A Practical Grammar of the Paali Language
587. Syntax, in Paali, does not offer any difficulty for nearly all the relations of the substantives, adjectives and pronouns which will be explained in this chapter are very often obviated by compounding them as has already been explained in the chapter on Compounds. The student who has carefully read and mastered the Compounds has therefore done much and will understand ordinary prose without too much difficulty. However, there are peculiar uses of the Cases, without a knowledge of which a thorough mastery of the language would be impossible; we therefore invite the learner to read attentively the present chapter.
Order of Sentences
588. The order of the Paali sentence is very simple in character, compound sentences being rather the exception than the rule:
- Whether the sentence be simple, compound or complex, the predicate must always come last.
- In a simple sentence containing an object, the order is: (i) Subject, (ii) object and (iii) predicate, as: daaso kamma.m karoti, the slave does the work.
- Words qualifying the subject or the object come before the subject and the object respectively, and adverbs before the verb: etetayo purisaa mahanta.m siri.m siigha.m paapu.ni.msu, these three men quickly attained to great glory.
Remark. Adverbs of time always come first in the sentence.
- The conjunctions, pana, but; udaahu, or; are used to form compound sentences; ce, yadi and sace, if, complex sentences.
589. There are no words in Paali corresponding to the English articles; the words eko, ekacce, one, a certain are often used in the sense of the indefinite article (253); and so, eso, that, this, do the function of the definite article: so puriso, the man; saa itthii, the woman.
Remark. Substantives not preceded by the above words may, according to the context, be translated as if preceded by the articles: puriso = a man, or, the man.
Concord of subject and predicate
- The predicate may be:
- a finite verb: bhikkhu gahapati.m ovaadi, the monk admonished the householder;
- a substantive with the verb "hoti" understood after it: yadi ete gu.naa, if these (are=honti) virtues;
- an adjective with "hoti" also understood: tva.m atibaalo, thou (art=asi) very foolish;
- a P.P.P. used as a finite verb; so pi gato, he too went, lit. he too gone.
- When a finite verb is used as predicate, it must agree with the subject in number and person. When there are several subjects of different persons, the verb is put in the first person plural: so ca tva.m aha.m gacchatha, he thou, and I go. Should there be no subject of the first person, the verb is put in the 2nd person plural: so ca tva.m gacchatha, he and thou go.
- In the case of an adjective or a P.P.P. taking the place of the predicate, the adjective and the P.P.P. must agree with the subject in gender and number: so gato, he went; saa gataa, she went; ta.m gata.m, it went; so taru.no, he is young; saa taru.naa, she is young; ta.m taru.na.m, it is young.
- But if a substantive stands in the place of a verb, no such concord of gender or number needs take place: appamado nibbanapada.m (=nibbaanassa pada.mo), vigilance is the path to Nirvana.
Concord of adjective and substantive
591. An adjective, or participle (which is of the nature of an adjective) when not compounded with the noun it qualifies, must agree with it in gender, number and case.
Concord of the relative and its antecedent
592. The relative must agree with its antecedent in gender, number and person.
- The relative may be used by itself, without the noun: yo janaati so ima.m ga.nhaatu, he who knows let him take this. Note, that in the above the demonstrative pronoun so is used as a correlative.
- The relative is used instead of a preceding noun: aha.m eka.m upaaya.m janaami, yena amhe ga.nhitu.m no sakkissati, I know an expedient by which he will not able to seize us.
- With the noun expressed: yassa purisassa buddhi hoti so mahaddhano ti vuccati, to whom there is wisdom, he is called very wealthy, he who has wisdom is said to be very wealthy.
- Note that the clause containing the relative is put first; sometimes the clause containing the correlative is placed first for the sake of emphasis: na so pitaayena putto na sikkhaapiyati, he is no father by whom the son is not made to learn.
Syntax of Substantives
593. This is properly government, for the term "kaaraka" expresses the relation between the noun and the verb; so that any relation existing between words not connected with a verb cannot be called a kaaraka, consequently the Genitive and the Vocative are not considered as cases, for they have no relation whatever with the verb; they are therefore called akaaraka, non-cases.
1. The Nominative
594. The Nominative is used very much in the same way as in English; it is the subject of the verb and the latter must agree with it in number and person; see Concord of subject and predicate (590).
- The Nominative is used in apposition: malliko kosalaraajaa, Mallika, king of Kosala.
- It is used absolutely in titles of books, that is, it does not take the termination proper to the nominative; maahajaanakajaataka, the birth-story of Mahajanaka.
595. The true force of the genitive is -of and -'s expressing possession.
- The genitive therefore is used primarily to denote possession:
- suva.n.nassa raasi, a heap of gold
- rukkhassa saakhaa, the branch of the tree
- In such examples as the above, the genitive is often compounded with the noun it qualifies: suva.n.naraasi.
- It denotes the whole of which a part only is taken; this is called "partitive genitive":
- braahmaa.na.m so pa.n.dito, he is clever among brahmins
- sabbayodhaana.m atisuuro, the bravest of all warriors
- tumhaaka.m pana ekenaa, but even not one of you
- The genitive is used also with words expressing difference, equality, inequality:
- tassa antara.m na passi.msu, they did not see the (its) difference
- sadiso pitu, the same as (his) father
- tulyo pitu, equal to his father
Remark. In these examples, the ablative may also be used: sadiso pitaraa.
- Words meaning dear or the reverse, take a genitive: saa braahma.nassa manaapaa, she (was) dear to the brahmin.
- Likewise words denoting honour, veneration, etc.:
- gaamassa puujito, honoured of the village
- ra~n~no maanito, revered by (of) the king
Remark. In these examples the Instrumental may also be used: gaamena puujito.
- Words of skill, proficiency, etc., and their opposites, govern the genitive: kusalaa naccagiitassa, clever in dancing and singing.
- It is used with words indicating locality, time, distance:
- amhaaka.m buddhassa pubbe, before our Buddha
- gaamassa avidure, not far from the village
- upari tesa.m, above them
- Believing in or well disposed towards: budhassa pasanno, he has faith in the Buddha.
Remark. Here the Locative may also be used: buddhe pasanno.
- It is used also with words of remembering or thinking of (with sorrow), pitying, wishing for, giving or apportioning, honouring, cleaning, filling, fearing and a few others:
In these examples, the Accusative may be used: tela.m davati.
