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A Practical Grammar of the Pāli Language
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
For free distribution, as a gift of Dhamma.

A Practical Grammar of the Paali Language

Chapter V


116. (a) Declension is the adding to the stems of nouns and adjectives certain suffixes which show case, gender and number.

(b) The stem or base of a noun is that noun as it stands before any suffix has been added to it.

(c) Paali has three genders: the masculine, the feminine and the neuter.

(d) Paali does not strictly follow the natural division of male, female, etc, in assigning gender to nouns, many nouns which are masculine in English are feminine or neuter in Paali and vice-versa; a great number of nouns which we consider as neuter are, some masculine, some feminine in Paali. This is called grammatical gender.

(e) There are two numbers: the singular and the plural.

(f) There are eight cases.

  1. Nominative, showing the subject of the sentence.
  2. Genitive, showing possession (of, 's).
  3. Dative, showing the object or person to or for whom something is given or done.
  4. Accusative, this is the object of the sentence.
  5. Instrumentive, shows the object or person with or by whom something is performed.
  6. Ablative, generally showing separation, expressed by from.
  7. Locative, showing place (in, on, at, upon, etc.).
  8. Vocative, used in addressing persons.

Remarks. The student will find fuller explanations of the uses of the cases in the chapter on Syntax.

117. The declension of nouns is divided into two great divisions:

(a) Vowel-declension, comprising all the stems that end in a vowel.

(b) Consonantal declension, in which are included all the stems ending in a consonant.

(c) Vowel-declension is generally, for the sake of clearness, divided again into three classes:
(i) the declension of stems ending in a or aa.
(ii) the declension of stems ending in i or ii.
(iii) the declension of stems ending in u or uu.

118. (a) Native grammarians give the following as the regular case endings or suffixes for all nouns.

Singular Plural
Nom. s Nom. yo
Gen. ssa Gen. na.m
Dat. ssa Dat. na.m
Acc. a.m Acc. yo
Ins. aa Ins. hi
Abl. smaa Abl. hi
Loc. smi.m Loc. su
Voc. (like the stem of Nom.) Voc. (like the Nom.)

(b) Most of the above suffixes are theoretical only, in practice they differ considerably according to gender and case. The actual suffixes will be given with each declension.

Vowel Declension

Declension of stems ending in a (short)

119. (a) The great bulk of nouns and adjectives belong to this declension, and as the other declensions have borrowed several of its suffixes, its thorough mastery is most important and will greatly facilitate the study of the other declensions.

(b) Nouns ending in a, are all masculine or neuter.

120. The following are the suffixes of masculine nouns the stem of which ends in a:

Singular Plural
Nom. o Nom. aa, aase
Gen. ssa Gen. na.m
Dat. ssa, aaya Dat. na.m
Acc. .m Acc. e
Ins. ina Ins. ehi, ebhi
Abl. aa, smaa, mhaa, to Abl. ehi, ebhi
Loc. i, smi.m, mhi Loc. su
Voc. (like the stem) and aa Voc. a

121. These suffixes have to be attached to the stems, taking care to observe the sandhi rules which may apply when suffixes begin with a vowel; in every case the student should accustom himself to look up the rules, which will be referred to by their numbers, and accustom himself to account for every form he meets with, whether nominal, verbal or derivative. He should remember that a systematic study from the start will ensure thoroughness and eventually save him a great deal of labour and time.

122. Declension of deva, god, angel

  Singular Plural
Nom. devo, a god devaa, gods
Gen. devassa, a god's devaana.m, gods', of gods
Dat. devassa, to or for a god devaana.m, to or for gods
Acc. deva.m, a god deve, gods
Ins. devena, by, with or on account of, a god devehi, devebhi, by, with, or on account, of gods
Abl. devaa, devasmaa, devamhaa, devato, from a god devehi, devebhi, from gods
Loc. deve, in, on, or upon a god
devasmi.m, on, or upon a god
devamhi, on, or upon, a god
devesu, in, on, or upon gods
Voc. deva, devaa, O god! devaa, O gods!

Exercise. Decline like deva (masc.):


(a) The true Dat. sing. in aaya has now generally been displaced by the suffix of the gen. ssa; the Dat. aaya is almost equal to an lnfinitive and mostly denotes intention.

(b) smaa and mhaa of the Abl. and smi.m and mhi of the Loc. have been borrowed from the pronominal declension (see Declension of Pronouns).

(c) so is sometimes used also as an Abl. sing. suffix: vaggaso, by groups, bhaagaso, by share.

(d) saa is also found as an Ins. sing. suffix, as: balasaa, by force, forcibly, talasaa, with the sole of the foot.

