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37 Dative/Locative/Instrumental Plural

We know now how to form the nominative plural of nouns, and how to form the accusative in plural, but we still don't know how to make the dative/locative plural (DL-pl) or the instrumental plural (I-pl).

Both cases are quite simple to form, and they are always equal in plural. Nouns get the following endings:

noun type (N) DLI-pl
nouns in -a (≈ fem.) -a-ama
neuter nouns (≈ in -o, -e) -o, -e-ima
masc. nouns not in -a N-pl + ma
fem. not in -a (e.g. noć) N-pl + ma

As you can see, all nouns end in either -ama or -ima in DLI-pl. There are no additional sound changes in this case: if you know how to make N-pl, you know how to make these two cases as well!

For example:

Putujemo rođacima. We're traveling to our relatives.

Ptice sjede na granama. Birds are sitting on branches.

In the following examples you'll see how I = DL for plural (the noun vrata exists only in plural form!):

Stojim pred vratima. I'm standing in front of the door.

Razgovaram s prijateljima. I'm talking to my friends.

Of course, we must be able to put adjectives into DLI-pl as well. It's simpler than you probably would expect:

gender adj. DLI-pl example
fem. -im velikim ribama
big fishes
neut. velikim jezerima
big lakes
masc. velikim stolovima
big tables

What about pronouns? We have already seen DL case of personal pronouns, both in singular and in plural, and instrumental case in singular. The instrumental case in plural is identical to the DL-pl forms, but only stressed forms are used – there are no unstressed forms of instrumental. Pronouns tko who and što what have singular forms only anyway.

Something quite special happens with adjectives used as nouns or pronouns. For example, the "noun" mladi m pl. (adj.) is actually an adjective, short for mladi ljudi young people or the young. Look what happens when it's used in DLI-pl:

Na mladim ljudima svijet ostaje. The world is left to the young people.

Na mladima svijet ostaje. (the same meaning)

As you can see, if an adjective is used as a noun, it gets an additional -a in DLI-pl, essentially giving it the same ending as any masc. or neuter noun. This happens only in the DLI-pl.

The second, shorter sentence is a common proverb in Croatian, corresponding to English the young shall inherit the earth.

The following preposition is used with instrumental when you have more than one thing, or a collective noun:

među + I among (location)

For example:

Ptica se skriva među lišćem. The bird is hiding 'among' the leaves.

Tražim pismo među papirima. I looking for the letter among the papers.

The noun lišće is a collective noun, so we used instrumental singular (collective nouns have no plural), but the noun papir paper is a regular noun so we used DLI-pl.

The preposition među can be used with A as well, then it stands for a destination.

(There are certain dialects in Croatia where DL is not equal to I in plural, actually, where D, L and I are have different endings. They will be briefly summarized in the section on dialects.)

Now you know how to create almost all forms of nouns. There are only two cases left unexplained: genitive plural and the vocative case. They will be explained in 44 Genitive Plural and 72 Addressing and Vocative Case.

(the rest is coming soon...)

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5 Easy Croatian: 37 Dative/Locative/Instrumental Plural We know now how to form the nominative plural of nouns, and how to form the accusative in plural, but we still don't know how to make th...

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