Conditional in Bosnian

In Bosnian there are three ways to express conditional sentences. If A happen then the B will happen or the speaker will state the condition and then he/she comments on his/her perception of the consequent result.

Real condition / conditional sentences

The real conditional sentence in Bosnian refers to the sentence that involves a real condition which creates prediction. The condition may not take a place but the speaker fully believes that the result stated in the result stated will ensure. Sentences in real conditional case are phrased in the present with an eye to the near future but they can also be stated in the past. Verbs can take any forms instead of exact future. With the ‘real’ condition sentences we will use conjunction ‘Ako/if, kad/when, li, ukoliko/if.’

Example of real conditional sentences:

  • Ako bude padala kiša, onda nećemo ići. / If it rains then we won’t go.
  • Zovi me ako stigneš na vrijeme. / Call me if you arrive on time.
  • Ako si htjela putovati, zašto nisi rekla?

Conditional Tense

In English, conditional sentences are easily recognizable. On contrary, Bosnian conditional sentences are not only distinguishable by the verb but also the choice of conjunction used. The real conditional sentences refer to a full expectation of completion of some action, potential refers to some possibility but there is uncertainty, and the third is referring to no real certainty that the result will happen – it is hypothetical. The conditional (abbreviation: cond.) is constructed like the past tense, but instead of sämsi, a ‘conditional’ verb is used; it’s a special verb with the following form + participle:

1st per. BihBismo
2nd per.BiBiste
3rd per.BiBi

Negated version:

1st per.Ne bihNe bismo
2nd per.Ne biNe biste
3rd per.Ne biNe bi

Example of conditional mood :

  • Išao/la bih.. / I would go..
  • Radio bih…/ I would do..
  • Jeo bih / I would eat
  • Pisao bih.. / I would write..

Real Conditions:

A sentence involving a real condition articulates a straightforwards casual connection, usually in the form of prediction. Whether the condition stated in the first clause takes place is not relevant. The speaker believes truly believe that the result stated in the second clause will happen. The conjunction used in this case are almost always AKO / IF, but other conjuctions are used such as: UKOLIKO /IF, KAD/IF, SINCE, LI/IF.


  • Ako pada kiša nećemo ići u šetnju. / If it is raining we won’t go for a walk.
  • Ako bude padala kiša, nećemo ići u šetnju./ If it rains, we won’t go.
  • Ako si htio ići, zašto nisi rekao?/ If you wanted to go, why didn’t you say something?

Potential conditions:

Potential conditions are those which may or may not come to pass. The relevant point is that the speaker believes they could possibly come to pass. It is indicated by the presence of the potential mood in both sentences. The conjunctions used is always: AKO/If , KAD/If where to, or DA + present tense.


  • Kad bi došao u dva sata, mogao bi slušati predavanje. / If you were to come/arrive by or at 2 pm you would be able to listen to the lecture.
  • Kad bi bila ovdje, sve bi bilo u redu. /If she was here, everything would be OK.
  • Bilo bi dobro da znam njihov jezik. / It would be good If I knew their language.
  • Ako bi išla u Sarajevo, kupi mi suvenir. / If you end up going to Sarajevo, buy me a souveneer.

Unreal conditions:

Unreal conditions are of two sorts. The first is of former potential condition that is used to be realizable at one point but is now no longer so, because the time frame for its potential fulfillment has run out. It is unreal in the sense that its completion is no longer possible. The second, by contrast, never had potential to become true. It is an imaginary, hypothetical condition which the speaker has constructed in order to make a rhetorical point. Conjunction used is: DA + past (formerly potential), DA + present (imaginary scenario).

Example of unreal sentences:

  • Da je ostala tu, sad bi sve bilo u redu. / If she had stayed, now everything would be alright. (unreal formerly potential).
  • Da je bio bolji glumac, možda bi i osvojio neke nagrade. / If he was a better actor, maybe he would win some awards. (unreal, imaginary)
  • Da sam bio na tvom mjestu, ne bih to učinio. / If I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t have done that. (unreal, formerly potential).

U + Na words

Two of the most used prepositions in Bosnian language are ‘U’ (in) and ‘Na‘ (on, at). Nouns that describe closed and visualized places or as tangible three-dimensional space usually will take preposition ‘u.’ Nouns that describe a surface, event, or more abstract destination will take ‘na’ preposition. Nouns denoting cities and countries are ‘u‘ words and nouns denoting part of the city or islands are ‘na’ words.


U’ words:

  • Živim u Americi. / I live in America.
  • Oni su u kući. / They are in the house.
  • Idemo u park. / We are going to the park.
  • Djeca su u školi. / Children are in the school.
  • Bili smo u Londonu. / We were in London.
  • Idemo u crkvu/ džamiju. / We are going to the church, mosque.
  • Bili smo u gradu. / We were in town.

Example prepositions U + iz pairs:

  • Bili smo u školi i sad se vraćamo iz škole. / We were in the school and now we are coming back from it.
  • Oni su u parku par sati i sad dolaze iz parka. / They were in the park for few hours and now they are arriving from the park.

note: Don’t forget that U (in) has a pair Iz (from) and Na (at, on) is a pair with Sa (from).

Na‘ words:

  • Idemo na čas. / We are going to our class. (abstract idea, gathering place)
  • Bili su na koncertu / They were at the concert. (gathering place).
  • Živimo na Skenderiji / We live on Skenderija. ( using ‘na’ because Skenderija is a part of the city, Sarajevo).
  • Na ljeto ćemo iči na more. / In summer we will go to the sea – beach. ( using ‘na’ because going to sea is an open area, abstract idea).
  • Idemo na ručak / We are going out to lunch.
  • Na kafu. / Out for coffee.
  • Idem na odmor na mjesec dana. / I am going to vacation and will stay there for a month.

Example of prepositions Na + Sa pair:

  • Davno su otišli na odmor i tek su se vratili sa odmora. / Long time ago they went to their vacation and they just came back from it.
  • Vozili smo se u krivom smjeru. Otišli smo na istok pa se sad vraćamo sa istoka. / We drove in a wrong direction. We went East and now we are coming back from (there) East.

note: When we mention general part of the city we will say: ‘U dijelu grada’ but when we talk about specific part of the city then we must use preposition ‘na‘ ie. Na Grbavici, Na Koševu, Na Ilidži…itd.

When we talk about time duration we will use preposition ‘na.’

  • Idem na odmor na par sedmica / I am going on vacation and will stay a few weeks.
  • Osuđen je na dvije godine zatvora. / He is sentenced to two years in prison.
  • Idemo u grad na par sati. / We are going out (in town) and we will stay there a few hours.