1 Mogućnosti / Possibilities
2 Saveti / Advice
Svi modali / All modals
Diskusije / Discussions

1 – Ko zna zna / He who knows, knows

🇷🇸 Ko zna zna

🇬🇧 He who knows, knows

The verb znati, simply means to know or to be informed. It’s a regular verb that belongs to the A group. But when it’s connected to another verb with the conjunction da, it means to know how, to have to ability or skill of doing something. In this meaning, it has a synonym: umeti. So both umeti and znati are used to tell that we have the ability or skill for doing something.

Umeti is the root for the words umetnost (art) and umeće (know-how, skill).


to know, to be informed znati Ana dobro zna istoriju. Ana knows history well.
Ana zna engleski. Ana knows (can speak) English.
to know how, to have ability or skill umeti, znati Ana ume/zna da pliva. Ana can (knows how to) swim.
Dete ume/zna da vozi bicikl. The child can ride a bike.


Smeti has several meanings: to be allowed, can, may or dare. But when negated, it’s used to express forbiddance, must not. So: to say must, we use the verb morati, and for mustn’t we use ne smeti.


be allowed, can, dare smeti Dete sme da ide napolje posle ručka. The child is allowed to go outside after lunch.
Smem li da pitam nešto? Can I ask something?
Niko to ne sme da kaže. No one dares to say that.
forbiddance (must not) ne smeti Ne smeš da pušiš u biblioteci. You mustn’t smoke at the library.
Dijabetičari ne smeju da jedu šećer. Diabetics mustn’t eat sugar.


Umeti, razumeti i smeti are three special verbs that belong to the E group of verbs, but in the third person plural they have this infix: -ej-. So instead of the ending –u as we expect in the E conjugation, we use –eju: oni umeju, oni razumeju, oni smeju.

Because of this ending, they look like a combination of the E and A verbal groups!

Razumeti (to understand) is actually a verb compound from the verb umeti with the prefix raz-.