- maatussa sarati, he remembers his mother (with sorrow)
- na tesa koci sarati, nobody remembers them
- telassa davati, he gives oil
- puurati baalo paapassa, the fool is full of evil
- sabbe tasanti da.n.dassa, all fear punishment
Remark. Words of fearing also govern the Ablative: kin nu kho aha.m sunakhaa bhaayami? Why should I fear the dog?
- A Genitive with a participle in agreement is called a Genitive Absolute. It generally denotes some attendant circumstance: tassa bhatta.m bhuttassa udaka.m aharanti, when he had finished his meal they fetched him water.
- Some other relations of the Genitive will present no difficulty, as they have their exact parallel in English.
596. It will be seen from the remarks above that the Genitive is often used instead of the Accusative, the Ablative, the Instrumentive and the Locative. It is also used adverbially, as kissa, why? It will also be remarked that whenever the Genitive is dependent on a verb, it is so on account of its being used instead of another case, as in: maatussa sarati.
3. The Dative
597. The person or object to or for whom, something is given or done, is put in the Dative case. The Dative is consequently used also as indirect object with transitive verbs having an Accusative as direct object.
- The Dative, then, expresses the relations which, in English, are usually denoted by the words to, for:
- bhikkhussa civara.m deti, he gives a robe to the priest
- yuddhaaya paccuggacchaami, I will set out for battle
- The Dative is governed by verbs expressing praise or blame, anger, believing, disbelieving, assent, envy, pleasure or displeasure, injury, benefit, approval, forgiveness, salutation, blessing, hatred, abuse, concealing, worshipping, carrying. Examples:
- Buddhassa silaaghate, he praises the Buddha
- yadi'ha.m tassa kuppeyya, if I should be angry with him
- duhayati disaana.m ogho, the flood has injured the country
- tuyha.m saddahaami, I believe thee
- svaagata.m te, hail to thee!
- sotthi tuyha.m hotu, fare thee well!
- khama me, forgive me!
- mayha.m sapate, he swears at or, reviles me
- tassa sampa.ticchi, he assented to it
- ussuyanti dujjanaa gu.nav antaana.m, wicked people envy the virtuous
- tassa atiita.m aahari, he told him a story
- devaa pi tesa.m pihayanti, even the gods desire them, envy them
- sama.nassa rocate sacca.m, truth pleases a monk
- The Dative is commonly used with the verb "to be" to express possession: puttaa me n'atthi, no sons are to me, I have no sons.
Remark. When the verb "hoti" is used with the Dative to express possession, it is generally put in the singular, even when, as in the above example what is possessed is plural.
- The word, ala.m, enough, fit, governs the Dative:
- ala.m kukkuccaaya, enough of doubt!
- ala.m mallo mallassa, sufficient is a warrior for a warrior! A warrior is match for a warrior.
- The words, attha, object, purpose; hita, benefit, blessing; and sukha, happiness; are used in the Dative with the meaning respectively of: for the purpose of, for; for the benefit of; for the happiness of; and they govern a Genitive:
- ropanassa atthaaya, or, ropanatthaaya, for the purpose of sowing
- devamanussaana.m hitaaya, for the benefit of gods and men
- tassa sukhaaya, for his hapiness
- The Dative may denote the purpose for which, and then governs a Genitive: daarassa bhara.naaya, for the purpose of maintaining a wife, for the maintenance of a wife, to maintain a wife.
Remark. It will be seen from this example that the Dative in aaya has the force of an Infinitive.
- The Dative is also used with the verb ma~n~nati, to consider, esteem, when contempt is implied:
- kali`ngarassa tuyha.m ma~n~ne, I consider thee as chaff, a fig for you!
- jiivita.m ti.naya na ma~n~ne, I do not consider life (so much) as grass, I do not care in the least for life.
- The place to which motion is directed is sometimes put in the Dative:
- appo saggaaya gacchati, (only) the few go to heaven
- nirayaaya upaka.d.dhati, drags down to hell
- so ma.m udakaaya neti, he takes me to the water
- The Dative is often used instead of the Accusative, and also of the Locative.
4. The Accusative
- The Accusative case is generally governed by transitive verbs:
- ratha.m karoti, he makes a carriage
- aahaaro bala.m janeti, food produces (=gives strength)
- All verbs implying motion govern the Accusative:
- nagara.m gacchati, he goes to town
- bhagavanta.m upasa`nkamitvaa, having approached the Blessed One
- Verbs having the meaning of, to choose to name, to call, to appoint, to ask, to make, to know, to consider, etc. take two accusatives, one a direct object and the other a factitive or indirect object:
here, gaama.m and gacchanta.m are the factitive objects.
- puriso bhaara.m gama.m vahati, the man carries the load to the village
- purisa.m gacchanta.m passati, he sees the man going
- Causative verbs likewise govern two Accusatives:
- puriso purisa.m gaama.m gamaayati, the man causes the man to go to the village
- aacariyo sisa.m dhamma.m paatheti, the preceptor causes the disciple to read the Doctrine
Remark. In such examples the Instrumentive may be used instead of the factitive object:
- saamiko daasena (or daasa.m) khajja.m khaadaapeti, the master causes the slave to eat the food
- purisena (or purisa.m) kamma.m kaareti, he causes the slave to do the work
- When the roots: √vas, to live; √thaa, to stand; √si, to lie down; √pad, to go step; and √vis, to enter; are preceded by the verbal prefixes: anu, upa, abhi, adhi, aa and ni, they govern the Accusative:
- gaama.m upavasati, he lives near the village
- nagara.m adhivasanti, they dwell in the village
- ma~nca.m abhinsiideyya, he ought to sit on the cot
- sakkassa sahabyata.m upapajjati, got into companionship with Sakka, she went to Sakka's heaven
- The Accusative is used for the Locative:
- nadi.m pivati = nadiya.m pivati, he drinks in the river
- gaama.m carati = gaame carati, he roams in the village
- The indeclinables: abhito, near, in the presence of, on both sides; dhi, dhii, Woe! Fie! Shame! as well as the expression: dhi-r-atthu, Woe, shame be to! antaraa, between, on the way; parito, around, everywhere, on every side; anu, by the side of, inferior; pati, to, towards, for, near; pari, around; upa, inferior to; antarena, except, without; abhi, before, govern the Accusative:
- abhito gaama vasati, he lives near the village
- dhii braahma.nassa hantaara.m, woe to whom strikes a brahmin!
