Smutno mi – ways to express feelings and needs in Polish (A1)



Your Polish friend just lost their job, what would you say to them? Or when you feel thirsty, how would you say it in Polish?

Here are the phrases we use to express how we feel (cold, warm, sick, sorry):


‘być’+ a personal pronoun in dative case + adverb

jest mi zimno/ ciepło/ smutno/ niedobrze/ źleI’m cold/ worm/sad; I feel sick/bad


 adverb + a personal pronoun in dative case

 zimno/ ciepło/ smutno/ wesoło/ przykro mi
The most common way to express needs (I’m thirsty, hungry, sleepy etc.) is using a structure:


infinitive verb + a personal pronoun in dative casesię chce

 spać/pić/ jeść mi się chce – I’m sleepy, thirsty, hungry


Both jest mi…. (lit. it is …… to me) and …mi się chce (lit. it wants me to…..) in English don’t have an explicit equivalents. English expresses feelings and needs mostly by using the verbs to feel, to want and to be, whereas Polish structures show what impact the situation has on us. That is why the Polish phrases contain the pronouns in dative case (check the previous post to learn the forms), signalizing that we are recipients of some actions.


How does it work in practice?


Czy możesz otworzyć okno? Gorąco mi. – Could you open the window? I’m hot.

Nie odstałeś tego awansu? Przykro mi.. – You didn’t get the promotion? I’m sorry
note,  przykro mi is used, when you feel sorry for someone and przepraszam when you apologize

Zjadłam zdecydowanie za dużo! Niedobrze mi.. – I ate way too much! I feel sick now.

Zimno ci? Mogę dać ci mój sweter. – Are you cold? I can give you my sweater.

Pić mi się chce. Mamy sok albo colę? – I’m thursty. Do we have a juice or Coke?

Ale jestem zmęczona, nic mi się nie chce! – I’m so tired, I don’t feel like doing anything.

Spać mi się chce, możemy wracać? – I’m sleepy, can we go home?

Tak się cieszę, że aż chce mi się tańczyć! – I’m so happy I want to dance.


Now it’s your turn

Complete the exercise and check if you know how to use the phrases you learned

The exercise doesn’t work? Open it here!


About the Author



I have started my career as a tutor at Jagiellonian University and now I have been conducting Polish lessons working both with private and business clients from all over the world. I'm a big fan of grammar - Polish grammar especially ;)

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