-i and -u stems

So far, we have learned about two different stem families. The first, which is the family of -a stems, contains masculine and neuter stems. The second, which is the family of , , and stems, mostly contains feminine stems.

Now we will learn about the family of -i and -u stems. These stems can be masculine, feminine, or neuter. So they can appear in any of the three genders.

Basic -i stems

In the examples below, we will use the adjective stem śuci, which means ”shining,” “clear,” or “pure.”

First, here is the pattern for masculine stems:

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1शुचिः
śuciḥ
शुची
śucī
शुचयः
śucayaḥ
Case 2शुचिम्
śucim
शुची
śucī
शुचीन्
śucīn
Case 3शुचिना
śucinā
शुचिभ्याम्
śucibhyām
शुचिभिः
śucibhiḥ
Case 4शुचये
śucaye
शुचिभ्याम्
śucibhyām
शुचिभ्यः
śucibhyaḥ
Case 5शुचेः
śuceḥ
शुचिभ्याम्
śucibhyām
शुचिभ्यः
śucibhyaḥ
Case 6शुचेः
śuceḥ
शुच्योः
śucyoḥ
शुचीनाम्
śucīnām
Case 7शुचौ
śucau
शुच्योः
śucyoḥ
शुचिषु
śuciṣu
Case 8शुचे
śuce
शुची
śucī
शुचयः
śucayaḥ

The endings here are mostly similar to the basic nominal endings. But there are some important differences. For the singular forms, notice that cases 3 and 4 show slight changes. Case 3 has an extra n sound, and in case 4 the i of śuci strengthens to śuce, which then combines by normal sandhi rules:

  • शुचिना शुचये
    śucinā śucaye
    (śuci, singular, in cases 3 and 4)

  • नावा नावे
    nāvā nāve
    (nau, singular, in cases 3 and 4)

In cases 5 through 8, we have various differences with no clear pattern:

  • शुचेः शुचेः शुचौ शुचे
    śuceḥ śuceḥ śucau śuce
    (śuci, singular, in cases 5 through 8)

  • नावः नावः नावि नौः
    nāvaḥ nāvaḥ nāvi nauḥ
    (nau, singular, in cases 5 through 8)

For the dual forms, notice the long ī in śucī. And for the plural forms, notice that cases 2 and 6 resemble the -a stems:

  • शुचीन् शुचीनाम्
    śucīn śucīnām
    (śuci, plural, in cases 2 and 6)

  • गजान् गजानाम्
    gajān gajānām
    (gaja, plural, in cases 2 and 6)

Feminine stems follow a pattern similar to the masculine stems. But in cases 4 through 7, they can optionally behave as if they end with :

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1शुचिः
śuciḥ
शुची
śucī
शुचयः
śucayaḥ
Case 2शुचिम्
śucim
शुची
śucī
शुचीः
śucīḥ
Case 3शुचिना
śucinā
शुचिभ्याम्
śucibhyām
शुचिभिः
śucibhiḥ
Case 4शुचये, शुच्यै
śucaye, śucyai
शुचिभ्याम्
śucibhyām
शुचिभ्यः
śucibhyaḥ
Case 5शुचेः, शुच्याः
śuceḥ, śucyāḥ
शुचिभ्याम्
śucibhyām
शुचिभ्यः
śucibhyaḥ
Case 6शुचेः, शुच्याः
śuceḥ, śucyāḥ
शुच्योः
śucyoḥ
शुचीनाम्
śucīnām
Case 7शुचौ, शुच्याम्
śucau, śucyām
शुच्योः
śucyoḥ
शुचिषु
śuciṣu
Case 8शुचे
śuce
शुची
śucī
शुचयः
śucayaḥ

Note that the case 2 feminine plural is śucīḥ as opposed to the masculine śucīn.

