Elven (Altarian) Grammar

Table of Contents

Blood Moon Elf by Sinostefan, CC-BY-SA3

Sentence Structure
Negative Sentences
Parts of Speech
   The Article
   The Pronoun
   The Verb
       Indicative (and tenses)
       The Participle
   The Adverb
   The Preposition
   The Conjunctions
Pronouncing Symbols

The Lexicon

Elves and Elven Society

Sentence structure

When a noun acts as the object of a sentence, it precedes the verb (as in Huil sarinia ‘I love you’).

When a noun acts as the subject of a sentence, it usually comes after the verb, and is often in writing connected to the verb with a hyphen. If a definite article is used with the subject, it too is connected with a hyphen (as in Drém rhan nothë-im-nin ‘The lake overflowed its wall’).

When a noun acts as an indirect object, it follows the direct object and may or may not be preceded by a preposition or have a preposition attached to it as a suffix (as in Letha denmim hanilë met-im-dwen ‘The woman gave hope to a man’). If the sentence can be well understood, the preposition is often omitted (as in Krin trém flet racinë met-den ‘A man threw a sword to his brother’).

With imperative verbs, the object follows the verb (as in Ter ā im-rhinis! ‘Watch the path!’).


No gender distinction exists in the Altarian nouns, adjectives, or pronouns.


Singular and Plural

The singular is the basic form of the noun (as in krin 'a sword').

The plural is in most cases formed by adding the ending -end to the word (for example krin ‘sword’ becomes krinend ‘swords’). This will sometimes change the pronunciation of the final vowel (for example ala ‘fathers’ becomes alaend ‘fathers’, where the ae is pronounced as a long i).

In rare and irregular cases, the plural is formed by adding the suffix -il. This generally happens in the case of nouns that also match the infinitive form of a verb. Those nouns end in -an (such as elhan ‘elf’ as well as ‘to elf’ as in ‘to pass through time unchanged’; or herran ‘lord’ as well as ‘to lord’ as in ‘to lord or command’; or thran ‘meeting’ as well as ‘to meet’). To make these nouns plural, the -an suffix is replaced by the -il suffix (as in elhan ‘elf’ becomes elhil ‘elves’ and thran ‘meeting’ becomes thril ‘meetings’).

Negative Sentences

Negative sentences are formed in one of two ways: by placing the negative adverb ua at the start of the expression (as in Ua valuria. ‘I do not sing’) or by adding the negative prefix u to a word (as in usilu ‘not beautiful’).

Parts of Speech


Adjectives can be added to nouns to describe their qualities (like size, etc). Usually the adjective follows the noun (as in diem saru ‘lovely peace’). Indefinite, interrogative and exclamative adjectives are generally placed before the nouns (as in Nam herran? ‘Which lord?’).

Where qualifying adjectives don’t exist, a noun can usually be changed to an adjective by adding the prefix af- (as in ala ‘father’ becomes afala ‘fatherly’). If the noun begins with a consonant, an i is generally inserted between the adjective prefix and the noun (as in dime ‘silence’ becomes afidime ‘silent’).

Comparisons are generally created by adding eh ‘more’ or ehn ‘most’ before the adjective (as in verna eh afidime ‘more silent cave’ or verna ehn afidime most silent cave’).

Adjectives are often joined with nouns (for example, saruvest is ‘beautiful forest’). These words often mutate and evolve with use to become place or object names, such as the Sarumvest. There is no rule for the order in which adjectives are joined to nouns—the adjective can serve as a prefix or suffix. Similarly, two adjectives are often combined to form a new word (for example glinhath ‘bright-holy’ or linenolt ‘silent-strong’).

Possessive adjectives

One Possessor
1st person 2nd person 3rd person
lém 'my' húi 'your' trém 'his, her' drém its

Several Possessors
1st person 2nd person 3rd person
mém 'our' húin 'your' qáris 'their'

The Article

Altarian has no indefinite article like English a, an. If a noun lacks an article, it is to be taken as a general noun (as in faral ‘a son’). The definite article is im 'the' and is usually connected to its noun with a hyphen (for example ala 'a father', im-ala 'the father'.)

The genitival article ‘of’ is o (as in dhrim o im-orgalend ‘pool of the monsters’).

The Pronoun

Personal pronouns

Personal Pronouns
Person Singular Plural
1st lim 'I' arlim 'we'
2nd huil 'you' huin 'you'
3rd trim 'he, she', drim 'it' qarin 'they'

Possessive pronouns

One Possessor
1st person 2nd person 3rd person
lĕen mine hĭl yours trĕm 'his, hers’ drĕm ‘its’
Several Possessors
1st person 2nd person 3rd person
arlĕen ‘ours’ hĕel 'yours' qăram 'theirs'

Interrogative pronouns

These are: ilil 'who' and nam 'what'.

The Verb

Altarian verbs have three moods: indicative, subjunctive, and imperative.

Basic Infinitive

The basic infinitive verb consists of a stem plus the ending -an or -ar (for example, the infinitive of the verb ‘to bide’ is tral plus -an or tralan, while ‘to return’ is thal plus -ar or thalar). A gerund has the same form as the infinitive.

Verbs are generally conjugated by removing the -an or -ar ending from the infinitive and replacing it with the proper suffix.

Several irregular infinitives exist that have no endings. They are generally conjugated in the same manner as the basic verbs, except they add -ur to the stem of the verb before applying the suffixes (For example, the verb noth ‘to rise’ conjugates as nothuria ‘I rise’ and nothuriat ‘I rose’). The verb hos ‘to be’ follows this rule (Thus ‘I am’ is hosuria, ‘I was’ is hosuriat, and ‘I will be’ is hosuriana).

