In a Punjabi sentence, verbs must agree with the subject or object of the sentence in terms of gender, number, and person. A Punjabi verb root is always in second person singular form in imperative mood.
Punjabi verbs change forms
for gender, number, person, phase, and tense. These verbs have assigned transitivity
Transitive verbs are those
that require an object in a sentence unlike intransitive verbs.
ਹੱਸ is intransitive as in ਮੁੰਡਾ ਹੱਸ ਰਿਹਾ
ਸੀ | ਲਿਖ is transitive as in ਉਸਨੇ ਚਿੱਠੀ ਲਿਖੀ |
Some verbs may be used as both transitive and intransitive.
For example: ਖੇਡ is transitive in
ਮੁੰਡਾ ਹਾਕੀ ਖੇਡ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ |
but intransitive in ਮੁੰਡਾ ਖੇਡ ਰਿਹਾ
Some verb roots extend to form causatives. There are two types of causatives – simple and double. In general,
the simple causative is formed by adding ਆ and double by adding ਵਾ.
Forms of verb root ਰੱਖ are ਰਖਾ (simple causal) and ਰਖਵਾ (double causal).
All the causatives are transitive irrespective of the transitivity
of their root.
There are two genders – masculine and feminine for which Punjabi verbs change forms.
Like other word classes,
Punjabi verbs change forms for two numbers – singular and plural.
Punjabi verbs take forms for three persons – first, second, and third accoding to the subject of the sentence.
Punjabi verbs can be in
perfect or non-perfect forms. Prefect refers to the action completed or perfected
at the time of saying and non-prefect refers to the remaining states of the action
like ongoing or not started.
Tense: Punjabi verbs take forms
for future tense only and for present and past tense, appropriate auxiliary verb
form (for present or past tense) is used. For example:
Please note that for future tense, no auxiliary verb
The words of this word class do not change forms. It differs from other similar
word classes in the sense that the words of this word class can only be used as
a part of a verb phrase in a sentence. For example, ਰਿਹਾ rihā is a verb-part in the following sentence: ਕੈਦੀ ਜੇਲ੍ਹ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੋ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ।
kaidī jēlh viccōṃ rihā hō giā hai.
The prisoner have been freed from the prison.
Various forms of a Punjabi verb root based on above
mentioned grammatical categories can be classified into 14 inflectional classes,
which serve the purpose of ‘mood’. These inflectional classes are U, O, E, NA,
DA, IA, IDA, EGA, DIAN, IAN, NON, N, KE, and DON. Out of these DIAN, IAN, NON,
N, and KE are termed as non-finite and show no inflection, rest all the classes
are termed finite and show inflection for gender, number, and person.
For example, inflectional class wise grouping of the
forms (or paradigm) of verb ਜਾ jā ‘go’ are provided here, U – ਜਾਊਂ
jāūṃ and ਜਾਊ jāū, O – ਜਾ jā, ਜਾਈਂ jāīṃ, and ਜਾਇਓ
jāiō, E – ਜਾਣ jāṇ, ਜਾਵਾਂ jāvāṃ, ਜਾਈਏ jāīē,
ਜਾਓ jāō, ਜਾਏਂ jāēṃ, and ਜਾਏ jāē, NA – ਜਾਣਾ jāṇā,
ਜਾਣੇ jāṇē, ਜਾਣੀ jāṇī, and ਜਾਣੀਆਂ jāṇīāṃ, DA – ਜਾਂਦਾ
jāndā, ਜਾਂਦੇ jāndē, ਜਾਂਦੀ jāndī, and ਜਾਂਦੀਆਂ
jāndīāṃ, IA – ਗਿਆ giā, ਗਏ gaē, ਗਈ gaī, and ਗਈਆਂ
gaīāṃ, IDA – ਜਾਈਦਾ jāīdā, EGA – ਜਾਵਾਂਗਾ jāvāṅgā,
ਜਾਵਾਂਗੇ jāvāṅgē, ਜਾਵਾਂਗੀ jāvāṅgī, ਜਾਵਾਂਗੀਆਂ jāvāṅgīāṃ,
ਜਾਵੇਗਾ/ਜਾਏਗਾ jāvēgā/jāēgā, ਜਾਵੋਗੇ/ਜਾਓਗੇ jāvōgē/jāōgē,