- dhii-ratthu ma.m puutikaya.m, shame on that foul body of mine!
- upaaya.m antarena, without expedient
- ma.m antarena, excepting me
- antaraa ca raajagaha.m, and on the way to Rajagaha
- parito nagara.m, around the village
- sadhu devadatto maatara.m anu, Devadatta is kind to his mother
- anu saariputta.m, inferior to Sariputta
- pabbatta.m anu, by the side of the mountain
- saadhu devadatto maatara.m pati, Devadatta is kind to his mother
- nadi.m nera~njara.m pati, near the river Nera~njara
- upa saariputta.m, inferior to Sariputta
- Duration of time is put in the Accusative:
- divasa.m, the whole day
- ta.m kha.na.m, at that moment
- eka.m samaya.m, once upon a time
- Ordinals in the Accusative, denote "number of times":
- dutiya.m, for the second time
- tatiya.m, for the 3rd time
- Distance is also expressed by the Accusative: yojana.m gacchati, he goes one league.
- The Accusative is very often used adverbially:
- khippa.m gacchati, he goes quickly
- hatthanillehaka.m bhu~njati, he eats "licking his hands"
Remark. This is called the adverbial accusative.
5. The Instrumentative
- The agent by whom or the instrument with which an action is performed is put in the Instrumental:
- cakkhunaa rupa.m passati, (one) sees forms with the eye
- hatthena kamma.m karoti, (one) does work with the hands
- daasena kato, done by the slave
- The Instrumental shows cause or reason:
The Instrumental can therefore be translated by such expressions as: by means of; on account of; through; by reason of; owing to.
- rukkho vaatena o.namati, the tree bends down on account of the wind
- kammuna vasalo hoti, he is a pariah by reason of his work
- The conveyance in or on which one goes is put in the Instrumental:
- yaanena gacchati, he goes in a cart
- vimaanena gacchi.msu, they went in a flying mansion
- hatthina upasa`nkamati, he approached on his elephant
- The price at which a thing is bought or sold is put in the Instrumental:
- kahaapa.nena no detha, give it to us for a kahaapa.na (a small piece of money)
- satasahassena ki.nitvaa, having bought it for 100,000 (pieces of money)
- The direction or route, or the way by which one goes is shown by the Instrumental:
- taa saaladvaarena gacchanti, they went by the gate of the hall
- kena maggena so gato, (by) which way did he go?
- It is used to denote infirmity or bodily defects, the member or organ affected being in the Instrumental:
- akkhinaa so kaa.no, he is blind of one eye
- hatthena ku.ni, having a crooked hand
- Words expressing, birth, lineage, origin, nature are put in the Instrumental:
- jaatiyaa khattiyo buddho, Buddha is a kṣatriya by birth
- pakatiyaa bhaddako, good by nature
- The Instrumental expreses the time in which:
- divasena patto, arrived in one day
- ekena maasena nagara.m gacchi, he went to the city in a month
- Also the time at which: tena samayena, at that time...
- It expresses companionship, and is then generally used with the indeclinables, saha or saddhi.m, with, together with: nisiidi bhagavaa saddhi.m bhikkhusa`nghena, the Blessed One sat together with the assembly of the monks.
- The expressions "what is the use of", "what use to ...", "what benefit by...", etc., are expressed in Paali by the Instrumental of the thing and the Dative of the person:
- kin te jataahi dummedha, what good to thee, O fool, by matted hair?
- kin nu me buddhena, what need have I of Buddha? What do I care for a Buddha?
- The word attho, desire, need, want, takes an Instrumental of the object desired or wanted and a Dative of the person: ma.ninaa me attho, I want a jewel (lit., to me is need of, or desire for, a jewel).
- ala.m, enough, governs also this case:
- ala.m idha vaasena, enough of living here
- ala.m buddhena, Buddha is sufficient for me
- Words denoting "separation" are generally construed with the Instrumental: piyehi vippayogo dukkho, separation from those we love is painful.
- The indeclinables, saha, saddhi.m, sama.m, with at: vinaa, without, except, govern the Instrumental: vinaadosena, without fault.
Remark. saha, sometimes expresses "equality": puttena saha dhanavaa pitaa, a father as rich as his son.
- Verbs meaning "to convey, to carry, to fetch" etc., take the Instrumental of the place of carrying: sisena daarukalaapa.m uccha`ngena pa.n.nam aadaaya, taking a bunch of firewood on her head and greens at her hips.
- The Instrumental is often used adverbially (see above).
- It is also governed by many prepositions.
6. The Ablative
- The primary meaning of the Ablative is that expressed by the word "from"; that is, it expresses separation; it expresses also many other relations, in which the principal idea of separation is more or less discernible.
- gaamaa apenti, they left the village
- so assaa patati, he fell from the horse
- Direction from:
- aviicito upari, above the Avici Hell
- uddha.m padatala, (from) above the sole of the foot
- The place "wherein" an action is performed is put in the Ablative; in such cases a gerund is sometimes understood according to native grammarians, but the student will remark that these expressions have their exact parallel in English: paasaadaa oloketi, he looks from the palace, is said to be equivalent to: paasaada.m abhiruhitvaa paasaadaa oloketi, having ascended the palace he looks from the palace.
- Measure of length, breadth or distance is put in the Ablative:
- diighaso navavidatthiyo, nine spans long
- yojana.m aayaamato, a league in length
- yojana.m vittharato, a league in breadth
Remark. In these examples the Instrumental may also be used: yojana.m aayaamena, yojana.m vitthaarena.
- That from which a person or animal is warded or kept off is put in the Ablative:
- yavehi gaavo rakkhati, he keeps off the cows from the barley
- ta.n.dulaa kaake vaareti, he wards off the crows from the rice
- With verbs meaning to hide, conceal, "the person from whom one wishes to hide" is in the Ablative: upajjhaaya antaradhaayati sisso, the pupil hides himself from his preceptor.
Remark. In such expressions, the Genitive may also be used: antaradhaayissaami sama.nassa gotamasssa, I will hide myself from the samana Gotama.
- When the verb "antaradhaayati" means, to vanish, to disappear, the place from which one vanishes is put in the Locative: jetavane antaradhaayitvaa, having disappeared from the Jetavana Monastery.
