lesson 4


Sentences without verbs



  • Understand how to form the participle in and how to use it in a sentence.
  • Understand the short words ca, , api and ēva are used.
  • Read and understand nominal sentences in Sanskrit, and be able to identify the subject (uddēśyaḥ) and predicate (vidhēyaḥ). Complete the exercises on this page, which we will go over in today’s class.



I have prepared the following video lectures for this lesson. Please watch them before coming to class.

Nominal Sentences

Adhyayanavidhiḥ: nominal sentences

Ktáḥ (the “past passive participle”)

Adhyayanavidhiḥ: past verbal adjectives; Ktáḥ

Some Particles (ēva, api, ca, )

Adhyayanavidhiḥ: ēvá; ápi; ca; .

Besides the topics above, you’ll notice that I have started including adverbs in the vocabulary lists, starting with today’s lesson. These are effectively indeclinable nominal forms (i.e., they do not change based on the categories of gender, number, and case), although you will often be able to recognize them as “frozen” case forms (mostly accusative singular). In terms of their function, being adverbs, they modify the action expressed by the verb. Of course in this lesson we don’t have finite verbs, so the verb will either be a participle:

  • adya · rāmaḥ · gataḥ

    Today Rāma has gone.”

Or the verb will be implied:

  • kva · rāmaḥ · [asti]

    Where [is] Rāma?”



This vocabulary list is available as a Quizlet set; note also that the vocabulary is included in the Anki set for this course.

cultural note


The Sūtra Style

Many of the knowledge systems of premodern South Asia take the form of a sūtra text, which is composed in very short sentences meant to be memorized, and layers of commentary on that sūtra text. The sūtras themselves, in an attempt to be as concise as possible, generally avoid verb forms, and hence you can find many nominal sentences in sūtra texts. It can sometimes be a challenge to figure out what is being predicated of what, but generally it is clear. Here are some examples.

  • vr̥ddhiḥ · āT-aiC · Aṣṭādhyāyī 1.1.1

    You will recognize this sūtra if you watched the lecture on the Śivasūtras. This first sūtra defines the technical term vr̥ddhiḥ, which we may consider the subject, by the speech-sounds contained in the sets āT and aiC, namely, the vowels ā, ai, and au.

  • yōgaḥ · citta-vr̥tti-nirōdhaḥ · Yōga Sūtra 1

    Here the noun yōgaḥ is the subject, and citta-vr̥tti-nirōdhaḥ is the predicate. (The predicate is a nominal compound, which we’ll talk about later.) Hence this sūtra can be translated as “Yōga [is] the cessation (nirōdhaḥ) of the operations (vr̥tti-) of the mind (citta-).”

  • cōdanā-lakṣaṇaḥ · arthaḥ · dharmaḥ · Mīmāṁsā Sūtra 1.1.2

    Here we have three nominal forms. We are given a clue that dharmaḥ is the subject, because the previous sūtra announced that it was the topic of the system. So the rest is the predicate. Hence the longer compound, cōdanā-lakṣaṇaḥ, which we know is an adjective from its form, modifies the noun arthaḥ. Hence we end up with: “Dharma [is] a good thing (arthaḥ) characterized by injunction (cōdanā-lakṣaṇaḥ).”

  • upadiṣṭaḥ · dharmaḥ · prati-vēdam · Baudhāyana Dharma Sūtra

    In this sentence, we have an adjective, upadiṣṭaḥ (“taught,” the Ktáḥ form of a verb upa-√diś “teach”), and a noun, dharmaḥ. We should therefore have no trouble in understanding “dharma is taught” from the first two words. But the last word, prati-vēdam “in each Vēda,” is an adverb, and since adverbs modify verbs, we must understand it with the only verbal form in the sentence, the past passive participle.

  • dharmajña-samayaḥ · pramāṇam · vēdāḥ · ca · Āpastamba Dharma Sūtra–5

    Here we only have nouns. But the context allows us to figure out that the topic of this sūtra is the “authority” (pramāṇam) of customary law. Hence we take the word pramāṇam as the subject. (Since this sentence is an identification, it does not matter that the subject and the predicate have different genders and numbers.) The predicate is “the convention (samayaḥ) of those who are versed in dharma (dharmajña-).” But what do we do with the short phrase vēdāḥ · ca? We can take it as an additional predicate: hence “the authority [for customary law] is the convention of those who are versed in it, as well as the Vēdas.”



