22 Common Serbian Prepositions You Need to Know

A person writing on a brown wooden table near a white ceramic mug.

Do you often find yourself scratching your head about how to use Serbian prepositions? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, prepositions are a point of confusion for most language learners.

That’s why we’ve compiled an easy-to-follow list of common Serbian prepositions and how to use them. Let’s begin!

Why Bother Learning Serbian Prepositions?

As you probably know, prepositions tell us about the relationship between words or phrases in a sentence. These relationships can specify when, where, or how something happens, among other things.

Sometimes, using the wrong preposition won’t matter much. But in other cases, a simple mix-up can cause a real conundrum.

Case in point, if you tell a friend something like this:

Čekaj me ______ zgrade.

(Wait for me ______ the building.)

You could use any of these prepositions to complete the blank:

  • kod = at
  • ispred = in front of
  • iza = behind
  • preko puta = across

 

The thing is, although each of these would make sense, the meaning would be quite different. So, if you say ispred instead of iza, you and your friend would be waiting on the opposite sides of the building.

Of course, this isn’t a big deal, and you can always give your friend a call. But if things like this keep happening, knowing how to use the common Serbian prepositions will save you time and energy.

22 Common Serbian Prepositions and How to Use Them

As we said, prepositions can be tricky to get right. Just look at English language learners trying to figure out if they are in the bus or on the bus. Unless they are Spider-Man clinging to the roof of the said bus, it’s easier to leave the vehicle and this headache behind.

Serbian prepositions are no different. To make things stickier, some prepositions will have various meanings depending on which case they’re followed by.

But don’t worry — you don’t need to be an expert on cases to follow this article. Going through examples will help you get a sense of each preposition. Little by little, using them correctly will become your second nature.

At last, here are the common Serbian prepositions.

U (in) and na (on)

The Serbian preposition u is super common. Just like the English preposition in, you can use it in various ways. Here’s how:

Location

In+ Locative

Moj verenik živi u Srbiji.

(My fiancé lives in Serbia.)

 Ja sam u školi.

(I’m at school.)

Tanjir je u sudoperi.

(The plate is in the kitchen sink.)

 

Direction

In + Accusative

Putujem u Srbiju da posetim verenika.

(I’m traveling to Serbia to visit my fiancé.)

 Idem u školu sutra.

(I’m going to school tomorrow.)

Stavi tanjir u sudoperu.

(Put the plate into the kitchen sink.)

 

Time

In + Accusative

Vidimo se u subotu.

(See you on Saturday.)

Budim se u sedam sati svako jutro.

(I wake up at seven o’clock each morning.)

 

Na (on)

Similarly, the Serbian preposition na is pretty versatile. As a result, you can use them in any of the following ways.

Location:

Na + Locative

Knjiga je na stolu.

(The book is on the table.)

 Odlično sam se provela na rođendanu.

I had a great time at the birthday party.

A tabby cat lying on a wooden chair.
Mačka leži na stolici 🐱

Direction

Stavi knjigu na sto.

(Put the book on the table.)

Idem na rođendan sutra.

I’m going to a birthday party tomorrow.

 

Time

As for time, we can use na with seasons and holidays.

Na + Accusative

Rodila sam se na Uskrs.

(I was born on Easter.)

Nadam se da ću naučiti da plivam na leto.

(I hope I’ll learn how to swim this summer.)

Prepositions of Place

In addition to u and na, there are other Serbian prepositions that you can use to talk about where something is. They all pair with the Genitive case.

Now, to help you visualize what we’re talking about, we’ll describe the location of the objects in the following picture:

A living room with a camel sofa, round coffee table, beige carpet, and other furniture.

Pored (next to)

Biljka je pored sofe.

(The plant is next to the sofa.)

Ispred (in front of)

Sto je ispred sofe.

(The table is in front of the sofa.)

Iza (behind)

Sofa je iza stola.

(The sofa is behind the table.)

Iznad (above)

Slika je iznad sofe.

(The painting is above the sofa.)

Između (between)

Sofa je između police i biljke.

(The sofa is between the shelf and the plant.)

Ispod (under)

Tepih je ispod sofe.

(The carpet is under the sofa.)

Blizu (near)

Mala saksija je blizu knjiga.

(The little pot is near the books.)

Prepositions of time

There’s a fair share of prepositions that indicate time, so we’ll walk you through the most common ones. And to put things into context, we’ll use them to tell a story of a date gone right.

By the way, all of these go with nouns in Genitive.

Pre (before)

Naletela sam na njega pre posla.

(I bumped into him before work.)

Posle (after)

Pitao me je da odemo na kafu posle posla.

(He asked me to go for a coffee after work.)

Tokom (during)

Tokom celog dana sam mislila na njega.

(During the entire day, I kept thinking about him.)

Oko (around)

Našli smo se oko 6 sati.

(We met up around six o’clock.)

Nakon (after)

Nakon kafe smo šetali i pričali.

(After the coffee, we walked and talked.)

A man hugging a woman.
Nakon kafe 💙

Od and do (from and to)

Both od and do can be used for place or time and both go with Genitive. Plus, these two often go hand in hand.

So here’s how to use them together:

Išli smo zajedno od kuće do škole.

(We walked together from home to school.)

On radi od ponedeljka do petka.

(He works from Monday to Friday.)

Or you can use them separately:

Idem do prodavnice.

(I’m going to the store.)

Krećem u teretanu od ponedeljka.

(I’m starting gym from Monday.)

Prepostions of company

Sa and Bez (with and without)

When followed by Instrumental, sa indicates company. Note that s is also correct and means exactly the same. If you want to find out more about s vs. sa dilemma, check out our Instagram post

In this example, both  s and sa work:

Idem sa drugaricama u kafanu. / Idem s drugaricama u kafanu.

(I’m going to kafana with my girlfriends.)

On the other hand, bez means without. Therefore, you can say:

Bez brige. Ne idem nigde bez tebe.

(No worries. I’m not going anywhere without you.)

Or someone might combine them and say this:

Ne mogu sa tobom, ne mogu bez tebe.

(I can’t live with you, I can’t live without you.)

Although, they sound toxic so better stay away from them. 😅

On a different note, sa can also go with nouns in Genitive. But in that case, it indicates direction. Here’s an example:

Skidaj noge sa stola! (Get your feet off the table!)

A person sitting on a sofa resting feet on top of a coffee table while using a laptop.
Skidaj noge sa stola! 💢

Other prepositions

Lastly, here are other prepositions that you’ll often use in everyday conversations. Coincidently, the first three pair with Genitive.

Zbog (because of)

Koncert se odlaže zbog lošeg vemena.

(The concert is being postponed because of bad weather.)

Umesto (instead of)

Možeš li da opereš sudove umesto mene?

Can you do the dishes instead of me?

Osim (except for)

Svi su položili ispit osim mene.

(Everyone passed the exam except for me.)

To see more prepositions followed by Genitive, check out our YouTube video.

O (about)

The very last on our list, o, is followed by Locative.

Pričaj mi o svom detinjstvu. Želim da znam sve o tebi.

(Tell me about your childhood. I want to know everything about you.)

Conclusion

With these Serbian prepositions in your arsenal, you can talk about anything you want. Of course, you might not nail them right away.

But don’t worry — these mix-ups are a normal part of your learning process. In fact, even native speakers make all kinds of mistakes. Bit by bit, you’ll get the hang of it.

Speaking of mistakes, we encourage you to make as many in our classes as you need. So you can book a 1-on-1 lesson and get a grip on those Serbian prepositions.

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