65 Carry, Bring, Drive: Transport Verbs


I will now introduce three important verb families that mostly do with transport, that is, carrying, bringing, leading and driving, including some fairly distantly related meanings.

The families are not symmetric: there’s no base pair. The first family is derived from nositi carry. Derived verbs look like this, and perf. verbs are very irregular:

nositi carry
donositi («) ~ donijeti (donese, donio, donijela) bring ®

The basic verb means not just carry, but also wear:

Goran nosi plavu majicu. Goran is wearing a blue T-shirt.

If you now don’t understand how we distinguish carry and wear – we usually don’t have to. With clothes and similar items (shoes, hats) the meaning wear is assumed.

The base verb is perfectly regular, so are derived impf. verbs. However, all perf. verbs are irregular, and derived from forms not used on their own. For instance:

Ana je donijeladonijeti
Ana brought wine.

This verb, and all derived from it, use destinations and origins:

Ana je donijeladonijeti
sendvič Goranu.
Ana brought Goran a sandwich.

Common verbs that follow this pattern are:

-nositi («) ~
  -nijeti (-nese, -nio, -nijela)
prefix used with meaning
do- A (DL) bring (here)
pre- A carry over, transfer
od- A (DL) bring* (perf.)
A (od¨ G) take away
u- A bring in
pod- A tolerate, can stand
po- not a pair! (specific meanings)

The optional DL used with these verbs means, as expected, the person who will receive something (in A).

The perf. verb odnijeti (etc.) is used as a perf. counterpart of nositi, to express that carrying something to someone is completed, i.e. when something is brought or delivered.

The difference between the od- and do- pairs derived from nositi is exactly the same as with similar verbs derived from ići (i.e. odlaziti vs. dolaziti):

do- come + bring
od- go + take

The verb pair derived with pre- covers also the meaning transfer (interestingly, English transfer is ultimately from the Latin verb trāns-ferō, which is the exact translation of pre-nositi):

Komarci prenose bolesti. Mosquitoes transfer diseases.

The verb pair derived with pod- has a bit unexpected meaning; it usually corresponds to English tolerate or can + stand (someone/something):

Ana ne podnosi komarce. Ana can’t stand mosquitoes.

Furthermore, there are a couple of unexpected things: first, the verb odnositi («) when used with se² – only the impf. verb – has the following meanings:

odnositi («) se²
  + na¨ + A relate, refer to A, be about A
  + prema + DL behave towards DL, treat DL

For example:

Loše se odnosio prema meni. He behaved badly towards me.

This verb, with na¨ + A, is often used where English uses apply and similar verbs:

Popust se odnosi na sve majice. The discount ‘relates to’ all T-shirts. (= applies to)

Next, the prefix po- creates two verbs that don’t form a pair:

ponositi («) se² (I) be proud (of I)
ponijeti (ponese, ponio, ponijela) perf. take* (with someone)

The perf. verb ponijeti (etc.) is used when someone takes something with him or her:

Ana je ponijelaponijeti
Ana took the laptop with her.

Basically the same meaning can be expressed also with the pair uzimati ~ uzeti (uzme), but it has additional meanings (take something from someone), while ponijeti (etc.) does not.

There’s one more verb pair in this family I haven’t listed, derived with do-pri-: it means contribute.

Colloqually, in Zagreb, Rijeka and the surrounding regions – roughly western and northwestern Croatia – you will sometimes hear another (colloquial) form of infinitive for perf. verbs from this family: odnesti and so on.

The perf. verbs in this family have two forms of passive adjectives (I have omitted present and past forms):

donijeti (...) perf. bringdonijet / donesen
odnijeti (...) perf. carry awayodnijet / odnesen

Beside these two standard forms for each verb, you’ll often see and hear one more form: donešen, odnešen, etc. Each form prevails in speech in various regions.

There are two more verbs families that are quite similar to the previous family. They are derived from the following verbs:

voditi lead voziti drive

The verbs have more regular forms than ones derived from nositi, but the perf. verbs look very similar:

dovoditi («) ~ dovesti (dovede, doveo) bring (someone)
dovoziti («) ~ dovesti (doveze, dovezao, dovezla) bring (by driving)

Although voditi on its own means lead in all its meanings – in a game, a race, and someone, showing the way – in the derived verbs it’s always taking, bringing... another person (including animals, pets especially):

Ana je doveladovesti
svog brata.
Ivana brought her brother.

Ivana je doveladovesti
svog psa.
Ivana brought her dog.

Compare this with the use of the corresponding verb derived from nositi:

Ivana je donijeladonijeti
svoju gitaru.
Ivana brought her guitar.

Strictly speaking, verbs derived from voditi are used if one lead/brought was moving on their own; verbs derived from nositi imply carrying. If she had brought a hrčak (hrčk-) hamster, verbs derived from nositi would be used, since the hamster likely didn’t walk beside her all the way, but was carried:

Ivana je donijeladonijeti
svog hrčka.
Ivana brought her hamster.

An interesting exception are babies and little children: for them, verbs derived from voditi are always used, even if they are too young to walk!®

Like the verb pair derived from nositi, the perf. verb derived with od- is often used in as the perf. counterpart of the base verb:

Ana je odvelaodvesti
Gorana u školu.
Ana took Goran to school.

Ana je odnijelaodnijeti
knjige u školu.
Ana took books to school.

