68 Three Men: Group Numbers

N
A
 DL 
G
24
I

So far we have learned cardinal numbers (one, two), ordinal numbers (first, second), fractional numbers (half, third), and collective numbers (another set of one, two, used with some nouns).

Croatian has more numbers: this set actually consists of collective nouns which stand for groups of males. They are listed here:

both obojica
2 dvojica
3 trojica
4 četvorica
5 petorica
6 šestorica
7 sedm-orica
etc.

The pattern for larger numbers is: take an ordinal adjective (e.g. osm-i), remove the final -i and add either -ero or -orica.

You will sometimes hear versions of adverbs with -oro (e.g. četvoro). They are very common in Bosnia and Serbia, and heard in Croatia as well.

The noun dvojica really stands for two men (or two boys — two males of any kind really). The same holds for all other nouns listed above. The nouns are mass nouns, i.e. they are in singular, despite meaning plurality, and change like any other singular nouns on -a:

Razgovarao sam s obojicom. I talked to both men. (or both boys)

Actually, the nouns obojica, dvojica, etc. behave exactly like djeca and braća: they require verbs in plural, despite being in feminine singular. Compare:

Djeca su otišlaotići past-f. Children left.

Obojica su otišlaotići past-f. Both men left.

These numbers give us another possibility: you can express counted pronouns, like us two. As you probably expect, the pronoun will be in the genitive case, and the form of the number will depend on the gender, but there’s one twist you probably didn’t expect: pronouns come before numbers. The forms are:

all-male mixed all-female
nas obojica nas oboje nas obje
nas dvojica nas dvoje nas dvije
nas trojica nas troje nas tri
etc.

You get the system: for all-male groups, the specific collective nouns listed above are used; for all-female groups, regular (cardinal) numbers in the feminine gender; for mixed groups, the collective numbers. Colloquially, the mixed sex pattern is very often used even for all-male and all-female groups.

The constructions above can mean either e.g. us two or two of us. However, there’s a variation, if two of us stands for two out of a larger group of us (e.g. there are five of us in total, and two of us should do something...). In such a case you can use either:

dvoje nas two of us, out of a larger group

dvoje od nas (the same, but a bit more precise)

Of course, instead of nas, you can use vas or njih (stressed forms must be used) to get various expressions:

njih trojica three of them (all male)

vas obje both of you (all female)

You can also use other quantity adverbs, and quantity adjectives, to quantify personal pronouns. When you use neki and similar words with pronouns, the rules change, you have to use od¨ + G:

nitko od nas none of us
jedan od nas one of us
netko od nas somebody of us
neki od nas some of us
mnogi od nas many of us
svatko od nas each of us
nekoliko nas several of us
mnogo nas many of us
dosta nas quite a few of us
puno nas a lot of us
 
svi mi all of us

Of course, you can use the pronoun oni and so on. The rule is: pronoun-like words require od¨ + G, adverbs just G, while svi behaves like an adjective in such expressions, and both words change.

5 Easy Croatian: 68 Three Men: Group Numbers N A  DL  G 24 I So far we have learned cardinal numbers ( one , two ), ordinal numbers ( first , second ), fractional numbers ...

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