The Locative case is the sixth grammatical case in Croatian. Its name comes from the word location which explains when this case is used the most.
The Locative and Dative case have the same form which makes it easy to learn.
In this article, I want to show you simple examples when you need to use the Locative case in everyday speech.
So, let’s start.
Dative vs. Locative
In grammar books, you may run into a “DL” case. For Croatian learners, the easiest thing to remember is that the Dative and Locative have the same form and so you don’t need to memorize another grammatical case.
The Locative case is the sixth grammatical case and it answers the questions where? about what? about whom?
- Locative (where? about whom? about what?)
The main difference between the Dative and the Locative (in meaning) is that the Dative expresses movement towards something, while the Locative expresses the location of something (adverb of place).
However, telling them apart won’t be important for you when you’re trying to use one or the other in the sentence.
Since they have the same form, they are often indistinguishable from one another for foreign speakers, and even locals sometimes.
Krenuo sam prema gradu.
[I’m-on-my-way – am – towards – town (D)]
I’m on my way to town.
Čekam te u gradu.
[I’m-waiting – you – in – town (L)]
I’m waiting for you in town.
As you can see in these examples, whether you need to use the Dative or the Locative is completely irrelevant, as long as you remember to use one of them.
However, it’s not always that simple. The trouble starts when it comes to prepositions. In our previous articles about the cases, you can see that several cases use the same prepositions, so you need to be careful when forming a sentence.
Let’s look at the most common ones and see what’s the easiest way for you to learn the Locative case.
Dative and Locative have the same form, but Dative will most often express movement, while the Locative expresses location.
Locative in the sentence
The most common use of the Locative case is to express location.
Locative doesn’t express movements like Dative or Accusative. It simply expresses the whereabouts of a person or an object.
This is important to remember whenever you’re trying to decide whether you need to use the Locative or the Accusative case since these two share some very common prepositions.
Most of the following prepositions Locative shares with the Accusative. To decide which one to use in a particular sentence, pay attention to the verb.
If the verb of the sentence is active, then always use the Accusative case. However, if the verb is stationary, always use the Locative case.
Let’s look at some examples.
The preposition “u” (in)
This is the preposition you will use all the time in Croatian. Unfortunately, it’s a common preposition for both Accusative and Locative, so let’s look at the different uses.
|Idem u kino.|
[I’m going – in – cinema(acc.)]
I’m going to the cinema.
|Gledam film u kinu.|
[I’m watching – movie – in – cinema(loc.)]
I’m watching a movie at the cinema.
|Povrće stavljam u lonac.|
[Vegetables – I’m putting – in – pot(acc.)]
I’m putting the vegetables in a pot.
|Kuham ručak u loncu.|
[I’m cooking – lunch – in – pot(loc.)]
I’m cooking lunch in a pot.
|Idem u trgovinu.|
[I’m going – in – store(acc.)]
I’m going to the store.
|Nalazim se u trgovini.|
[I find – myself – in – store(loc.)]
I’m in the store.
|Volim ići u grad.|
[I love – to go – in – town(acc.)]
I love going into town.
|Živim u gradu.|
[I live – in – town(loc.)]
I live in town.
Notice that each time the sentence expresses some sort of movement, you need to use the Accusative case. And, each time you use a stationary verb, the sentence expresses a location, and the Locative is used.
The preposition “na” (on)
The preposition “na” (on) is another common preposition that Locative and Accusative share. Again, if the verb in the sentence expresses movement, use Accusative. If it expresses location, use Locative.
|Kasnim na vlak.[I’m-late – on – train.]|
I’m running late for the train.
|Na vlaku ima mnogo ljudi.[On – train – there are – many – people.]There are many people on the train.|
|Moraš doći na sastanak.[You-must – come – on – meeting.]|
You have to come to the meeting.
|Ne mogu razgovarati, na sastanku sam.[No – can – to talk,- on – meeting – am.]I can’t talk, I’m at the meeting.|
|Dođi na ručak![Come – on – lunch!]|
Come for lunch!
|Na ručku će biti mnogo ljudi. [On – lunch – it-will – to be – a lot – people.]There’ll be a lot of people at lunch.|
It’s common in Croatian to say that you are running late on something, as is our example of running late for the train. In this case, you always use the Accusative.
The common phrase to be late for something is kasniti na, literally meaning to be late on.
The preposition “o” (about)
In most instances, you will use the Locative case with this preposition. There are some instances where Accusative is used as well, but these are less common.
Uvijek razgovaramo o politici.
[Always – we-talk – about – politics (L.)]
We always talk about politics.
O njemu govore sve najbolje.
[About – him (L.) – they-talk – all – the best.]
They say all the best about him.
The preposition “po” (according to, by)
The preposition po is another preposition that has several possible translations in English. It is also quite a common preposition in Croatian so I will give you a few common examples where it is used.
Po mom mišljenju kuhati je lako.
[According to – my – opinion (L.) – to cook – is – easy.]
In my opinion, cooking is easy.
Po prirodi je nježan.
[By – nature (L.) – is – gentle (masc.)]
He is gentle by nature.
Sina smo nazvali po djedu.
[Son (A.) – we-are – named – after – grandpa (L.)]
We named our son after grandpa.
