Polish language series: Rdz 1, na początku

Księga Rodzaju

Na początku

This post begins your study of the Polish language using, as your source text, the Biblia Tysiąclecia. In this first post, you will study the Polish text of the Księga Rodzaju (book of Genesis), rozdział pierwszy (first chapter). The Polish abbreviation for the book of Genesis is Rdz. Genesis 1 is abbreviated as Rdz 1. The Polish for Old Testament is Stary Testament.

The notes that follow will assist you in understanding the language of the verses in Polish. Read the verses on your own, and refer to the notes as necessary. Note that the verses have not been reproduced here; you must use the links below to read them.

To consult the declension of a noun, try Wiktionary and the Polish Wikisłownik (if you cannot find what you are looking for in the one, you might find it in the other). A selection of declensions can also be found on this very site. You can use SJP.pl to search for the nominative form of a noun by entering one of its declined forms in the search bar. These sites can also be used to search verbs, adjectives, etc.

In your study of Polish, you will undoubtedly come across language that you do not fully understand, even after having attempted to analyse it: do not let this deter you. Set aside what baffles you, move ahead in your study, and return to it a few weeks (or even months) later. You may just find that it has become clearer.

Polish is a challenge to learn, and the road ahead is long, but you will learn it if you have a strong enough reason to achieve it, consistent study habits, patience and, most importantly, faith.

Read Rdz 1

To read the Polish text of the Bible associated with the notes below or listen to its audio, visit Biblia Tysiąclecia and consult Rdz 1. An archived version of the text can be found here.

Werset 1

  • na (+ loc.), in, at
  • początek (m.), beginning
  • Bóg (m.), God
  • stworzyć (pf.), to create
  • niebo (n.), heaven, sky
  • i, and
  • ziemia (f.), earth

Na początku means in the beginning; following na, the masculine noun początek is inflected for the locative case as początku.

początek, beginning
na początku
in the beginning

Stworzył is the masculine, third-person singular of the past tense of the perfective verb stworzyć. Bóg stworzył means God created.

niebo, heaven
stworzyć niebo
to create the heaven
Bóg stworzył niebo
God created the heaven

ziemia, earth
stworzyć ziemię
to create the earth
Bóg stworzył ziemię
God created the earth

na początku Bóg stworzył niebo i ziemię
in the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth

In English the sentence above, heaven and earth are direct objects. In the Polish version of this sentence, niebo and ziemia must be expressed in the accusative (a noun in the accusative can be likened to a direct object of English); in the accusative, the neuter noun niebo remains unchanged and the feminine noun ziemia becomes ziemię.

Not only does niebo mean heaven, it is also the Polish for sky.

Werset 2

  • zaś, on the other hand, however
  • być (impf.), to be
  • bezład (m.), confusion, disorder, chaos
  • pustkowie (n.), waste, desert
  • ciemność (f.), darkness
  • nad (+ instr.), over, above
  • powierzchnia (f.), expanse, surface, face
  • bezmiar (m.), vastness
  • woda (f.), water
  • a, and, whereas
  • duch (m.), spirit
  • boży, godly, divine
  • unosić się (impf.), to flutter

Była is the feminine, third-person singular of the past tense of the imperfective verb być. Ziemia była means the earth was. Because ziemia is a feminine noun, the feminine form była must be used. The masculine equivalent of była is był, without the a; for example, God was is Bóg był, because Bóg is masculine. In verse 1, you encountered the past tense stworzył, which is masculine in form: Bóg stworzył. The feminine equivalent of stworzył would be stworzyła, with an a added; this would be used with a feminine subject.

The masculine noun bezład and the neuter noun pustkowie are found in the text inflected for the instrumental case as bezładem and pustkowiem. Ziemia zaś była bezładem i pustkowiem means the earth however was confusion and waste. The instrumental is used here in conjunction with the verb być; you will come to understand this better as you progress.

Ciemność is a feminine noun; ciemność była means darkness was. Nad powierzchnią bezmiaru wód is to be taken literally as over the expanse of vastness of waters; this might also be understood in English as over the face of the waste of waters. Following nad, powierzchnia is inflected for the instrumental case as powierzchnią. Bezmiaru is the genitive of bezmiar, and wód is the genitive plural of woda.

Duch Boży translates literally as Godly Spirit; this is generally expressed in English as spirit of God. You read: Duch Boży unosił się nad wodami (the spirit of God was fluttering over the waters). You will recognise unosił as being masculine in form; its feminine equivalent is unosiła. Woda is in its instrumental plural form as wodami in nad wodami.

