Essential verbs: N-O

This is the third part of a list of the most useful Croatian verbs, containing xxx verbs. They are either listed individually, in verb pairs, and occasionally in triplets; this part contains xxx such entries.

I've listed the 10 most important forms for each verb. For a great majority of verbs, all those forms follow regularly from the infinitive (inf) or 3rd pers. present (pres-3).

Abbreviations and stress marks follow the rest of Easy Croatian, i.e. only the place of stress is marked.

With each verb (or pair) various ways to use it are listed, and each way has at least one example.

Click on any item to show detailed information:

nadati se² ~¹ po- («) hope

pres-1 nadam ponadam
pres-3 nada ponada
pres-3pl nadaju ponadaju
pres. adv. nadajući
imper-2 nadaj ponadaj
inf nadati ponadati
past-m nadao ponadao
past-f nadala ponadala
pass. adj.
gerund nadanje

This verb pair is always used with se².


The pair is most often used with content clauses i.e. clauses using any tense, but no perf. verbs in present:

Ana se nada [da će vrijeme biti lijepo].
lit. Ana hopes [the weather is going to be nice].


It’s sometimes used with objects in DL, what somebody hopes for:

Nadamo se najboljem. We hope for the best.

The phrase hope not translates as:

Nadam se da ne. I hope not.

The verb ponadati («) se² is ‘semelfactive’: it stands for a brief hope, i.e. hope for a while.

najavljivati (najavljuje) ~ najaviti («) announce [u/c]

(iva) (i)
pres-1 najavljujem najavim
pres-3 najavljuje najavi
pres-3pl najavljuju najave
pres. adv. najavljujući
imper-2 najavljuj najavi
inf najavljivati najaviti
past-m najavljivao najavio
past-f najavljivala najavila
pass. adj. najavljivan najavljen
gerund najavljivanje *

* There's no perfective verbal noun; the noun najava announcement is used when needed.


nalaziti ~¹/~ naći (nađe,...) find

(i) (irr.)
pres-1 nalazim nađem
pres-3 nalazi nađe
pres-3pl nalaze nađu
pres. adv. nalazeći
imper-2 nalazi nađi
inf nalaziti naći
past-m nalazio našao
past-f nalazila našla
pass. adj. nađen
gerund nalaženje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, nouns nalazak (nalask-) and nalaz are used when needed.


The verbs are used with objects in A, mostly the perf. verb:

Ana je našla ključ. Ana has found the key.


The impf. verb is usually used mediopassively, with se², meaning can be found, i.e. where something is located:

Kupaonica se nalazi na katu. The bathroom is (found) on the upper floor.

However, in everyday communication, simply using biti (je² +) ‘~’ (bude) be is more common.


Colloquially, with se², it’s used to express meeting someone (intentionally). Subjects can meet:

Naći ćemo se sutra. (colloq.) We’ll meet tomorrow.

The subject can meet someone else (expressed with s / sa¨ + I):

Našao sam se s njom. (colloq.) I met her. {m}

Another way to express the same thing is sastajati (sastaje) se² ~¹ sastati (sastane) se² meet (longer meeting, planned).

namjeravati («) intend

pres-1 namjeravam
pres-3 namjerava
pres-3pl namjeravaju
pres. adv. namjeravajući
imper-2 namjeravaj
inf namjeravati
past-m namjeravao
past-f namjeravala
pass. adj.
gerund *

* There’s no regular verbal noun, the noun namjera intention is used when needed.


The verb is used with another verb in infinitive, which can have additional objects and so on:

Ana namjerava kupiti auto. Ana intends to buy a car.

Another, but quite colloquial way to express the same is using the verb misliti think.

napadati ~ napasti (napadne, napao) attack

(a) (irr.)
pres-1 napadam napadne
pres-3 napada napadne
pres-3pl napadaju napadnu
pres. adv. napadajući
imper-2 napadaj napadni
inf napadati napasti
past-m napadao napao
past-f napadala napala
pass. adj. napadan napadnut
gerund napadanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, the noun napad attack is used when needed.


This pair is used with objects in A:

Napoleon je napao Rusiju. Napoleon attacked Russia.

napuštati («) ~ napustiti («) abandon, leave

(a) (i)
pres-1 napuštam napustim
pres-3 napušta napusti
pres-3pl napuštaju napuste
pres. adv. napuštajući
imper-2 napuštaj napusti
inf napuštati napustiti
past-m napuštao napustio
past-f napuštala napustila
pass. adj. napušten
gerund napuštanje

The pair is used with objects in A:

Vlasnici su napustili kuću. The owners have abandoned the house.

This verb pair is not used to leave things or people somewhere (e.g. I left him on a bus stop, I left my wallet in the restaurant.).

For that purpose, the verb pair ostavljati ~ ostaviti is used.

naručivati (naručuje) ~ naručiti («) order (food, drink, things)

(iva) (i)
pres-1 naručujem naručim
pres-3 naručuje naruči
pres-3pl naručuju naruče
pres. adv. naručujući
imper-2 naručuj naruči
inf naručivati naručiti
past-m naručivao naručiio
past-f naručivala naručila
pass. adj. naručivan naručen
gerund naručivanje *

There’s no regular perf. verbal noun; narudžba order can be used when needed.

A (orig)

One use of this verb is to order something (an object in A) in a bar or restaurant, with an optional origin (od¨ + G for people):

Ana je naručila pizzu. Ana has ordered a pizza.

