Verbs in Croatian

What is a Croatian verb?

Verbs describe an action, state or an event.

Ja radim, plivam, čitam. - I work, swim, read. 

Kiša pada. Država napreduje. - It's raining. The state is progressing. 

Koncert će se održati večeras. - The concert will be held tonight.

Verbs in Croatian language have five grammatical categories: aspect, active and passive voice,  tenses, mood and person. There are two auxiliary verbs "biti" and "htjeti" that are used in formation of tenses. Infinitive form is a basic verbal form.

Verb's aspect

Croatian verbs have perfective and imperfective aspect. Perfective aspect describes an completed action, while imperfective aspect describes an action still in progress.

Infinitive form Perfective aspect Imperfective aspect
baciti baciti bacati
izvjestiti izvjestiti izviješćivati

enlightenedVerbs which in perfective aspect have the verb's base in "je" in imperfective aspect verb's base is "ije". The imperfective aspect is formed by adding the ending -ati to the verb's present base.

Active and passive voice

Active and passive voice mark the relationship between the subject and the verb. Active means that subject performs the action, while passive voice means that action is performed over the subject.

Verb Active Passive
zvati (to call) zovem zvan sam
pobijediti (to win) pobijedili su pobijeđeni su


Oni su pobijedili. -They won.

Oni su pobijeđeni. - They are defeated.

Conjugation of Croatian verbs

Almost all verbs in Croatian language are made by adding corresponding tense endings to two verb's bases:

  • Present base; used in formation of the present tense and of the present verbal adverb.

For ex. "raditi" (to work); rad (present base) + im (ending for present) = radim (present 1st preson singular) 

  • Infinitive base; used in formation of aorist, imperfect and active verbal adjective.

For ex. "morati" (to need); mora (infinitive base) + h (ending for aorist) = morah (aorist 1st person singular)

The only irregular verbs of Croatian language are biti, htjeti, ići (to go), moći (can), spati (to sleep).

Auxiliary verbs

Croatian language has two auxiliary verbs; biti (to be) and htjeti (to want). These verbs are also one of irregular verbs in Croatian language. 

We use them to form complex tenses, such as perfect and pluperfect. 


Bila sam u kinu jučer. - I was in the cinema yesterday.

Kada je on došao, ja sam već bio otišao. - When he came, I had already gone.

Infinitive form

Infinitive form is a basic form of a verb. In Croatian language is characterized by endings -ti and -ći.

enlightenedInfinitive form is an indefinite verbal form, it can't change in number or person. 

Infinitive base Endings Infinitive form
pe +ći peći
misli +ti misliti


Verbal moods

Verbal mood marks the relationship between the speaker and the action he is talking about. There are three verbal moods in Croatian language:

Indicative Refers to an statement.
Conditional Express a proposition which dependends on some condition, hypothetical state or an uncertain event.
Imperative Forms commands or requests, including giving permission or declaring a prohibition or any other kind of advice or exhortation.


For the deeper insight into grammatical moods check the following lessons! yes

Next lessons

1 Croatian imperative Formation, conjugation and example of the Croatian imperative
2 Conditional I. in Croatian Learn about conditional I. in Croatian
3 Conditional II. in Croatian Learn about conditional II. Croatian grammatical mood
4 Verbal adjective in Croatian Learn about active and passive verbal adjective in Croatian
5 Passive voice in Croatian Learn about passive voice in Croatian
6 Croatian tenses Learn about Croatian tenses