We have some good news for you! The present tense in Croatian is a simple tense, meaning that it only consists of one word. Moreover, there is only one form of the present tense, unlike in English – Croatian does not differentiate between present simple and present continuous.
The present tense is used to talk about:
In Croatian, we have a few types of verbs depending on the infinitive form’s ending. We have verbs that end in –ati (pjevati, plivati, kuhati), -iti (žuriti, sjediti) and -jeti (vidjeti, voljeti). The simplified pattern, according to the endings attached to the root of the verb, is the following:
|1st person singular||2nd person singular||3rd person singular||1st person plural||2nd person plural||3rd person plural|
A little tip: try to memorise the 1st person singular of the verb in order to create other forms of the same verb (and the same tense) more easily!
As usual, there are some exceptions to the rule. Here’s a common one: verbs ending in -ati are conjugated differently if the ending is preceded by the letters č, ž, j, št, žd: trčati → to run, ležati → to lie (in bed), bježati → to run (away), držati → to hold…
Ja ležim na suncu. → I am lying in the sun.
Ana drži dijete za ruku. → Ana’s holding a child’s hand.
Marko trči maraton. → Marko’s running a marathon.
In the Croatian language, personal pronouns are omitted from most sentences, because the ending already indicates who performs the action. Personal pronouns are mostly used for emphasis. For instance, when we are trying to point somebody distinctive out.
Ti nikada ne čistiš sobu! → You never clean your room!
Oni uvijek slušaju glasnu glazbu! → They always listen to loud music!
On uvijek na vrijeme uči za ispit! → He always starts studying for the test on time!
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To form negative present tense, simply put ne in front of the verb.
Ne mislim da lažeš. → I don't think you are lying.
Ne pjevaš dobro. → You don't sing well.
Ne pišemo razglednice prijateljima. → We are not writing postcards to our friends.
To ask questions about the present, don't forget to put the particle li directly after the verb in the present tense.
Vidim li dobro? → Do I see well?
Voliš li me? → Do you love me?
Radite li puno? → Are you working a lot?
Their sons are learning how to play the piano. Answer Njihovi sinovi uče svirati klavir.
My brother rides a motorbike. Answer Moj brat vozi motor.
I need to sleep eight hours every day. Answer Trebam spavati osam sati svaki dan.
She is thirty years old. Answer Ona ima trideset godina.
Your sister does not clean very well. Answer Tvoja sestra ne čisti baš dobro.
You are not telling the truth. Answer Ti ne govoriš istinu.
Adults don't play games. Answer Odrasli ne igraju igre.
Do you speak French? (singular) Answer Govoriš li francuski?
Do you speak German? (plural or formal) Answer Govorite li njemački?
Do we like winter? Answer Volimo li zimu?
Does she want some tea? Answer Želi li ona čaja?