Essential verbs: T-Ž

This is the sixth 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:

tjerati ~ na-, po- force, chase

pres-1 tjeram natjeram
pres-3 tjera natjera
pres-3pl tjeraju natjeraju
pres. adv. tjerajući
imper-2 tjeraj natjeraj
inf tjerati natjerati
past-m tjerao natjerao
past-f tjerala natjerala
pass. adj. tjeran natjeran
gerund tjeranje

The basic meaning is either chase either to go somewhere, or to do something.

A (dest)

It’s used with objects in A and optional destinations to express the first meaning; in this meaning, perf. verb derived with po- is usually used:

Ana tjera Gorana unutra. Ana is chasing Goran inside.

Goran tjera muhu van. Goran is chasing the fly out.

Goran je potjerao muhu van. Goran chased the fly out.

Without any destination, the implies meaning is away.

A [...]

The other meaning – force, make to do something – is expressed by an atemporal clause i.e. both impf. and perf. verbs, but only in the present tense. In this meaning, the perf. verb derived with na- is usually used:

Ana tjera Gorana [da uči]. Ana is making Goran [study].

Ana je natjerala Gorana [da uči]. Ana has made Goran [study].

trajati (traje) last

pres-1 trajem
pres-3 traje
pres-3pl traju
pres. adv. trajući
inf trajati
past-m trajao
past-f trajala
pass. adj.
gerund trajanje *

* The verbal noun trajanje is also used as a common noun, meaning duration.

This verb is used with time periods in A:

Posao traje jednu godinu. The job lasts for a year.

It can be used with other time periods (here I-pl):

Loše vrijeme je trajalo tjednima. The bad weather lasted for weeks.

It can be used with time adverbs:

Zima još traje. The winter is still not over.

Zima dugo traje. Winter lasts for a long time.

There’s a derived adjective trajan (trajn-) permanent, lasting.

tražiti look for, ask for

pres-1 tražim
pres-3 traži
pres-3pl traže
pres. adv. tražeći
imper-2 traži
inf tražiti
past-m tražio
past-f tražila
pass. adj. tražen
gerund traženje

This verb is used with objects in A:

Ana traži ključeve. Ana is looking for the keys.

Goran je tražio Anu. Goran was looking for Ana.

With certain abstract nouns, it corresponds to English ask for:

Goran je tražio pomoć. Goran asked for help.

To ask for directions use the verb pair pitatiu- («) ask.

trčati (trči) ~ o-, do- ~~ po- run

pres-1 trčim otrčim potrčim
pres-3 trči otrči potrči
pres-3pl trče otrče potrče
pres. adv. trčeći
imper-2 trči otrči potrči
inf trčati otrčati potrčati
past-m trčao otrčao potrčao
past-f trčala otrčala potrčala
pass. adj. trčan * otrčan *
gerund trčanje

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 o- is simply the perfective version of the impf. verb; it covers run 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 running.

Goran trči. Goran is running.

Goran je otrčao. Goran ran away.

The agent nouns are trkač m / trkačica f runner.

trebati need / should

pres-1 trebam
pres-3 treba
pres-3pl trebaju
pres. adv. trebajući
inf trebati
past-m trebao
past-f trebala
pass. adj. *

* There’s no regular passive adjective, but the adjective potreban (potrebn-) needed can be used.


This verb can be used with objects in A:

Ana treba čašu. Ana needs a glass.


It can be used with another verb in infinitive, which can have objects, etc., and then it corresponds to English should:

Goran treba spavati. Goran should sleep.


If the other verb is ići (ide,...) go with a destination, it can be left out in speech, leaving only a destination:

Trebamo ići u dućan. We should go to a shop.

Trebamo u dućan. (the same meaning, in speech)

The same happens with the verbs htjeti (hoće +,...) want, moći (može +,...) can, and morati must, have to.


The verb often used in the ‘reverse’ mode, where what’s needed is the subject (in N), and one who needs is in DL:

Ani treba čaša. Ana needs a glass. (lit. ‘To Ana, a glass is needed.’)

In Serbia, this verb is usually used impersonally when used with another verb.

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

pres-1 trošim potrošim
pres-3 troši potroši
pres-3pl troše potroše
pres. adv. trošeći
imper-2 troši potroši
inf trošiti potrošiti
past-m trošio potrošio
past-f trošila potrošila
pass. adj. trošen potrošen
gerund trošenje

This verb pair can be used with objects in A:

Ivana je potrošila novac. Ivana has spent the money.

This verb pair is not used to spend time or holidays: for these meanings, the pair provoditi («) ~ provesti (provede, proveo) spend (time) is used.

ubrzavati («) ~ ubrzati speed up, accelerate

pres-1 ubrzavam * ubrzam
pres-3 ubrzava * ubrza
pres-3pl ubrzavaju * ubrzaju
pres. adv. ubrzavajući *
imper-2 ubrzavaj * ubrzaj
inf ubrzavati ubrzati
past-m ubrzavao ubrzao
past-f ubrzavala ubrzala
pass. adj. ubrzavan ubrzan
gerund ubrzavanje ubrzanje *

* The perf. verbal noun also means acceleration.

The verb pair is often used without any objects, when the subject speeds up:

Auto je ubrzao. The car sped up.


