Quenya has two verbs that correspond to the English verb "to be": ná and ëa.
Ná is used in the following cases:
- to connect two nouns:
- sambë sina ná caimasan "this room is a bedroom"
- to connect a noun and an adjective:
- sambi sinë nar pityë "these rooms are small"
Eä is used to denote existence at a location:
- i harma ëa i sambessë "the treasure is in the room"
- ëan tauressë "I am in a wood"
The non-pronominal forms of ëa can be used without subject to denote "there is" (ëa) or "there are" (ëar):
- ëa elda as quinga "there is an elf with a bow"
- ëar narmor i ostossë "there are wolves in the city"
These verbs have no Perfect tense and the Present and Aorist tenses are identical.
- The verb ná
The Present/Aorist tense of ná is formed with the stem na-, so we find e.g.:
- nan "I am", nalyë "you are", nantë "they are", ...
The Past tense is formed with the stem ne-, the endless form is né, e.g.:
- nes "he/she/it was", nelmë "we were (excl.)", ...
The Future tense is regular with stem nauva-:
- i nissi nauvar nairë "the women will be sad"
- nauvan aran "I shall be king"
- The verb ëa
The Present/Aorist tense of ëa is regular with the stem ëa-, so we find e.g.:
- ëan "I am", ëalyë "you are", ëantë "they are", ...
The Past tense is formed with the stem enge-, e.g.:
- enges "he/she/it was", engelmë "we were (excl.)", ...
The Future tense is regular with stem euva-:
- i roccor euvar i malcoressë "the horses will be in the castle"
- euvalmë sinomë "we shall be here"
This verb has a Present Participle ëala:
- i ostor ëala "the existing cities"
These verbs have the special property of lacking an explicit subject. In most languages only verbs that denote a condition or weather are of this type: "it rains", "it freezes", ...
Such verbs are also impersonal in Quenya:
- lipta "it drips"
- uquë "it rains"
- fauta "it snows"
- hilca "it freezes"
Note: these verbs don't get the ending -s even though we translate it into English with the personal pronoun "it".
A second group are the impersonal verbs that are also impersonal in English and have an indirect object that indicates to whom the action matters. In Quenya this indirect object is put in the dative case:
- marta- "happen" → marta sen "it happens to her"
- mauya- "compel" → mauya nin "it compels me"
- naya- "grieve" → naya son "it grieves him"
- onga- "pain" → onga men "it pains us"
- vilda- "matter" → vilda len "it matters to you"
A longer example:
- mauya nin lelya ostonna "I am compelled to go to town"
Neo-Quenya also has a few verbs that get an explicit subject in most other languages:
- itisya- "itch, irritate"
- loya- "be thirsty"
- óla- "dream"
- sahta- "be hot"
- sitta- "be used to"
- or-/ora- "urge, impel"
The original English subject changes into a dative in Quenya:
- orë nin caritas "it impels me to do it" = "I was impelled to do it"
It is also possible to use a dative-subject that is not a personal pronoun:
- oranë i eldan lelya "the elf was impelled to go"
With the verb óla- "dream" we find analoguously:
- óla i venden eldaron "the girl dreamed about elves (genitive)"
In Quenya we consider the dreamer (the girl) not as the agent (subject) of the dream but as the receiver (indirect object). So literally we could say "it dreams to the girl about elves".
Sometimes the verb ná can also be used impersonally when the predicate is an adjective:
- ná ringa nin "it is cold to me" = "I am cold"
- ná mára son "it is good to him" = "he is good"
Note: this construction is also possible in German: "Mir ist kalt".
These verbs originate with an adjective and their meaning is that one acquires the property expressed by the adjective.
They can be formed by adding -ta to the adjective:
- alya "rich" → alyata- "become rich"
Adjectives on -ë change this final letter into -i:
- airë "holy" → airita- "become holy, hallow"
- ninquë "white" → ninquita- "become white, whiten"
The stress rules imply that these verbs show some irregularities:
- when an ending is added to the verb that contains exactly one syllable, we change -ta into -tá-:
- i aran airitánë "the king hallowed"
- alyatanelmë "we became rich"
- this phenomenon also appears in the present participle:
- airitálë "hallowing"
- in the passive participle -taina changes into -nta:
- ninquinta "whitened"
the verb equë
With direct or indirect speech (see Neo-Quenya/Syntaxis) the verb equë is preferred.
The conjugation of this verb is extremely simple: it has only one form that is used for all tenses and all numbers. It is only used when the subject is a proper noun or a personal pronoun (so it cannot be used with an ordinary noun like "father", "king", etc.)
- equen: 'cé' "I say/said: 'maybe' "
Even the word order is uncommon as it is always placed right before its subject:
- equë Elendil: 'utúlien' "Elendil says/said: 'I have come' "
- equë Altariel ar Teleporno: 'namárië' "Galadriel and Celeborn say/said: 'farewell' "
It is however never really wrong to use quet-:
- quetin: 'cé' "I say: 'maybe' "
- Elendil quentë: 'utúlien' "Elendil said: 'I have come' "
- Altariel ar Teleporno quenter: 'namárië' "Galadriel and Celeborn said: 'farewell' "
And when we use a different subject quet- is obligatory:
- i nís quéta: 'aiya' "the woman is saying: 'hello' "
Also when the subject follows the direct speech we use quet-:
- 'utúlien', quentë Elendil "'I have come', said Elendil"
the verb auta-
This verb has three conjugations which depend on the meaning of the verb.
The three conjugations coincide in following tenses and verbal forms: Present, Aorist, Future, Present Participle, Gerund, Imperative.
1. pass away
This meaning is only used in official texts and only in the Past tense:
- i aran anwë "the king passed away"
2. go away, depart
This meaning is always associated with a direction. So this conjugation is generally accompanied by an allative noun:
- i nér oantë i ëanna "the man departed for the sea"/"the man went away to the sea"
The directional complement can of course be implied:
- i nauco oantië "the dwarf has departed"/"the dwarf went away"
The complete conjugation is:
- Past tense: oantë, Perfect tense: oantië, Infinitive: auta, Past participle: autaina.
3. leave, disappear
In this meaning no direction is present, so we cannot have an allative complement:
- yéni avánier "centuries have disappeared, have gone by"
- i seldo vánë "the boy disappeared"/"the boy left"
(note: the meaning "leave behind" is not expressed by auta- but by lesta-).
The past participle is also used with the meaning "lost" (i.e. "cannot be regained"):
- Valimar ná vanwa "Valimar is lost"
The complete conjugation is:
- Past tense: vánë, Perfect tense: avánië, Infinitive: vanwë, Past participle: vanwa.