- But when "natural phenomena" are referred to, the Nominative is used: andhakaaro antaradhaayati, darkness disappears.
- Verbs meaning "to abstain, to avoid, to release, to fear, to abhor", also govern the Ablative:
- paapadhammmato viramati, he refrains from sin
- so parimuccati jaatiyaa, he is released from existence
- corehi bhaayaami, I am afraid of thieves
- The Ablative also shows "motive, cause, reason" and can be translated by for, on account of, by reason of, through, etc.:
- vaacaaya marati, he died on account of his speech
- siilato na.m pasa.msanti, they praise him for his virtue
Remark. In these examples, the Instrumental may be used as well: siilena pasa.msanti.
- It is used with words showing proximity: gaamaa samiipa.m, near the village.
Remark. In these examples, the Genitive may also be used.
- Verbs meaning "to be born, to originate from" etc. govern the Ablative: coraa jaayati bhaya.m, from a thief fear arises.
- The following indeclinables govern the Ablative:
- araka, far from, afar: aarakaa tehi bhagavaa, far from them is the Blessed One
- upari, above, over: upari pabbataa, over the mountain
- pati, against, instead, in return; rite, except, without; a~n~natra, vinaa, without, except; naanaa, different, away from; puthu and, before a vowel, puthag, separately, without, except; aa, till, as far as; yava, till, as far as; saha, with:
- buddhasmaa pati saariputto, Sariputta takes the place of the Buddha
- rite saddhamma, without the true Doctrine
- It should be noted that the Ablative is very frequently used, instead of the Instrumental, Accusative, the Genitive and the Locative, e.g. vinaasaddhammaa, or vinaa saddhamma.m, or vinaa saddhammena.
7. The Locative
- The Locative shows the place in or on which a thing or person is, or an action performed; it is therefore expressed in English by "in, on, upon, at".
- kate nisiidati puriso, the man is sitting on the mat
- thaliya.m odana.m pacati, he cooks the food in a cooking-pot
- The Locative shows the "cause, reason, or motive" of an action:
- diipiicammesu ha~n~nante, the panther is killed for its skin
- ku~njaro dantesu ha~n~nate, the elephant is killed for his tusks
- It denotes time when an action takes place: saaya.nhasamaye aagato, he came in the evening.
- When the pre-eminence of an individual (thing or person) over the whole class to which he belongs is implied, as well as with adjectives in the superlative degree, the noun with respect to which such pre-eminence or such superlative degree of excellence is shown is put in the Locative or in the Genitive:
- manussesu khattiyo suuratamo, the kṣatriya is the most valiant of men, manussaana.m khattiyo suuratamo
- ka.nhaa gaavisu sampannakhiiratamaa, of cows, the black one abounds most in milk, or, ka.nhaa gaavina.m sampannakhiiratamaa
- The following words govern the Locative and the Genitive as well:
- saamii, an owner, master
- issaro, king, lord
- adhipati, chief, lord
- daayaado, an heir
- patibhuu, substitute, surety
- pasuuto, offspring, child
- kusalo, clever, expert
- gonesu saamii, an owner of oxen, or gonaana.m saamii, etc.
- Words signifying "to be happy, contented, eager", govern the Locative, as well as the Instrumental:
- ~naa.nasmi.m ussuko, eager for wisdom, or ~naa.nena ussako
- ~naa.nasmi.m pasiidito, contented with wisdom, ~naa.nena pasiidito
- Words signifying "reverence, respect, love, delighting in, saluting, taking, seizing, striking, kissing, fond of, adoring," govern the Locative:
- paapasmi.m ramati mano, the mind delights in evil
- bhikkhuusu abhivaadenti, they salute the monks
- paade gahetvaa papaate khipati, took him by the feet and threw him in the precipice
- purisa.m siise paharati, struck the man on the head
- The Locative is used sometimes to show that one does not take any account of something or person: rudantasmi.m daarake pabbaji, he left the world in spite of his son weeping. The Genitive also may be used: rudantassa aarakassa pabbaji (See: Locative and Genitive Absolute).
- The Locative is employed to denote superiority or inferiority, with the words "upa" and "adhi" respectively.
- upa khaariya.m do.no, a do.na is inferior to a khaari
- adhi brahmadatte pa~ncalaa, the Pancalas are under Brahmadatta's supremacy
- adhi devesu buddho, the Buddha is above the gods
- It is used to denote "proximity":
- nadiya.m sassa.m, corn near the river
- tassa pa.n.nasaalaaya hatthimaggo hoti, near his leaf hut there is an elephant-track
- The Locative is used absolutely with a participle in the same case as itself (see, Absolute Construction).
- In lexicons, the Locative is used to signify "in the sense of" ru sadde, (the root) ru, is used in the sense of "making noise".
- Words denoting "fitness, suitability" govern the Locative: tayi na yutta.m, not fit for thee; the Genitive is used in the same sense: tava na yutta.m.
- The Locative is extensively used instead of other cases, and the students must be prepared to meet the Locative where very often he would expect to find some other case. Let him note that in almost all instances, the case for which the Locative stands may be and is, used.
- The Locative is used for the Genitive (see, above, v).
- It is used for the Instrumental: pattesu pi.n.daaya caraanti, they go about with bowls for their food.
- It is also used instead of the Dative: sa`nghe dinna.m mahapphala.m, offering to the clergy are very meritorious.
- The Locative is used for the Ablative: kadaliidesu gaje rakkhanti, they keep off the elephants from the plantain-trees.
- The Locative is frequently used adverbially: atiite, formerly.
8. The Vocative
602. The Vocative case does not require any explanations: it is used exactly as in English.
The Genitive and Locative Absolute
- When a noun or a pronoun in the Locative or Genitive is used with a participle in the same case as itself, the construction is called, Locative Absolute and Genitive Absolute respectively. The Locative Absolute construction is met with much more often than the Genitive Absolute. There is also found, now and then, a Nominative Absolute construction, but far less common than the other two.
