A Practical Guide to Pāḷi Grammar

A 30-page guide to the verb and noun forms in Pāli, together with a guide to syntax, with examples and notes.

Ānandajoti Bhikkhu
(Ver. 3, February 2016)

Preface Verbs Nouns

 

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Preface

The guide that is presented here is based on tables and notes I typed up when I was first learning Pāḷi, which have rather surprisingly lasted in my work until today.

The emphasis here is on being practical, so rather than overwhelming the student with forms he will rarely come across, it is more important that he master the most common forms and meanings, and use reference works to find and understand things that are outside the scope of this work.

The tables and notes present the subject from various points of view, looking at how the forms are made, what is their meaning, and then giving examples so it can be seen how they are used in the texts themselves.

For more comprehensive reference tables please see Ven Ñāṇatusita’s tables.

And for nouns, together with illustrations, see Navapadamañjarī elsewhere on this website.

I would be grateful to anyone using this work if they could give feedback so that it can be made more useful for the student in the future.

Ānandajoti Bhikkhu
August 2014

 

Verbs

In Pāḷi there are 7 conjugations which have different signs, viz:
1 = a; 2 = ṁ-a; 3 = ya; 4 = ṇo; 5 = ṇā; 6 = o; 7 = aya, e

and there are 8 modes:
Present Indicative, Imperative, Aorist, Future, Optative, Conditional, Imperfect, Perfect

and 2 voices:
Active (attanopada) Middle (parassapada)
the 2nd however is used as active, and only the form is different.

Summary of Verb Meanings

Present Indicative

karoti

he does, he is doing, he was doing

Passive

karīyati

it is done

Causative

kāreti

he had it done, he causes to do

Imperative

karotu

do, please do, must do

Aorist (active)

akāsi

he did

Aorist (passive)

*kariyi, *karīyi

it was done

Future (active)

karissati

he will do

Future (passive)

kariyassati

it will be done

Optative

kareyya

he may/could/should/might do

Conditional

*akarissa

if it were done

Absolutive

katvā, karitvā

having done, after doing, done

Infinitive

kātuṁ

to do

Past Participle

kata

done

Past Participle Active

*kartāvin

having done, who has done

Present Participle

karonta, kariyamāna

doing

Future Passive Participle

kātabba, karaṇīya, kicca

what should/must/could be done

 

Conjugations

Present Indicative (vattamānā)
he does, he is doing, he was doing (near past, near future)

 

3rd sing.

3rd plural

2nd sing.

2nd plural

1st sing.

1st plural

Active:

karoti gacchati muñcati

karonti
gacchanti muñcanti

karosi
gacchasi muñcasi

karotha
gacchatha
muñcatha

karomi
gacchāmi muñcāmi

karoma
gacchāma
muñcāma

Middle:

kurute gacchate

kurunte gacchante

kuruse gacchase

kuruvhe gacchavhe

kubbe gacche

kurumhe
gacchamhe

transitive verbs (sakammaka) require an object, e.g.

sūdo bhattaṁ pacati
the chef cooks rice

intransitive verbs (akammaka) are complete without object, e.g.

puriso gacchati
the person goes (no object required)

the active voice is used when the effect is on another
the passive voice is used when the effect is on oneself

 

Passive (kammakāraka)

to be done
(formed by adding -ya, -yya, -iya, -īya, -iyya to root or stem)

 

3rd sing.

3rd plural

2nd sing.

2nd plural

1st sing.

1st plural

√kar
√muc

karīyati muccati

karīyanti muccanti

karīyasi muccasi

karīyatha muccatha

karīyāmi muccāmi

karīyāma muccāma

the 3rd conjugation and the passive often look alike as they both take the suffix ya
the passive has the agent in the instrumental case

 

Causative Forms (kāritakāraka)

make do, have done, cause to be done
(formed by strengthening root vowel and/or adding causal suffix, -pe, -ape, -paya, -apaya)

 

3rd sing.

3rd plural

2nd sing.

2nd plural

1st sing.

1st plural

Active:

kāreti
deseti
muñcāpeti

kārenti
desenti
muñcāpenti

kāresi
desesi
muñcāpesi

kāretha
desetha
muñcāpetha

kāremi
desemi
muñcāpemi

kārema
desema
muñcāpema

Middle:

desayate

desayante

desayase

desayavhe

deseye

desayamhe

the 7th conjugation and the passive often look alike as they both can take the suffix e
in the causative the agent is in the nominative
the person through whom the action is done is accusative or instrumental

 

Imperative (pañcamī)

do, please do, should do

 

3rd sing.

3rd plural

2nd sing.

2nd plural

1st sing.

