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 its own negative form (particle “ni” instead of “ne’ and placed together with a verb). Just memorize the conjugation of this verb.

BITI – to be.

Ja samI amJa nisamI am not
Ti siYou are (singular)Ti nisiYou aren’t
On, ona jeHe, she isOn, ona nijeHe, she isn’t
Mi smoWe areMi nismoWe aren’t
Vi steYou are (plural)Vi nisteYou aren’t
Oni, one, ona suThey areOni, one, ona nisuThey aren’t

The long form of BITI, and its interrogative form:

Ja jesamI amJesam li …?
Ti jesiYou are (singular)Jesi li …?
On, ona jesteHe, she isJe li …?
Mi jesmoWe areJesmo li …?
Vi jesteYou are (plural)Jeste li …?
Oni, one, ona jesuThey areJesu li …?

This form is used to say expressions like „Yes, I am“, „Yes, he is“, and „Yes, it is“, i.e. when we have to emphasize the meaning of TO BE:

Je li si tu? – Jesam – Are you here? – I am.

Je li ona tu? – Jesi – Is she here? – She is.

The verb IMATI – to have

This verb has its own negative form.

IMATI – to have

Ja imamI haveJa nemamI don’t have
Ti imašYou haveTi nemašYou don’t have
On, ona imaHe, She hasOn, ona nemaHe, she doesn’t have
Mi imamoWe haveMi nemamoWe don’t have
Vi imateYou haveVi nemateYou don’t have
Oni, one, ona imajuThey haveOni, one, ona nemajuThey don’t have

Ići – to go

Ja idemI go
Ti idešYou go
On, ona ideHe, she goes
Mi idemoWe go
Vi ideteYou go
Oni, ona, one iduThey 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 a second verb because they usually can’t describe an action alone. Some of these verbs are irregular and have their own form of conjugation beyond the rules.

In the 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 the Serbian language. This verb is irregular in the Serbian language, and it also has its own negative form

HTETI – to want

Ja hoćuI wantJa nećuI don’t want
Ti hoćešYou wantTinećešYou don’t want
On, ona hoćeHe, she wantsOn, ona nećeHe, she doesn’t want
Mi hoćemoWe wantMi nećemoWe don’t want
Vi hoćeteYou wantVi nećeteYou don’t want
Oni, one, ona hoćeThey wantOni, one, ona nećeThey don’t want

Serbian verb MOĆI – can, may

Just memorize its conjugation.

MOĆI – can, may

Ja moguI can
Ti možešYou can
On, Ona možeHe, She can
Mi možemoWe can
Vi možeteYou can
Oni, One, Ona moguThey can

Serbian verb UMETI – can/know how to

Ja umemI can
Ti umešYou can
On, Ona umeHe, She can
Mi umemoWe can
Vi umeteYou can
Oni, One, Ona umejuThey can

The difference between MOĆI and UMETI is that the 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 moramI can
Ti morašYou can
On, Ona moraHe, She can
Mi moramoWe can
Vi morateYou can
Oni, One, Ona morajuThey 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 requires 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)

Da li 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 the 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)