(e) The Nom. plur. in aase, very scarce, corresponds to the Vedic Nom. plur.

(f) ebhi, of the Ins. and Abl. plural, is mostly used in poetry, and probably comes from the Vedic -ebhis.

(g) Before o, Nom. sing., ehi, ebhi, Ins. and Abl. plur. and e, Acc. plur. final a of the stem is dropped: deva + o = dev + o = devo, deva + ehi = dev + ehi = devehi.

(h) Before su, Loc. plur. final a of stem is changed to e.

(i) In the Dat., Ins., Abl. and Loc. sing.; and in Nom. and Voc. plur. the usual rules of Sandhi are regularly followed:

Ins. deva + ina = devena (21-i)
Dat. deva + aaya = devaaya (22)
Loc. deva + i = deve (21-i)
Abl. deva + aa = devaa (22)
Nom. deva + a = devaa
deva + aase = devaase
Voc. devaa + a = devaa (ibid)

(j) Before na.m, Gen. and Dat. plur., final a of the stem is lengthened.
deva + na.m = devaa + na.m = devaana.m.

123. Neuter nouns in a (short)


  Singular Plural
Nom. .m ni, a
Gen. ssa na.m
Dat. ssa, aaya na.m
Acc. .m ni, e
Ins. ina ehi, ebhi
Abl. aa, smaa, mhaa, to ehi, ebhi
Loc. i, smi.m, mhi su
Voc. (like the stem) ni, a

124. Declension of ruupa (neuter), form

  Singular Plural
Nom. ruupa.m ruupaani, ruupaa
Gen. ruupassa ruupaana.m
Dat. ruupassa, ruupaaya ruupaana.m
Acc. ruupa.m ruupaani, ruupe
Ins. ruupena ruupehi, ruupebhi
Abl. rupaa, ruupasmaa, ruupamhaa, ruupato ruupehi, ruupebhi
Loc. ruupe, ruupasmi.m, ruupamhi ruupesu
Voc. ruupa ruupaani, ruupaa


(a) ni is essentially the distinctive sign of neuter nouns in the Nom., Acc., and Voc. plur. in all declensions.

(b) The final vowel of the stem is lengthened before ni.

Exercise. Decline like ruupa:


(a) It will be noticed that neuter nouns in a differ from the masculine in a, in the Nom. sing. and in the Nom. Acc. and Voc. plur.; all the other cases are identical.

(b) In the plur. the Nom., Acc. and Voc. have the same form.

(c) The form in aani, of the Nom., Acc. and Voc. plur. is the most common.

Declension of nouns in aa (long)

125. All nouns ending in aa are feminine.

126. Suffixes

  Singular Plural
Nom. - aa, yo
Gen. aaya na.m
Dat. aaya na.m
Acc. .m aa, yo
Ins. aaya hi, bhi
Abl. aaya, to hi, bhi
Loc. aaya.m, aaya su
Voc. e aa, yo

127. Declension of ka~n~naa (fem.), a virgin

  Singular Plural
Nom. ka~n~naa ka~n~naa, ka~n~naayo
Gen. ka~n~naaya ka~n~naana.m
Dat. ka~n~naaya ka~n~naana.m
Acc. ka~n~na.m ka~n~naa, ka~n~naayo
Ins. ka~n~naaya ka~n~naahi, ka~n~naabhi
Abl. ka~n~naaya, ka~n~nato ka~n~naahi, ka~n~naabhi
Loc. ka~n~naaya.m, ka~n~naaya ka~n~naasu
Voc. ka~n~naa, ka~n~ne ka~n~naa, ka~n~naayo


(a) Before to of the Abl. sing. the final vowel, if long, is shortened. So also before .m of Acc. sing.

(b) The following words all meaning mother have two forms in the Voc. sing: ammaa ambaa annaa taataa Voc. Sing. ammaa ambaa annaa taataa amma amba anna taata.

(c) In the Acc. sing. final aa is shortened.

Exercise. Decline like ka~n~naa:

128. Masculine nouns in aa (long)

It has been said above (125) that all nouns ending in aa are feminine; but there are a very few examples of masculine nouns ending in aa. We give below their declension.

Declension of saa, dog

  Singular Plural
Nom. saa saa
Gen. sassa saana.m
Dat. sassa, saaya saana.m
Acc. sa.m saane
Ins. sena saahi, saabhi
Abl. saa, sasmaa, samhaa saahi, saabhi
Loc. se, sasmi.m, samhi saasu
Voc. sa saa


(a) the declension above given is according to ruupasiddhi grammar book.