When the subject is a person, it can be used also with a se²:

Goran se ubrzao. Goran sped up.

učiti ~* na- («) learn, study, teach

pres-1 učim naučim
pres-3 uči nauči
pres-3pl uče nauče
pres. adv. učeći
imper-2 uči nauči
inf učiti naučiti
past-m učio naučio
past-f učila naučila
pass. adj. učen naučen
gerund učenje

This pair has two meanings, depending on number of objects and their cases. When used with 2 objects – one in A: a person/animal – another in A or a verb in infinitive: what is taught – it means teach:

Ivan uči Gorana matematiku. Ivan is teaching math to Goran.

Ana je naučila Gorana plivati. Ana taught Goran to swim.


However, it’s more common to use this pair with a single object in A or a verb in infinitive, and it then means study, learn:

Goran uči matematiku. Goran is studying math.

Goran je naučio plivati. Goran has learned to swim.

If you want to say e.g. Ivan teaches math, you have to used some generic word to have two objects:

Ivan uči djecu matematiku. Ivan teaches math to children.

Beware, the Croatian noun djeca is here in A.

Another way is to use a more formal verb pair predavati (predaje) ~ predati teach, give lecture.

The agent nouns are:

učenik m / učenica f student
učitelj m / učiteljica f teacher

udaratiudariti hit, punch

(a) (i)
pres-1 udaram udarim
pres-3 udara udari
pres-3pl udaraju udare
pres. adv. udarajući
imper-2 udaraj udari *
inf udarati udariti
past-m udarao udario
past-f udarala udarila
pass. adj. udaran udaren
gerund udaranje *

* There’s no regular smlf. verbal noun, the noun udarac (udarc-) is used when needed.


The verb pair is used with objects in A:

Goran je udario loptu. Goran has hit the ball.

The verb udariti is ‘semelfactive’, meaning you hit something once; however, it’s also used as an ordinary perfective verb, meaning the hitting is completed, something was hit at least once.


With a se², the verb is very frequently used to express hurt by contact with some physical object:

Goran se udario. Goran has hurt himself. (by bumping into something)

se² dest

What is hurt is expressed as a destination:

Goran se udario u koljeno. Goran has hurt his knee.
(by bumping into something)

The same expression is used to say what someone bumped into:

Goran se udario u ogradu. Goran has bumped into the fence.

Such expressions are very often used by and with children.

These verbs aren’t used to hit something with flying objects (balls, stones, arrows, rockets, etc.). For that, use pogađati («) ~ pogoditi («) hit; guess.

udavati (udaje) ~ udati marry (a man)

(a) (i)
pres-1 udajem udam
pres-3 udaje uda
pres-3pl udaju udaju
pres. adv. udajući
imper-2 udavaj * udaj
inf udavati udati
past-m udavao udao
past-f udavala udala
pass. adj. udavan udan
gerund udavanje **

* The imperative form udavaj is common, yet considered non-standard by some, and the form udaji is recommended instead, but that form is very rarely used in real life.

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

under construction...

uključivati (uključuje) ~ uključiti («) include, turn on (device)

(iva) (i)
pres-1 uključujem uključim
pres-3 uključuje uključi
pres-3pl uključuju uključe
pres. adv. uključujući
imper-2 uključuj usključi
inf uključivati uključiti
past-m uključivao uključio
past-f uključivala uključila
pass. adj. uključen
gerund uključivanje uključenje

The verbs are used with objects in A, usually for turning on various devices and power supplies:

Ana je uključila pećnicu. Ana has turned the oven on.

The verbs are also used with objects in A, in meaning include:

Cijena ne uključuje osiguranje. The price doesn’t include insurance.

† The present adverb uključujući is frequently used meaning including, e.g. uključujući porez including the tax.

ukrašavati («) ~*/~ ukrasiti («) decorate

(a) (i)
pres-1 ukrašavam ukrasim
pres-3 ukrašava ukrasi
pres-3pl ukrašavaju ukrase
pres. adv. ukrašavajući
imper-2 ukrašavaj ukrasi
inf ukrašavati ukrasiti
past-m ukrašavao ukrasio
past-f ukrašavala ukrasila
pass. adj. ukrašavan ukrašen
gerund ukrašavanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun; the common noun ukras ornament, decoration is used when needed.


These verbs are used with objects in A:

Ana je ukrasila stol. Ana decorated the table.


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 exactly causing it:

Škola se ukrašava za proslavu. The school is being decorated for the celebration.

ulagati (ulaže) ~ uložiti («) invest, put in (effort, time)

(a/*) (i)
pres-1 ulažem uložim
pres-3 ulaže uloži
pres-3pl ulažu ulože
pres. adv. ulažući
imper-2 ulaži uloži
inf ulagati uložiti
past-m ulagao uložio
past-f ulagala uložila
pass. adj. uložen
gerund ulaganje
A (dest)

This verb pair is quite frequent because it – besides investing money – covers English expressions like put effort into, put time into etc. It’s used with an object in A and optional destinations:

Ana je uložila puno vremena. Ana has put in a lot of time.

Ana je uložila puno vremena u detalje. Ana has put in a lot of time into the details.

The agent nouns are ulagač m / ulagačica f investor, used only for financial investors.

ulaziti ~ ući (uđe,...) enter, come in

(i) (irr.)
pres-1 ulazim uđem
pres-3 ulazi uđe
pres-3pl ulaze uđu
pres. adv. ulazeći
imper-2 ulazi uđi
inf ulaziti ući
past-m ulazio ušao
past-f ulazila ušla
pass. adj.
gerund ulaženje *

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

(dest) (orig)

This verb pair is used with optional destinations and origins:

Goran je ušao u kuću. Goran has entered the house.

umirati (umire) ~ umrijeti (umre, umro) die

(a/e) (irr.)
pres-1 umirem umrem
pres-3 umire umre
pres-3pl umiru umru
pres. adv. umirući
imper-2 umri
inf umirati umrijeti
past-m umirao umro *
past-f umirala umrla *
pass. adj.
gerund umiranje

This verb pair is used without an object:

Anina baka je davno umrla. Ana’s grandmother has died long ago.

