The genitive case marks a characteristic (trait), substance, belonging, property, origin.
- Luka je Slavin sin. (Luka is Slava’s son.)
- Zgrada je sagrađena od cigle. (The building was built out of brick.)
- Jadranka je primjetila da Martina nema. (Jadranka noticed that Martin wasn’t there.)
- Miroslav je iz Ukrajine. (Miroslav is from the Ukraine.)
The genitive case was used in the above sentences because:
- Luka is Slava’s son, thus he “belongs” to her.
- The sentence says the building was built out of brick, thus showing it’s substance.
- Genitive is used because Martin wasn’t at the same place as Jadranka. Genitive is used when expressing that something/someone isn’t somewhere. It can be followed by a noun in the instrumental case telling where was it that someone/something wasn’t present. Example: Martina nije bilo u gradu. (Martin wasn’t in the city.) Note that this sentence could also be written using the nominative case -> Martin nije bio u gradu. (Meaning is the same.) However, these things delve deeper into Croatian grammar (when to use nominative, when genitive) and we won’t go into them in this course.
- The sentence shows that Miroslav is from the Ukraine, revealing his origin.
Prepositions that usually preceed a noun in the genitive state: od, do, iz, s(a), ispred, iza, izvan, van, unutar, iznad, ispod, poviše, niže, prije, uoči, poslije, nakon, za, tijekom, tokom, podno, povrh, navrh, nakraj, onkraj, krajem, potkraj, sred (nasred, posred, usred), oko, okolo, blizu, kod, kraj, pokraj, pored, nadomak, nadohvat, i, u, mimo, duž, uzduž, širom, diljem, preko, bez, osim, umjesto, uime, putem, (s) pomoću, posredstvom, između, (na)spram, put, protiv, nasuprot, usprkos, unatoč, zbog, uslijed, radi, glede, prigodom, prilikom, povodom.