(b) The declension given in the Saddaniti differs slightly:

  Singular Plural
Nom. saa saa, saano
Gen. sassa saana.m
Dat. sassa saana.m
Acc. saana.m saane
Ins. saanaa saanehi, saanebhi
Abl. saanaa saanehi, saanebhi
Loc. saane saanesu
Voc. sa saa, saano

The following are declined like saa:

*niruttidiipanii, a scholium on moggallaanavyaakara.na, a grammar held in high esteem in Ceylon and Burma.

Remarks. Masculine nouns in aa belong to the consonantal declension, but native grammarians, consider them as stems ending in a vowel.

Declension of nouns in i (short)

129. Nouns the stem of which ends in i are masculine, feminine, and neuter. They do not form a very numerous class.

130. Masc. nouns in i


  Singular Plural
Nom. - ii, yo
Gen. ssa, no na.m
Dat. ssa, no na.m
Acc. .m ii, yo
Ins. naa hi, bhi
Abl. naa, smaa, mhaa hi, bhi
Loc. smi.m, mhi su
Voc. - ii, yo

131. Declension of kapi (masc.), monkey

  Singular Plural
Nom. kapi kapii, kapayo
Gen. kapissa, kapino kapiina.m
Dat. kapissa, kapino kapiina.m
Acc. kapi.m kapii, kapayo
Ins. kapinaa kapiihi, kapiibhi
Abl. kapinaa, kapismaa, kapimhaa kapiihi, kapiibhi
Loc. kapismi.m, kapimhi kapiisu
Voc. kapi kapii, kapayo


(a) The Nom. and Voc. sing. are like the stem.

(b) In the Nom., Acc. and Voc. plur., final i is changed to a before suffix yo.

(c) However final i is sometimes preserved before yo, so that we also have the form kapiyo (rare).

(d) In the plural, before suffixes: na.m, hi, bhi, su, final i is lengthened.

(e) Some rare and old forms are sometimes found:
(i) Gen. sing. ending in -e, as: mune.
(ii) Loc. sing. ending in -o, as: aado, and also
(iii) Loc. sing. ending in -e, as: gire.
(iv) Ins. sing. ending in -ena, as: ra.msena.
(v) Nom. plur. ending in -no, as: saramatino.

(f) Not seldom, the stem itself is used for almost all the cases in the singular.

Exercise. Words declined like kapi (masc.):

132. Feminine nouns in i (short)


  Singular Plural
Nom. - ii, yo
Gen. aa na.m
Dat. aa na.m
Acc. .m ii, yo
Ins. aa hi, bhi
Abl. aa hi, bhi
Loc. aa, a.m su
Voc. - ii, yo

133. (a) Declension of ratti (fem.), night

  Singular Plural
Nom. ratti rattii, rattiyo, ratyo
Gen. rattiyaa, ratyaa rattiina.m
Dat. rattiyaa, ratyaa rattiina.m
Acc. ratti.m rattii, rattiyo, ratyo
Ins. rattiyaa, ratyaa rattiihi, rattiibhi
Abl. rattiyaa, ratyaa rattiihi, rattiibhi
Loc. ratiyaa, ratyaa, rattiya.m, ratya.m rattiisu
Voc. ratti rattii, rattiyo, ratyo


(a) There is an ancient Loc. sing. in o: ratto.

(b) An Abl. sing. in to, is also found: rattito.

(c) In the Gen., Dat., Ins., Abl. and Loc. sing. a y is inserted between the stem and the suffix aa to avoid a hiatus, (See 27(ii) Remark 2); so also in the Loc. sing. before a.m.

(d) Before aa, of the same cases, final i of the stem may become y by rule 27(i)-a; and as in Paali there can be no group of three consonants* one t is dropped. Hence we get: ratti + aa = rattyaa = ratyaa. [*Except ntr, as in antra, etc.]

(e) Before suffixes, na.m, hi, bhi, su of the plural, the i of the stem is lengthened.

(b) Declension of jaati (fem.), birth

  Singular Plural
Nom. jaati jaatii, jaatiyo, jatyo, jacco
Gen. jaatiyaa, jatyaa, jaccaa jaatiina.m
Dat. jaatiyaa, jatyaa, jaccaa jaatiina.m
Acc. jati.m jaatii, jaatiyo, jatyo, jacco
Ins. jaatiyaa, jatyaa, jaccaa jaatiihi, jaatiibhi
Abl. jaatiyaa, jatyaa, jaccaa jaatiihi, jaatiibhi
Loc. jaatiyaa, jatyaa, jaccaa, jaatiya.m, jatya.m, jacca.m jaatiisu
Voc. jaati jaatii, jaatiyo, jatyo, jacco


(a) For the forms, jaccaa and jacca.m see rule (74).

(b) Jacco is obtained by the assimilation of y after the elision of final i. (71, 74).

