Sarvanāmāni - PRONOUNS

Pronouns are used in place of nouns which have already been used in the same sentence or in preceding sentence/s. They are used mainly to avoid repetition of the same word which can be quite tiresome. In Sanskrit, the pronouns are listed as Sarvādi, that is, those in the group beginning with the word 'Sarva'. There are about thirtyfive words enumerated in this group. They are -

sarva              viśva               ubha               ubhaya           ḍataraḍatama           anya

anyatara         itara                tvat                  tva                   nema              sama             sima

pūrva              para                apara              dakṣiṇa          uttara              avara         adhara

sva                  antara             tyad                 tad                   yad                  etad               idam adas                eka                  dvi                   yuṣmad          asmad            bhavatu          kim      

These are the sarvanāmansor the pronouns.    

Based on the nuances in the pronouns, these can be divided into ten kinds -

1 Puruṣārthakasarvanāmāni         - Personal Pronouns                       

2 Nirdeśakasarvanāmāni               - Demonstrative Pronouns 

3 Praśnavācakasarvanāmāni        - Interrogative Pronoun

4 Avyaktavācisarvanāmāni            - Indefinite Pronouns

5 Vyāpekṣakasarvanāmāni            - Relative Pronouns            

6 Bandhavācisarvanāmāni             - Correlative Pronouns                   

7 Pārasparikasarvanāmāni             - Reciprocal Pronouns

8 Sambandhavācisarvanāmāni     - Possessive Pronouns      

9 Svavācisarvanāmāni                    - Reflexive Pronouns                      

10 Sārvanāmikabhedakāni             - Pronominal Adjectives     

Personal Pronouns

Asmad, Yuṣmadand Bhavat are called the Personal pronouns. The first two have the same declension in all the three genders, whereas, the declension for the last, varies with gender variation.

The declension of the pronominal stem 'asmad' is as follows -

                                    Singular                     Dual                            Plural

Nom.                           aham                          āvām                          vayam

Acc.                            mām / mā                   āvām / nau                 asmān / naḥ

Instr.                            mayā                          āvābhyām                  asmābhiḥ

Dat.                             mahyam / me            āvābhyām / nau        asmabhyam/ naḥ

Abl.                             mat                              āvābhyām                  asmat

Gen.                            mama / me                 āvayoḥ / nau             asmākam / naḥ        

Loc.                             mayi                            āvayoḥ                       asmāsu

The declension of 'Yuṣmad' follows -

                                    Singular                     Dual                            Plural

Nom.                           tvam                            yuvām                                    yūyam

Acc.                            tvām / tvā                   yuvām / vām              yuṣmān / vaḥ

Instr.                            tvayā                           yuvābhyām                yuṣmābhiḥ

Dat.                             tubhyam / te               yuvābhyām / vām     yuṣmabhyam/ vaḥ

Abl.                             tvat                              yuvābhyām                yuṣmat

Gen.                            tava / te                      yuvayoḥ /vām            yuṣmākam / vaḥ      

Loc.                             tvayi                            yuvayoḥ                     yuṣmāsuThe optional shorter forms in the declensions of 'asmad' and 'Yuṣmad',viz., mā, nau, naḥ, me, tvā, vām, vaḥ and te are not to be used in the beginning of a sentence or with the indeclinables vā, ca, ha, eva etc.


This word, ending in the letter 't', is arespectful mode of address and in the nominative singular it becomes bhavān in Masculine, bhavatī in Feminine and remains bhavat in Neuter. It is also quite common to use 'atrabhavat' and 'tatrabhavat' to express excessive respect, instead of merely using 'bhavat'.

Declension of 'bhavat' in the masculine -

                                    Singular                     Dual                            Plural

Nom.                           bhavān                       bhavantau                 bhavantaḥ

Voc.                            he bhavan !               he bhavantau!           he bhavantaḥ!

Acc.                            bhavantam                bhavantau                 bhavataḥ

Instr.                            bhavatā                      bhavadbhyām           bhavadbhiḥ

Dat.                             bhavate                      bhavadbhyām           bhavadbhyaḥ

Abl.                             bhavataḥ                    bhavadbhyām           bhavadbhyaḥ

Gen.                            bhavataḥ                    bhavatoḥ                    bhavatām

Loc.                             bhavati                       bhavatoḥ                    bhavatsu

Declension of 'bhavat' in the feminine -

Singular                     Dual                            Plural

Nom.                           bhavatī                       bhavatyau                  bhavatyaḥ

Voc.                            he bhavati !                he bhavatyau!           he bhavatyaḥ!

