The infinitive is used after verbs that influence the meaning of other verbs:
- The verbs pol- "can" and mer- "wish, want":
- polin quetë "I can talk"
- ma polil cenë nin? "Can you see me?"
- i naucor merner matë "the dwarves wanted to eat"
- i seldo pollë hlarë ilya quetta "the boy could hear each word"
- merin cenda i parma "I want to read the book"
- Verbs that indicate that an action starts, ends or changes:
- i nissi pustaner linda "the women stopped to sing"
- i neri yestaner matë "the men began to eat"
- The negating verb um- (see Verbs).
Note: the word "to" that sometimes precedes an English infinitive is never translated into Neo-Quenya.
This is easy because the infinitive is always equal to the endingless form of the aorist:
- for A-verbs this is equals the dictionary stem: linda- "sing" → linda
- for primitive verbs we fins the ending -ë: quet- "speak, talk" → quetë
- for U-verbs the final -u of the stem becomes -o: palu- "spread" → palo
One of the most distinguishing properties of Quenya is the presence of object endings. So when an infinitive takes a personal pronoun as object then the infinitive is lengthened and the object ending is added.
- i mól veryanë cenë i aran ar i tári "the slave dared to look at the king and queen"
When we replace "the king and queen" by a personal pronoun this is changed into:
- i mól veryanë cenitat "the slave dared to look at them"
The long infinitive is formed by adding -ta to the stem of A-verbs and U-verbs, and -ita to the stem of primitive verbs:
- car- "make, do, build" → carita-
- mapa- "take, catch" → mapata-
- palu- "spread" → paluta-
The long infinitive never appears without object ending, e.g.
- polin ortatas "I can lift it"
- i ohtari úvar mapatat "the soldiers will not catch them"
The long infinitive can also be used with possessive endings, but this can be found on the page Possessive pronouns.
There is a complication when we want to use an infinitive in a passive sentence.
Look at the following sentence:
- i naucor polir matë i apsa "the dwarves can eat the food"
The verb mat- "to eat" is in the infinitive because it appears behind the modal verb pol- "can".
When we make this sentences passive, the infinitive gets the prefix a-:
- i apsa polë amatë i naucoinen "the food can be eaten by the dwarves"
Verbs that begin in a vowel, get a hyphen between the prefixed a and the stem:
- i corma polë a-anta atarinyan "the ring can be given to my father"
In some verbs very likely the historical stems appear when we apply the prefix:
- i massa polë ambasta "the bread can be baked"
The verb masta- "to bake" has a historical stem mbasta- that reappears when a prefix is put in front of it: ambasta.
For more on this see the page on the perfect tense.
A Neo-Quenya verb has 2 participles: the active and the passive participle.
The Active participle can be used in two ways:
- as an adjective: in this case it is always put behind the noun:
- i seldo mátala "the eating boy"
- as a main verb in a sub-sentence that in English begins with "while":
- mátala marin, i nér cendanë parma "while (he was) eating an apple, the man read a book"
and sometimes we also drop "while":
- mátala marin, i nér cendanë parma "eating an apple, the man read a book"
The active participle doesn't have a plural:
- i seldor mátala "the eating boys"
But it can be declined in all 9 cases because it follows the rule of the last declinable word (see the page Inflected adjectives):
- isilmë ilcalassë "in gleaming moonlight" (locative ending)
When the noun is in the plural, dual or the partitive plural the case ending of the participle is plural:
- vendi lindalaiva "of singing girls" (possessive plural ending)
When an Active participle has a direct object, this object always immediately follows the participle:
- nauco tírala elda "a an elf watching dwarf"/"a dwarf that is/was watching an elf"
Note: the Active participle is never used predicatively or as a noun. Instead of both these uses Quenya uses the present tense instead.
When used as a noun, it becomes a present tense preceded by the article (this corresponds to the use of the article as a relative pronoun without antecedent):
- i cendëa "he/she who is reading"
- i mátar "they who are eating"
The A-stems and U-stems form their active participle by lengthening the central vowel and adding the suffix -la:
- mapa- "take" → mápala "taking"
- lala- "laugh" → lálala "laughing"
- hlapu- "blow" → hlápula "blowing"
When the syllable of the central vowel is already long, this vowel cannot be lengthened:
- hauta- "stop" → hautala "stopping"
- píca- "diminish" → pícala "diminishing"
- nurru- "grumble" → nurrula "grumbling"
The primitive verbs also have a lengthened central vowel and they get the ending -ala:
- tir- "watch" → tírala "watching"
- hac- "yawn" → hácala "yawning"
- mat- "eat" → mátala "eating"
The passive participle is in Quenya only used as an adjective as it isn't needed to form the perfect tenses. It is called this way because with a transitive verb it can be used predicatively to form the passive voice (see Syntaxis):
- i atani harnainë "the wounded men" → i atani nar harnainë "the men are (i.e., have been) wounded"
- i ondo ortaina "the lifted stone" → i ondo ná ortaina "the stone is lifted"
For an intransitive verb it can only be used with a noun and in that case it is used to denote completion of the action:
- i nér lantaina "the fallen man"
From these examples it should already be clear that the passive participle has a plural form on -ë, in fact it behaves like an ordinary adjective on -a (so it also can get case endings when following its noun; see Inflected adjectives).
