Usage of Cases
Nominative Case (Paṭhamā)

Nominative case is used to indicate the subject of the sentence. The subject can be defined as the person / animal / thing performing the action indicated by the verb.

E.g. Consider the sentence - The boy walks.

Here, the verb ‘walks’ indicates the action of walking which is performed by ‘the boy’. Thus, ‘the boy’ is the subject of the sentence.


Similarly in the sentences –
1. A fruit falls from the tree.
2. The cows run towards the field.
the action of ‘falling’ and ‘running’ is performed by ‘a fruit’ and ‘the cows’ respectively, which are the subjects of the sentences.

There can be sentences where the subject is not performing any action, but some statement is made about it.

E.g. Consider these sentences :
● There is sun in the sky.
● The merchant has a horse.

In both the above sentences the subjects are not performing any action, but some statement is made / information is provided about them.

We will deal with such types of sentences later in the course. For the current Unit, we will be learning sentences where the verbs indicate a certain action and the ‘doer’ or ‘performer’ of the action is the Subject of the sentence. This subject is denoted by Nominative Case.


The nominative forms of the noun ‘buddha’ are :

(the Buddha)

(the Buddhas)


  • kumāro – kumārā (a boy – boys)
  • rukkho – rukkhā (a tree – trees)
  • vihāro – vihārā (a monastery – monasteries)
Audio for Nominative Case 1

The verbs (in present tense) corresponding to these forms are third person singular and plural forms, ending in ____ti and ____nti.

Thus, we can have simple Pali sentences like :

  • Buddho bhāsati – The Buddha speaks.
  • Buddhā bhāsanti – The Buddhas speak.
  • Kumāro sayati – A / the boy sleeps.
  • Kumārā sayanti – The boys sleep.
  • Puriso gacchati – A / the man goes.
  • Purisā gacchanti – The men go.
Audio for Nominative Case 2

Let’s learn some nouns & verbs and then translate a few Pali sentences.

mitta = friend
bhatta = food, meal
pāda = foot
kukkura = dog
assa = horse

dhāvati = runs
āgacchati = comes
passati = sees
āruhati = climbs (up)
pavisati = enters

Audio for Nominative Case 3

Translating Pali sentences into English

  1. Mitto āgacchati – A friend comes.
  2. Assā dhāvanti – The horses run.
  3. Vāṇijo nisīdati – A merchant sits.
  4. Dārakā bhuñjanti – The children eat.
  5. Puriso carati – A man walks.
Audio for Nominative Case 4
Last modified: Tuesday, 10 January 2023, 12:00 PM