1st plural

Active:

karotu
gacchatu
desetu

karontu gacchantu desentu

karohi
gaccha gacchāhi
desehi

karotha gacchatha
desetha

karomi
gacchāmi desemi

karoma
gacchāma
desema

Middle:

kurutaṁ gacchataṁ desetaṁ

karontaṁ
gacchantaṁ
desayantaṁ

karassu gacchassu desayassu

karuvho
gacchavho
desayavhe

kare
gacche
desaye

kuromase
gacchāmase
desayamhe

 

Aorist (ajjatanī)

he did, he has done, all past actions

 

3rd sing.

3rd plural

2nd sing.

2nd plural

1st sing.

1st plural

√kar

(a)kari akāsi

(a)kariṁsu
akaṁsu
akāsuṁ

(a)kari akāsi

(a)karittha akattha

(a)kariṁ akāsiṁ

~
akamha

√gam

gacchi agami

gañchuṁ agamisuṁ

gacchi
agami

gacchittha agamittha

gacchiṁ
agamiṁ

gacchimha agamiṁsu

√dis

desesi

desesuṁ

desesi

desittha

desesiṁ

desimha

√vac

avoca avaca

avocuṁ avacum

avoca avaca

avocuttha avacuttha

avocum avacum

avocumha avacumha

aorists sometimes show the augment a- before the root

 

Future (bhavissanti)

he will do, he can do, he must do

 

3rd sing.

3rd plural

2nd sing.

2nd plural

1st sing.

1st plural

Active:

karissati gamissati lacchati dakkhati

karissanti gamissanti lacchanti dakkhanti

karissasi gamissasi lacchasi dakkhasi

karissatha gamissatha
lacchatha dakkhatha

karissāmi gamissāmi lacchāmi
dakkhāmi

karissāma gamissāma
lacchāma
dakkhāma

Middle:

gamissate

gamissante

gamissase

gamissavhe

gamissaṁ

gamissāmhe

 

Optative (sattamī)

he may do, he could do, he would do, he should do, he might do

 

3rd sing.

3rd plural

2nd sing.

2nd plural

1st sing.

1st plural

Active:

kare
gacche gaccheyya gaccheyyāti

kareyyu
gaccheyyu gaccheyyuṁ

kare
gacche gaccheyya gaccheyyāsi

kareyyātha gaccheyyātha gacchetha

kare
gacche gaccheyyaṁ gaccheyyāmi

kareyyāma
gaccheyyāma gacchema
gacchemu

Middle:

gacchetha karetha

gaccheraṁ kareraṁ

gacchetho karetho

gaccheyyavho kareyyavho

gaccheyyaṁ kareyyaṁ

gaccheyyāmhe gacchemase kareyyāmhe karemase

 

Conditional (kālātipatti)

if he went

 

3rd sing.

3rd plural

2nd sing.

2nd plural

1st sing.

1st plural

Active:

agamissa

agamissaṁsu

agamissa
agamissi

agamissatha

agamissaṁ
agamissāmi

agamissāma

Middle:

agamissatha

agamissiṁsu

agamisse

agamissavhe

agamissaṁ

agamissāmhase

 

Perfect (parokkhā)

he has said
few forms found in the Canon

 

3rd sing.

3rd plural

2nd sing.

2nd plural

1st sing.

1st plural

Active:

āha

āhu
āhaṁsu
vidū
vidu

āha

-ttha

-a

-mha

Middle:

-ttha

-re

-ttho

-vho

-i

-mhe

 

Imperfect (hīyattanī)

he did
(not found in the Canon)

 

3rd sing.

3rd plural

2nd sing.

2nd plural

1st sing.

1st plural

Active:

-o

-ttha

-a, -aṁ

-mhā

Middle:

-ttha

-tthuṁ

-se

-vhaṁ

-iṁ

-mhase

 

Some Irregular Verb Forms

 

3rd sing.

3rd plural

2nd sing.

2nd plural

1st sing.

1st plural

√as (present)

atthi

santi

asi

attha

asmi, amhi

amha, amhā

√as (optative

assa
siyā

assu
siyaṁsu, siyaṁ

assa
siyā

assatha

assuṁ
siyaṁ

assāma

√hū (aorist)

ahosi

ahesuṁ

ahosi

ahuvattha

ahosiṁ

ahuma

√hū (root aorist)

ahū
ahud

ahuṁ
ahū

ahu
ahū

- - -

ahuṁ

ahuṁ

√vac (aorist)

avoca

avocuṁ

avoca

avocuttha
avacuttha

avocaṁ

avocumha/ā

√dis (aorist)

addasā

addasaṇsu

addasā

addasatha

addasaṁ

addasāma

√gam (aorist)

agamāsi

agamaṁsu

agamā

agamittha

agamāsiṁah

agamamhā

√gam (root aorist)

aga
agā

agu
agū

aga
agā

aguttha

agaṁ

agamhā

√su (aorist)

assosi

assosuṁ

assosi

assutha

assosiṁ

assumha

√labh (aorist)

alattha

alatthuṁ

alattha

- - -

alatthaṁ

alatthamha/ā

 

Indeclineables

 

Absolutive (Gerund) (pubbakiriya, tvādiyantapada)

having done, after doing, action precedes main verb
indeclinable past participle stem + tvā, itvā or ya (assimilated)
the verbs are infinite and are always subservient to the main finite verb in the sentence

examples:

...uṭṭhāyāsanā Bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā, pakkāmi.
...having risen from the seat and worshipped the Gracious One, he left.