Another is to order something that will be sent to you (by mail or otherwise):

Ana je naručila knjigu s Interneta. Ana has ordered the book from the Internet.

nastavljati ~ nastaviti continue

(a) (i)
pres-1 nastavljam nastavim
pres-3 nastavlja nastavi
pres-3pl nastavljaju nastave
pres. adv. nastavljajući
imper-2 nastavljaj nastavi
inf nastavljati nastaviti
past-m nastavljao nastavio
past-f nastavljala nastavila
pass. adj. nastavljan nastavljen
gerund nastavljanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, but nastavak (nastavk-) continuation, sequel can be used.


These verbs are usually with another verb in infinitive, which can have additional objects, etc.:

Ana je nastavila čitati knjigu. Ana has continued reading the book.


If an event, expressed by a noun, is continuing, it can be expressed by mediopassive, by making it a subject and adding a se²:

Priča se nastavlja. The story goes on.

nedostajati (nedostaje) lack, miss

pres-1 nedostajem
pres-3 nedostaje
pres-3pl nedostaju
pres. adv. nedostajući
inf nedostajati
past-m nedostajao
past-f nedostajala
pass. adj.
gerund nedostajanje

This verb is used in a different way than the English miss. What is missing is the subject:

Jedan dio nedostaje. One part is missing.


If somebody is missing something, what’s missing is still the subject, and the person affected is in DL, and then it usually comes first:

Ani nedostaje jedan dio. Ana is missing one part.

As usual, the subject (what/who is missing) is often implied by the verb form:

Nedostaješ mi. I miss you.

Nedostajala si mi. I missed you. {to a female}

Note that this verb is not used to express miss a bus, miss a chance or miss a shot – specific verbs are used instead.

There’s a frequent colloquial version of this verb: faliti, which is used in the same way.

nestajati (nestaje) ~ nestati (nestane) disappear

(a/e) (0/n)
pres-1 nestajem nestanem *
pres-3 nestaje nestane *
pres-3pl nestaju nestanu *
pres. adv. nestajući
imper-2 nestani
inf nestajati nestati
past-m nestajao nestao
past-f nestajala nestala
pass. adj.
gerund nestajanje **

* The present forms of the perf. verb are also stresed as nestane, etc.

** There’s no regular perf. verbal noun; the noun nestanak (nestank-) is used when needed.

These verbs are used with subjects only:

Knjiga je nestala. The book has disappeared.

nositi carry, wear

pres-1 nosim
pres-3 nosi
pres-3pl nose
pres. adv. noseći
imper-2 nosi
inf nositi
past-m nosio
past-f nosila
pass. adj. nošen
gerund nošenje
A (dest)

This verb is used with objects in A and optional destinations:

Ana nosi kutiju. Ana is carrying a box.

Ana nosi kutiju u sobu. Ana is carrying a box to the room.


Another person in DL can be added as a recipient:

Ana nosi kutiju Goranu. Ana is carrying a box to Goran.

When subjects are people, and objects are clothing items or jewellery, the assumed meaning is wear:

Ana je nosila plavu majicu. Ana was wearing a blue T-shirt.

There’s a potential adjective nosiv, usually meaning wearable, but it’s also unexpectedly used in the phrase nosivi zid load bearing wall.

The agent nouns are nosač m / nosačica f carrier. These nouns are used for people who literally carry things; the masc. noun also covers various devices and abstract carriers.

There are also agent nouns nositelj m / nositeljica f, used metaphorically, for people who hold some title or medal. The noun nosilac (nosioc-) is used as well.

nuditi ~~ po- offer

pres-1 nudim ponudim
pres-3 nudi ponudi
pres-3pl nude ponude
pres. adv. nudeći
imper-2 nudi ponudi
inf nuditi ponuditi
past-m nudio ponudio
past-f nudila ponudila
pass. adj. nuđen ponuđen
gerund nuđenje
(DL) A

This pair is usually used with an optional person in DL (recipient of the offer) and two possible ways to express what was offered. One possibility are objects in A:

Ana nudi Goranu jabuku. Ana is offering Goran an apple.

DL [...]

Another is a atemporal clauses, starting with da.

obavljati ~ obaviti do (a task), get something done

(a) (i)
pres-1 obavljam obavim
pres-3 obavlja obavi
pres-3pl obavljaju obave
pres. adv. obavljajući
imper-2 obavljaj obavi
inf obavljati obaviti
past-m obavljao obavio
past-f obavljala obavila
pass. adj. obavljen
gerund obavljanje

The main idea of this pair s performing a planned task, fufilling a duty, doing a chore: getting it done; what is done is often not really fun.


The pair is used with objects in A:

Ivan je obavio pregled. Ivan went to have a medical exam.

Objects are often generic:

Obavila sam neke stvari. I got some things done. {f}

Ana je obavila sve. Ana got everything done.

Danas moram obaviti mnogo stvari. I have to get a lot of things done today.

Unlike napraviti perf. do, make, this verb pair is rather about chores, visits and well-defined tasks which are done in a certain time, such as:

  • shopping
  • doing laundry
  • medical exams
  • hairdresser
  • dentist
  • paperwork
  • defined tasks at work
  • visits to public services
  • job interviews

Conversely, the verb napraviti perf. do, make is rather about creative things, making something. For example:

Napravio sam ručak. I made lunch. (i.e. prepared it) {m}

Obavio sam ručak. = The lunch was a task, I did it. {m}

The last example would be also used when you weren’t involved in making the lunch, but you simply had a lunch with someone as something to do, e.g. a business lunch.

