Essential verbs: P

This is the fourth part of my list of the most useful Croatian verbs, containing 96 verbs. They are either listed individually, in verb pairs, and occasionally in triplets; this part contains 56 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:

padati ~ pasti (padne, pao) fall

(a) (irr.)
pres-1 padam padnem
pres-3 pada padne
pres-3pl padaju padnu
pres. adv. padajući
imper-2 padaj padni
inf padati pasti
past-m padao pao
past-f padala pala
pass. adj.
gerund padanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, pad fall is used when needed.


The verb pair is used without objects, and with optional destinations:

Šalica je pala na pod. The cup fell to the floor.


This pair also expresses dropping things unintentionally, by adding the person involved in DL (the thing dropped is still the subject):

Šalica mi je pala. I’ve dropped the cup.

For intentional dropping, use bacati ~ baciti throw.


This pair is often used with kiša rain and snijeg snow to expess it’s raining or snowing (in such sentences, the subject usually comes after the verb):,

Padala je kiša. It was raining. (lit. ‘A rain was falling.’)

Pada snijeg. It’s snowing. (lit. ‘A snow is falling.’)

Impersonally, the imperfective verb is sometimes used to express raining or snowing, understood from the context:

Pada. It was raining. It’s raining. / It’s snowing.

Padalo je. It was raining. / It was snowing.

The past forms of the perf. verb are used as real adjectives, meaning fallen; the base form is pali:

Ima puno palog lišća. There’s a lot of fallen leaves.

pakirati («) ~* s- pack

pres-1 pakiram spakiram
pres-3 pakira spakira
pres-3pl pakiraju spakiraju
pres. adv. pakirajući
imper-2 pakiraj spakiraj
inf pakirati spakirati
past-m pakirao spakirao
past-f pakirala spakirala
pass. adj. pakiran spakiran
gerund pakiranje *

* The verbal noun pakiranje is also used as a general noun, meaning pack, packing.


This verb pair is used with objects in A:

Ana pakira odjeću. Ana is packing her clothes.


If you are packing your things to go somewhere, i.e. just pack, you have to use a se²:

Ana se spakirala. Ana has packed.

paliti ~*/~ u- («) ignite, turn on

pres-1 palim upalim
pres-3 pali upali
pres-3pl pale upale
pres. adv. paleći
imper-2 pali upali
inf paliti upaliti
past-m palio upalio
past-f palila upalila
pass. adj. paljen upaljen
gerund paljenje

This verb pair can be used with an object in A – for things that burn, but also for lights, engines, cars, TV and many other things:

Upalili su vatru. They’ve ignited the fire.

Upalit ću auto. I’ll turn the car on.

The opposite meaning is expressed by gasiti («) extinguish, turn off.

pamtiti ~~ za- memorize, bear in mind

pres-1 pamtim zapamtim
pres-3 pamti zapamti
pres-3pl pamte zapamte
pres. adv. pamteći
imper-2 pamti zapamti
inf pamtiti zapamtiti
past-m pamtio zapamtio
past-f pamtila zapamtila
pass. adj. zapamćen
gerund pamćenje *

Unlike English, Croatian has a special verb pair for storing things into memory.

The verb zapamtiti is ‘inchoative’: it means something got into the memory. (Since it’s inchoative, it’s normally not used in the present tense.)


It can be used with a content clause, representing the fact you want to memorize (using verbs in any tense, but no perf. verbs in the present tense; note that the Croatian clause below is in the present tense: there’s no adjustment of tenses in Croatian):

Ana nije zapamtila [gdje su ključevi]. Ana didn’t ‘memorize’ [where the keys were].


It’s also often used with objects in A, also representing things you want to memorize:

Ana nije zapamtila njegovu adresu. Ana didn’t ‘memorize’ his address.


You can also memorize to do something, expressed by a clause, usually using a ‘modal’ verb:

Ana je zapamtila [da mora kupiti kruh]. Ana ‘memorized’ [she had to buy bread].

Unlike English memorize, this is a very common verb in Croatian.


The verb pamtiti is imperfective: it means something is in the memory (it’s mostly used with adverbs dobro well and dugo for a long time):

Ana je dugo pamtila [što se dogodilo].
Ana ‘had in memory’ for a long time [what had happened]. (i.e. remembered)


It can be also used with objects in A:

Dobro pamtim školu. I remember the school well.

Meaning of this verb overlaps with sjećati se² ~~ sjetiti se² remember (recall, come to mind), which is more common in speech (note this verb uses G):

Dobro se sjećam škole. I remember the school well.

paziti be careful, watch out

pres-1 pazim
pres-3 pazi
pres-3pl paze
pres. adv. pazeći
imper-2 pazi
inf paziti
past-m pazio
past-f pazila
pass. adj. pažen
gerund *

* There’s no regular verbal noun, pažnja is used instead.

The verb is often used in imperative:

Pazi! Watch out!

na A

The verb can be used with na¨ + A, in meaning watch out for:

Ana pazi na trnje. Ana is watching out for thorns.


The verb can be used with atemporal clauses (starting with da, having both impf. and perf. verbs, but only in the present tense), which express what the subject wants to happen (and are consequently often negative, e.g. doesn’t fall):

Goran pazi [da ne padne]. Goran is careful [that he doesn’t fall].

There’s potential adjective pažljiv with an unexpected meaning: careful.

peći (peče,...) ~* ispeći (ispeče,...) bake

pres-1 pečem ispečem
pres-3 peče ispeče
pres-3pl peku ispeku
pres. adv. pekući
imper-2 peci ispeci
inf peći ispeći
past-m pekao ispekao
past-f pekla ispekla
pass. adj. pečen ispečen
gerund pečenje *

* The verbal noun is spelled the same as the noun pečenje roasted meat, which is different only in stress.


This verb pair is used with an object in A:

Ana peče kolače. Ana is baking cakes.

