Gender-Neutral Nouns & Pronouns

Neuter gender nouns are similar to masculine nouns, except in the three cases we’ve already studied for masculine nouns. So – we might as well learn the three cases of neuter gender right now.

Neuter

SINGULAR DUAL PLURAL
CASE 1 (SUBJECT) -m -e -ani
CASE 2 (OBJECT)
CASE 8 (ADDRESS)

Here’s an example of inflection using the neuter noun, फल (phala) {“fruit”}

फल

SINGULAR DUAL PLURAL
CASE 1 (SUBJECT) फलम्phalam फले
phale
फलानि
phalāni
CASE 2 (OBJECT)
CASE 8 (ADDRESS) फल
phala

Neuter Pronouns

Let’s just look at third-person for now (“it”)

Third Person (“it”)
तद् Singular Dual Plural
Case 1 (subject) तत्

tat

ते

te

तानि

tāni
Case 2 (object)

Practice

तद्वनम् tad vanam {“that is a forest”}

Tat became tad because it blends with the next word. The first letter of the next word “v” in vanam is a semi-vowel, so it’s a “voiced” sound. So the unvoiced “t” at the end of “tat” changes to the voiced version of the same sound: “d”.

Notice that vana is inflected in the object case. So, it’s the object of the sentence, not the subject. That’s why the sentence means “That is a forest.” rather than “That forest.” If you want it to say “That forest” you say तद्वनः tad vanaḥ.

तन्मां गच्छति tan māṁ gacchati   {“it goes to me”}

Tat became tan because of blending with the next word. The next word starts with a nasal (“m”) so the t at the end of “tat” changes to a nasal (“n”).

Notice that the object is the first-person pronoun. So the sentence means “it” “to me” “it goes”.

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