Other tense-moods

Also known as: ārdhadhātuka verbs

In the core lessons, we learned that we can change a verb root into a verb stem. And once we have a verb stem, we can add endings to that stem to create a complete verb. In the examples below, note the progression from root to stem to verb:

  • नी → नेष्य → नेष्यामि
    → neṣya → neṣyāmi
    lead → will lead → I will lead

  • नी → निनी → निन्युः
    → ninī → ninyuḥ
    lead → led (long ago) → they led (long ago)

We also learned that Sanskrit verbs express five basic kinds of information: person, number, tense-mood, prayoga, and pada.

Sanskrit uses ten different tense-moods. Four of these tense-moods use very similar stems in kartari prayoga, and the stem depends on which verb class a root belongs to:

  • नी → नय → नयति
    nī → naya → nayati
    (bhū class)

  • सु → सुनु → सुनोति
    su → sunu → sunoti
    (su class)

  • क्री → क्रीणा → क्रीणाति
    krī → krīṇā → krīṇāti
    (krī class)

But the other six tense-moods form their stems in a more general way. We apply the same steps regardless of which verb class a root belongs to. For example, consider the three verbs below. They each use verbs from different verb classes, but they form their stems in an identical way:

  • नी → नेष्यति
    nī → neṣyati

  • सु → सोष्यति
    su → soṣyati

  • क्री → क्रेष्यति
    krī → kreṣyati

In this topic, we will explore these six tense-moods.

Common behavior for the six tense-moods

Recall that for the special tense-moods, we use a special stem in karmaṇi prayoga and bhāve prayoga. This special stem uses the suffix -ya:

  • नयसि
    You lead.
    (kartari prayoga)

  • नीयसे
    You are led.
    (karmaṇi prayoga)

But for the other tense-moods, we just use ātmanepada endings without using a different stem:

  • नेष्यति।
    You will lead.

  • नेष्यते।
    You will be led.

Many verbs will also add an extra i sound between the root and the ending. In the examples below, notice that each verb has an extra i sound:

  • भू → भविष्यसि (भव्--ष्यसि)
    bhū → bhaviṣyasi (bhav-i-ṣyasi)
    you will become

  • स्मृ → स्मरिष्यसि (स्मर्--ष्यसि)
    smṛ → smariṣyasi (smar-i-ṣyasi)
    you will remember

In traditional grammar, this i is called iṭ. Different roots use iṭ in different ways:

  • Some roots always use iṭ, and they are called seṭ (sa-iṭ, “with iṭ”) roots.

  • Other roots don't use iṭ, and they are called aniṭ (an-iṭ, “without iṭ”) roots.

  • A third group of roots uses iṭ optionally, and they are called veṭ (vā-iṭ, “optional iṭ”) roots.

Finally, roots that end in -e, -ai, or -au will have their last vowel change to :

  • गै → गास्यति
    gai → syati
    sing → will sing


  1. How do we express karmaṇi prayoga for the special tense-moods?

  2. How do we express karmaṇi prayoga for the other tense-moods?

  3. What is iṭ?