Skip to content

8. Verbs

Verbs are unchanging in Pandunia. Things like person, number, time and mood are indicated by separate words, not by changing the form of verbs as in English and other languages.

Person and number

Person and number are indicated by the subject. For example, the verb es ('to be') has the same form in all persons.

mi es frende. – I am a friend.
tu es frende. – You are a friend.
da es frende. – He/she is a friend.
vi es frende. – We are friends.
yu es frende. – You are friends.
di es frende. – They are friends.

Also a noun can serve as subject.

mau es hevan. – The cat is an animal.

Time and mood

Verb tenses, moods and voices are expressed with auxiliary verbs, which come first in the verb phrase. The order of the auxiliaries is tense, mood and aspect. The tense marker is first, the mood marker is next, and the aspect marker is last.


Tense is a property that expresses time reference. The main tenses are the past, present, and future. The marker did indicates the past tense, nun indicates the present tense, and vil indicates the future tense. More specific time references are expressed with various time expressions, like yesterday, tomorrow or one hour ago.

man did yam ban. – The man ate (or did eat) bread.
man nun yam ban. – The man eats bread (now).
man vil yam ban. – The man will eat bread.

It is also possible to express the future in the past with a combination of two tense markers.

man did vil yam ban. – The man was going to eat bread.


Aspect expresses how an action or event extends over time. There are two aspect markers in Pandunia, bi and haf.

The marker bi indicates that the action or event is on-going or in progress at the time, which the speaker is talking about. The time can be indicated with a tense marker.

man bi yam ban. – The man is, was or will be eating bread.
man did bi yam ban. – The man was eating bread.
man nun bi yam ban. – The man is eating bread.
man vil bi yam ban. – The man will be eating bread.

The marker haf indicates that the action or event is completed and its results still has an effect at the time, which the speaker is talking about. The time can be indicated with a tense markers.

man haf yam ban. – The man had, has or will have eaten bread.
man did haf yam ban. – The man had eaten bread.
man nun haf yam ban. – The man has eaten bread.
man vil haf yam ban. – The man will have eaten bread.


The conditional mood is used for anything that could take place. It indicates that the realization of an action or event depends on another condition. The conditional mood is expressed with the auxiliary verb vud ('would'). This marker is used in both main and subordinate clauses.

mi vud van yam. – I would like to eat.
mi vud go to Dubai. – I would go to Dubai.
mi vud go, if tu vud las mi. – I would go if you would let me.
tu no vud es suka, if mi vud go. – You would not be happy, if I would go.

The auxiliary verb shud ('should, ought') indicates some kind of expectation like duty, obligation, requirement, desire, advisability or likelihood.

ma voka vi. vi shud go. – Mother called us. We should go.
da shud haf kom pre nun. – He should have come by now.
evri von shud vote. – Everyone should vote.

The imperative mood is used to form a command or request. In Pandunia, the imperative is created with the auxiliary verb shal. It can be used to give commands to any person, not just "you".

vi shal go! – Let us go! ~ Let's go!
di shal kurse! – Let them run!

shal can be used to give commands also to the second person, but it is common to drop both the personal pronoun and the auxiliary verb in order to give the command more force.

tu shal kom! = kom! – Come!
yu shal kom! = kom! – Come (you all)!


