Marathi grammar

The grammar of the Marathi language shares similarities with other modern Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, etc. The first modern book exclusively on Marathi Grammar was printed in 1805 by 'William Carey'.[1]

The principal word order in Marathi is SOV (subject–object–verb).[2] Nouns inflect for gender (masculine, feminine, neuter), number (singular, plural), and case (nominative, accusative, dative, genitive, locative, instrumental, oblique). Notably, Marathi is the only Indo-Aryan language of Sanskrit origin to preserve the Sanskrit locative case. Additionally, Marathi preserves the neuter gender found in Sanskrit, a feature further distinguishing it from many Indo-Aryan languages. Typically, Marathi adjectives do not inflect unless they end in long a, in which case they inflect for gender and number. Marathi verbs inflect for tense (past, present, future). Verbs can agree with their subjects, yielding an active voice construction, or with their objects, yielding a passive voice construction. A third type of voice, not found in English for example, is produced when the verb agrees with neither subject nor object. Affixation is largely suffixal in the language and postpositions are attested.[3]

Contemporary grammar

The contemporary grammatical rules described by Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad and endorsed by the Government of Maharashtra are supposed to take precedence in standard written Marathi. These rules are described in Marathi Grammar, written by M.R Walimbe. The book is widely referred to students in schools and colleges.

Sanskrit influence

Traditions of Marathi Linguistics and above mentioned rules give special status to 'Tatsam' (Without Change) words adapted from the Sanskrit language. This special status expects the rules for 'Tatsam' words be followed as of Sanskrit grammar. While this supports Marathi Language with a larger treasure of Sanskrit words to cope up with demands of new technical words whenever needed; maintains influence over Marathi.

An unusual feature of Marathi, as compared to other Indo-European languages, is that it displays the inclusive and exclusive we feature, that is common to the Dravidian languages, Rajasthani, and Gujarati.


There are three genders in Marathi: Male, Female, and Neuter. Most other, modern indo-european languages, e.g. English have lost these genders. One exception is German, which also uses three genders. This is seen as one reason for the popularity of studying German amongst Marathi native-speakers.[4]


There are three grammatical voices (Prayog प्रयोग) in Marathi.

Raam mhanato राम म्हणतो "Raam says", Raam aambaa khaato राम आंबा खातो "Raam eats a mango"
Raamaane aambaa khallaa रामाने आंबा खाल्ला "The mango was eaten by Raam", Raamaane saangitaleरामाने सांगितले "It was told by Ram"
Maajha nirop tyaala jaaun saangमाझा निरोप त्याला जाऊन सांग "Go tell him my message"


There are three grammatical persons (Purushh) in Marathi. There is gender distinction in the first- and second-persons when the pronouns act as agreement markers on verbs; as independent pronouns this distinction in lost.[5]

Parts of speech

Marathi words can be classified in any of the following parts:

  1. naam नाम (noun)
  2. sarvanaam सर्वनाम (pronoun)
  3. visheShaNa विषेशण (adjective)
  4. kriyapada क्रियापद (verb)
  5. kriyaavisheShaNa क्रियाविषेशण (adverb)
  6. ubhayanvayi avyaya
  7. shabdayogi avyaya
  8. kevalaprayogi avyaya

Sentence structure

Marathi Sentence generally has three parts karta(subject),Karma(Object),Kriyapad(Verb). In marathi sentence Subject comes first in sentence then the object and then verb. Although in some sentences there is no object.

In Marathi there are three prayog(voices) Kartari,(Active) karmani (passive), Bhave . like in the Active and passive voice, in karatri prayog and Karmani pryong verb follows subject and object

Nominal inflection

Marathi is a highly inflected language, like the ancient Indo-European languages such as its ancestor Sanskrit. While English uses prepositions, in Marathi, such functions are indicated through the use of case-suffixes. These are referred to as vibhaktii pratyay विभक्ति प्रत्यय. There are eight such vibhaktii विभक्ति in Marathi. The form of the original word changes when such a suffix is to be attached to the word, and the new, modified root is referred to as saamaanya ruup of the original word. For example, the word ghodaa घोडा ("horse") gets transformed into ghodyaa- घोड्या when the suffix -var वर ("on") is attached to it to form ghodyaavar घोड्यावर ("on the horse"). The nominal suffixes are tabulated below.

single plural Vibhkati
none Aa आ prathama कर्ता विभक्ती
Sa,la,te स,ला,ते Sa,la,na,te स,ला,ना,ते dwitya कर्म विभक्ती
ni e,shi नी,ए,शी ni, hi,e,shi नी,ही,ए,शी tritya विभक्ती
sa la te स,ला,ते Sa, la, na, te स,ला,ना,ते chaturthi विभक्ती
un, hun उन,हुन un,hun उन,हुन Panchami अधिकरण विभक्ती
cha, chi, che चा, ची, चे che,chya, chi चे,च्या ची Shashthi संबंध विभक्ती
ta, i,Aa त इ,आ ta,ee, aa त,ई,आ Saptamiविभक्ती
no नो Sambhodan विभक्ती


single एकवचन plural अनेकवचन Vibhkati
none विद्यार्थी अभ्यास करतात prathama कर्ता विभक्ती
त्याने संस्थे देणगी दिली त्यानी संस्थे देणगी दिली dwitya कर्म विभक्ती
घराला रंग दिला घरांना रंग दिला dwitya कर्म विभक्ती
विद्यार्थी पेन्सिलनी चित्र काढतो विद्यार्थी पेन्सिलनी चित्र काढतात tritya विभक्ती
मुलगा दाराशी उभा होता मुलें दाराशी उभी होती tritya विभक्ती
मी मुला ओळखतो मी मुलांना ओळखतो chaturthi विभक्ती
मी विद्यार्थ्याला ओळखतो मी विद्यार्थ्यांना ओळखतो chaturthi विभक्ती
मुलगा घरु निघाला मुलें घरु निघाली Panchami अधिकरण विभक्ती
मुलगा गावाहुन आला मुलं गावाहुन आली Panchami अधिकरण विभक्ती
घराचा दरवाजा सुंदर आहे घरांचे दरवाजे सुंदर आहे Shashthi संबंध विभक्ती
मुलांची तब्येत सुधारली आहे मुलांच्या तब्येती सुधारल्या आहेत Shashthi संबंध विभक्ती
मुलाचे प्रगती पत्रक मिळाले मुलांची प्रगती पत्रके मिळाली Shashthi संबंध विभक्ती
मुलगा घरा होता मुलें घरा होती Saptamiविभक्ती
मुलगा घरी होता मुलें घरी होती Saptamiविभक्ती
गाय घरी परतली गाई घरा परतल्या Saptamiविभक्ती
मुलानो शांत बसा Sambhodan विभक्ती

See also


  1. ^ Maharashtra times article
  2. ^
  3. ^ UCLA Language Materials Project- Marathi
  4. ^ []
  5. ^ Bhat, D.N.S. 2004. Pronouns. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 18–19