Ivan je ispekao pizzu. Ivan baked a pizza.

While English prefers other verbs in some instances, i.e. make a cake etc., Croatian prefers this verb pair whenever baking is done.


This verb pair can also be used with se², the meaning is mediopassive, i.e. something happens or has happened to the subject, but we don’t say who is causing it, or it happens ‘on its own’, e.g. for things left to bake:

Kolači se peku. Cakes are baking.

pisati (piše) ~* na- («) write

pres-1 pišem napišem
pres-3 piše napiše
pres-3pl pišu napišu
pres. adv. pišući
imper-2 piši napiši
inf pisati napisati
past-m pisao napisao
past-f pisala napisala
pass. adj. pisan napisan
gerund pisanje
A (DL)

The verb pair is used with objects in A (mandatory for the perf. verb), and optional recipients in DL:

Ana piše poruku. Ana is writing a message.

Ana piše poruku Ivani. Ana is writing a message to Ivana.

There’s a secondary present adjective pisaći writing, mostly used for pisaći stol writing desk and pisaći pribor stationery.

pitatiu- («) ask

pres-1 pitam upitam
pres-3 pita upita
pres-3pl pitaju upitaju
pres. adv. pitajući
imper-2 pitaj upitaj
inf pitati upitati
past-m pitao upitao
past-f pitala upitala
pass. adj. pitan
gerund pitanje *

* The verbal noun has the fixed meaning: question.

A [...]

This verb pair is usually used with an object in A (recipient of the question) and another object, usually a content clause, starting with a question-word (all tenses can be used):

Pitala sam Anu [gdje je auto]. I asked Ana [where the car was]. {f}

Observe that there’s no tense shift in Croatian.


What is asked can also be an object in A, then the verb has two objects in A (one is always a person, or something else that can answer questions):

Pitala sam te nešto. I asked you something. {f}

The perf. verb is ‘semelfactive’, i.e. stands for an individual question. It’s not used really often and has an alternative form with za- instead of u-.

If want to use pitanje question as the second object, these verbs are not used, the verb pair postavljati ~ postaviti set, place is used idiomatically.

piti (pije) ~* po- drink

pres-1 pijem popijem
pres-3 pije popije
pres-3pl piju popiju
pres. adv. pijući
imper-2 pij popi(j)
inf piti popiti
past-m pio popio
past-f pila popila
pass. adj. pijen popijen
gerund pijenje

The verb pair is used with an optional object in A, mandatory for the perf. verb:

Goran pije. Goran is drinking.

Goran pije vodu. Goran is drinking water.

pjevati ~* ot- ~~ za- sing

pres-1 pjevam otpjevam zapjevam
pres-3 pjeva otpjeva zapjeva
pres-3pl pjevaju otpjevaju zapjevaju
pres. adv. pjevajući
imper-2 pjevaj otpjevaj zapjevaj
inf pjevati otpjevati zapjevati
past-m pjevao otpjevao zapjevao
past-f pjevala otpjevala zapjevala
pass. adj. pjevan otpjevan
gerund pjevanje

The verb pair is used with an optional object in A:

Ptice pjevaju. Birds are singing.

Goran pjeva pjesmu. Goran is singing a song.

Two perfective verbs are a standard perfective, for singing something to the end, and an ‘inchoative’ verb, meaning start singing.

Ana je zapjevala. Ana started singing.


The perfective verb requires an object in A:

Goran je otpjevao pjesmu. Goran has sung a song.

The agent nouns are pjevač m / pjevačica f singer.

plaćati ~ platiti pay

(a) (i)
pres-1 plaćam platim
pres-3 plaća plati
pres-3pl plaćaju plate
pres. adv. plaćajući
imper-2 plaćaj plati
inf plaćati platiti
past-m plaćao platio
past-f plaćala platila
pass. adj. plaćan plaćen
gerund plaćanje

The verb pair is used with an optional object in A:

Ana plaća večeru. Ana is paying for the dinner.


You can also pay something to somebody, expressed in DL, which is usually expressed with buy in English:

Ana je platila Goranu večeru. Ana bought Goran the dinner.

planirati («) ~* is- plan

pres-1 planiram isplaniram
pres-3 planira isplanira
pres-3pl planiraju isplaniraju
pres. adv. planirajući
imper-2 planiraj isplaniraj
inf planirati isplanirati
past-m planirao isplanirao
past-f planirala isplanirala
pass. adj. planiran isplaniran
gerund planiranje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun; the noun plan plan can be used when needed.


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

Ana planira kupiti auto. Ana is planning to buy a car.


They can also be used with objects in A, when some activity is planned:

Ivan planira put. Ivan is planning the trip.

plivati ~* ot- , do- ~~ za- swim

pres-1 plivam otplivam zaplivam
pres-3 pliva otpliva zapliva
pres-3pl plivaju otplivaju zaplivaju
pres. adv. plivajući
imper-2 plivaj otplivaj zaplivaj
inf plivati otplivati zaplivati
past-m plivao otplivao zaplivao
past-f pivala otplivala zaplivala
pass. adj. plivan otplivan
gerund plivanje

There are two perfective verbs, but they don’t have exactly the same meaning, they rather form a go-come pair: the verb derived with ot- is simply the perfective version of the impf. verb; it covers swim away as well.

The perf. verb derived with do- is used in situations where the English come can be used; it’s essentially come by swimming.

Ana pliva. Ana is swimming.

Ana je otplivala. Goran swam away.

The agent nouns are plivač m / plivačica f swimmer.

počinjati (počinje) ~ početi (počne) begin

(a/e) (irr.)
pres-1 počinjem počnem *
pres-3 počinje počne *
pres-3pl počinju počnu *
pres. adv.
imper-2 počinji počni *
inf počinjati početi
past-m počinjao počeo
past-f počinjala počela
pass. adj. počet
gerund **

* Occasionally, the perf. verb is seen with alternative, non-standard forms of the present tense, having -m- instead of -n-, e.g. počme. This seems to be more common in coastal regions.