- The Locative, Genitive and (sometimes) the Nominative Absolute, may often be translated by "when, while, since" and sometimes by "although":
- tesu vivadantesu bodhisatto cintesi, while they were disputing, the Future Buddha thought
- suriye attha`ngate, when the sun had set, after sunset
- gavisu duyhamaanaasu gato, he went when the cows were being milked
- asaniyaa pi siise patantiyaa, although the thunderbolt was falling on their head
- sati, the Locative singular of santo, present participle of the verb atthi, to be, besides having the above meanings may also often be translated by "if, such being the case":
With feminine words, sati is also used, although it should be, satiyaa (Fem.):
- atthe sati, if there be need
- eva.m sati, such being the case
- payoge sati, when there is occasion
- pucchaaya sati, if the question be asked
- ruciyaa sati, had he the desire, if he had the wish
- The Genitive Absolute is not quite so frequently used as the Locative Absolute although found often enough:
- saaku.nakassa gumbato jaala.m mocentass'eva, even while the fowler was disengaging the net from the bush
- tesa.mki.lantaana.m yeva suriyattha`nigatavelaa jaataa, while even they were sporting, it became dusk
- There is also mentioned a so-called Nominative Absolute:
- gacchanto bhaaradvaajo so, addasaa ajjhuta.m isi.m, Bharadvaja having gone he... etc.
- yaaymaano mahaaraajaa, addaasii tantarena ge, as the king was going, he... etc
Remark. The Genitive Absolute is frequently used to show "disregard, contempt", it can then be translated by "in spite of, notwithstanding". For example see above (601, viii).
Syntax of the Adjective
- As has already been said, whenever an adjective is not in composition with another word, it must agree with the word it qualifies in number, gender and case.
- Adjectives in the comparative degree require an Ablative: siila.m eva sutaa seyyo, virtue is better than learning.
- Comparison is also expressed by an Ablative followed by an adjective in the positive degree: maadhuraa paa.taliputtakehi abhirupaa, the people of Madhura are more handsome than those of Paa.taliputta.
- It is also expressed by the indeclinable vara.m, better, with an Ablative: tato vara.m, better than that.
- When "the better of two" is to be expressed, a Genitive is used with the positive degree: tumhaka.m dvinna.m ko bhaddako, of you two who is the better?
- Superlative adjectives are used with the Genitive or the Locative, for examples see above (601, iv).
Syntax of Pronouns
1. Personal Pronouns
- The personal pronouns are used much in the same way as in English, and do not call for particular remarks, except, perhaps, the enclitic forms of aha.m and tva.m, (289-b, c; 290, c).
- The enclitic forms of aha.m: me and no, and those of tva.m: te and vo, are never used at the beginning of a sentence nor immediately before the particles ca, taa and eva:
- detu me, let him give to me
- tava vaa me hotu, be it thine or mine
- kamma.m no ni.t.thita.m, our task is finished
- ko te doso, what is thy fault?
- kaha.m vo raajaa, where is your king?
- With verbs, the personal pronouns are frequently understood, as the endings of the tenses clearly indicate also the person as: gacchati, (he) goes = so gacchati; gaccheyyaami, (I) should go = aha.m gaccheyyaami, etc.
- The personal pronoun so, saa, ta.m is also used as a demonstrative and as an article. See Concord (589). Therefore, so puriso may mean according to the context: the man, or, that man.
- Tasmaa (Ablative), is used adverbially in the sense of "therefore, accordingly, thereby"; with the same meanings it is also followed by hi and ti ha (=iti ha):
- tasmaa hi pa~n~naa ca dhanena seyyo, and therefore is wisdom better than riches
- tasmaa ti ha bhikkhave, accordingly, O monks!
- The Instrumental tena is used with the same meanings as tasmaa: tena ta.m madhura.m, therefore, on that account, it is sweet. Tena followed by hi means "well! very well! all right! well then!": tena hi khaadaapessaami nan ti, very well, then, I'll make you devour him.
- Na.m and ena.m (295, 300), are used when something or someone already mentioned is referred to. See (296).
2. Demonstrative Pronouns
- eso, esaa, eta.m (298), refer to what is near, and mean: this.
The same remarks apply to aya.m and asu, this.
- esaa itthii, this woman
- nirupakaaro esaa, this (fellow) is useless
Remark. esa is often used for eso, sa for so.
- The neuter etad (=eta.m, 302), is used with the verb hoti and the Genitive of the person, and the expression is then equivalent to "to think": tassa etad ahosi, he thought... (lit = of his this was).
3. The Relative
- We have already explained the Relative (592); only a few of its most important peculiar uses need be mentioned here.
- Yo (311) is used with the Indefinite koci (319): yo koci, whoever, anyone; ya.m ki~nci, whatsoever, anything. See (314-a, b).
- The neuter singular ya.m is frequently used adverbially in the sense of "as; that, because, since, seeing that, if, when": ta.m bahu.m ya.m pi jiivasi, it is much that thou livest.
- The Instrumental yena is used as an adverb, meaning "whereby, by which, for which, because": yena na.m ga.nhissaami, by which I shall catch him.
- When motion to a definite place is expressed, yena, where, is used with tena, there: yena bhagavaa, ten'upasa`nkati, he went to Buddha (lit. where was Buddha there he approached).
- Yasmaa (Ablative), is used in the sense of "because" and is then generally followed by tasmaa, therefore: yasmaa tva.m na jaanaasi tasmaa baalo'sii ti, because thou doth not understand, therefore art thou a fool.
4. The Interrogative
- The interrogative pronoun ko (316), may be used by itself or with a noun or pronoun:
- ko pana tva.m, who art thou?
- ke ete, who are these?
- kaa daarikaa, which girl?
- kena (Instrumental) used with attho and the Dative of the person, forms such expressions as "what do you want?" etc,: kena te attho, what are you in need of?
- kena (Instrumental), kasmaa (Ablative) and kissa (Genitive) are used adverbially with the meaning of "why? wherefore?"
- ki.m is much used with the Instrumental to express "what is the use of?": ki.m me jiivitena, what is the use to me of life?
5. The Indefinite
609. The indefinite pronoun (319), does not present any peculiarity:
- maa idha koci paavisi, let nobody enter here
- ki~nci bhaya.m, any danger
610. To express "plurality, totality, distribution, variety, multiplicity," etc., words are sometimes repeated:
- tesu tesu .thaanesu, in various places
- ta.m ta.m kathaya maanaa, saying this and this
yo, thus repeated means "whoever, whatever, whichever":
- ya.m ya.m gaama.m, whatever village
- itaraa ten'eva niyaamena yaa yaa
- ki~nci katheti tassa tassa upari kacavara.m cha.d.desi, and in this way the other (woman) threw the refuse on whomsoever said anything
- so di.t.thadi.t.thamanusse jiivitakkhaya.m paapeti, he kills all whom he sees
- gatagata.t.thaane, in every place
- yena kena, by whatever...
