“Može” is a Croatian word that can be used in a variety of situations.
The word “može” is the present third person singular of the infinitive verb “moći”. “Moći” means “can, be able to”. This means that technically the third person singular “može” means “it can”. However in use, “može” is used to mean “yes/okay” as a way to confirm something.
How to use “može” when speaking Croatian
“Može” can be used in the following cases, but really the possibilities are endless:
1. To confirm something
Idemo na piće, može? → Može.
Let’s have a drink, okay? → Okay.
2. To express the possibility that something can happen
Može li se popesti na drvo? → Može.
Can he climb a tree? → Yes, he can.
3. To get permission to do something
Mogu li doći na tulum? → Može/Možeš.
Can I come to the party? → Yes, you can.
4. To express an uncertainty
Može li se kupati u Jadranskom moru? → Može.
Can we swim in the Adriatic sea? → Yes.
5. To express an irony
Može li riba plivati bez vode? → Može. U maslacu, u ulju i vinu.
Can a fish swim without water? → Yes. In butter, in oil and in wine.
6. To order something
Može bijela kava. → Može.
I want a bijela kava. → Yes, okay.
7. To communicate “come in”
If you are at a hospital or doctor’s office, the nurse or doctor may say “Može” to convey that it is your turn and to come in.
8. To communicate “please”
When you are a guest at someone’s home, your host may say “može” and pull out a chair for you to sit down.
9. To provide reassurance or communicate “of course”
Mogu li si pomoći pivom? → Može!
Can I help myself to a beer? → Yes, of course!
10. “Može” slang
Frequently “može” is shortened to just “mož”. When shortened, it is common to be said twice back to back for emphasis “mož, mož”.