There is an overlap: napraviti perf. do, make can be used with shopping and medical exams as well; however, it can’t be used for job interviews.

obećavati (obećava / obećaje) ~ obećati promise

impf.impf. *perf.
pres-1 obećavam obećajem obećam
pres-3 obećava obećaje obeća
pres-3pl obećavaju obećaju obećaju
pres. adv. obećavajući obećajući
imper-2 obećavaj obećaj obećaj
inf obećavati obećati
past-m obećavao obećao
past-f obećavala obećala
pass. adj. obećavan obećan
gerund obećavanje obećanje **

* The alternative and quite common forms of the present tense: obećaje, etc. have been used for centuries in speech and writing, but are nevertheless considered non-standard by some.

** The perfective verbal noun obećanje is used as a common noun, meaning promise.

(DL) A

This pair is usually used with an optional person in DL (recipient of the promise) and three possible ways to express what was promised. One possibility are objects in A:

Ana je obećala Goranu novi bicikl. Ana promised a new bicycle to Goran.

(DL) inf

Another option is another verb in inf, possibly with its objects, etc.:

Ana je obećala kupiti Goranu novi bicikl.
Ana promised to buy Goran a new bicycle.

(In the last example, DL of Goran is attached to the verb kupiti perf. buy.)

(DL) [...]

The third option are content clauses, starting with da (usually in the future tense; no perf. verbs in the present tense are allowed):

Ana je obećala Goranu [da će mu kupiti novi bicikl].
Ana promised Goran [(that) she’ll buy him a new bicycle].

objašnjavati («) ~ objasniti («) explain

(a) (i)
pres-1 objašnjavam objasnim
pres-3 objašnjava objasni
pres-3pl objašnjavaju objasne
pres. adv. objašnjavajući
imper-2 objašnjavaj objasni
inf objašnjavati objasniti
past-m objašnjavao objasnio
past-f objašnjavala objasnila
pass. adj. objašnjavan objašnjen
gerund objašnjavanje objašnjenje *

* The perfective verbal noun objašnjenje is used as a common noun, meaning explanation.

This pair is usually used with an optional person in DL (recipient of speech) and several possible ways to express what was explained.

(DL) [...]

One common option are content clauses, starting with da or a question-word (all tenses can be used, but not perf. verbs in the present tense):

Objasnio sam Ani [da je Goran na igralištu].
I explained to Ana [that Goran was on the playground]. {m}

Objasnio sam joj [gdje je Goran]. I explained to her [where Goran was]. {m}

Observe that there’s no tense shift in Croatian.

(DL) A

It can be used with simple objects in A, standing for what is said:

Objasnio sam joj sve. I’ve explained everything to her. {m}

Objasnio sam im situaciju. I’ve explained the situation to them. {m}

There’s a potential adjective objašnjiv explainable.

oblačiti («) ~ obući (obuče,...) put on (clothes)

(i) (irr.)
pres-1 oblačim obučem
pres-3 oblači obuče
pres-3pl oblače obuku
pres. adv. oblačeći
imper-2 oblači obuci
inf oblačiti obući
past-m oblačio obukao
past-f oblačila obukla
pass. adj. oblačen obučen
gerund oblačenje

Clothes put on are expressed in A:

Goran je obukao majicu. Goran has put his T-shirt on.


You can express that somebody is putting clothes on someone else. The person putting the clothes on is the subject (in N), and the person getting dressed is in DL:

Ana je obukla Goranu majicu. Ana has put a T-shirt on Goran.


With a se², the meaning is reflexive; it’s assumed someone is putting his or her clothes on:

Goran se obukao. Goran has put his clothes on.

očekivati (ekuje) expect

pres-1 ekujem
pres-3 ekuje
pres-3pl ekuju
pres. adv. ekujući
imper-2 ekuj
inf očekivati
past-m očekivao
past-f očekivala
pass. adj. ekivan
gerund očekivanje *

* The verbal noun očekivanje is also used as a common noun, meaning expectation.


This verb can be used with an object in A:

Anaekuje Ivanu. Ana is expecting Ivana.

ekujemo vas. We’re expecting you. (to a group, or someone you respect)


The verb is often used with unrestricted clauses; present of both impf. and perf. verbs can be used in them, present of perf. verbs usually expressing relative future (this is a special behavior):

Anaekuje [da Ivana dođe]. Ana expects [Ivana to come].

ekujemo [da Ivana dođe]. We expect [Ivana to come].

Clauses with this verb are often in the future tense:

Anaekuje [da će Ivana doći]. Ana expects [that Ivana is going to come].


With a se², the meaning is mediopassive (i.e. is expected); it’s usually used with general expectations. There’s no object, and the subject can be a noun:

Sutra seekuje kiša. Rain is expected tomorrow.

se² [...]

The subject can also be an unrestricted clause of the same type as above (this is mediopassive, so objects become subjects):

ekuje se [da će doći mnogo turista].
It’s expected [that many tourists will come].

Očekivalo se [da će doći mnogo turista].
It was expected [that many tourists would come].