Acc.                            bhavatīm                    bhavatyau                  bhavatīḥ

Instr.                            bhavatyā                    bhavatībhyām           bhavatībhiḥ

Dat.                             bhavatyai                   bhavatībhyām           bhavatībhyaḥ

Abl.                             bhavatyāḥ                  bhavatībhyām           bhavatībhyaḥ

Gen.                            bhavatyāḥ                  bhavatyoḥ                  bhavatīnām

Loc.                             bhavatyām                 bhavatyoḥ                  bhavatīṣu

Declension of 'bhavat' in the neuter -

                                    Singular                     Dual                            Plural

Nom.                           bhavat                        bhavatī                       bhavanti

Voc.                            he bhavat !                 he bhavatī !                he bhavanti !

Acc.                            bhavat                        bhavatī                       bhavanti

Instr.                            bhavatā                      bhavadbhyām           bhavadbhiḥ

Dat.                             bhavate                      bhavadbhyām           bhavadbhyaḥ

Abl.                             bhavataḥ                    bhavadbhyām           bhavadbhyaḥ

Gen.                            bhavataḥ                    bhavatoḥ                    bhavatām

Loc.                             bhavati                       bhavatoḥ                    bhavatsu

Demonstrative Pronouns

The demonstartive pronouns are tad, etad, idam and adas. These have different declensional forms in different genders.

The Masculine forms of 'tad' ( he, she, it, that) -              The Feminine forms -          Singular         Dual                Plural              Singular         Dual                Plural

Nom.   saḥ                  tau                   te                     sā                    te                     tāḥ

Acc.    tam                  tau                   tān                   tām                  te                     tāḥ      

Instr.    tena                tābhyām         taiḥ                  tayā                 tābhyām         tābhiḥ

Dat.     tasmai             tābhyām         tebhyaḥ          tasyai              tābhyām         tābhyaḥ

Abl.     tasmād           tābhyām         tebhyaḥ          tasyāḥ                        tābhyām         tābhyaḥ

Gen.    tasya               tayoḥ              teṣām             tasyāḥ                        tayoḥ              tāsām

Loc.     tasmin             tayoḥ              teṣu                 tasyām           tayoḥ              tāsu

The visarga of the word 'saḥ' gets dropped in usages except when it is followed by the short vowel 'a' - Thus, 'sa upavishati', 'sa āgacchati', but saḥ + agacchat = so'gacchat, saḥ+atra=so'tra

The Neuter forms of 'tad' differ from the Masculine forms only in the first two cases, viz., the Nominative and the Accusative. The remaining forms are just like those of the masculine. This is so for all neuter words. Moreover, the Nominative and the Accusative forms of all neuter words are also same. The form of 'tad' in the Nominative and Accusative Neuter, therefore, are - tat, te, tāni, in the Singular, Dual and Plural respectively.

The Usage of the word forms of 'tad'

This word is used to refer to the sense of a word already mentioned, such as -

purā duṣyanto nāma rājā āsīt | saḥ mahān, dharmiṣṭhaḥ, prajātatparaścāsīt |

gaṅgā himālayāt prabhavati | kācana puṇyanadī bhavati |

sevāphalaṃ svādiśṭhaṃ bhavati | tasya mūlyaṃ tu adhikaṃ bhavati |

etad - This, this person or thing

The word etad, as opposed to 'tad' expresses the idea of 'proximity' of the person or thing referred to. Like tad, this also undergoes declension in all three genders .

Masculine declension of etad -

            Singular         Dual                Plural              Singular         Dual                Plural

Nom.   eṣaḥ            etau                ete                   eṣā                  ete                   etāḥ

Acc.    etam/ enam   etau/enau      etān/enān      etām/enām    ete/ene           etāḥ/enāḥ

Instr.    etena/enena  etābhyām       etaiḥ               etayā/enayā  etābhyām       etābhiḥ

Dat.     etasmai          etābhyām       etebhyaḥ       etasyai           etābhyām       etābhyaḥ

Abl.     etasmād         etābhyām       etebhyaḥ       etasyāḥ          etābhyām       etābhyaḥ

Gen.    etasya       etayoḥ/enayoḥ   eteṣām          etasyāḥ     etayoḥ/enayoḥ  etāsām

Loc.     etasmin     etayoḥ/enayoḥ    eteṣu            etasyām     etayoḥ/enayoḥ  etāsu

The Neuter forms are - etad, ete, etāni, for the Nominative and Accusative singular, dual and plural respectively. The rest are like the forms of the Masculine.