Werset 3

  • wtedy, then
  • rzec (pf.), to say, to utter
  • niechaj, let
  • stać się (pf.), to become
  • światłość (f.), light

Rzekł is the masculine, third-person singular of the past tense of the perfective verb rzec. Wtedy Bóg rzekł means then God said.

Niechaj (or niech) is used to create a third-person singular or plural imperative (let or may in English). With a perfective verb, niechaj is followed by the third-person singular or plural of the perfective future; with an imperfective verb, it is followed by the third-person singular or plural of the imperfective present. This will become clearer to you as you progress; for the moment, you need only familiarise yourself with the language that you encounter. You can return to the text at a later point when your comprehension of Polish has increased and then reread it with new understanding and appreciation.

Niechaj się stanie światłość means let the light become; may the light become; this is traditionally expressed in English as let there be light. I stała się światłość means and the light became; this is traditionally expressed in English as and there was light.

Werset 4

  • widzieć (impf.), to see
  • że, that
  • dobry, good
  • oddzielić (pf.), to separate
  • ona (f.), she, it
  • od (+ gen.), from

Widząc, formed from the imperfective verb widzieć, is to be taken as meaning (whilst) seeing. The adjective dobry means good: this is its masculine form; its feminine form is dobra. Jest, which is the third-person singular of the imperfective być, means is; for example, Bóg jest means God is. That said, you will understand jest as meaning was here: Bóg widząc, że światłość jest dobra (God, [whilst] seeing that the light was good).

Following other examples seen above, you will have perhaps recognised oddzielił as being the masculine, third-person singular of the past tense — here of the perfective verb oddzielić. You read: oddzielił ją od ciemności (he separated it from the darkness). (it) is the accusative form of the feminine ona (she, it); it refers to the feminine światłość. Following od, the feminine noun ciemność is inflected for the genitive case as ciemności.

Werset 5

  • nazwać (pf.), to call
  • dzień (m.), day
  • noc (f.), night
  • tak, so, thus
  • upłynąć (pf.), to go by, to elapse
  • wieczór (m.), evening
  • poranek (m.), morning
  • pierwszy, first

I nazwał Bóg światłość dniem means and God called the light ‘day’. Światłość is in the accusative (it takes the same form as in the nominative); and dzień is inflected for the instrumental case as dniem. You might understand the instrumental form dniem more literally as meaning as day, as in and God called the light (as) ‘day’.

A ciemność nazwał nocą means whereas the darkness he called ‘night’. Ciemność is in the accusative (like światłość, it takes the same form as in the nominative); and noc is inflected for the instrumental case as nocą. You might understand the instrumental form nocą more literally as meaning as night, as in whereas the darkness he called (as) ‘night’.

Upłynął is the masculine, third-person singular of the past tense of the perfective verb upłynąć. You read: i tak upłynął wieczór i poranek (and thus went by evening and morning). This was the first day of creation: dzień pierwszy.

Werset 6

  • potem, then
  • powstać (pf.), to come into being
  • sklepienie (n.), vault; firmament
  • w (+ loc.), in, at
  • środek (m.), middle
  • ono (n.), it
  • jeden, one
  • drugi, second; the other

A potem Bóg rzekł means and then God said.

God says: niechaj powstanie (let come into a being) sklepienie (a vault) w środku wód (in the middle of the waters). The vault in question here is traditionally referred to in English as the firmament, which takes the form of a vault or dome. This Polish sentence can be taken as meaning: let there be a firmament in the middle of the waters.

Observe:

środek (middle; nominative)
w środku (in the middle; locative)

początek (beginning; nominative)
na początku (in the beginning; locative)

You will recall that bezmiar wód means vastness of waters, where wód is in genitive plural form (the genitive often expresses what English does with the prepositions of or from.) In the current verse now, w środku wód means in the middle of the waters.

środek
middle
w środku
in the middle

woda
water
wód
of the waters

w środku wód
in the middle of the waters

God continues: i niechaj ono oddzieli (and let it separate) jedne wody od drugich (the waters from one another; literally, the one[s] waters from the seconds). The neuter ono (it) refers back to the neuter noun sklepienie. Both jedne and wody are accusative plural forms; drugich is in the genitive plural.

