Essential verbs: R-Š

This is the fifth part of a list of the most useful Croatian verbs, containing XX verbs. They are either listed individually, in verb pairs, and occasionally in triplets; this part contains xx 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:

računati ~ iz- calculate, rely on

(a)
impf.perf.
pres-1 računam izračunam
pres-3 računa izračuna
pres-3pl računaju izračunaju
pres. adv. računajući
imper-2 računaj izračunaj
impf.perf.
inf računati izračunati
past-m računao izračunao
past-f računala izračunala
pass. adj. računat * izračunat *
gerund računanje

* There are also rare regular forms of passive adjectives, but the forms with -t are at least 10 times more common.

A

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

Ana je izračunala troškove. Ana has calculated the expenses.

se²

With a mediopassive se², the impf. verb has a frequent meaning: something counts, i.e. something matters (or not, if negative):

I ovo se računa. This too counts.

To se ne računa. It doesn’t count.

(The last example is a quite frequent phrase.)

na A

The impf. verb, when used with na¨ + A, has a similar meaning: count on, rely on:

Ana računa na Ivanu. Ana counts on Ivana.

The meanings count and rely apply only to the impf. verb.

raditi ~ napraviti work, do, make

(i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 radim napravim
pres-3 radi napravi
pres-3pl rade naprave
pres. adv. radeći
imper-2 radi napravi
impf.perf.
inf raditi napraviti
past-m radio napravio
past-f radila napravila
pass. adj. rađen napravljen
gerund *

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

(loc)

This verb is used with optional locations:

Ivan radi u bolnici. Ivan works in a hospital.

Ana radi do četiri. Ana works until 4 o’clock.

The perf. verb napraviti doesn’t cover the meaning work.

In questions, the verb is used as a generic verb, like English do:

Što radiš? What are you doing?

The perf. verb can be used in the generic sense, asking about the outcome:

Što si napravio? What have you done? {to a male}

A

The verb pair also means make; it’s used with objects in A. Such use of raditi is a bit colloquial:

Ivan radi salatu. Ivan is making a salad. (a bit colloquial)

Ivan je napravio salatu. Ivan has made a salad.

impf. !

Impersonal mediopassive of the imperfective verb, with o¨ + DL, means it is/was about:

Radi se o kvaru na motoru. It’s about an engine fault.

The agent nouns are unexpectedly radnik m / radnica f worker.

rađati ~ roditi give birth

(a) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 rađam rodim
pres-3 rađa rodi
pres-3pl rađaju rode
pres. adv. rađajući
imper-2 rađaj rodi
impf.perf.
inf rađati roditi
past-m rađao rodio
past-f rađala rodila
pass. adj. rađan rođen
gerund rađanje rođenje

The impf. verb is used only for ongoing births or general statements.

A

The perf. verb is used with an object in A:

Ana je rodila Gorana. Ana gave birth to Goran.

se²

Both verbs can be used 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:

Goran se rodio prije 10 godina. Goran was born 10 years ago.

(Note that the sentence above is in the past tense in Croatian.)

Instead of mediopassive, passive adjectives can be used:

Goran je rođen prije 10 godina. Goran was born 10 years ago.

(Note that the sentence above is in the present tense in Croatian.)

The agent noun is a very common noun roditelj parent, used for men and women, i.e. covering fathers too.

rasti (raste, rastao, rasla) ~* na- (»), po- (») grow

(irr.)
impf.perf.
pres-1 rastem narastem
pres-3 raste naraste
pres-3pl rastu narastu
pres. adv. rastući
imper-2 rasti narasti
impf.perf.
inf rasti narasti
past-m rastao narastao
past-f rasla narasla
pass. adj.
gerund *

* There’s no regular impf. verbal noun, rast growth is used when needed.

These verbs are used with a subject in N only:

Drvo raste. A tree grows.

Metaphorically, other things – prices, sea levels and so on – can grow in Croatian:

Temperature rastu. Temperatures are rising. (lit. ‘growing’)

The perf. verb means something has grown to some degree (but it doesn’t imply it cannot grow more), while the impf. verb doesn’t imply any outcome:

Goran je narastao. Goran has grown.

Goran je rastao. Goran was growing.

rastavljati ~ rastaviti take apart

(a) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 rastavljam rastavim
pres-3 rastavlja rastavi
pres-3pl rastavljaju rastave
pres. adv. rastavljajući
imper-2 rastavljaj rastavi
impf.perf.
inf rastavljati rastaviti
past-m rastavljao rastavio
past-f rastavljala rastavila
pass. adj. rastavljan rastavljen
gerund rastavljanje
A

This verb pair is used with objects in A:

Goran je rastavio igračku. Goran took apart the toy.

The opposite meaning is expressed by sastavljati ~ sastaviti assemble (put parts together).

razbijati («) ~ razbiti (razbije) break, smash, shatter, crash

(a) (0/j)
impf.perf.
pres-1 razbijam razbijem
pres-3 razbija razbije
pres-3pl razbijaju razbiju
pres. adv. razbijajući
imper-2 razbijaj razbij
impf.perf.
inf razbijati razbiti
past-m razbijao razbio
past-f razbijala razbila
pass. adj. razbijan razbijen
gerund razbijanje

The main meaning of this verb is break in a way that something shatters or falls apart.

A

It’s used with objects in A:

Goran je razbio prozor. Goran has broken the window.

se²

If something happens to the subject, and we don’t know who caused it (or we don’t want to say it), mediopassive se² is used:

Prozor se razbio. The window broke.

