The Sanskrit Language
作者:Walter Harding Maurer

Lesson 2

Lesson 2

Indefinite Adjective


Exercise Page 62



  • Page 64, second line: 'वृक्षाणि' should be 'वृक्षाः' as it is      masculine, not neuter.

  • Page 67, second line: 'विषाद्' should be 'विषाद, i.e.      ending in the letter अ


Just as the ending of a noun in Sanskrit indicates its case and number, the ending of a verb indicates its modeperson, and number. A mode is a tense or mood. Two modes will be taught initially: the present tense and the imperfect tense. Using the verb 'see' as an example, the present tense can be translated as 'sees/see', 'is/are seeing', 'does/do see', and even 'will see'. The imperfect tense can be translated as 'saw', 'was seeing', 'did see', or 'would see' (in a habitual sense, e.g. 'he would see his mother every week').

To form a verb, the appropriate ending must be suffixed to the stem of the verb. In this book, every verb is listed with its present tense third-person singular form. The stem can be extracted from this form by removing the suffix 'ति'. For example, the stem of पश्यति
is 'पश्य'. Once the stem is determined, the appropriate ending can be added. The ending added depends on the tense of the verb as well as the person and number of its subject. For example, the verb 'you see' would require the present tense second-person singular affix 'सि' to form 'पश्यसि'.

NOTE: Since the person and number of the subject is indicated by the ending of the verb, a separate pronoun such as 'he', 'she', 'it', 'you', 'I', 'we', etc. does not have to be present in the sentence. However, the appropriate pronoun must be supplied when translating into English, e.g. पश्यसि must be translated as 'You see'.

TIP: When no verb is present in a sentence, but there is a noun and an adjective describing it (or two nouns in the same case and number), the verb 'be' can be supplied in the appropriate tense, person, and number. For example, on Page 62 there is a sentence 'मार्गाः समाः'. Here there is a noun (मार्ग = 'street') and an adjective describing it (सम = even) with no verb present. It is translated 'streets are even'.

Indefinite Adjective

There is a type of adjective in Sanskrit formed by adding the suffix 'चिद्' to the word 'क'. As with other adjectives, the gendercase, and number of क must agree with the noun it is describing. Hence masculine or neuter 6/1 would be कस्य + चिद् = कस्यचिद्. This word is called an 'indefinite adjective' and is translated as 'a/an', 'some', 'a certain'. For example 'कस्यचिद्' would be translated as 'of a certain', and 'कस्यचिद् नृपस्य' would be translated as 'of a certain king'.

(Technically, this word is not an adjective but a pronoun. It is not formed from the word 'क', but the pronoun 'किम्'. This will be explained when pronouns are introduced.)

The indeclinable word 'च' means 'and'. It is one of a group of words called enclitics that never occur at the beginning of a sentence or phrase. It can occur anywhere after the first word in a sentence or phrase, but as a general rule it occurs after the word before which 'and' occurs in English. For example, the sentence 'He goes to the house and the temple' would be written as 'गृहं मन्दिरं  गच्छति',  i.e. 'and' is before 'temple' in English, so च comes after 'temple' in Sanskrit.

One sandhi rule is relevant here: when visarga (the colon-like '
' that often occurs at the end of a word) is followed by the letter च्, it becomes श्. Hence in the exercise in this lesson, 'सूतः च' has become 'सूतश्च'. This change must be reversed to identify that सूतः is 1/1 of the noun सूत ('charioteer'), followed by the indeclinable word च.

TIP: Sandhi changes such as this one occur when letters come together, regardless of where those letters occur. So this same rule (i.e. visarga becomes श् when followed by च् happens in certain forms of the indefinite adjective. For example, masculine 1/1 is कः + चिद् = कश्चिद्.


The indeclinable word 'इति' is used very frequently in Sanskrit and does not necessarily have a direct translation into English. Most often, इति simply indicates a direct quotation, whether of speech, thought, or any other idea. The word इति marks the end of the quotation, but only context indicates where the quotation begins. There are other uses of इति that will be introduced later.

TIP: To find the beginning of a quotation that ends in इति, look for verbs indicating speech or thought. For example, it is common for a quotation to begin after a verb like वदति and चिन्तयति.