Werset 7

  • uczynić (pf.), to make
  • to (n.), this
  • pod (+ instr.), under
  • ponad (+ instr.), over, above
  • gdy, when

Uczyniwszy, formed from the perfective verb uczynić, is to be understood as meaning having made.

Pod sklepieniem means under the vault (that is, under the firmament); ponad sklepieniem means above the vault (that is, above the firmament). After the prepositions pod and ponad, you find the neuter noun sklepienie inflected for the instrumental case as sklepieniem. Polish prepositions require that a certain case be applied to a noun following them; here, pod and ponad require that the instrumental case be applied.

You can understand the first part of this verse as follows: uczyniwszy to sklepienie (having made this firmament), Bóg oddzielił wody pod sklepieniem (God separated the waters under the firmament) od wód ponad sklepieniem (from the waters above the firmament).

The final portion of verse 7, which leads into the text of verse 8, reads: a gdy tak się stało (and when it became so). From verse 3, you will recall i stała się światłość, meaning and the light became: stała is the feminine form (it ends in a). In the current verse, you find stało, where the o ending indicates that this is the neuter form.

Werset 8

This verse contains no new vocabulary. Bóg nazwał to sklepienie niebem means God called this firmament ‘heaven’. Niebo is inflected here for the instrumental case as niebem. Compare this sentence with those from verse 5, where the instrumental case was also used: nazwał Bóg światłość dniem and ciemność nazwał nocą.

You have now seen a number of instrumental forms: bezładem (m.), dniem (m.), pustkowiem (n.), sklepieniem (n.), niebem (n.), powierzchnią (f.), nocą (f.).

The remainder of this verse follows the form taken by verse 5: i tak upłynął wieczór i poranek (and thus went by evening and morning). This was the second day of creation: dzień drugi.

Werset 9

  • zebrać się (pf.), to gather
  • spod (+ gen.), from under
  • w (+ acc.), into
  • miejsce (n.), place, spot
  • ukazać się (pf.), to appear
  • suchy, dry

God says: niechaj zbiorą się wody spod nieba w jedno miejsce (let the waters from under the heaven gather into one place). Niechaj zbiorą się wody means let the waters gather.

woda
water
wody
waters

zbiorą się wody
the waters gather

niechaj zbiorą się wody
let the waters gather
may the waters gather

In spod nieba, meaning from under the heaven, nieba is the genitive form of niebo: the preposition spod requires this case be applied to the noun following it. W jedno miejsce is to be understood as meaning into one place.

In verse 6, you encountered w środku, where środku is in locative form: w + locative is to be understood as meaning in. In the current verse, you find w jedno miejsce, where jedno miejsce is in accusative form: w + accusative is to be understood as meaning into.

God continues: i niech się ukaże powierzchnia sucha (and let the dry surface appear). You first met powierzchnia (surface, expanse) in verse 2. By dry surface, it is dry land that is meant.

Werset 10

  • ta (f.), this
  • zbiorowisko (n.), gathering
  • morze (n.), sea

In Bóg nazwał tę suchą powierzchnię ziemią (God called this dry surface ‘earth’), tę suchą powierzchnię is in accusative form, whereas ziemią is in the instrumental.

ta sucha powierzchnia
this dry surface

nazwał tę suchą powierzchnię
he called this dry surface

Bóg nazwał tę suchą powierzchnię ziemią
God called this dry surface (as) ‘night’

In a zbiorowisko wód nazwał morzem (whereas the gathering of waters he called [as] ‘sea’), zbiorowisko is in accusative form, whereas morzem is in the instrumental. The nominative and accusative forms of the neuter zbiorowisko are the same.

Observe the following:

nazwał Bóg światłość dniem
nazwał Bóg sklepienie niebem
nazwał Bóg zbiorowisko morzem
nazwał Bóg ciemność nocą
nazwał Bóg powierzchnię ziemią

Observe also:

to sklepienie (n.)
this vault (firmament)

ta powierzchnia (f.)
this surface

The text of this verse continues: Bóg widząc, że były dobre (God, seeing that they were good). This text leads into that of the following verse. Były is a plural form.