** There’s no regular perf. verbal noun; početak (početk-) beginning is used instead.

This is a phase verb pair. It can be used with a noun standing for an activity as the subject, and no object:

Kiša počinje. The rain is starting.

Film je počeo. The movie has started.

When the subject is something new or indefinite (e.g. we just say some movie has started), it’s usually expressed by putting the subject after the verb, which roughly corresponds to using English indefinite article a/an:

Počeo je film. A movie has started.


To describe how something starts, a noun in I can be used:

Nova godina je počela vatrometom. The new year started with fireworks.


Another way of using this pair is with another impf. verb in infinitive, possibly with its objects, etc.:

Goran je počeo jesti. Goran has begun eating.

Goran je počeo jesti jabuku. Goran has begun eating an apple.

The opposite pair is prestajati (prestaje) ~ prestati (prestane) stop, cease for natural events (e.g. rain) and feelings (e.g. pain), while for man-made things, završavati («) ~ završiti («) end is used.

pogađati («) ~ pogoditi («) hit; guess

(a) (i)
pres-1 pogađam pogodim
pres-3 pogađa pogodi
pres-3pl pogađaju pogode
pres. adv. pogađajući
imper-2 pogađaj pogodi
inf pogađati pogoditi
past-m pogađao pogodio
past-f pogađala pogodila
pass. adj. pogađan pogođen
gerund pogađanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun; pogodak (pogotk-) hit can be used instead.


The basic meaning is hit the target, e.g. goal, basket, someone – usually with something flying (a ball, arrow, stone):

Goran je pogodio prozor. Goran has hit the window.

Note: the target can be untentional; you aimed for something, but you’ve hit something else.

If you hit something directly (e.g. with a fist, foot), the verb pair udaratiudariti hit, punch is used.


A derived, but common meaning is guess something, often expressed with a content clause (starting with da or a question-word, using any tense, but no perf. verbs in the present tense):

Pogodila sam [gdje je auto]. I guessed [where the car is]. {f}

(Note that the perf. verb implies that the guessing was successful: you were right.)

Also, noun clauses can be used in this construction (starting with što (č-) what or tko (k-) who):

Pogodila sam [što je to]. I guessed [what that is]. {f}


Another derived meaning is that someone (who is an object in A) was negatively affected or hurt by something (the subject in N):

Anu je to jako pogodilo. Ana took it very badly.

Vijesti su ih pogodile. They took the news badly.

pokazivati (pokazuje) ~ pokazati (pokaže) show

(iva) (a)
pres-1 pokazujem pokažem
pres-3 pokazuje pokaže
pres-3pl pokazuju pokažu
pres. adv. pokazujući
imper-2 pokazuj pokaži
inf pokazivati pokazati
past-m pokazivao pokazao
past-f pokazivala pokazala
pass. adj. pokazivan pokazan
gerund pokazivanje
(DL) A

The verb is used with an object in A, and an optional ‘recipient’ in DL:

Ana pokazuje kuću Ivani. Ana is showing the house to Ivana.

(DL) [..]

Instead of objects in A, content clauses starting with da or a question-word are often used (using any tense, but no perf. verbs in the present tense):

Ana je pokazala Ivani [gdje je kuhinja].
Ana has shown Ivana [where the kitchen is].

Goran pokazuje [da može stajati na rukama].
Goran is showing [(that) he can stand on his hands].

se² [...]

With a se², a content clause can be the subject (the verb must be neuter singular accordingly), and the meaning is turn out that...:

Pokazalo se [da je škola predaleko]. lit. ‘It turned out [the school was too far]’.
= The school turned out to be too far.

Note that in Croatian, the subject is usually not something turning up to have unexpected properties, but the whole clause! This is unlike English.

Also, note that the clause in the example above uses the present tense. There’s no adjustment of tenses in Croatian!

This is a somewhat formal use; in speech, it’s more common to use ispadati ~ ispasti (ispadne, ispao) fall out, drop out, turn out.

pokrivati («) ~ pokriti (pokrije) cover

(iva) (0/j)
pres-1 pokrivam pokrijem
pres-3 pokriva pokrije
pres-3pl pokrivaju pokriju
pres. adv. pokrivajući
imper-2 pokrivaj pokrij
inf pokrivati pokriti
past-m pokrivao pokrio
past-f pokrivala pokrila
pass. adj. pokrivan pokriven
gerund pokrivanje
A / se² (I)

The verb pair is used with an object in A or a se²; what is used to cover can be expressed in I:

Ana je pokrila Gorana. Ana has covered Goran.

Goran se pokriva dekom. Goran is covering himself with a blanket.

This pair is also used metaphorically, in journalism, sports, law etc., as in English.

The opposite meaning is expressed with otkrivati («) ~ otkriti (otkrije) uncover; discover; reveal.

The agent noun is pokrivač, mostly used for blankets and similar things.

pokušavati («) ~ pokušati try

pres-1 pokušavam pokušam
pres-3 pokušava pokuša
pres-3pl pokušavaju pokušaju
pres. adv. pokušavajući
imper-2 pokušaj
inf pokušavati pokušati
past-m pokušavao pokušao
past-f pokušavala pokušala
pass. adj.
gerund pokušavanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, pokušaj attempt is used when needed.


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

Goran pokušava stajati na jednoj nozi. Goran is trying to stand on one leg.

pomagati (pomaže) ~ pomoći (pomogne,...) help

(a/*) (irr.)
pres-1 pomažem pomognem
pres-3 pomaže pomogne
pres-3pl pomažu pomognu
pres. adv. pomažući
imper-2 pomaži pomogni
inf pomagati pomoći
past-m pomagao pomogao
past-f pomagala pomogla
pass. adj. pomognut
gerund pomaganje *

* Besides the regular verbal noun, the common noun pomoć f help is frequently used.