(c) It will be remarked that, whereas in masc. nouns in i the i of the stem is changed to a before yo, in fem. nouns it is retained.

Exercise. Nouns declined like ratti (fem.):

134. Neuter nouns in i (short)


  Singular Plural
Nom. - ni, ii
Gen. ssa, no na.m
Dat. ssa, no na.m
Acc. .m ni, ii
Ins. naa hi, bhi
Abl. naa, smaa, mhaa hi, bhi
Loc. smi.m, mhi su
Voc. - nii, ii

Declension of vaari (neut.), water

  Singular Plural
Nom. vaari vaariini, vaarii
Gen. vaarissa, vaarino vaarina.m
Dat. vaarissa, vaarino vaarina.m
Acc. vaari.m vaariini, vaarii
Ins. vaarinaa vaariihi, vaariibhi
Abl. vaarinaa, vaarismaa, vaarimhaa vaariihi, vaariibhi
Loc. vaarismi.m, vaarimhi vaariisu
Voc. vaari vaarini, vaarii


(a) There is also found a Nom. sing. in .m like the Acc., as, a.t.thi.m, bone, akkhi.m, eye, etc.

(b) As usual, final i is lengthened before ni, na.m, hi, bhi and su in the plural.

Exercise. Decline like vaari (neut):

Declensions of nouns in ii (Iong)

135. There are no neuter nouns ending in ii (long).

136. Masculine nouns in ii (long)


  Singular Plural
Nom. ii ii, no
Gen. ssa, no na.m
Dat. ssa, no na.m
Acc. .m, na.m ii, no
Ins. naa hi, bhi
Abl. naa, smaa, mhaa hi, bhi
Loc. smi.m, mhi su
Voc. ii ii, no

Declension of da.n.dii (masc.), mendicant

  Singular Plural
Nom. da.n.dii da.n.dii, da.n.dino
Gen. da.n.dissa, da.n.dino da.n.dina.m
Dat. da.n.dissa, da.n.dino da.n.dina.m
Acc. da.n.di.m, da.n.dina.m da.n.dii, da.n.dino
Ins. da.n.dinaa da.n.diihi, da.n.diibhi
Abl. dandinaa, da.n.dismaa da.n.diihi, da.n.diibhi
Loc. da.n.dismi.m, da.n.dimhi da.n.diisu
Voc. da.n.dii da.n.dii, da.n.dino


(a) A Nom sing. in i (short) is sometimes met with: da.n.di.

(b) Voc. sing. in ni is also found: da.n.dini.

(c) Note that in all the oblique cases of the singular the final i of the stem is shortened before the suffixes.

(d) In the Nom. plur. a rare form in yo is found formed on the analogy of masc. in i (short); as da.n.diyo.

(e) An Acc. plur. in ye is occasionally met with: da.n.diye.

(f) It should be noticed that before no of the Nom., Acc. and Voc. plur. ii of the base is shortened.

(g) An Acc. sing. in a.m with the semi-vowel y developed before it is met with: da.n.diya.m.

(h) An Abl. sing. in to is found pretty frequently da.n.dito.

Exercise. Decline like da.n.dii (masc):

137. Most masc. nouns in ii are not pure substantives, they are adjectives used substantively; their true stem is in in, the Nom. sing. being ii. The true stem of da.n.dii therefore is da.n.din. Properly, all these words belong to the consonantal declension.

138. Feminine nouns ii (long)


  Singular Plural
Nom. ii ii, yo
Gen. aa na.m
Dat. aa na.m
Acc. .m ii, yo
Ins. aa hi, bhi
Abl. aa hi, bhi
Loc. a, a.m su
Voc. ii ii, yo

139. Declension of nadii (fem.), river

  Singular Plural
Nom. nadii nadii, nadiyo, najjo
Gen. nadiyaa, nadyaa, najjaa nadina.m
Dat. nadiyaa, nadyaa, najjaa nadina.m
Acc. nadi.m nadii, nadiyo, najjo
Ins. nadiyaa, nadyaa, najjaa nadiihi, nadiibhi
Abl. nadiyaa, nadyaa, najjaa nadiihi, nadiibhi
Loc. nadiyaa, nadyaa, najjaa, nadiya.m, nadya.m, najja.m nadiisu
Voc. nadii nadii, nadiyo, najjo


(a) There is a Gen. plur. in aana.m, nadiyaana.m.

(b) In all the oblique cases of the sing, final ii of the base is shortened; also before yo in the plural.

(c) For insertion of y before suffixes beginning with a vowel, see 27, Remark 2.

(d) For the forms nadyaa, najjaa, and najja.m see Rules 71, 74.

(e) In the form najjo, yo is assimilated after the elision of final i.