Werset 11

  • wydać (pf.), to bring forth
  • roślina (f.), plant
  • zielony, green
  • trawa (f.), grass
  • dawać (impf.), to give, to yield
  • nasiono (n.), seed
  • drzewo (n.), tree
  • owocowy, fruit-
  • rodzić (impf.), to bear
  • według (+ gen.), according to
  • swój, one’s own
  • gatunek (m.), kind, sort
  • owoc (m.), fruit
  • który, which

God commands: niechaj ziemia wyda rośliny zielone (let the earth bring forth green plants). Roślina zielona (green plant) is found here in its accusative plural form rośliny zielone.

ziemia wyda rośliny zielone
the earth will bring forth green plants

niechaj ziemia wyda rośliny zielone
let that the earth will bring forth green plants
= let the earth bring forth green plants
= may the earth bring forth green plants

God also commands that the earth bring forth trawy dające nasiona (seeds-yielding grasses; that is; grasses yielding seeds) and drzewa owocowe rodzące owoce (fruits-bearing fruit trees; that is, fruit trees bearing fruits). Dające can be understood as meaning giving, yielding; rodzące can be understood as meaning bearing.

Na ziemi means on the earth. (Recall that the nominative for earth is ziemia.) In the same way that you find the locative case in na początku, you find the locative in na ziemi. Według swego gatunku means according to its kind. Swego gatunku (from the nominative swój gatunek) is in genitive form because it follows według.

swój gatunek
its kind

według swego gatunku
according to its kind

The genitive swego is also expressed as swojego in Polish; two forms exist. Consult the declension of Polish possessive pronouns.

W których są nasiona is to be understood as in which are the seeds. Których (from the nominative który) is in locative plural form following w.

I stało się tak is to be understood as meaning and it became so; and it was so.

Werset 12

  • nasienie (n.), seed
  • ich, their

Wydała is the feminine, third-person singular of the past tense of the perfective wydać (you first encountered this verb in verse 11). Ziemia wydała rośliny zielone means the earth brought forth green plants. The feminine wydała is used because the subject ziemia is feminine.

The accusative trawę dającą nasienie means seed-yielding grass; that is, grass yielding seed. Verse 11 uses the neuter nasiono to talk about seeds; verse 12 uses the neuter nasienie. Dającą (verse 12) and dające (verse 11) can both be understood as meaning giving, yielding; the difference between them will become clearer to you as you progress.

The accusative drzewa rodzące owoce means fruits-bearing trees; that is, trees bearing fruits.

In verse 11, you encountered w których są nasiona (in which are the seeds). In the current verse, you now find w których było nasienie (in which was the seed).

In verses 11 and 12, you find według swego gatunku (according to its kind). In verse 12, you also find według ich gatunków (according to their kinds). Gatunku is in genitive singular form, whereas gatunków is in the genitive plural.

swój gatunek
its kind

według swego gatunku
according to its kind

ich gatunki
their kinds

według ich gatunków
according to their kinds

Widział is the masculine, third-person singular of the past tense of the imperfective widzieć. You read: a Bóg widział (and God was seeing), że były dobre (that they were good). Widzieć is an imperfective verb (imperfective conveys ongoing action, whereas perfective conveys completed action); widział, then, conveys the sense of was seeing (ongoing) rather than saw or did see (completed). That said, English does not always observe the same distinction between imperfective and perfective as does Polish; it would more typically say here and God saw.

Werset 13

  • trzeci, third

The text of this verse follows the form taken by the second sentence of the fifth and eight verses.

Werset 14

  • ciało (n.), body
  • niebieski, heavenly
  • świecić (impf.), to shine
  • aby, in order that
  • oddzielać (impf.), to separate
  • wyznaczać (impf.), to mark
  • pora (f.), season
  • rok (m.), year

In verse 6, you encountered the singular niechaj powstanie sklepienie (let come into being a firmament); you now find the plural niechaj powstaną ciała niebieskie (let come into being heavenly bodies). The Polish ciało niebieskie means heavenly body; its plural form is ciała niebieskie.

Świecące can be taken as shining. As for na sklepieniu nieba, this means in the firmament of the heaven. You will have perhaps understood that nieba is in genitive form, and that sklepieniu, following the preposition na, is in locative form.

początek (m.) — na początku
sklepienie (n.) — na sklepieniu
ziemia (f.) — na ziemi

Oddzielały and wyznaczały are neuter, third-person plural past tense forms of the imperfective verbs oddzielać and wyznaczać. On their own, oddzielały and wyznaczały would be understood as meaning they were separating and they were marking. In this verse, you find them used with aby, in: aby oddzielały dzień od nocy (in order that they separate [were separating] the day from the night), aby wyznaczały pory roku, dni i lata (in order that they mark [were marking] the seasons of the year, the days and the years).

