by, żeby

Hal1fax

Member
Canada, English
Hii,
I am from Canada but I am going to Poland in July and I speak some Polish but I am not completely fluent, I am hoping to get better by the time I go anyways I was just wondering about what "by" and "zeby" mean because when I ask Polish people they can't explain it to me.
thankyou.
 
  • dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Welcome to the forums, Hal1fax!

    Well, in most cases they mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably (there's also "aby", which means the same). So in general they can be translated as "in order to, so that, so as to, to". However, "by" is also sometimes used in conditional clauses, but that's yet another kettle of fish... :D
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    To me the meaning is the same, but żeby would be my fist choice in an everyday conversation. Aby is the same except for the fact that is sounds a bit formal. By has almost literary overtones; for example:
    Żeby naprawić ten błąd, musisz zastosować polecenie o którym Ci mówiłem. sounds normal
    Aby naprawić ten błąd, musisz zastosować polecenie o którym Ci mówiłem. sounds normal, but a tad more formal than the previous one.
    By naprawić ten błąd, musisz zastosować polecenie o którym Ci mówiłem. sounds kind of stilted to me, I don't think many Poles would employ it in a casual talk, and I don't hear it used often in this meaning. I would expect to see it rather in a writerly composition.

    There are also contexts in which none of them is interchangeable.

    Tom

    PS: welcome to the forums. :)
     

    dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Yeah, you're right Tom. But it's just occured to me that in certain circumstances "żeby" can mean "gdyby" ("by" can also mean "gdyby" though it is most likely to be heard only in an informal conversation). :)

    PS: What contexts had you thought of exactly?
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Żeby tak na niego trafiło...
    Żeby mi się to więcej nie powtórzyło!


    By as mentioned earlier on is a landmark of the conditional.

    Postąpił nierozsądnie, żeby nie powiedzieć głupio.
    In this case, I'm waffling whether claiming that by is also interchangeable with żeby is sound (it doesn't sound as good to me as żeby, but there's a little grain of uncetainity...), and I don't like aby.

    Aby nie za późno.
    I wouldn't swap aby by żeby or by here, I might employ byle, perhaps oby would be fine too.


    Tom
     

    tkekte

    Senior Member
    Russian/Israel
    That by kind of reminds me of Bulgarian да and English to in this case. :)

    A też to samo po polsku sprobuję:
    W tym przypadku, by mi trochę przypomina o bułgarskiem да i angielskiem to. (poprawcie mnie proszę. :))

    bg. Седнах на пейката да го очаквам. (gram?)
    eng. I sat on the bench to wait for him.

    If so, is it ok to say "siadłem na ławce (ławkę?) by go czekać"?
    And if it is, do you need to put a comma before the "by"? In english you certainly don't put commas before "to", not sure about Bulgarian.
     

    dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hello tkekte,

    "(U)siadłem na ławce, by na niego (po/za)czekać"?

    And we do need a comma before the "by" in my humble opinion. :)
     
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