty dwa jabłka dwie kobiety
trzy koty trzy jabłka trzy kobiety
cztery koty cztery jabłka cztery kobiety
pięć kotów pięć jabłek pięć kobiet
sześć kotów sześć jabłek sześć kobiet
siedem kotów siedem jabłek siedem kobiet
osiem kotów osiem jabłek osiem kobiet
dziewięć kotów dziewięć jabłek dziewięć kobiet
dziesięć kotów dziesięć jabłek dziesięć kobiet

The other thing you might have noticed if you were paying attention, was that from five, the nouns change too.  This is one of the rules for the Genitive (Dopełniacz) case coming in to play, where a quantity of five or more changes the case to Genitive.  Well, mostly.  Except where the number ends with the word dwa, trzy or cztery (ie, 22, 23, 24, 32, 33, 34, 42…).  But that wasn’t the focus of this post and I’ll cover the rules for Genitive another day.

Pies to Psa, but why not Piesa?

I’m sure you’re aware that basically as you change the case of a noun, you often need to change the ending of the word in some way.

There are dozens of rules about when and why (which I’ll have a go at simplifying some of in the future), but one example you see again and again is Pies (Dog), but it’s a strange one because in various cases Pies turns into Psa, Psy, Psu or Psów.  Yet Kot (Cat) (which is another masculine animate noun) changes to Kota, Koty, Kotu, Kotów.

There are other words which do similar things, where some letters are removed before the ending is applied, but until today I hadn’t found anywhere that explained why these words were special, so I had them all lumped together as special nouns you had to memorize, but I really don’t like having to memorize more than necessary.

Today I found a book which gave me a rule to follow, which appears to hold true for lots of other nouns, so I wanted to share while it was fresh in my mind.

If the noun has an ‘e or an ‘ie in the last syllable, then remove it before adding the ending.

Examples of this pattern (with just the one other case to keep it simple)

Nominative Accusative English
Lew Lwa Lion
Dziadek Dziadka Grandfather
Chłopiec Chłopca Boy
Ojciec Ojca Father

Note this only applies (as far as I can tell) to Masculine Animate nouns, but at least it’s one more pattern and one less magic special case to remember.

And.. ‘I’ or ‘A’?

In Polish, both ‘i’ and ‘a’ can be translated as ‘and‘… So which should you use?

i is used when you’re connecting similar things together or describing things which are happening at the same time.

Adam i Ewa mieszkają tutaj

Adam and Eve live here

Matka i córka są z Polski

The mother and daughter are from Poland

Jem i piję

I am eating and drinking

a is used when you’re contrasting things or emphasizing that things will happen at different times.

Matka jest z Polski, a córka jest z Włoch

The mother is from Poland and the daughter is from Italy

Jem, a potem będę pić

I am eating and then I will drink

You might also consider ‘a‘ as meaning ‘and/but‘ or ‘whereas‘ if that makes more sense to you.

One small thing worth noting is that ‘a‘ is always preceded by a comma, whereas ‘i‘ is not.

Days of the week

Very early in learning a language, you’re going to learn numbers and days of the week.  If you’re going to memorize such things, you might as well get a few others words from the experience and help yourself remember which day is which.

S   niedziela nie + dzieło (no + work)
M poniedziałek po + niedziałek (after + Sunday)
T   wtorek wtórny  (secondary) Second day after Sunday
W   środe środek  (middle) Middle of the week
Th   czwartek czwarty (fourth) Fourth day after Sunday
F   piątek piąty   (fifth) Fifth day after Sunday
Sa   sobota seems derived from the word Sabbath or Shabbat