Werset 15

  • jaśnieć (impf.), to shine

Ciała jaśniejące means shining bodies (that is, the sun and moon). In the text, however, you find ciałami jaśniejącymi, in instrumental form. This use of the instrumental might be likened to the as of English. You read: aby były ciałami jaśniejącymi na sklepieniu nieba (in order that they be [in order that they were as] shining bodies in the firmament of the heaven).

At this point, I should again like to point out that it is not necessary to understand every construction that you come across; the grammar of Polish will reveal itself to you as you progress in the language. You may wish to observe the following nonetheless to at least begin to familiarise yourself; the following can all be used adjectivally to mean shining:

jaśniejący (m.)
jaśniejąca (f.)
jaśniejące (n.)

Not only is jaśniejące the neuter singular form, it is also one of the two plural forms; you find it in ciała jaśniejące (shining bodies).

In verse 2, you encountered nad powierzchnią; in the current verse, you find nad ziemią. You are dealing here with the instrumental case following the preposition nad.

Werset 16

  • dwa ciała, two bodies
  • duży, large
  • wielki, large
  • większy, larger
  • mały, small
  • mniejszy, smaller
  • rządzić (impf.), to govern
  • oraz, as well as
  • gwiazda (f.), star

In the first part of this verse, you read: Bóg uczynił dwa duże ciała jaśniejące (God made two large shining bodies).

Większy (larger) is the comparative form of wielki (large). Mniejszy (smaller) is the comparative form of mały (small).

wielkiwiększynajwiększy
largelargerlargest

małymniejszynajmniejszy
smallsmallersmallest

You find both większy and mniejszy in neuter accusative form: większe, mniejsze. You read: Bóg uczynił […] większe (God made the larger), aby rządziło dniem (in order that it govern [was governing] the day), i mniejsze (and the smaller), aby rządziło nocą (in order that it govern [was governing] the night).

The o ending of rządziło tells you that this is the neuter form of the verb. The reason the neuter is employed in większe, mniejsze and rządziło is because the sun and the moon are heavenly bodies, and the Polish for body is the neuter noun ciało.

Following the verb rządzić, you find dniem and nocą, which are the instrumental forms of dzień (m., day) and noc (f., night).

God also made the stars: Bóg uczynił […] gwiazdy (God made the stars).

Werset 17

  • umieścić (pf.), to place

God placed the heavenly bodies in the firmament: i umieścił je Bóg (and God placed them) na sklepieniu nieba (in the firmament of the heaven), aby świeciły nad ziemią (in order to shine [in order that they were shining] upon the earth). Recall that the imperfective verb świecić means to shine (see verse 14).

Wersety 18-19

  • czwarty, fourth

Observe:

aby rządziło (verse 16)
in order that it was governing,
in order that it governed,
in order to govern,
etc.

aby rządziły (verse 18)
in order that they were governing,
in order that they governed,
in order to govern,
etc.

Werset 20

  • zaroić się (pf.), to teem
  • rój (m.), swarm
  • istota (f.), creature
  • żywy, living
  • ptactwo (n.), fowl
  • latać (impf.), to fly

God says: niechaj się zaroją wody (let the waters teem) od roju istot żywych (with [from] a swarm of living creatures). Following the preposition od, you find the masculine rój in genitive position as roju.

rój
a swarm

od roju
from a swarm

The Polish for living creature is istota żywa; its plural form is istoty żywe (living creatures). This plural form in genitive position is istot żywych:

istoty żywe
living creatures

rój istot żywych
a swarm of living creatures

od roju istot żywych
from a swarm of living creatures

God continues: a ptactwo niechaj lata (and let the fowl fly) nad ziemią (above the earth), pod sklepieniem nieba (under the firmament of the heaven).

Recall from the notes above that a third-person imperative is created by using niechaj (or niech) followed by the third-person singular or plural of the imperfective present or perfective future. In ptactwo niechaj lata, the singular lata is used because ptactwo is a singular noun. In niechaj powstanie sklepienie, from verse 6, the singular powstanie is used because sklepienie is also a singular noun; however, in niechaj powstaną ciała niebieskie, from verse 14, the plural powstaną is used because ciała is a plural noun.

Werset 21

  • potwór (m.), monster
  • morski, marine, sea
  • wszelki, every, all
  • rodzaj (m.), kind, sort
  • pływać (impf.), to swim
  • skrzydlaty, winged
  • różny, different, various

The Polish for sea monster is potwór morski; large sea monster is wielki potwór morski. You read: stworzył Bóg wielkie potwory morskie (God made the large sea monsters).