Zakon je vrlo jasan po tom pitanju.
[Law – is – very – clear – on – that (L.)- point (L.)]
The way is very clear on that point.
Bolje je putovati po danu.
[Better – is – to travel – by – day (L.)]
It’s better to travel by day.
How to form the Locative case
As you have already learned, the Dative and the Locative case have the same form. Here’s how you form Locative nouns, adjectives, and pronouns.
The Endings of Locative Nouns
This is how you would make any noun from Nominative to Locative. The nouns in the Locative case have the following endings:
Note: To change cases of nouns, you need to be familiar with the grammatical gender. You can learn more about the grammatical gender in Croatian here.
|Nouns singular||The ending in Locative||Nominative||Locative|
|feminine nouns||– i||žena(woman)|
|masculine nouns||– u||dječak(boy)||dječaku|
|neuter nouns||– u||jezero(lake)|
All of the feminine nouns have an ending -i. You only need to be careful when to simply add the -i, and when to transform the last letters.
If you look closely at the feminine nouns, notice that for the nouns that end with an -a in Nominative, you need to transform that -a into and -i to make the Locative.
žena > žen
a + i > ženi
However, for feminine nouns that end on a consonant, you would simply add the -i at the end of the noun in the Nominative:
noć > noć + i > noći
The masculine and neuter nouns have the same ending in Locative, the ending -u. But, also pay attention to how you transform these nouns.
For the masculine nouns, you would simply add the ending to the word in the Nominative case.
dječak > dječak + u > dječaku
But, for the neuter nouns, which end on a vowel, you would transform the last letter in the Nominative into the ending for the Locative case – u.
jezero > jezer
o + u > jezeru
more > mor
e + u > moru
The easiest way to remember this is to simply think of the following:
- if the noun ends on a vowel a – transform it into the ending -i
- if the noun ends on a vowel o, u – transform it into the ending -u
- if the noun ends on a consonant – add the ending -i or -u (depending on the gender)
|Nouns plural||The ending in Locative||Nominative||Locative|
|feminine nouns||– (a)ma||žene(women)|
|masculine nouns||– ma||dječaci(boys)||dječacima|
|neuter nouns||– (i)ma||jezera(lakes)|
The plural nouns are easy. They all basically have the same ending in the Locative. However, you probably noticed some ending changes for feminine and neuter nouns.
Feminine plural nouns that end on -e in the Nominative plural change the -e into -a in the Locative plural.
žene > žen
e + ama > ženama
N pl. L pl.
However, feminine nouns that end in -i (Nominative plural) simply add the ending -ma.
noći > noći + ma > noćima
N pl. L pl.
The same thing happens with masculine nouns. All the masculine nouns end in -i in the Nominative plural. In order to make the Locative, simply add -ma.
dječaci > dječaci + ma > dječacima
N pl. L pl.
Neuter nouns usually have an ending -a in Nominative plural. So, in oreder to make the Locative plural, lose the -a and add -ima.
jezera > jezer
a + ima > jezerima
N pl. L pl.
Whenever the verb in the sentence is stationary, the adverb of place will be in the Locative case.
The Endings of Locative Adjectives
|Adjectives singular||The ending in Locative (for adjectives)||Nominative||Locative|
|feminine||– oj||lijepa žena(beautiful woman)|
mračna noć(dark night)
|masculine||– om(u)||dobar dječak(good boy)||dobrom(u) dječaku|
|neuter||– om(u)||duboko jezero(deep lake)|
plavo more(blue sea)
As you can see, the ending for adjectives in the Locative case is -oj for all the feminine adjectives, and -om(u) for all the masculine and neuter adjectives.
Note: Notice the letter (u) in the brackets? This is sometimes added to the adjective to emphasize it. It’s not usually used in everyday speech.
|Adjectives plural||The ending in Locative (for adjectives)||Nominative||Locative|
|feminine||– im||lijepe žene(beautiful women)|
mračne noći(dark nights)
|masculine||– im||dobri dječaci(good boys)||dobrim dječacima|
|neuter||– im||duboka jezera(deep lakes)|
plava mora(blue seas)
The Locative adjectives have the same endings in the plural form, regardless of the gender.
The Locative Pronouns
Pronouns are irregular when it comes to declension (changing words through the cases).
These are the personal pronouns in the Locative case.
|Singular||Pronouns in Nominative||Pronouns in Locative|
(you – plural), (you – polite singular and plural)
|oni (m.), one (f.), ona (n.)|
they (masc., fem., neut.)
Note: In Croatian, there’s a difference when you’re addressing someone informally and formally. If you’re addressing someone informally you would simply say – ti, but if you’re being formal, or as a sign of respect, you wouldn’t use the form ti (you), but the form Vi (you – polite). In this instance, the pronoun is always written with a capital V.
The best way to learn is to talk with the locals and practice your speaking skills.
And, that was it for the Locative case! Remember that Locative and Dative have the same form so you only need to learn one.
Be careful with the prepositions that the Locative shares with the Accusative case. When in doubt, look at the verb. If the verb expresses movement, use the Accusative case. If the verb is stationary, us the Locative.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and it has helped you to learn something new. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. I’m here for you!
Happy learning and sretno!