in this section, we are going to learn about infinitives. They are verbs which are related to participles.


Look at the sentence given below to understand further about the same:

एतान् न हन्तुम् इच्छामि
etān na hantum icchāmi
I do not want to kill them.

It is difficult to notice this from the example, but the term is uninflected, just like gerund. The difference lies in the fact that while gerund occurs before the sentence, the new form occurs within the system.


It is quite easy to form an infinitive.

To form the infinitive, attach the suffix “tum” to the verb root. Rules are the same as those used by “tr” suffix.
It gets tricker then when used previously because infinitive acts like an object to the main verb. For example, etan in the sentence is the object of hantum, both of them together form etān hantum, which means, to kill them. This can then become the object of the main verb icchami.

However, it is not merely the object state to which infinitive is stuck, it can be attached to adjectives as well as nouns, the infinitive is similar to a noun in this case. Look at the sentence given below to learn further.

तस्मान्नार्हा वयं हन्तुं धार्तराष्ट्रान् स्वबन्धवान्
tasmānnārhā vayaṃ hantuṃ dhārtarāṣṭrān svabandhavān
Thus we are not entitled to kill the sons of Dhritarashtra,
our own kinsmen.Bhagavad Gita 1.37.

The infinitive can be a part of certain compounds. It is a part of the bahuvrīhi compound and appears as the first member after the final –m is dropped. The member which comes after this is kāma, which means desire, or manas, which means mind.
Look at the examples given below to learn further.

योद्धुम् + कामः → योद्धुकामः
yoddhum + kāmaḥ → yoddhukāmaḥ
to fight + desire → with a desire to fight, wishing to fight

गन्तुम् + मनः → गन्तुमनः
gantum + manaḥ → gantumanaḥ
to go + mind → with a mind to go, thinking of going

This is the way infinitives function in the Sanskrit language.