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Croatian: što and šta

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17 messages over 3 pages: 1 2
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Studies: German

 Message 17 of 17
01 May 2010 at 8:25pm | IP Logged 

Both што and штa are used and misused, in different contexts.

In Montenegro što is used more often for "what" (similarly to Croatian).


The word što may be a pronoun, adverb, particle or a conjunction.

šta (indeclinable)

1 Interrogative word used for unknown things, or occurrences (same as što).

2. In spoken language, used in questions and contexts that do not require an answer.

3. Used in fixed phrases as a synonym for što. Examples:

Šta je?

a. (rude) What!?

b. What's happening?

c. Rude and challenging, I'm not afraid of you.

Šta će?

a. What can he/she do about it? Cannot be helped.

b. Used disparagingly. He cannot help it (he's who he is, i.e. stupid, uneducated etc.)

Šta se tu može? Circumstances which cannot be helped.

Šta je tu je. Result. Things have happened that were beyond our control. It cannot be helped.

Nema šta. No objection. No doubt about it. Lijepa djevojka, nema šta.

Nema šta nema. They've got everything!

As a side note, native speakers are best observed, rather than questioned about their language use.

"Što" (what) is standard common use. It may be both declinable and indeclinable. Šta is not necessarily incorrect or more common in spoken language. In some common phrases some speakers may prefer one or the other.

You're neither cool nor bookish if you use either form. Šta is sometimes the only choice in compounds svašta, ništa. Sometimes both are permissible as in a compound like " makar što, makar šta, ma što, ma šta.

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