Numerals: Nominative or Genitive?

Numerals: Nominative or Genitive?

In the beginning of your travel with Polish numerals you learn how to speak about your age. You know that if you are 22,23,24 (and other numbers with 2,3,4 in the end) you have to use the form lata “Mam dwadzieścia dwa, dwadzieścia trzy lata”, and when you are a teen or you are 25,26,27,28,29,30,21 (and so on except 2,3,4 in the end) you need to use the form lat “Mam siedemnaście lat”, “Mam dwadzieścia siedem lat” .

Why is it so? What grammar rule causes it?

It’s all because numerals above 5 are treated as they were nouns and we need to use genitive function “part of something”. So literally it is “2,3,4 eggs” but it’s not “5 eggs” – it’s  “5 of eggs”. To sum up :


2,3, 4(22,23,24 (…)) – NOMINATIVE PLURAL

everything more than 5 and except 2,3, 4(22,23,24 (…))  – GENITIVE PLURAL

That is why we say:

“Dzisiaj jest 23 stopnie” but “Dzisiaj jest 25 stopni

“Mam 2 domy” but ” Ona ma 11 domów

“Jacek ma w portfelu 4 złote” but “Marina ma w portfelu 8 złotych” (Uwaga! Złoty is an adjective)


Let’s practice!

First the easier exercise just with “rok, lat, lata” and then the harder one with different nouns.



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