Using ‘više’ and ‘još’ in Serbian language

If you ask someone what do these words, više and još, mean in Serbian, they will tell you: both mean more. What they might forget to tell you is that these two are usually not interchangeable and can have much more meanings. So, how should you use them properly?

We are going to analyse these two when used separately, but also when they are used with other words in order to form a special meaning. Continue reading and find out how to use them in context.

‘Još’ and ‘više’ with verbs

‘Još’ + verbs

If you use još with verbs, you express that something is still happening or hasn’t happened yet (depending on the verb being positive or negative). Check out the rule and the examples:

još + positive verb = still

još + negative verb = yet

Be careful because još has to be in front of the positive verb. With the negative one, it is more flexible.

+ Još radim u istoj firmi. I still work at the same firm.

– Još nisam išla kod frizera. I haven’t gone to the hairstylist’s yet. (What we basically say in Serbian is I still haven’t gone to the hairstylist’s.)

Check još + uvek.

‘Više’ + verbs

With positive verbs

If you use više with a positive verb and nego (than) in the second clause, then you talk about doing something more than something else (note that there is a comparison involved).

Više volim da skijam nego da plivam. I prefer to ski than to swim. ( You can actually translate više voleti as to prefer.)

Više idem na more nego na planinu. I go to the seaside more than to the mountains.

If you are not comparing, like in this example:

Hajde više! Come on already.

than it brings the meaning of already.

With negative verbs

If you use više with negative verbs and are not comparing, you are actually saying that something is not happening anymore.

Više ne radim u istoj firmi. I don’t work in the same company anymore.

Compare these two

Još ne radim u toj firmi.  I’m not working in that firm yet.

Više ne radim u toj firmi.  I’m not working in that firm anymore.

Quantity

With nouns

Check out the examples:

Imam više prijatelja nego pre dve godine. I have more friends than two years ago.

Imam još prijatelja, nisu me svi napustili. I still have friends, not everyone has abandoned me. (What we are saying: I have more friends apart from the ones who abandoned me.)

Upsi, pojeo sam ti svu čokoladu. – Nema veze, imam još.                                                                                                                                                                     Ups, I have eaten all of your chocolate. – No worries, I have more (more than the one you ate).

Ja želim više avantura u svom životu. I want more (quantity of) adventures in my life.

Ja želim još avantura u svom životu. I want more adventures in my life, I don’ want to stop having them.

But…

When what you want to say is just more + a noun, još and više are almost interchangeable.

Još piva, molim vas. More beer, please.

Više piva, molim vas. More beer, please.

Although they mean the same, we would suggest using the first option. It would be a native speaker’s choice. So, if you are having a drink or something to eat, and you want more of it, you ask for još, not više.

Also, check these examples:

Još jedno pivo, molim vas. One more beer, please.

Više jedno pivo, molim vas. Do not use numbers after više.

With the verbs ‘hteti’ and ‘želeti’

Position: after the verb

Check the examples below:

Želim/hoću više. I want more (than what I have, of something else, probably of something better).

Želim/hoću još. I want more (of what I have, just bigger quantity).

Watch out!

Šta više hoćeš? What more do you want? (We are saying: I’ve given you enough, stop bothering me.)

Šta još hoćeš? What else do you want?

With the verb ‘imati’

Position: between a verb and a noun

As we do not have the equivalent expression of there is/are, we mostly use the verb imati (to have) instead. Whether you combine it with više or još, you will get two different things.

Ima još slatkiša u kuhinji. There are more sweets in the kitchen. (besides the ones you see)

With više – there is more of something or not anymore of something

Ima više slatkiša u kunjihi. There are more sweets in the kitchen. (more than here)

Nema više slatkiša u kuhinji. There are no more sweets in the kitchen.

Other

There are some words that još and više can be combined with in order to form expressions of a specific meaning.

‘Još’ + comparative and ‘još + više’

  • još + comparative

Ako sam ja štreber, onda si ti još veći. If I’m a nerd, you’re an even bigger one.

  • još + više = even more

Ako sam ja štreber, onda si ti još više. If I’m a nerd, you are even more (of a nerd).

‘Još uvek’

The meaning of još uvek is still.

Još uvek radim u istoj firmi. I still work at the same firm.

Još uvek nisam išla kod frizera. I haven’t gone to the hairstylist yet. What we are saying in Serbian is: I still haven’t gone to the hairstylist.

‘Više nikad’

Više nikad means never again. Be careful whenever you use nikad because the verb also has to be negative (in Serbian we use the double negative). The order of više and nikad in this case is interchangeable.

Nikad više neću ići u taj hotel. Usluga je bila očajna. Never again will I go to that hotel. The service was horrible.

Više nikad neću gledati horor filmove. I won’t watch horror movies ever again.

Test yourself

We hope this text has helped you understand the difference and get a grasp of using više and još. Below we left you a mini test to check your knowledge. Good luck!

 

Complete the gap: Ostala mi je samo ______ jedna maska.

Correct! Wrong!

Više cannot go with numbers.

Complete the gaps: - Hoćeš li _______ supe? - Ne. - Zašto? - Zato što ne želim. - U redu, ________ za mene.

Correct! Wrong!

In the first gap, we are asking if you want more soup, apart from the quantity you have already had. Therefore, we use još. In the second gap, we are saying that, consequently, there is more quantity of soup for us.

Complete the gap: _________ mi se sviđa prva sezona nego druga.

Correct! Wrong!

When comparing two things or actions, we always use više.

Complete the gap: Posvađao sam se sa Markom. ___________ nikada neću pričati sa njim.

Correct! Wrong!

Više + nikada have a unique meaning of never again.

Complete the gap: _______ nisi uradila domaći? Hajde požuri.

Correct! Wrong!

In this example, we are looking for the word still, not more.

Više ili još?
Odlično!
Perfect! You know when to use 'više' and when to use 'još'. You are good to go and speak some Serbian.
Nije loše!
Not bad. You understand the concept, but still need to work on your practical skills. You can redo the test and see if your result got better.
Nije baš dobro.
Your result is not very good. We recommend you to reread the text above and the examples. Then you can do the test again and see if you've made some progress. Cheers!

Source:

Vujanić Milica, & Nikolić Miroslav. (2011). Rečnik srpskoga jezika. Novi Sad: Matica srpska, page 140

Hayward, M. (2020, March 30). Više vs. Još in Serbian/ Bosnian/ Croatian: The Differences and When to Use Each One. Retrieved May 17, 2020, from https://minimalist.travel/en/learn/bosnian/vise-vs-jos-in-serbian-bosnian-croatian/

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