...yānā paccorohitvā pattiko va ārāmaṃ pāvisi.
...after descending from the vehicle he entered the park by foot.

Seyyathā pi nāma purāṇaṁ bandhanaṁ chinditvā
It is as though having cut off an old bond

anuvicca viññū garahanti
wise people investigate and blame (him)

 

Infinitive (tumanta, indeclinable)

formed strong root or present stem + tuṁ, ituṁ, tave
e.g. to make, to do

examples:

kathaṁ me ajja kātave?
how to make it for me today?

Buddhānaṁ Sāsanaṁ manasi kātuṁ
to give (lit: to make) thought to the Buddha’s Dispensation

icchāmahaṁ, Tāta, janapadaṁ gantuṁ
I desire, Dear to go to the country

pañhe pucchituṁ abhikaṅkhamāno
longing to ask questions

bhikkhaṁ icchāmi dātave
I desire to give alms-food

 

Participles

 

Past Participle (missakiriyā)

remembered, conquered, heard
formed from root with suffix -ta or -ita or -na

Examples:

root

suffix

form

formed with -ta

√sar (remembers)

+ -ta

sata, paṭissata

√ji (conquers)

"

jita, parājita

√su (hears)

"

suta

√bhū (is)

"

bhūta

√sudh (purifies)

"

suddha

√labh (receives)

"

laddha

√dis (sees)

"

diṭṭha

√kam (moves)

"

kanta

with some the end nasal drops

√gam (goes)

+ -ta

gata

√nam (bends)

"

nata

√han (kills)

"

hata

formed with -ita

√vid (knows)

+ -ita

vidita

√gah (takes)

"

gahita

√mud (rejoices)

"

mudita

√yāca (requests)

"

yācita

√nanda (rejoices)

"

nandita

formed with -na

√chad (covers)

+ -na

channa

√chid (cuts)

"

chinna

√tar (crosses)

"

tiṇṇa

√pur (fills)

"

puṇṇa

decline like nouns, but all can be used like adjectives
e.g. bhāsitaṁ = what was said, also means a speech, a saying

 

Past Participle Active

having eaten, being one who has eaten
root + tāviṁ or tavant(u), declined like adjectives (very few verbs use this form)
examples:

gahapatissa bhuttavissa
the householder who has eaten

sutavā ariyasāvako
the noble disciple who is learned

bhikkhū ... vusitavanto katakaraṇīyā
monastics ... who have lived correctly, having done what has to be done

 

Future Passive Participle (gerundive) (kicca)

what should/must/could be done
used like adjectives qualifying nouns which they agree with
root + tabba or anīya or ya (assimilated)

examples:

bhikkhunā kammaṁ kātabbaṁ hoti
this is the deed that should be done by the monk

vusitaṁ brahmacariyaṁ, kataṁ karaṇīyaṁ...
accomplished is the spiritual life, done is what ought to be done

akiccaṁ karonto kiccaṁ aparādhento
doing what should not be done and failing to do what should be done

nirālayena piṇḍāya gantabbaṁ
he should go on almsround free from attachment

 

Present Participle (missakiriyā)

present stem + nta or māna, declined like adjectives

 

Masculine

 

nt/nta forms

māna forms

Nominative:

gaccha gacchanto

gacchantā gacchante

gacchamāno

gacchamānā

Accusative:

gacchantaṁ

gacchante

gacchamānaṁ

gacchamāne

Instrumental:

gaccha gacchatena

gacchantehi gacchantebhi

gacchamānena

gacchamānehi

Dative:

gacchato

gacchataṁ gacchantānaṁ

gacchamānāya gacchamānassa

gacchamānaṁ

Ablative:

gaccha gacchatamhā

gacchantehi gacchantebhi

gacchamānā gacchamānamhā gacchamānasmā gacchamanto

gacchamānehi

Genitive:

gacchato

gacchataṁ gacchantānaṁ

gacchamānāya gacchamānassa

gacchamānaṁ

Locative:

gacchati gacchante gacchantamhi gacchantasmiṁ

gacchantesu

gacchamāne gacchamānasmiṁ

gacchamānesu

 

 

Feminine

 