The last Croatian sentence has only the future tense in the content clause: there’s no time-shift, i.e. adjustment of tenses in Croatian!

odbijati («) ~ odbiti (odbije) refuse, reject

(a) (0/j)
pres-1 odbijam odbijem
pres-3 odbija odbije
pres-3pl odbijaju odbiju
pres. adv. odbijajući
imper-2 odbijaj odbij
inf odbijati odbiti
past-m odbijao odbio
past-f odbijala odbila
pass. adj. odbijan odbijen
gerund odbijanje

This verb pair can be used with objects in A, what someone is refuses:

Ana je odbila prijedlog. Ana refused the proposal.


It can be used with another verb in inf, which can have its objects and so on, when someone refuses to do something:

Ana je odbila platiti račun. Ana refused to pay the bill.


It can be also used with a clause.

odgađati («) ~ odgoditi («) postpone [u/c]

(a) (i)
pres-1 odgađam odgodim
pres-3 odgađa odgodi
pres-3pl odgađaju odgode
pres. adv. odgađajući
imper-2 odgađaj odgodi
inf odgađati odgoditi
past-m odgađao odgodio
past-f odgađala odgodila
pass. adj. odgađan odgođen
gerund odgađanje *


odgovarati («) ~ odgovoriti («) answer, reply; suit

(a) (i)
pres-1 odgovaram odgovorim
pres-3 odgovara odgovori
pres-3pl odgovaraju odgovore
pres. adv. odgovarajući
imper-2 odgovaraj odgovori
inf odgovarati odgovoriti
past-m odgovarao odgovorio
past-f odgovarala odgovorila
pass. adj. odgovaran odgovoren
gerund odgovaranje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, the noun odgovor answer is used when needed.

(DL) [...]

This verb is usually used with an optional person in DL (recipient of speech); what is replied is expressed as a content clause, starting with da or occasionally with a question-word (all tenses can be used):

Odgovorila sam Ani [da nemam vremena].
I’ve answered Ana [that I had no time]. {f}

Observe that there’s no tense shift in Croatian.

na A

If somebody answers to something (e.g. a letter, message) it’s expressed with na¨ + A:

Ana ne odgovara na moje poruke. Ana doesn’t answer my messages.

impf. !

The imperfective verb has another, quite frequent meaning: suit, fit, be OK. What does fit (or not) is the subject (in N), and the person (or persons) involved is in DL:

Petak nam ne odgovara. The Friday doesn’t suit us.

† The present adverb odgovarajući is also used as a true adjective, meaning suitable, matching.


There’s a related adjective odgovoran (odgovorn-), meaning responsible; what someone is responsible for is expressed with za¨ + A:

Mi smo odgovorni za to. We’re responsible for that.

The additional meaning suit, fit, be OK of the impf. verb is a literal translation of German entsprechen.

odlaziti ~ otići (ode,...) leave (places)

(i) (irr.)
pres-1 odlazim odem
pres-3 odlazi ode
pres-3pl odlaze odu
pres. adv. odlazeći
imper-2 odlazi odi
inf odlaziti otići
past-m odlazio otišao
past-f odlazila otišla
pass. adj.
gerund odlaženje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, the noun odlazak (odlask-) departure is used when needed.

(dest) (orig)

This verb pair is used with optional destinations and origins (unlike the English for, no specific prepositions are used). It also often corresponds to English go:

Goran je otišao u sobu. Goran has gone to the room.

Goran odlazi s igrališta. Goran is leaving the playground. (Croatian: an origin!)

Unlike English, this pair cannot be used with simple objects: you have to use origins.


As with other verbs of motion, if someone left to pick up something or someone, it can be expressed with po¨ + A:

Goran je otišao po čistu majicu. Goran has gone to get a clean T-shirt.

Ana je otišla po Gorana. Ana left to get Goran.

The idea is: you went somewhere, and when you got there, you took something or someone with you.


Also, as with other verbs of motion, if someone left to do something, it can be expressed with an inf, and objects etc. can be added to it:

Goran je otišao oprati ruke. Goran has gone to wash his hands.

I used gone in English translations, and the perf verb. otići often expresses just perfective meaning of go.

This verb pair is not used for leaving things (intentionally or accidentally, e.g. I left my jacket in the car).

For that purpose, the verb pair ostavljati ~ ostaviti is used.

odlučivati (odlučuje) ~ odlučiti («) decide

(iva) (i)
pres-1 odlučujem odlučim
pres-3 odlučuje odluči
pres-3pl odlučuju odluče
pres. adv. odlučujući
imper-2 odluči
inf odlučivati odlučiti
past-m odlučivao odlučio
past-f odlučivala odlučila
pass. adj. odlučen
gerund odlučivanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, the noun odluka decision is used instead.


This verb pair can be used with another verb in infinitive (impf. or perf.), which can have additional objects and so on:

Ana je odlučila kupiti majicu. Ana has decided to buy a T-shirt.


It can be also used with a da-clause in the future tense; there’s virtually no difference in meaning:

Ana je odlučila [da će kupiti auto]. Ana has decided [to buy a car].

It can be also used with a da-clause in the present tense, usually containing a ‘modal’ verb in the present, and another verb in inf:

Ana je odlučila [da mora vježbati]. Ana decided [she had to exercise].