The A-stems and U-stems form their passive participle by adding the suffix -ina. This suffix merges with the final -a or -u into the diphtongs -ai and -ui. According to the stress rules (see Phonology), these diphtongs are always stressed.
- anta- "give" → antaina "given"
- perya- "halve" → peryaina "halved"
- mapa- "take, catch" → mapaina "taken, caught"
- moru- "conceal" → moruina "concealed" (vs. also supposable morúna - cf. The Silmarillion, ch. XXI)
The primitive verbs can be divided into three categories:
- verbs ending on -c, -p, -t, -v, -s also get the ending -ina but in these verbs the central vowel is lengthened:
- rac- "break" → rácina "broken"
- top- "cover" → tópina "covered"
- not- "count" → nótina "counted"
- lav- "allow" → lávina "allowed"
- sis- "fry" → sísina "fried"
- verbs in -qu also follow this rule, but the central vowel cannot be lengthened (and qui doesn't contain a diphtong as it pronounced cwi):
- miqu- "kiss" → miquina "kissed"
- verbs ending on -r, -m, -n receive the ending -na:
- mer- "want" → merna "wanted"
- nam- "judge" → namna "judged"
- cen- "see" → cenna "seen"
- verbs on -l get -da as ending:
- mel- "love" → melda "loved"
Note: Verbs can also form a verbal adjective. These adjectives always denote a static condition while past participle always denote a condition in evolution:
- harna- "wound"
- harna "with a wound"
- harnaina "wounded"
- quat- "fill"
- quanta "full"
- quátina "filled"
The gerund is a combination of a verb and a noun. In English it has the same form as the present participle, e.g. "walking is healthy". The noun "walking" is called the gerund of the verb "walk".
As an example let's look at some Quenya sentences:
- harië malta úva carë nér anwavë alya "having gold doesn't make a man really rich"
- matië ná i analta alessë ilyë Naucoron "eating is the greatest joy of all dwarves"
A gerund can also have a direct object:
- hirië harma caruva nér alya "finding a treasure shall make a man rich"
- tirië aiwi anta i vendin alta alassë "watching birds gives a girl great pleasure"
and an indirect object:
- antië malta i aranen ná lai manë "giving gold to the king is very good"
In all these examples the gerund replaces the subject of the original sentence, it can however also replace the direct object:
- melin tirië aiwi "I love watching birds"
There is a clear difference between infinitives (see above) and gerunds, as infinitives cannot be replaced by a normal noun:
- polin quetë "I can talk"
In this sentence you cannot replace talk by e.g. "nature", because *"I can nature" is not a good English sentence. But "I love nature" is a good sentence, so tirië has to be a gerund, and quetë an infinitive.
The ending of the gerund is -ië.
Gerunds of primitive verbs are made by simply adding this ending:
- quet- "say, speak" → quetië
A-verbs and U-verbs drop their final vowel before adding the ending:
- orta- "stand, get up" → ortië
- naina- "lament" → nainië
Note that this form is identical to the verbal noun nainië. This is often the case, analysis of the context has to decide whether it is a gerund or a verbal noun.
Verbs on -ya drop this ending completely before adding -ië:
- harya- "have, possess" → harië
- verya- "dare" → verië
Cases of the gerund
In Quenya the gerund can be declined into three cases:
- carmë teciéo "art of writing"
- Dative: We use the dative to express "in order to":
- mótas cuinien "he works in order to live"
But in English the words "in order" are mostly implicitly understood, so to use this case properly you will have to be careful when meeting an English "to" + infinitive:
- utúlientë cenien i aran "they had come to see the king"
- Instrumental: We use the instrumental to express "through, by":
- nolles mahtië tirienen i ohtari "he learned to fight through/by watching the soldiers"
All verbal forms are negated by use of the particle lá (see also Negation on the page Verbs).
Here we find a difference in meaning between negation with lá and with um-:
- saila ná lá caritas "it is wise not to do it"
- saila umë caritas "it is not wise to do it"
- i soldor hácala "the yawning boys" → i soldor lá hácala "the not yawning boys"
- i harma halyaina "the hidden treasure" → i harma lá halyaina "the not hidden treasure"
- quetië ná telpë "speaking is silver" → lá quetië ná malta "not speaking is gold"