Exercise. Decline like nadii (fem.):

Delension of nouns in u (short)

140. The nouns ending in u (short), are either masculine, feminine or neuter.

141. Masculine nouns in u (short)


  Singular Plural
Nom. - uu, o
Gen. ssa, no na.m
Dat. ssa, no na.m
Acc. .m uu, o
Ins. naa hi, bhi
Abl. naa, smaa, mhaa hi, bhi
Loc. smi.m, mhi su
Voc. - uu, o, e

Declension of bhikkhu (masc.), monk

  Singular Plural
Nom. bhikkhu bhikkhuu, bhikkhavo
Gen. bhikkhussa, bhikkhuno bhikkhuuna.m
Dat. bhikkhussa, bhikkhuno bhikkhuuna.m
Acc. bhikkhu.m bhikkhuu, bhikkhavo
Ins. bhikkhunaa bhikkhuuhi, bhikkhuubhi
Abl. bhikkhunaa, bhiskhusmaa, bhikkhumhaa bhikkhuuhi, bhikkhuubhi
Loc. bhikkhumhi, bhikkhusmi.m bhikkhuusu
Voc. bhikkhu bhikkhuu, bhikkhavo, bhikkhave


(a) In a Nom. and an Acc. plural, yo are sometimes met with in some words: jantuyo, hetuyo.

(b) Before suffixes o and e, in the plural u of the stem or base is strengthened and becomes av. (27(ii)-a)

Exercise. Nouns declined like bhikkhu (masc.):

142. Feminine nouns in u (short)


  Singular Plural
Nom. - uu, yo
Gen. yaa na.m
Dat. yaa na.m
Acc. m uu, yo
Ins. yaa hi, bhi
Abl. yaa hi, bhi
Loc. ya.m, yaa su
Voc. - uu, yo

143. Declension of dhenu (fem.), cow

  Singular Plural
Nom. dhenu dhenuu, dhenuyo
Gen. dhenuyaa dhenuuna.m
Dat. dhenuyaa dhenuuna.m
Acc. dhenu.m dhenuu, dhenuyo
Ins. dhenuyaa dhenuuhi, dhenuubhi
Abl. dhenuyaa dhenuuhi, dhenuubhi
Loc. dhenuya.m, dhenuyaa dhenuusu
Voc. dhenu dhenuu, dhenuyo


(a) An Abl. sing. in to is common: dhenuto, jambuto.

(b) A Nom. plur. in o occurs without strengthening of final u but with insertion of v: dhenuuvo.

(c) Final u is, in the plural, lengthened before na.m, hi, bhi and su.

Exercise. Decline like dhenu:

144. Neuter nouns in u (short)


  Singular Plural
Nom. Acc. Voc. (Like the Masculine) uu, ni

(The rest like the masc.)

145. Declension of cakkhu (neut.), eye

  Singular Plural
Nom. cakkhu cakkhuuni, cakkhuu
Gen. cakkhussa, cakkhuno cakkhuno, cakkhuuna.m
Dat. cakkhussa, cakkhuno cakkhuuna.m
Acc. cakkhu.m cakkhuuni, cakkhuu
Ins. cakkhunaa cakkhuuhi, cakkhuubhi
Abl. cakkhunaa, cakkhusmaa, cakkhumhaa cakkhuuhi, cakkhuubhi
Loc. cakkhusmi.m, cakkhumhi cakkhuusu
Voc. cakkhu cakkhuuni, cakkhuu

Remarks. There is a form of the Nom. sing. in .m cakkhu.m.

Exercise. Words declined like cakkhu (neut.):

Declension of nouns uu (long)

146. (a) This declension includes masculine and feminine nouns only.

(b) The suffixes are much the same as those of the u (short) declension, and present no difficulty.

147. Declension of Sayambhuu (masc.), an epithet of the Buddha

  Singular Plural
Nom. sayambhuu sayambhuu, sayambhuvo
Gen. sayambhussa, sayambhuno sayambhuuna.m
Dat. sayambhussa, sayambhuno sayambhuuna.m
Acc. sayambhu.m sayambhuu, sayambhuvo
Ins. sayambhunaa sayambhuuhi, sayambhuubhi
Abl. sayambhunaa, sayambhusmaa, sayambhumhaa sayambhuuhi, sayambhuubhi
Loc. sayambhusmi.m, sayambhumhi sayambhuu
Voc. sayambhuu sayambhuu, sayambhuvo


(a) In the Nom., Acc. and Voc. plur., v is inserted between the suffix o and the stem after the shortening of uu.

(b) Final uu of the stem is shortened to u in the oblique cases of the singular.