As with nositi, with the prefix po-, there are no verb pairs: only perf. verbs are used in the meaning take. Their meaning is subtle: the subject is going somewhere anyway (and it’s often not expressed where), and he or she is taking something or someone (again, who moves on their own) with them:

Ana je povelapovesti
Ana took the dog with her.

Ana je ponijelaponijeti
Ana took a book with her.

The verb pair derived from voditi with pre-, besides rare literal meaning, has another, but very common meaning – translate:

Dario je preveoprevesti
Dario has translated the letter.

The pre- pair uses origins and destinations, including when used as translate, so pay attention that languages use prepositions s¨ / sa¨ + G and na¨ + A:

Ana je prevelaprevesti
poruku s njemačkog na hrvatski.
Ana has translated the message from German to Croatian.

The pair derived derived from voditi with iz-, besides the less common literal meaning, has the meaning perform.

This table summarizes verb common verb pairs in this family:

-voditi («) ~ -vesti (-vede, -veo)
prefix used with meaning
do- A (DL) bring (here)*
iz- A lead out*, perform
pre- A bring over*, translate
od- A (od¨ G) take away*
u- A lead in*, introduce
pro- A (time) spend (time)
proiz- A produce, manufacture

Meanings indicated by an asterisk (*) have corresponding verbs derived from nositi: the difference is that who or what is brought must be moving on its own, while verbs derived from nositi imply carrying.

The verb pair derived with u- has an unexpected meaning: introduce:

Hrvatska nije uvelauvesti
Croatia haven’t introduced the euro.

Likewise, the verb pair derived with iz- has a quite unexpected meaning: perform. It’s not used without an object, you have to say what is performed:

Oni će izvesti nekoliko pjesama. They will perform several songs.

To express perform without an object, use the verb pair:

nastupati («) ~ nastupiti («) perform, take stage

For example:

Goran nastupa u školi. Goran is performing in school.

Finally, two verb pairs, derived with pro- and pro-iz- have quite unexpected meanings. The first pair means spend time (with someone, at some place) – with it, you have to say what time is spent (in A) – two days, a night, a morning, etc.:

smo dva dana u Dubrovniku.
We spent two days in Dubrovnik. {m/mixed}

Provest ću jutro u vlaku. I’ll spend the morning in the train.

This pair is not used to spend money (or other material resources, e.g. paper, cloth, salt...); for such kind of spending, another (process-completion) verb pair is used:

trošiti ~* po- («) spend (money, resources)

This is the same difference as French passer vs. dépenser, German verbringen vs. aufwenden or Spanish pasar vs. gastar.

The second pair, with pro-iz-, means produce, mostly in industrial ways (I’ve used here the mediopassive, introduced in the last chapter!):

Ovi laptopi se proizvode u Kini. These laptops are manufactured in China. (lit. ‘are being manufactured’)

The derived pass. adj. (of the perf. verb) is used as the translation of made in: proizvedeno + (location). Note the stress of pass. adj. – it applies to all pass. adjectives derived from perf. verbs this family – always on -e-:

izvesti (...) perf. performizveden
uvesti (...) perf. introduceuveden etc.

The verb pairs derived from voziti drive have similar meaning to ones derived from nositi and voditi, but the emphasis is on driving: a vehicle (including ships and airplanes!) must be involved:

Ana je odvezlaodvesti
Gorana u školu.
Ana drove Goran to school.

The verb voziti can be used with A (drive something or someone), or se², when the meaning is mediopassive – we don’t know who’s driving really:

Ana vozi auto. Ana is driving the car.

Ana se vozi. Ana is driving (in a car).

While the English verb drive can also mean motivate, and you can drive nails as well, Croatian voziti has only the basic meaning, involving vehicles!

Most verbs in the family derived from voziti must have a subject in A or a se²:

Ana je odvezlaodvesti
Gorana u školu.
Ana drove Goran to school.

Ana se odvezlaodvesti
u školu.
Ana drove to school.

Now, the verb pair derived from voziti with pre- has only the simple meaning – transport:

Trajekti prevoze aute. Ferries transport cars.

As in two other families, the perf. verb derived with po- means while driving somewhere, take someone/something with, but it’s less often used than other two verbs.

With u- and iz-, besides the expected meanings drive into and drive out, the derived verb pairs have meanings import and export:

Hrvatska uvozi banane. Croatia imports bananas.

Njemačka izvozi autemasc.. Germany exports cars.

Like perf. verbs in the voziti family, all perf. verbs in this family have stress on -e- in pass. adj.:

Auto je uvezen iz Poljske. The car is imported from Poland.

Finally, about imperative forms of perfective verbs introduced above. They are, somewhat unexpectedly, always stressed as present tense forms:

carry over (perf.) prenijeti prenese prenesi
translate (perf.) prevesti prevede prevedi
bring (by driving) (perf.) prevesti preveze prevezi

On the other hand, all impf. verbs in these three families follow the more common pattern: all imperatives are stressed as infinitives.


® In the “Ekavian” pronunciation, which completely dominates in Serbia, verb pairs derived from nositi carry have regular past forms, e.g.:

donositi («) ~ doneti (donese) bring

It seems voditi with babies is considered non-standard in Serbia.

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5 Easy Croatian: 65 Carry, Bring, Drive: Transport Verbs N A  DL  G 24 I I will now introduce three important verb families that mostly do with transport , that is, carrying , bringing...

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