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482. Inflection of the cardinal numerals

Inflection. The inflection of the cardinal numerals is in many respects irregular. Gender is distinguished only by the first four.

a. Eka one is declined after the manner of a pronominal adjective (like sárva, below, 524); its plural is used in the sense of some, certain ones. Its dual does not occur.

b. Occasional forms of the ordinary declension are met with: thus, éke (loc. sing.), ékāt (477 b).

c. In the late literature, eka is used in the sense of a certain, or even sometimes almost of a, as an indefinite article. Thus, eko vyāghraḥ (H.) a certain tiger; ekasmin dine on a certain day; haste daṇḍam ekam ādāya (H.) taking a stick in his hand.

d. Dva two is dual only, and is entirely regular: thus, N. A. V. dvāú (dvā́, Veda) m., dvé f. n.; I. D. Ab. dvā́bhyām; G. L. dváyos.

e. Tri three is in masc. and neut. nearly regular, like an ordinary stem in i; but the genitive is as if from trayá (only in the later language: the regular trīṇā́m occurs once in RV.). For the feminine it has the peculiar stem tisṛ́, which is inflected in general like an -stem; but the nom. and accus. are alike, and show no strengthening of the ; and the  is not prolonged in the gen. (excepting in the Veda). Thus:

D. Ab.tribhyástisṛ́bhya

f. The Veda has the abbreviated neut. nom. and accus. trī́. The accentuation tisṛbhís, tisṛbhyás, tisṛ́ṇām, and tisṛṣú is said to be also allowed in the later language. The stem tisṛ occurs in composition in tisṛdhanvá (B.) a bow with three arrows.

g. Catúr four has catvā́r (the more original form) in the strong cases; in the fem. it substitutes the stem cátasṛ, apparently akin with tisṛ́, and inflected like it (but with anomalous change of accent, like that in the higher numbers: see below, 483). Thus:

D. Ab.catúrbhyascatasṛ́bhyas

h. The use of n before ām of the gen. masc. and neut. after a final consonant of the stem is (as in ṣaṣ: below, 483) a striking irregularity. The more regular gen. fem.catasṝṇām also sometimes occurs. In the later language, the accentuation of the final syllable instead of the penult is said to be allowed in inst., dat.-abl., and loc.