  • Flashcards:
    • Here is a Google Spreadsheet of common verbal roots, with their meanings, and their corresponding Ktaḥ forms. Note that this will give you a general sense of how to form this participle, but the formation sometimes involves certain rules of internal sandhi that we haven’t covered yet.
    • Here is Quizlet set of common verbal roots and the corresponding Ktaḥ forms.
  • Handouts:
    • Here is a handout I made illustrating the difference between active and passive constructions, and the alignment of the kārakāṇi (semantic roles) with the vibhaktayaḥ (cases) in each.
0. Active or passive?

Below I have given you verbal roots with their meanings. Please try to determine whether the verb is transitive or intransitive (i.e., whether it takes a karma or not) based on the English meaning. One test of transitivity is whether the verb can take a direct object: for the first one, “do,” you can say “I do something,” and therefore it is transitive. But for a verb like “stand,” you cannot say “I stand something,” so it is intransitive.

The -participle is “opportunistically” passive, i.e., if the verb is transitive, and capable of taking a patient, then the -participle will agree with the patient. (Otherwise it agrees with the agent.)

On the basis of that information, please answer the following four questions: (a) whether the -participle is passive (if the verb is transitive) or active (if the verb is intransitive), i.e., whether it describes the patient or agent of the verbal action; (b) translate the given phrase with the participle used attributively (this will be a phrase, not a complete sentence); (c) translate the given phrase with the participle used predicatively (this will be a complete sentence); (d) translate the last sentence, where the participle modifies one of the participants in the action without being the predicate. I have filled out the first one as an example.

  1. kr̥ “do,” “make”
    1. kr̥taḥpassive (agrees with the patient or karma)
    2. kr̥tam · gr̥hakāryam · (gr̥hakārya- n. “homework”) — the homework that is done; the homework that has been done; the completed homework
    3. kr̥tam · gr̥hakāryam · — the homework has been done; the homework was done
    4. śiṣyēṇa · kr̥tam · gr̥hakāryam · ācāryēṇa · śōdhitam · (śiṣya- m. “student”; ācārya- m. “teacher”; śōdhita- “corrected”) — the homework that was done by the student was corrected by the teacher
  2. jan “be born”
    1. jātaḥ
    2. jātaḥ · putraḥ · (putra- m. “son”)
    3. jātaḥ · putraḥ ·
    4. jātasya · putrasya · janakēna · samācāraḥ · śrutaḥ · (janaka- m. “father,” samācāra- m. “news,” śruta- “heard”)
  3. “go” [Note that verbs of motion are considered transitive by Sanskrit grammarians, but their participle in -tá- nevertheless refers to the agent, as if they were intransitive.]
    1. yātaḥ
    2. yātaḥ · rathaḥ · (ratha- m. “chariot”)
    3. yātaḥ · rathaḥ ·
    4. yātaḥ · rathaḥ · na · dr̥ṣṭaḥ · kēnacit · (dr̥ṣṭa- “seen,” kēnacit “by anyone” [instrumental singular masculine])
  4. labh “obtain”
    1. labdhaḥ
    2. labdham · dhanam · (dhana- n. “wealth”)
    3. labdham · dhanam ·
    4. labdhēna · dhanēna · gr̥ham · krītam · (gr̥ha- n. “house,” krīta- “bought”)
  5. ji “conquer”
    1. jitaḥ
    2. jitaḥ · nr̥paḥ · (nr̥pa- m. “king”)
    3. jitaḥ · nr̥paḥ ·
    4. jitasya · nr̥pasya · samācāraḥ · na · āgataḥ · (samācāra- m. “news,” āgata- “come, arrived”)
  6. vr̥dh “grow” (in the sense: “the tree grows”)
    1. vr̥ddhaḥ
    2. vr̥ddhaḥ · vr̥kṣaḥ · (vr̥kṣa- m. “tree”)
    3. vr̥ddhaḥ · vr̥kṣaḥ ·
    4. vr̥ddhē · vr̥kṣē · nīḍaḥ · kr̥taḥ · (nīḍa- m. “nest,” kr̥ta- “made”)
  7. jñā “know”
    1. jñātaḥ
    2. jñātāḥ · śabdāḥ · (śabda- m. “word”)
    3. jñātāḥ · śabdāḥ ·
    4. jñātānām · śabdānām · prayōgaḥ · darśitaḥ · (prayōga- m. “use,” darśita- “shown, demonstrated”)
  8. yuj “yoke, join”
    1. yuktaḥ
    2. yuktau · balīvardau · (balīvarda- m. “bullock”)
    3. yuktau · balīvardau ·
    4. yuktābhyām · balīvardābhyām · kṣētram · kr̥ṣṭam · (kṣētra- n. “field,” kr̥ṣṭa- “ploughed”)
  9. kamp “tremble”
    1. kampitaḥ
    2. kampitam · bhūpr̥ṣṭham · (bhūpr̥ṣṭha- n. “the surface of the earth”)
    3. kampitam · bhūpr̥ṣṭham ·
    4. kampitāt · bhūpr̥ṣṭhāt · viplavaḥ · nirdiṣṭaḥ · (viplava- m. “disaster,” nirdiṣṭa- “foretold”)
  10. paṭh “read”
    1. paṭhitaḥ
    2. paṭhitāni · pustakāni · (pustaka- n. “manuscript, book”)
    3. paṭhitāni · pustakāni ·
    4. paṭhitēṣu · pustakēṣu · śabdaḥ · na · prāptaḥ · (śabda- m. “word,” prāpta- “found, come across”)
  11. krī “buy”
    1. krītaḥ
    2. krītam · ratnam · (ratna- n. “jewel, gem”)
    3. krītam · ratnam ·
    4. krītam · ratnam · vāṇijyakēna · dārēbhyaḥ · dattam · (vāṇijyaka- m. “merchant,” dāra- m. [only plural] “wife,” datta- “given”)
1. Sanskrit to English (I)