† The present adverb odlučujući is also used as a true adjective, meaning decisive, crucial:

Ovo je bila odlučujuća utakmica. This was the decisive game.

odmarati («) ~ odmoriti («) rest, take it easy

(a) (i)
pres-1 odmaram odmorim
pres-3 odmara odmori
pres-3pl odmaraju odmore
pres. adv. odmarajući
imper-2 odmaraj odmori
inf odmarati odmoriti
past-m odmorao odmorio
past-f odmarala odmorila
pass. adj. odmaran odmoren
gerund odmaranje *

* Besides the regular verbal noun, the noun odmor rest, break, vacation is also used.


This pair is mostly used with se², when somebody is resting:

Goran se odmara. Goran is resting.


It can be used with objects in A, normally body parts someone is resting:

Ana odmara oči. Ana is resting her eyes.

Colloquially, it’s often used without se² and without any object, meaning simply rest:

Goran odmara. (colloq.) Goran is resting.

Instead of the passive adjective, another adjective is frequently used: odmoran (odmorn-).

odnositi («) ~ odnijeti (odnese,...) take (carry things)

(i) (irr.)
pres-1 odnosim odnesem
pres-3 odnosi odnese
pres-3pl odnose odnesu
pres. adv. odnoseći
imper-2 odnosi odnesi
impf.          perf.
inf odnositi odnijeti odnesti *
past-m odnosio odnio odnesao *
past-f odnosila odnijela odnesla *
pass. adj. odnošen odnijet odnesen **
gerund odnošenje

* The perf. verb has alternative, non-standard past forms and infinitive, marked with an asterisk.

** The perf. passive adjective has one more form, but non-standard: odnešen.

A (dest) (orig)

This verb pair is used with objects in A, and optional destinations and origins:

Goran je odnio knjigu u sobu. Goran took the book to the room.

Destinations can be persons in DL:

Ana je odnijela Goranu sladoled. Ana brought Goran an ice-cream.

This pair is not used when objects are people or animals (except when carrying someone who is unconscious, and like).

For taking people or animals somewhere, odvoditi («) ~ odvesti (odvede, odveo) take (someone) is used.

(A possible exception for some speakers are small animals which are always carried, e.g. hamsters. This seems to be more common in Serbia.)

The difference between this pair and donositi («) ~ donijeti (donese,...) bring (things) is similar to go vs. come.

odnositi («) se² relate; behave towards

With a se², the impf. verb odnositi («) (but not the related perf. verb!) has a specific meaning: relate, behave towards.

na A

The meaning relate requires objects expressed with na¨ + A, and often translates to English apply and similar verbs:

Popust se ne odnosi na ovu majicu. The discount doesn’t ‘relate to’ this T-shirt. (i.e. doesn’t apply to)


The meaning behave towards requires objects expressed with prema + DL:

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

The meaning behave is also expressed with ponašati («) se² behave.

odustajati (odustaje) ~ odustati (odustane) give up

(a/e) (0/n)
pres-1 odustajem odustanem *
pres-3 odustaje odustane *
pres-3pl odustaju odustanu *
pres. adv. odustajući
imper-2 odustani *
inf odustajati odustati
past-m odustajao odustao
past-f odustajala odustala
pass. adj.
gerund odustajanje

* The present tense and imperative forms of the perf. verb are sometimes stressed as odustane, etc.

The verbs are sometimes used with only a subject:

Goran je odustao. Goran gave up.

od G

To express what someone is giving up on, use od¨ + G:

Ana je odustala od španjolskog. Ana gave up on Spanish.

odvajati («) ~ odvojiti («) separate [u/c]

(a) (i)
pres-1 odvajam odvojim
pres-3 odvaja odvoji
pres-3pl odvajaju odvoje
pres. adv. odvajajući
imper-2 odvajaj odvoji
inf odvajati odvojiti
past-m odvajao odvojio
past-f odvajala odvojila
pass. adj. odvajan odvojen
gerund odvajanje *


odvijati («) ~ odviti (odvije) unscrew; unfold, progress, happen [u/c]

(a) (0/j)
pres-1 ovbijam odvijem
pres-3 odvija odvije
pres-3pl odvijaju odviju
pres. adv. odvijajući
imper-2 odvijaj odvij
inf odvijati odviti
past-m odvijao odvio
past-f odvijala odvila
pass. adj. odvijan odvijen
gerund odvijanje

This pair is mostly used metaphorically...:

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


The literal meaning of this verb pair is unfold and, by extension, unscrew. What is unfolded is an object in A:


The metaphorical meaning of these verbs – events progressing – was likely, as in English, influenced by the French verb développer.


odvoditi («) ~ odvesti (odvede, odveo) take (someone)

(i) (irr.)
pres-1 odvodim odvedem
pres-3 odvodi odvede
pres-3pl odvode odvedu
pres. adv. odvodeći
imper-2 odvodi odvedi
inf odvoditi odvesti
past-m odvodio odveo
past-f odvodila odvela
pass. adj. odvođen odveden
gerund odvođenje
A dest (orig)

This verb pair is used with objects in A and destinations. The objects are always persons, including babies, or animals that walk (cats, dogs, horses, etc.):

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

Taking anything else (e.g. a book, a suitcase) is expressed by odnositi («) ~ odnijeti (odnese,...) take (carry things).

The impf. verb is seldom used, usually for repeated actions; to express ongoing actions, the verb voditi lead is mostly used.

