Lesson 21 – Athematic verbs – Class 3

A short YouTube version is available here. [Expand to the full article to be able to click on the link].

In some of our early lessons, we looked at the conjugation of thematic verbs – classes 1, 4, 6 and 10. Later on, in lessons 16 and 17 we looked the conjugation of verbs of root class 2. Then, in lesson 19, we looked at root classes 5 and 8 and in lesson 20, at root classes 7 and 9.

We said that in class 2, the endings are added directly to the root and the radical vowel is gunated in the strong forms.

In class 5, -no -नो is added to the root to make the strong stem and -nu -नु is added to the root to make the weak stem and in class 8, -o -ओ and -u -उ are added to make the strong and weak stems respectively. Thus the class 5 root √su √सु (“press out”) forms the strong stem suno सुनो and weak stem sunu सुनु and class 8 root √tan √तन् (“stretch”) forms strong stem tano तनो and weak stem tanu तनु.

We also said that in class 9, the class signs -nā -ना is added to the root to make the strong stem and -nī -नी is added to the root to make the weak stem. So root √krī √क्री (“buy”) forms the strong stem krīṇā- क्रीणा- and the weak stem krīṇī- क्रीणी-.

And, in class 7, the class sign is a nasal preceding the last consonant. In the weak forms it is a nasal adapted to the last consonant, and in strong forms it is expanded to na न. So, in weak forms, the root takes the infix ñ ञ् before j ज्, n न् before dh ध् etc. So the weak stem of √yuj √युज् (“join”) is yuñj युञ्ज् and the strong  stem is yunaj युनज्. The weak stem of √rudh √रुध् (“obstruct”) is rundh रुन्ध् and the strong  stem is ruṇadh रुणध्.

We noted that in verbs of root classes 2, 3 and 7, the endings come directly in contact with the final consonants of the roots (of roots ending in consonants) and therefore (the sometimes complicated) consonant sandhis apply.

In this lesson we will look at the last class of verbs – verbs of root class 3.

Class 3

Class 3 roots form their stems by reduplicating the roots. That is, they add a (sometimes modified) part of the root to the beginning of the root. Reduplication must have stared as a process of strengthening the root by doubling the entire root.


The general principle of reduplication is the prefixing to the root a part of itself  – the initial consonant and the vowel, the starting vowel and maybe the following consonant etc.

Some rules of reduplication are:

The consonant of reduplication is the normally the first consonant of the root;

A long radical vowel may be shortened – bibhī बिभी from root √bhī √भी (“fear”); dadā ददा from √dā √दा (“give”)

The reduplicated part uses a non-aspirate instead of the corresponding aspirate – dadhā दधा from √dhā √धा (“put”); bibhr̥ बिभृ from √bhr̥ √भृ (“bear”)

A palatal is substituted for a guttural or h ह् – juhu जुहु for √hu √हु (“sacrifice”); jahā जहा for √hā √हा (“leave”)

As we have seen in the case of √bhr̥ √भृ above, r̥ ऋ never appears in reduplication. It is replaced by i इ

[Note: some verbs of class 1 roots like √pā √पा, √sthā √स्था and √ghrā √घ्रा which form verb stems piba पिब, tiṣṭha तिष्ठ and jighra जिघ्र respectively, which are currently in class 1,  would have been earlier days in class 3 and may be transfers to class 1 from class 3.]

[Reduplication is quite common in Hindi, where not only verbs but also nouns, adjectives etc. are reduplicated. For example: khāte khāte mat bolo खाते खाते मत बोलो (“Do not speak while eating”) or vah ro rokar bolā वह रो रोकर बोला (“He spoke crying”); pānī ṭhaṇḍā ṭhaṇḍā hai पानी ठण्डा ठण्डा है (“The water is  cold”)  etc.

Sometime words are reduplicated as echo words: paisā vaisā पैसा वैसा etc.

Even in English, reduplication is commonly used. For example: “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.”(Winston Churchill, remarks at a White House luncheon, Washington, D.C., June 16, 1954); “He pooh-poohed the idea”;

Some are echo words: dilly-dally; wishy-washy etc.]

Note 1: Like any athematic verb, the stems have a double form. A strong form with a gunated root vowel and a weak form without the gunation. For example, for √hu √हु it is juho जुहो and juhu जुहु; for √bhī √भी it is bibhe बिभे and bibhī बिभी.

Note 2: The verbs of class 3 lose the “n” in the 3rd plural ending in the active indicative and imperative, as well as the middle indicative. Also, the the imperfect plural active ending is “us” instead of “an” and before this “us” the final radical vowel gets gunated.

