Nominative Case in Croatian

CroatianCroatian A1

Welcome to our Croatian course for beginners! In this lesson, we will begin talking about the cases of nouns and adjectives. But first, let`s delve into some theory.

In Croatian, nouns and adjectives have 2 numbers (singular and plural) and 3 genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter). Most Slavic languages have similar genders and numbers, and Croatian is no exception. The grammatical gender can be determined syntactically, namely based on the context used:
stari prijatelj (old friend - masculine);
lijepa prijateljica (beautiful friend - feminine);
veliko selo (big village - neuter).

Some words can only be used in either singular or plural.
For example:
"duge hlače" (long pants).

Depending on their role in the sentence, nouns change according to cases. We will cover all the cases and understand how nouns and adjectives change in Croatian based on cases. Let`s start with the nominative case.

This case is fundamental for nouns. In the nominative case, words answer the questions tko? (who?) and što? (what?). Prepositions are never used with nouns in the nominative case. There are rules to distinguish the gender of nouns. Words in this case are used as subjects in sentences.

Masculine Nouns: They do not have endings (brat - brother, konj - horse), but borrowed masculine words with vowels at the end may occur (auto - car, tabu - taboo, metro - metro, taksi - taxi).

Feminine Nouns: They usually end in "-a" in the singular, and the nominative singular form is the same as the stem (zvijezda - star, sestra - sister) or may not have an ending at all (laž - lie, stvar - thing).

Neuter Nouns: Neuter nouns end with "-o" or "-e" (polje - field, djelo - work, naselje - settlement, pismo - letter).

Masculine Adjectives: They change their endings in the nominative case to match the gender and number of the noun (velik - big).

Feminine Adjectives: They also change endings to agree with the gender and number of the noun (lijepa - beautiful).

Neuter Adjectives: These follow a similar pattern of agreement (dugo - long).

Below are examples for masculine, feminine, and neuter gender in singular nominative case:
moja sestra - my sister (feminine);
polarna zvijezda - polar star (feminine);
dobra stvar - good thing (feminine);
moj rječnik - my dictionary (masculine);
dobar konj - good horse (masculine);
novi auto - new car (masculine);
veliko selo - big village (neuter);
zeleno polje - green field (neuter).

To conclude with the nominative case, let`s look at the same phrases in plural:
moje sestre - my sisters (feminine);
polarne zvijezde - polar stars (feminine);
dobre stvari - good things (feminine);
moji rječnici - my dictionaries (masculine);
dobri konji - good horses (masculine);
novi auti - new cars (masculine);
velika sela - big villages (neuter);
zelena polja - green fields (neuter).

We hope that everything is clear. Remember that there are several declensions in Croatian, so these patterns might vary depending on the specific noun or adjective you`re using. Also, keep in mind that Croatian has a complex grammar system, so practice will be key to mastering cases in Croatian. Good luck in learning and see you in the next lessons.