This verb pair is also used for body parts when they are injured with a lot of blood etc, like head, chin, elbows and knees. It can include broken bones, but the focus is on the visible damage.

This is also used when someone wrecks a car, or destroys something by external force, causing a lot of visible damage. It then contrasts with kvariti ~ po- («) break, spoil which implies an internal, invisible damage:

Auto je razbijen. The car is wrecked.

Auto je pokvaren. The car is broken. (engine or electrics don’t work)

Therefore, this pair is used only with certain objects; other uses of English break are covered by other verbs:

razgovarati («) talk with someone, converse

(a)
pres-1 razgovaram
pres-3 razgovara
pres-3pl razgovaraju
pres. adv. razgovarajući
imper-2 razgovaraj
inf razgovarati
past-m razgovarao
past-f razgovarala
pass. adj.
gerund *

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

This verb is used when more than one people talk, i.e. when they converse. For one-sided talk, govoriti («) is used.

s I

Other sides of conversation are expressed with s¨ / sa¨ + I:

Razgovarao sam s Anom. I talked to Ana. {m}

Razgovarat ću s njima. I’ll talk to them.

o DL

The topic of conversation is expressed with o¨ + DL:

Razgovarali smo o Ivanu. We talked about Ivan.

Colloquially, the verb pričati ~* is- («) is used often instead.

razmišljati («) ~ razmisliti think (about something)

(a) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 razmišljam razmislim
pres-3 razmišlja razmisli
pres-3pl razmišljaju razmisle
pres. adv. razmišljajući
imper-2 razmišljaj razmisli
impf.perf.
inf razmišljati razmisliti
past-m razmišljao razmislio
past-f razmišljala razmislila
pass. adj.
gerund razmišljanje
o DL

This verb pair is used in two ways. First, you can think about some thing or person, expressed with o¨ + DL:

Ana razmišlja o odmoru. Ana is thinking about vacation.

[...]

Then, you can think about doing something; this is usually expressed with an atemporal clause (i.e. da + a verb in present, either impf. or perf. + object etc.):

Ana razmišlja [da ode kući]. Ana is thinking [about going home].

razumjeti (razumije,...) understand

(irr.)
pres-1 razumijem
pres-3 razumije
pres-3pl razumiju
pres. adv.
imper-2 razumij *
inf razumjeti
past-m razumio
past-f razumjela
pass. adj.
gerund

* In speech, the imperative is often shortened to razumi.

A

This verb can be used with an object (a person or something you understand or not) in A:

Ana nije razumjela problem. Ana didn’t understand the problem.

Ivana razumije Anu. Ivana understands Ana.

This verb is essentially perfective, i.e. duration cannot be normally expressed with it.

[...]

The verb is often used with content clauses, and using any tense:

Ana razumije [što je Ivana rekla]. Ana understands [what Ivana has said].

In comparison with a very similar verb pair shvaćati ~~ shvatiti, this verb is also used for physical understanding, e.g. over a noisy phone line.

There’s a potential adjective razumljiv understandable.

The verb also appears as
(non-standard in Croatian)
  Ikavian: razumiti
Ekavian: razumeti

rezati (reže) ~* od-, pre- cut

(a/*)
impf.perf.
pres-1 režem odrežem
pres-3 reže odreže
pres-3pl režu odrežu
pres. adv. režući
imper-2 reži odreži
impf.perf.
inf rezati odrezati
past-m rezao odrezao
past-f rezala odrezala
pass. adj. rezan odrezan
gerund rezanje

This pair has two perfective verbs: one with od- expresses cutting of a smaller piece from a larger piece (e.g. a slice of bread), while one with pre- means just cutting something in two (e.g. a rope).

Both perf. verbs have exactly the same form, just the prefix is different, so only one is listed.

A

What is cut or cut off is expressed in A:

Ana reže kruh. Ana is cutting bread.

Ana je odrezala komad kolača. Ana has cut off a piece of cake.

These verbs are using for cutting with knives, scissors and many other things.

The agent nouns are rezač m / rezačica f cutter. The masc. noun also covers various devices (cutters).

In Serbia and eastern parts of Bosnia, these verbs are not used for cutting things with scissors (e.g. fingernails, hair) – other verbs are used instead.

The veb pair also appears as
(non-standard in Croatian)
  Ikavian: rizati (riže)

rješavati («) ~ riješiti solve (problem); se² get rid of

(a) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 rješavam riješim
pres-3 rješava riješi
pres-3pl rješavaju riješe
pres. adv. rješavajući
imper-2 rješavaj riješi
impf.perf.
inf rješavati riješiti
past-m rješavao riješio
past-f rješavala riješila
pass. adj. rješavan riješen
gerund rješavanje rješenje *

* The perf. verbal noun rješenje is also used as a common noun, meaning solution (to some problem). It’s not used for chemical solutions and such things.

A

This verb pair is used with an object in A, with a bit wider use than the English verb:

Ana je riješila problem. Ana has solved the problem.

Goran mora riješiti zadaću. Goran has to complete the homework. (lit. ‘solve’)

se² G

With a se² and an object in G, the verb pair means get rid of:

Ana se riješila starog auta. Ana got rid of the old car.

There’s a potential adjective rješiv solvable.

