Distant Past Tense Verbs


The distant past tense

The perfect uses both strong and weak stems. These stems are created in more complicated ways than the stems we've seen before.

Extra Rules for the Reduplication

, , and will all become a.

Roots that start with a and ā use a for the reduplication, which merges with the root to form ā.

Roots that start with i- use i for the reduplication, which merges with the root to form ī. Exception: if the i- in the root has been strengthened, then the reduplication becomes iy.

Roots that usually take saṃprasāraṇa reduplicate as follows: roots that start with va use u, and roots that start with ya use i.

Endings for the strong stem

Roots ending in vowels

A final vowel sound is strengthened based on the "person" :

But some roots don't strengthen this way. Roots ending in ā, e, ai, or o become au.

One exception is the root hvā, which also appears as hve. This root is treated as , and it strengthens just like kṛ above.

Roots ending in consonants

Roots are strengthened to guṇa if possible.

Recall that not all roots can be strengthened to guṇa. We studied this restriction in Fundamentals, in the lesson on thematic verbs:

Some vowels will never undergo a guṇa change. The root that contain this type of vowels has two properties:

  1. The root ends in a consonant.
  2. If we remove the last consonant of the root, the result is a heavy syllable.

When both of these things are true, the guṇa rule does not apply.

But for roots that contain a followed by just one consonant, the a becomes ā.

Weak Stem

Final i, ī, u, ū, ṝ

When in front of endings that start with the vowels, the final vowel of the root undergoes these changes:


For some roots, the reduplication will collapse into the main root, forming one syllable. For the roots that do so, all of the following are true:

The root vowel is changed from a to e.

But for five verb roots (jan, khan, gam, ghas, han), the stem is weakened by removing the root vowel completely:


These roots take saṃprasāraṇa: vac, vad, vap, vas, vah, yaj, vyadh, grah, svap