Explan:past participle - passive

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The past participle - passive is a type of verbal adjective; that is a word which functions as an adjective, but is derived from a verbal root.

The so-called “Past participle passive” or sometime just “Past participle” (and also called the “perfect participle passive” and abbreviated to p.p.p. in many guides) usually signifies completed action, thus the term perfect.

Participles can be used in a sentence like any adjective to qualify a noun or as an adverb to qualify a verb or clause. In the Neuter, these participles can also be used as nouns! Although they are generally used in passive voice sentences they can also be used in the active voice too!

See Pāli Studies for the syntax and uses of Pāli participles

Derivation[edit | edit source]

Although often called past passive, the past participle is neither based on the past (Aorist) stem nor is it a secondary passive derivative. In fact, it is a primary derivation formed by adding the -ta- or -na- directly to the root mainly.

The suffix -ta is by far the most common. See Duroiselle for examples and exceptions.

It is affixed in several ways:

  • to roots ending in a vowel, -ta is added directly to it.
    • to root ends in -ā, however, the -ā is is sometimes changed to -i or -ī.
  • roots ending in a consonant, may take an interceding -i- (-ita-),
    • or the -t- may assimilate.
    • roots ending in -r & -n generally drop them and take -ta directly
    • and sometimes a final -m is dropped before -ta,
  • and present stems take an interceding -i- (-ita-), and stems ending -aya- (-ayita-)
  • note:secondary causative verbal bases loose the causal infix.

For more examples See Duroiselle $452

Root   →   Past. P. Base
√bhū,   →   bhūta
√ṭhā,   →   ṭhita
√kar,   →   kata
√han,   →   hata
√pac,   →   pacita
√gam,   →   gata
gam-ya-ti   →   gamita
Stem   →   Past. P. Base
gaccha   →   gaccita

While most past participles are formed by adding -(i)ta to either the root or to the present stem; some roots ending in -ī, -ū, -j, -g and especially –d & –r generally take -na-; See Duroiselle for examples and exceptions.

  • to roots ending in a vowel, -na maybe joined directly
    • or by means of an interceding -i, (-ina-)
  • to roots ending in a consonant, -na maybe joined directly and the consonant will assimilate
    • or -na maybe joined by means of an interceding -i, (-ina-)


  • Past Participle formation
    Pali past participle
    • Pali noun suffix a-ā
    • Pali past participle -ta
    • Pali past participle -na

For more examples See Duroiselle $458

Root   →   Past. P. Base
√lū,   →   lūna
√chid,   →   chinna,


Thus we can deduce the following endings of the bases:

-ata, -āta, -ita, -ota, -eta,
-gga, -tta, -ttha, -ddha, -nta or -ḷha,
-īna, -ūna,
-iṇṇa or -ṇṇa,

All forms of this participle then decline nouns; masc. & neut. in -a, and feminine in -ā.