ਜਾਵੇਗੀ/ਜਾਏਗੀ jāvēgī/jāēgī, ਜਾਵੋਗੀਆਂ/ਜਾਓਗੀਆਂ jāvōgīāṃ/jāōgīāṃ,
ਜਾਵੇਂਗਾ/ਜਾਏਂਗਾ jāvēṅgā/jāēṅgā, ਜਾਵੇਂਗੀ/ਜਾਏਂਗੀ jāvēṅgī/jāēṅgī,
ਜਾਣਗੇ jāṇgē, and ਜਾਣਗੀਆਂ jāṇgīāṃ, DIAN – ਜਾਂਦਿਆਂ jāndiāṃ,
IAN – ਗਿਆਂ giāṃ, NON – ਜਾਣੋਂ jāṇōṃ, N – ਜਾਣ jāṇ, KE –
ਜਾਕੇ jākē, and DON – ਜਾਂਦੋਂ jāndōṃ, ਜਾਂਦਿਓ jāndiō,
and ਜਾਂਦੀਓ jāndīō. Other verb roots may have more or less forms than
these described here for ਜਾ jā ‘go’. U, O, and EGA forms are for future
tense. IA, IAN, and KE forms are classified as perfect forms and all others are
Punjabi main verbs, on an average have 48 distinct forms, unlike English verbs,
which usually have only five different forms.
In Punjabi, there are two auxiliary verbs – ਹੈ hai for present tense
and ਸੀ sī for past tense. All the forms of these two auxiliary verbs
can equally be used for both the genders. For future tense in sentences, EGA
form of main verb is used and in those sentences auxiliary verb is thus not
used. There are two Punjabi auxiliary verbs, ਹੈਗਾ haigā and ਸੀਗਾ
sīgā, which change forms with gender. ਹੈਗਾ haigā and ਹੈਗੀ
haigī are present tense forms for masculine and feminine gender
respectively. Corresponding forms for past tense are ਸੀਗਾ sīgā and ਸੀਗੀ
Auxiliary verbs change forms with number and person.
There are two numbers – singular and plural.
There are three persons – first, second, and third, for which Punjabi auxiliary
verbs change forms.
Various forms of present tense auxiliary verb ਹੈ hai are – ਹਾਂ hāṃ
(first person form for singular and plural numbers), ਹੈਂ haiṃ (singular
second person), ਹੋ hō (plural second person), ਹੈ hai (singular
third person), and ਹਨ han (plural third person). There are two
infrequent forms of ਹੈ hai – ਹਓ haō (plural second person) and
ਹੈਣ haiṇ (plural third person).
Various forms of past tense auxiliary verb ਸੀ sī are – ਸੀ sī
(applicable for all three persons and both the numbers), ਸਾਂ sāṃ
(singular and plural numbers for first person), ਸਨ san (plural third
person), ਸੋ sō (plural second person), ਸੈਂ saiṃ (singular
second person). Some less frequently used forms of ਸੀ sī are – ਸਓ saō,
ਸਾਓ sāō, and ਸਉ sau. These three forms are used with second
person plural subjects in sentences.
ਹੈਸੀ haisī and ਹੈਸਣ haisaṇ are two past tense auxiliary verbs
used respectively with singular and plural forms of third persons. These forms,
like the forms of ਹੈ hai and ਸੀ sī, can be used with both the
Some colloquial present tense auxiliaries are used in place of the corresponding
forms of ਹੈ hai. These colloquial forms are more prominent in informal
speech than writing. ਆਂ āṃ (singular first person and plural first
person), ਏਂ ēṃ (singular second person), ਓ ō (plural second
person), ਏ ē (singular third person), and ਨੇ nē (plural third
person) constitute these colloquial forms applicable for both the genders.
Different forms of gender specific auxiliary verbs are ਹੈਗਾ haigā
(masculine singular present tense), ਹੈਗੇ haigē
(masculine plural present tense); ਹੈਗੀ haigī (feminine singular present tense), ਹੈਗੀਆਂ haigīāṃ (feminine plural present tense); ਸੀਗਾ sīgā (masculine singular past
tense), ਸੀਗੇ sīgē (masculine plural past tense); ਸੀਗੀ
sīgī (feminine singular past tense), ਸੀਗੀਆਂ
sīgīāṃ (feminine plural past tense). All these forms are applicable for all the three persons.