Idam is a pronoun which is used to denote a closer proximity than that expressed by etad.. This is also declined in all three genders -

masculine forms of 'idam'                                                    feminine forms of 'idam'

            Singular         Dual                Plural              Singular         Dual                Plural

Nom.   ayam              imau               ime                  iyam                ime                  imāḥ  

Acc.    imam/ enam  imau/enau     imān/enān     imām/enām   ime/ene          imāḥ/enāḥ

Instr.    anena/enena ābhyām         ebhiḥ              anayā/enayāābhyām          ābhiḥ

Dat.     asmai             ābhyām          ebhyaḥ           asyai               ābhyām          ābhyaḥ

Abl.     asmād            ābhyām          ebhyaḥ          asyāḥ             ābhyām          ābhyaḥ

Gen.    asya         anayoḥ/enayoḥ   eṣām                        asyāḥ     anayoḥ/enayoḥ    āsām

Loc.     asmin       anayoḥ/enayoḥ  eṣu                asyām     anayoḥ/enayoḥ    āsu

In the first two cases of the neuter, the form goes idam, ime, imāni. The rest arelikethe Masculine forms.

Adas - Masculine form                                                         feminine form

            Singular         Dual                Plural              Singular         Dual                Plural

Nom.   asau            amū                amī                  asau               amū               amūḥ

Acc.    amum             amū                amūn              amum             amū                amūḥ

Instr.    amunā            amūbhyām    amībhiḥ          amuyā            amūbhyām    amūbhiḥ

Dat.     amuṣmai        amūbhyām    amūbhyaḥ     amuṣya          amūbhyām    amūbhyaḥ

Abl.     amuṣmād       amūbhyām    amūbhyaḥ     amuṣyāḥ        amūbhyām    amūbhyaḥ

Gen.    amuṣya          amuyoḥ          amīṣām          amuṣyāḥ        amuyoḥ          amūṣām

Loc.     amuṣmin       amuyoḥ          amīṣu             amuṣyām       amuyoḥ          amūṣu

The neuter forms in the first two cases are adaḥ amoo amooni; the rest like the masculine.

The usage of the the four pronouns idam, etad, adas and tad are versfied as follows -           idamastu sannikṛṣṭe samīpataravartti caitado rūpam |

               adasastu viprakṛṣṭe taditi parokṣe vijānīyāt ||

’idam’ is used for something that is nearest to one , 'etad' for that which is quite near, 'adas' for something which is farther off while 'tad' is for something that is out of sight.

Interrogative Pronouns

' kim' an interrogative form, is an indeclinable in sentences such as ’tvam vidyālayamāgacchasi, kim ?' - 'Are you coming to School ?' , there is also the pronominal stem 'kim' meaning 'what' or 'who' which undergoes declension in all genders and in all cases to express the senses of 'what', 'which', 'of which', 'for which', 'by which', 'who', 'whom', 'from whom' etc. The declensional forms of 'kim', therefore, are as follows -

kim - Masculine form                                                            feminine form

            Singular         Dual                Plural              Singular         Dual                Plural

Nom.   kaḥ                kau                  ke                    kā                    ke                   kāḥ

Acc.    kam                 kau                  kān                  kām                 ke                    kāḥ

Instr.    kena               kābhyām        kaiḥ                 kayā                kābhyām        kābhiḥ

Dat.     kasmai           kābhyām        kebhyaḥ         kasyai             kābhyām        kābhyaḥ

Abl.     kasmād          kābhyām        kebhyaḥ         kasyāḥ           kābhyām       kābhyaḥ

Gen.    kasya              kayoḥ             keṣām            kasyāḥ           kayoḥ            kāsām

Loc.     kasmin           kayoḥ             keṣu                kasyām          kayoḥ             kāsu

In the Neuter gender the forms will be kim, ke, kāni for the nominative and the accusative and the remaining cases will be the same as in the masculine.

Indefinite Pronouns

The particles 'cit', 'cana', 'api', and sometimes 'svid' are added to interrogative pronouns and adverbs to give them the sense of indefinite pronnouns such as 'kashcit' or 'kashcana' - some person, 'kaadaacit' - at some time.

Some masculine indefinite forms -

kaḥ+ cit = kaścit

kaḥ+ cana = kaścana ----------->Some (male) Person

kaḥ+ api = ko:'pi

Feminine Indefinite -

kā+cit = kācit

kā+cana   = kācana -------------> Some (female) person

kā + api = kāpi

Neuter Indefinite -

kim+cit = kiñcit

kim+cana = kiñcana --------------> Some thing

kim+api = kimapi

Indefinite forms derived from the word 'kim' in all its genders, cases and numbers are quite common in usage. Thus, ’kaścidyakṣaḥ’ - some yakṣa, kasyāpi vānarasya - of some monkey, kyāpi tūlikayā - by some pen, kasminnapi vane - in some forest, kasyāṃścit nadyām - in some river, kenāpi kāraṇena - due to some reason etc.