The verb pair also appears as
(non-standard in Croatian)
  Ikavian: rišavati («) ~ rišiti
Ekavian: rešavati («) ~ rešiti

rušiti ~*/~ s- demolish, tear down

(i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 rušim srušim
pres-3 ruši sruši
pres-3pl ruše sruše
pres. adv. rušeći
imper-2 ruši sruši
impf.perf.
inf rušiti srušiti
past-m rušio srušio
past-f rušila srušila
pass. adj. rušen srušen
gerund rušenje
A

This verb pair is used with an object in A:

Vjetar je srušio stablo. The wind has knocked down the tree.

se²

With a se² the meaning is mediopassive, something falls down, collapses:

Kuća se srušila. The house collapsed.

sanjati dream

(a)
pres-1 sanjam
pres-3 sanja
pres-3pl sanjaju
pres. adv. sanjajući
imper-2 sanjaj
inf sanjati
past-m sanjao
past-f sanjala
pass. adj.
gerund sanjanje
A

This verb can be used in three ways. First, you can dream of some thing (expressed in A):

Sanjao sam tebe. I dreamed of you. {m}

o DL

You can also dream about something, expressed as o¨ + DL in Croatian (but this is less common):

Sanjao sam o ovome. I dreamed about this. {m}

[...]

Finally, you can dream of anything, expressed by a content clause in Croatian, matching an English clause:

Ana sanja [da je na odmoru]. Ana is dreaming [she’s on vacation].

sastajati (sastaje) se² ~¹ sastati (sastane) se² meet (longer meeting, planned)

(a/e) (irr.)
impf.smlf.
pres-1 sastajem sastanem
pres-3 sastaje sastane
pres-3pl sastaju sastanu
pres. adv. sastajući
imper-2 sastaj sastani
impf.smlf.
inf sastajati sastati
past-m sastajao sastao
past-f sastajala sastala
pass. adj.
gerund sastajanje *

* There’s no regular smlf. verbal noun, the noun sastanak (sastank-) meeting is used when needed.

This verb pair is always used with se². The subjects meet:

Ana i Ivana su se sastale. Ana and Ivana met.

!

Another way to express another party is with s¨/sa¨ + I:

Ana se sastala s Ivanom. Ana met Ivana.

The verb sastati (sastane) se² is ‘semelfactive’, i.e. it stands for a single meeting, while the impf. verb implies ongoing or repeating events in past and future.

This pair is today mostly used for business and official meetings. Other meetings are usually expressed in speech with the verb pair nalaziti ~¹/~ naći (nađe,...) find.

The pair implies a planned meeting; for accidental or brief meetings, the pair sretati (sreće) ~ sresti (sretne, sreo) is used.

sastavljati ~ sastaviti assemble (put parts together)

(a) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 sastavljam sastavim
pres-3 sastavlja sastavi
pres-3pl sastavljaju sastave
pres. adv. sastavljajući
imper-2 sastavljaj sastavi
impf.perf.
inf sastavljati sastaviti
past-m sastavljao popravio
past-f sastavljala sastavila
pass. adj. sastavljan sastavljen
gerund sastavljanje
A

This verb pair is used with objects in A:

Ana je sastavila igračku. Ana assembled the toy.

The perf. passive adjective sastavljen can be used to express what (or how many) parts something has, using od¨ + G:

Igračka je sastavljena od tri dijela. The toy consists of three parts.

Colloquially, same meaning is sometimes expressed with the multi-purpose slagati (slaže) ~ složiti arrange, put together; se² agree.

The opposite meaning is expressed by rastavljati ~ rastaviti take apart.

savijati («) ~ saviti (savije) fold, bend

(a) (0/j)
impf.perf.
pres-1 savijam savijem
pres-3 savija savije
pres-3pl savijaju saviju
pres. adv. savijajući
imper-2 savijaj savij
impf.perf.
inf savijati saviti
past-m savijao savio
past-f savijala savila
pass. adj. savijan savijen
gerund savijanje

The main meaning of this verb is bend, but it’s not used when a road or river bends.

coming soon...

shvaćati ~~ shvatiti understand

(a) (i)
impf.inch.
pres-1 shvaćam shvatim
pres-3 shvaća shvati
pres-3pl shvaćaju shvate
pres. adv. shvaćajući
imper-2 shvaćaj shvati
impf.inch.
inf shvaćati shvatiti
past-m shvaćao shvatio
past-f shvaćala shvatila
pass. adj. shvaćan shvaćen
gerund shvaćanje
A

This verb pair can be used with an object (a person or something you understand or not) in A:

Ana nije shvatila problem. Ana didn’t understand the problem.

Ivana shvaća Anu. Ivana understands Ana.

[...]

The verbs are often used with content clauses, starting with da, and using any tense:

Ana shvaća [da nema dovoljno novca].
Ana understands [she doesn’t have enough money].

In imperative, the inchoative verb is almost always used:

Shvati to! Understand that!

This verb pair is very similar to razumjeti (razumije,...) understand; however, this pair doesn’t cover understanding a language, a less familiar word, or understanding what was said over a noisy phone line, while razumjeti (razumije,...) understand covers all these meanings as well. Interestingly, this verb pair is more common in speech.

There’s a potential adjective shvatljiv understandable.

sjećati se² ~~ sjetiti se² remember (recall, come to mind)

(a) (i)
impf.inch.
pres-1 sjećam sjetim
pres-3 sjeća sjeti
pres-3pl sjećaju sjete
pres. adv. sjećajući
imper-2 sjeti
impf.inch.
inf sjećati sjetiti
past-m sjećao sjetio
past-f sjećala sjetila
pass. adj.
gerund sjećanje

This verb pair is virtually always used with se².

[...]