This verb pair is coupled with dovoditi («) ~ dovesti (dovede, doveo) bring (someone) in the go/come fashion, i.e. this pair implies elsewhere.

ograničavati («) ~ ograničiti restrict, limit [u/c]

(a) (i)
pres-1 ograničavam ograničim
pres-3 ograničava ograniči
pres-3pl ograničavaju ograniče
pres. adv. ograničavajući
imper-2 otključavaj ograniči
inf ograničavati ograničiti
past-m ograničavao ograničio
past-f ograničavala ograničila
pass. adj. ograničavan ograničen
gerund ograničavanje ograničenje *

* The verbal noun ograničenje is also used as a common noun, meaning restriction, limitation.


This verb pair can be used with an object in A:


† The present adverb ograničavajući is sometimes used as a true adjective, meaning restricting. For example, ograničavajuća okolina limiting enviroment.

okretati (okreće) ~ okrenuti (okrene) turn, rotate

(a/*) (n)
pres-1 okrećem okrenem
pres-3 okreće okrene
pres-3pl okreću okrenu
pres. adv. okrećući
imper-2 okreći okreni
inf okretati okrenuti
past-m okretao okrenuo
past-f okretala okrenula
pass. adj. okretan okrenut
gerund okretanje

This pair is mostly used with se², when something/somebody is turning:

Goran se okrenuo. Goran has turned.


Instead of se², an object in A is used when someone is turning something:

Ana okrenula ključ. Ana has turned the key.

This verb pair covers only the literal meaning of turn, i.e. rotate.

opisivati (opisuje) ~ opisati (opiše) describe

(iva) (a/*)
pres-1 opisujem opišem
pres-3 opisuje opiše
pres-3pl opisuju opišu
pres. adv. opisujući
imper-2 opisuj opiši
inf opisivati opisati
past-m opisivao opisao
past-f opisivala opisala
pass. adj. opisivan opisan
gerund opisivanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, the noun opis description is used instead.

(DL) A

This pair is usually used with an optional person in DL (recipient of speech) and what was described in A.

Opisao sam problem Ani. I described the problem to Ana. {m}

(DL) [..]

Instead an object in A, a noun clause with što or a content clause is frequently used.

There’s a potential adjective opisiv describable.

oponašati («) imitate

pres-1 oponašam
pres-3 oponaša
pres-3pl oponašaju
pres. adv. oponašajući
imper-2 oponašaj
inf oponašati
past-m oponašao
past-f oponašala
pass. adj. oponašan
gerund oponašanje

The verb is used with A, something or someone imitated:

Goran oponaša psa. Goran is imitating the dog.

opraštati («) ~ oprostiti («) forgive

(a) (i)
pres-1 opraštam oprostim
pres-3 oprašta oprosti
pres-3pl opraštaju oproste
pres. adv. opraštajući
imper-2 opraštaj oprosti
inf opraštati oprostiti
past-m opraštao oprostio
past-f opraštala oprostila
pass. adj. opraštan oprošten
gerund opraštanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, the nouns oprost act of forgiving and oproštaj farewell are used instead, with different meanings.


The pair is usually used with an object in DL:

Ana je oprostila Ivani. Ana has forgiven Ivana.

DL [...]

What is/was disputed is expressed as an object in A or a content clause starting with što:

Ana je oprostila Ivani [što je bila nepristojna].
Ana has forgiven Ivana [for being rude].

Note that the Croatian construction uses a clause, unlike English, which uses an -ing form of the verb!

The imperative of the perf. verb is also used as a polite word, to start a question to an unknown person (personal pronouns in A aren’t used then, i.e. no equivalent to English me!):

Oprostite, gdje je WC? Excuse me, where’s the toilet?

(Yes, we’re direct, we talk about toilets, not ‘bathrooms’.)

se² (od G)

With a se², this pair is occasionally used (and a bit old-fashioned) as say farewell; if you say farewell to something specific, it’s expressed by od¨ + G:

Oprostili smo se. We said farewell. (to one another)

Oprostili smo se od ljeta. We said farewell to the summer.

There’s a related potential adjective: oprostiv forgiveable.

opuštati («) ~ opustiti («) relax

(a) (i)
pres-1 opuštam opustim
pres-3 opušta opusti
pres-3pl opuštaju opuste
pres. adv. opuštajući
imper-2 opuštaj opusti
inf opuštati opustiti
past-m opuštao opustio
past-f opuštala opustila
pass. adj. opuštan opušten
gerund opuštanje

This pair is usually used with a se²:

Ana se opuštala. Ana is relaxing.


It can be used without a se², and an object in A, normally the body part which is relaxing:

Ana opušta leđa. Ana is relaxing her back. (leđa back is always plural)

† The present adverb opuštajući is also used as a true adjective, meaning relaxing.

osjećatiosjetiti feel

(a) (i)
pres-1 osjećam osjetim
pres-3 osjeća osjeti
pres-3pl osjećaju osjete
pres. adv. osjećajući
imper-2 osjećaj osjeti
inf osjećati osjetiti
past-m osjećao osjetio
past-f osjećala osjetila
pass. adj.
gerund osjećanje *

* There’s no regular ‘semelfactive’ verbal noun, the noun osjećaj feeling is used when needed.


The impf. verb is often used with a se², to describe how someone feels at the moment, expressed with an adverb:

Ana se osjeća odlično. Ana is feeling great.


Both verbs are also used to express what is felt, as an object in A:

Ana osjeća bol. Ana is feeling pain.