God also made: wszelkiego rodzaju (of every kind) pływające istoty żywe (swimming living creatures; that is, living creatures that swim). You will have perhaps noticed that the genitive rodzaju is also used in the Polish name for the book of Genesis: Księga Rodzaju.

Którymi zaroiły się wody is to be taken as with which the waters teemed.

God also made the fowl: [Bóg stworzył] wszelkie ptactwo skrzydlate (God made every winged fowl) różnego rodzaju (of various sort).

wszelki (m.)
wszelka (f.)
wszelkie (n.)

skrzydlaty (m.)
skrzydlata (f.)
skrzydlate (n.)

ptactwo (neuter noun)

wszelkie ptactwo skrzydlate (nominative)
all winged fowl
every winged fowl

In the accusative, the neuter wszelkie ptactwo skrzydlate takes the same form:

Bóg stworzył wszelkie ptactwo skrzydlate
God made every winged fowl

Wersety 22-23

  • pobłogosławić (pf.), to bless
  • słowo (n.), word
  • płodny, fruitful, fertile
  • mnożyć się (impf.), to multiply oneself
  • zapełniać (impf.), to fill
  • rozmnażać się (impf.), to reproduce
  • piąty, fifth

Pobłogosławił je tymi słowami is to be taken as God blessed them with these words. Note the use of the instrumental plural tymi słowami (with these words; by these words), where the instrumental conveys what English does with the prepositions with or by.

Bądźcie is the second-person plural imperative of the verb być. Mnóżcie is also a second-person plural imperative, this time from mnożyć (to multiply). You read: bądźcie płodne i mnóżcie się (be fruitful and multiply [yourselves]).

The root of abyście (in order that you) is aby (in order that); observe the ending of abyście, which is a marker of the second-person plural (aby is not a verb, but it can take endings that indicate grammatical person). Abyście zapełniały wody morskie is to be understood as meaning in order that you fill the sea waters.

Ptactwo niechaj się rozmnaża na ziemi: let the fowl reproduce on the earth.

Werset 24

  • bydło (n.), cattle
  • zwierzę (n.), animal
  • pełzać (impf.), to creep
  • dziki, wild

Niechaj ziemia wyda (let the earth bring forth) istoty żywe różnego rodzaju (living creatures of various sort): bydło (cattle), zwierzęta pełzające (creeping animals) i dzikie zwierzęta (and wild animals) według ich rodzajów (according to their kinds).

The plural of zwierzę (animal) is zwierzęta (animals). Pełzające is similar in form to the following, already encountered: dające, rodzące, świecące, jaśniejące, pływające.

Read over the following:

według swego gatunku
according to its kind

według ich gatunków
according to their kinds

według ich rodzajów
according to their kinds

Werset 25

  • po (+ loc.), along, on

Różny rodzaj means different kind, various sort; you find it in the text in accusative plural form as różne rodzaje. You read: Bóg uczynił różne rodzaje dzikich zwierząt (God made different kinds of wild animals; God made various sorts of wild animals). Dzikich zwierząt is in genitive plural form.

Bóg uczynił różne rodzaje dzikich zwierząt (God made various sorts of wild animals), bydła (of cattle) i wszelkich zwierząt pełzających (and all animals creeping) po ziemi (along the earth).

Werset 26

  • wreszcie, finally, at last
  • człowiek (m.), man
  • nasz (m.), our
  • obraz (m.), image, likeness
  • podobny, similar
  • my, we
  • panować (impf.), to rule
  • ryba (f.), fish
  • powietrzny, (of the) air, aerial
  • wszystek, every, all

God says: uczyńmy człowieka (let us make man) na Nasz obraz (into our image; into our likeness). Człowieka is in accusative form; also in accusative form is Nasz obraz following na. The locative following na conveys the sense of in, at, whereas the accusative following na conveys the sense of into: that is, movement. Nam (to us, unto us) is the dative form of my (we): uczyńmy człowieka (let us make man) na Nasz obraz (into our image; into our likeness), podobnego Nam (similar to us).

Niech panuje nad means let him rule over, may he rule over; the verb here is the imperfective panować. Following nad, you have a succession of nouns in the instrumental case: niech panuje (may he rule) nad rybami morskimi (over the sea fishes), nad ptactwem powietrznym (over the air fowl), nad bydłem (over the cattle), nad ziemią (over the earth) i nad wszystkimi zwierzętami pełzającymi po ziemi (and over all animals creeping along the earth).