* The past form umrli is used as an adjective, and even as a kind of pronoun, one who died.

† The present adverb umirući is also used as a true adjective, meaning dying.

uništavati («) ~ uništiti destroy

(a) (i)
pres-1 uništavam uništim
pres-3 uništava uništi
pres-3pl uništavaju unište
pres. adv. uništavajući
imper-2 uništavaj uništi
inf uništavati uništiti
past-m uništavao uništio
past-f uništavala uništila
pass. adj. uništavan uništen
gerund uništavanje uništenje *

* The perfective verbal noun uništenje is used as a common noun, meaning destruction.


The verbs are used with objects in A:

Goran je uništio igračku. Ana has destroyed the toy.

There’s a potential adjective uništiv destructible, mostly used negated, i.e. neuništiv indestructible.

upoznavati (upoznaje) ~ upoznati get acquainted with (person, city)

(irr.) (a)
pres-1 upoznajem * upoznam
pres-3 upoznaje * upozna
pres-3pl upoznaju * upoznaju
pres. adv. upoznajući *
imper-2 upoznavaj * upoznaj
inf upoznavati upoznati
past-m upoznavao upoznao
past-f upoznavala upoznala
pass. adj. upoznavan upoznat
gerund upoznavanje

* There are alternative forms of the present tense: upoznava etc., used colloquially.


The verb pair is used with objects in A, usually corresponding to English meet, in the meaning become familiar with:

Ana je upoznala Ivana. Ana met Ivan.


With a se², the meaning is usually mutual, people meet one another:

Upoznali smo se prošle godine. We met last year.

Drago mi je [što smo se upoznali]. I’m glad [we met].

The meaning know, be familiar with (person, city) is expressed with the verb poznavati (poznaje) / poznati.

upozoravati («) ~ upozoriti warn

(a) (i)
pres-1 upozoravam upozorim
pres-3 upozorava upozori
pres-3pl upozoravaju upozore
pres. adv. upozoravajući
imper-2 upozoravaj upozori
inf upozoravati upozoriti
past-m upozoravao upozorio
past-f upozoravala upozorila
pass. adj. upozoravan upozoren
gerund upozoravanje upozorenje *

* The perfective verbal noun upozorenje is used as a common noun, meaning warning.

A na A

Who is warned is an optional object in A, while what or who the warning is about is expressed always with na¨+ A:

Ana upozorava Gorana na auto. Ana warns Goran of a car.

A [...]

The fact or event the warning is about is often expressed with content clauses, starting with da, in any tense (but no perf. verbs in the present tense are allowed):

Ana je upozorila Gorana [da dolazi auto]. Ana warned Goran [a car was coming].

As usual, there’s no time-shift in Croatian.

uspijevati («) ~ uspjeti (uspije,...) succeed

(a) (irr.)
pres-1 uspijevam uspijem
pres-3 uspijeva uspije
pres-3pl uspijevaju uspiju
pres. adv. uspijevajući
imper-2 uspi(j)
inf uspijevati uspjeti
past-m uspijevao uspio
past-f uspijevala uspjela
pass. adj.
gerund uspijevanje *

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


Unlike English, this pair uses another verb in inf, possibly with its object, etc.:

Uspjela sam riješiti problem. I succeeded in solving the problem. {f}

Uspjela je otvoriti prozor. She managed to open the window.

Nisam uspio pročitati knjigu. I failed to read the book. {m}

They can be translated with English succeed or manage, but these verbs are not used to ‘manage household’ and similar things – only to manage to do something.


The verb pair is often used in the ‘reverse’ mode: what is achieved (or not) is the subject (in N), and the person (or animal) who was responsible is optionally expressed in DL. As usual, if the subject is a verb in inf, it behaves like neuter singular:

Uspjelo mi je riješiti problem. I succeeded in solving the problem.

In this mode, the subject can be also something that you succeeded in making (or failed to make). Now you must observe the subject gender:

Uspio nam je kolač. We succeeded in making the cake.

usporavati («) ~ usporiti («) slow down

(a) (i)
pres-1 usporavam * usporim
pres-3 usporava * uspori
pres-3pl usporavaju * uspore
pres. adv. usporavajući *
imper-2 usporavaj * uspori
inf usporavati usporiti
past-m usporavao usporio
past-f usporavala usporila
pass. adj. usporavan usporen
gerund usporavanje

The verb pair is often used without any objects, when the subject slows down:

Auto je usporio. The car slowed down.


When the subject is a person, it can be used also with a se²:

Goran se usporio. Goran slowed down.

uspoređivati (uspoređuje) ~ usporediti («) compare

(iva) (i)


pres-1 uspoređujem usporedim
pres-3 uspoređuje usporedi
pres-3pl uspoređuju usporede
pres. adv. uspoređujući
imper-2 uspoređuj usporedi
inf uspoređivati usporediti
past-m uspoređivao usporedio
past-f uspoređivala usporedila
pass. adj. uspoređivan uspoređen
gerund uspoređivanje *

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


The pair is used with objects in A:

Usporedili smo dva filma. We have compared the two movies.

A s I

Another option is an object in A and another expressed by s¨ / sa¨ + I:

Usporedila sam novu Toyotu s novim Mercedesom.
I’ve compared the new Toyota with the new Mercedes. {f}

There’s a potential adjective usporediv comparable.

