-at, -āna, and -vas

The three suffixes -at, -āna, and -vas all create nominal stems. We attach these suffixes to verb stems instead of verb roots. Here are some examples of how these suffixes attach to stems of the root kṛ:

  • कुरु + अत् → कुर्वत्
    kuru + at → kurvat
    do → while doing (parasmaipada)

  • कुरु + आन → कुर्वाण
    kuru + āna → kurvāṇa
    do → while doing (ātmanepada)

  • करिष्य + अत् → करिष्यत्
    kariṣya + at → kariṣyat
    do → about to do

  • चकृ + वस् → चकृवस्
    cakṛ + vas → cakṛvas
    do → has done

-at

Also known as: the present or future active participle, śatṛ

The meaning of -at depends on the stem we attach it to. If we attach it to a present tense stem, we get a word that means “while doing X”:

  • गच्छ → गच्छत्
    gaccha → gacchat
    while going

  • कुरु → कुर्वत्
    kuru → kurvat
    while doing

If we attach it to a simple future tense stem, we get a word that usually means ”about to do X”:

  • गमिष्य → गमिष्यत्
    gamiṣya → gamiṣyat
    will go → about to go

  • करिष्य → करिष्यत्
    kariṣya → kariṣyat
    will do → about to do

We can use -at only with roots that use parasmaipada endings.

Generally, nominal stems that end in -at use two stems: a strong stem that ends in -ant and a weak stem that ends in -at. Certain endings use the strong stem:

  • अहं चरन्तं नरं पश्यामि
    ahaṃ carantaṃ naraṃ paśyāmi
    I see the man who is walking.
    (strong stem)

And others use the weak stem:

  • अहं चरता नरेण सह वदामि।
    ahaṃ caratā nareṇa saha vadāmi.
    I speak with the man who is walking.
    (weak stem)

However, roots from the hu class use -at as their only stem:

  • जुहु → जुह्वत्
    juhu → juhvat
    while offering

-āna

Also known as: the present or future middle participle, śānac

-āna has the same meaning and usage as -at. The difference is that we use -āna with roots that use ātmanepada endings:

  • कुरु → कुर्वाण
    kuru → kurvāṇa
    while doing (ātmanepada)

Stems that end with -a use -māna instead:

  • नय → नयमान
    naya → nayamāna
    lead → while leading

  • नेष्य → नेष्यमान
    neṣya → neṣyamāna
    will lead → about to lead

  • करिष्य → करिष्यमान
    kariṣya → kariṣyamāna
    will do → about to do

-vas

Also known as: the perfect active participle, kvasu̐

vas is a rare suffix that we use only with the stem of the distant past tense. Usually, it creates stems that mean “has done X”:

  • चकृ → चकृवस्
    cakṛ → cakṛvas
    did → did or has done

We can use -vas only if the root can use parasmaipada endings:

  • जग्म् → जग्मिवस्
    jagm → jagmivas
    went → went or has gone

  • तस्थ् → तस्थिवस्
    tasth → tasthivas
    stood → stood or has stood

Otherwise, we use -āna:

  • चकृ → चक्राण
    cakṛ → cakrāṇa
    did → did or has done (ātmanepada)

Review

The -at and -āna endings are common and worth knowing well. For details, see our Sentences topic.