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Tlamachtiliztli 16 Tlachihualiztli Tlen panoc Part 3 (Past Tense Verbs Part 3)


In this lesson we will see verbs in past tense. In Nahuatl, verbs are divided into four classes, and we have already made references to verbs of class three, which end with the vowels /ia/ and /oa/. These verbs change in relation to their tense, but the past tense modifies verbs with more complexity. Transitive and intransitive verbs can exists within any of the four classes.

In the same way that we have seen conjugations in previous lessons, the past tense changes verbs through its suffix. Next we will see various examples of the past tense in Class 3 and 4.


Explanation of Elotlamaliztli CC BY Chicometepetl


Clase 3

Verbs in class 3 are those, which in present tense, end with the syllables “-ia” and “-oa.” When these verbs are conjugated in the past tense, they omit the last vowel and the following suffixes are added: “-h” or “-hqui” for the singular and “-hqueh” for the plural. For example:

ni – (verbal base) – h/hqui

ti – (verbal base) – h/hqui

ø – (verbal base) – h/hqui

ti – (verbal base) – hqueh

in – (verbal base) – hqueh

ø – (verbal base) – hqueh


Tlamanextilli tlen ahahuiltiliztli tlen tlachihualiztli (Example of the conjugation of verbs)

  /illia/     “to say”

  Niquillih / Niquillihqui     “I said” (something)

Tiquillih / Tiquillihqui     “You said” (something)

Quillih / Quillihqui     “She/he said” (something)

Tiquillihqueh     “We said” (something)

Inquillihqueh     “You (plural) said” (something)

Quillihqueh     “They said” (something)


  /maquilia/     “to hit”

  Nicmaquilih / Nicmaquilihqui     “I hit” (something, someone)

Ticmaquilih / Ticmaquilihqui     “You hit” (something, someone)

Quimaquilih / Quimalquilihqui     “She/he hit” (something, someone)

Ticmaquilihqueh     “We hit” (something, someone)

Inquimaquilihqueh     “You (plural) hit” (something, someone)

Quimaquilihqueh     “They hit” (something, someone)


  /machtia/     “to teach”

  Nicmachtih / Nicmachtihqui     “I taught” (something)

Ticmachtih / Ticmachtihqui     “You taught” (something)

Quimachtih / Quimachtihqui     “She/he taught” (something)

Tiquimachtihqueh     “We taught” (something)

Inquimachtihqueh     “You (plural) taught” (something)

Quimachtihqueh     “They taught” (something)


  /choloa/     “to escape”

  Nicholoh / Nicholohqui     “I escaped”

Ticholoh / Ticholohqui     “You escaped”

Choloh / Cholohqui      “She/he escaped”

Ticholohqueh     “We escaped”

Incholohqueh     “You (plural) escaped”

Cholohqueh     “They escaped”


  /ihtoa/     “to speak”

  Niquihtoh / Niquihtohqui     “I spoke” (something)

Tiquihtoh / Tiquihtohqui     “You spoke” (something)

Quihtoh / Quihtohqui     “She/he spoke” (something)

Tiquihtohqueh     “We spoke” (something)

Inquitohqueh     “You all spoke” (something)

Quihtohqueh     “They spoke” (something)


Clase 4

In class 4, verbs take the suffix “-hqui” to mark the singular and the suffix “-hqueh” the mark the plural. Just like class 1, this conjugation does not omit the final vowel of the verbal base. For example:

ni – (verbal base) – hqui

ti – (verbal base) – hqui

ø – (verbal base) – hqui

ti – (verbal base) – hqueh

in – (verbal base) – hqueh

ø – (verbal base) – hqueh


Tlamanextilli tlen ahahuiltiliztli tlen tlachihualiztli (Example of the conjugation of verbs)

  /tlacua/     “to eat”

  Nitlacuahqui     “I ate”

Titlacuahqui     “You ate”

Tlacuahqui     “She/he ate”

Titlacuahqueh     “We ate”

Intlacuahqueh     “You (plural) ate”

Tlacuahqueh     “They ate”


  /mama/     “to carry on back” (something)

  Nicmamahqui     “I carried on my back” (something)

Ticmamahqui     “You carried on your back” (something)

Quimamahqui     “She/he carried on her/his back” (something)

Ticmamahqueh     “We carried on our back” (something)

Inquimamahqueh     “You (plural) carried on your backs” (something)

Quimamahqueh     “They carried on their backs” (something)

Yancuic Tlahtolli tlen TlamachtiliztliNew vocabulary

tlapana     “to break”

calaqui     “to enter”

mehua     “to awake”

atiya     “to melt”

chiya     “to wait”

quiquici     “to whistle”

cuamachilia     “to understand” (something)

mihtotia     “to dance”

tlaxcaloa     “to make tortillas”

paxaloa     “to visit”

Chantequitl tlen momachtianihPractice for Students

Conjugate the following verbs in the past tense in all persons and in singular and plural.


Class 3







Class 4