Serbian present tense, verb conjugation
In this lesson we will learn how to conjugate Serbian verbs in present tense. Verb is the basis of any language, and the learning process should begin from it. First of all we will consider conjugation of regular Serbian verbs, and in the next lesson we will consider modal and irregular verbs.
Verb conjugation in the present tense
There are 3 conjugations in Serbian language, and there are subgroups in each of them.
Verbs that end in [-i] with pronouns On,Ona (he, she), and in [-e] with Oni, One, Ona (they). There are subgroups in this conjugations in the present tense: verbs that have infinitive endings [-iti] and [-eti].
Group [– iti]
RADITI – to do/to work
|Ja radim||I do/work|
|Ti radiš||You do/work|
|On, ona radi||He, she does/works|
|Mi radimo||We do/work|
|Vi radite||You do/work|
|Oni, One, Ona rade||They do/work|
SEDETI – to sit
|Ja sedim||I sit|
|Ti sediš||You sit|
|On, ona sedi||He, she sits|
|Mi sedimo||We sit|
|Vi sedite||You wit|
|Oni, one, one sede||They sit|
Verbs that end in [-a] with On, Ona, and [-aju] with Oni, One, Ona.
PITATI – to ask
|Ja pitam||I ask|
|Ti pitaš||You ask|
|On, ona pita||He, she asks|
|Mi pitamo||We ask|
|Vi pitate||You ask|
|Oni, one, ona pitaju||They ask|
ZNATI – to know. Let’s conjugate this verb with negation
|Ja ne znam||I don’t know|
|Ti ne znaš||You don’t know|
|On, Ona ne zna||He, She doesn’t knows|
|Mi ne znamo||We don’t know|
|Vi ne znate||You don’t know|
|Oni, One, Ona ne znaju||They don’t know|
Verbs that end in [-e] with On, Ona, and [-u] with On, Oni, One. Most of verbs of this group have irregular stem.
In this conjugation there is consonant change before ending:
K – Č,
G – Ž,
H – Š,
S – Š,
Z – Ž,
ET – EĆ
How to identify the Conjugation 3 if there is subgroup [-ati] in the Conjugate 2 too? Here is the answer: If you see one of these consonants that (K,G,H,S,Z,T) before ending in infinitive form – this is conjugation 3:
KAZATI – to say, change Z – Ž, stem KAŽ-;
PISATI – to write, change S – Š, stem PIŠ-;
ZNATI – to know, no change, this is verbs from Conjugation 2, not 3!
Let’s conjugate KAZATI – to say:
|Ja kažem||I say|
|Ti kažeš||You say|
|On, Ona kaže||He, she says|
|Mi kažemo||We say|
|Vi kažeti||You say|
|Oni, One, Ona kažu||They say|
Group – [-ovati]
This group exists in all Slavic languages (if I am not mistaken), at least exists is in Polish and Russian languages.
In Serbian present tense, we must cut off –OVATI and add –UJ to form the stem. Look at the conjugation of the verb. Also
PUTOVATI – to travel, stem PUTUJ–
|Ja putujem||I travel|
|Ti putuješ||You travel|
|On, ona putuje||He, she travels|
|Mi putujemo||We travel|
|Vi putujete||You travel|
|Oni, one, ona putuju||They travel|
This is a special subgroup in this conjugation that consists mostly of irregular verbs.
JESTI – to eat, stem JED-
|Ja jedem||I travel|
|Ti jedješ||You travel|
|On, ona jede||He, she travels|
|Mi jedemo||We travel|
|Vi jedete||You travel|
|Oni, one, ona jedu||They travel|
The interrogative form in Serbian language is built by adding DA LI before verb:
Da li ja igram? – Do I play? (igrati – to play)
Da li on putuje? – Does he travel? (putovati – to travel)
Da li oni vole? – Do they love? (voleti – to live)
And so on. But this form is not used with question words (see below).
Memorize these question words:
Šta? – what?
Ko? – who?
Gde? – where?
Kada? – when?
Zašto? – why? what for?
Koliko? – how much? how many?
If there is a question word in front of verb, you don’t need to add “da li”. As well as in English.
Zašto ti učiš Srpski? – Why do you learn Serbian?
Da li studirate na univerzitetu? – Do you(Vi) study in the university?
Ko to kaže? – Who says that?
Zašto pitaš? – Why do you ask?
Da li ti zaboraviš mnogo kada učiš Srpski jezik? – Do you forget a lot when you learn Serbian language?
Da li živiš u Beogradu? – Do you live in Belgrade?
Ona čita knjigu – She reads a book
On radi u prodavnici – He works in a store
Maria pije kafu – Maria drinks coffee
Ti pevaš veoma dobro – You sing very well
Ova olovka piše loše – This pencil writes bad
Studiramo Engleski jezik u univerzitetu – We study English at university
Zašto ne odgovorite na moje poruke? – Why you don’t answer my messages?
Zašto jedeš tako mnogo jabuke? – Why do you learn so many apples?
|govoriti – to speak|
učiti – to learn
studirati – to study
zaboraviti – to forget
odgovoriti – to answer
raditi – to do/work
pisati – to write
pitati – to ask
živeti – to live
čitati – to read
pevati – to sing
piti – to drink
kazati – to say
|jesti – to eat|
univerzitet – university
mnogo – much/many
jezik – language
knjiga – book
prodavnica – store
kafa – coffee
dobro – well
lošo – bad
jabuka – apple
poruka – message
tako – so
olovka – pencil
Use appropriate form of verbs in present tense
- Ja _____________________da Srpski jezik nije težak (MISLITI – to think) – I think that Serbian language is not difficult
- Moja majka _________________ u školi (RADITI – to work) – My mom works at school
- Šta ti ______________? (CRTATI – to draw) – What are you drawing?
- Mi _________________ muziku često (SLUŠATI – to listen) – We listen to music often
- Učiteljica ________________ na školske tabli (PISATI – to write) – The teacher writes on the blackboard
- Mi __________________ jabuke svaki dan (JESTI – to eat) – We eat apples every day
- Da li ____________________ u Beogradu? (ŽIVETI – to live) – Do you (ti) live in Belgrade?
- Mara _____________ kafu (PITI – to drink) – Mara drinks coffee
- Ona ________________ veoma dobro (PEVATI – to sing) – She sings very good
- Naši roditelji ne ________________ Engleski (GOVORITI – to speak) – Our parents don’t speak English
- Zašto ne _______________ to? (PAMTITI – to remember) – Why don’t you remember it?
- Kada _______________________, mi _________________ mnogo slika (PUTOVATi – to travel, SLIKATI – to take a picture) – When we travel, we take a lot of pictures
- Dragan i Nevena _________________ veoma lepo (PLESATI – to dance) – Dgaran and Nevena dance very nicely
- Koliko godina ________________ Srpski jezik? (Učiti – to learn) – How many years have you been learning Serbian?
1: mislim; 2: radi; 3: crtaš; 4: slušamo; 5: piše; 6: jedemo; 7: živiš; 8: pije; 9: peva; 10: govore; 11: pamtiš, 12: putujemo; slikamo, 13: plesaju, 14: učiš