- ubbahiiyati so so, every one is put to flight
Syntax of Verbs
The Present Tense
- The concord of the verb with its subject has already been noticed (590, 1st).
- The Present Tense denotes an action taking place now, a fact existing at the present time:
- so bhaayati, he is afraid
- saa pacati, she cooks
- The Present Tense often expresses the continuance of an action and is equivalent to the present progressive: saa gabbhe nisiidati, she is sitting in her private room.
- Habit, custom and general truths are expressed by the present tense:
- sabbe maranti, all (men) die
- bhikkhu siila.m aacarati, a monk practises virtue
- The Present is sometimes used with a future signification: ki.m karomi, what shall I do?
- The Present is extremely frequent in narrations when recounting past events as if they were actually happening, this is called the Historical Present: so pa~ncamaa.navakasataani sippa.m ugga.nhaapeti, he taught five hundred young men (lit. he teaches).
- When no interrogative particle is used, interrogation is sometimes expressed by placing the present tense at the beginning of the sentence: socasi tva.m upaasaka, grievest thou, O layman?
Remark. Other tenses may also be used in the same way to mark interrogation.
The Past Tense, Perfect, Imperfect and Aorist
- The Perfect and the Imperfect tenses present no difficulty, they are as a rule used in the sense of a general past, and they do not require any notice. Let it be borne in mind, however, that the Perfect is but seldom used; that the Imperfect, though more frequent than the Perfect, does seldom differ from it in meaning and last, that the Aorist has generally displaced these two tenses and superseded them.
- The Aorist is the principal past tense in Paali and is therefore extensively used; it expresses indefinite past time, but also includes the present day. The Aorist may be translated by the Present Perfect or the Past Indefinite (See 405):
- catuppaaduu pi eka.m siiha.m raajaana.m aka.msu, the quadrupeds made a lion king
- mukhe pahari, struck him on the mouth
- kena kaara.nena rodi, why did you cry?
- braahma.no e.lakena saddhi.m vicari, the brahmin walked about with the goat
- The indeclinable maa is used with the Aorist to express prohibition:
- e.laka, maa bhaayi, O goat!, fear not!
- maa puna evaruupa.m akaasi, do not do so again
- taata, maa gami, dear son, do not go
- The Future expresses simple futurity:
- aha.m gacchissaami, I shall go
- te marissanti, they will die
- The Future is also used as a mild form of the Imperative, when courteously giving a command: tva.m tassa bandhana.m dantehi khaadissasi, cut his bonds with thy teeth.
- The Future is used to express simple condition, with the particles ce, sace and yadi:
- yadi tva.m yaagu.m pacissasi aha.m pivissaami, if thou wilt cook the gruel, I shall drink it
- so ta~n ce labhissati, tena saddhi.m gaccha, if he gets it, go with him
- bhavissati, the 3rd person singular of bhavati, to be, is often used in the sense of "it must be that...":
- coraa pathama.m ~neva bherisadda.m sutvaa issarabheri bhavissatii ti palaayitvaa, the theives on first hearing the beating of the drum, (said) "It must be the drum of an official" and fled
- aya.m me putto bhavissati, he must be my son
- bhavissati preceded by the negative particle na may be translated by "it cannot be": naaya.m issarabheri bhavissati, this cannot be an official's drum.
- jaanissaami, the 3rd person singular of jaanaati, to know, is often used idiomatically in the sense of "I'll see": hotu, pacchaa jaanissaami, let it be, I'll see (to it) afterwards.
- The Optative expresses "probability, capability, fitness, assent or permission, command, wish, condition" and is also used in laying down rules and precepts.
- Fitness: tva.m tattha gaccheyyaasi, you should go there.
- Wish: aha.m ima.m tumhaaka.m bhaajetvaa dadeyya.m, I would divide and give it to you, but...
- tva.m pana ito pa.t.thaaya ovaadaanusaasaniya.m dadeyyaasi, but thou hence forward, give us instructions and admonitions
- udarena nipajjeyyaasi, lie on thy belly
- Probability: api ca naama gaccheyyaami, I may go.
- When expressing condition, it is usually preceded by ce, sace or yadi, if: saami, sace imaaya velaaya tava sapatta.m passeyyaasi kin ti ta.m kareyyaasi? Lord, if, at this time thou should see thy enemy, what would thou do to him?
- To express supposition, the word yathaa is sometimes used with the Optative: yathaa mahaaraaja kocideva puriso padiipa.m padiipeyya, were, maharaja, a man to light a lamp...
- Assent: tva.m idaani gaccheyyaasi, thou may now go.
615. The Conditional expresses an action unable to be performed on account of some impediment in the way of its execution:
- so ce ta.m yaana.m alabhissa agacchissaa, he would go if he could get that vehicle
- bho satthavaasino, sace esa rukkhamuule ca`nkamanataapaso ajja naabhavissaa, sabbe mahaavilopa.m patta abhavissatha, O! merchants, had not today this ascetic been walking to and fro at the foot of this tree you should all have been completely pillaged
- The Imperative is used in giving commands: tena hi, gaccha, very well, go!
- It expresses entreaty: bhante bhagavaa apposukko viharatu, Lord, let the Blessed One now live free from cares.
- Benedictions, blessings: vassasata.m, jiiva, may you live a hundred years!
- With maa prefixed, the Imperative 2nd person expresses simple prohibition (see Aorist 612, iii): maa eva.m karotha, do not do so!
- The Imperative 3rd person singular of bhavati, to be, is often used idiomatically, with the meaning of "very well": hotu, aha.m ja.nissaami, very well I'll see (to it).
- The Infinitive shows "purpose, motive intention". It is used actively as well as passively.
