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Using Numbers | Learn Sanskrit Online

Using Numbers

Introduction

The Sanskrit numbers are very irregular. We can sort them into five groups:

Of these groups, the first three occur in all three genders. The others are "fixed" and have no gender of any kind.

"No gender" does not mean the same thing as "neuter gender."

eka

eka is inflected like a pronoun. It occurs only in the singular, and it appears in all three genders.

dva

dva is inflected like a normal noun ending in a. It only occurs in the dual, and its feminine form is dvā.

tri and catur

tri and catur are the most irregular numbers. Both are in the plural, and both occur in all three genders.

Masculine

tri is inflected like a noun ending in -i. However, the case 1 form is trayaḥ and the case 6 form is trayānām. catur has a few irregularities, which you can see below.

catur (masculine)
चतुर्Plural
Case 1 (subject)चत्वारः
catvāraḥ
Case 2 (object)चतुरः
caturaḥ
Case 3 ("with")चतुर्भिः
caturbhiḥ
Case 4 ("for")चतुर्भ्यः
caturbhyaḥ
Case 5 ("from")चतुर्भ्यः
caturbhyaḥ
Case 6 ("of")चतुर्नाम्
caturṇām
Case 7 ("in")चतुर्षु
caturṣu

Neuter

The neuter only differs from the masculine in the first two cases, as always. For these two cases, tri has trīṇi and catur has catvāri.

Feminine

tri becomes tisṛ, and catur becomes catasṛ. Both use the noun endings for masculine and feminine consonant nonus (like rāj or vāc). But in case 6, tisṛ is tisṛnām and catasṛ is catasṛnām. Note that the final does not become long.

pañcan to daśan

As mentioned above, these numbers have no gender. But, they are inflected like neuter nouns.

pañcan (no gender)
पञ्चPlural
Case 1 (subject)पञ्च
pañca
Case 2 (object)पञ्च
pañca
Case 3 ("with")पञ्चभिः
pañcabhiḥ
Case 4 ("for")पञ्चभ्यः
pañcabhyaḥ
Case 5 ("from")पञ्चभ्यः
pañcabhyaḥ
Case 6 ("of")पञ्चानाम्
pañcānām
Case 7 ("in")पञ्चसु
pañcasu

All other numbers

ṣaṣ uses the regular consonant-stem endings.

The number 8 (aṣṭa) has some optional forms. In case 1, it can be aṣṭau. In the other cases, the final a of the stem can become ā.

The numbers from 11 to 99 are inflected normally, and although they have no gender, they are used like feminine nouns. The numbers from 100 and beyond are inflected normally, and although they have no gender, they are used like neuter nouns.

But what numbers are there beyond śata? We will find out in the next lesson.