The verb is used with a ‘recipient’ of help in DL:

Ana pomaže Goranu. Ana is helping Goran.

DL inf

As objects, infinitives (of both impf. and perf. verbs) with additional objects can be used:

Ana je pomogla Goranu otvoriti kutiju. Ana has helped Goran open the box.

DL [...]

Instead of inf, atemporal clauses (starting with da, having both impf. and perf. verbs, but only in the present tense) can be used:

Ana je pomogla Goranu [da otvori kutiju]. (the same meaning)

The subject of the clause must be the same as the recipient of help in DL.

The agent nouns are pomagač m / pomagačica f helper.

ponavljati («) ~ ponoviti («) repeat

(a) (i)
pres-1 ponavljam ponovim
pres-3 ponavlja ponovi
pres-3pl ponavljaju ponove
pres. adv. ponavljajući
imper-2 ponavljaj ponovi
inf ponavljati ponoviti
past-m ponavljao ponovio
past-f ponavljala ponovila
pass. adj. ponavljan ponovljen
gerund ponavljanje

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

Ana je dvaput ponovila pitanje. Ana repeated the question twice.


If the subject is repeating (i.e. there’s no object in English) these verbs have to be used with a se²:

Povijest se ponavlja. History repeats (itself).

There’s a potential adjective ponovljiv repeatable.

ponašati («) se² behave

pres-1 ponašam
pres-3 ponaša
pres-3pl ponašaju
pres. adv. ponašajući
imper-2 ponašaj
inf ponašati
past-m ponašao
past-f ponašala
pass. adj.
gerund ponašanje *

* The verbal noun ponašanje is used as a common noun, meaning behavior.

This verb is used with adverbs, expressing how someone behaves:

Goran se ponaša grozno. Goran behaves horribly.

Unlike in English, this verb must be used with an adverb, it doesn’t imply good behavior on its own!


If the behavior is directed toward someone, that can be expressed with prema + DL:

Goran se ponaša grozno prema mami. Goran behaves horribly with his mom.

popravljati ~ popraviti fix, repair

(a) (i)
pres-1 popravljam popravim
pres-3 popravlja popravi
pres-3pl popravljaju poprave
pres. adv. popravljajući
imper-2 popravljaj popravi
inf popravljati popraviti
past-m popravljao popravio
past-f popravljala popravila
pass. adj. popravljan popravljen
gerund popravljanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, popravak (popravk-) is used when needed.


This verb pair is used with objects in A:

Ivan je popravio auto. Ivan has fixed his car.


The verb pair can be used with se²: the meaning is mediopassive, i.e. somebody or something improves:

Vrijeme se popravlja. The weather is improving.

There’s a potential adjective popravljiv improveable, fixable.

posjećivati (posjećuje) ~ posjetiti visit

(iva) (i)
pres-1 posjećujem posjetim
pres-3 posjećuje posjeti
pres-3pl posjećuju posjete
pres. adv. posjećujući
imper-2 posjećuj posjeti
inf posjećivati posjetiti
past-m posjećivao posjetio
past-f posjećivala posjetila
pass. adj. posjećivan posjećen
gerund *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun; nouns posjeta or posjet, both meaning visit are used when needed. The first noun is often considered non-standard in Croatian, but it’s more common in writing and speech (more than 10 times).


This verb pair is used with objects in A:

Ana je posjetila baku. Ana visited her grandmother.

These verbs have been borrowed from Russian in past centuries.

postajati (postaje) ~ postati (postane) become

(a/e) (0/n)
pres-1 postajem postanem *
pres-3 postaje postane *
pres-3pl postaju postanu *
pres. adv. postajući
imper-2 postani *
inf postajati postati
past-m postajao postao
past-f postajala postala
pass. adj.
gerund postajanje **

* The present forms of the perf. verb are also stresed as postane, etc. and imperative as postani.

** There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, postanak (postank-) is used when needed.


The verb pair is used in a way similar to biti (je² +) ‘~’ (bude) be – with nouns in N and adverbs:

Postaje hladno. It’s getting cold.

Postalo je hladno. It got cold.

Ivan će postati otac. Ivan is going to become a father.

It’s also used with adjectives in N, adjusted to the gender and number of the subject:

Goran je postao nervozan. Goran became nervous.

Ana polako postaje nestrpljiva. Ana is slowly getting impatient.

It’s sometimes used with specific subjects used with biti (je² +) ‘~’ (bude) be:

Postalo nas je strah. We got afraid.

However, this pair is never used in existential phrases (see imati have).

postavljati ~ postaviti set, place

(a) (i)
pres-1 postavljam postavim
pres-3 postavlja postavi
pres-3pl postavljaju postave
pres. adv. postavljajući
imper-2 postavljaj postavi
inf postavljati postaviti
past-m postavljao postavio
past-f postavljala postavila
pass. adj. postavljan postavljen
gerund postavljanje

This verb pair translates to several meanings in English. The basic meaning is set, in the meaning fix, put on an elevated place, erect (a monument), but also make ready (e.g. set the table). It’s not used in the meanings set free, set in motion (Croatian has specific verbs for such actions).


The objects are in A:

Ana je postavila stol. Ana has set the table.

A dest

When you want to express where something is placed or fixed, you have to use destinations, unlike in English:

Postavit ću sliku na zid. I’ll put the picture on the wall. (Croatian: a destination!)


This pair is also used to formulate and ask questions:

Postavio sam dva pitanja. I asked two questions. {m}

postizati (postiže) ~ postići (postigne,...) achieve

(a/*) (irr.)
pres-1 postižem postignem
pres-3 postiže postigne
pres-3pl postižu postignu
pres. adv. postižući
imper-2 postiži postigni
inf postizati postići
past-m postizao postigao
past-f postizala postigla
pass. adj. postignut
gerund postizanje

This pair is often used with an object in A:

Ana je postigla uspjeh. Ana achieved success.