Unlike English, Croatian distinguishes storing into memory from retrieving something from memory; this verb pair expresses only retrieving. If you can get a fact from your memory, it’s expressed with the impf. verb and a content clause (using any tense):

Sjećam se [gdje je auto]. I recall [where the car is]. (I can get it from my memory)

The ‘inchoative’ verb sjetiti se² in past tense is often used to express that you have recalled something just now (and previously you couldn’t):

Sjetila sam se [gdje je auto]. I remember now [where the car is]. {f}

This verb has ‘inchoative’ meaning, since from the moment you recall something, you are aware of it. Therefore, it corresponds to English come to mind.

inf

It’s also very common to use this verb when you remembered (or didn’t) to do something (expressed in infinitive, with possible objects, etc.) If you failed to do something, it’s not necessarily permanent loss of memory:

Jesi li se sjetio zatvoriti prozor? Did you remember to close the window? {to a male}

Nisam se sjetio zatvoriti prozor. I didn’t remember to close the window. {m}

A similar meaning is expressed with zaboraviti perf. forget as well:

Zaboravio sam zatvoriti prozor. I forgot to close the window. {m}

G

If you just recall somebody or something, it’s expressed as an object in G:

Ana se sjetila Ivane. Ivana came to Ana’s mind.

Storing into memory, i.e. memorizing, is expressed by pamtiti ~~ za- memorize, bear in mind.

sjedati ~ sjesti (sjedne, sjeo) sit down

(a/e) (irr.)
impf.perf.
pres-1 sjedam sjednem
pres-3 sjeda sjedne
pres-3pl sjedaju sjednu
pres. adv. sjedajući
imper-2 sjedaj sjedni
impf.perf.
inf sjedati sjesti
past-m sjedao sjeo
past-f sjedala sjela
pass. adj.
gerund sjedanje

This verb pair is dynamic sit down, in contrast to sjediti, which is static sit.

(dest)

This pair is used with optional destinations. The perf. verb is mostly used (its relation with sjediti sit is start-of-state, i.e. ‘inchoative’):

Ana je sjela. Ana has sat down.

Ana je sjela na kauč. Ana has sat down on the couch.

se²

In Zagreb and the surrounding regions, this pair can be used with a se²; this is regarded as colloquial today, but you’ll see it sometimes in writing:

Ana se sjela. (colloquial, regional) Ana has sat down.

sjediti sit

(i)
pres-1 sjedim
pres-3 sjedi
pres-3pl sjede
pres. adv. sjedeći
imper-2 sjedi
inf sjediti
past-m sjedio
past-f sjedila
pass. adj.
gerund sjedenje
(loc)

This verb is static, imperfective, i.e. it expresses continuous sitting somewhere (expressed as an optional location):

Ana sjedi. Ana is sitting.

Ana sjedi na kauču. Ana is sitting on the couch.

The verb is quite similar to sjesti (sjedne, sjeo) perf. sit down; however, the perf. verb doesn’t have the -i-, and has -n- in the present tense.

Sometimes, in older literature, this verbs appears as sjedjeti (sjedi,...).

skretati (skreće) ~ skrenuti (skrene) turn (change direction)

(a/*) (n)
impf.perf.
pres-1 skrećem skrenem
pres-3 skreće skrene
pres-3pl skreću skrenu
pres. adv. skrećući
imper-2 skreći skreni
impf.perf.
inf skretati skrenuti
past-m skretao skrenuo
past-f skretala skrenula
pass. adj.
gerund skretanje *

* The verbal noun means also turn (in traffic).

This verb pair is mostly used when turning while driving:

Ana je skrenula lijevo. Ana has turned left.

skidati ~ skinuti (skine) take off, take down, remove

(a) (n)
impf.perf.
pres-1 skidam skinem
pres-3 skida skine
pres-3pl skidaju skinu
pres. adv. skidajući
imper-2 skidaj skini
impf.perf.
inf skidati skinuti
past-m skidao skinuo
past-f skidala skinula
pass. adj. skidan skinut
gerund skidanje
A (orig)

With things placed in places that use the preposition na¨, this pair is the opposite of stavljati ~ staviti put (things somewhere). It uses objects in A and origins:

Ana je skinula sliku sa zida. Ana has removed the picture from the wall.

This verb pair is very often used as the opposite of oblačiti («) ~ obući (obuče,...) put on (clothes). Clothes taken off are expressed in A:

Goran je skinuo majicu. Goran has taken his T-shirt off.

A DL

In this use, you can express that somebody is taking clothes off from someone else. The person taking the clothes off is the subject (in N), and the person undressed is in DL:

Ana je skinula Goranu majicu. Ana has taken Goran’s T-shirt off.

se²

Conversely, with a se², the meaning is simply undress, take off clothes:

Goran se skida. Goran is undressing.

When you are taking clothes from yourself, sometimes sa sebe from himself/herself/themselves will be added, with no change in meaning:

Goran je skinuo majicu sa sebe. Goran has taken his T-shirt off.

skupljati ~ skupiti collect, gather; se² shrink

(a) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 skupljam skupim
pres-3 skuplja skupi
pres-3pl skupljaju skupe
pres. adv. skupljajući
imper-2 skupljaj skupi
impf.perf.
inf skupljati skupiti
past-m skupljao skupio
past-f skupljala skupila
pass. adj. skupljan skupljen
gerund skupljanje
A

This verb pair is used with an object in A when you collect something, gather people, etc.:

Goran skuplja grančice. Goran is collecting little twigs.

Ana je skupila susjede. Ana has gathered her neighbors.

se²

With a se², there’s mediopassive meaning, something or somebody gathers:

Prijatelji su se skupili. Friends have gathered.

!

