22 Here I am: More Pronouns

  You can also read this chapter in French.


Let’s check now the pronouns in genitive (G) and dative/locative (DL). There’s less to learn than it might seem, since the forms for the genitive case are identical to the accusative forms, with one partial exception. And we’re going to learn pronouns in plural. In all, 8 pronoun forms to learn.

Here are the personal pronouns for the 1st and 2nd persons in singular. Since forms for the genitive and accusative cases are identical, I have grouped them to a single column:

pronouns in singular
person NA, G DL
1st (ja) me² mi²
2nd (ti) te² ti²

The DL forms in singular have just a different end vowel.

I’ve put forms in the nominative case into parentheses to remind you that they aren’t actually often used. In fact, they can be considered stressed forms – you use them only if you want to emphasize the subject (or sometimes, you have to use them, e.g. in constructions like ja sam Amerikanac I’m American).

Here are the forms for plural:

pronouns in plural
person NA, G DL
1st (mi) nas² nam²
2nd (vi) vas² vam²

Again, the DL forms have just a different final consonant.

Bear in mind that A, G and DL forms of pronouns must be placed in the second position:

Pišempisati ti pismo.  ▶  I’m writing a letter to you.

Ana nas čeka. Ana is waiting for us.

Now, you’re maybe scratching your head: how to distinguish e.g. ti (you, singular, N) from ti² (the same pronoun, but in DL)? How to tell mi (we, N) from mi² (I, DL)? How to understand this:

Ti mi pišešpisati. ???

Look at the verb. The verb is in the second person singular () therefore ti is a subject pronoun. Since there can be only one subject, mi must be in some other case, and the only other form is 1st person DL.

Another clue that ti in the sentence above cannot be anything else than N is its place: if it would be in any other case, it would be in the second position. It’s not, so it’s in N. The sentence means you’re writing to me.

Finally, here are the 3rd person forms. They are quite unlike forms for the 1st and 2nd person:

3rd person pronouns
gender NA, G ADL
f ona je² ju² joj²
n (ono) ga² mu²
m on
f pl. one ih² im²
n pl. (ona)
m pl. oni

You can see it’s again only feminine against everything else in G and DL, and in plural, genders are not distinguished at all (except in N). While the 3rd person feminine A was either je² or ju², in the genitive case, only je² is used.

Maybe you have noticed a small problem: what if someone uses two second-position pronouns? I mean, something like this:

Šaljemslati ti ga.  ▶  I’m sending it to you.

In such sentences, the word order is always such that pronouns in DL come before ones in the accusative or genitive case!

There’s one more fine point. You noticed that neuter pronouns are in brackets. That’s because they are used not often: it’s much more common to use demonstrative adjectives (i.e. ovo, to...) instead.

This is maybe a convenient place to introduce two very similar verbs:

razumjeti (razumije) understand ®
shvaćati understand ®

The first verb has inf like živjeti, but a special form in the present tense – there are only few verbs like that.

They are usually used interchangeably, except when you don’t understand something because of the bad phone line, you are not familiar with the word, or you poorly know the language – you cannot use shvaćati then. Only razumjeti includes recognizing of words and sounds, either spoken or written. (You’ll see later that razumjeti behaves a bit specially in some aspects.)

For example:

Ne razumijemrazumjeti te. I don’t understand you.

Ne shvaćam pitanje. I don’t understand the question.

In the second sentence, speaker really says I understand the words, but the whole question doesn’t make sense to me. You could use razumjeti in the second sentence as well – but shvaćati is more specific in this case.

The DL of personal pronouns is often used when you say thanks to someone:

Hvala ti. Thank you. (to someone you’re close with)

Hvala Vam. Thank you. (to someone you’re not close with)

There are two special constructions which frequently use pronouns. Both use the genitive case. The first one is:

evo + G here’s / here are

It’s used when you want to emphasize that something is now ‘here’, visible, e.g. when you show up somewhere, or when you find something. The word starts a sentence and it followed by a noun (with optional adjectives) or a pronoun in genitive:

Evo moje sestre. Here’s my sister!

The most common use is when you see someone or you come somewhere where you’re expected. It’s used mainly in spoken language:

Evo me.  ▶  Here I am!

Evo ga. Here he/it is!

Evo Ane. Here’s Ana!

It’s also used when you give something to someone, but it’s neither formal nor polite, it’s used only when you are quite familiar to someone:

Evo piva. Here’s the beer!

(You will sometimes even hear eto + N in the last use, when giving something to someone.) Similar words are eto and eno, used for more distant things, but they are much less often used.

Another construction expresses there's no...; it uses negative pres-3 of imati have with genitive:

nema + G there’s no

For example:

Nema piva. There’s no beer.

Nema soli. There’s no salt.

This construction is much more versatile than the English one: like with evo, you can use personal names, any nouns and pronouns, but they always have to be in G:

Nema Ane. lit. ‘There’s no Ana.’

Nema moje knjige. lit. ‘There’s no my book.’ = My book isn’t here.

Nema ga. lit. ‘There’s no him.’ = He’s not here. (or it, depending on the context)

Nema ih. lit. ‘There’s no them.’ = They’re not here.

This is the negative existential construction. These sentences don’t say really here, but there’s no way to translate them accurately to English (if you know, please tell me). It always uses nema in the present tense (check the last sentence).

This construction is used in several frequent phrases. One of them is:

nema veze      never mind
it doesn’t matter

The word veza normally means connection, so this is clearly a non-trivial meaning. (This phrase can be also used within larger constructions that will be explained later.)

How to distinguish two possible meanings of nema gathere’s no him/it and he/she doesn’t have him/it? The first meaning is impossible if there’s a subject. So, people use on ga nema (or ona ga nema) to avoid confusion.

You cannot use the pronoun forms above with prepositions. If you want to use prepositions with pronouns, you have to use the stressed forms, explained in 34 For Them: Stressed Pronouns.


® “Ekavian” forms, which dominate in Serbia, apply to the verb razumjeti (razumije) understand: its “Ekavian” form is razumeti, and the verb is fully regular.

Instead of shvaćati, a slightly different form of the verb, shvatati, is used in Serbia and most of Bosnia.

↓ Something Possibly Interesting (click to show)

↓ Examples (click to show)

↓ Exercise (click to show)

5 Easy Croatian: 22 Here I am: More Pronouns →   You can also read this chapter in French . N A  DL  G Let’s check now the pronouns in genitive (G) and dative/loca...

↓ 18 comments (click to show)