ī forms

ā forms

Nominative:

gacchantī

gacchantī
gacchantiyo

gacchamānā

gacchamānā
gacchamānāyo

Accusative:

gacchantiṁ

gacchantī
gacchantiyo

gacchamānaṁ

gacchamānā
gacchamānāyo

Instrumental:

gacchatiyā

gacchantīhi
gacchantībhi

gacchamānāya

gacchamānāhi
gacchamānābhi

Dative:

gacchatiyā

gacchantīnaṁ

gacchamānāya

gacchamānaṁ

Ablative:

gacchatiyā

gacchantīhi
gacchantībhi

gacchamānāya

gacchamānehi
gacchamānābhi
gacchamānohi
gacchamānobhi

Genitive:

gacchatiyā

gacchantīnaṁ

gacchamānāya

gacchamānaṁ

Locative:

gacchatiyā
gacchatiyaṁ

gacchantīsu

gacchamānāya
gacchamānāyaṁ

gacchamānāsu

 

 

Neuter

 

nt/nta forms

māna forms

Nominative:

gaccha

gacchantā gacchantāni

gacchamānaṁ

gacchamānāni

Accusative:

gacchantaṁ

gacchante gacchantāni

gacchamānaṁ

gacchamānāni

 

rest as masculine

 

 

 

 

Special Verb Formations

Intensive, does something repeatedly

(root redoubled + normal endings)
e.g. walks up and down
examples:

pāsādapacchāyāyaṁ abbhokāse caṅkamati
he walks up and down in the open air on the east of the palace

tesaṁ lālappitaṁ sutvā
having heard them conversing excitedly

sikkhāya kaṅkhati vicikicchati
he doubts and is thinks and thinks about the training

athāparaṁ parivīmaṁsamāno parivīmaṁsati
then, after he has thoroughly investigated

 

Desiderative (tumicchattha)

(root redoubled + sa + normal endings)
e.g. desires to hear
examples:

Dhamme desiyamāne sussūsati
desiring to listen to the teaching of the Dhamma

khamo hoti sītassa uṇhassa jighacchāya pipāsāya
He is one who bears up with cold, heat, desire to eat, desire to drink

 

Denominative (dhāturūpakasadda)

noun used as root, and formed according to 7th conjugation
e.g. smokes
examples:

Kathañ-ca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu dhūpāyati? (from dhūpa, smoke)
And how, monastics, does a monastic smoke?

Kiṁ kīḷamānaṁ saddāyati (from sadda, sound, noise)
Why is he shouting while playing?

Dhammaṁ suddhaṁ piyāyati (from piya, dear)
he holds dear the pure Dhamma

 

Nouns

Nouns are normally declined on the stem form of the word, with the endings changing to match their role or function in the sentence. There are three basic sets of declension in Pali: the masculine (including, with small variations, the neuter), the feminine and the pronominal.

The masculine is the most common, but as it will also take some pronominal endings they are often found, and become more common in the later language. There is also a tendency for all words to follow the masculine declension in the later language, so that neuters and occasionally feminines are found declined with masculine endings.

The masculine nominative is more irregular than the oblique forms, and needs to be learned; but most variations in the oblique cases can be inferred:

if the stem ends not in -a but -i, or -u then replace the endings below like this:
-a with -i, -u; -ā and -e with -ī, -ū to make the declension.

There are a number of masculine forms which do not follow these paradigms, and those need to be learned separately; these include masculine forms ending in -vanta, like Bhagavanta) and -an (attan), which behave unexpectedly in the stem; and Satthā, which has somewhat different endings.

Below I give the abstract paradigms of the most frequent forms, followed by illustrative examples. Again these are not complete, but must be supplemented by more detailed works, like Navapadamañjarī (from which most of this section is drawn).

 

Paradigms

 

Masculine

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

stem + o

stem + ā

Vocative

stem + a, ā

stem + ā

Accusative

stem + aṁ

stem + e

Instrumental

stem + ena

stem + ehi, ebhi

Dative

stem + āya, assa

stem + ānaṁ

Ablative

stem + ā, ato
stem + asmā, amhā (pron.)

stem + ehi, ebhi

Genitive

stem + assa

stem + ānaṁ

Locative

stem + e
stem + asmiṁ, amhi (pron.)

stem + esu

 

Masculine Forms of the Pronoun

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

stem + o

stem + e

Accusative

stem + aṁ

stem + e

Instrumental

stem + ena

stem + ehi, ebhi

Dative

stem + assa

stem + esaṁ, esānaṁ

Ablative

stem + asmā, amhā

stem + ehi, ebhi

Genitive

stem + assa

stem + esaṁ, esānaṁ

Locative

stem + asmiṁ, amhi

stem + esu

 

Neuter

only differs in the nominative, Vocative and Accusative forms

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

stem + aṁ

stem + ā, āni

Vocative

stem + a, ā

stem + ā, āni

Accusative

stem + aṁ

stem + e, āni

 

rest as masculine

 

 

As with the masculine, the feminine nominative is more irregular than the oblique forms, and needs to be learned; the variations in the oblique cases can be inferred:

if the stem ends not in -ā but -i, -ī, or -u, -ū then replace the endings below like this:
-a with -i, -u; -ā and -e with -ī, -ū to make the declension.

