Usage of Cases

In the previous Unit we learnt that the Pali nouns decline in eight cases.

  • Nominative Case (Paṭhamā)
  • Accusative Case (Dutiyā)
  • Instrumental Case (Tatiyā)
  • Dative Case (Catutthī)
  • Ablative Case (Pañcamī)
  • Genitive Case (Chaṭṭhī)
  • Locative Case (Sattamī)
  • Vocative Case (Ālapana)

Each of these cases is used for expressing one or more specific meanings. The following is an overview of usage of the cases :

  • Nominative : subject of a sentence
  • Accusative : object of a sentence or destination
  • Instrumental : by, with, through someone / something
  • Dative : beneficiary / recipient (indirect object)
  • Ablative : separation, origin (place / cause)
  • Genitive : relation / possession
  • Locative : location or time
  • Vocative : for addressing purpose

Now let us learn in detail the usage of each of these cases with the help of multiple examples and activities.

Please Note :

  • We will be using ‘a’-ending masculine nouns throughout this Unit for studying various cases. Hence it is desirable to be fairly conversant with the declension table of the noun ‘Buddha’.
  • We will be learning a few nouns and verbs at a time to make and translate Pali sentences. As we move along, you will also come across words learnt in the previous sections / Units. It might be useful to make a list of these words or use a Pali-English dictionary (physical or online) for translating Pali sentences.
Last modified: Wednesday, 16 November 2022, 5:15 PM