Pandunia English Pandunia English
mi yam. I eat. mi no yam. I don't eat.
mi bi yam. I am eating. mi no bi yam. I'm not eating.
mi haf yam. I have eaten. mi no haf yam. I haven't eaten.
mi did yam. I ate. mi no did yam. I didn't eat.
mi did bi yam. I was eating. mi no did bi yam. I was not eating.
mi did haf yam. I had eaten. mi no did haf yam. I had not eaten.
mi vil yam. I will eat. mi no vil yam. I won't eat.
mi vil bi yam. I will be eating. mi no vil bi yam. I won't be eating.
mi vil haf yam. I will have eaten. mi no vil haf yam. I won't have eaten.
mi did vil yam. I was going to eat. mi no did vil yam. I wasn't going to eat.
mi vud yam. I would eat. mi no vud yam. I wouldn't eat.
mi vud bi yam. I would be eating . mi no vud bi yam. I wouldn't be eating.
mi vud haf yam. I would have eaten. mi no vud haf yam. I wouldn't have eaten.
mi shud yam. I should eat. mi no shud yam. I shouldn't eat.
mi shud bi yam. I should be eating. mi no shud bi yam. I shouldn't be eating.
mi shud haf yam. I should have eaten. mi no shud haf yam. I shouldn't have eaten.
mi kan yam. I can eat. mi no kan yam. I can't eat.
mi kan bi yam. I can be eating. mi no kan bi yam. I can't be eating.
mi kan haf yam. I may have eaten. mi no kan haf yam. I may not have eaten.
mi did kan yam. I could eat. mi no did kan yam. I couldn't eat.
mi did kan bi yam. I could have been eating. mi no did kan bi yam. I couldn't have been eating.
mi did kan haf yam. I could have eaten. mi no did kan haf yam. I couldn't have eaten.
mi vil kan yam. I will be able to eat. mi no vil kan yam. I won't be able to eat.
yam! Eat! no yam! Don't eat!
yu shal yam! You shall eat! yu no shal yam! You shall not eat!
vi shal yam! Let's eat! vi no shal yam! Let's not eat!


In general, there are three types of verbs.

  1. Transitive verbs need a direct object, which is the target of the action.
  2. Intransitive verbs don't accept an object. Then the action is directed to the subject.
  3. Ambitransitive verbs can be both transitive and intransitive.

Pandunia verbs are typically ambitransitive i.e. they may or may not require an object depending on the sentence structure. When there is an object, the verb is transtive, and when there isn't an object, the verb is intransitive.

mi bule sui. – I boil water. (transitive sentence)
sui bule. – Water boils. (intransitive sentence)
baker bake ban. – The baker bakes bread. (transitive sentence)
ban bake in tanur. – Bread bakes in the oven. (intransitive sentence)

Serial verb construction is a string of verbs that share the same subject, which is before the verbs. In serial verb constructions the verbs are interpreted so that the first verb (an auxiliary verb) is something that the subject possesses and the second verb is something that the subject does (when there is an object in the end) or experiences (when there is no object).

mi kan kitab da javab.
I have the ability to write the answer.
– I can write the answer.
mi halal kitab da javab.
I have the permission to write the answer.
– I may write the answer.
mi mus kitab da javab.
I have the compulsion to write the answer.
– I must write the answer.

Note that the same auxiliary verbs can be used alone as transitive verbs in the pivot construction.

guru halal mi kitab da javab. – The teacher permits me to write the answer.
guru mus mi kitab da javab. – The teacher compels me to write the answer.


In Pandunia, prepositions are words that function almost like verbs. They always take an object.


The preposition a expresses general location in time or space, 'at, in, on'.

vi marche a dau. – We walk on the road.
mau side a meza. – A cat sits on the table.
mi mus sta long a labur. – I must stay long at work.


The preposition to denotes a destination, goal or purpose, 'to, toward, for'.

di marche to bazar. – They walk to the market.
mi van don da hir buk to yu. – I want to give this book to you.


The preposition of expresses separation or origin, 'of, off, from'.

di kom of Brazil. – They come from Brazil.
da lexe kitab es of arabe asle. – This word kitab is of Arabic origin.


The preposition ex denotes location on the outside, 'out, outside'.

deme ye proteste ex da burge. – People protest outside the castle.


The preposition in denotes location on the inside, 'in, inside'.

zulmer ye sir in da burge. – The tyrant hides in the castle.


The preposition kon denotes togetherness, 'with, in the company of'.

da loga kon da shefe. – He/she speaks with the boss.


The preposition pos denotes later position in time or space, 'after, later than'.

di kom pos mi. – They come after me.


The preposition pre denotes earlier position in time or space, 'before, in front of'.

di kom pre mi. – They come before me.


The preposition pro denotes intention, cause or motivation, 'for, for the sake of, in order to, pro'.

mi kurse pro salta. – I jog for health.


The preposition re denotes movement back, 'back, in return'.

da don da buk re mi. – He gave the book back to me.


The preposition tra denotes piercing through, 'through'.


The preposition via denotes road or way, 'via, by way of'.

vi kom to Berlin via Praha. – We come to Berlin via Prague.


The preposition vise denotes substitution, 'instead of, on behalf of'.

da loga vise mi. – He speaks on my behalf.