Quechua Lesson 6
Lesson 6 (suqta ñiqin yachay)
Verbs and conjugations

All verbs in Quechua are regular. There are no exceptions. There are of course the tenses as in almost any language: present, past, perfect, future and conditional.

person present perfect
I muna-ni muna-rqa-ni
we exl muna-niku muna-rqa-niku
we incl muna-nchis muna-rqa-nchis
you muna-nki muna-rqa-nki
wou pl muna-nkichis muna-rqa-nkichis
we/she/it munan muna-rqa
they munanku muna-rqa-ku


person plusperfect future
I muna-sqa-ni muna-saq
We excl muna-sqa-niku muna-saq-ku
We incl muna-sqa-nchis muna-su-nchis
you muna-sqa-nki muna-nki
You pl muna-sqa-nkichis muna-nkichis
He/her/it muna-sqa muna-nqa
they muna-sqa-ku muna-nqa-ku


person conditional
I muna-y-man
we excl muna-y-man-ku
we incl muna-y-man-chis
you muna-nki-man
you pl muna-nkichis-man
he/she/it muna-n-man
they muna-n-man-ku


Note: The present tense is also the immediate past tense and for ”you”, singular and plural, also identical with the future tense. The exact meaning has to be derived from the context.

Note: The perfect (I have loved) is the form for I have ….., completed in the past.

Note: the pluperfect tense (I had loved) in Quechua is mixed with the sense of surprise. Munasqani: I had loved? (I can’t/don’t believe it). Qusqani: I had given?

The perfect exists in a second form:

person perfect 2nd form
I muna-ra-ni
we excl muna-ra-niku
we incl muna-ra-nchis
you muna-ra-nki
you pl muna-ra-nkichis
he/she/it muna-ra
they muna-ra-ku


It depends on the dialect spoken which form is used. In Cusco this second form is commonly used.

The verb munay means to love, but not necessarily hinting at sexual love. For to fall in love the verb kuyay is used. Do you love me: kuyawankichu? Yes, I do: arí, anchata kuyayki! There is another verb for to love: waylluy. It is used more to express that you love something, or an animal. Wayllusankichu allochallaykita? Do you love your dear little dog?

The command form is as following:

Riy = to go

Command form sing. Ri-y!
Command form plural Ri-ychis!
We (let’s go) Ri-sun
You (have to go) Ri-nki
You pl Ri-nkichis
He/she Ri-chun
They Ri-chun-ku


The command forms Ri-y! and Ri-ychis! stand for: Go! (singular and plural). The other forms are more friendly and translate as admonitions: Risun! Let us go. Ri-chun, let him go, or he should go.

Note:The form “Let‘s go” also exits in a special idiomatic expression: Haku or sometimes spoken as haku-nchis, let us go, or we must go now. On a trek in the mountain the guide could say this: haku(nchis)! Let’s go on!

In a negative command, in stead of mana the form ama is used. The negatieve marker –chu is added as usual.: ama hamuychu, don’t come! Or ama riychischu: you (pl) don’t go! Or: ama puklla-sun-chu: let’s not play (pukkla-y means to play. So: Let the children play: warmakunaqa pukllachunku! Or: Let the children come! Warmakunaqa hamuchun!

Note again that the verb with a plural subject may be conjugated in a singular form: runakuna hamusan, the men are coming, but also hamusunku is correct. this is quite common in Quechua. When from the form of the subject it is clear that a plural form is used, the verb can be conjugated in the singular form. This applies only to the 3rd person!

Subject/Object conjugations

In Quechua exists a form of the verb where subject and object are included in the conjugation. This is in western languages quite uncommon. It means that one can say in a single conjugated verb form a whole sentence with subject, verb and object. For instance, kuyayki means that the stem kuya- from the verb kuya-y (to love) is conjugated with one conjugation that has in it the meaning of “I to you”. This form –yki comes back in muna-yki, qo-yki etcetera. Munayki means: I love you. Quyki means: I give you, from the verb qu-y This seems difficult, but there is a logic to it. If you understand the logic, it is quite easy.

The forms are as follows:

Subject-object relation present perfect
I > you munayki munarqayki
I > you pl munaykichis munarqaykichis
We > you munaykiku munarqaykiku
We > you pl munaykiku munarqaykiku
you > me munawanki munawarqanki
you sing/pl > us munawankiku munawarqankiku
you pl > me munawankichis muanwarqankichis
he > me munawan munawarqa
he/they > us excl munawanku munawarqanku
he/they > us incl munawanchis munawarqanchis
he > you munasunki munarqasunki
he/they > you pl munasunkichis munarqasunkichis
they > you munasunkiku munarqasunkiku
they > you pl munasunkichis munawarqasunkichis


The logic behind it is:

I to you: -yki and plural –ykichis.

We to you: ykiku and plural the same.

You to me/us: -wa-nki and plural wa-nkiku or wa-nkichis. –wa- means: to me.

He to me/us: -wa-n and plural wa-nku or –wa-nchis. –wa- means: to me

He/they to you: -su-nki and plural –su-kiku or sunkichis. –su- means to you.

You can learn this by heart or see the logic of it. This scheme is the reason to put the order of persons different than normal.

You may have noticed that the list is not complete. This is true. There are no forms for I and you (singular and plural) as subject, and he/she/they as object. In that case the standard form is used: I love him: payta munani. Or: I would give to them: paykunata quyman.

If this all seems too much, just learn the forms for I to you, You to me and He to me and for the rest you can use forms with prepositions. That will suit better to the way you normally construct a sentence. You can say: qamta munani: I love you, and Quechua speakers will most of the time understand you, even when it is not proper Quechua, but just for these forms try to use the proper forms: like munayki. This is easier as you know by now the literal meaning of the word, while it is also attached to the muna-yki rites.

To be more or less complete I will give also the forms for the future tense and the conditional:

Subject-object relation future conditional
I > you munasayki munaykiman
I > you pl munasay kichis munaykichisman
we > you munaykiku munaymanku
we > you pl munaykiku munaykichisman
you > me munawanki munawankiman
you sng/pl > us munawankiku munawankimanku
you pl > me munawankichis munawankichisman
he > me munawanqa munawanman
he/they > us excl munawanqaku munawanmanku
he/they > us incl munawasunchis munawanman
he > you munasunki munasunkiman
he/they > you pl munasunkichis munasunkichisman
they > you munasunkiku munasunkikuman
they > you pl munasunkichis munasunkichisman

As you look through these verb forms, you may mention that sometimes singular and plural are the same. If this causes trouble one can always use a form with a preposition like payman, to him or qamkunaman, to you (pl). 

Go to Quechua Lesson 7