Tom umarł przez mnie. (Sentence Note & Question)

  • umrzeć umrę ‑rzesz umarł pf, impf umierać = to die
  • zemrzeć ‑mrę ‑mrzesz zmarł pf, impf zmierać = to die, pass away

Some help please? I’ve seen both umrzeć and zemrzeć both used on CM and they both seem to have been used in similar contexts. What is the difference, if any, between the two? Thanks!

“Zemrzeć” is more formal than “umrzeć” – it’s kind of like the difference between “decease” and “die”.

Also, “zemrzeć” is mostly used in past tense (zmarł, zmarła, zmarli, etc.) – you’ll see it a lot in obituaries, encyclopaedic entries and so on. The infinitive (zmierać), present forms (zmieram, zmiera, zmierają, etc.) and future forms (zemrze, zemrą, etc.) are very rare, and sound somehow archaic.

On the other hand, “umrzeć” is commonly used in all tenses. For example, if you want to say “he is dying”, “on umiera” (and not: “on zmiera”) is pretty much your only choice.


Thanks for the explanation, it’s appreciated.