Werset 27

  • więc, then
  • on (m.), he
  • mężczyzna (m.), man
  • niewiasta (f.), woman

Stworzył więc Bóg człowieka na swój obraz: then God created man in (into) his image.

Go (him) is the accusative form of on (he): na obraz Boży go stworzył (in the image of God he created him; literally, into the Godly Image he created him). Also in accusative form are mężczyznę and niewiastę. You read: stworzył mężczyznę i niewiastę (he created man and woman).

Werset 28

  • po czym, after which, thereupon
  • błogosławić (impf.), to bless
  • oni (m.), they
  • mówić (impf.), to say
  • do (+ gen.), to
  • zaludnić (pf.), to people
  • sobie, unto oneself
  • poddany, subject

Im is the dative form of oni (they); nich is the genitive. Im can usually be understood as meaning unto them; this form is used her with the verb błogosławić. As for nich, this genitive form is required after the preposition do. You read: po czym (thereupon; after which) Bóg im błogosławił (God was blessing [unto] them), mówiąc do nich (saying to them). Compare the form taken by mówiąc to that of widząc, from the fourth verse.

In verse 22, God said to the animals: bądźcie płodne i mnóżcie się (be fruitful and multiply). In the current verse, he says to the man and woman: bądźcie płodni i rozmnażajcie się (be fruitful and reproduce). You first encountered the verb rozmnażać się in the twenty-second verse.

Sobie is to be taken here as meaning unto yourselves. You read: abyście zaludnili ziemię (in order that you people the earth) i uczynili ją sobie poddaną (and make it subject unto yourselves).

Abyście panowali nad: in order that you rule over. The remainder of this verse repeats language encountered in the twenty-sixth verse.

Werset 29

  • oto, behold
  • wy, you (pl.)
  • przynosić (impf.), to yield, to bring
  • ziarno (n.), seed
  • cały, entire
  • mieć (impf.), to have
  • dla (+ gen.), for
  • one, they
  • pokarm (m.), food

Recall that the imperfective dawać means to give (see verse 11). God says to the man and woman: oto wam daję (behold, to you I give) wszelką roślinę przynoszącą ziarno (every seed-yielding plant; that is, every plant yielding seed). Po całej ziemi is to be understood as on the entire earth; cała ziemia (the entire earth) is in locative form as całej ziemi following the preposition po.

God also says that he gives them: wszelkie drzewo (every tree), którego owoc (whose fruit) ma w sobie (has within itself) nasienie (seed).

Dla was będą one pokarmem: for you they shall be as food. Was is the genitive form of wy (you; second-person plural), which is required after the preposition dla (for). Pokarmem is the instrumental form of pokarm (food).

dla was
for you (second-person plural)

one będą
they shall be
(the text uses będą one)

pokarmem
(as) food

Wersety 30-31

  • polny, of the field, rural
  • powietrze (n.), air
  • wszystko, everything
  • co, which
  • poruszać się (impf.), to move
  • pierwiastek (m.), element
  • życie (n.), life
  • bardzo, very
  • szósty, sixth

Verse 30: Take note of all the genitive forms following dla: a dla wszelkiego zwierzęcia polnego (and for every field animal) i dla wszelkiego ptactwa w powietrzu (and for every fowl in the air) i dla wszystkiego (and for everything), co się porusza po ziemi (which moves along the earth) i ma w sobie (and has within itself) pierwiastek życia (the element of life), będzie pokarmem wszelka trawa zielona (every green grass shall be as food).

Verse 31: a Bóg widział (and God was seeing), że wszystko, co uczynił (that everything that he made), było bardzo dobre (was very good); that is, and God saw that everything that he had made was very good. Dobre is neuter form of the adjective; it agrees with the neuter wszystko.

dobry (m.)
dobra (f.)
dobre (n.)

Consult a list of Polish prepositions and their cases.


It would be wise to learn the names of the Polish grammatical cases in Polish itself. If you are consulting declensions in a reference work written in Polish, you will need to be familiar with them.

  • mianownik (m.), nominative
  • dopełniacz (m.), genitive
  • celownik (m.), dative
  • biernik (m.), accusative
  • narzędnik (m.), instrumental
  • miejscownik (m.), locative
  • wołacz (m.), vocative