What is achived can also be expressed with a content clause.

postojati (postoji) exist

pres-1 postojim
pres-3 postoji
pres-3pl postoje
pres. adv. postojeći
inf postojati
past-m postojao
past-f postojala
pass. adj.
gerund postojanje

The verb is used without an object, often covering the ‘existential’ meaning there is, with countable objects:

Ne postoje plave jabuke. Blue apples don’t exist.

Postoje dva problema. There are two problems.

† The present adverb postojeći is frequently used as a true adjective, meaning existing, current:

Obavijest postojećim korisnicima. A notice to current users.

posuđivati (posuđuje) ~ posuditi («) borrow, lend

(iva) (i)
pres-1 posuđujem posudim
pres-3 posuđuje posudi
pres-3pl posuđuju posude
pres. adv. posuđujući
imper-2 posuđuj posudi
inf posuđivati posuditi
past-m posuđivao posudio
past-f posuđivala posudila
pass. adj. posuđivan posuđen
gerund posuđivanje *

There’s no regular perfective verbal noun, the noun posudba is used when needed.


These verbs are used in two meanings. One is borrow something (expressed in A) from an origin (expressed with od¨ + G for people):

Goran je posudio loptu od Ivana. Goran has borrowed a ball from Ivan.


The same verbs are used to express lend. What is lent is still expressed in A, while the recipient is in DL:

Ivan je posudio loptu Goranu. Ivan has lent a ball to Goran.


This verb pair uses ‘round trip’ time periods, i.e. na¨ + period, meaning things borrowed should be returned in that time period:

Goran je posudio loptu od Ivana na tri dana.
Goran has borrowed a ball from Ivan for three days.

If you used za¨ + period in the example above, it would mean how much it took to complete the borrowing before you took the ball (e.g. to negotiate, etc.), not when you’re going to return it!

povećavati («) ~ povećati enlarge, magnify

pres-1 povećavam povećam
pres-3 povećava poveća
pres-3pl povećavaju povećaju
pres. adv. povećavajući
imper-2 povećavaj povećaj
inf povećavati povećati
past-m povećavao povećao
past-f povećavala povećala
pass. adj. povećavan povećan
gerund povećavanje povećanje

This pair is often used with a se² , when something increases:

Cijene su se povećale. The prices increased.

It’s also used with an object in A, when someone enlarges, increases or magnifies something:

Restoran je povećao cijene. The restaurant increased its prices.

pozdravljati ~ pozdraviti greet, say goodbye

(a) (i)
pres-1 pozdravljam pozdravim
pres-3 pozdravlja pozdravi
pres-3pl pozdravljaju pozdrave
pres. adv. pozdravljajući
imper-2 pozdravljaj pozdravi
inf pozdravljati pozdraviti
past-m pozdravljao pozdravio
past-f pozdravljala pozdravila
pass. adj. pozdravljan pozdravljen
gerund pozdravljanje *


poznavati (poznaje) / poznati know, be familiar with (person, city)

pres-1 poznajem poznam *
pres-3 poznaje pozna *
pres-3pl poznaju poznaju
pres. adv. poznajući / poznavajući
inf poznavati poznati *
past-m poznavao poznao *
past-f poznavala poznala *
pass. adj. poznat
gerund poznavanje

* The verb has an alternative form with inf poznati; its forms are common in speech, but ones marked with * are regarded as a bit colloquial.


This verb means know, but with specific objects: a person, a city, a car brand, etc. The object is in A:

Ana poznaje Ivana. Ana knows Ivan.

The meaning get to know, become familiar is expressed with the verb pair upoznavati (upoznaje) ~ upoznati get acquainted with (person, city).

The passive adjective poznat is used as a common adjective, well-known.

prati (pere) ~* o- (») wash

pres-1 perem operem
pres-3 pere opere
pres-3pl peru operu
pres. adv. perući
imper-2 peri operi
inf prati oprati
past-m prao oprao
past-f prala oprala
pass. adj. pran opran
gerund pranje

This verb pair is used with objects in A:

Ana pere kosu. Ana is washing her hair.

se² / sebe

If you are washing yourself, you have to use a se² (which is true reflexive, i.e. it can be emphasized as sebe):

Goran se oprao. Goran has washed himself.

There’s a potential adjective periv washable.

pratiti follow

pres-1 pratim
pres-3 prati
pres-3pl prate
pres. adv. prateći
imper-2 prati
inf pratiti
past-m pratio
past-f pratila
pass. adj. praćen
gerund praćenje

This verb is used with objects in A:

Pas nas prati. The dog is following us.

The verb is also used when somebody regularly watches something (e.g. a TV series).

† The present adverb prateći is also used as a true adjective, meaning accompanying.

predviđati («) ~ predvidjeti (predvidi,...) predict

(a) (je)
pres-1 predviđam predvidim
pres-3 predviđa predvidi
pres-3pl predviđaju predvide
pres. adv. predviđajući
imper-2 predviđaj predvidi
inf predviđati predvidjeti
past-m predviđao predvidio
past-f predviđala predvidjela
pass. adj. predviđan predviđen
gerund predviđanje *

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

Goran predviđa svašta. Goran predicts all sorts of things.


The verbs are often used with content clauses, i.e. clauses starting with da or question-words, and using any tense (but not perf. verbs in the present tense):

Ana je predvidjela [da će Goran biti gladan].
Ana predicted [Goran would be hungry].

The Croatian clause is in the future tense, as there’s no adjustment of tenses in Croatian.

There’s a potential adjective predvidljiv predictable.

prekidati («) ~ prekinuti (prekine) interrupt, quit

(a) (n)
pres-1 prekidam prekinem
pres-3 prekida prekine
pres-3pl prekidaju prekinu
pres. adv. prekidajući
imper-2 prekidaj prekini
inf prekidati prekinuti
past-m prekidao prekinuo
past-f prekidala prekinula
pass. adj. prekidan prekinut
gerund prekidanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, prekid is used when needed.