The pair also appears as
(non-standard in Croatian)
  Bosnia, Serbia: upoređivati (upoređuje) ~ uporediti («)

usuđivati (usuđuje) se² ~ usuditi («) se² dare

(iva) (i)
pres-1 usuđujem usudim
pres-3 usuđuje usudi
pres-3pl usuđuju usude
pres. adv. usuđujući
imper-2 usuđuj usudi
inf usuđivati usuditi
past-m usuđivao usudio
past-f usuđivala usudila
pass. adj.
gerund usuđivanje

These verbs are always used with se², and another verb in infinitive, which can have its objects, and so on:

Goran se nije usudio otvoriti kutiju. Goran didn't dare to open the box.

utjecati (utječe) influence, affect

pres-1 utječem *
pres-3 utječe *
pres-3pl utječu *
pres. adv. utječući *
imper-2 utječi *
inf utjecati *
past-m utjecao *
past-f utjecala *
pass. adj.
gerund utjecanje **

* The verb has an alternative form uticati (utiče) which is not standard in Croatia.

** Instead of the verbal noun, the noun utjecaj influence is often used.

na A

The verb is used with an object expressed with na¨ + A:

Vrijeme utječe na ljude. The weather affects people.

uzbuđivati (uzbuđuje) (se²) ~ uzbuditi («) (se²) excite, arouse

(iva) (i)
pres-1 uzbuđujem uzbudim
pres-3 uzbuđuje uzbudi
pres-3pl uzbuđuju uzbude
pres. adv. uzbuđujući
imper-2 uzbuđuj uzbudi
inf uzbuđivati uzbuditi
past-m uzbuđivao uzbudio
past-f uzbuđivala uzbudila
pass. adj. uzbuđivan uzbuđen
gerund uzbuđivanje uzbuđenje *


uzimati ~ uzeti (uzme) take (something)

(a) (irr.)
pres-1 uzimam uzmem
pres-3 uzima uzme
pres-3pl uzimaju uzmu
pres. adv. uzimajući
imper-2 uzimaj uzmi
inf uzimati uzeti
past-m uzimao uzeo
past-f uzimala uzela
pass. adj. uziman uzet
gerund uzimanje
A (orig) (dest)

The verbs are used with objects in A, optional origins (od¨ + G for people) and optional destinations (unlike in English):

Ana je uzela knjigu. Ana took the book.

Ana je uzela knjigu od Ivane. Ana took the book from Ivana.

Ana je uzela knjigu u ruku . Ana took the book in her hand. (Croatian: a destination!)

This verb pair is used only for literally taking things (and sometimes people); it’s not used for taking it easy, taking it hard and other metaphorical uses of English.


With the ‘destination’ u obzir, this pair corresponds to English take into account:

Uzmi u obzir njenu poruku . Take her message into account.

Ne uzimaš u obzir [da je ljeto]. You don’t take into account [it’s summer].

ivati («) enjoy

pres-1 uživam
pres-3 uživa
pres-3pl ivaju
pres. adv. ivajući
imper-2 uživaj
inf ivati
past-m ivao
past-f ivala
pass. adj.
gerund ivanje

This verb pair is usually used without objects in A; what is enjoyed can be expressed with u¨ + DL or with a location:

Ana uživa. Ana is enjoying herself.

Ana uživa u odmoru. Ana is enjoying the vacation.

vaditi ~ iz- take out, pull out

pres-1 vadim izvadim
pres-3 vadi izvadi
pres-3pl vade izvade
pres. adv. vadeći
imper-2 vadi izvadi
inf vaditi izvaditi
past-m vadio izvadio
past-f vadila izvadila
pass. adj. vađen izvađen
gerund vađenje
A (orig)

This verb pair is used with things in A, normally pulling out from places that use the preposition u¨.

Ana je izvadila knjigu. Ana has pulled out a book.

The old location of things pulled out is expressed as an origin, consequently using iz¨ + G:

Ana je izvadila knjigu iz torbe. Ana has pulled out a book from the purse.

Colloquially, this verb pair is also used to obtain documents, ID’s, and similar things:

Izvadio sam osobnu. (colloq.) I got my ID. {m}

The opposite action is expressed with stavljati ~ staviti put (things somewhere) and spremati ~ spremiti tidy; put to its place, store; prepare.

varati ~ prevariti cheat

(a) (i)
pres-1 varam prevarim
pres-3 vara prevari
pres-3pl varaju prevare
pres. adv. varajući
imper-2 varaj prevari
inf varati prevariti
past-m varao prevario
past-f varala prevarila
pass. adj. varan prevaren
gerund varanje *

Under construction

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, prevara fraud, cheat is used when needed.

vidjeti (vidi,...) see

pres-1 vidim
pres-3 vidi
pres-3pl vide
pres. adv. videći
imper-2 vidi
inf vidjeti
past-m vidio
past-f vidjela
pass. adj. viđen
gerund viđenje

This verb pair translates as see or can see. It can be used with an object in A:

Vidim te. I can see you.


It can be also used with any kind of content clause:

Ana vidi [gdje su ključevi]. Ana can see [where the keys are].

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


With a se², the verb in plural with persons or animals as subjects has mutual meaning (each other):

Oni se vide. They see each other.

This includes a very common phrase, used to express people will meet again:

Vidimo se. We see each other. (used as see you)

In other cases, the meaning with a se² is mediopassive, and always translates as can be seen; when used with a se², duration can be expressed:

Vidi se mjesec. The moon can be seen.