One exception to this rule is the verb lärr ‘to do’, which does not receive an -ur suffix before the normal conjugation rules are applied (Thus ‘I do’ is lärria, ‘I did’ is lärriat, and ‘I will do’ is lärriana).

I. Indicative

The indicative is generally used to indicate real actions. Indicative has present tenses, past tenses and future tenses.

Present Tense

Person Singular Plural
1st raeria 'I attack’ raeriam 'we attack’
2nd raera ‘you attack’ raerain 'you attack'
3rd raerë ‘he attacks’ raerëm 'they attack'

Present Continuous Tense

This tense is formed by adding the suffix -l or -ol to the present tense of the verb and denotes an action that is ongoing.

Person Singular Plural
1st raerial 'I am attacking’ raeriamol 'we are attacking’
2nd raeral ‘you are attacking’ raerainol 'you are attacking'
3rd raerël ‘he is attacking’ raerëmol 'they are attacking'

Past Tense

Past is formed with the suffix -t or -et added to the present tense of the verb.

Person Singular Plural
1st raeriat 'I attacked’ raeriamet 'we attacked’
2nd raerat ‘you attacked’ raerainet 'you attacked’
3rd raerët ‘he attacked’ raerëmet 'they attacked’

Past Perfect Tense

Past Perfect, for actions that started and ended in the past before another action that is also in the past, is formed with the suffix -n or -en added to the present tense of the verb.

Person Singular Plural
1st raerian 'I had attacked’ raeriamen 'we had attacked’
2nd raeran ‘you had attacked’ raerainen 'you had attacked’
3rd raerën ‘he had attacked’ raerëmen 'they had attacked’

Future Tenses

Future Simple

The Future Simple Tense is formed by adding the suffix -na to the present tense verb.

Person Singular Plural
1st raeriana 'I will attack’ raeriamna 'we will attack’
2nd raerana ‘you will attack’ raerainna 'you will attack'
3rd raerëna ‘he will attack’ raerëmna 'they will attack'

Future Continuous Tense

This tense is formed by adding the suffix -tha to the present tense of the verb and denotes an action that will be ongoing in the future.

Person Singular Plural
1st raeriatha 'I will be attacking’ raeriamtha 'we will be attacking’
2nd raeratha ‘you will be attacking’ raeraintha 'you will be attacking’
3rd raerëtha ‘he will be attacking’ raerëmtha 'they will be attacking’

II. Subjunctive

The subjunctive (expressing something wished for) is expressed by adding iloria (‘I wish’ or ‘it is wished’) and the verb in the future simple tense.

iloria drim lärrë na 'it is wished he will do it'

III. Imperative

The imperative is formed with the ending , which replaces the suffix of the usual infinitive, if there is one. This is to signify a long a sound. It covers all persons.

Halthā! 'stand'

The Participle

A participle is a verb form that can be used an adjective, to create verb tense, or to create the passive voice.

I. Present participle

This is used as an adjective or in continuous tenses. The present participle takes the ending -oil.

raeroil 'attacking'

II. Past participle

The past participle denotes completed action. It is generally formed with the ending -orl added to the 3rd person singular past tense.

raerëtorl ‘having attacked’

III. Future participle

The future participle denotes something about to happen. It is generally formed with the ending -iu added to the 3rd person singular future tense.

raerëthaiu ‘about to attack’

The Adverb

Most adverbs are generally formed by adding the prefix bey- to the related adjective (for example beytürith ‘victoriously’).

The interrogative adverbs are fo 'where', ned 'when', hon 'how'.

An adverb's place in a sentence varies, depending on the function it is performing. The sentence structure generally matches the English sentence structure in this regard. But if it is modifying a verb, it will come either after the verb or immediately after the subject linked to the verb (for example: Belia beyrith ‘I run quickly’; Orgal mistë t-im-hennan beyalar ‘The lord gloriously killed a monster’).

The Preposition

When a prepositional phrase consists of the preposition, an object, and words modifying the object, then the preposition is added to the start of the phrase (as in an vest afidime ‘in a silent wood’). When the prepositional phrase only consists of a preposition and a single object, the phrase can be formed by adding the preposition as a suffix to the object (as in talomu ‘without shadow’ or ‘shadowless’).

Some Altarian prepositions are:

tem 'after', chem 'behind', om 'with', hem 'up', mim 'to, towards', drem ‘across’, chim 'beyond', trom 'according to', meen 'on', dreem 'down', treem 'against', cheem 'under, beneath', dian 'between', ba 'at’, an 'in',tram 'under', tim 'about', la 'from', bor 'over, above', omu 'without', dhor 'through', an 'in', gin ‘for’.

The Conjunctions

If a conjugation is implied by the context, it can be omitted (as in fi for ‘here and there’). Sometimes, the conjunction ‘and’ can be used by adding -n or -yn (if the word ends with a consonant) to the end of the first item being joined (as in haron nenel ‘far and wide’ or krinyn rün ‘sword and shield’, so Lém krinyn rün gin huil cenia is ‘I bring my sword and shield for you’).

The conjunctions are: du 'but' a 'and', da 'that' dior 'or'

Pronouncing Symbols

Symbols above letters such as ë, ú, ä, and ĕ denote subtle changes in vowel pronunciation that elves easily discern with their sharp ears but which most other races have trouble telling apart.