86 Even More Verbs; More on Aspect


I’ll explain several useful verbs and verb families here. The first one is derived in this pattern:

o-tvarati («) ~ o-tvoriti («)

The base verb, tvoriti, is quite rare. The derived pairs are not:

prefix used with meaning
o- A open
pri- A leave ajar (‘almost close’)
za- A close
pre- A (u¨ A) transform
s- A create
se² show up (colloq.)

There’s not much to say about the first three verbs: they express open and close either literal (window, shop), or metaphoric (discussion, person).

The last two verbs have specific meanings. The pre- verb is similar to transport verbs derived by pre-: it uses destinations (expressed by u¨ + A) and optionally also origins (expressed by iz¨ + G, matching the destination. The verb is used with either an object in A, or a se² (mediopassively, if something transforms ‘on its own’:

Mali problem se pretvorio u veliki. A small problem has transformed into a big one.

The verb pair otvarati («) ~ otvoriti open can illustrate a fine point when perfective verbs are used and where not. If you opened a window, and then closed it – and it’s a bit cold now in the room – and you want to express with a single verb what you did, you would use the imperfective verb:

Otvarao sam prozor. I opened the window. (It’s maybe closed now.)

If you use the impf. verb, it doesn’t imply that the window is open now, or that it remained open for some time – but such things would be implied if you would use the perf. verb:

Otvorio sam prozor. I’ve opened the window. (And it’s open now.)

This is because perf. verbs are all about the outcome, but the outcome – state of the window – is not relevant here. It’s important that you touched it.

The next family is weird: there’s no base verb (or pair) – all verbs have prefixes. They are made attaching prefixes to this:

-premati («) ~ -premiti («)

Common verbs in this family are:

prefix used with meaning
o- A equip
pos- A (dest) tidy, put to place
pri- A (za¨ A1) prepare
s- A (dest) put to its place
make ready *
do- A (dest) deliver

The pair derived with pri- has a simple meaning, prepare. It’s used with an object or with a se²:

Pripremio sam ručak. I’ve prepared lunch.

Pripremio sam se. I’ve prepared (myself).

You can express what for the preparation was with za¨ + A:

Pripremio sam se za put. I’ve prepared for the trip.

The most interesting verb pair is spremati ~ spremiti (since the prefix is merely a consonant, the stress shift in the present tense is not possible – the stress is always on the first syllable).

This verb pair has the basic meaning: bring something/someone to the optimal/requested state. It’s basically used for three things. First, to put things back to their places, e.g. if a book is out of its usual place (shelf), a toy is out of the box, etc.:

Spremio sam knjige. I’ve put the books back in place.

If the place is expressed, it’s a destination:

Spremio sam knjige na policu. I've put the books back to the shelf.

Then, this pair covers the meanings expressed by the pri- pair:

Spremio sam ručak. I’ve prepared lunch.

Spremio sam se. I’ve prepared (myself).

Finally, the third meaning is tidy:

Spremio sam sobu. I’ve tidied the room

There are three verb pairs that use cases in two distinct ways, and there’s not much difference in meaning. They are:

čuditi ~~ za- wonder, marvel
radovati (raduje) ~~ ob- look forward to
veseliti ~~ raz- (very similar meaning)

They are usually used in a way that what causes emotions is in DL, the person affected is the subject (in N), and a se² must be used:

Radujem se odmoru. I’m looking forward to the vacation.

But these verbs can be used in the inverse, where the person affected is in A, and what causes emotion is the subject (there’s no se² now):

Raduje me odmor. (the same meaning, less frequent)

Next, there are two interesting verb families.

Another one is derived like this:

do-vršavati («) ~ do-vršiti («)

The base verb is sometimes used, in meaning do, make. Three derived pairs are quite common:

prefix used with meaning
do- A finalize, complete
iz- A carry out, execute
za- A end, terminate

One derived pair matches the meaning of a phase verb pair I’ve already introduced:

počinjati (počinje / počinje) ~ početi (počne, počeo) start
završavati («) ~ završiti («) end

This verb pair is very useful:

navikavati («) ~ naviknuti (navikne) (AX / se²) (na YA) get/become used (X) (to Y)

You’ll see this pair with the prefix pri- with roughly the same meaning, and with the prefix od- in the opposite meaning, like colloquial English ‘get unused’.

Next, there are four common verb pairs derived from this ‘pair’:

-ključivati (-ključuje) ~ -ključiti («)

Common verbs in this family are:

prefix used with meaning
is- A (orig) exclude, switch off
pri- A (dest) join, connect, plug in
u- A (dest) include, switch on
za- A / CC conclude

(The rest is coming soon)

5 Easy Croatian: 86 Even More Verbs; More on Aspect N A  DL  G I 24 I’ll explain several useful verbs and verb families here. The first one is derived in this pattern: tvoriti o...

↓ Add Your Comment (click here)