Mjesec se vidio cijelu noć. The moon could be seen the whole night.

There’s a potential adjective vidljiv visible.

vjerovati (vjeruje) ~~ po- believe

pres-1 vjerujem povjerujem
pres-3 vjeruje povjeruje
pres-3pl vjeruju povjeruju
pres. adv. vjerujući
imper-2 vjeruj
inf vjerovati povjerovati
past-m vjerovao povjerovao
past-f vjerovala povjerovala
pass. adj.
gerund vjerovanje *

* Besides the regular verbal noun, the noun vjera belief, faith is frequently used.


This verb pair is used in a very similar way like the English verb. It can be used with objects in DL:

Ne vjeruj svakom. Don’t believe everyone.


It can be also used with content clauses, using any tense (but no perf. verbs in the present tense):

Vjerujemo [da ćemo pobijediti]. We believe [(that) we’re going to win].

It’s also used negated; the negation of the verb in the clause is less common, so instead of I believe they don’t... Croatian rather uses I don’t believe they...:

Ne vjerujem [da ćemo pobijediti]. I don’t believe [(that) we’re going to win].

However, the verb is used less often to express predictions in speech, compared to English: the verb misliti think is more common.


With u¨ + A, the meaning is believe in:

Neki ljudi vjeruju u sudbinu. Some people believe in destiny.

The perf. verb is ‘inchoative’, i.e. it means start to believe.

The verb also appears as
(non-standard in Croatian)
  Ikavian: virovati (viruje)
Ekavian: verovati (veruje)

vježbati practice, rehearse

pres-1 vježbam
pres-3 vježba
pres-3pl vježbaju
pres. adv. vježbajući
imper-2 vježbaj
inf vježbati
past-m vježbao
past-f vježbala
pass. adj.
gerund vježbanje

The verb can be used without an object, in meaning exercise:

Ana vježba. Ana is exercising.


With an object in A, it corresponds also to English practise:

Goran je vježbao engleski. Goran practised English.

The verb also appears as
(non-standard in Croatian)
  Ekavian: vežbati

voditi lead, conduct; take (someone)

pres-1 vodim
pres-3 vodi
pres-3pl vode
pres. adv. vodeći
imper-2 vodi
inf voditi
past-m vodio
past-f vodila
pass. adj. vođen
gerund vođenje

These verbs can be used without objects, in meaning be in front of somebody else (e.g. lead in sports):

Naši vode. lit. ‘Ours are leading.’ = Our team is leading.


With objects in A, it again corresponds to English lead (somebody, or idiomatically, life):

Goran vodi Anu. Goran is leading Ana.

A dest

This verb is also used to take, bring a person (or an animal) (expressed by an object in A) somewhere (expressed by a destination):

Ana vodi Gorana u školu. Ana takes Goran to school.


If the destination is a person, it’s normally expressed by DL:

Ana vodi Gorana doktoru. Ana takes Goran to a doctor.

Euphemistically, this verb is also used to ‘lead love’, i.e. have sex.

This is an imperfective verb. In the meaning take somebody somewhere, the completed action is expressed by the perf. verb odvesti (odvede, odveo).

† The present adverb vodeći is also used as a true adjective, meaning leading. For example, vodeći igrač leading player, vodeća uloga leading role.

The agent nouns are vodič tour guide, also meaning conductor (of electricity, heat...) with feminine versions vodičica and vodička. There’s also vođa m leader.

voljeti (voli,...) ~~ za- («) love

pres-1 volim zavolim
pres-3 voli zavoli
pres-3pl vole zavole
pres. adv. voleći
imper-2 voli zavoli
inf voljeti zavoljeti
past-m volio zavolio
past-f voljela zavoljela
pass. adj. voljen zavoljen

This verb pair is used with persons or things in A.

Goran voli Anu. Goran loves Ana.

Ana voli čaj. Ana likes tea.


It can be also used with other verbs in infinitive, possibly having additional objects, etc.

Ana voli kuhati. Ana likes to cook.

Ana voli piti čaj. Ana likes to drink tea.

This verb is used for long-term feelings.

For impressions, e.g. when you watch a movie once, eat something once, visit some place once, meet someone etc., no matter how great it was, the verb to use is sviđati se² ~~ svidjeti (svidi,...) se² like.

In conditional, the impf. verb has a bit shifted meaning: would like, wish. It’s then frequently used with da-clauses, in two ways. The first way are wishes about past and present, which are expressed by clauses in past and present (but no perf. verbs in present):

Volio bih [da imamo kuću]. I wish [we had a house].

To express wishes about the future, the present tense of both perf. and impf. verbs is used, and the verb biti (je² +) is replaced by the verb (bude):

Volio bih [da kupimo kuću]. I wish [we would buy a house].

Volio bih [da bude sunčano]. I’d like [it to be sunny].

Note that English grammar is completely unlike Croatian in such sentences.

voziti drive

pres-1 vozim
pres-3 vozi
pres-3pl voze
pres. adv. vozeći
imper-2 vozi
inf voziti
past-m vozio
past-f vozila
pass. adj. vožen
gerund voženje *

* Instead of the regular verbal noun, vožnja is much more common.

This verb is used for all vehicles, including bicycles and motorbikes.

(A) (dest) (orig)

This verb is used with optional objects in A, and optionally destinations and origins; in such sentences, the subject controls the vehicle:

Ana vozi auto. Ana is driving a car.

Ana vozi u Split. Ana is driving to Split.