 

Feminine

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

stem + ā

stem + ā, āyo

Vocative

stem + e, i

stem + ā, āyo

Accusative

stem + aṁ

stem + ā
āyo

Instrumental

stem + āya

stem + āhi, ābhi

Dative

stem + āya

stem + ānaṁ

Ablative

stem + āya

stem + āhi, ābhi

Genitive

stem + āya

stem + ānaṁ

Locative

stem + āya, āyaṁ

stem + āsu

 

Feminine Forms of the Pronoun

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

sā

stem + ā, āyo

Accusative

stem + aṁ

stem + ā, āyo

Instrumental

stem + āya

stem + āhi, ābhi

Dative

stem + āya, assā, issā, issāya

stem + āsaṁ, āsānaṁ

Ablative

stem + āya

stem + āhi, ābhi

Genitive

stem + āya, assā, issā, issāya

stem + esaṁ, esānaṁ

Locative

stem + āyaṁ, assaṁ, āsaṁ, issaṁ

stem + āsu

 

Examples

 

Masculine, Buddha

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

Buddho

Buddhā

Vocative

Buddha
Buddhā

Buddhā

Accusative

Buddhaṁ

Buddhe

Instrumental

Buddhena
Buddhā

Buddhehi
Buddhebhi

Dative

Buddhassa
Buddhāya

Buddhānaṁ

Ablative

Buddhā
Buddhato
Buddhasmā
Buddhamhā

Buddhehi
Buddhebhi

Genitive

Buddhassa

Buddhānaṁ

Locative

Buddhe
Buddhasmiṁ
Buddhamhi

Buddhesu

 

Masculine, Bhagavā

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

Bhagavā

Bhagavanto
Bhagavantā

Vocative

Bhagava
Bhagavaṁ

Bhagavanto
Bhagavantā

Accusative

Bhagavantaṁ

Bhagavante

Instrumental

Bhagavatā
Bhagavatena

Bhagavantehi
Bhagavantebhi

Dative

Bhagavato
Bhagavatassa

Bhagavantānaṁ

Ablative

Bhagavatā
Bhagavatena
Bhagavasmā
Bhagavatamhā

Bhagavantehi
Bhagavantebhi

Genitive

Bhagavato
Bhagavatassa

Bhagavantehi
Bhagavantebhi

Locative

Bhagavati
Bhagavante
Bhagavatasmiṁ
Bhagavatamhi

Bhagavantesu

 

Masculine, Satthā

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

Satthā

Satthāro

Vocative

Sattha
Satthā

Satthāro

Accusative

Satthāraṁ

Satthāro
Satthāre

Instrumental

Sattharā
Satthārā
Satthunā

Satthārehi
Satthārebhi
Satthūhi
Satthūbhi

Dative

Satthu
Satthuno
Satthussa

Satthānaṁ
Satthārānaṁ

Ablative

Satthārā

Satthārehi
Satthārebhi
Satthūhi
Satthūbhi

Genitive

Satthu
Satthuno
Satthussa

Satthānaṁ
Satthārānaṁ

Locative

Satthari

Sattharesu
Satthāresu
Satthusu
Satthūsu

 

Masculine, muni

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

muni

munayo
munī
munino

Vocative

muni

munayo
munī

Accusative

muniṁ

munayo
munī

Instrumental

muninā

munīhi
munībhi

Dative

munino
munissa

munīnaṁ

Ablative

muninā
munito
munismā
munimhā

munīhi
munībhi

Genitive

munino
munissa

munīnaṁ

Locative

munismiṁ
munimhi

munīsu

 

Masculine, bhikkhu

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

bhikkhu

bhikkhū
bhikkhavo

Vocative

bhikkhu

bhikkhū
bhikkhavo
bhikkhave

Accusative

bhikkhuṁ

bhikkhū
bhikkhavo

Instrumental

bhikkhunā

bhikkhūhi
bhikkhūbhi

Dative

bhikkhuno
bhikkhussa

bhikkhūnaṁ

Ablative

bhikkhunā
bhikkhuto
bhikkhusmā
bhikkhumhā

bhikkhūhi
bhikkhūbhi

Genitive

bhikkhuno
bhikkhussa

bhikkhūnaṁ

Locative

bhikkhusmiṁ
bhikkhumhi

bhikkhūsu

 

Masculine, atta(n)

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

attā

attāno

Vocative

atta
attā

attāno

Accusative

attaṁ
attānaṁ

attāno

Instrumental

attanā
attena

attehi
attebhi

Dative

attano
attassa

attānaṁ

Ablative

attā
attato

attehi
attebhi

Genitive

attano
attassa

attānaṁ

Locative

attani

attesu

 

