ja lubię ją - I like her

ja nie lubię jej - I do not like her

  1. Do I understand correctly what these sentences mean?
  2. If yes, why do we change to jej when negating the phrase? In both cases the pronoun is her.
  • 3
    Watch out, when you say "In both cases the pronoun is her", this is not so because "her" is an english word of course. The pronouns are not "her", they are "ona".
    – OmarL
    Sep 27, 2021 at 8:15

1 Answer 1

  1. Yes, you do understand correctly what those sentences mean.

  2. In the Slavic languages in general and in Polish in particular, the direct object of a verb is in the Accusative case when the verb is affirmative, but if the verb is negated, the direct object is in the Genitive case (see #3 here). It is one of the most basic rules of Polish syntax and case usage.

The pronoun ona (“she”) has as the Accusative case form and jej as the Genitive case form.

  • 1
    Some Slavic languages - like Czech, for example - use Accusative with negatory verbs. "Nie lubię jej" in Czech is "Nemám ji rád" (Accusative), and not "Nemám jí rád" (Genitive).
    – Alichino
    Oct 13, 2021 at 10:10
  • 1
    @Alichino - Yes, true. Genitive in the negative sentences (genetivus negationis, also called Slavic genitive) is a very old phenomenon, it appeared already in the Balto-Slavic times and is st ill present in Lithuanian. It came out of use in some languages like Latvian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Czech, left just some traces in Czech, and in Russian it is not mandatory. Still, that used to be the overall trend, and it's still a must in Polish.
    – Yellow Sky
    Oct 13, 2021 at 17:01
  • 1
    @Alichino - In Czech it started to decline in the 2nd half of the 16th cent. and totally disappeared only in the 20th cent. leaving just traces in set expressions like nebylo po něm vidu ani slechu ‘there was no trace of him (no sight nor sound)’, Genitive is bold.
    – Yellow Sky
    Oct 13, 2021 at 17:08
  • 1
    Respect for your knowledge :thumbs-up:
    – Alichino
    Oct 14, 2021 at 7:41

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