Can I? Should I? and Shall I?…in Sinhala (Part 3/3)

Can Shall Should -P3-1This is the 3rd and FINAL part of the blog-post series “Can I? Should I? and Shall I?… in Sinhala”.

For those of you who haven’t yet read the previous parts, I suggest you first go through them by clicking on either Part 1 or Part 2 and then coming back here.

(Or else you’re going to be one confused little puppy).

For the rest of you, in order to make it as simple as possible, once again I’ll be using the same examples and same approach when discussing the final group in our list, which is The “Shall I?” Group.

And guess what? This one is the EASIEST group of all 3.

Home stretch now, people…Let’s go.


3. The “Shall I?” Group

The group consists of only one type and obviously it’s the “Shall I…?” type.

Let’s see how easy this group really is.


Learning to ask “Shall I eat?”

The grammar rule for sentences starting with “Shall I…?” is as follows:


Whenever we ask “Shall I…?” type of questions we will take the infinitive of the verb, add  dhȧ?  to the end of it, and place it after  ma∙mȧ

ma∙mȧ  +  [infinitive of the verb]∙dhȧ?

For example, the infinitive of “eat” (which in English is “to eat”) is kan∙nȧ in Sinhala. Therefore…


“Shall I eat?”

ma∙mȧ   kan∙nȧ∙dhȧ?

(ma∙mȧ = “I”;  kan∙nȧ = “to eat”)


And that’s all for this 3rd and final group!

(see, I wasn’t kidding when I told you it’d be easy)

As we did in the previous 2 parts, let’s once again look at some other similar sample phrases that you can start using immediately:


“Shall I…

…eat something?” ma∙mȧ   mo∙nȧ∙va ha∙ri   kan∙nȧ∙dhȧ?
…drink some water?” ma∙mȧ   va∙thu∙rȧ   pod∙dak   bon∙nȧ∙dhȧ?
…come in?” ma∙mȧ   ae∙thu∙lȧ∙tȧ   én∙nȧ∙dhȧ?
…go? ma∙mȧ   yan∙nȧ∙dhȧ?
…go with you?” ma∙mȧ   o∙yaath   ék∙kȧ   yan∙nȧ∙dhȧ?
…help you?” ma∙mȧ   o∙yaa∙tȧ   u∙dhauw kȧ∙ran∙nȧ∙dhȧ?
…ask you a question?” ma∙mȧ   o∙yaa∙gén   prash∙nȧ∙yak   a∙han∙nȧ∙dhȧ?


And that brings our 3-part blog series to an end!



Before you continue…

If you like what you’ve seen so far, please share this with anyone who might be interested in learning Sinhala

Thanks in advance!


(“That’s cool Dilshan, but how about a little summary of all 3 parts before we wrap this up?”)

Well, since you asked so nicely…


Summary of the key points in all 3 parts

Based on the common words used and identical sentence structure, we can sort the above 8 type of sentences into 3 groups (click here to see the image again):

  1. The “Can I?” Group
    1. “Can I…?”
    2. “Could I…?”
    3. “May I…?”
  2. The “Should I?” Group
    1. “Should I…?”
    2. “Must I…?”
    3. “Do I have to…?”
    4. “Do I need to…?”
  3. The “Shall I?” Group
    1. “Shall I…?”

1. The “Can I?” Group (key things to remember)

  • “Can I?” / “Could I?” / “May I?”:
    • ma∙tȧ   pu∙lu∙wan∙dhȧ?
  • Grammar rule for using them with a verb:
    • ma∙tȧ  +  [infinitive of the verb]  +  pu∙lu∙wan∙dhȧ?
  • Example: “Can I / Could I / May I eat?”:
    • ma∙tȧ   kan∙nȧ   pu∙lu∙wan∙dhȧ?

2. The “Should I?” Group (key things to remember)

  • Grammar rule for using them with a verb:
    • ma∙mȧ  +  [infinitive of the verb]  +  ō∙né∙dhȧ?
  • Example: “Should I / Must I / Do I have to / Do I need to eat?”:
    • ma∙mȧ   kan∙nȧ   ō∙né∙dhȧ?

3. The “Shall I?” Group (key things to remember)

  • Grammar rule for using this with a verb:
    • ma∙mȧ  +  [infinitive of the verb]∙dhȧ?
  • Example: “Shall I eat?”:
    • ma∙mȧ   kan∙nȧ∙dhȧ?


This blog-post series was fun for me. Hope you got something out of it too.

Don’t forget to leave your questions in the comments section below and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can.


Want to get updates from this blog? And maybe a free e-phrasebook too?


About Dilshan Jayasinha

I help people learn Sinhala, the main Sri Lankan language, with the minimum needed effort. I spend my days obsessively deconstructing the Sinhala language (I'm WEIRD like that) and I share what I discover through video tutorials, audio podcasts, flash cards, and blog posts (I'm FUN like that) and oh, I even give away a free copy of my Sinhala phrases eBook (I'm AWESOME like that!). This blog is for anyone interested in learning “good-enough” Sinhala but who doesn’t have the time, the need, or is just too damn lazy to become an expert in it.

Want to know when I post something new?

Click on the orange RSS button below to be notified every time I add a new blog post. (This is not the same as my mailing list though. To get on the mailing list, click on one of the orange sign up boxes instead). Do check out my Youtube Channel as well by clicking on its icon below.

2 Responses to Can I? Should I? and Shall I?…in Sinhala (Part 3/3)

  1. Martina January 4, 2014 at 09:37 #

    Very helpful explanation. Thank you very much for your effort. I enjoy every one of your lessons.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha January 5, 2014 at 15:05 #

      Hi Martina, glad you liked it. And I enjoy every one of your comments :) Take care.

Leave a Reply