The verb osjetiti is ‘semelfactive’, e.g. stands for a brief, ‘single’ feeling:

Ana je osjetila bol. Ana felt pain. (for a moment, for some time)


You can also feel something expressed by a content clause, often using a ‘modal’ verb (but no perf. verbs in the present tense):

Ana osjeća [da mora otići na odmor]. Ana feels [she must go on vacation].

There’s is frequently used potential adjective osjetljiv sensitive, having a bit shifted meaning.

oslanjati («) ~ osloniti («) se² rely [u/c]

(a) (i)
pres-1 oslanjam oslonim
pres-3 oslanja osloni
pres-3pl oslanjaju oslone
pres. adv. oslanjajući
imper-2 oslanjaj osloni
inf oslanjati osloniti
past-m oslanjao oslorio
past-f oslanjala oslonila
pass. adj. oslanjan oslonjen
gerund oslanjanje *


oslobađati («) ~ osloboditi («) liberate, free

(a) (i)
pres-1 oslobađam oslobodim
pres-3 oslobađa oslobodi
pres-3pl oslobađaju oslobode
pres. adv. oslobađajući
imper-2 oslobađaj oslobodi
inf oslobađati osloboditi
past-m oslobađao oslobodio
past-f oslobađala oslobodila
pass. adj. oslobađan oslobođen
gerund oslobađanje oslobođenje *

* The perf. noun oslobođenje is also used as a common noun, meaning liberation.

se² G

The verb pair is mostly used with se², while what or who the subject is liberated from is expressed in G:

Ana se oslobodila straha. Ana got rid of fear.


With just an object in A, it means literally free someone or something:

Ana je oslobodila ruku. Ana freed her arm.

ostajati (ostaje) ~ ostati (ostane) stay, remain

(a/e) (0/n)
pres-1 ostajem ostanem *
pres-3 ostaje ostane *
pres-3pl ostaju ostanu *
pres. adv. ostajući
imper-2 ostani
inf ostajati ostati
past-m ostajao ostao
past-f ostajala ostala
pass. adj.
gerund ostajanje **

* The perf. verb is also stressed ostane etc. in the present tense.

** There’s no regular perfective verbal noun, the noun ostanak (ostank-) stay is used when needed.

This verb pair is used in various ways. Since the perf. verb can express duration of stay, the impf. verb is practically used in present only:

Ostao je u bolnici dva sata. He remained in hospital for two hours.

Ostala je kod kuće. She stayed at home.

Ostali su zajedno. They stayed together.

The past form of the perf. verb is used as a real quantity adjective (as with other past forms used as adjectives, a form with -i, ostali is the basic form):

Ostalo tijesto je u frižideru. The remaining pastry is in the fridge.

It’s often used as a pronoun as well; in the same way as other adjectives, the neuter singular forms are used for things, and masc. plural forms for people:

Ostali će doći sutra. The rest (of them) will come tomorrow.

Ostalo će doći sutra. The rest (of it) will come tomorrow.


With a person in DL, the perf. verb expresses accidental leaving things somewhere (take care, jakna jacket and novčanik wallet are the subjects):

Jakna mi je ostala u autu. I left the jacket in the car (accidentally).

Ani je ostao novčanik u trgovini. Ana has left her wallet in the shop (accidentally).

As with other expressions where someone, expressed in DL, is unintentionally affected, they are often at the start of the sentence.

The pair ostavljati ~ ostaviti leave (things) expresses leaving things both intentionally and accidentally.

ostavljati ~ ostaviti leave (things)

(a) (i)
pres-1 ostavljam ostavim
pres-3 ostavlja ostavi
pres-3pl ostavljaju ostave
pres. adv. ostavljajući
imper-2 ostavljaj ostavi
inf ostavljati ostaviti
past-m ostavljao ostavio
past-f ostavljala ostavila
pass. adj. ostavljan ostavljen
gerund ostavljanje
A (loc)

This verb pair expresses leaving things or people (in A), somewhere (as an optional location):

Ostavila sam jaknu u autu. I left the jacket in the car. {f}

This pair doesn’t express if it’s intentional or not. To express unintentional leaving things specifically, the pair ostajati (ostaje) ~ ostati (ostane) is used.


A special case is the ‘location’ na miru, expressing the meaning leave alone:

Ostavi ga na miru! Leave him alone! (or: it, depending on the context)

osvajati («) ~*/~ osvojiti («) conquer; win (a medal, competition)

(a) (i)
pres-1 osvajam osvojim
pres-3 osvaja osvoji
pres-3pl osvajaju osvoje
pres. adv. osvajajući
imper-2 osvajaj osvoji
inf osvajati osvojiti
past-m osvajao osvojio
past-f osvajala osvojila
pass. adj. osvajan osvojen
gerund osvajanje

This pair basically means conquer, either some land, a mountain peak, or some other significant location, expressed as an object in A:

Amundsen je osvojio Južni pol. Amundsen conquered the South Pole.

A very common metaphorical meaning is ‘conquering’ medals and places in competitions:

Ana je osvojila medalju. Ana won a medal.

Hrvatska osvaja drugo mjesto. Croatia is winning the second place.

Note that the verb pair pobjeđivati (pobjeđuje) ~ pobijediti («) win (a battle, an opponent) is not used for such things in Croatian.

otključavati («) ~ otključati unlock

(a) (a)
pres-1 otključavam otključam
pres-3 otključava otključa
pres-3pl otključavaju otključaju
pres. adv. otključavajući
imper-2 otključavaj otključaj
inf otključavati otključati
past-m otključavao otključao
past-f otključavala otključala
pass. adj. otključan
gerund otključavanje

This verb pair can be used with an object in A:

Ana otključava vrata. Ana is unlocking the door.