These exercises use only the vocabulary of this lesson and the last.

  1. nr̥paḥ · na · jitaḥ ·
  2. nr̥paḥ · jitaḥ · baddhaḥ · ca ·
  3. gajaḥ · iha · nītaḥ ·
  4. vr̥kṣē · gajaḥ · baddhaḥ ·
  5. vanē · ramaṇīyaḥ · śabdaḥ · śrutaḥ ·
  6. śiṣyēbhyaḥ · racitam · śāstram · ācāryēṇa ·
  7. śiṣyau · ācāryasya · gr̥ham · gatau ·
  8. ācāryasya · gr̥hāt · śiṣyāḥ · gatāḥ ·
  9. iha · sthitāḥ · śiṣyāḥ ·
  10. śrutam · ācāryāṇām · vacanam · nr̥pēṇa ·
2. Sanskrit to English (II)

These exercises use only the vocabulary of this lesson and the last. Pay special attention to the use of ēva and api. Note that an important use of api is concessive, i.e., similar to the English “though” or “although.”

  1. kāmēna · ēva · nr̥pāḥ · jitāḥ ·
  2. jitēna · api · nr̥pēṇa · dharmaḥ · smr̥taḥ ·
  3. gatāḥ · api · puruṣāḥ · adya · smr̥tāḥ ·
  4. na · kēvalam · dr̥ṣṭaḥ · gajaḥ · spr̥ṣṭaḥ · api ·
  5. śiṣyaiḥ · ēva · śrutam · ācāryasya · vacanam ·
  6. śiṣyaiḥ · śrutam · ācāryasya · ēva · vacanam ·
  7. śiṣyaiḥ · śrutam · ēva · ācāryasya · vacanam ·
  8. na · puṣpam · api · dattam ·
  9. adya · api · smr̥tāni · ācāryasya · vacanāni ·
  10. vanē · ēva · gajaḥ · nr̥paḥ ·
3. English to Sanskrit (II)

Try composing Sanskrit sentences using the clues in these English sentences.

  1. Where have the teachers (dual) gone?
  2. Not even the best king is remembered today.
  3. Students and teachers went to the charming forest.
  4. Various gifts were given to the teachers by the king.
  5. Even jewels were given.
  6. The king and the king’s people were led into (accusative) the forest.
  7. The king threw the jewel into the water. [= The jewel was thrown into the water by the king.]
  8. The students (dual) tied the elephant to a tree (locative). [= The elephant was tied to a tree by the students.]
  9. Because of (ablative) the statement of the teacher, the king remembered dharma [= dharma was remembered by the king].
  10. The teachers did not even touch the king’s gift. [= The king’s gift was not even touched by the teachers.]
  11. The student saw an elephant standing in the forest [= an elephant was seen by the student ...].
  12. The student who went from the teacher’s house saw an elephant [= an elephant was seen by the student ...].
  13. Those who are touched by desire have not seen liberation [= liberation is not seen by those ...]
  14. The king did not hear the śāstra from teacher (ablative).
  15. It was from the teacher’s students that the king heard the śāstra [= From the teacher’s students alone...].
  16. Thanks to (instrumental) the statements he heard from the students [= that were heard from...], the king was not conquered.