One of these and two of those, please!


Senior Member
British English
The writers of phrasebooks seem to think that tourists only eat in restaurants and hotels, because they hardly ever include useful phrases for buying food. In a baker's in the UK, for example, you might not even know the correct names of the various buns, rolls and pastries on display, so you would point and say e.g. "One of these and two of those, please". In some languages you would say "One like this/that and two like that". So I'm wondering what people say in Serbian (or Croatian or Bosnian) in that situation. Google translate says "jedan od tih i dva takva", which I don't trust. So what should I say when I want to buy my buns, burek, or anything else when I have to point? And what about buying salami or cheese ("200 grams of this and 300 grams of that, please")?
  • Let’s suppose you’re standing in front of a counter, be it at the bakery, the butcher’s or in a supermarket and there are items on display both inside the refrigerated counter and at the back, behind the shop assistant. Here are some possibilities, they all suppose you are actually pointing with your finger at the thing you want:

    (There are various salamis in front of you, next to each other):
    Molim Vas 200 grama od ove (salame) i 300 grama od ove.

    (If there is a salami that is further apart from the others):
    300 grama od ove i 100 grama od one (tamo).

    A: Molim Vas parče bureka i jedan jogurt.
    B: Koji burek?
    A: Ovaj ovde ispred mene.
    Or: Onaj tamo.

    Or: Od ovog ovde ispred mene.
    Or: Od onog tamo.
    (Mind you, in case of a 'burek 'you are more likely to be asked: 'Sa sirom ili sa mesom?', so no need for you to point to it)

    Bread, which is on display on the shelves behind the shop assistant:
    Molim Vas tri hleba: jedan ovaj ovde/levo, i dva (komada) od ovog desno.

    (If there is some bread that is further apart from the others, in a corner).
    I jedan komad od onog tamo u uglu.
    Or: I jedan onaj tamo u uglu.

    In all these cases you need to be mindful of the grammatical gender, but to avoid that you can just say:
    Dajte mi 100 grama od ovog i 200 grama od onog.
    (100 g from this (thing) and 200 g from that)

    Or with pieces:
    Molim vas 2 komada (od) ovog i 3 komada (od) onog.
    Or: Dajte mi 2 ova komada i 3 ona.

    (Whatever the item may be, not just foodstuff).

    "One like this/that and two like that" = Jedan ovakav/onakav i dva onakva.
    Wow! Thanks sooo much, Lazar - I will copy these phrases/dialogues and add them to my list of useful Serbian phrases to practice. And it's good that you added words like levo/desno/u uglu because when you point at an item, the shop assistant can't always tell exactly which one you mean.

    Of course, with supermarkets and pre-packaged food, you can probably buy all you need without speaking a single word of Serbian, but I'm not that kind of tourist!
    Couldn't phrases like "my left or your left/right?" or "I meant my right, not your right" prove to be useful as well in case of a counter or a fridge between the shop assistant and the customer?
    Haha, that's a good point! The customer's left is the shop assistant's right and vice versa. So I guess I ought to say e.g. 'there, on your left', which I think is 'тамо, на вашој левој страни' (tamo, na vašoj levoj strani).
    I think the usual expression is "са ваше леве/десне стране", Lazar will hopefully confirm :)
    I think the usual expression is "са ваше леве/десне стране", Lazar will hopefully confirm :)
    That's right.

    "Na Vašoj levoj strani" would mean something like "on the left side of your body".
    "Na levoj strani puta" = On the left side of the road.
    "Sa leve strane od puta" or "Levo od puta" = to the left of the road.
    "Sa leve strane puta" might be understood in both ways (to the left of and on the left side of).
    Gosh, I wouldn't wanna be in the shoes of someone learning Serbian as a foreign language!:(
    Well, I'm in those shoes, and quite enjoying it! I learnt some Russian before, which helps of course. Compared to other Slavic languages, I would say (with my limited knowledge) that Serbian is easier than Russian (both pronunciation and grammar), easier than Polish (pronunciation) and at about the same level of difficulty as Slovak.