Feminine, kaññā

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

kaññā

kaññā
kaññāyo

Vocative

kaññe
kaññi

kaññā
kaññāyo

Accusative

kaññaṁ

kaññā
kaññāyo

Instrumental

kaññāya

kaññāhi
kaññābhi

Dative

kaññāya

kaññānaṁ

Ablative

kaññāya

kaññāhi
kaññābhi
kaññohi
kaññobhi

Genitive

kaññāya

kaññānaṁ

Locative

kaññāya
kaññāyaṁ

kaññāsu

 

Feminine, ratti

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

ratti

rattī
rattiyo

Vocative

ratti

rattī
rattiyo

Accusative

rattiṁ

rattī
rattiyo

Instrumental

rattiyā

rattīhi
rattībhi

Dative

rattiyā

rattīnaṁ

Ablative

rattiyā

rattīhi
rattībhi

Genitive

rattiyā

rattīnaṁ

Locative

rattiyā
rattiyaṁ

rattīsu

 

Neuter, citta

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

cittaṁ

cittā
cittāni

Vocative

citta
cittā

cittā
cittāni

Accusative

cittaṁ

citte
cittāni

 

rest as masculine

 

 

Masculine Forms of the Pronoun

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

so (yo, ko, sabbo)

te (ye, ke, sabbe)

Accusative

taṁ

te

Instrumental

tena

tehi
tebhi

Dative

tassa

tesaṁ
tesānaṁ

Ablative

tasmā
tamhā

tehi
tebhi

Genitive

tassa

tesaṁ
tesānaṁ

Locative

tasmiṁ
tamhi

tesu

 

Feminine Forms of the Pronoun, tā

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

sā (yā, kā, sabbā, etc.)

tā tāyo (yā, kā, sabbā, etc.)
(yāyo, kāyo, sabbāyo, etc.)

Accusative

taṁ

tā tāyo

Instrumental

tāya

tāhi
tābhi

Dative

tāya
tassā
tissā
tissāya

tāsaṁ
tāsānaṁ

Ablative

tāya

tāhi
tābhi

Genitive

tāya
tassā
tissā
tissāya

tesaṁ
tesānaṁ

Locative

tāyaṁ
tassaṁ
tāsaṁ
tissaṁ

tāsu

 

Neuter Forms of the Pronoun, taṁ

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

taṁ (yaṁ, kaṁ, sabbaṁ, etc.)

te, tāni (ye, ke, sabbe)
(yāni, kāni, sabbāni, etc.)

Accusative

taṁ

te
tāni

 

rest as masculine

 

 

Masculine Forms of the (Demonstrative) Pronoun, a, ima

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

ayaṁ

ime

Accusative

imaṁ

ime

Instrumental

iminā
anena

ehi
ebhi
imehi
imebhi

Dative

imesaṁ

esaṁ
esānaṁ
imesaṁ
imesānaṁ

Ablative

imasmā
asmā
imamhā

ehi
ebhi
imehi
imebhi

Genitive

imassa
assa

imesaṁ
imesānaṁ

Locative

asmiṁ
imasmiṁ
imamhi

esu
imesu

 

Genderless Pronouns, amha

Case

Singular

Plural

Nominative

ahaṁ

mayaṁ
amhe

Accusative

maṁ
mamaṁ

amhe
asme
amhākaṁ
asmākaṁ

Instrumental

mayā

amhehi
ambhehi

Dative

mama
mayhaṁ
mamaṁ
amhaṁ

amhākaṁ
asmākaṁ
amhaṁ

Ablative

mayā

amhehi
ambhehi

Genitive

mama
mayhaṁ
mamaṁ
amhaṁ

amhākaṁ
asmākaṁ
amhaṁ

Locative

mayi

amhesu

 

Forms of the Pronoun, eka (plural)

Case

Masculine

Feminine

Neuter

Nominative

eke

ekā
ekāyo

ekāni

Accusative

eke

ekā
ekāyo

ekāni

Instrumental

ekehi
ekebhi

ekāhi
ekābhi

ekehi
ekebhi

Dative

ekesaṁ
ekasānaṁ

ekāsaṁ
ekāsānaṁ

ekesaṁ
ekasānaṁ

Ablative

ekehi
ekebhi

ekāhi
ekābhi

ekehi
ekebhi

Genitive

ekesaṁ
ekasānaṁ

ekāsaṁ
ekāsānaṁ

ekesaṁ
ekasānaṁ

Locative

ekesu

ekāsu

ekesu

 

Forms of the Pronoun, eka (singular)

Case

Masculine

Feminine

Neuter

Nominative

eko

ekā

ekaṁ

Accusative

ekaṁ

ekaṁ

ekaṁ

Instrumental

ekena

ekāya

ekena

Dative

ekassa

ekāya
ekassā

ekassa

Ablative

ekasmā
ekamhā

ekāya

ekasmā
ekamhā

Genitive

ekassa

ekāya
ekassā

ekassa

Locative

ekasmiṁ
ekamhi

ekāyaṁ
ekassaṁ

ekasmiṁ
ekamhi

 