- uuyyaanapaalo cha.d.detu.m upaaya.m na passati, the gardener saw no means of throwing (them) away
- ta.m gantu.m, na dassaami, I will not let him go
- The Infinitive is used with verbs meaning "to wish, to try or strive, to begin, to be able":
- saa roditu.m aarabhi, she began to cry
- na koci mayaa saddhi.m sallapitu.m sakkoti, no one can converse with me
- saa pavisitu.m na icchati, she did not wish to enter
- so ta.m ukkhipitu.m ussahati, he endeavoured to lift it
- The verb dadaati, to give, after an Infinitive means "to let, to allow" and the verb labhati, to obtain, means "to be allowed":
- ta.m paharitu.m na dassaami, I will not allow him to be struck
- gehabahi nikkhamitu.m alabhanto, not being allowed to go out of the house
- Verbs like va.t.tati, to behove, to be fit, proper, and adjectives like yu.t.to, having the same meaning, are much used with the Infinitive; in the case of va.t.tati, the Instrumentive is used of the person who ought to do the act:
it is used also impersonally:
- ettha daani mayaa vasitu.m vattati, it now behoves me to live
- ta.m haritu.m va.t.tati, the best is to kill him, it is proper, fit, to kill him
- eva.m kathetu.m na yu.t.ta.m, it is not proper to speak thus
- The indeclinable labbha, possible, allowable and sakkaa, possible, able, are used wih the Infinitive: sakkaa is used much in the same way as va.t.tati, that is, actively or passively, and often with the Instrumental of the person; the verb hoti frequently follows sakkaa:
- sakkaa hoti methuna.m dhamma.m pa.tisevitu.m, it is possible to practise fornication
- etasmi.m .thaane na sakkaa vasitu.m, it is impossible to live in this place
- ida.m na labbhhaa eva.m katu.m, it is not possible to do it in this way
- When kaamo, willing, desirous, is compounded with an Infinitive, final .m of the Infinitive is dropped: devataaya balikamma.m kaaretukaamo, wishing to make an offering to the god.
- The Gerund always denotes an action completed before another; it may be translated by the word "having" followed by a past participle as: gantvaa, having gone; or by the past tense followed by the conjunction "and" : gantvaa, he went and... The gerund, therefore, being very extensively used, is the most common connective in Paali , and practically does away with the Paali conjunction equivalent to the English "and" connecting two sentences. So ta.m ukkhipitvaa ghara.m netvaa catudhaa vibhajitvaa daanaadiini pu~n~naani katvaa yathaakamma.m gato. He lifted it up, took it home, divided into four parts and, practising alms-giving and other good deeds, went according to his deeds.
- The word va (=eva) following a gerund, may be translated by "as soon as":
- ta.m vacana.m sutvaa va, as soon as he heard these words...
- so vaandro attano putta.m disvaa va, the monkey, as soon as he saw his offspring...
- The particle "api" coming after a gerund, may be translated by "although": akata~n~nuu puggalo cakkavattirajja.m datvaa pi tosetu.m na sakkaa, an ungrateful man cannot be satisfied although he be given universal sovereignty.
- Before a gerund, a may be translated by "without":
- papa~nca.m akatvaa, without making delays, without any delay
- eka.m pi akilametvaa, without harming even one person
- Some gerunds are used prepositionally; the principal of them are: patthaaya, since, beginning from, from, after; sandhaaya, with reference to, concerning; aarabbha, concerning, with reference to; sa~ncicca, intentionally; asallakkhetvaa, inadvertently, unawares; nissaaya, upanissaaya, on account of, through, near; aadaaya, with; paticca, by, through, on account of; .thapetvaa, except, excepting.
- The Gerund may sometimes be translated by the present participle: idha aagantvaa aha.m cora.m passi.m, coming here I saw the thief.
- The Gerund may have a passive signification: coraje.t.thakena gahetvaa, having been seized by the robber chief.
1. The Present Participle
- The Present Participle may generally be translated by "while, whilst," which sense is inherent in it; this participle always expresses contemporaneity of action:
- attano gaama.m gacchanto coraa.tavi.m patvaa, while going to his village he came upon a forest inhabited by thieves
- tattha gantvaa maatara.m pa.tijagganto vaasa.m kappesi, he went and, taking care of his mother, took up his abode there
- It must be remembered that participles are of the nature of adjectives (439) and must agree with the word they qualify in the same way as adjectives:
- aviiciniraya.m gacchantaa sattaa..., persons going to the Avici Hell
- aagacchanta.m ta.m disvaa pi, although he saw him coming
- The Present Participle is sometimes used substantively, and may be translated by "he who" (does the action expressed by the verb):
- ida.m pana paraloka.m gacchantassa patheyya.m bhavissati, but this will be provisions for him who goes to the other world
- paraloka.m gacchanto eka.m kahaapa.na.m pi gahetvaa na gacchati, he who goes to the other world does not take even one cent with him
- The Present Participle may also sometimes be translated by a conditional clause:
- ta.m labhanto jiivissami alabhanto idh' eva marissaami, if I obtain her I shall live; if not, in this very spot shall I die
- addhamaase sahassa.m labhanto upa.t.thahissaami deva, if I get a thousand every fortnight, I'll serve thee, Lord
- eva.m karonto lacchasi akaronto na lacchasi, if you do so you'll get it, if not, you will not get it
- The particle pi (=api) following a Present Participle may be rendered by "although":
- pitaraa vaariyamaano pi, although prevented by his father
- ta.m apassanto pi, although not seeing him
2. The Past Participles
- There are two Past Participles, the Perfect Active (231, 465) and the Passive Perfect (450).
- The Perfect Active Participle presents no difficulty whatever:
- so siiha.m aadinnavaa, he having captured the lion
- bhatta.m bhuttaavii, having taken his meal
- The Passive Perfect Participle is very often used as a predicate instead of a finite verb (See Concord of Subject and Predicate 590); it can then be translated by a past tense.
- The P.P.P. of roots implying motion, and of transitive roots, takes an accusative: sakanivaasa.m eva gato, he went to his own place.
- When the P.P.P. is thus used predicatively, the verb "hoti", to be, is generally understood after it.
- The agent of a P.P.P. is as a rule put in the Instrumentative case:
- tayaa pa~nha.m pu.t.tha.m, by her the question was asked, she asked the question
- saasana.m mayaa likkhita.m, a letter has been written by me, I have etc.
- Not seldom the P.P.P. may be translated by a Present Participle: tato uppatito vijjullata viya vijjotamaano paratiire a.t.thaasi, springing from there, he reached the other shore as a lightning flash.
3. The Future Participle
- The Future Participle (449) denotes that the agent is about to perform the action or undergo the state expressed by the root:
- ra.t.thaa ra.t.tha.m vicarissa.m, I am going (= I am about to go) from kingdom to kingdom
- ta.m gantha.m racissa.m aha.m, I am about to compose that book
- It also shows purpose, intention, as may be seen by the 2nd example in (i) above.