This verb can be also used with se²; the meaning is kind of mediopassive; it’s not implied that the subject is driving, but he or she is riding; now there’s no object, but the vehicle can be specified as a location:

Ana se vozi u autu. Ana is riding a car.

Ana se vozi u Split. Ana is riding to Split.

This verb is related to vehicles only. It’s never used to express that something drives somebody to do something (i.e. forces). For that, the verb pair tjerati ~ na-, po- force, chase away is used.

The agent nouns are vozač m / vozačica f driver.

vući (vuče,...) ~ povući (povuče,...) pull, drag

pres-1 vučem povučem
pres-3 vuče povuče
pres-3pl vuku povuku
pres. adv. vukući
imper-2 vuci povuci
inf vući povući
past-m vukao povukao
past-f vukla povukla
pass. adj. vučen povučen
gerund vučenje

This verb is used with objects in A:

Goran vuče igračku. Goran is pulling a toy.


With a se², a bit colloquially, the meaning is that the subject drags, i.e. does things slowly and with no enthusiasm:

Ana se vukla cijelo jutro. (colloq.) Ana dragged the whole morning.

Like in English, it can also mean a vehicle, time, anything moves slowly, slower than we would like to:

Vlak se vuče. (colloq.) The train is dragging.

vraćati ~ vratiti return

(a) (i)
pres-1 vraćam vratim
pres-3 vraća vrati
pres-3pl vraćaju vrate
pres. adv. vraćajući
imper-2 vraćaj vrati
inf vraćati vratiti
past-m vraćao vratio
past-f vraćala vratila
pass. adj. vraćan vraćen
gerund vraćanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun; povratak (povratk-) return is used instead.

A (DL)

This verb pair can be used with an object in A, and an optional recipient in DL:

Ana je vratila knjigu. Ana has returned the book.

Ana je vratila knjigu Ivani. Ana has returned the book to Ivana.


When used with a se², the pair means that the subject returns, i.e. comes back:

Vraćamo se sutra. We’re coming back tomorrow.

zabavljati ~ zabaviti entertain; se² have fun

(a) (i)
pres-1 zabavljam zabavim
pres-3 zabavlja zabavi
pres-3pl zabavljaju zabave
pres. adv. zabavljajući
imper-2 zabavljaj zabavi
inf zabavljati zabaviti
past-m zabavljao zabavio
past-f zabavljala zabavila
pass. adj. zabavljan zabavljen
gerund zabavljanje *

* Besides the regular verbal noun, the common noun zabava is used as well (it means fun, but also party).


This verb pair can be used with an object in A, when it means that someone entertains someone (an object in A):

Goran zabavlja Anu. Goran entertains Ana.


With a se², the meaning shifts a bit to have fun:

Goran se zabavlja. Goran is having fun.

The agent nouns are zabavljač m / zabavljačica f entertainer.

There’s a related adjective zabavan (zabavn-) entertaining, fun:

Film je jako zabavan. The movie is very entertaining.

zaboravljati ~ zaboraviti forget

(a) (i)
pres-1 zaboravljam zaboravim
pres-3 zaboravlja zaboravi
pres-3pl zaboravljaju zaborave
pres. adv. zaboravljajući
imper-2 zaboravi
inf zaboravljati zaboraviti
past-m zaboravljao zaboravio
past-f zaboravljala zaboravila
pass. adj. zaboravljen
gerund zaboravljanje *

* There’s no regular of perf. verbal noun, the noun zaborav can be used instead.


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

Zaboravio sam jaknu. I forgot the jacket. {m}


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

Ana je zaboravila [gdje su ključevi]. Ana forgot [where the keys are].


When someone forgets to do something, it’s expressed in infinitive, which can have its objects, etc.:

Ana je zaboravila zaključati vrata. Ana forgot to lock the door.

A similar meaning is expressed by the negation of the verb sjetiti se² perf. recall, come to mind:

Ana se nije sjetila zaključati vrata. Ana didn’t remember to lock the door.

zaključavati («) ~ zaključati lock

pres-1 zaključavam zaključam
pres-3 zaključava zaključa
pres-3pl zaključavaju zaključaju
pres. adv. zaključavajući
imper-2 zaključavaj zaključaj
inf zaključavati zaključati
past-m zaključavao zaključao
past-f zaključavala zaključala
pass. adj. zaključan
gerund zaključavanje

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

Ana zaključava vrata. Ana is locking the door.

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

Vrata su zaključana. The door is locked.

The opposite meaning is expressed by otključavati («) ~ otključati unlock.

zamišljati («) ~ zamisliti («) imagine

(a) (i)
pres-1 zamišljam zamislim
pres-3 zamišlja zamisli
pres-3pl zamišljaju zamisle
pres. adv. zamišljajući
imper-2 zamišljaj zamisli
inf zamišljati zamisliti
past-m zamišljao zamislio
past-f zamišljala zamislila
pass. adj. zamišljan zamišljen *
gerund zamišljanje

* The passive adjective zamišljen has an additional meaning: in thought, contemplating, i.e. when someone has been absorbed in their thoughts.


This verb pair is used with objects in A, what is imagined:

Ana zamišlja odmor na pustom otoku.
Ana imagines vacation on a desert island.


What is imagined can be also expressed with an unrestricted clause: any tense can be used, present of both impf. and perf. verbs can be used in them, usually expressing relative future (this is a special behavior):

Ana zamišlja [da pliva u moru]. Ana imagines [(that) she’s swimming in the sea].

