When to use ‘mḗ’ vs. ‘mḗ∙kȧ’ in Sinhala

Question from Aditi:

I am not understanding how to choose the correct word for “this”.

In lesson 2 we have -> this = mae.
In lesson 3 we have -> this(thing + singlular) = make

So I have to say the following sentence -> “This pen is mine” – What should I choose from below ?

1) Mae pen mage
2) make pen mage

In the same vein, could you please instruct on how do I say – “This pen is yours”.

I hope my doubt is clear. Would be happy to revert to any further queries.

My answer:

Ok, let’s break it down:
  • The word ‘mḗ∙kȧ’ is made up from the two words ‘mḗ + é∙kȧ’ which means “this one” or “this thing”
  • ‘é∙kȧ’ (which means “one”) represents the noun we are referring to (just like how we do in English)
  • So, just like in English how we could either say “this pen” or “this one” (when referring to the same pen), in Sinhala too we can say ‘mḗ pǣ∙nȧ’ (“this pen”) or simply ‘mḗ∙kȧ’ (“this one/thing”).
  • Since ‘é∙kȧ’ is replacing the word ‘pǣ∙nȧ’ we cannot have both these at the same time in the sentence. For example, just like in English how we can’t say “this one pen”, in Sinhala too we can’t say ‘mḗ∙kȧ pǣ∙nȧ’ – this would be wrong.
To summarize:
  • When the noun is already specified in the sentence –> use ‘mḗ’
  • When the noun is not specified in the sentence –> use ‘mḗ∙kȧ’


Based on this, here’s a question for you: How would you say the following?

  1. “This pen is mine?”
  2. “This pen is yours?”

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