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My go nie lubimy - we do not like him

On nie kocha mnie - he does not love me

Why in the first example go is followed by nie lubimy, but in the second sentence we have the opposite: nie kocha followed by mnie?

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  • 1
    Because go is the weak form, and those behave like clitics and tend to appear early in the sentence, while mnie is a strong form. If you use the strong form jego instead of the weak form go, you can see the difference. Oct 2 at 9:33
  • My nie lubimy jego? Oct 2 at 9:44
  • @JanusBahsJacquet what about ten kot jej nie lubi? Oct 2 at 12:22
  • Not all the pronouns have separate strong and weak forms; some have only one that does ‘double duty’ as both, like jej. I don’t actually speak Polish, but I expect ten kot nie lubi jej would also be fine. Oct 2 at 13:38
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The Polish pronouns ja (“I”), ty (“you singular, thou”), on (“he”), ono (“it”) have two sets of forms in the Genitive, Dative, and Accusative cases: a full form and a clitic form. The clitic form has no stress of its own and intonationally it is attached to the previous word, therefore the clitic forms cannot begin a sentence while the full forms can. The difference in usage is that the clitic forms are used by default, the full forms are used when the pronoun is specially underlined, when it is logically stressed and can be the first word in the sentence, when it's used in contrasting things. Your example On nie kocha mnie means ‘He doesn't love me (but loves someone else)’, while On mię nie kocha is neutral “He doesn't love me.”

Ona (“she”) and all the plural pronouns my (“we”), wy (“you”), one (“they feminine, neutral, and masculine inanimate”), oni (“they masculine animate”) do not have distinct clitic forms.
In the chart below, first the clitic forms are given, followed by the full forms.
Gen. of ja and Acc. of ono have no distinct clitic form.

Nom.    ja           ty             on          ono
Gen.    mnie         cię, ciebie    go, jego    go, jego
Dat.    mi, mnie     ci, tobie      mu, jemu    mu, jemu
Acc.    mię, mnie    cię, ciebie    go, jego    je

There are also pronoun forms beginning with ni-, they are used only after prepositions, e.g. czekam na niego “I'm waiting for him.” The complete chart of the case forms of the Polish personal pronouns can be found here.

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