Note that this construction is unlike in English, which often uses -ing forms with imagine.

zanimati («) interest

pres-1 zanimam
pres-3 zanima
pres-3pl zanimaju
pres. adv. zanimajući
imper-2 zanimaj
inf zanimati
past-m zanimao
past-f zanimala
pass. adj.
gerund zanimanje *

* The verbal noun zanimanje is also used as a common noun, meaning interest, but also profession, occupation.


This verb is usually used ‘reverse’, with interesting things and people as subjects, and persons that feel the interest in A:

Anu zanima film. The movie is interesting to Ana. (lit. ‘The movie interests Ana.’)

Negation of this verb is similar to English don’t care. This is a common phrase:

To me ne zanima. That’s not interesting to me. = I don’t care about it.

se² za A

It can be also used with se², in meaning show interest (in): the person who shows interest is then the subject, and the object of interest is expressed with za¨ + A:

Ivan se zanima za Anu. Ivan is showing interest in Ana.

There’s a potential adjective zanimljiv, meaning simply interesting:

Jezero je jako zanimljivo. The lake is very interesting.

This verb has been borrowed from Russian in previous centuries.

zarađivati (zarađuje) ~ zaraditi («) earn (money)

(iva) (i)
pres-1 zarađujem zaradim
pres-3 zarađuje zaradi
pres-3pl zarađuju zarade
pres. adv. zarađujući
imper-2 zarađuj zaradi
inf zarađivati zaraditi
past-m zarađivao zaradio
past-f zarađivala zaradila
pass. adj. zarađen
gerund zarađivanje *

* There’s no regular of perf. verbal noun, the noun zarada can be used instead.

(coming soon..)

zatvarati («) ~ zatvoriti («) close

(a) (i)
pres-1 zatvaram zatvorim
pres-3 zatvara zatvori
pres-3pl zatvaraju zatvore
pres. adv. zatvarajući
imper-2 zatvaraj zatvori
inf zatvarati zatvoriti
past-m zatvarao zatvorio
past-f zatvarala zatvorila
pass. adj. zatvaran zatvoren
gerund zatvaranje

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

Ana zatvara kutiju. Ana is closing the box.

Goran je zatvorio prozor. Goran has closed 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 zatvara sutra. The school is closing tomorrow.

Vrata su se zatvorila. The door has closed. (vrata door is always plural)

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

Dućan je zatvoren. The shop is closed.

The opposite meaning is expressed by otvarati («) ~ otvoriti («) open.

The agent noun is zatvarač, mostly used for various things, such as caps, fasteners, breeches (in guns), etc.

zaustavljati ~ zaustaviti stop (somebody, something)

(a) (i)
pres-1 zaustavljam zaustavim
pres-3 zaustavlja zaustavi
pres-3pl zaustavljaju zaustave
pres. adv. zaustavljajući
imper-2 zaustavljaj zaustavi
inf zaustavljati zaustaviti
past-m zaustavljao zaustavio
past-f zaustavljala zaustavila
pass. adj. zaustavljan zaustavljen
gerund zaustavljanje

These verbs are used with an object in A:

Ana je zaustavila auto. Ana has stopped the car.


This verb pair is also 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:

Auto se zaustavio. The car stopped.

The same meaning is more often expressed with the pair stajati (staje) ~ stati (stane) stop, come to halt:

Auto je stao. The car stopped.

However, if somebody stops something or somebody else, you have to use this pair, since it permits objects, while stajati (staje) ~ stati (stane) stop, come to halt is only for people, animals and things that stop ‘on their own’.

There’s a potential adjective zaustavljiv stoppable, mostly used negated, i.e. nezaustavljiv unstoppable.

završavati («) ~ završiti («) finish, end

(a) (i)
pres-1 završavam završim
pres-3 završava završi
pres-3pl završavaju završe
pres. adv. završavajući
imper-2 završavaj završi
inf završavati završiti
past-m završavao završio
past-f završavala završila
pass. adj. završen
gerund završavanje *

* There’s no regular perf. verbal noun, završetak (završetk-) end is used when needed.

The verb pair is usually used with a noun standing for an activity or an event as the subject, without anything else:

Film je završio. The movie has ended.

This implies an orderly, expected end; for things that can end at any moment (e.g. rain, pain, danger), the pair prestajati (prestaje) ~ prestati (prestane) stop, cease is used.


You can also finish something you work on, expressed as an object in A:

Goran je završio zadaću. Goran has finished the homework.

In Serbia and eastern parts of Bosnia, this verb pair must be used with an object or a (mediopassive) se². Therefore, the first example would rather be:

Film se završio. (Serbia, eastern Bosnia) The movie has ended.

značiti mean, signify

pres-1 značim
pres-3 znači
pres-3pl znače
pres. adv. značeći
imper-2 znači
inf značiti
past-m značio
past-f značila
pass. adj.
gerund značenje *

* The verbal noun značenje is, like in English, often used as a general noun, i.e. meaning.


This verb is often used with a person in DL and an adverb or indefinite pronoun in A as its object; the subject is very often a demonstrative adjective:

Ona mu znači sve. She means everything to him.

To mi je značilo puno. It meant a lot to me.


An object can be a content clause, i.e. a da-clause with verbs in any tense (but not perf. verbs in the present tense):

Znači [da moram ići u banku]. It means [I have to go to the bank].

The word znači is frequently used as a filler in colloquial speech, to fill gaps or connect sentences.

znati know

pres-1 znam *
pres-3 zna *
pres-3pl znaju *
pres. adv. znajući *
imper-2 znaj
inf znati
past-m znao
past-f znala
pass. adj. znan
gerund znanje **

* In some dialects, sometimes in speech and traditional songs, there are alternative forms of the present tense: pres-3 znade, and so on.

