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Lesson 3. To Be and Objects.

July 09, 20234 min read


Feel free to import this into your own quizlets.


Food - Bhojanam

Cake - Cakeu
Head - Tala
Leg - Kaalu
Finger - Veylu
Ear - Chevi
Arm - Cheyyi
Eye - Kannu
Mouth - Noru
Stomach - Kadupu
Bus - Busoo
Big - Pedda
Small - Chinna
New - Kotta
Old/Worn Out - Patta/Musali
Expensive - Kharindaina
Inexpensive/Cheap - Chavukaina
Beautiful - Andamaina
Fat/Chubby - Laavu
Good - Manchi


To be - Undi

To eat - Tinuta
To go - Velluta
To meet - Kalisikota
To close - Moosuta
To open - Teravata
To want - Koruta
To make - Cheysuta
To do - Cheyinchuta
To speak - Maatlaadata
To understand - Telusukonuta
To like - Ishtapaduta

Subject Object Verb

Telugu has a hard sentence structure that is hard to wrap around the heads of many English speakers. Let's take a look at it.

Subject - Object - Verb


Subject - Adjective

This sentence format is very different to how we speak in English, and its important to recognize its differences. So let's write down a sample sentence demonstrating this difference.

Sample Sentence

English: I am drinking coffee.

Telugu: I coffee drinking.

To be

Learning the verb "to be" is really weird in Telugu, as is most of the things I have said so far. It just shows to how much different eastern languages are compared to English.

ఉండు (Undu)

The word Undu does mean to be, however its not used when it is referencing another noun. Meaning the only other use for this verb is if we are using an Adjective. So let's look at a couple of sample conversations.

Sample Conversation

A: Namaskaaram, Naa peru John (Hi, my name is John).

B: Shabaash John, Nee Telugu bhagundi (Wow John, your Telugu is good).

This really weird conversation shows when Undu is used and when it is not used. See if you can spot the difference before reading on.

Person A, stated that their name is John, however, there is no reference to undu. This is because, as we stated before, if object of the sentence is a noun, then the sentence does not require undu. If we look at Person B, they used an adjective describing John's Telugu being good, with the verb undu. Of course in this context it is conjugated, which we will learn soon, but this principle is important to note.

Take a look at English's verb To Be:

To Be
I am
you are
he/she is
we are
they are

Now let's look at Telugu's verb To Be:

To Be
Naenu unnanu
Nuvvu unnavu
Meeru unnaru
Manamu/Maemu unnamu
Athanu unnadu
Aame undi
Vallu unnaru
Avi unnaiyi

So let's look at a couple of sentences that use this.

Sample Conversation

A: Nuvvu yela unnaru? (How are you?)

B: Naenu bhagunnanu, Meeru? (I am good, you?)

A: Bhagunnanu, eppudu, yekkara unnavu? (I am good, now, where are you?)

B: Naenu inti-lo unnanu. (I am in the house.)

This conversation uses a lot of words you may not know yet, especially these question words, however, it still gets the idea across that you need to recognize that sometimes these words are mixed into the adjective themselves. It was a lot to dissect, so let's look at it a bit further and understand each portion.

A: Nuvvu yela unnaru? (How are you?)

So remember before I mentioned that you cannot use this verb when the noun is the object of the sentence. It sounds like a lot to keep up, but it does simplify a lot of things for the language, more than you can imagine right now. Coming back to this sentence, notice there is no noun. There is a (1) Pronoun, (2) Question Word, (3) The Verb. We will learn Question Words in a different lesson, but for now focus on this grammatical structure. There is no presence of a noun, and it is in the format that we mentioned before, of course with a few modifications.

(1) The subject came first (2) There is a middle portion that can consist of anything, but for now we are only focused on making simple sentences. (3) The verb/adjective always comes last.

Naenu bhagunnanu, Meeru? (I am good, you?)

We have a sentence that contains an adjective. This is important to note because every single time we have an adjective sentence in Telugu, we will still always end using the verb in conjunction. Here the adjective is bhaga which means to be in a state of good, and we attach it to unnanu since we are using the pronoun Naenu.

The rest of the sentences following follow the same format. In fact the third sentence combines both uses as we have shown earlier. Now I understand this may seem really complicated and a lot to keep track of, but I just want you to understand the grammatical structure before we make sentences of that sort. A lot of the apps used for learning the language, don't do that.

Let's make three simple sentences using the following words. Try to figure out where the answer goes, and try to say it out loud.

(1) Naenu, Abbayi

(2) Meeru, Bhaga

(3) Vallu, Baita (outside)


(1) Naenu abbayi

(2) Meeru bhagunnaru

(3) Vallu baita unnaru

If you got these answers, congrats you deserve a sticker! Otherwise, don't fret, try to read through the lesson and see which parts you have missed and try again with more words from our Word Banks. Stick to the Pronoun + Adjective + Undi model.

Object Marking Particle

In a lot of Asian languages, there are things called particles. They are sometimes present in Latin-Based languages, however, they are vital to these Eastern languages. Particles are parts of grammar that may add some vital understanding to the overall sentence. They are generally just sounds that are attached to a word that can change the meaning of the word. It could signify something is an object of the sentence or a syllable that indicates that it is a location where something is occurring at. These simply put are vital to the language. One such particle that we will look at is the Object Marking Particle.


In Telugu, we attach a -ni to a word to mark it as the object of the sentence. To remind us about what is the object in a sentence, an object is what the subject acts upon. So let's look at the following sentences.

Sample Sentences

(1) Naenu Teluguni maatlaadataanu. (I am speaking Telugu)

(2) Naenu oka letterni raasaanu. (I wrote a letter)

(3) Naenu talupuni terachanu. (I opened a door)

(4) Maa Amma pasta-ni cheysindi. (My mom made pasta)

Possessive Marking Particle

Previously, we have learned about the posessive form for pronouns. However, there is a particle to attach to different pronouns and nouns to show posessiveness.


We can attach a single syllabled -di to a word to mark it the possessor of the object. Let's look at a couple of sample sentences.

Sample Sentences

(1) Idhi Naadi. (This is mine)

(2) Naa pustakam tanidi. (My book is her's)

(3) Idhi yeverudi? (This is whose?)

(4) Maa Ammadi. (It is my mom's)

Published July 09, 2023, by ZyphenSVC.

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