Quotations & Complex Sentences

The verb என்5 is one of the Class 5 Verbs. என்5 means “say”, just like சொல்3. In addition, என்5 can also be used to make complex sentences, as we will see in this lesson.


Quotations are used to restate what other people have said. Direct quotations show exactly what people have said. (Ex: " ‘The fisherman departed in the boat’, said the child.") Indirect quotations show what people have said, but not necessarily in the exact way that they said it. (Ex: “The child said that the fisherman departed.")

The word என்று, which is also the AvP of என்5, is placed immediately after the quotation. Traditionally in Thamil, the indirect form of quotations has been used predominantly. In the history of Thamil, the usage of the quotation marks is a relatively recent thing. Thus, direct quotations in Thamil are distinguished mainly by quotation marks, and indirect quotations do not have quotation marks.


  • “நான் தாமதமாக இருக்கிறேன்” என்று மாணவன் கத்தினான் = " ‘I am late!’ the student screamed. "
  • “மீனவர்கள் கப்பலில் புறப்பட்டார்கள்” என்று சிறுமி சொன்னாள் = " ‘The fishermen departed in the boat’, said the girl.”
  • மீனவர்கள் புறப்பட்டார்கள் என்று சிறுமி சொன்னாள் = “The girl said that the fishermen departed.”

When restating the speech of another person, the correct tense of என்று5 can be used as an alternative to the “என்று … சொல்3” style of quotations.


  • “நம்முடைய தோட்டத்தில் வாழை மரங்களும் தென்னை மரங்களும் இருக்கின்றன” என்றான் விவசாயி = " ‘Banana trees and coconut trees in our farm,’ said the farmer."
  • “நம்முடைய தோட்டத்தில் வாழை மரங்களும் தென்னை மரங்க்ளும் இருக்கின்றன” என்று விவசாயி சொன்னன் = " ‘Banana trees and coconut trees are in our garden,’ the farmer said."
  • நம்முடைய தொட்டத்தில் வாழை மரங்களும் தென்னை மரங்களும் இருக்கின்றன என்று விவசாயி சொன்னான் = “The farmer said that banana trees and coconut trees are in our garden.”

Complex Sentences

Complex sentences can be formed using என்று to insert new phrases in a way that is similar to how indirect quotations are formed. The phrase is inserted into the sentence and is followed immediately with என்று. In such sentences, the embedded phrase can often be a question.

Translations of the Thamil to English will vary according to the sentence.


  • வானம் ஏன் நீலமாக இருக்கிறது என்று உனக்கு தெரியுமா? = “Do you know why the sky is blue?
  • பெரிய கப்பல்கள் கடலில் எப்படி மிதக்கும் என்று சொல்லுங்கள் = “Tell how big ships float in the ocean