** The verbal noun znanje is also used as a common noun, meaning knowledge.


Knowledge of something is expressed with objects in A:

Ivan zna matematiku. Ivan knows math.

Ana zna engleski. Ana ‘knows’ English. (i.e. speaks)


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

Ana zna [gdje su ključevi]. Ana knows [where the keys are].


When someone knows how to do something, it’s expressed in infinitive:

Ana zna pjevati. Ana knows how to sing.

In Bosnia and Serbia, the verb umjeti (umije) is often used to express the last meaning. It’s also used in the southernmost parts of Croatia, including Dubrovnik.

zvati (zove) call

pres-1 zovem
pres-3 zove
pres-3pl zovu
pres. adv. zovući
imper-2 zovi
inf zvati
past-m zvao
past-f zvala
pass. adj. zvan
gerund zvanje

This verb is used with objects in A:

Ana zove Ivanu. Ana is calling Ivana.


This verb is also often used with se²: the meaning is similar to mediopassive (exactly like Spanish llamar and French apeller): naming the subject. Both the subject and the name are in N:

Zovem se Ivan. My name is Ivan. (lit. ‘I’m called Ivan.’)

Ona se zove Marija. Her name is Marija. (lit. ‘She’s called Marija.’)

željeti (želi,...) ~¹/~~ po- («), za- («) want, wish, desire

pres-1 želim poželim
pres-3 želi poželi
pres-3pl žele požele
pres. adv. želeći
imper-2 želi poželi
inf željeti poželjeti
past-m želio poželio
past-f željela poželjela
pass. adj. željen
gerund *

* There’s no regular verbal noun; the noun želja wish is used when needed.


This pair can be used with objects in A:

Goran želi sladoled. Goran wants ice-cream.


When someone wants to do something, it’s usually expressed in infinitive:

Ana želi spavati. Ana wants to sleep.


When someone wants something else to happen, where he or she isn’t the subject, it’s expressed by an atemporal clause (i.e. da + a verb in present, either impf. or perf. + object etc.):

Ana želi [da Goran prestane vikati]. Ana wants [Goran to stop screaming].

In such clauses, the verb bude is usually used instead of biti (je² +) be:

Ana želi [da bude sunčano]. Ana wants [it to be sunny].

The two perfective verbs cover both ‘semelfactive’ (wish for a moment) and ‘inchoative’ (start to wish) meanings, depending on the context. Only one is listed in the table, since the other has only a different prefix. The one derived with po- is more common. They’re used like the impf. verb:

Goran je poželio sladoled. Goran expressed a wish for ice-cream. (or felt a wish)

With nešto something as an object, these two verbs correspond to English make a wish:

Goran je poželio nešto. Goran made a wish.

In Serbia, it’s more common to use atemporal clauses also in sentences of type Ana wants to sleep.

There’s a related adjective poželjan (poželjn-) desirable.

ženiti ~* o- («) marry (a woman)

pres-1 ženim oženim
pres-3 ženi oženi
pres-3pl žene ožene
pres. adv. ženeći
imper-2 ženi eni
inf ženiti eniti
past-m ženio enio
past-f ženila enila
pass. adj. ženjen oženjen
gerund *

* There’s no regular verbal noun; the noun ženidba marriage (to a woman) is used when needed.

Coming soon...

živjeti (živi,...) live

pres-1 živim
pres-3 živi
pres-3pl žive
pres. adv. živeći
imper-2 živi
inf živjeti
past-m živio
past-f živjela
pass. adj.

The verb is normally used without objects, with an optional location:

Ana živi u Zagrebu. Ana lives in Zagreb.

A / I

Sometimes it can be used with objects in A or I, meaning live something:

Ana živi svoj život. Ana lives her life.

Ana živi svojim životom. (the same meaning, a bit more common)

The verb also appears as
(non-standard in Croatian)
  Ikavian: živiti
Ekavian: živeti (živi)

žuriti hurry

pres-1 žurim
pres-3 žuri
pres-3pl žure
pres. adv. žureći
imper-2 žuri
inf žuriti
past-m žurio
past-f žurila
pass. adj.
gerund *

* There’s no regular verbal noun, but žurba hurry is used when needed.


The verb is normally used with optional destinations:

Goran žuri u školu. Goran is hurrying to school.


It’s often used with another verb in infinitive, which can have its object and so on, when someone hurries to do something:

Goran žuri pojesti sendvič. Goran is hurrying to eat the sandwich.

žvakati (zvače) ~* pro- («), sa- («) chew

pres-1 žvačem prožvačem
pres-3 žvače prožvače
pres-3pl žvaču prožvaču
pres. adv. žvačući
imper-2 zvači prožvači
inf žvakati prožvakati
past-m završavao prožvakao
past-f završavala prožvakala
pass. adj. prožvakan
gerund žvakanje

Two prefixes are used to create the perfective verb: the one with pro- is more common in Croatia. (In Serbia, only the variant with sa- is used.)


The impf. verb pair is used with optional objects in A, which are mandatory for the perf. verb:

Goran je prožvakao hranu. Goran has chewed the food.

Pas žvače. The dog is chewing.

There’s a secondary present adjective žvakaći, used almost exclusively in the phrase žvakaća guma chewing gum, often shortened to just žvakaća.

The rest: A-GH-MN-OPR-Š

5 Easy Croatian: Essential verbs: T-Ž This is the sixth 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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