148. Declension of vadhuu (fem.), a widow

  Singular Plural
Nom. vadhuu vadhuu, vadhuyo
Gen. vadhuyaa vadhuuna.m
Dat. vadhuyaa vadhuuna.m
Acc. vadhu.m vadhuu, vadhuyo
Ins. vadhuyaa vadhuuhi, vadhuubhi
Abl. vadhuyaa vadhuuhi, vadhuubhi
Loc. vadhuyaa, vadhuya.m vadhuusu
Voc. vadhuu vadhuu, vadhuyo


(a) As in the masc., final uu is shortened in the oblique cases of the sing.

(b) A form in to is also found in the Abl. sing., vadhuto.

(c) In the plural, before yo, final uu is shortened.

Stems ending in a diphthong

149. All diphthongic stems have disappeared in Paali; only one such stem remains, it is the word go, a cow.

Special Nouns

150. (I) Declension of go (diphthongic stem), a cow

  Singular Plural
Nom. go gavo, gaavo
Gen. gavassa, gaavassa gava.m, gona.m, gunna.m
Dat. gavassa, gaavassa gava.m, gona.m, gunna.m
Acc. gava.m, gaava.m, gavu.m, gaavu.m gavo, gaavo
Ins. gavena, gaavena gohi, gobhi, gavehi
Abl. gavaa, gaavaa, gavasmaa, gaavasmaa, gavamhaa, gaavamhaa gohi, gobhi, gavehi
Loc. gave, gaave, gavasmi.m, gaavasmi.m, gavamhi, gaavamhi gosu, gavesu, gaavesu
Voc. go gavo, gaavo

151. (II) Declension of sakhaa, a friend (Sansk. sakhi. The stem is irregular. Masc.)

  Singular Plural
Nom. sakhaa sakhaayo, sakhaano, sakhino, sakhaa
Gen. sakhino, sakhissa sakhaaraana.m, sakhiina.m, sakhaana.m
Dat. sakhino, sakhissa sakhaaraana.m, sakhiina.m, sakhaana.m
Acc. sakhaana.m, sakha.m, sakhaara.m sakhii, sakhaayo, sakhaano, sakhino
Ins. sakhinaa sakhaarehi, sakhaarebhi, sakhehi, sakhebhi
Abl. sakhinaa, sakhaaraa, sakharasmaa sakhaarehi, sakhaarebhi, sakhehi, sakhebhi
Loc. sakhaarasmi.m, sakhaarimhi sakhaaresu, sakhesu
Voc. sakha, sakhaa, sakhi, sakhii, sakhe sakhaayo, sakhaano, sakhino, sakhaa

Remarks. The student will perceive that sakhaa has forms belonging to stems in ar and others to stems in in. (See: Consonantal Declension.)

Consonantal Declension

152. (a) The consonantal declension includes all nouns and adjectives whose stem ends in a consonant.

(b) Nouns the stem of which ends in a consonant, are rather few and special, the majority of the words included in this declension being adjectives ending in vat or mat, and all words ending in a nasal (n) being considered as belonging to the vowel declension, by native grammarians.

(c) Most of the words of the consonantal declension seem to follow two declensions; some suffixes belong to the vowel, and others to the consonantal declension.

153. (I) Stems ending in a nasal (n)

154. Declension of attaa (stem attan), self (stem in an, masc.)

  Singular Plural
Nom. attaa attaano, attaa
Gen. attano, attassa attaana.m
Dat. attano, attassa attaana.m
Acc. attaana.m, atta.m, attana.m attaano, atte
Ins. attanaa, attena attanehi, attanebhi
Abl. attanaa, attasmaa, attamhaa attanehi, attanebhi
Loc. attani, attasmi.m, attamhi attanesu
Voc. atta, attaa attaano, attaa

Like attaa (stem: attan) are declined:

155. Declension of Brahmaa (stem brahman, masc.), Brahma

  Singular Plural
Nom. brahmaa brahmaano, brahmaa
Gen. brahmuno, brahmassa brahmaanam, brahmuna.m
Dat. brahmuno, brahmassa brahmaanam, brahmuna.m
Acc. brahmaana.m, brahma.m brahmaano
Ins. brahmanaa, brahmunaa brahmehi, brahmebhi, brahmuuhi, brahmuubhi
Abl. brahmanaa, brahmunaa brahmehi, brahmebhi, brahmuuhi, brahmuubhi
Loc. brahme, brahmani brahmesu
Voc. brahme brahmaano, brahmaa

Remarks. In the Loc. sing. we meet with the forms in - smi.m, mhi: brahmasmi.m, brahmamhi.

