The conjunctions I and A often confuse English speakers as they both translate as the english ‘and’. What is the difference between them than?
I – is used to combine the same ideas and meanings, or ideas that go together
e.g. Ja lubię sport i mój brat lubi sport – I like sport and my brother likes sport (the same idea)
Spotkałam się z koleżanką i poszłyśmy na kawę – I met with my friend and we went for a coffee (the ideas go togehter)
A – also translates as ‘and’ but carries a meaning of a subtle contrast. It is used when the contrast exists but we don’t want to emphesise it
e.g. Ja czytam gazetę, a mój mąż ogląda mecz. – I’m reading a newspaper and my husband is watching football (contrast of actions)
Wczoraj byłam w kinie, a dzisiaj idę do teatru. – Yesterday I went to the cinema and today I’m going to the theatre (contrast of places)
If you can translate the sentence to English using both and and but and getting similar meanings, it means in Polish the conjunction a needs to be used.
Ja idę na zakupy, a ty umyj naczynia – I’m going shopping and you wash the dishes/ I’m going shopping but you wash the dishes
Complete the exercises to check if you understood the difference. Don’t get discourage if it’s still confusing! It takes time to master those two conjuctions 🙂 Good luck!
Check my previous post to learn more about Polish conjunctions.