The locative case in Croatian

Locative

The name ‘locative’ comes from the Latin word locus (place), and in Croatian the locative case primarily determines the place of an action.

Although the Croatian language has seven cases, in the locative (Lokativ), both the singular and plural endings are identical to those used in the dative case.

When is the locative used?

The locative is thought of as the “place-case” and mostly determines the place of an action (e.g. → I’m in school). In some cases, it can also be used to denotate the time (e.g. → at that moment).

The rules on when to use the locative are very straightforward. It’s used only with the following prepositions:

Locative

  1. - in
    – I sleep in a bed
    – You live in Zagreb.
    – They work in a post-office.
  2. – on, at
    – An apple is on the cupboard.
    – A cat is sleeping on the bed.
    – I’m sitting on a sofa.
  3. – about
    – We’re talking about summer.
    – Ana is thinking about a new job.
    – I’m dreaming about you.
  4. – along, over, on (a surface)
    –We’re walking on a fence.
    –We’re running on snow.
    – Children are drawing on the wall.
  5. – by, near, next to
    – The book is out of my hand reach.
    – You’re not in your right mind.
    – Marija lives near the end of the street.

Regular noun endings in the locative case

  
Muški rod
(musculine)
Ženski rod
(feminine)
Srednji rod
(neuter)
Jednina
(singular)
Nominative -
(neighbour)
(cell phone)
-a
(map)
(room)
-o/e
(field)
(village)
Locative -u
susjedu
mobitelu
-i
karti
sobi
-u
polju
selu
Množina
(plural)
Nominative -i
susjedi
mobiteli
-e
karte
sobe
-a
polja
sela
Locative -ima
susjedima
mobitelima
-ama
kartama
sobama
-ima
poljima
selima
         

Prepositions u, na, o andpo are also used with the accusative case:

Lovative

→ I’m in school.

→ We’re on a terrace.

Accusative

→ I’m going to school.

→ We’re going to dinner.

We’ll write more about this difference in one of the following blog posts.

Exercise: how would you say the following in Croatian?

The dog is sleeping on the sofa. Answer Pas spava na kauču

I'm thinking about lunch. Answer Razmišljam o ručku.

I'm running in the park. Answer Trčim po parku.

I'm waiting for you at the restaurant. Answer Čekam te u restoranu.

We met at a museum. Answer Upoznali smo se u muzeju.

Please don’t sleep in my bed. Answer Molim te, nemoj spavati u mojem krevetu.