Internal Structure of the verbs


1.      Gujarati verbs have root + infinitive structure. Consider the following examples:                                                                                






rmvu&  ‘to play’




kapvu&  ‘to cut’




`avu& ‘to eat’




2.      Gujarati extends the verb root to make causative sentences. In English, you will say “ Jack made John cry.” Here, Jack is someone who causes Jack to cry. If you ask a Gujarati speaker to translate this sentence, he would say: jeke jonne r6aVyo. Look at the Gujarati sentence and you will notice that there is no word for ‘made’. Why? Now look at the verb and compare it with r6avI, which has r6\.Aav\.y\.Ao elements. The r6\- is ‘cry’, -Aav\- is ‘made’, -y\- -ed (of past tense) and -Ao is masculine singular that agrees with John. In other words, we can say that in English ‘causing verb’ is independently used, while in Gujarati, it is a part of the verb stem. Read the following sentences and try to understand the pattern.


1.     za6 p6yu&.

‘A tree fell.’


2.     rme=e za6 pa6yu&.

‘Ramesh caused the tree fell.’


3.     rmaAe rme= pase za6 p6aVyu&.

‘Rama caused Ramesh, who caused the tree to fall.’


4.     lIlaAe rma µara rme= pase za6 p6av6aVyu&.

‘Lila caused Rama to cause Ramesh to cause the tree fell.”


In Gujarati, the ‘causing’ is a part of the verb stem. Look at the following sample verbs:




Causative 1

Causative 2

bXvu& ‘to burn’






kapvu& ‘to cut’




hsvu& ‘to laugh’






l`vu& ‘to write’




bolvu& ‘to speak’







Remember the following:


1.      There is a subset of the verb that never takes cause-element. Example: jvu& ‘to go’.

2.      There is subset of intransitive verbs from which we can derive transitive, causative 1 and causative 2. Some scholars argue that these verbs are transitive and we derive intransitive, causative1 and causative 2 from the transitive verbs. 

3.      -Aav, -Aa, -Av, -Aa6\, -Ae6, -rav / -6av and -Aar are the causative elements that we use to form causative form of the verb. Unfortunately, there is no rule telling us which element should be used with which verb.

4.      Making causative 2 is simple. If the causative 1 has -Aav then it takes additional -6av and if it has -Aa6 it takes additional -Aav to make causative 2. Examples:


(1)  Simple verb:      pu2-         ‘ask’                 

Causative 1      pu2av-           

Causative 2      pu2av6av-

(2)  Simple verb:       bes-      ‘sit’           

Causative 1      besa6-        

Causative 2      besav6av-


5.      Passive suffix is -Aa. It is added to the verb stem, simple or otherwise. Example:


1.     mara9I bolayu&

‘by me speak.’

‘I could speak.’


2.     rma9I mhe=ne `v6avayu&.

‘Rama caused Mahesh to eating.’


Remember that the Gujarati passive constructions are different from English passive constructions. In Gujarati, passives are also known as ‘abilitative’.