This verb pair is used for interruptions, unexpected or forced endings or actions. It’s used with objects in A:

Sudac je prekinuo utakmicu. The referee has stopped the match.


With a se², the meaning is mediopassive, i.e. something unexpectedly ends ‘on its own’:

Veza se prekinula. The connection has broken.

prestajati (prestaje) ~ prestati (prestane) stop, cease

(a/e) (0/n)
pres-1 prestajem prestanem *
pres-3 prestaje prestane *
pres-3pl prestaju prestanu *
pres. adv. prestajući
imper-2 prestani *
inf prestajati prestati
past-m prestajao prestao
past-f prestajala prestala
pass. adj.
gerund prestajanje **

* The present forms of the perf. verb are sometime stresed as prestane, etc. (i.e. the stress in ‘western’ areas of Croatia is sometimes on the 2nd syllable for this verb). The imperative forms are also stressed as prestani, etc.

** There’s no regular perf. verbal noun; prestanak (prestank-) is used instead.

This is a phase verb pair. The verb pair can be used with a noun standing for some process as the subject, without anything else:

Kiša je prestala. The rain has stopped.

This is not used for organized activities (e.g. party, meeting), man-made things (e.g. story, war, movie) or periods of time (e.g. month, day). For example, it’s often used with:

bol f pain
buka noise
glavoboljaʷ¹ headache
kiša rain
krvarenje bleeding
oluja storm
opasnost f danger
snijeg snow
vjetar (vjetr-) wind

To express that something ends (e.g. a movie, a story, a party, an evening) use only završavati («) ~ završiti («).


It can be also used with another imperfective verb in infinitive, which can have additional objects and so on:

Goran je prestao plakati. Goran has stopped crying.

Ivan je prestao piti pivo. Ivan has stopped drinking beer.

There’s no restriction on the type of activity in the construction with an infinitive.

The opposite meaning is expressed by počinjati (počinje) ~ početi (počne) begin.

pretpostavljati ~ pretpostaviti suppose

(a) (i)
pres-1 pretpostavljam pretpostavim
pres-3 pretpostavlja pretpostavi
pres-3pl pretpostavljaju pretpostave
pres. adv. pretpostavljajući
imper-2 pretpostavljaj pretpostavi
inf pretpostavljati pretpostaviti
past-m pretpostavljao pretpostavio
past-f pretpostavljala pretpostavila
pass. adj. pretpostavljan pretpostavljen
gerund pretpostavljanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, the noun pretpostavka assumption is used instead.


This verb is usually used with a content clause (i.e. all verbs in any tense, except perf. verbs in present) as its object:

Pretpostavljam [da imaš malo vremena]. I suppose [you have some time].

This verb is basically a literal translation of the German verb voraussetzen, and ultimately based on Latin praesuppōnere.

prevoditi («) ~ prevesti (prevede, preveo) translate

(i) (irr.)
pres-1 prevodim prevedem
pres-3 prevodi prevede
pres-3pl prevode prevedu
pres. adv. prevodeći
imper-2 prevodi prevedi
inf prevoditi prevesti
past-m prevodio preveo
past-f prevodila prevela
pass. adj. prevođen preveden
gerund prevođenje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, but the noun prijevod translation is used when needed.

A (dest) (orig)

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

Ana prevodi s engleskog. Ana translates from English.

Ana je prevela knjigu s engleskog na hrvatski. Ana has translated the book from English to Croatian.

Pay attention that languages use the preposition s¨ / sa¨ for origins and na¨ for destinations and locations.

There’s a potential adjective prevodljiv translatable.

The agent nouns are prevoditelj m / prevoditeljica f translatior. There’s another masc. noun: prevodilac (prevodioc-).

pričati ~* is- («) tell

pres-1 pričam ispričam
pres-3 priča ispriča
pres-3pl pričaju ispričaju
pres. adv. pričajući
imper-2 pričaj ispričaj
inf pričati ispričati
past-m pričao ispričao
past-f pričala ispričala
pass. adj. pričan ispričan
gerund pričanje

This verb pair is traditionally used to tell narration, e.g. a story, or to talk about something; what is told is an object in A, and an optional recipient is in DL:

Ana je ispričala kratku priču Goranu. Ana told Goran a short story.


The object can be expressed with a noun clause:

Ivan je ispričao [što se dogodilo]. Ivan told [what has happened].

Colloquially, this verb pair also covers meanings expressed by pairs govoriti («) ~ reći (reče / kaže,...) speak, say, tell and razgovarati («) talk with someone, converse:

Pričala sam s Anom. (colloq.) I talked to Ana. {f}

There’s a potential adjective pričljiv, with a bit unexpected meaning: talkative, chatty.

prihvaćati ~ prihvatiti accept

(a) (i)
pres-1 prihvaćam prihvatim
pres-3 prihvaća prihvati
pres-3pl prihvaćaju prihvate
pres. adv. prihvaćajući
imper-2 prihvaćaj prihvati
inf prihvaćati prihvatiti
past-m prihvaćao prihvatio
past-f prihvaćala prihvatila
pass. adj. prihvaćan prihvaćen
gerund prihvaćanje

This verb pair can be used with an object (what is accepted) in A:

Ana je prihvatila objašnjenje. Ana has accepted the explanation.


The verbs are often used with content clauses, starting with da, and using any tense, or with noun clauses, starting with forms of tko (k-) who and što (č-) what:

Ana ne prihvaća [da mora čekati satima].
Ana doesn't accept [she has to wait for hours].

Ne prihvaćam [što su mi rekli]. I don't accept [what they told me].

