Two verb families, znam and mislim demonstrate how there's far from a word to word correspondence between English and Croatian. For example, the following sentences use the same English verb, but not when translated to Croatian:
"I know what happened."
"I know him."
Likewise, the following sentences use different verbs in English, but when translated to Croatian, use only one verb:
"I meant it."
"I thought about you."
All three verb families follow the asymmetric aspect pattern.
znam; -znajem, znavao ~ -znam
Verb znam "know" is a fully regular impf. verb, with an asymmetric aspect pattern of derived verbs. It's used when you know some fact or skill, but not when you know (= are familiar with) a person, city, or like. Since derivation follows the asymmetric pattern, verbs derived from it are perf., and their impf. pairs are made from -znajem, -znavao. They are:
prefix grammar meaning do- N (za A) N becomes aware (of A) po- N A N knows A (person, city, country) prepo- N A N recognizes, identifies A pri- N (A) N acknowledges, confesses (A) sa- N A N comes to know A upo- N A N gets to know A (person, city, country)
The verb doznam functions more or less as the perf.-s pair of znam; saznam has virtually the same meaning.
The verbs are stressed as:
pòznājēm, poznávati ~ pòznām, pòznati
There's an alternative form of only present of znam: znádem, used in some regions. Prefixed verbs have just one form.
mislim; -mišljam ~ -mislim
The verb mislim means "think, have opinion". It uses the asymmetric pattern; -mišljam is used for derived impf. verbs. In fact, its verbal noun (gerund) mišljenje has additional meaning "opinion". If you thinking about something, you should use preposition o + dat. It's also used as translation for "mean" when meaning "intend":
Mislim kupiti kuću. "I intend to buy a house."
Mislim o poslu. "I'm thinking about (the) job."
Mislim o tebi. "I'm thinking about you."
The verbs are:
prefix grammar meaning do- N (A) iz- N (A) N invents, makes up (X) po- N (A) N has a thought (about A) predo- N se (o D) N changes mind (about A) pro- N (o D) N thinks thoroughly (about D) raz- N (o D) N considers, ponders (D) s- N (A) N conceives, comes up (with A) u- N (A) za- N (A)
The stress is:
mislīm, misliti ràzmīšljām, razmíšljati ~ ràzmislīm, ràzmisliti
This verb is often used in meaning "suppose", "reckon", "guess", and inserted even as a standalone verb, or used to fill a pause in speech:
Mislim, trebamo krenuti... "I guess, we should go..."
Mislim da nemam dovoljno novaca. "I think I don't have enough money.
Mislim krenuti rano. "I intend to start/depart early."
Another verb that means only "suppose" is pretpostavljam ~ pretpostavim, however, it's less often used in everyday conversation:
Pretpostavljam da nemam dovoljno novaca. "I suppose I don't have enough money.
značim; -značujem, -značivao ~ -značim
The last verb group, značim, also follows the asymmetric pattern: derived impf. verbs are deribed from -značujem, -značivao. Its basic meaning is "mean", "signify", "symbolize", "stand for". It's very often used:
To znači da... "It means that..."
Što znači 'klupa'? "What does 'klupa' mean?"
Božić mi puno znači. "Christmas means a lot to me."
It's not used when someone has an opinion, but when some object, event, or a fact has some "meaning", "stands for" something. There's only one derived verb that's frequently used verb, meaning "mark", "tag":
prefix grammar meaning o- N (A) N marks, tags (A)
The stress is:
It's also sometimes used as a "filler" world in speech, in the 3rd pers. sg. (impersonally, that is), meaning "so", "therefore":
Imam 10 kuna... znači, treba mi još 5. "I have 10 kuna... so, I need 5 more." (lit. "...it means...")
Strong Beliefs and Doubts
The verb mislim is usually used to express what you "think" or "believe". If you are sure, then the adjective sigurän is used:
Sigurän säm da nemam dovoljno novaca. "I'm sure I don't have enough money."
It's not a verb, so it cannot be used with infinitives. The related adverb sigurno is used to express that something is "certain":
Ana će sigurno položiti ispit. "Ana will pass the exam for sure."
However, if you are worried/afraid of that something will/won't happen, or that something is or isn't, you can, besides mislim, use bojim se:
Bojim se da nemam dovoljno novaca. "I'm afraid I don't have enough money."