Common Serbian Verbs You Should Know

March 24, 2021

So you want to speak the Serbian language? Here are common Serbian verbs you should know.



About Verbs In The Serbian Language

Verbs are non-independent words that describe movement or action that someone performs (read, dig, bake, cut), the state in which someone or something is (think, blush, love, want), and events in nature (blow, dew, sow, dawn). The verb in the personal form is a predicate in the sentence, and the verb adverb present and the verb adverb past serve as adverbs for time. All verbs in the Serbian language end in -ti or -ći.

You’ll need to know verbs whenever you want to talk about what you, somebody or something else does, did, or wants to do. Essential stuff. Memorize the verbs below and you’ll be well equipped for most basic Serbian conversations.

Serbian (Cyrillic / Latin)  Pronunciation English Translation
бити / biti bee-tee (to) be
имати / imati ee-mah-tee (to) have
радити / raditi rah-dee-tee (to) do
правити / praviti prah-wee-tee (to) make
моћи / moći mo-tsy can / (to)
знати (како) / znati (kako) znah-tee (kah-koh) (to) know (how) to
знати / znatiпознавати / poznavati znah-teepo-znah-vah-tee (to) know / (to) be acquainted with
разумети / razumeti rah-zoo-meh-tee (to) understand
причати / pričatiговорити / govoriti pree-chah-teego-wo-ree-tee (to) speak / (to) talk
слушати / slušati sloo-shah-tee (to) listen to
чути / čuti ch-oo-tee (to) hear
видети / videti wee-deh-tee (to) see
осетити / osetiti oseh-tee-tee (to) feel
живети / živeti zy-veh-tee (to) live
хтети / htetiжeлети / želeti hteh-tee (to) want
требати / trebati treh-bah-tee (to) need
свиђати се / sviđati se svee-djah-tee (to) like
волети / voleti voh-leh-tee (to) love
дати / datiдавати / davati dah-teedah-vah-tee (to) give
узети / uzetiузимати / uzimati oo-zeh-teeoo-zee-mah-tee (to) take
играти (се) / igrati (se)свирати / svirati ee-grah-tee (seh)svee-rah-tee (to) play
смејати се / smejati se smeh-yah-tee seh (to) laugh
доћи / doćiстићи / stići doh-tsystee-tsy (to) come
ићи / ići ee-tsy (to) go
путовати / putovati poo-too-vah-tee

(to) go by […] (e.g. by car)

писати / pisati pee-sah-tee (to) write
читати / čitati chee-tah-tee (to) read
бројати / brojati broh-jah-tee (to) count
изговорити / izgovoriti eez-go-voh-ree-tee (to) pronounce
спеловати / spelovati speh-loh-vah-tee (to) spell
конјугирати / konjugirati con-you-gee-rah-tee (to) conjugate
сетити се / setiti seзапамтити / zapamtiti seh-tee-tee sehzah-pam-tee-tee (to) remember
заборавити / zaboraviti zah-bora-vee-tee (to) forget
јести / jesti yes-tee (to) eat
покушати / pokušatiпробати / probati poc-oo-shah-teepro-bah-tee (to) try
користити / koristitiупотребити / upotrebiti koh-ree-stee-teeoo-poh-treh-bee-tee (to) use
отворити otvoriti oth-voh-reetee (to) open
затворити zatvoriti zah-tvoh-ree-tee (to) close
поздравити / pozdravitiпожелети добродошлицу /poželeti dobrodošlicu poh-zdrah-vee-teepoh-zye-leh-tee doh-bro-doh-shlee-tsoo (to) greet (to) welcome
почети / početi poh-cheh-tee (to) start
завршити / završiti zah-vrsh-ee-tee (to) end


Hope you memorized the verbs from the table above. Now we are going to talk about grammar. I know you don't like it (me either) but it's important to know it so you can speak Serbian as well as possible. That is your goal, right? 


Common Serbian Verbs: Categories

The change of verbs by grammatical categories is called conjugation. The categories of verbs are:

1. person (speaker, interlocutor, and absent person - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person),

2. grammatical gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter),

3. grammatical number (singular and plural),

4. time (past, present, and future, in relation to the moment of speaking),

5. manner (indicates the attitude of the speaker towards the still unrealized action),

6. verb form (duration of verb action),

7. verb gender (transitivity of a verb action).


Common Serbian Verbs: Forms

Verb forms are forms in which verbs are realized in a sentence. In the Serbian language, there are fourteen verb forms, which, depending on whether they change according to faces, are divided into:

1. impersonal - they do not change by faces and do not have a performer, they belong to simple verb forms, and there are five of them:

1) infinitive - names only the action, and does not say the person, time, or way of performing the action, for example: to speak, to have, to bake, to enter;

2) working verb adjective - means an action that was performed or performed in the past, for example: ran, saw, sang;

3) patient verb adjective - means that an action has been performed or performed on someone or something, for example: drawn, spilled, demolished;

4) present participle - means an action that is performed at the same time as some other action, ie. pronounces the action at the same time as the action of the predicate, for example drawing, running, carrying;

5) verb adverb past - means an action that was performed before some other action, ie. pronounces the action that took place before the action of the predicate, for example throwing, waving, looking;

2. personal - they change by persons and have a perpetrator, and there are nine of them:

1) present (present tense) - a simple verb form that means an action that is performed at the same time when it is spoken about (it walks by the river) or constantly, all the time (the Sava flows through Sabac);

2) perfect (past tense) - a complex verb form which says that the action was performed in the past, before the moment of speaking about it, for example, they talked, it collapsed;

3) imperfect (previous imperfect tense) - a simple verb form that means an action that was performed at a certain time in the past, for example, I was walking in the park, running in the stadium;

4) plusquamperfekt (long past tense) - a complex verb form that means an action that was performed before some other past action, for example, he was giving, they were brought;

5) aorist (previous perfect tense) - a simple verb form that means a fast, dynamic action in the past, or an action that happened just before the moment when it is spoken about, for example, we made, understood, met;

6) futur I (future tense) - a simple (one word) or complex (two words) verb form that means an action that will be performed in the future, after the moment of speaking, for example, I will skip, we will return, you will be able to, you will come across;

7) futur II (pre-future tense) - a complex verb form that indicates the assumption of the speaker that the action will be performed in the future before some other future action or simultaneously with it, for example: be working, you will be watching;

8) imperative (commanding way) - a simple verb form which expresses a command or a desire to perform certain actions; there is only the 2nd person singular and the 1st and 2nd person plural, for example: come, buy, take;

9) potential (possible way) - a complex verb form that indicates the possibility or desire to perform or perform an action, for example, we would swim, we would have dinner.

If you want to learn common Serbian verbs you should know, you should consider using Ling App and do it in an interesting and fun way. This App is great for people who want to learn home and family vocabulary in Serbian or words about transportation.

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