In the last Unit we learnt about the Present Participles in Pali. In this Unit we will study the Past Participles.

The Past Participles are used for indicating actions that are completed, whereas the Present Participles are used for actions which are ongoing at the time mentioned.


E.g. A man who is going – Present Participle

A man who has gone – Past Participle

Fruits falling from a tree – Present Participle

Fruits fallen from a tree – Past Participle

The monk coming to the village – Present Participle

The monk who has come to the village – Past Participle


In Pali, the past participles are formed by adding the termination ‘ta’ to the verbal base or root of the verb. A connecting vowel ‘i’ can be added before the termination ‘ta’.


paca + i + tapacita = cooked (pacati = cooks)

bhāsa + i + tabhāsita = spoken (bhāsati = speaks)

kasa + i + takasita = ploughed (kasati = ploughs)

passa + i + tapassita = seen (passati = sees)

pata + i + tapatita = fallen (patati = falls)

pūje + i + tapūjita = worshipped (pūjeti = worships)

dese + i + tadesita = preached (deseti = teaches, preaches)

gam + tagata = gone (gacchati = goes)

ā + gam + taāgata = come (āgacchati = comes)

han + tahata = killed (hanati = kills)


Sometimes termination ‘na’ is added to the verbal base or root of the verb to form Past Participles.

chid + nachinna = cut (chindati = cuts)

bhid + nabhinna = broken (bhindati = breaks)


Past Participles are used as adjectives of subject or object, depending on the verbs from which they are formed. Let us understand this concept with the help of a few sentences.


1. A man (who was) going to town = nagaraṃ gacchanto puriso (Present P)

A man who has gone to the town = nagaraṃ gato puriso (Past P)


2. Guests coming to the house = gehaṃ āgacchantā atithayo (Pr P)

Guests who have come to the house = gehaṃ āgatā atithayo (P P)


3. Flowers falling from the tree = Rukkhasmā patantāni pupphāni (Pr P)

Flowers fallen under the tree = Rukkhamūle patitāni pupphāni (P P)


In all the above cases, the verbs are intransitive. The past participle formed from an intransitive verb acts as an adjective of the subject (man, guests and flowers).


4. A woman cooking food = bhattaṃ pacantī itthī (Pr P)

Food that is cooked (by the woman) = (itthiyā) pacitaṃ bhattaṃ (P P)


5. Farmer ploughing the farm = khettaṃ kasanto kassako (Pr P)

Farm that is ploughed (by the farmer) = (kassakena) kasitaṃ khettaṃ (P P)


6. A girl singing a song = gītaṃ gāyantī kaññā (Pr P)

The song sung (by the girl) = (kaññāya) gāyitaṃ gītaṃ (P P)


7. Birds eating fruits = phalāni khādantā sakuṇā (Pr P)

Fruits eaten (by the birds) = (sakuṇehi) khāditāni phalāni (P P)


8. Buddha teaching the Dhamma = dhammaṃ desento buddho (Pr P)

The Dhamma taught (by the Buddha) = (buddhena) desito dhammo (P P)


In the above five sentences (4 to 8), the participles are formed from transitive verbs.

Please observe that in all these examples,

- the present participles act as adjectives of the subject (woman, farmer, girl, birds, Buddha), whereas

- the past participles act as adjectives of the object (food, farm, song, fruits, Dhamma).

Last modified: Saturday, 23 March 2024, 9:28 AM