The distant future tense

Also known as: the periphrastic future, the first future, anadyanate bhaviṣyan (“future not of today”), luṭ

The distant future tense traditionally refers to future actions that will not happen soon. In Sanskrit, it is called an-adyatana (“not of today”). Here is an example of the distant future tense:

  • रामो नेता
    rāmo netā.
    Rama will (eventually) lead.

Compared to the simple future tense, the distant future tense describes events that are further away. It also has a more definite sense than the simple future:

  • रामो नेता।
    rāmo netā.
    Rama will (surely and eventually) lead.

Since netā is also a nominal word that means “leader,” we can also interpret this sentence in a different way:

  • रामो नेता।
    rāmo netā.
    Rama is a leader.

We can decide on the correct interpretation by considering the context of the sentence.

Making the stem

We form the stem by strengthening the root and adding the suffix -tā:

  • नी → नेता
    nī → netā
    lead → will lead

As usual, some roots will use iṭ:

  • वन्द् → वन्दिता
    vand → vanditā

Since -tā starts with a consonant, many sandhi changes might occur:

  • बुध् → बोद्धा
    budh → boddhā
    awaken → will awaken

  • दृश् → द्रष्टा
    dṛś → draṣṭā
    see → will see

Adding endings

Here are the endings we use with parasmaipada roots:

 SingularDualPlural
3rdनेता
netā
नेतारौ
netārau
नेतारः
netāraḥ
2ndनेतासि
netāsi
नेतास्थः
netāsthaḥ
नेतास्थ
netāstha
1stनेतास्मि
netāsmi
नेतास्वः
netāsvaḥ
नेतास्मः
netāsmaḥ

If you have read some of our lessons on nominals, you might recognize the forms we use here in the third person. netā, netārau, and netāraḥ are the masculine case 1 forms of the stem netṛ (“leader”). The distant future is a combination of this stem and the forms of the root as (“be,” “exist”):

  • नेता + असि → नेतासि
    netā + asi → netāsi

  • नेता + अस्मि → नेतास्मि
    netā + asmi → netāsmi

Here are the endings we use with ātmanepada roots:

 SingularDualPlural
3rdनेता
netā
नेतारौ
netārau
नेतारः
netāraḥ
2ndनेतासे
netāse
नेतासाथे
netāsāthe
नेताध्वे
netādhve
1stनेताहे
netāhe
नेतास्वहे
netāsvahe
नेतास्महे
netāsmahe

Review

  1. What is the difference in meaning between the distant future and the simple future?