wziąć vs brac vs zabierac

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by Bormer, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. Bormer Member

    London, UK

    What are the differences between these verbs?

    wziąć vs brac vs zabierac
  2. Lorenc Senior Member

    wziąć and brać are an aspectual pair (wziąć having perfective aspect, brać imperfective) and therefore have the same meaning, namely to take. It is impossible to be more specific without a context. Zabrać is a different perfective verb, whose imperfective partner is zabierać; its main meaning is to take away, although it has other meanings (e.g., to take someone somewhere; to carry) which I believe may sometimes overlap wziąć/brać.
  3. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    I have been puzzled by two of these verbs also when these 2 examples were given in a simple online Polish lesson....
    czy możesz wziąć jabłko? can you take an apple?
    biorę jabłko I take an apple

    Presumably I should consider the 1st statement to represent an ongoing (possible) action whilst in the 2nd, the action is completed?

  4. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    I am not sure if the following is very helpful. I hope it is.

    TAKE (TAKE HOLD OF) - brać/wziąć (chwycić)

    I take an apple and I peel it. Biorę jabłko i obieram je.
    I have taken an apple and peeled it. Wziąłem jabłko i obrałem je.
    I am going to take an appple and peel it. Wezmę jabłko i obiorę je.

    Can you take an apple and peel it? Czy możesz wziąć jabłko i obrać je?
    Can you keep taking one apple at a time? Czy możesz brać jedno jabłko na raz?
    Take it carefully. Bierz/Weź je ostrożnie.
  5. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    Thanks for this Wolf.
    I have to say though it is quite confusing to me.
    Maybe it's best for a novice, such as I am, simply to learn by example in these situations where aspectual pair verbs are used.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
  6. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Oh, dear me. I was afraid of that.
    When I choose a specific word I do not contemplate what aspect it is. It just has to sound right, otherwise it sounds funny.
    So, I cannot use 'wziąc' to say a sentence similar to 'Biorę jabłko.' 'Wzię? jabłko' sounds terrible. I cannot use 'wziąć' for a present situation. I would have to use a future form 'Wezmę jabłko.'

    In English it is possible to say 'I have been taking apples all morning' but not 'I am taking apples all morning.'

    On the other hand I cannot use 'brać' in the question about permission. I cannot say 'Czy mogę brać jabłko?' when I mean, e. g., taking an apple from a bowl, because how long can one 'brać jabłko' or how many times can one 'brać jabłko.' The verb 'brać' stretches the action a bit or makes it more frequent and it is rather general.

    I have to use the verb 'wziąć' in that situation and say 'Czy mogę wziąć jabłko?' when I mean a single action in the future.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
  7. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    Thanks, that helps.
  8. kknd Senior Member

    Polska / Poland
    polski / Polish
    you could also compare aspectual pair acting in similar way (you may call it 'regular'): iść and pójść—meaning generally 'to go, to walk'. wolfbm1 explanations seem to be rather vague (see second sentence) but try to read about perfective and imperfective aspect in polish again in context of those examples and you'll see that facts he has given might be considered as a general rule; you can find some details in this interesting discussion [forum] (you may also want to read an article, even the first page, mentioned in a thread i've provided).
  9. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    Thanks very much for these links.
    I have had a look at them over the weekend and they are a very good introduction to this question of aspect which is rather more complex than I was hitherto aware of!
  10. jasio Senior Member

    This is where the aspectual pairs come in play. Please note that perfective verbs do NOT have present tense at all (the action must not happen now and be already completed at the same time!). If you want to express the present meaning ('I take an apple / I am taking an apple') you MUST use imperfective verb ("Biorę jabłko"). Full stop.

    There are also inherent differences in future and past tenses, which sometimes sound pretty innatural when translated to English.

    * "Brałem jabłko" - (imperfective) focuses on the activity of taking the apple, but says nothing, if one actually succeded; in some contexts it may be related to continuous tenses in English (such as when something happened when another activity was taking place), but the actual use is significantly different.
    * "Wziąłem jabłko" - (perfective) focuses on the result: I took an apple, and I actually have (or had) it.

    Similarly in future tense:
    * "Będę brał jabłko" (imperfective) focuses on the activity, and says nothing about one actually having the apple
    * "Wezmę jabłko" (perfective) focuses on the result: I will have an apple taken from somewhere.

    Please not however, that the actual uses in many cases differ from theory.

    There is a whole thread on this in parallel (http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2840318).
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014

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