Congratulations on making it this far into the Dhivehi lessons! We’re finally getting into verbs. This will be the hardest part of Dhivehi to learn, and to show you that I’m not joking, here are all the verb forms you will have to learn:

  • Gerund
  • Habitual
  • Present progressive
  • Future
  • Future progressive
  • Imperative
  • Future Imperative
  • Hortative
  • Present relative
  • Infinitive
  • Conditional
  • Reason
  • 2×Simultaneous
  • Past
  • Past progressive
  • Irrealis
  • Past relative
  • Temporal
  • Inchoactive
  • Concessional
  • Perfect
  • Optative
  • Conditional perfect
  • 2×Successive
  • Voluntary and involuntary forms for each of the above

Stressing out yet? Don’t worry, we’re going to go through this real slowly.

Ready?

Gerunds

We’ll start with gerunds because they are the root forms of Dhivehi verbs. This is the form you will find in most Dhivehi dictionaries.

Gerunds are also known as verbal nouns because grammatically, verbs in this form function as nouns. For example, in the sentence “walking is good for you”, the verb walk is in the gerund form because it acts as a noun (it means “the act of walking”). However, this is different to the sentence “she is walking”, where it acts as a verb. This distinction may be confusing for monolingual English speakers,  but it’s important, so make sure you understand it.

Dhivehi gerunds end with އުން and most have the same vowel pattern. Here are some verbs in their gerund forms:

Dhivehi English
ކުރުން Do
ވުން Be/Become/Happen
ހެދުން Make
ބެލުން Look
ކެއުން Eat
ފެށުން Start

I’ve translated the words to the simplest English counterpart, but keep in mind that the actual translation is “the act of [verb]ing”.

Note that apart from the first two (which happen to be the most common verbs), all the words have the pattern އެއުން. This is the most common pattern for Dhivehi gerunds.

Because these words are technically nouns, they can be declined in the same way as nouns. The final ން changes to މ in the declined forms. Here is how ކުރުން is declined:

Nominative/Accusative ކުރުން [the] doing
Genitive ކުރުމުގެ of [the] doing
Dative ކުރުމަށް for [the] doing
Locative ކުރުމުގައި in [the] doing
Instrumental ކުރުމުން by [the] doing
Associative ކުރުމާއި with [the] doing

Gerunds also have indefinite forms and their related declined forms. For ކުރުން these are ކުރުމަކަށް ,ކުރުމެއްގެ ,ކުރުމެއް etc.

The translations don’t make much sense by themselves, but you’ll eventually see how these forms are used in full sentences. For now, you just need to know that these forms exist.

Infinitives

This is the form that translates to “to [verb]”. If you’ve ever studied a Romance language, you’ll know that this is the verb form that you start with before changing the ending to create other forms. To form the infinitive in Dhivehi, the އުން of the gerund changes to އަން. Verbs with the އެއުން pattern change to އައަން.

Gerund Infinitive Meaning
ކުރުން ކުރަން to do
ވުން ވާން to be/become/happen
ހެދުން ހަދަން to make
ބެލުން ބަލަން to look
ކެއުން ކާން to eat
ފެށުން ފަށަން to start
  • ވުން is irregular.
  • ކެއުން becomes ކާން because it’s awkward to say ކައަން

Here are some more gerunds. Try to work out the infinitive forms – the answers will be below.

ބުނުން Say
ނެގުން Take
ހޯދުން Look for
ކިޔުން Read
ލިޔުން Write
ދެއްކުން Show
ހިނގުން Walk
ދުވުން Run
ހުއްޓުން Stop
މެރުން Kill
ފެތުން Swim
ނެށުން Dance

Figured it out? Here are the corresponding infinitives:

ބުނަން To say
ނަގަން To take
ހޯދަން To look for
ކިޔަން To read
ލިޔަން To write
ދައްކަން To show
ހިނގަން To walk
ދުވަން To run
ހުއްޓަން To stop
މަރަން To kill
ފަތަން To swim
ނަށަން To dance

Remember, އުން changes to އަން and if there is an އެ it changes to އަ. This applies to words like ދެއްކުން as well – the އް in the middle doesn’t make difference.

Here are some harder ones to see if you really get it:

ބެލެހެއްޓުން Look after
ހިފެހެއްޓުން Hold on to
ކުރެހުން Draw

And the answers:

ބަލަހައްޓަން To look after
ހިފަހައްޓަން To hold on to
ކުރަހަން To draw

Did you get them right?

Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs are an annoying feature of many languages. What’s more annoying is that the irregular verbs tend to be the most commonly used ones. Dhivehi is no exception to this. Here is a list of some irregular verbs that you will come across frequently:

Gerund Infinitive
ވުން Be/Become/Happen ވާން To be/become/happen
އައުން Come އަންނަން To come
ދިއުން Go ދާން To go
ދިނުން Give ދޭން To give
ލުން Put ލާން To put
ބުއިން Drink ބޯން To drink

That’s all for this lesson. We won’t make any sentences; just try to become familiar with the verbs. This is a lot to take in, but don’t worry, the next lesson will be much simpler!

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