When the subject is cloth, clothes, with a se², the meaning is shrink:

Majica se skupila. The T-shirt has shrunk.

The perf. verb has an alternative form sakupiti, which is more common in Bosnia and Serbia.

The agent nouns are skupljač m / skupljačica f collector. The masc. noun also covers some devices (collectors).

slagati (slaže) ~ složiti arrange, put together; se² agree

(a/*) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 slažem složim
pres-3 slaže složi
pres-3pl slažu slože
pres. adv. slažući
imper-2 slaži složi
impf.perf.
inf slagati složiti
past-m slagao složio
past-f slagala složila
pass. adj. složen
gerund slaganje
A

This multi-purpose verb pair has the basic meaning arrange. It can be used to arrange anything, either for storage, or for use, expressed as objects in A:

Ana je složila knjige. Ana has arranged books.

A (loc / dest)

It can be used both with locations (if something is already there, just not arranged) and destinations (if something is put there):

Složila je knjige na policu. She’s arranged the books on the shelf. (put them there)

Složila je knjige na polici. (the same, but the books were already there)

se²

With a se², when the subject is people, this pair means go along well, agree:

Oni se slažu. They agree. (or: go along)

slati (šalje) ~ po- send

(irr.)
impf.perf.
pres-1 šaljem pošaljem
pres-3 šalje pošalje
pres-3pl šalju pošalju
pres. adv. šaljući
imper-2 šalji pošalji
impf.perf.
inf slati poslati
past-m slao poslao
past-f slala poslala
pass. adj. poslan
gerund slanje
A (DL)

This pair is used with an object in A, and an optional recipient in DL:

Ana je poslala Ivani poruku. Ana has sent a message to Ivana.

The matching verbs on the receiving side are primati ~ primiti receive or more colloquial, dobivati («) ~ dobiti (dobije) get (a thing, a message, an idea).

slijediti come next, follow

(i)
pres-1 slijedim
pres-3 slijedi
pres-3pl slijedi
pres. adv. slijedeći *
imper-2 slijedi
inf slijediti
past-m slijedio
past-f slijedila
pass. adj. slijeđen
gerund slijeđenje

(coming soon...)

This verb means follow, but not in the same way as pratiti.

slikati ~* na- paint (picture), take (photo)

(a)
impf.perf.
pres-1 slikam naslikam
pres-3 slika naslika
pres-3pl slikaju naslikaju
pres. adv. slikajući
imper-2 slikaj naslikaj
impf.perf.
inf slikati naslikati
past-m slikao naslikao
past-f slikala naslikala
pass. adj. slikan naslikan
gerund slikanje

This verb pair has a simple meaning – make a painting or a photo.

A

This verb pair is used with an optional object in A (mandatory for the perf. verb) expressing who or what is going to be on a painting of a photo:

Ana je slikala Gorana. Ana took a picture of Goran.

Slikaj nas! Take a picture of us!

se²

When someone takes a picture of themselves, se² is used:

Slikali smo se. We took a photo of us.

The perfective verb is used only when making a painting is completed, never for taking a photo!

The verb uzeti (uzme) perf. take (something) is not used in Croatian for "taking photos".

The agent nouns are slikar m / slikarica f painter, used only for people who make paintings.

slušati listen

(a)
pres-1 slušam
pres-3 sluša
pres-3pl slušaju
pres. adv. slušajući
imper-2 slušaj
inf slušati
past-m slušao
past-f slušala
pass. adj. slušan
gerund slušanje
A

This verb is used with objects in A:

Goran sluša radio. Goran is listening to the radio.

The agent nouns are slušatelj m / slušateljica f listener. Another noun is used too: slušalac (slušaoc-).

smanjivati (smanjuje) ~ smanjiti decrease, diminish

(iva) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 smanjujem smanjim
pres-3 smanjuje smanji
pres-3pl smanjuju smanje
pres. adv. smanjujući
imper-2 smanjuj smanji
impf.perf.
inf smanjivati smanjiti
past-m smanjivao smanjio
past-f smanjivala smanjila
pass. adj. smanjivan smanjen
gerund smanjivanje smanjenje
se²

This verb pair is usually used with a se², when something decreases:

Buka se smanjila. The noise decreased.

smetatiza- («) disturb, bother, be a nuisance

(a)
impf.smlf.
pres-1 smetam zasmetam
pres-3 smeta zasmeta
pres-3pl smetaju za>smetaju
pres. adv. smetajući
imper-2 smetaj
impf.smlf.
inf smetati zasmetati
past-m smetao zasmetao
past-f smetala zasmetala
pass. adj. zasmetan
gerund smetanje *

* There’s no regular smlf. verbal noun, the noun smetnja is used when needed.

!

This pair is similar to sviđati se² ~~ svidjeti (svidi,...) se² like: what causes disturbance is the subject, and who is disturbed is an object in DL:

Buka mi smeta. The noise is disturbing me.

[...]

What is disturbing can be expressed with a clause starting with što (all tenses are allowed, but no perf. verbs in present) – the clause is the subject then:

Ani smeta [što mora čekati]. lit. Ana is bothered [by having to wait].

A

Colloquially, the person affected can be in A (some consider this a ‘mistake’):

Buka me smeta. (colloq., controversial) The noise is disturbing me.

smijati (smije) se² laugh

(a/e)
pres-1 smijem
pres-3 smije
pres-3pl smiju
pres. adv. smijući
imper-2 smij
inf smijati
past-m smijao
past-f smijala
pass. adj.
gerund smijanje
(DL)

This verb is always used with se²; to laugh at somebody/something, use DL:

Goran se smije. Goran is laughing.