- It shows simple futurity: naaha.m puna upessa.m gabbhaseyya.m, I shall not be reborn again.
4. The Future Passive Participle
- The Future Passive Participle conveys the idea of "fitness, necessity, obligation"; it denotes that what is expressed by the root is to be, or ought to be, or is fit to be or must be done or undergone:
- mayaa kattabba.m kamma.m ni.t.thita.m, the work which was to be done by me is finished
- sace so deso uklaapo hoti so deso sammajjitabbo, if the place be dirty it ought to be swept
- na navaa bhikkhuu aasanena pa.tibaahetabbaa, young monks should not be ousted from their seat
- From the above examples, it will be seen that the F.P.P. must agree with the subject in gender, case and number.
- It is much used impersonally:
- kinnu kattabba.m, what is to be done?
- ettha ca imaani suttaani dassetabbaani, and in this connection these passages (from the Scriptures) should be pointed out
- iminaa nayena veditabbo, it must be understood in this way
- It will be, from the above examples, remarked, that the agent is put in the Instrumentative.
- bhavitabba.m, used with the Instrumental of the thing or person, is frequently used in the sense of "it must be that, one should or ought to":
- majjhatten'eva bhavitabba.m, one should be indifferent to...
- visayojitaaya etaaya bhavitabba.m, this must have been mixed with poison
Syntax of Indeclinables
- The following are used correlatively:
- yathaa, as... athaa, so
- yavaa, so long... tavaa, that long, as long as
- yadaa, when... tadaa, then
- yattha, where... attha, there
- ca...ca..., both...and: so ca aha~n ca, both he and I
vaa...vaa..., whether...or: bhaasati vaa karoti vaa, whether he speaks or acts
pi...pi..., both...and: si~ncati pi si~ncaapeti pi, both sprinkles and causes to sprinkle
- ca....ca.... and vaa...vaa... when in a negative sentence, are equivalent to: neither...nor.
- ca and vaa used singly, never come at the beginning of a sentence.
- eva and, before a vowel, yeva is used to emphasize the idea expressed by a word, and may be translated by "very, just, quite, exactly, as soon as":
yeva, coming after a verb, is not always easy to translate into English, but in the majority of cases, it may be rendered by "on, to go on, continue," etc.: kathenti yeva, they went on talking.
- idaani eva, just now
- attano yeva, one's very own
- yadi, if, is used in conditional sentences with the Present, the Future, the Optative and the Conditional:
- yadi eva.m, yajj' eva.m, if so, in that case
- vaa...yadi vaa..., whether...or: gaame vaa yadi v'aara~n~ne, whether in the village or in the forest
Remark. The syntax of the most important indeclinables has been given in "Syntax of Substantives".
Direct and Indirect Narration
- The oblique construction in Paali is expressed by placing the particle iti, so, thus, after the words in the direct construction as they would stand in English, that is, at the end of the words quoted: kaha.m so etarahi ti pucchi, he asked, "Where is he now?"
- iti is generally abbreviated to: ti, and the last vowel of the quotation, if short, is lengthened before it: saadhuu ti, he said "very well!"
- Verbs of "saying, telling, asking, naming, knowing, thinking," are generally used with iti; those verbs may be:
- Placed after the particle iti: te "saadhuu" ti vatvaa, they said "Very well."
- Before the words quoted: so pucchi "ki.m jaanaasi tvan" ti, he asked "What do you know?"
- The verb is frequently omitted altogether: "maaressaami nan" ti, (he thought, or said) "I'll kill him!"
- When iti or ti, is followed by a vowel, sandhi takes place regularly:
- iti + eva.m = icceva.m
- kvaci + iti = kvaciiti
- Often, iti has the sense of "because", with the intention of showing "cause, motive, intention, purpose":
- "jiivitu.m asakkontaa" ti, because (we) are unable to make a living
- "makasa.m paharissaami" ti pitu matthaka.m dvidhaa bhindi, intending to kill the mosquito he broke his father's head in two
Interrogation and Negation
- The negative particle is na:
- imasmi.m sare sudaka.m n'atthi, there is no water in this lake
- na a~n~naasi, did not thou know?
- se.t.thinaa saddhi.m kathetu.m na sakkomi, I am unable to speak with the banker
- With an Optative, na is used in prohibition: na hatthisaala.m gaccheyya, let him not go to the elephant-shed.
- na may form the first part of a compound:
- naagamana.m (=na+aagamanam), non-arrival
- na bhikkhu, a non-monk, a layman
- Two negatives make an affirmative: bheri.m na na vaadeyyaa, not that he may not beat the drum (he may therefore beat it).
- no, is also used in negation in the same way as na: no janaati, he does not know.
- no, followed by na, expresses a strong affirmative:
- no na dhameyya, he should surely blow (the conch)
- no nappahoti, he is most certainly able
- Interrogation is expressed by using interrogative adverbs or pronouns as kasmaa, why? wherefore? kissa, kena, why? ko, who? etc.
- Also by means of interrogative particles.
- api, when used in interrogation, is always placed first in the sentence: ap'avuso, amhaakam satthaara.m jaanaasi, do you, Sir, know our Teacher?
- Followed by nu kho, it expresses a very emphatic interrogation: api nu kho koci upaddavo hoti, well, have you any cause of distress?
- nu, I wonder! Pray? nu, is often followed by kho:
- kiidiso nu kho paraloko, I wonder what the next world is like?
- coraa nu atthi, are there thieves?
- Preceded by na, it expresses emphatic interrogation: na nu'ha.m yodho, am I not a warrior?
- Interrogation is also expressed by placing the verb first in the sentence: socasi upaasaka, grievest thou layman?
- Sometimes the mere tone of voice is sufficient to express interrogation: supa.m labhi, did thou get broth?
- The principal interjections are: haa, alas! ah! handa, come! a`nga, indeed! oh! bho, friend! Sir! I say! hare, sirrah! amaa, yes! truly! indeed! aho, alas! oh! (538).
- bha.ne, first person singular Reflective of bha.nati, to say, is used as an interjection with the meaning of "to be sure! I say there!"
- ma~n~ne, 1st. person singular Reflective of ma~n~nati, to think, is also used as an interjection in the sense of "methinks! I dare say! I suppose!"