47 More Than 4 Items and Age

Counting more than 4 items is quite simple: just use the number and put the noun in genitive plural after it:

Imam pet jabuka. I have five apples.

If you want to use one of adjectives that come before numbers (that is, determiners as taj (t-) that or possessives), they should be in G-pl as well:

Imam ovih pet jabuka. I have these five apples.

If you use them as a subject, it behaves as neuter singular:

Pet jabuka je bilo u kutiji. Five apples were in the box.

This table summarizes use of various numbers in Croatian (for masc. nouns):

je pjevao
su pjevala
je pjevalo

The same table for fem. nouns:

je pjevala
su pjevale
je pjevalo

Some numbers greater than 4 behave as numbers 1-4: it all depends on the last word in the number:

21 dvadeset i jedan → behaves as jedan (jedn-)

53 pedeset i tri → behaves as tri

So, for such numbers, rules for using nouns and adjectives with numbers 1-4 apply:

Imam dvadeset i jednu jabuku. I have 21 apples. (A)

Imam pedeset i tri jabuke. I have 53 apples. (G)

In the same manner, rules for 1-4 don’t apply to numbers 11, 12, 13 and 14: they don’t end with any of the words above, but with -naest, which makes them behave like 5 or 10.

The number zero also behaves as a number greater than 4 (note that English requires here plural as well!):

Imam nula jabuka. I have 0 apples.

For numbers with decimal points (in Croatian, a comma is often used instead of the decimal point) it again depends on the last word:

Imam dva cijela pet kilograma. I have 2.5 kilos. (G-pl)

Imam dva cijela jedan kilogram. I have 2.1 kilos. (A)

Instead of cijela, words točka dot and zarez comma ® are also used.

Now, we can finally say how old someone is. In Croatian, the primary way to specify age is to say that someone ‘has years’:

Imam dvadeset i jednu godinu. I’m 21 years old. (lit. ‘I have 21 years.’)

Goran ima osam godina. Goran is 8 years old. (lit. ‘Goran has 8 years.’)

If you know some Spanish, you will notice that it uses exactly the same construct to express this (Goran tiene 8 años).

To ask how old someone is, use again the question word koliko how many; as this is a quantity adverb, the word it refers to (here godina year) must be in genitive plural:

Koliko imaš godina? How old are you? (lit. ‘How many years do you have?’)

— Osam. Eight.

The same holds for any question about quantity of something countable, even if one who is asking knows it’s less than five:

Koliko imaš jabuka? How many apples do you have?

— Tri. Three.

There’s a useful way to express at what age you did something:

s¨ / sa¨ + age (in instrumental) = at the age of...

For example:

Prvi put sam letio avionom s dvanaest godina. I flew in an airplane for the first time at the age of twelve.

You’ll sometimes see just s¨ + number, years are assumed then. However, it’s also usual to express this with an embedded time clause, starting with kad(a):

Prvi put sam letio avionom kad sam imao dvanaest. I flew in an airplane for the first time when I was twelve.

Such clauses are really sentences-within-a-sentence; any second-position words (e.g. sam²) come right after the word kad(a).

Bigger numbers use the following words – there’s more than one word for numbers 100 and 1000:

100 sto (adv.) / stotina
1000 tisuća ® / hiljada (colloq.) ®
million milijun ®

The above words are nouns (except sto) and can change case according to usual roles (the counted noun is always in G-pl, of course):

Imam tisuću dolara. I have one thousand dollars.

Tisuća dolara je u ladici. One thousand dollars are in the drawer.

The Standard Croatian noun for 1000 is tisuća, while the noun hiljada is colloquial; both words are used in speech (I personally use tisuća).

The Croatian verb is in singular, since we’re talking about a thousand – only one thousand, like one box containing small pieces of paper.

The three nouns listed above are often used as ‘adverbs’ (identical to the accusative forms of nouns), regardless of their role, especially tisuća:

Tisuću dolara je u ladici. One thousand dollars are in the drawer.

If you use the accusative form as subject (i.e. an ‘adverb’), don’t forget it then behaves as any quantity adverb, that is, adjectives and past forms of verbs must be put to neuter singular. Compare the following sentences:

Tisuću dolara je bilo u ladici. (adverb) One thousand dollars were in the drawer.

Tisuća dolara je bila u ladici. (fem. noun, the same meaning)

While in English it’s a rule to say one thousand (or one million), in Croatian it’s a rule to use just tisuća (or milijun) – it’s assumed there’s one if the word is in singular.

If you have two thousands (or more) you don’t have an option to use accusative, you have to follow rules for counting two things (or more) – things counted are thousands. Therefore the word tisuća goes into either G or G-pl, the same as if you were counting money in bags or any other noun:

Imam dvije tisuće dolara. I have two thousand dollars.

Imam pet tisuća dolara. I have five thousand dollars.

Hundreds are expressed as:

200 dvjesto
300 tristo
400 četiristo
500 petsto
600 šesto
700 sedamsto
800 osamsto
900 devetsto

(There are archaic forms dvjesta 200 and trista ® as well, dvjesta appears on banknotes.) Since they are derived from sto, they never change their form. You’ll occasionally see the number 600 spelled as šeststo. In Croatian, numbers bigger that 1000 are never expressed as nineteen hundred, always as one thousand and nine hundred.

Ordinals derived from sto, tisuća and milijun are a bit irregular and end in -ti:

stoti hundredth
tisućiti thousandth ®
milijunti millionth ®

Thousands are, of course, used for years, as ordinal numbers; in singular, the adverb form tisuću is only used:

1996. tisuću devetsto devedeset (i) šesta

2015. dvije tisuće (i) petnaesta

In speech, years are often referred to with shortened ordinals, where the word for thousand is left out (and often the number of hundreds, if there’s no confusion):

1996. devetsto devedeset šesta (colloq.)

1996. devedeset šesta (colloq.)

2015. dvije i petnaesta (colloq.)

(the rest is coming soon...)

® Besides zarez comma, the word zapeta is also used in Serbia. You will also occassionally hear koma. Instead of točka, tačka is used in Serbia and parts of Bosnia.

The forms dvjesta and trista are much more common in Serbia and Bosnia.

Instead of tisuća and milijun, words hiljada and milion are used in Bosnia and Serbia, and are often heard in Croatia as well. The ordinals are hiljaditi and milionti.

5 Easy Croatian: 47 More Than 4 Items and Age Counting more than 4 items is quite simple: just use the number and put the noun in genitive plural after it: Imam pet jabuka . I have ...

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