156. Declension of raajaa (stem raajan, masc.), a king

  Singular Plural
Nom. raajaa raajaano, raajaa
Gen. ra~n~no, raajino, raajassa ra~n~nam, raajuuna.m, raajaana.m
Dat. ra~n~no, raajino, raajassa ra~n~nam, raajuuna.m, raajaana.m
Acc. raajaana.m, raaja.m raajaano
Ins. ra~n~naa, raajena, raajinaa raajuuhi, raajuubhi, raajehi, raajebhi
Abl. ra~n~naa, raajasmaa, raajamhaa raajuuhi, raajuubhi, raajehi, raajebhi
Loc. ra~n~ne, ra~n~ni, raajini, raajimhi, raajismi.m raajuusu, raajesu
Voc. raaja, raajaa raajaano, raajaa


(a) When the word raajaa is used by itself in a sentence, it follows the above declension, but when it forms the last part of a compound as for instance in dhammaraajaa, mahaaraajaa, etc., it follows the declension of masculine nouns in a, like deva.

(b) The forms of the plural seem to point to a base or stem in u: raaju.

(c) A few nouns the stem of which ends in an, follow the a declension of masc. nouns like deva; they are:

and some others.

157. Declension of pumaa (stem puman), a man

  Singular Plural
Nom. pumaa pumaano, pumaa
Gen. pumuno, pumassa pumaana.m
Dat. pumuno, pumassa pumaana.m
Acc. pumaana.m, puma.m pumaano, pume
Ins. pumaanaa, pumunaa, pumena pumaanehi, pumaanebhi, pumehi, pumebhi
Abl. pumunaa, pumaanaa, pumaa, pumasmaa, pumamhaa pumaanehi, pumaanebhi, pumehi, pumebhi
Loc. pumaane, pume, pumasmi.m, pumamhi pumaanesu, pumaasu, pumesu
Voc. puma.m, puma pumaano, pumaa


(a) The influence of the a declension masculine, is clearly discernible throughout.

(b) The word saa a dog, given at (128), properly belongs to this declension; this gives the stem, san, from Sanskrit ïvan. The declension of nouns the stem of which ends in -in, has already been given (130); these words declined like da.n.di (stem da.n.din) and rather numerous, form the transition between the pure vowel declension and the declension of consonantal-stems.

158. (II) Stems ending in s

159. Declension of mano (stem manas), the mind

  Singular Plural
Nom. mano, mana.m manaa
Gen. manaso, manassa manaana.m
Dat. manaso, manassa manina.m
Acc. mano, mana.m mane
Ins. manasaa, manena manehi, manebhi
Abl. manasaa, manasmaa, manamhaa, manaa manehi, manebhi
Loc. manasi, mane, manasmi.m, manamhi manesu
Voc. mano, mana.m, manaa, mana manaa


(a) It should be borne in mind that mano is never used in the plural, although the forms are given by some grammarians.

(b) The influence of the a declension is here also clearly seen, principally in the plural, of which in fact, all the forms are after the a declension.

(c) There is also a neuter form in ni in the plural: manaani.

160. Native grammarians give the following nouns as belonging to the manas declension, their stems ending in as:


(a) aha, day, in the Loc. sing. has the following forms: ahasmi.m, ahamhi, ahe, ahu, ahasi, ahuni.

(b) The words: rajo, ojo, thaamo and vaaso are included in the manas declension by the Sinhalese grammarians.

(c) The comparative adjectives ending in yo, iyyo, as for instance seyyo, gariyo, follow the manas declension.

161. Declension of aayu (stem aayus), life

  Singular Plural
Nom. aayu, ayu.m aayuu, aayuuni
Gen. aayussa, aayuno aayuuna.m, aayusa.m
Dat. aayussa, aayuno aayuuna.m, aayusa.m
Acc. aayu, aayu.m aayuu, aayuuni
Ins. aayunaa, aayusaa aayuuhi, aayuubhi
Abl. aayunaa, aayusaa aayuuhi, aayuubhi
Loc. aayuni, aayusi aayuusu
Voc. aayu, aayu.m aayuu, aayuuni

162. (III) Stems ending in ar (=Sansk. .r)

163. Declension of Satthaa, the Teacher (Buddha) (stem satthar, Sansk castr)

  Singular Plural
Nom. satthaa satthaaro, satthaa
Gen. satthu, satthussa, satthuno satthaana.m, satthaaraana.m, satthuuna.m
Dat. satthu, satthussa, satthuno satthaana.m, satthaaraana.m, satthuuna.m
Acc. satthaara.m, satthara.m satthaaro, satthaare
Ins. sattharaa, satthaaraa, satthunaa satthaarehi, satthaarebhi
Abl. sattharaa, satthaaraa, satthunaa satthaarehi, satthaarebhi
Loc. satthari satthaaresu, satthuusu
Voc. sattha, satthaa satthaaro, satthaa


(a) The form of the Gen. sing. in u: satthu, is the base employed in the formation of compound words.

