In today’s blog, we will talk about circumstances when an accusative case is accompanied by the prepositions u or na. In those situations, we find the accusative often standing next to a verb of movement ( → to go, → to drive, → to come, → to travel, etc.) and showing a direction, in which the subject is moving. For instance:

→ We are going to Croatia

→ I am driving to Zagreb.

→ We are going to the beach.

When do we use the prepositions u and na?

The preposition u is used to describe the subject entering a concrete place: a room, a building ( → the post office, → the school, → the house), a city (Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik) or a country (Hrvatska, Njemačka, Italija). Here are a few examples:

→ I'm going into the house.

→ We're going into the hotel. / We're going to a hotel.

→ We're driving to Italy.

→ Are you going to Croatia?

The prepositions u and na are often standing next to the locative case as well. An important factor in the distinction of the two cases is the fact that the locative describes the place of an action. You can read about other prepositions in use with the locative case in our blog.

The preposition na is combined with verbs of movement as well, although these verbs indicate walking into an open surface or are connected to an abstract term (lunch, coffee, performance):

→ I’m going to lunch.

→ We are going for a coffee.

→ They are going to the island Hvar.

→ I’m going to the Oktoberfest festival.

The following table shows when the prepositions are used in accordance with a verb of movement.

, , + accusative
ići, doći, voziti u … ići, doći, voziti na …
u Zagreb, u Split, u Berlin… na Hvar, na Korčulu, na Krk…
u Njemačku, u Hrvatsku, u Englesku… na Oktorberfest, na Špancirfest,
(christmas fair)…

When forming the locative it is very helpful to ask: Where am I? (→ ), while for constructing the accusative you would ask the question:
Where am I going? (→ ).

How would you say the following in Croatian?

Where are we going? →  Answer Kamo idemo?

We are going to school. →  Answer Idemo u školu.

I am coming to the café. →  Answer Dolazim u kafić.

You are going to the park. →  Answer Ideš u park.

We are going for some coffee. →  Answer Idemo na kavu.

I am going to lunch. →  Answer Idem na ručak.

Ivan and Marko are going to the restaurant. →  Answer Ivan i Marko idu u restoran.

You are going to the post office. →  Answer Idete u poštu.

We are travelling to Croatia. →  Answer Putujemo u Hrvatsku.

We are driving to the island Cres. →  Answer Vozimo na otok Cres.

He is going to the beach. →  Answer Ide na plažu.