The dative case is most easily pictured as a case of giving, selling, donating (all in all, giving something to someone). Whether the item someone or something is giving is tangible or not, it does not matter. Also, dative is used in expressing goal or intention. When something or someone is going towards something, the dative case will be used (sometimes the accusative, depending on the preposition before the noun).

example

  1. Ivan je dao svoju bilježnicu svojoj prijateljici Ivani. (Ivan gave his notebook to his friend Ivana.)
  2. Ivan će uskoro prodati svoj auto kupcu koji najviše ponudi. (Ivan will soon sell his car to the buyer who offers the most.)
  3. Ivan ide k svojoj kući. (Ivan is going towards his house.)
  4. Ivan je išao prema dućanu. (Ivan was going towards the shop.)

The dative case was used in the above sentences because:

In the first and second because the subject of the sentence (Ivan) gave (and in the second sentence, will give) something away to someone/something.

In the third and fourth sentence Because Ivan is going (was going in the latter sentence) towards something.

Prepositions that usually preceed a noun in the dative state: k, usprkos, unatoč, nadomak, nadohvat, usuprot, protiv, naprama, prema.