Conjugation paradigms

√hu √हु


Active                                                              Middle

juhoti juhutaḥ juhvati                                  juhute juhvāte juhvate

juhoṣi juhuthaḥ juhutha                              juhuṣe juhvāthe juhudhve

juhomi juhuvaḥ juhumaḥ                            juhve juhuvahe juhumahe

Note the 3rd person plural ending drops the “n”. So the form is juhu + ati (not anti as in other cases) –> juhvati


Active                                                              Middle

ajuhot ajuhutām ajuhavuḥ                          ajuhuta ajuhvātām ajuhvata

ajuhoḥ ajuhutam ajuhuta                            ajuhuthāḥ ajuhvāthām ajuhudhvam

ajuhavam ajuhuva ajuhuma                       ajuhvi ajuhuvahi ajuhumahi

Note the 3rd person plural ending in “us”  and the gunation of the final radical vowel to “juho”: ajuho + us –> ajuhavuḥ


Active                                                              Middle

juhuyāt juhuyātām juhuyuḥ                       juhvīta juhvīyātām juhvīran

juhuyāḥ juhuyātam juhuyāta                     juhvīthāḥ juhvīyāthām juhvīdhvam

juhuyām juhuyāva juhuyāma                    juhvīya juhvīvahi juhvīmahi


Active                                                              Middle

juhotu juhutām juhvatu                              juhutām juhvātām juhvatām

juhudhi juhutam juhuta                              juhuṣva juhvāthām juhudhvam

juhavāni juhavāva juhavāma                      juhavai juhavāvahai juhavāmahai

Note the 3rd person plural ending drops the “n”. So the form is juhu + atu (not antu as in other cases) –> juhvatu


Since the participle closely follows the pattern of the 3rd person plural, the active participle is formed by adding “at” to the weak stem and not “ant” as in the other classes. The middle participle is formed by adding āna to the weak stem.

The active participle is juhvat जुह्वत्. Unlike the other classes, the active participle does not have the “n”. So the declension has only one form, not two – strong and weak forms.

The feminine active participle is  is जुह्वती.

The middle participle is regular and is juhvāna जुह्वान

Let us also look at the indicative of √bhr̥ √भृ

Active                                                              Middle

bibharti bibhr̥taḥ bibhrati                            bibhr̥te bibhrāte bibhrate

bibharṣi bibhr̥thaḥ bibhr̥tha                          bibhr̥ṣe bibhrāte bibhr̥dhve

bibharmi bibhr̥vaḥ bibhr̥maḥ                        bibhr̥e bibhr̥vahe bibhr̥mahe

Roots √dā √दा and √dhā √धा

The roots √dā √दा and √dhā √धा which are the commonest roots of this class, lose their radical vowel completely in the weak forms, where it is shortened to dad दद् and dadh दध्.

In the second singular imperative active, they form “dehi” and dhehi”

When combining with “t”, “th” and “s” of endings, the ending “d” and “dh” of “dad” and “dadh” change to “t”

When combining with “t”, “th”, “dh” and “s”, the aspiration “dh” of “dadh” is thrown back on to the first syllable to become “dh”. [This is similar to what we saw in Lesson 6 in consonant sandhis (section 6.3) that √duh + su  √दुह् + सु –> dhukṣu  धुक्षु = dhukṣu. The beginning “d” becomes “dh”. We also saw a similar thing in lesson 16.

Note: This law where the the aspiration is thrown back is called Grasmann’s Law. This phenomenon obtains in Greek also.]

Let us look at the conjugation of √dhā √धा (“put”)


Active                                                         Middle

dadhāti dhattaḥ dadhati                         dhatte dadhāte dadhate

dadhāsi dhatthaḥ dhattha                      dhatse dadhāthe dhaddhve

dadhāmi dadhvaḥ dadhmaḥ                  dadhe dadhvahe dadhmahe


Active                                                         Middle

adadhāt adhattām adadhuḥ                  adhatta adadhātām adadhata

adadhāḥ adhattam adhatta                    adhatthāḥ adadhāthām adhaddhvam

adadhām adadhva adadhma                 adadhi adadhvahi adadhmahi


Active                                                         Middle

dadhyāt dadhyātām dadhyuḥ                dadhīta dadhīyātām dadhīran

dadhyāḥ dadhyātam dadhyāta              dadhīthāḥ dadhīyāthām dadhīdhvam

dadhyām dadhyāva dadhyāma             dadhīya dadhīvahi dadhīmahi


Active                                                         Middle

dadhātu dhattām dadhatu                     dhattām dadhātām dadhatām

dhehi dhattam dhatta                             dhatsva dadhāthām dhaddhvam

dadhāni dadhāva dadhāma                   dadhai dadhāvahai dadhāmahai


The participles are dadhat and dadhāna

Please study the first few verses (I have reached up to verse 12)  of the नळोपाख्यानम् naḷopākhyānam   – The story of Nala – that I have analysed on a first level and uploaded here. This will help you understand how to analyse Sanskrit verses.

This is the end of lesson 21. In this lesson we looked at the conjugation of verbs of root class 3.


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