A Practical Grammar of the PŒli Language
Chapter 11


529. Under the term "indeclinables" are included all those words which are incapable of any grammatical declension, that is: Adverbs, Prefixes, Propositions, Conjunctions and Interjections.


530. Adverbs may be divided into three groups:
(i) Derivative Adverbs, formed by means of suffixes.
(ii) Case-form Adverbs.
(iii) Pure Adverbs.

531. (i) Derivative Adverbs

(a) These are formed by the addition to pronominal stems, and to the stems of nouns and adjectives, of certain suffixes.

(b) Under this head come the "Adverbial Derivatives from numerals" given in (279), and the "Pronominal Derivatives" given in (336). The student ought now to read again these two classes of Adverbs.

(c) The suffix to (346), is also added to prepositions, nouns and adjectives, to form a very large class of adverbs; to is an ablative suffix (120) and therefore the adverbs formed with it have an ablative sense.
(i) From prepositions: abhito, near; parato, further.
(ii) From nouns:
dakkhiato, southerly, on the south;
pŒcnato, easterly, on the east;
pihito, from the surface, from the back, etc.,
pŒrato, from the further shore;
orato, from the near shore.
(iii) From adjectives; sabbato, everywhere.

(d) Suffixes tra and tha (346), showing place, are also used with adjectives: a––atha or a––atra, elsewhere; sabbatha, everywhere; ubhayattha, in both places.

(e) Suffix dŒ (345), is likewise used with adjectives and numerals: ekadŒ, once; sadŒ=sabbadŒ, at all times, always.

(f) dhi is used like dhΠ(28, 283): sabbadhi, everywhere.

(g) Suffixes so and sŒ (122, c, d) likewise form adverbs: bahuso, in a great degree; atthaso, according to the sense; balasŒ, forcibly.

(h) iti, (347) is extensively used as the particle of quotation; it is often abbreviated to ti (See Syntax).

532. (ii) Case-form Adverbs

(a) Some cases of pronouns, and adjectives, are used adverbially.

(b) Accusative Case. This case is very much used adverbially: ki, why?; ta there; ida here; ya because, since; from pronouns.

(c) From nouns; divasa during the day; ratti at night; raho, in secret; sacca truly; attha for the purpose of.

(d) For adjectives: cira, a long time; khippa, quickly; manda, stupidly.

(e) Some adverbs of obscure origin may be classed as the accusative case of nouns or adjectives long obsolete. Such are: mitho, mithu, one another, mutually; ara, presently; sajju, immediately; tuh, silently; ala, enough, sŒya, in the evening; isa a little, somewhat; jŒtu, surely, certainly; bahi, outside.
The Instrumentive. This case also is much used adverbially.
From pronouns: tena, therefore; yena; because.
From nouns: divasena, in a day; mŒsena, in a month; divŒ by day; sahŒsŒ, suddenly.
From adjectives: cirena, long; dakkhiena, to the south; uttarena, to the north; antarena, within.
The Dative Case: the adverbial use of the dative is restricted to atthŒya, for the sake of, for the purpose of; cirŒya, for a long time; hitŒya, for the benefit of.
The Ablative Case, is used frequently in an adverbial sense; especially so is the case with pronouns: kasmŒ, why?; yasmŒ, because; tasmŒ, therefore; pacchŒ, behind; after; ŒrŒ, afar off; hehŒ, below.
The Genitive Case is seldom used adverbially; from pronouns we have: kissa why?
From adjectives: cirassa, long; from nouns: hetussa, causally.
The Locative is very often used adverbially: bŒhire, outside; dre, far, avidre, not far; sampe, santike, near; rahasi, privately, in secret; bhuvi, on earth, on the earth.

(iii) Pure Adverbs

By these are understood the adverbs which are not obtained by derivation and which are not case-forms; such are:
kira, kila, they say, we are told that; hi, certainly, indeed; khalu, indeed; tu, now, indeed; atha, atho, and, also, then; etc.
na, expressing simple negation; mŒ, expressing prohibition; mŒ is often used with the Aorist.
nanu, used in asking questions to which an affirmative answer is expected. nu used in asking simple questions; no, not; nna surely, perhaps; nŒnŒ, variously.
The particle kva, where?
The above particles are called nipŒtŒ by the grammarians, they number about two hundred.

Verbal Prefixes; have already been treated of (514).

Inseparable Prefixes

(a) a, and before a vowel an, not, without, free from.
e.g. abhaya, free from fear; abŒla, not foolish; apassanto, not seeing; anŒloketva, without looking.

(b) du and before a vowel dur, bad, ill, hard difficult.
e.g. dubbao (33. Remark), ugly, ill-favoured; dubbinto ill conducted; duddamo, difficult to tame; duggo, difficult to pass; dujjano, a bad man; dukkaro, difficult to perform; dujjva
, a hard life.

(c) su has the contrary meaning of du :good, well, easy. It implies excess, facility, excellence.
e.g. subhŒsito, well-spoken; subahu, very much; sudanto, well-tamed; sukaro, easy to perform; sulabho, easy to be obtained.
Remarks. After du, the initial consonant is generally reduplicated; reduplication seldom takes place after su.

(d) sa, which is used instead of sam, (516), expresses the ideas of "possession, similarity; with, and; like; including."
e.g. sabhŒriya, with (his) wife; salajja, having shame, ashamed; sabhoga, wealthy; savihŒr, living with: sadevaka, including the worlds of gods.
Remarks. The particle sa is the opposite of particle a, an.


533. It has been seen that Verbal prefixes are properly prepositions and are used with nouns as well as verbs.

534. Many adverbs are used with a prepositional force along with nouns. Those of class (ii) Case form adverbs, are seldom used as prepositions, except perhaps those in to.

535. Prepositions, or words used prepositionally may govern any case, except the Nominative and Vocative.

536. Most of the Verbal Prefixes require the noun to be in one case or other.

537. The cases mostly used with prepositions or prepositional Adverbs are: the genitive, the instrumentive and the accusative.
But only a few are used separately from the noun they govern.
For examples see "Syntax of Substantives."


538. Indeclinables distinctly conjunctive are very few. The principal are:

(a) Copulative: ca, and, also, but, even. It is never used as the first word in a sentence; atha, and, then, now; atho; and also then.

(b) Disjunctive: vŒ, (never at the start of a sentence) uda, uda vŒ, or vŒ ... vŒ, either or; yadi vŒ, whether; yadi vŒ ... yadi vŒ, whether or; atha vŒ, or else, rather; na vŒ, or not; tathŒ pi, nevertheless.

(c) Conditional: yadi sace, if; ce (never at the beginning of a sentence) if; yadi eva, yajj'eva, if so.

(d) Causal: hi, for, because; certainly.


Ahaha, alas! oh! aho! ah!; aho vata, oh! ah!; are, sirrah! I say! here!; dhi, dh, shame! fie! woe!; bho, friend! sir! I say!; bhae, I say! to be sure!; ma––e, why! methinks!; he, oh!; sŒdhu, well! very well! very good!

General Remarks. The use of some particles will be given in the chapter on Syntax.