There’s a potential adjective prihvatljiv acceptable.

primati ~ primiti receive

(a) (i)
pres-1 primam primim
pres-3 prima primi
pres-3pl primaju prime
pres. adv. primajući
imper-2 primaj primi
inf primati primiti
past-m primao primio
past-f primala primila
pass. adj. priman primljen
gerund primanje

This verb pair is used with objects in A:

Ivana je primila poruku . Ivana has received a message.

A orig

To specify sources, origins can be added (for persons: od¨ + G):

Ana je primila poruku iz banke.
Ana has received a message from the bank.

Ivana je primila poruku od Ane. Ivana has received a message from Ana.

The same meaning is often expressed in speech with dobivati («) ~ dobiti (dobije) get (a thing, a message, an idea).

A za A

Colloquially, this pair can mean take, start holding, grab, hold for a while:

Ana je primila Gorana za ruku . (colloq.) Ana took Goran by his hand. (or: took Goran’s hand)

In that meaning, the pair is used in the same ways as držati (drži) hold; keep.

There’s a phrase which corresponds to an English phrase, meaning express disbelief, dismay:

Ana se primila za glavu. (colloq.) Ana shook her head. (lit: ‘held her head’)

The meaning take, start holding, grab, hold for a while is not found in Bosnia or Serbia; the verb pair hvatati ~ uhvatiti catch and others are used instead.

pripadati ~~ pripasti (pripadne, pripao) belong

(a) (irr.)
pres-1 pripadam pripadnem
pres-3 pripada pripadne
pres-3pl pripadaju pripadnu
pres. adv. pripadajući
imper-2 pripadaj pripadni
inf pripadati pripasti
past-m pripadao pripao
past-f pripadala pripala
pass. adj. pripadan
gerund pripadanje

This verb is used to express belonging to someone or something (expressed in DL):

Auto pripada Ani. The car belongs to Ana.

The verb pripasti (pripadne) is ‘inchoative’, describing entering a state, and it’s hard to translate it to English:

Uloga je pripala Ani. Ana got the role.

This is frequently used metaphorically, when someone gets the following:

čast honor
nagrada award
priznanje recognition, award
uloga role

† The present adverb pripadajući is sometimes used as a true adjective, meaning corresponding. It’s mostly used in official documents, contracts, etc.

The agent nouns are pripadnik m / pripadnica f member. They are mostly used in official documents, laws and like; they aren’t used for members of a club, but rather of ethnic groups, armed forces, police etc.

pripremati («) ~ pripremiti («) prepare

(a) (i)
pres-1 pripremam pripremim
pres-3 priprema pripremi
pres-3pl pripremaju pripreme
pres. adv. pripremajući
imper-2 pripremaj pripremi
inf pripremati pripremiti
past-m pripremao pripremio
past-f pripremala pripremila
pass. adj. pripreman pripremljen
gerund pripremanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, priprema is used when needed.


The verb pair is used with objects in A, where English often uses verbs make:

Ana priprema ručak. Ana is preparing lunch.

A za A

You can also prepare someone (in A) for something (za¨ + A):

Ana priprema Gorana za školu. Ana is preparing Goran for school.


If you prepare on your own, e.g. like English get ready, you have to use se²:

Pripremamo se za vikend. We’re preparing for the weekend.

se² [...]

If you prepare (or prepare someone) to do something, it’s expressed by an clause (in any tense, present of perf. verbs stands for future) starting with da:

Pripremi se [da ćeš dugo čekati]. Prepare for a long wait.

probati perf. try; taste

pres-1 probam
pres-3 proba
pres-3pl probaju
pres. adv. probajući
imper-2 probaj
inf probati
past-m probao
past-f probala
pass. adj.
gerund *

* There’s no regular verbal noun, proba is used when needed.


The verb is slightly colloquial. It’s usually used in the past or future tense, since it’s essentially perfective. It can be used with another verb in infinitive, which can have its objects, and so on:

Goran je probao stajati na jednoj nozi. Goran has tried to stand on one leg.


Unlike pokušavati («) ~ pokušati, this verb can be also used with objects in A; it also corresponds to English try on (for clothes) and try out (i.e. test):

Ivan je probao hlače. Ivan has tried the trousers on.

When trying food, it often corresponds to English taste:

Ana je probala kolač. Ana has tasted the cake.

prodavati (prodaje) ~ prodati sell

(irr.) (a)
pres-1 prodajem prodam
pres-3 prodaje proda
pres-3pl prodaju * prodaju
pres. adv. prodajući *
imper-2 prodavaj * prodaj
inf prodavati prodati
past-m prodavao prodao
past-f prodavala prodala
pass. adj. prodavan prodan
gerund prodavanje **

* There are alternative, non-standard forms of the present tense of the impf. verb (prodavam, etc.) and the pres. adv. (prodavajući). The impf. imperative has standard form which coincides with the perf. imperative, so prodavaj is actually more common.

** There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, prodaja is used when needed.

A (DL)

The verb pair is used with objects in A and optional recipients (i.e. buyers) in DL:

Ana je prodala kuću. Ana has sold the house.

Ana je prodala kuću Marku. Ana has sold the house to Marko.


With a se², in the present tense it corresponds to English on sale and Spanish se venda:

Kuća se prodaje. The house is on sale. (lit. ‘is being sold’)

The agent nouns are prodavač m / prodavačica f seller, always used for people who work in shops.

prolaziti ~ proći (prođe,...) pass

(i) (irr.)
pres-1 prolazim prođem
pres-3 prolazi prođe
pres-3pl prolaze prođu
pres. adv. prolazeći
imper-2 prolazi prođi
inf prolaziti proći
past-m prolazio prošao
past-f prolazila prošla
pass. adj.
gerund prolaženje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, prolazak (prolask-) is used when needed.

This pair is usually used without an object:

Zima je prošla. The winter passed.


As in English, it can be used with objects (in A) in meaning go past or across something:

Prošli smo njegovu kuću. We have passed his house.

