-tvā and -ya

Also known as: the gerund, the absolutive, the indeclinable or adverbial participle

We will start this topic by learning about the root suffixes -tvā and -ya. Both of these suffixes create uninflected words.


Also known as: ktvā

When added to some root that means “X,” -tvā creates a word that means “after X-ing.” In other words, -tvā shows that one action happens before another.

For example, suppose we have these two simple sentences:

  • रामो लङ्कां गच्छति।
    rāmo laṅkāṃ gacchati.
    Rama goes to Lanka.

  • रामो रावणं पश्यति।
    rāmo rāvaṇaṃ paśyati.
    Rama sees Ravana.

We can combine them like so:

  • रामो लङ्कां गत्वा रावणं पश्यति
    rāmo laṅkāṃ gatvā rāvaṇaṃ paśyati
    Rama, after going to Lanka, sees Ravana.

-tvā can cause many sandhi changes. We will discuss these sandhi changes further below.


Also known as: lyap

-ya has the same meaning as -tvā. If the root uses a verb prefix, we always use -ya. Otherwise, we use -tvā.

For example, if we have these two simple sentences:

  • हनुमान् रामं प्रतिगच्छति।
    hanumān rāmaṃ pratigacchati.
    Hanuman returns to Rama.

  • हनुमान् हृष्यति।
    hanumān hṛṣyati.
    Hanuman rejoices.

Then we can combine them with -ya:

  • हनुमान् रामं प्रतिगम्य हृष्यति।
    hanumān rāmaṃ pratigamya hṛṣyati.
    Hanuman, after returning to Rama, rejoices.

If the root ends in a short vowel, then we add an extra -t after the root:

  • आहृ → आहृत्य
    āhṛ → āhṛtya
    fetch → after fetching

Sound changes for -tvā

Unlike many suffixes, -tvā does not strengthen the root's vowel:

  • नी → नीत्वा
    nī → nītvā
    lead → after leading

  • भू → भूत्वा
    bhū → bhūtvā
    become → after becoming

  • कृ → कृत्वा
    kṛ → kṛtvā
    do → after doing

As usual, some roots use the connecting iṭ sounds and others do not. Here are some roots that use iṭ:

  • वन्द् → वन्दित्वा
    vand → vanditvā
    venerate → after venerating

  • पठ् → पठित्वा
    paṭh → paṭhitvā
    read, recite → after reading or reciting

If a root ends in a consonant and does not use iṭ, then the root's last consonant sound might contact the -t in -tvā. This contact causes many sandhi changes.

For example, if the root's last sound is a voiced aspirated consonant (gh jh ḍh dh bh h), -tvā usually becomes -dhvā:

  • लभ् → लब्ध
    labh → labdha
    obtain → obtained

  • बुध् → बुद्ध
    budh → buddha
    awake → awakened

  • दह् → दग्ध्वा
    dah → dagdhvā
    burn → after burning

A root's last -c usually becomes -k:

  • मुच् → मुक्त
    muc → mukta
    free, release → freed, released

And its last -j usually becomes either -k or -ṣ:

  • युज् → युक्त्वा
    yuj → yuktvā
    yoke, join → after yoking or joining

  • मृज् → मृष्ट्वा
    mṛj → mṛṣṭvā
    wipe, polish, clean → after wiping, polishing, or cleaning

Roots that end in , -e, or -ai often use -i or for their vowels:

  • स्था → स्थित्वा
    sthā → sthitvā
    stand → after standing

  • गै → गीत्वा
    gai → gītvā
    sing → after singing

Some roots that end in -m or -n lose that sound:

  • गम् → गत्वा
    gam → gatvā
    go → after going

  • हन् → हत्वा
    han → hatvā
    kill → after killing

  • मन् → मत्वा
    man → matvā
    think → after thinking

For some roots, their semivowels become vowels and any other vowel sounds they have are removed. This change is called samprasāraṇa. Here are some examples:

  • वच् → उक्त्वा
    vac → uktvā
    speak → after speaking

  • स्वप् → सुप्त्वा
    svap → suptvā
    sleep → after sleeping

  • यज् → इष्ट्वा
    yaj → iṣṭvā
    sacrifice → after sacrificing

  • ग्रह् → गृहीत्वा
    grah → gṛhītvā
    grab → after grabbing

  • वस् → उषित्वा
    vas → uṣitvā
    live → after living

  • प्रछ् → पृष्ट्वा
    prach → pṛṣṭvā
    ask → after asking

And there are other irregular changes too:

  • दा → दत्त्वा
    dā → dattvā
    give → after giving


-tvā and -ya are common suffixes that are worth knowing well.