The neuter stem uses the basic nominal endings. But if an ending starts with a vowel, we add an extra n sound. We also use -īnām with a long , just as we did above:

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1शुचि
śuci
शुचिनी
śucinī
शुचीनि
śucīni
Case 2शुचि
śuci
शुचिनी
śucinī
शुचीनि
śucīni
Case 3शुचिना
śucinā
शुचिभ्याम्
śucibhyām
शुचिभिः
śucibhiḥ
Case 4शुचिने
śucine
शुचिभ्याम्
śucibhyām
शुचिभ्यः
śucibhyaḥ
Case 5शुचिनः
śucinaḥ
शुचिभ्याम्
śucibhyām
शुचिभ्यः
śucibhyaḥ
Case 6शुचिनः
śucinaḥ
शुचिनोः
śucinoḥ
शुचीनाम्
śucīnām
Case 7शुचिनि
śucini
शुचिनोः
śucinoḥ
शुचिषु
śuciṣu
Case 8शुचि
śuci
शुचिनी
śucinī
शुचीनि
śucīni

Again, notice that the neuter stem uses a long vowel with an extra nasal sound:

  • मनस् + इ → मनांसि
    manas + i → manāṃsi

  • फल + इ → फलानि
    phala + i → phalāni

  • शुचि + इ → शुचीनि
    śuci + i → śucīni

Basic -u stems

In the examples below, we will use the adjective stem madhu, which means ”sweet.” If used in the neuter gender, it can also mean “honey.”

The masculine endings are similar to the -i endings we saw above. Where -i becomes y or ay or e, -u becomes v or av or o:

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1मधुः
madhuḥ
मधू
madhū
मधवः
madhavaḥ
Case 2मधुम्
madhum
मधू
madhū
मधून्
madhūn
Case 3मधुना
madhunā
मधुभ्याम्
madhubhyām
मधुभिः
madhubhiḥ
Case 4मधवे
madhave
मधुभ्याम्
madhubhyām
मधुभ्यः
madhubhyaḥ
Case 5मधोः
madhoḥ
मधुभ्याम्
madhubhyām
मधुभ्यः
madhubhyaḥ
Case 6मधोः
madhoḥ
मध्वोः
madhvoḥ
मधूनाम्
madhūnām
Case 7मधौ
madhau
मध्वोः
madhvoḥ
मधुषु
madhuṣu
Case 8मधो
madho
मधू
madhū
मधवः
madhavaḥ

But note that the case 7 singular is -au for both -i stems and -u stems:

  • शुचौ
    śucau
    in the clean (thing)

  • मधौ
    madhau
    in the sweet (thing)

The feminine endings are similar to the endings we saw above. This includes the optional forms in the singular of cases 4 to 7, which might act like stems:

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1मधुः
madhuḥ
मधू
madhū
मधवः
madhavaḥ
Case 2मधुम्
madhum
मधू
madhū
मधूः
madhūḥ
Case 3मधुना
madhunā
मधुभ्याम्
madhubhyām
मधुभिः
madhubhiḥ
Case 4मधवे
madhave
मधुभ्याम्
madhubhyām
मधुभ्यः
madhubhyaḥ
Case 5मधोः, मध्वाः
madhoḥ, madhvāḥ
मधुभ्याम्
madhubhyām
मधुभ्यः
madhubhyaḥ
Case 6मधोः, मध्वाः
madhoḥ, madhvāḥ
मध्वोः
madhvoḥ
मधूनाम्
madhūnām
Case 7मधौ, मध्वाम्
madhau, madhvām
मध्वोः
madhvoḥ
मधुषु
madhuṣu
Case 8मधो
madho
मधू
madhū
मधवः
madhavaḥ

Like before, note that the case 2 feminine plural is madhūḥ as opposed to the masculine madhūn.

The neuter endings are again similar to what we saw above:

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1मधु
madhu
मधुनी
madhunī
मधूनि
madhūni
Case 2मधु
madhu
मधुनी
madhunī
मधूनि
madhūni
Case 3मधुना
madhunā
मधुभ्याम्
madhubhyām
मधुभिः
madhubhiḥ
Case 4मधुने
madhune
मधुभ्याम्
madhubhyām
मधुभ्यः
madhubhyaḥ
Case 5मधुनः
madhunaḥ
मधुभ्याम्
madhubhyām
मधुभ्यः
madhubhyaḥ
Case 6मधुनः
madhunaḥ
मधुनोः
madhunoḥ
मधूनाम्
madhūnām
Case 7मधुनि
madhuni
मधुनोः
madhunoḥ
मधुषु
madhuṣu
Case 8मधु
madhu
मधुनी
madhunī
मधूनि
madhūni

Review

If you are tempted to memorize these endings, we urge you instead to work on acquisition.

  1. The feminine -i and -u have optional forms for certain cases and numbers. Which cases and numbers?