This pair is not used in meaning pass ball, or pass salt: for that, the pair dodavati ~ dodati is used.

The past form of the perf. verb is used as a real adjective, in the meaning last, previous, past (as with other past forms used as adjectives, a form with -i, prošli is the basic form):

Prošla zima je bila hladna. The last/past winter was cold.

It’s a very common adjective, more common than English past. The phrase prošlo vrijeme means past tense.

The agent nouns are prolaznik m / prolaznica f passer-by.

provjeravati («) ~ provjeriti check, verify

(a) (i)
pres-1 provjeravam provjerim
pres-3 provjerava provjeri
pres-3pl provjeravaju provjere
pres. adv. provjeravajući
imper-2 provjeravaj provjeri
inf provjeravati provjeriti
past-m provjeravao provjerio
past-f provjeravala provjerila
pass. adj. provjeravan provjeren
gerund provjeravanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, provjera is used when needed.


This pair is usually used with content clauses – so any tense, but no perf. verbs in the present tense – normally formed out of questions:

Provjerio sam [ima li mlijeka]. I’ve checked [if there’s any milk].

Ana provjerava [gdje je ključ]. Ana is checking [where the key is].

Provjeri [do kad radi trgovina].
Check [‘until when’ the shop works]. (i.e. check the closing time)

Provjerit ću [kod koga je knjiga].
I’ll check [‘at whom’ the book is]. (i.e. who has the book)


This pair can be also used with objects in A:

Provjerio sam kupaonicu. I’ve checked the bathroom. {m}

This verb has been likely borrowed from Russian.

provoditi («) ~ provesti (provede, proveo) spend (time)

(i) (irr.)
pres-1 provodim provedem
pres-3 provodi provede
pres-3pl provode provedu
pres. adv. provodeći
imper-2 provodi provedi
inf provoditi provesti
past-m provodio proveo
past-f provodila provela
pass. adj. provođen proveden
gerund provođenje

This verb pair is used mostly to express spending time, e.g. holidays, afternoons, days, weekends etc. It’s used with locations:

Proveli smo dva dana u Dubrovniku. We spent two days in Dubrovnik.

This pair is not used for spending money or other resources; for such purposes, trošiti ~* po- («) is used.

puniti ~* na- fill; charge (battery)

pres-1 punim napunim
pres-3 puni napuni
pres-3pl pune napune
pres. adv. puneći
imper-2 puni napuni
inf puniti napuniti
past-m punio napunio
past-f punila napunila
pass. adj. punjen napunjen
gerund punjenje

This pair is used with objects in A:

Ana je napunila rezervoar. Ana has filled the (car) tank.


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:

Kada se puni. The bathtub is filling.

This pair is also used for charging batteries, mobile phones etc.:

Ana je napunila mobitel. Ana charged her mobile phone. (lit. ‘filled’)

puštati ~ pustiti release, let go, let

(a) (i)
pres-1 puštam pustim
pres-3 pušta pusti
pres-3pl puštaju puste
pres. adv. puštajući
imper-2 puštaj pusti
inf puštati pustiti
past-m puštao pustio
past-f puštala pustila
pass. adj. puštan pušten
gerund puštanje

The pair means release, let go and it’s used with objects in A:

Goran je pustio balon. Goran has let the balloon go.

Colloquially, it can be used to play music or movies:

Danas puštaju super pjesme. (colloq.) They play great songs today.

A [..]

With atemporal da-clauses (using only present tense of both perf. and impf. verbs) it means let, allow; who is allowed to do something is still the object in A:

Ana je pustila psa [da trči]. Ana let the dog [run].

The subject of the da-clause must be the same as the object of the main clause:

Ana ih nije pustila [da se igraju noževima].
Ana didn’t let them [play with knives].

Sometimes, this construction is used with DL instead of A, which is colloquial:

DL [..]

Ana im nije pustila [da se igraju noževima]. (the same, but colloquial)

The last construction coincides completely with dopuštati («) ~ dopustiti («) allow, let.

A loc

This pair can also mean, colloquially, leave, in exactly the same way as ostavljati ~ ostaviti leave (things):

Pusti ga tamo. (colloq.) Leave it there. (or: him, depending on the context)


A very frequent use of that meaning is the special case of na miru:

Pusti me na miru! (colloq.) Leave me alone!

putovati (putuje) ~ ot-, do- travel

impf.perf.perf. (C)
pres-1 putujem otputujem doputujem
pres-3 putuje otputuje doputuje
pres-3pl putuju otputuju doputuju
pres. adv. putujući
imper-2 putuj otputuj doputuj
inf putovati otputovati doputovati
past-m putovao otputovao doputovao
past-f putovala otputovala doputovala
pass. adj.
gerund putovanje *

* There’s a very similar noun that’s spelled like the gerund (the only difference is the stress): putovanje travel.

There are two perfective verbs, but they don’t have exactly the same meaning, they rather form a go-come pair: the verb derived with od- is simply the perfective version of the impf. verb; it covers depart as well.

The perf. verb derived with do- is used in situations where the English come can be used to; it’s essentially come by traveling.

dest (orig)

The verbs are used with destinations and optionally origins:

Putujemo u Split. We’re traveling to Split.

Otputovali smo u Split. We’ve departed to Split.

Doputovali smo u Split. We’ve arrived in Split.


These verbs use ‘round trip’ time periods, i.e. na¨ + period, meaning you will return after that time period:

Otputovali smo na tri dana u Split.
We’ve departed to Split to spend three days there.

† The present adverb putujući is sometimes as a true adjective, meaning traveling.

The agent nouns are unexpectedly putnik m / putnica f traveler.

The rest: A-GH-MN-OR-ŠT-Ž

5 Easy Croatian: Essential verbs: P This is the fourth part of my list of the most useful Croatian verbs, containing 96 verbs. They are either listed individually, in verb pa...

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