The perf. pass. adj. is a very frequently used adjective (the noun vrata door is always in plural):

Vrata su otključana. The door is unlocked.

The opposite meaning is expressed by zaključavati («) ~ zaključati lock.

otkrivati («) ~ otkriti (otkrije) uncover; discover; reveal

(a) (0/j)
pres-1 otkrivam otkrijem
pres-3 otkriva otkrije
pres-3pl otkrivaju otkriju
pres. adv. otkrivajući
imper-2 otkrivaj otkrij
inf otkrivati otkriti
past-m otkrivao otkrio
past-f otkrivala otkrila
pass. adj. otkrivan otkriven
gerund otkrivanje *

* There’s no regular passive verbal noun, but the common noun otkriće discovery covers some meanings.


The verb pair, when used in meaning uncover, is used with an object in A:

Ana je otkrila Gorana. Ana has uncovered Goran.

If someone uncovers himself or herself, a se² is used:

Goran se otkrio. Goran has uncovered himself.


This verb pair also means discover; what is discovered is an object in A:

Pas je otkrio kost. The dog has discovered a bone.


What is discovered can also be a content clause (all tenses allowed, but no perf. verbs in the present tense):

Cassini je otkrio [da Saturn ima prstenove].
Cassini discovered [(that) Saturn has rings].

(DL) A

In journalism, this verb is very frequently used in the third meaning: reveal. Someone always reveals his or her plans, strategy for a football game, reasons, and – if there are no other news – a new hairstyle or boyfriend; one who gets the revelation is optionally expressed in DL:

Iva Šarić nam je otkrila tajne svog izgleda.
Iva Šarić revealed to us the secrets of her look.

(This is an actual sentence from a web site.)

(DL) [...]

This can be also used with content clauses:

Danijela Dvornik je otkrila [da piše knjigu].
Danijela Dvornik revealed [(that) she’s writing a book].

otvarati («) ~ otvoriti («) open

(a) (i)
pres-1 otvaram otvorim
pres-3 otvara otvori
pres-3pl otvaraju otvore
pres. adv. otvarajući
imper-2 otvaraj otvori
inf otvarati otvoriti
past-m otvarao otvorio
past-f otvarala otvorila
pass. adj. otvaran otvoren
gerund otvaranje otvorenje

This verb pair can be used with an object in A:

Ana otvara kutiju. Ana is opening the box.

Goran je otvorio prozor. Goran has opened the window.


With a se², the meaning is mediopassive, that is, something happens or has happened to the subject, but we don’t know or won’t say who is causing it:

Škola se otvara sutra. The school is opening tomorrow.

Vrata su se otvorila. The door has opened.

(The noun vrata door is always in plural.)

The perf. pass. adj. is a very frequently used adjective:

Dućan je otvoren. The shop is open.

The opposite meaning is expressed by zatvarati («) ~ zatvoriti («) close.

The agent noun is otvarač, mostly used for various devices (openers).

There’s an associated root noun otvor opening (as hole, not an action).

ovisiti depend

pres-1 ovisim
pres-3 ovisi
pres-3pl ovise
pres. adv. oviseći
imper-2 ovisi
inf ovisiti
past-m ovisio
past-f ovisila
pass. adj.
o DL

The verb is used with the preposition o¨ + DL:

Sve ovisi o vremenu. Everything depends on the weather.

When asking about the o¨ + DL object, don’t forget to keep the preposition before the pronoun in DL:

O čemu to ovisi? What does it depend on?

O kome to ovisi? On whom does it depend?

The subject of this verb is often a content clause, usually a yes-no or another type of question, which can be placed anywhere:

Ovisi o tebi [kad krećemo]. It depends on you [when we’ll start].

A clause is often put as an object in the o¨ + DL construction, using the connecting to (in DL tome), which is unlike English:

To ovisi o tome [da li će padati kiša]. It depends on [whether it will rain].

Ovisi o tome [gdje živiš]. It depends on [where you live].

Now, colloquially, it’s possible to leave out o tome and just have a clause as an object of the verb; the clause now must be after the subject (if any):

Ovisi [gdje živiš]. (colloq.) It depends [where you live].

It’s possible to use the verb + question word as a short response:

Koliko košta pizza? How much is a pizza?

Ovisi gdje. (colloq.) ‘It depends on where.

There’s as related adjective ovisan (ovisn-) dependent, also meaning addicted. It’s used in the same way as the verb:

Ivan je ovisan o nogometu. Ivan is addicted to football.

This verb doesn’t mean have confidence (the second meaning of English depend). For that, use računati ~ iz- calculate, rely on.

označavati («) ~ označiti («) mark [u/c]

(a) (i)
pres-1 označavam označim
pres-3 označava označi
pres-3pl označavaju označe
pres. adv. označavajući
imper-2 označavaj označi
inf označavati označiti
past-m označavao označio
past-f označavala označila
pass. adj. označen
gerund označavanje *

* There’s no regular passive verbal noun, but the common nouns oznaka mark, and sometimes znak sign, mark are used when needed.


The rest: A-GH-MPR-ŠT-Ž

5 Easy Croatian: Essential verbs: N-O This is the third part of a list of the most useful Croatian verbs, containing xxx verbs. They are either listed individually, in verb pai...

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