Asking questions in Polish

Questions in Polish is an easy topic, way easier than in English. However, I would like to warn you about a thing that your textbook might have omitted.


So, as you probably know, in Polish we don’t have to reverse the order subject–verb. Not only we don’t have to, but we just can’t, we just don’t do it. The only thing we have to change, regarding the affirmative sentence, is to substitute a full stop with a question mark. For example:

  • Masz książkę. You have got a book.
  • Masz książkę? Have you got a book?
  • To jest Anna. It’s Anna.
  • Kto to jest? Who is it?

It is extremely easy and I hope you share my viewpoint.

If we ask a question to which one can only reply „yes” or „no”, we can put the word „czy” at the beginning of the sentence. For example:

  • Masz książkę? Czy masz książkę?
  • Idzie ze mną? Czy on idzie ze mną? Is he going with me?

The problem is that the meanings of questions with and without „czy” are often different. The thing that differs is the tone. We almost never use „czy” questions in casual speech! On daily basis we say: „Idziesz ze mną?”, „Masz książkę?”, „Chcesz coś ze sklepu?”, „Wie pani gdzie jest przystanek?”.

Adding „czy” at the beginning of the questions makes it more official and serious. Some examples of the situations in which you may hear „czy” questions:

  • At doctor’s appointment. Czy boli pana głowa? Have you got a headache?
  • At school. Czy możesz mi powiedzieć gdzie byłeś na poprzedniej lekcji? Can you tell me where were you during the previous lesson?
  • Sarcastic usage in a colloquial speech. Czy ty zwariowałeś? Are you crazy?
  • At court. Czy był pan wtedy pod wpływem alkoholu? Were you under the influence of alcohol then?
  • In a bank. Czy byłby pan zainteresowany kredytem? Would you be interested in a credit?
  • At work. Czy mógłbym dziś wyjść godzinę wcześniej? Could I go out one hour earlier today?
  • During a lecture. Czy Bóg istnieje? Does the God exist?

In semi–formal situations (for example: in a shop, on a bus, while talking with a stranger on the street) we generally use questions without „czy”. And that’s it. Don’t overuse „czy” when asking questions — that’s my advice.

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