kim and yad

Also known as: interrogative and relative pronouns

The two pronouns kim and yad let us create different kinds of complex sentences. In this lesson, we will learn more about what kinds of endings these pronouns use.

kim

kim means “who?” or “what?” We use kim to ask questions:

  • कस् त्वम्।
    kas tvam.
    Who are you?

  • त्वं कस्मै फलं ददासि
    tvaṃ kasmai phalaṃ dadāsi
    To whom are you giving the fruit?

  • कस्मात् रावणः सीताम् इच्छति।
    kasmāt rāvaṇaḥ sītām icchati.
    For what reason (from what) does Ravana want Sita?

kim uses the same endings as tad, but its neuter singular form in cases 1 and 2 is kim:

  • किम् एतत्?
    kim etat?
    What is this?

Also, the masculine case 1 singular (kaḥ) uses normal sandhi rules. Compare the results below:

  • कः योधः → को योधः
    kaḥ yodhaḥ → ko yodhaḥ
    Who is a warrior?

  • सः योधः → योधः
    saḥ yodhaḥ → sa yodhaḥ
    He is a warrior.

Just for reference, here are the forms of kim in the masculine gender:

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1कः
kaḥ
कौ
kau
के
ke
Case 2कम्
kam
कौ
kau
कान्
kān
Case 3केन
kena
काभ्याम्
kābhyām
कैः
kaiḥ
Case 4कस्मै
kasmai
काभ्याम्
kābhyām
केभ्यः
kebhyaḥ
Case 5कस्मात्
kasmāt
काभ्याम्
kābhyām
केभ्यः
kebhyaḥ
Case 6कस्य
kasya
कयोः
kayoḥ
केषाम्
keṣām
Case 7कस्मिन्
kasmin
कयोः
kayoḥ
केषु
keṣu

the feminine gender:

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1का
के
ke
काः
kāḥ
Case 2काम्
kām
के
ke
काः
kāḥ
Case 3कया
kayā
काभ्याम्
kābhyām
काभिः
kābhiḥ
Case 4कस्यै
kasyai
काभ्याम्
kābhyām
काभ्यः
kābhyaḥ
Case 5कस्याः
kasyāḥ
काभ्याम्
kābhyām
काभ्यः
kābhyaḥ
Case 6कस्याः
kasyāḥ
कयोः
kayoḥ
कासाम्
kāsām
Case 7कस्याम्
kasyām
कयोः
kayoḥ
कासु
kāsu

and the neuter gender:

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1किम्
kim
के
ke
कानि
kāni
Case 2किम्
kim
के
ke
कानि
kāni

-cit and -cana

We can use the suffixes -cit and cana to create a word that means “someone” or “something”:

  • कः पृच्छति → कश्चित् पृच्छति
    kaḥ pṛcchati → kaścit pṛcchati
    Who is asking? → Someone is asking.

  • केन श्रुतम् → केनचन श्रुतम्
    kena śrutam → kenacana śrutam
    By whom was it heard? → By someone it was heard.

yad

yad means “who” or “what,” but not in the sense of asking a question. Rather, yad lets us join sentences together.

This idea is difficult to explain but easy to understand. In the examples below, the first two sentences are simple. Then we use yad to connect them. Note that we pair yad with another pronoun:

  • सा पृच्छति।
    sā pṛcchati.
    She asks.

  • सा रामस्य पत्नी।
    sā rāmasya patnī.
    She is Rama's wife.

  • या पृच्छति सा रामस्य पत्नी।
    pṛcchati rāmasya patnī.
    Who asks, she is Rama's wife. (literal translation)
    The person who asks is Rama's wife. (natural translation)

We can create more complex examples too:

  • रामः तस्यै फलं ददाति।
    rāmaḥ tasyai phalaṃ dadāti.
    Rama gives a fruit to her.

  • सा रामस्य पत्नी।
    sā rāmasya patnī.
    She is Rama's wife.

  • यस्यै रामः फलं ददाति सा रामस्य पत्नी
    yasyai rāmaḥ phalaṃ dadāti rāmasya patnī
    To whom Rama gives a fruit, she is Rama's wife. (literal)
    The person to whom Rama gives a fruit is Rama's wife. (natural)

And even more complex examples:

  • रामः तस्यै फलं ददाति।
    rāmaḥ tasyai phalaṃ dadāti.
    Rama gives a fruit to her.

  • तस्याः पिता जनकः
    tasyāḥ pitā janakaḥ
    Her father is Janaka.

  • यस्यै रामः फलं ददाति तस्याः पिता जनकः
    yasyai rāmaḥ phalaṃ dadāti tasyāḥ pitā janakaḥ
    To whom Rama gives a fruit, her father is Janaka. (literal)
    The father of the one to whom Rama gives a fruit is Janaka. (natural)

Note how difficult these sentences are to translate to English but how naturally they flow in Sanskrit.

yad uses the same endings as tad, but it follows normal sandhi rules. Here are the forms of yad with masculine endings:

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1यः
yaḥ
यौ
yau
ये
ye
Case 2यम्
yam
यौ
yau
यान्
yān
Case 3येन
yena
याभ्याम्
yābhyām
यैः
yaiḥ
Case 4यस्मै
yasmai
याभ्याम्
yābhyām
येभ्यः
yebhyaḥ
Case 5यस्मात्
yasmāt
याभ्याम्
yābhyām
येभ्यः
yebhyaḥ
Case 6यस्य
yasya
ययोः
yayoḥ
येषाम्
yeṣām
Case 7यस्मिन्
yasmin
ययोः
yayoḥ
येषु
yeṣu

feminine endings:

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1या
ये
ye
याः
yāḥ
Case 2याम्
yām
ये
ye
याः
yāḥ
Case 3यया
yayā
याभ्याम्
yābhyām
याभिः
yābhiḥ
Case 4यस्यै
yasyai
याभ्याम्
yābhyām
याभ्यः
yābhyaḥ
Case 5यस्याः
yasyāḥ
याभ्याम्
yābhyām
याभ्यः
yābhyaḥ
Case 6यस्याः
yasyāḥ
ययोः
yayoḥ
यासाम्
yāsām
Case 7यस्याम्
yasyām
ययोः
yayoḥ
यासु
yāsu

and neuter endings:

 SingularDualPlural
Case 1यत्
yat
ये
ye
यानि
yāni
Case 2यत्
yat
ये
ye
यानि
yāni

Review

kim and yad can be used in complex and sophisticated ways. For details, see our Sentences topic.