A brief account of applications of polarized inelastic neutron scattering in condensed matter research is given. We show that full polarization analysis is the only tool allowing to discriminate unambiguously between different magnetic modes in various magnetic materials. We show by means of recent results in the Heisenberg ferromagnet EuS that the effects of dipolar interactions can be studied on a microscopic scale. Moreover, we have found for the first time indications for the divergence of the longitudinal fluctuations belowTc. In the itinerant antiferromagnet chromium we demonstrate that the dynamics of the longitudinal and transverse excitations are very different, resolving a long standing puzzle concerning the slope of their dispersion. Finally, we show that a measurement of the polarization-dependent part of the cross section of non-centrosymmetric MnSi proves directly that the chirality of the magnetic fluctuations is left-handed.