Serbian modal and irregular verbs
In this lesson we will start from the irregular basic verbs BITI – to be and IMATI – to have, I
IĆI – to go, and then will learn the modal verbs.
Important basic Serbian irregular verbs
The verb BITI – to be
This is the most irregular verb in Serbian, as well as in all languages. It also has own negative form (particle “ni” instead of “ne’ and placed together with verb). Just memorize the conjugation of this verb.
BITI – to be.
|Ja sam||I am||Ja nisam||I am not|
|Ti si||You are (singular)||Ti nisi||You aren’t|
|On, ona je||He, she is||On, ona nije||He, she isn’t|
|Mi smo||We are||Mi nismo||We aren’t|
|Vi ste||You are (plural)||Vi niste||You aren’t|
|Oni, one, ona su||They are||Oni, one, ona nisu||They aren’t|
Long form of BITI, and its interrogative form:
|Ja jesam||I am||Jesam li …?|
|Ti jesi||You are (singular)||Jesi li …?|
|On, ona jeste||He, she is||Je li …?|
|Mi jesmo||We are||Jesmo li …?|
|Vi jeste||You are (plural)||Jeste li …?|
|Oni, one, ona jesu||They are||Jesu li …?|
This form is used to say expressions like „Yes, I am“, „Yes, he is“, „Yes, it is“, i.e. when we have to emphasize the meaning of TO BE:
Da li si ovde? – Jesam – Are you here? – I am.
Jeli ona ovde? – Jesi – Is she here? – She is.
The verb IMATI – to have
This verb has own negative form.
IMATI – to have
|Ja imam||I have||Ja nemam||I don’t have|
|Ti imaš||You have||Ti nemaš||You don’t have|
|On, ona ima||He, She has||On, ona nema||He, she doesn’t have|
|Mi imamo||We have||Mi nemamo||We don’t have|
|Vi imate||You have||Vi nemate||You don’t have|
|Oni, one, ona imaju||They have||Oni, one, ona nemaju||They don’t have|
Ići – to go
|Ja idem||I go|
|Ti ideš||You go|
|On, ona ide||He, she goes|
|Mi idemo||We go|
|Vi idete||You go|
|Oni, ona, one idu||They go|
Serbian modal verbs
In case you don’t know what is modal verbs, these are the verbs “can, must/have to, to want, to love, to wish, to need(this one will be considered later)”. These verbs are usually accompanied by second verb because they usually can’t describe an action alone. Some of these verbs are irregular and have own form of conjugation beyond the rules.
In Serbian language when we can use a verb with a modal verb (for example “I want to do, I must go, I can sleep”), we have to use the construction “DA + verb”. Look at the formula:
Conjugated verb + particle DA + verb conjugated with the same pronoun
For example: Ja moram da idem (not Ja moram ići) – I have to go. This rule is used the most often with modal verbs, and let’s learn them now. More examples in the bottom of the lesson.
The verb HTETI – to want
We will need this verb to form the future tense, and also we will learn negation in Serbian language. This verb is irregular in Serbian language, and it also has own negative form
HTETI – to want
|Ja hoću||I want||Ja neću||I don’t want|
|Ti hoćeš||You wany||Tinećeš||You don’t want|
|On, ona hoće||He, she wants||On, ona neće||He, she doesn’t want|
|Mi hoćemo||We want||Mi nećemo||We don’t want|
|Vi hoćete||You want||Vi nećete||You don’t want|
|Oni, one, ona hoće||They want||Oni, one, ona neće||They don’t want|
Serbian verb MOĆI – can, may
Just memorize its conjugation.
MOĆI – can, may
|Ja mogu||I can|
|Ti možeš||You can|
|On, Ona može||He, She can|
|Mi možemo||We can|
|Vi možete||You can|
|Oni, One, Ona mogu||They can|
Serbian verb UMETI – can/know how to
|Ja umem||I can|
|Ti umeš||You can|
|On, Ona ume||He, She can|
|Mi umemo||We can|
|Vi umete||You can|
|Oni, One, Ona umeju||They can|
The difference between MOĆI and UMETI is that first one is about being able to do something, and the second one is about knowing how to do something.
Serbian verb MORATI – must/to have to
This verb is regular (2nd conjugation).
MORATI – must/to have to
|Ja moram||I can|
|Ti moraš||You can|
|On, Ona mora||He, She can|
|Mi moramo||We can|
|Vi morate||You can|
|Oni, One, Ona moraju||They can|
Other modal verbs
There are other modal verbs that are regular and don’t require wide explanation:
Voleti – to love/ to like
Želeti – to wish
And there is the verb Trebati – to need that require a special explanation and will be considered later.
Šta hoćeš da radiš sutra? – What do you want to do tomorrow? (sutra – tomorrow)
Moramo da idemo sada – We have to go now (sada – now)
Da li oni vole da studiraju? – Do they love to study? (studirati – to study)
Umete da koristite ovu stvar? – Do you know how to use this thing? (koristiti – to use, stvar – thing)
Želim da učim Srpski jezik – I wish to learn Serbian language (učiti – to learn, jezik – language)
Je li on mlad? – Is he young? (mlad – young)
Ti si direktor? – Jesam – Are you a director? – (Yes), I am
Veoma je lepo ovde! – Jeste! – It is very beautiful here! – (Yes), it is! (lepo – beautiful, ovde – here, veoma – very)
Ona neće da kaže – She doesn’t want to say
Mislim da imamo dosta novca – I think that we have enough money (dosta – enough, novac – money)
Moja prijatelica nema kartu – My friend(female) doesn’t have a ticket (prijatelica – friend(female), prijatelj – friend(male), karta – ticket)