Forms of the Pronoun, dvi (plural)

Case

3 genders

Nominative

dve
duve

Accusative

dve
duve

Instrumental

dvihi
dvibhi

Dative

dvinnaṁ
duvinnaṁ

Ablative

dvihi
dvibhi

Genitive

dvinnaṁ
duvinnaṁ

Locative

dvīsu

 

Forms of the Pronoun, ti (plural)

Case

Masculine

Feminine

Neuter

Nominative

tayo

tisso

tīni

Accusative

tayo

tisso

tīni

Instrumental

tīhi
tībhi

tīhi
tībhi

tīhi
tībhi

Dative

tiṇṇaṁ
tiṇṇānaṁ

tissannaṁ

tiṇṇaṁ
tiṇṇānaṁ

Ablative

tīhi
tībhi

tīhi
tībhi

tīhi
tībhi

Genitive

tiṇṇaṁ
tiṇṇānaṁ

tissannaṁ

tiṇṇaṁ tiṇṇānaṁ

Locative

tīsu

tīsu

tīsu

 

Forms of the Pronoun, catu (plural)

Case

Masculine

Feminine

Neuter

Nominative

cattāro
caturo

cattasso

cattāri

Accusative

cattāro
caturo

cattasso

cattāri

Instrumental

catūhi
catūbhi

catūhi
catūbhi

catūhi
catūbhi

Dative

catunnaṁ

catassannaṁ

catunnaṁ

Ablative

catūhi
catūbhi

catūhi
catūbhi

catūhi
catūbhi

Genitive

catunnaṁ

catassannaṁ

catunnaṁ

Locative

catusu

catusu

catusu

 

Forms of the Pronoun, pañca - dasa

Case

all three genders

Nominative

pañca

Accusative

pañca

Instrumental

pañcahi

Dative

pañcannaṁ

Ablative

pañcahi

Genitive

pañcannaṁ

Locative

pañcasu

 

Noun Syntax

Nominative
subject, adnominal, list, destination

subject or actor in a sentence:

Tena samayena Bhagavā Uruvelāyaṁ viharati
At that time the Gracious One was dwelling near Uruvelā

with passive verbs:

Samaṇo pi tattha na upalabbhati
There a (true) ascetic is not found

in apposition:

Atha Rājā Bimbisāro taṁ sutvā ... Bhagavantam-evam-āha
Then King Bimbisāra, after hearing that ... said this to the Gracious One

predicate:

Sambuddho paṭijānāsi?
Do you claim to be Sambuddha?

adjectives must be in agreement:

Dīgho bālānaṁ saṁsāro
Long is the round of births and deaths for fools

with ti and iti:

Nigrodho ti akā nāmaṁ
She gave the name Nigrodha

titles:

Dighanikāyo; Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Long Collection; The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

lists:

Seyyathīdaṁ:
sammādiṭṭhi sammāsaṅkappo sammāvācā sammākammanto, etc.

That is to say:
right view, right thought, right speech, right action, etc.

idiomatic usage:

Atha kho Tapussabhallikā vāṇijā ... yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkamiṁsu
Then where the Gracious One was ... the merchants Tapussa and Bhallika approached

Vocative
the vocative is the only case that isn’t modified
by its relation to other words

usually used alone:

Kathaṁ bhāvitā ca bhikkhave ānāpānasati?
And how, monastics, is mindfulness while breathing developed?

more than one vocative used:

Ayaṁ kho, āvuso Visākha, sakkāyasamudayo vutto Bhagavatā ti
This, friend Visākha, is said to be the arising of embodiment by the Gracious One

Accusative
object, destination

object of the verb:

Ahaṁ Dhammaṁ desemi
I teach the Dhamma

appekacce maṁ paccuggantvā, pattacīvaraṁ paṭiggahesuṁ
and after coming out to meet me, some took my bowl and robe

Odahatha sotaṁ Amatam-adhigataṁ aham-anusāsāmi
Lend an ear I will instruct you about the attainment of the Deathless

Bhagavato pāde sirasā vandati
Worships the Gracious One’s feet with his head

internal object of cognate verb:

tāyaṁ velāyaṁ imaṁ udānaṁ udānesi
on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance

dukkhaṁ vā vedanaṁ vediyamāno
or, when experiencing an unpleasant feeling

location or destination:

Sāvatthiṁ piṇḍāya pāvisi
Was entering Sāvatthī for alms

Hurāhuraṁ dhāvati bhantacitto
The unsteady mind runs here and there

dative-like use:

Ekaṁ samayaṁ Bhagavā Rājagahe viharati
At one time the Gracious One was living near Rājagaha

Agentive Instrumental
the actor with passive and causative verbs

passive:

