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Word order in Serbian

Although there's this widespread view (uvreženo mišljenje) that the word order in Serbian is "free", in order to form sentences which sound natural, there are lots of rules to follow... which doesn't make it free at all ! But don't panic! The more you listen  to the Serbian language, the easier it'll be for you to make sentences in the most natural way. Learning the set of rules, can only inhibit you if you don't learn / listen to the target language on a daily basis. That's why I'll simply give you lots of examples with different verb patterns through different tenses, but today I'll just focus on the Simple Present  affirmative in simple and compound sentences. I'll add the letter N for the most neutral / natural sounding sentence:

One word verb: pevati (to sing)

Present tense OF "I sing / I'm singing."

Subject (S) + predicate (P)

  • Pevam. N
  • Ja pevam
  • Ti igraš, a ja pevam. N 
  • Ti igraš i ja pevam. N 
  • Komšije su čule kako pevam. N
  • Priznajem da pevam. N
S + P +  direct object (dO)
  • Pevam pesmu. N
  • Ja pevam pesmu.
  • (not neutral, but rather poetic word order would be: Pesmu pevam / Ja pesmu pevam. / pesmu pevam ja - I'll skip adding all these specific / emphasis based but not commonly used word orders in the future and stick with N(neutral) and OK (when I don't add any comment))
  • Čuješ da pevam pesmu.  N
  • Svi čuju da ja pevam pesmu. 

S  + P + dO + adverb of time (AoT)

  • Pevam pesmu svaki dan. N
  • Svaki dan pevam pesmu. N
  • Moji prijatelji svaki dan čuju kada pevam pesme. N


    S + P + dO + AoT + AoP (adverb of place)
    • Pevam pesmu svaki dan  kod kuće.  N
    • Pevam pesmu kod kuće svaki dan. N
    • Svaki dan pevam pesmu kod kuće. N
    • Kod kuće svaki dan pevam pesmu. N
    • Moje komšije svaki dan čuju kada kod kuće pevam pesmu. N
    • Moje komšije svaki dan čuju kada  pevam pesmu kod kuće. N
    • Moje komšije igraju uz iks-boks dok ja pevam pesme kod kuće svaki dan. N

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