Goran se smije Ani. Goran is laughing at Ana.

smjeti (smije,...) may, be allowed to

(irr.)
pres-1 smijem
pres-3 smije
pres-3pl smiju
pres. adv.
imper-2
inf smjeti
past-m smio
past-f smjela
pass. adj.
gerund
inf

This verb is usually used in negative, when somebody is not allowed to do something, with another verb in infinitive, which can have its objects and so on:

Ne smiješ skakati po krevetu. You must not jump on the bed.

In everyday language, as in English, to express non-negated meaning is allowed, the verb moći (može +,...) can is used.

In some Croatian regions and neigboring countries (Bosnia, Serbia) this verb also means dare; this meaning is archaic in most of Croatia, the verb pair usuđivati (usuđuje) se² ~ usuditi («) se² dare is used to express that meaning.

snimati ~ snimiti record (video, sound)

(a) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 snimam snimim
pres-3 snima snimi
pres-3pl snimaju snime
pres. adv. snimajući
imper-2 snimaj snimi
impf.perf.
inf snimati snimiti
past-m snimao snimio
past-f snimala snimila
pass. adj. sniman snimljen
gerund snimanje
A

This verb pair has the basic meaning of recording sound and/or video on some device.

The verb pair is used for recording videos and movies; what is taken is in A:

Ana je snimila Gorana kako pliva. Ana took a video of Goran swimming.

It's also used with any kind of sound recording:

Gibonni je snimio novi album. Gibonni recorded a new album.

It can be also used for photos:

Ana je snimila dvije fotografije. Ana took two photos.

To take pictures of people, use slikati ~* na- paint (picture), take (photo).

The verb uzeti (uzme) perf. take (something) is not used in Croatian for "taking photos".

spajati ~ spojiti connect

(a) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 spajam spojim
pres-3 spaja spoji
pres-3pl spajaju spoje
pres. adv. spajajući
imper-2 spajaj spoji
impf.perf.
inf spajati spojiti
past-m spajao spojio
past-f spajala spojila
pass. adj. spajan spojen
gerund spajanje
A (dest)

This verb pair is used with objects in A, and destinations – where the object is connected to:

Ana je spojila radio u struju.
Ana has connected the radio to power. (lit. ‘into current’)

There’s a potential adjective spojiv connectable.

spavati ~~ zaspati (zaspi) sleep

(a) (a/i)
impf.inch.
pres-1 spavam zaspim *
pres-3 spava zaspi *
pres-3pl spavaju zaspe *
pres. adv. spavajući
imper-2 spavaj zaspi
impf.inch.
inf spavati zaspati
past-m spavao zaspao
past-f spavala zaspala
pass. adj.
gerund spavanje

* The perf. verb zaspati has alternative, non-standard present forms (e.g. pres-3 zaspe, etc.) that are quite common in more eastern regions of Croatia (and in Serbia, but they aren’t accepted as standard anywhere).

This verb is used without objects:

Goran spava. Goran is sleeping.

The perf. verb is ‘inchoative’; it usually corresponds to English fall asleep:

Goran je brzo zaspao. Goran quickly fell asleep.

There’s a secondary present adjective spavaći, used almost exclusively in the phrase spavaća soba, lit. ‘sleeping room’, i.e. bedroom.

The agent nouns are spavač m / spavačica f sleeper.

spremati ~ spremiti tidy; put to its place, store; prepare

(a) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 spremam spremim
pres-3 sprema spremi
pres-3pl spremaju spreme
pres. adv. spremajući
imper-2 spremaj spremi
impf.perf.
inf spremati spremiti
past-m spremao spremio
past-f spremala spremila
pass. adj. spreman spremljen
gerund spremanje

This versatile verb pair has the basic meaning: bring something/someone to the optimal/requested state. It’s basically used for three things.

A (dest)

First, to put things (expressed in A) back to their places, e.g. if a book is out of its usual place (shelf), a toy is out of the box, etc.:

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

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

Spremio sam knjige na policu. I’ve put the books back to the shelf. {m}

A

Then, this pair covers the meanings prepare. It’s used with an object in A:

Spremio sam ručak. I’ve prepared lunch. {m}

se²

With a se², it means get ready, prepare oneself:

Spremio sam se. I’ve prepared (myself). {m}

The same meaning is expressed also by pripremati («) ~ pripremiti («) prepare.

Finally, the third meaning is tidy, again used with an object in A:

Spremio sam sobu. I’ve tidied the room. {m}

The agent nouns are spremač m / spremačica f cleaning person.

There’s a related adjective spreman (spremn-) ready.

sretati (sreće) ~ sresti (sretne, sreo) meet (briefly, accidentally)

(a/*) (irr.)
impf.perf.
pres-1 srećem sretnem
pres-3 sreće sretne
pres-3pl sreću sretnu
pres. adv. srećući
imper-2
impf.perf.
inf sretati sresti
past-m sretao sreo
past-f sretala srela
pass. adj.
gerund *

* There’s no regular perfective verbal noun, susret encounter, meeting is used when needed.

A

This verb pair is used when someone accidentally meets someone (expressed as an object in A):

Ana je jučer srela Mariju. Ana came across Marija yesterday.

se²

With a se², it implies either an accidental, or a planned, but brief meeting, where the subjects meet:

Ana i Marija su se jučer srele. Ana and Marija met briefly yesterday.

s I

Another option is that the subject meets someone expressed by s¨ / sa¨ + I (a se² is still required):

Ana se jučer srela s Marijom. Ana met Marija briefly yesterday.

This pair is used for accidental or brief meetings.

stajati (staje) ~ stati (stane) stop, come to halt

(a/e) (0/n)
impf.perf.
pres-1 stajem stanem
pres-3 staje stane
pres-3pl staju stanu
pres. adv. stajući
imper-2 stani
impf.perf.
inf stajati stati
past-m stajao stao
past-f stajala stala
pass. adj.
gerund stajanje
(dest)

This verb is used for dynamic standing, i.e. going to stand somewhere; it’s used without objects and with optional destinations (unlike in English):

Goran je stao. Goran stopped.

Goran je stao na krevet. Goran has stood on the bed. (Croatian: a destination!)

It can be also used when a noun, standing for some process or activity, stops. It can mean a temporary halt, it can start again at any time. (Stopping permanently is expressed by prestajati (prestaje) ~ prestati (prestane) stop, cease.)

Kiša je stala. The rain stopped.

perf. !

The perfective verb has a derived meaning: fit, again used with destinations. In this meaning, the perfective verb is normally used in the present tense, including the true present, i.e. the moment of speaking:

Goran ne stane u hlače. Goran doesn’t fit into the pants. (Croatian: a destination!)

Knjiga ne stane na policu. The book doesn’t fit on the shelf.

Knjiga nije stala na policu. The book didn’t fit on the shelf.

Kofer nije stao u ormar. The suitcase didn’t fit in the closet.

DL

The affected person can be added in DL (note that knjiga book is the subject):

Ani knjiga ne stane na policu. Ana can’t fit the book on the shelf.

The meaning fit of the perf. verb is very restricted: only be not too big.

inf

Sometimes, in older literature and in speech in Dalmatia and maybe some other parts, this pair used with another impf. verb in inf, meaning start:

Stala je pričat. She started talking. (literature, Dalmatia)

stajati (stoji) stand

(irr.)
pres-1 stojim
pres-3 stoji
pres-3pl stoje
pres. adv. stojeći
imper-2 stoj
inf stajati
past-m stajao
past-f stajala
pass. adj.
gerund stajanje
(loc)

This verb is used for static standing; there are optional locations, but no objects:

Goran stoji. Goran is standing.

Goran stoji na krevetu. Goran is standing on the bed.

Ana stoji pred kućom. Ana is standing in front of the house.

The verb also expresses where something is, where something is kept:

Noževi stoje u ladici. Knives ‘stand’ in the drawer. (i.e. are kept)

!

This verb is also – maybe a bit colloquially – used to express how some clothes fit someone; the clothing item is the subject, the affected person is in DL, and there’s an adverb:

Cipele mu odlično stoje. The shoes fit him great.

Ovo mi loše stoji. This fits me badly. (speaking about a piece of clothes/outfit)

!

Sometimes, in writing, this verb is used to express cost. That’s very rare in speech and casual writing:

Knjiga stoji 100 kuna. (formal, rare in speech) The book costs 100 kuna.

A much more common way to express this meaning is koštati cost.

† The present adverb stojeći is also used as a true adjective, meaning standing, stationary.

There’s a secondary present adjective stajaći standing, mostly used for stajaća vojska standing army and stajaća voda standing water. Note that these meanings are unlike other secondary present adjectives, which have ‘used for’ meanings. Compare:

kupaći kostim = costume used for bathing
pisaći stol = desk used for writing
spavaća soba = room used for sleeping

In comparison, stajaća voda is not ‘water for standing’, but ‘water which is standing’.

stavljati ~ staviti put (things somewhere)

(a) (i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 stavljam stavim
pres-3 stavlja stavi
pres-3pl stavljaju stave
pres. adv. stavljajući
imper-2 stavljaj stavi
impf.perf.
inf stavljati staviti
past-m stavljao stavio
past-f stavljala stavila
pass. adj. stavljan stavljen
gerund stavljanje
A (dest)

This pair is used with objects in A, and destinations (unlike in English!) for where you put something:

Stavio sam pivo u frižider. I’ve put the beer in the fridge. {m} (Croatian: a destination!)

This verb is used for putting things anywhere, temporary or permanently; to stress that something is put to a more permanent place, where something is kept, use spremati ~ spremiti tidy; put to its place, store; prepare.

For example, you could use either pair to put the beer in the fridge, while you would use only stavljati ~ staviti to put the beer on the table!

This pair is used only for literally putting things in some place, while English put has many other uses. Common metaphorical uses of put are expressed in the following way in Croatian:

The opposite action is represented by:

Another option is uzimati ~ uzeti (uzme) take (something), with no restrictions.

stizati (stiže) ~ stići (stigne,...) get, arrive, make on time

(a/*) (irr.)
impf.perf.
pres-1 stižem stignem
pres-3 stiže stigne
pres-3pl stižu stignu
pres. adv. stižući
imper-2 stigni
impf.perf.
inf stizati stići
past-m stizao stigao
past-f stizala stigla
pass. adj.
gerund stizanje
(dest)

This verb pair means reaching a point in space, time or both; what is reached is expressed as a destination:

Ana je stigla na posao. Ana has arrived to work.

Using this pair with negation usually implies reaching something too late, or not reaching at all (depending on the context):

Ana nije stigla na sastanak. Ana didn't get to the meeting (on time).

inf

It can also be used with another verb in infinitive, which can have its objects, and so on, to express that somebody had time to do something; it’s usually used in negative:

Ana nije stigla kupiti kruh. Ana had no time to buy bread.

