Verbs of the Dative Case

Some thoughts, such as “want”/“need”, “know”, “understand”, etc. can be expressed in Thamil only using the dative case and a certain set of verbs. Sentences that use these verbs will be a little different from the sentences we have seen so far. The way the verbs are used will be different, and some verbs have certain peculiarities.

Understanding this type of sentence entails understanding the particulars of each verb. To say the least, this lesson may be challenging and a bit tricky, but hopefully it will seem easier over time.

The Verbs

Positive Verbs
Past Tense Present / Future Tense
~ போதும் enough
~ வேண்டும் want / need
Past Tense Present Tense Future Tense
பிடித்தது liked பிடிக்கிறது like பிடிக்கும் will like
முடிந்தது was able முடிகிறது is/ am/ are able முடியும் will be able
தெரிந்தது knew தெரிகிறது know தெரியும் will know
புரிந்தது understood புரிகிறது understand புரியும் will understand
received கிடைக்கிறது/
receive கிடைக்கும் will receive
existed இருக்கிறது/
exist(s) இருக்கும் will exist

Negative Verbs
Past Tense Present / Future Tense
போதவில்லை was not enough போதாது is not/ will not be enough
~ did not want / need வேண்டாம் do not/ will not want / need
Past / Present Tense Future Tense
பிடிக்கவில்லை did/ do not like பிடிக்காது will not like
முடியவில்லை was/ is not able முடியாது will not be able
தெரியவில்லை did not/ do not know தெரியாது will not know
புரியவில்லை did not/ do not understand புரியாது will not understand
கிடைக்கவில்லை did not/ do not receive கிடைக்காது will not receive
இல்லை did/ do not exist இருக்காது will not exist

From the chart of the positive verbs, we can see that the verbs can be put into groups:

  • போதும், வேண்டும்
  • பிடி, முடி, தெரி, புரி
  • கிடை, இரு

This might help in understanding the verbs.

Verb Usage and Notes

Verbs With Dative Case

In dative-case sentences, the subject is put into the dative case and comes at the beginning, while the verb comes at the end of the sentence.

For the positive forms of some verbs, there is a past, present, and future tense. However, the group of verbs பிடி, முடி, தெரி, புரி express ideas that don’t change from one moment to the next. For example, we reasonably assume that knowledge or understanding of something is retained indefinitely. The same idea applies to பிடி and முடி. The constant action of these verbs is a common usage of the habitual tense. Remember that the habitual tense is expressed in Thamil by whatever the future tense is. This also applies to the other verbs, but especially போதும் and வேண்டும் and their negatives.

இரு7, has appeared before in creating a particular simple sentence. There, it means something like the verb “be”. Here, when used with the dative case, இரு means something like “be” or “exist” in a literal translation. However, in a practical translation of the entire sentence, இரு might be translated as the verb “have”.

இரு with the -இடம் Case Suffix

For sentences where இரு is the verb (and the objects are tangible), the case suffix -இடம் should be used instead of the dative case suffix -உக்கு for the subject

For example, “I have a plate” would be என்னிடம் தட்டு இருக்கிறது. But emotions and ideas are expressed using the usual -உக்கு for the dative case.

முடி with the -ஆல் Case Suffix

For sentences where முடி is the verb, the case suffix -ஆல் should be used instead of the dative case suffix -உக்கு for the subject

We can’t say “was enough”, “wanted”, or “did not want” with types of sentences found in this lesson yet. If we use the verb வேண்டும்3 in our standard type of sentences, then we can express “wanted”. We will soon get to Negative Verbs which will allow us to say “did not want”. There is no simple verb to say “enough”, however.


  • அவர்களுக்கு இந்த பாடம் புரியுமா? = “Do they understand this lesson?”
  • அவர்களுக்கு அடுத்த பாட்ங்கள் புரியும் = “They understand the next lessons”
  • எனக்கு அந்த திரைப்படத்தை பிடிக்கவில்லை = “I did not like that movie”
  • எனக்கு பழைய திரைப்படங்களை பிடிக்கும் = “I like old movies”
  • அவளுக்கு ஒரு பரிசு கிடைத்தது = “She received a prize”
  • அவளுக்கு நல்ல மதிப்பெண்கள் கிடைத்தன = “She received good grades”
  • எங்களிடம் பணம் இல்லை = “We have no money”
  • யாருக்காவது இது தெரியுமா? = “Does anyone know this?”
  • உங்களுக்கு உணவு போதவில்லை = “The food is not enough for you”