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Case 5: "from" | Learn Sanskrit Online

Case 5: "from"

Also known as: ablative case, pañcamī vibhakti ("fifth case")

Definition

Case 5 was first introduced as a word meaning something like "from." Unlike the other cases, case 5 cannot be cleanly mapped to an English word, or at least not as elegantly as case 3 and case 4. Case 5 represents the abstract idea of movement away from something, and it can be translated by three different English words: "from," "than," and "because."

First, "from." When used with a verb that describes movement, this new case defines the object that is left behind.

Second, "than." This meaning mostly appears in verbless sentences, and it defines the object that is used in the comparison.

Third, "because." This meaning appears when the noun in case 5 is an emotion or abstract idea.

When we talked about the object case, I mentioned that English uses an explicit object case in just a few places. In English, "from"-case inflection is much rarer. The words "hence," "thence," and "whence" — meaning "from here," "from there," and "from where," respectively — all express the idea of movement "from" something, although historically they are from the "of" case. "Hence" is used today in the sense of "therefore" or "as a result." "Whence" is much rarer, and it is used in expressions like Whence do you come? "Thence" has essentially disappeared.

Inflection

-a (masculine)
गज Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) गजः
gajaḥ
गजौ
gajau
गजाः
gajāḥ
Case 2 (object) गजम्
gajam
गजौ
gajau
गजान्
gajān
Case 3 ("with") गजेन
gajena
गजाभ्याम्
gajābhyām
गजैः
gajaiḥ
Case 4 ("for") गजाय
gajāya
गजाभ्याम्
gajābhyām
गजेभ्यः
gajebhyaḥ
Case 5 ("from") गजात्
gajāt
गजाभ्याम्
gajābhyām
गजेभ्यः
gajebhyaḥ
Case 6 ("of") गजस्य
gajasya
गजयोः
gajayoḥ
गजाणाम्
gajānām
Case 7 ("in") गजे
gaje
Case 8 (address) गज
gaja
गजौ
gajau
गजाः
gajāḥ

Note that case 3, case 4, and case 5 all have the same dual form. Also note that case 4 and case 5 have the same plural form. All Sanskrit nouns will follow that pattern, and some Sanskrit pronouns will follow it too.

-t Sandhi in more detail

In the lesson on the neuter gender, we discussed only a few of the sandhi rules that the neuter tad pronoun follows. Here, we'll study those rules in more detail.

First, recall these general rules:

Recall, too, this specific rule for words that end in -t:

Final t takes the point of pronunciation of the stop that follows it, as long as the stop is not in kavarga or pavarga.

Now we can discuss the other rules that apply to words that end in -t:

t → l

In external sandhi, t is very flexible. It can even become a semivowel:

t becomes l when followed by l.

Extra changes

Words that end in t follow two other rules. These changes may seem a little odd at first. But, they become extremely simple when studied more closely. Here is the first rule:

When followed by ś, t becomes c and ś becomes ch.

Before we study that rule, let's study one more rule for comparison:

ch, when it follows a short vowel, almost always becomes cch.

The two rules both follow this more fundamental principle:

ch and are, essentially, the same sound. But, both of them are written as ch.

This principle elegantly combines the two rules into one. Since is pronounced almost like ch, it makes sense that t + ś will become ch. Since will always make the syllable in front of it heavy, it makes sense that ch will do the same thing; but since ch is a single consonant in Devanagari, the only way to express that behavior is to write ch as cch.

Now, here's the second rule:

When followed by h, t becomes d and h becomes dh.

This rule is more straightforward. h is a voiced sound, and it makes the letter in front of it become voiced. So, we have d h. This combination is pronounced exactly like ddh, and that is how the combination is written.

Pronouns

For mad and tvad, note that the case 5 plural uses the same ending as the case 5 singular. As usual, tad closely matches the regular noun endings.

mad (no gender)
मद् Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) अहम्
aham
आवाम्
āvām
वयम्
vayam
Case 2 (object) माम्
mām
आवाम्
āvām
अस्मान्
asmān
Case 3 ("with") मया
mayā
आवाभ्याम्
āvābhyām
अस्माभिः
asmābhiḥ
Case 4 ("for") मह्यम्
mahyam, me
आवाभ्याम्
āvābhyām
अस्मभ्य्म्
asmabhyam
Case 5 ("from") मत्
mat
आवाभ्याम्
āvābhyām
अस्मत्
asmat
Case 6 ("of") मम
mama
आवयोः
āvayoḥ
अस्माकम्
asmākam
tvad (no gender)
त्वद् Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) त्वम्
tvam
युवाम्
yuvām
यूयम्
yūyam
Case 2 (object) त्वाम्
tvām
युवाम्
yuvām
युष्मान्
yuṣmān
Case 3 ("with") त्वया
tvayā
युवाभ्याम्
yuvābhyām
युष्माभिः
yuṣmābhiḥ
Case 4 ("for") तुभ्यम्
tubhyam
युवाभ्याम्
yuvābhyām
युष्मभ्यम्
yuṣmabhyam
Case 5 ("from") त्वत्
tvat
युवाभ्याम्
yuvābhyām
युष्मत्
yuṣmat
Case 6 ("of") तव
tava
युवयोः
yuvayoḥ
युष्माकम्
yuṣmākam
tad (masculine)
तद् Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) सः
saḥ
तौ
tau
ते
te
Case 2 (object) तम्
tam
तौ
tau
तान्
tān
Case 3 ("with") तेन
tena
ताभ्याम्
tābhyām
तैः
taiḥ
Case 4 ("for") तस्मै
tasmai
ताभ्याम्
tābhyām
तेभ्यः
tebhyaḥ
Case 5 ("from") तस्मात्
tasmāt
ताभ्याम्
tābhyām
तेभ्यः
tebhyaḥ
Case 6 ("of") तस्य
tasya
तयोः
tayoḥ
तेषाम्
teṣām

Suffixes: "More" and "Most

So far, we've studied how to say things like "This fruit is blue" or "this horse is black." But how do we show that one thing is more black than something else? To do so, we use two new secondary suffixes: tara and tama. Note the similarity between the English "er" suffix, as in "greater," and the Sanskrit tara suffix.

Two related and rarer suffixes are ra and ma, which are often — but not always — used as abbreviated versions of tara and tama.

ra and tara are directly releated to the "-er" suffix we have in English, as in "greater."