A

Finally, it can be used with objects in A, meaning someone catches up with someone else:

Goran je stigao Anu. Goran has caught up with Ana.

sušiti ~* o- («) dry

(i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 sušim osušim
pres-3 suši osuši
pres-3pl suše osuše
pres. adv. sušeći
imper-2 suši osuši
impf.perf.
inf sušiti osušiti
past-m sušio osušio
past-f sušila osušila
pass. adj. sušen osušen
gerund sušenje
se²

These verbs are often used with a se², mediopassively, i.e. something dries ‘on its own’:

Majica se suši. The T-shirt is drying.

A

Sometimes the verbs can be used with an object in A, when someone actively dries something, which is also used for blowing hair:

Ana suši kosu fenom. Ana is ‘drying’ her hair with a blow-dryer.

sviđati se² ~~ svidjeti (svidi,...) se² like

(a) (je)
impf.inch.
pres-1 sviđam svidim
pres-3 sviđa svidi
pres-3pl sviđaju svide
pres. adv.
imper-2
impf.inch.
inf sviđati svidjeti
past-m sviđao svidio
past-f sviđala svidjela
pass. adj.
gerund
!

This verb pair is always used with a se². Cases are in the ‘reverse’ mode: what is liked is the subject (in N), and who likes is expressed in DL:

Ani se sviđa Ivan. Ana likes Ivan.

The perf. verb is ‘inchoative’, i.e. it means start to like, but it’s also used for an instant impression you like something:

Ani se svidio film. Ana liked the movie.

This is often used to like something on social media.

The subject (i.e. what someone likes) can be a verb in inf, possibly with its objects and so on:

Ani se svidjelo piti čaj ujutro. Ana liked drinking tea in the morning.

The subject can be also an adverb:

Ani se svidjelo tamo. Ana liked it there. / Ana liked being there.

Pay attention that in both constructions (inf and an adverb as the subject), the verb must be in neuter singular.

This verb has a bit different meaning than English like – it sometimes corresponds to English love.

For more information, see voljeti (voli,...) ~~ za- («) love.

svirati ~* od- («) ~~ za- («) play (music)

(a)

 

impf.perf.inch.
pres-1 sviram odsviram zasviram
pres-3 svira odsvira zasvira
pres-3pl sviraju odsviraju zasviraju
pres. adv. svirajući
imper-2 sviraj odsviraj zasviraj
impf.perf.inch.
inf svirati odsvirati zasvirati
past-m svirao odsvirao zasvirao
past-f svirala odsvirala zasvirala
pass. adj. sviran odsviran
gerund sviranje
(A)

The impf verb used with an optional object in A, which can be a song or an instrument:

Ana svira. Ana is playing.

Ana svira gitaru. Ana is playing a guitar.

se²

Like in English, the verbs have ‘middle’ use without a se²:

Svirala je neka dosadna glazba. Some boring music was playing.

(This is exceptional, as only a few verbs in Croatian show that behavior.)

In the last example, the subject was placed after the verb, to emphasize indefiniteness.

Two perfective verbs are a perfective completion verb, for playing something to the end, and an ‘inchoative’ verb, meaning start playing. The completion verb, as usual, requires an object in A:

Ana je zasvirala. Ana started playing (music).

Goran je odsvirao pjesmu. Goran has played a song. (from start to end)

The agent nouns are svirač m / sviračica f musician.

šaliti se² ~¹/~~ na- joke

(i)
impf.perf.
pres-1 šalim našalim
pres-3 šali našali
pres-3pl šale našale
pres. adv. šaleći
imper-2 šali našali
impf.perf.
inf šaliti našaliti
past-m šalio našalio
past-f šalila našalila
pass. adj.
gerund

This verb pair is always used with a se². It can be used without any object:

Ivan se našalio. Ivan joked.

[...]

It can be also used with a content clause, i.e. a da-clause in any tense (but no perf. verbs in present):

Goran se šali [da je dinosaur]. Goran is joking [he’s a dinosaur].

šetati (šeće / šeta) ~* pro- («) stroll, walk

(a/*)
       impf.               perf.
pres-1 šećemšetam prošećemprošetam
pres-3 šećešeta prošećeprošeta
pres-3pl šećušetaju prošećuprošetaju
pres. adv. šećućišetajući
imper-2 šećišetaj prošećiprošetaj
impf.perf.
inf šetati prošetati
past-m šetao prošetao
past-f šetala prošetala
pass. adj. šetan prošetan
gerund šetanje
(se²)

This verb pair with se² expresses casual walking; the se² is often left out, which was considered non-standard in the past:

Goran šeće. Goran is walking.

Goran se šeće. (the same, a bit more formal)

A

It’s possible to walk someone (an object in A) but that again must be for their pleasure; normally it’s used for children and dogs:

Ivan šeće psa. Ivan is walking his dog.

šutiti / šutjeti ~~ za- («) be silent

(i) / (je)
impf.inch.
pres-1 šutim zašutim
pres-3 šuti zašuti
pres-3pl šute zašute
pres. adv. šuteći ---
imper-2 šuti zašuti
impf.inch.
inf šutiti
šutjeti *
zašutiti
zašutjeti *
past-m šutio zašutio
past-f šutila
šutjela *
zašutila
zašutjela *
pass. adj. -- --
gerund -- **

(coming soon...)


The rest: A-GH-MN-OPT-Ž

5 Easy Croatian: Essential verbs: R-Š This is the fifth part of a list of the most useful Croatian verbs, containing XX verbs. They are either listed individually, in verb pair...

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