Tathāgatena evaṁ oḷārike nimitte kayiramāne
Despite such a gross hint being made by the Realised One

Cundena Kammāraputtena kammaṁ upacitaṁ
A (good) deed has been accumulated by Cunda the Smith

causative:

Ye na kāhanti ovādaṁ narā Buddhena desitaṁ
Those people who do not follow the advice given by the Buddha

Bhāradvājena pattassa gahitattā
The bowl was grabbed by Bhāradvāja

Associative Instrumental
with, association or means

association:

yācitvā so pi Rājānaṁ Uparājena pabbaji
after asking (permission) from the King went forth with the Prince

Bhadrena yobbanena samannāgato
Endowed with auspicious youthfulness

saha, saddhiṁ:

Mahatā Bhikkhusaṅghena saddhiṁ
Together with a great Community of monks

means:

Adhivāsesi Bhagavā tuṇhībhāvena
The Gracious One consented by maintaining silence

Sukhañ-ca kāyena paṭisaṁvedeti
experiencing happiness through the body

possessive (adnominal):

Ye suppayuttā manasā daḷhena ... Gotamasāsanamhi
Those who have firm minds that are devoted to ... Gotama’s teaching

time:

Tena samayena Buddho Bhagavā Verañjāyaṃ viharati
At one time the Awakened One, the Gracious One was dwelling near Verañjā

ablative-like:

Atipaṇḍitena puttena, manamhi upakūḷito
Through my son Superwise, I am well-nigh roasted

Dative
destination, possession
opposite of ablative

destination:

Bhikkhūnaṁ Dhammiṁ kathaṁ karoti
He spoke frequently to the monastics about the Teaching

possession (adnominal):

Tassa Rañño duve puttā āsuṁ sodariyā pi vā
To that King there were two sons of the same mother

Pītimanassa kāyo pi passambhati
For one with a joyful mind the body is tranquil

cause, reason:

Sāvatthiṁ piṇḍāya pāvisi
Entered Sāvatthī for alms

infinitive-like:

Devatā sannipatitā Tathāgataṁ dassanāya
The gods have assembled to see the Realised One

Ablative
from, origin, cause
opposite of dative

starting point:

Darito pabbatāto vā, rukkhato patito naro
Whether that man has fallen from a cleft, a mountain, or a tree

Asmā lokā paraṁ lokaṁ, evaṁ pecca na socati
After passing from this world to the next world

Ito tiṇṇaṁ māsānaṁ accayena
After three months have passed from now

separation:

Sammad-eva agārasmā anagāriyaṁ pabbajanti
They rightly go forth from the home to the homeless life

Vivekamhā cāvetukāmo
Desiring to drive her out of seclusion

causal:

Catunnaṁ dhammānaṁ ananubodhā appaṭivedhā
Because of a lack of understanding and a lack of penetration of four things

Kasmā kampati bhūmī? ti
Why does the earth tremble?

comparison:

Na santhavasmā paramatthi seyyo ... Sappurisena
Nothing is better than intimacy ... with a Good Person

Genitive
possession, therefore adnominal

possession:

Rammakassa brāhmaṇassa assamo
The brāhmaṇa Rammaka’s hermitage

Bhikkhūnaṁ pattesu pakkhipiṁsu
He dropped it in the monks’ bowls

Paññā narānaṁ ratanaṁ
Wisdom is the people’s treasure

mastery:

Bhikkhuno araddhaviriyassa uppajjati
For a monk who has undertaken energy

Sukho paññāya paṭilābho, pāpānaṁ akaraṇaṁ
The acquisition of wisdom is good, the non-doing of wicked things is good

Kusalānaṁ dhammānaṁ upasampadāya
The undertaking of wholesome things

Yaṁ yaṁ cajati kāmānaṁ
The giving up of whatever desires there are

Yakkhānaṁ ādhipati, Kuvero, iti nāma so
He is the master of the yakkhas, Kuvera, such is his name

position:

uttaraṁ Nagarassa haritvā
after carrying it to the North of the City

genitive absolute:

Bhagavatā dhammiyā kathāya ovadiyamānānaṁ anusāsiyamānānaṁ
As the Gracious One gave advice and instruction with a talk about Dhamma

Locative
position, relation, aim

place:

Sāvatthiyaṁ piṇḍāya caritvā
After walking for alms in Sāvatthī

Dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati
Dwells contemplating (the nature of) things in (various) things

participation:

Saraṇesu ca Sīlesu ṭhapesi samahājanaṁ
He established the multitude in the Refuges and the Precepts

time:

Yasmiṁ samaye uppajjanti saññī
At which time perception arose

instrumental-like:

Sabbesu dhammesu anūpalitto
Undefiled in regard to (or, by) all things

absolute:

Atha Jeṭṭhamūlamāse, sassesu milāyantesu
Then in the month of Jeṭṭha, when the crops were withering away