(b) Stems ending in ar (Sansk. .r) have their Nom. sing. in aa as pitar (=Sansk. pit.r), Nom. sing. pitaa; so maatar (=maat.r), Nom. sing. maataa. Their base in composition is generally in u.

(c) Before suffix to of the Abl. sing. stems in ar often take the vowel i; as pitito, maatito, and sometimes a base piti, maati is used in composition: pitipakkhe.

(d) Some words whose stem is in ar, follow the a declension (of deva), for instance: sallakatta (stem sallakattar), a physician; kattara (stem kattarar), a weak person; sota (stem sotar), a hearer.

Exercise. Decline like satthaa:

The words pitaa and maataa present some peculiarities.

164. Declension of maataa, mother (stem maatar, Sansk. maat.r)

  Singular Plural
Nom. maataa maataro, maataa
Gen. maatu, maatuyaa, maatyaa maataraana.m, maataana.m, maatuuna.m, maatunna.m
Dat. maatu, maatuyaa, maatyaa maataraana.m, maataana.m, maatuuna.m, maatunna.m
Acc. maatara.m maataro, matare
Ins. maataraa, maatuyaa, maatyaa maatarehi, maataarebhi, maatuuhi, maatuubhi
Abl. maataraa, maatuyaa, maatyaa maatarehi, maataarebhi, maatuuhi, maatuubhi
Loc. maatari, maatuyaa, maatyaa, maatuya.m, maatya.m maataresu, maatuusu
Voc. maata, maataa maataro, maataa


(a) In the oblique cases of the singular, the student will readily recognize the influence of the feminine declension in the suffixes aa and .m.

(b) There is also found, rarely, a Gen. sing. in ssa: maatussa.

Declension of pitaa, father (stem pitar, Sansk. pit.r)

  Singular Plural
Nom. pitaa pitaro
Gen. pitu, pituno, pitussa pitaraana.m, pitaana.m, pitunna.m, pituuna.m
Dat. pitu, pituno, pitussa pitaraana.m, pitaana.m, pitunna.m, pituuna.m
Acc. pitara.m, pitu.m pitaro, pitare
Ins. pitaraa, pitunaa, pityaa, petyaa pitarehi, pitarebhi, pituuhi, pituubhi
Abl. pitaraa, pitu, pityaa, petyaa pitarehi, pitarebhi, pituuhi, pituubhi
Loc. pitari pitaresu, pituusu
Voc. pita, pitaa pitaro

Remarks. In the Dat. and Gen. plur. of maataa and pitaa the n is doubled to compensate for the shortening of uu (long); hence: maatunna.m, maatuuna.m and pitunna.m, pituuna.m.

165. (IV) The words ending in: at (or ant), vat (or vant), mat (or mant), are mostly adjectives and their declension will be given in the chapter on Adjectives. We shall, however, give here the declension of a few nouns, in at or vant.

166. Declension of bhava.m, Sir (stem in at, or ant)

  Singular Plural
Nom. bhava.m, bhanto bhavanto, bhavantaa, bhonto
Gen. bhavantassa, bhavato, bhoto bhavata.m, bhavantaana.m
Dat. bhavantassa, bhavato, bhoto bhavata.m, bhavantaana.m
Acc. bhavanta.m, bhota.m bhavante, bhonte
Ins. bhavantena, bhavataa, bhotaa bhavantehi, bhavantebhi
Abl. bhavataa, bhavantaa, bhotaa bhavantehi, bhavantebhi
Loc. bhavati, bhavante bhavantesu
Voc. bho, bhonta, bhante bhavanto, bhonto, bhante, bhavantaa


(a) Bhava.m is a polite term of address, and it may be translated by "Your Honour".

(b) Native grammarians invariably use it as the sign of the Vocative case.

(c) The feminine, bhotii, "madam" is regularly declined after the ii declension feminine, (adii).

167. Declension of araha.m, saint (stem in at, or ant)

  Singular Plural
Nom. araha.m, arahaa arahanto, arahaa
Gen. arahato, arahantassa arahata.m, arahantaana.m
Dat. arahato, arahantassa arahata.m, arahantaana.m
Acc. arahanta.m arahante
Ins. arahataa, arahantena arahantehi, arahantebhi
Abl. arahataa, arahantaa, arahantasmaa, arahantamhaa arahantehi, arahantebhi
Loc. arahati, arahante, arahantasmi.m, arahantamhi arahantesu
Voc. arahanta arahanto

Similarly is declined santa, meaning a good man.