Question re the movable -by (etc) stem for conditionals


Can anyone help? I’ve noticed many times on Clozemaster that the conditional verb stem is often split from the verb and moved to elsewhere in the sentence e.g.

  1. Tutaj nie chcielibyście mieszkać (You wouldn’t want to live here).
  2. Tutaj byście nie chcieli meszkać (You wouldn’t want to live here).

Are the two forms interchangeable? Or is it a matter of emphasis? If so, is the separated conditional stem (i.e. as per number 2) placed in order to emphasis the word before, or after, in the sentence? In other words, is it emphasising the ‘‘tutaj’’ or the ‘‘nie’’?


The two forms are generally interchangeable. “Byście” is sometimes moved earlier in the sentence when putting emphasis on the word that comes before (here: “tutaj”), though not exclusively for that purpose.

More commonly, “byś” is moved before the verb in wh- questions (what / why / when / who). It is basically ungrammatical not to split it off the verb in such sentences.


Co byś dla niej zrobił? (NOT: Co dla niej zrobiłbyś?)
Kto by nam pomógł? (NOT: Kto nam pomógłby?)
Kiedy byś przyszedł? (NOT: Kiedy przyszedłbyś?)

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Many thanks for this explanation, which is very clear. I’d asked a Polish person (on another site) about the spilt conditional who told me that it was ungrammatical to split the conditional ending full stop, although Polish people do use it a lot in every day speech. I wasn’t convinced by this though, as I’d also seen this form in a book about Polish grammar, as well as on Clozemaster. Unfortunately, the book didn’t explain it very well and it did not cover the point you made about it being it being ungrammatical to not split the conditional ending when forming wh- questions. Thanks!