The bhū, div, tud, and cur classes

We have learned that there are four special tense-moods and that we create stems for these special tense-moods in ten different patterns. We can sort all verb roots into ten different lists based on which pattern they use. These lists are called verb classes.

Four of these verb classes are quite simple to create and use:

  • भू → भव
    bhū → bhava
    become

  • दिव् → दीव्य
    div → dīvya
    gamble

  • तुद् → तुद
    tud → tuda
    strike

  • चुर् → चोरय
    cur → coraya
    steal

Let's call these four classes the simple verb classes. Each class is named after the first root in its list.

The bhū class

The bhū class is the largest of the ten verb classes and contains almost half of all verb roots. Here are some examples of this class:

  • नी → नयति
    nī → nayati
    lead → (someone) leads

  • शुच् → शोचति
    śuc → śocati
    grieve → (someone) grieves

  • निन्द् → निन्दति
    nind → nindati
    deride → (someone) derides

  • जीव् → जीवति
    jīv → jīvati
    live → (someone) lives

For most roots in this class, we create a stem by strengthening the root vowel and adding the suffix -a. Here are some examples:

  • भू → भो + अ → भव
    bhū → bho + a → bhava
    become

  • नी → ने + अ → नय
    nī → ne + a → naya
    lead

  • शुच् → शोच् + अ → शोच
    śuc → śoc + a → śoca
    grieve

However, there are some roots that don't use a strengthened vowel. For example, roots whose vowel is a don't change:

  • हस् → हस
    has → hasa
    laugh

And if a root's syllable would be heavy even after we add -a, then we don't strengthen the root:

  • निन्द् → निन्द
    nind → ninda
    blame

  • जीव् → जीव
    jīv → jīva
    live

There are also several roots that form their stems in an unpredictable way. Such stems are called irregular stems. Here are some common examples of irregular stems:

Root Verb Basic meaning
स्था
sthā
तिष्ठति
tiṣṭhati
stand
पा
पिबति
pibati
drink
दृश्
dṛś
पश्यति
paśyati
see
गम्
gam
गच्छति
gacchati
go

The roots that use irregular stems are all common, and you will see and hear them many times as you engage with real Sanskrit content. So although you might be tempted to memorize these forms, you will likely acquire them naturally as you continue to read and listen to Sanskrit.

The div class

For roots in the div class, we form a stem by adding -ya to the root. No vowel strengthening occurs:

  • मुह् → मुह्य
    muh → muhya
    become confused

This class has a few irregular stems. Usually, these irregular stems lengthen the root's vowel. Here are a few examples:

Root Verb Basic meaning
दिव्
div
दीव्यति
dīvyati
gamble
जन्
jan
जायते
jāyate
be born
शम्
śam
शाम्यति
śāmyati
be tired or calm
मद्
mad
माद्यति
mādyati
be intoxicated

The tud class

For roots in the tud class, we form a stem by adding -a to the root. No vowel strengthening occurs:

  • तुद् → तुद
    tud → tuda
    strike

The irregular stems in this class usually have an extra nasal sound:

Root Stem Basic meaning
मुच्
muc
मुञ्च
muñca
release
कृत्
kṛt
कृन्तति
kṛntati
cut
लिप्
lip
लिम्पति
limpati
anoint or smear
सिच्
sic
सिञ्चति
siñcati
sprinkle

The cur class

For most roots in the cur class, we create the stem by strengthening the root vowel and adding the suffix -aya. Here are some examples:

  • चुर् → चोरय
    cur → coraya
    steal

The irregular stems in this class usually have extra sounds between the roots and the -aya suffix:

Root Stem Basic meaning
प्री
prī
प्रीणयति
prīṇayati
please
धू
dhū
धूनयति
dhūnayati
shake

Review

  1. How do we usually make stems in the bhū class?

  2. How do we usually make stems in the div class?

  3. How do we usually make stems in the tud class?

  4. How do we usually make stems in the cur class?