Reflective Pronoun

Reflective pronouns are those that are mutually dependent to be able to express a complete sense. - 'yacchabdaḥ tacchabdamāśrayate' - the word yat depends upon the word tat to be able to convey its sense

Example - ẏaḥ samyak likhati sa parīkṣāyām uttīrṇo bhavati - It is he who writes well, that passes the test.

Yat is also declined in all the three genders

Masculine -    yaḥ           yau             ye        Feminine -     yā        ye                  yāḥ

                        yam          yau             yān                              yām     ye                  yāḥ

                        yena      yābhyām     yaiḥ                          yayā    yābhyām      yābhiḥ

                        yasmai yābhyām     yebhyaḥ                 yasyai   yābhyām    yābhyaḥ

                        yasmāt yābhyām     yebhyaḥ                     yasyāḥ   yābhyām    yābhyaḥ

                      yasya       yayoḥ        yeṣām                                    yasyāḥ   yayoḥ         yāsām

                        yasmina   yayoḥ      yeṣu                            yasyām   yayoḥ         yāsu

The Neuter is yat ye yāni for the Nominative and Accustive, the remaining forms being the same as in the Masculine.

The word yat is also used to distinguish a particular from a general group. There are several kinds of such distinction such as -

word                           form                            meaning

            yat                               yat+su                        distinguishes a specific person from others

            yatra                           yat + tral         distinguishes a specific place from others

            yadā                           yat+a              distinguishes a specific time from other

            yathā                          yat+tha           distinguishes a specifiv type from pther

            yadi                             yat +i               distinguishes a specific condition from others

Correlative pronouns

yad, tad, etad + vat = yāvat, tāvat, etāvat ; kim, idam + yat = kiyat, iyat

tad, etad, yad, idam, kim + dṛś, dṛśa = tādṛk, tādṛśa, etādṛk, etādṛśa, yādṛ, yādṛśa, īdṛk, īdṛśa, kīdṛk, kīdṛśa

tad, yad, kim + ati = tati, yati, kati (these have only plural forms).

These consequent forms are known as the correlative pronouns.

The declension of yāvat in the masculine would be yāvān yāvantau yāvantaḥ, yāvantam yāvantau yāvataḥ, yāvatā etc.

’tādṛk’ has the same form in all three genders but it is declined. The forms follow the pattern of tādṛk / ṅ tādṛśau tādṛśaḥ.

Reciprocal Pronouns

anya, itara. para come under this head. These words are repeated to denote mutual relation and the case suffixes follow in the end. Example -

anya               anyo'nyaḥ                  anyo'nyā                    anyo'nyam

itara                itaretaraḥ                   itaretarā                      itaretaram

para                parasparaḥ                parasparā                  parasparam

Possessive Pronouns   

These pronouns are formed by adding the suffixes īya, īna, and aka to tad, etad, asmad and yuṣmad and denote that person or thing who / which belongs to someone. The gender, case and number of the pronoun so formed will correspond to those of whoever or whatever it is that belongs.

                                    īya                                           īna                               aka                 

tad                               tadīyaḥ                                                                                                                                             tadīyā                                                


etad                            etadīyaḥ



asmad                        asmadīyaḥ                             asmadīnaḥ                māmakaḥ

                                    asmadīyā                               asmadīnā                   māmakā

                                    asmadīyam                            asmadīnam               māmakam

yuṣmad                      yuṣmadīyaḥ                           yuṣmadīnaḥ              tāvakaḥ         

                                    yuṣmadīyā                             yuṣmadīnā                 tāvakā                                                           yuṣmadīyam                          yuṣmadīnam             tāvakam

Reflexive Pronouns

The pronouns 'sva' and 'ātman' that represent the idea of "self " are known as Reflexive pronouns. Eg . sā ātmānaṃ kṛtakṛtyāṃ manyate’ - She considers herself as well-accomplished; uddharet ātmanā ātmānam -uplift self by self.

The word - sva is pronoun not only in denoting the sense of 'self' but also in expressing the idea of 'belonging to self' . Like ātmān, while expressing the idea of 'self', it is used only in the masculine irrespective of the gender of the person it represents, but in conveying the idea of something belonging to self, it follows the gender of whatever it is that belongs. Examples for the latter are -- svaḥ bālaḥ   svā bālā   svaṃ gṛham

Pronominal Adjectives

anya, anyatara, itara,ekatama, katara, yatara, yatama, tatara, and tatama are pronomials. So are sarva, viśva, sama, sima, ubha and ubhaya as also pūrva, avara, dakṣiṇa, uttara, apara and adhara.

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