Genitive can be used with or without prepositions. Phrases in the genitive can express almost any meaning/relationship:
possession, time, place, direction, quality, quantity etc.

Suffixes :

sg. pl.
-a: bulevar-a, momk-a -a: bulevara-a, momak-a
-a: Mark-a, Đorđ-a
-e: žen-e, devojk-e -a: žen-a, devojak-a
-i: reč-i -i: reč-i
-a: pism-a, polj-a
-a: ime-n-a
-a: pisam-a, polj-a


1) possession
The meaning of possession, belonging to somebody or something, or of definition, when something is defined – is expressed using genitive without a preposition. It corresponds either to the English “of a/the” phrase to ‘s possessive.
This answers the question:
Čiji? Čija? Čije? (when asking to whom something or someone belongs) e.g. Čiji je ovo auto? Milanov. Čija je ovo kuća? Milanova.Čije je ovo dete? Milanovo.
– Koji? Koja? Koje? (when asking for something to be defined) e.g. Koji centar? Centar grada. Koja zgrada? Zgrada Univerziteta.

It is incorrect to say: It is correct to say:
Automobil brata Bratov automobil
Kuća Petra Petrova kuća
Moj bratov automobil Automobil mojeg brata
Petrova Petrovićeva kuća Kuća Petra Petrovića


2) place

This is represented by the genitive when a noun/noun phrase is preceded by the prepositions: pored, ispod, iznad, ispred, iza, između, blizu, do, od etc. or the prepositional phrases preko puta, levo od, desno od etc.
This answers the question: Gde? (e.g. Gde Ana sedi? Pored Milana. Gde su tvoja kola? Ispred pozorišta.)

3) direction of movement

This is expressed by noun phrases in the genitive when they are used with verbs expressing movement. They are then preceded by one of the following prepositions: kod, iz, sa.
e.g. Idem kod roditelja. Idem iz bioskopa. Idem sa fakulteta.
This answers the questions:
Kuda? (asking for directions towards a certain place) e.g. Kuda ide Jovan? Jovan ide kod Marine.
Odakle? (asking for directions from a certain place) e.g. Odakle dolaziš? Dolazim sa koncerta.

4) time

This can be expressed by:
a) a noun in genitive preceded by the prepositions: pre, posle, do, od, tokom etc. This answers the question Kada? (e.g. Kada je Maja došla? Pre ručka.)
b) a noun phrase (determinator + noun) in genitive without a preposition. This answers the question Kada? (e.g. Kada se udaješ? Udajem se ove godine.)

5) with quantifiers

Numbers and adverbs such as mnogo, puno, malo, nekoliko, koliko? … (words indicating quantity) are followed by the genitive. This genitive expresses a part of a whole. It is a genitive without the use of a preposition. Such genitive gives an answer to the question: Koliko?
e.g. Koliko ima studenata na fakultetu? Ima mnogo studenata. Koliko sestara imate? Imam pet sestara.


For some practise, please visit the section Exercises.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *