Kinyarwanda Lessons

Kinyarwanda Language Lessons

From authors: Betty Ellen Cox and Gakuba Faustin

Table of Contents


Kinyarwanda Lessons_ 3

Betty Ellen Cox and Gakuba Faustin_ 3

Kinyarwanda lessons_ 3

Pronunciation_ 3

Some Useful Expressions_ 4

Lesson 1. Class 1 umu- aba-_ 5

Lesson 2. Ni and Si 6

Lesson 3. Possessive Adjective_ 7

Lesson 4. Class 2: umu- imi-_ 9

Lesson 5. Mu and Ku_ 10

Lesson 6. Possessive Particle_ 11

Lesson 7. Class 3: in-, in-_ 12

Lesson 8. Adjectives_ 13

Lesson 9. Adjectives (continued)_ 14

Lesson 10. Review__ 15

Lesson 11. Class 3 (contunued)_ 16

Lesson 12. Verb -ri 17

Lesson 13. Class 4 iki- ibi-_ 18

Lesson 14. Class 4 (continued)_ 19

Lesson 15. Special uses of Class 4_ 20

LESSON 16. -ra Present Tense of Verb_ 21

LESSON 17. Negative of the -ra Present_ 22

LESSON 18. Class 5 i- ama-_ 24

LESSON 19. More about Class 5_ 25

LESSON 20. Review__ 26

Lesson 21. Verb -fite_ 28

LESSON 22. Infinitive and Imperative_ 29

LESSON 23. Class 6 uru- in-_ 30

LESSON 24. Class 6 (cont.)_ 31

LESSON 25. Prefixless Present Tense_ 32

LESSON 26. Class 7 aka- utu-_ 33

LESSON 27. Class 8 ubu- ama-_ 35

LESSON 28. Class 8 (cont.)_ 36

LESSON 29. Future Tense_ 37

LESSON 30. Review__ 38

LESSON 31. Negative of Future Tense_ 39

LESSON 32. Class 9 uku- ama-_ 40

LESSON 33. Class 10 aha-_ 41

LESSON 34. Chart of the Classes_ 42

LESSON 35. Vowel-stem Verbs_ 44

LESSON 36. Far Future and Present Negative of Vowel-stem Verbs_ 45

LESSON 37. Cardinal Numbers 1 – 10_ 46

LESSON 38. Higher Numbers_ 47

LESSON 39. -ngahe? How many? Vocabulary_ 49

LESSON 40. Review__ 50

LESSON 41. -ose – all, every_ 51

LESSON 42. “To wash”_ 53

LESSON 43. -ndi – other_ 53

LESSON 44. Some Verbs_ 55

LESSON 45. Verb -zi – to know__ 56

LESSON 46. Adjective Chart_ 57

LESSON 47. Word Order_ 58

LESSON 48. Personal Pronouns_ 59

LESSON 49. Review__ 61

LESSON 50. Reading Lesson_ 61

LESSON 51.Ordinary Past Tense_ 62

LESSON 52. Rules for Past Endings_ 64

LESSON 53. Past Verb Endings_ 65

LESSON 54. Ordinary Past (continued)_ 67

LESSON 55. Negative of Ordinary Past_ 68

LESSON 56. Past of -ri; -ga tense_ 69

LESSON 57. Object Pronouns_ 70

LESSON 58. Object Pronouns (continued)_ 71

LESSON 59. Object Pronouns with Vowel-stem Verbs_ 72

LESSON 60. Review__ 74

LESSON 61. Ordinal Numerals; -ombi 74

Lesson 62. Months, Days of Week, Telling Time. 76

LESSON 63. Some Household Terms_ 78

LESSON 64. Stative Voice_ 79

LESSON 65. -o with the infinitive_ 80

LESSON 66. Imperatives with the Subjunctive_ 81

LESSON 67. Subjunctive_ 82

LESSON 68. How to say “Stop” and “Wait”_ 83

LESSON 69. Possessive Particle with a changed to o_ 85

LESSON 70. Review__ 86

LESSON 71. Far Past Tense_ 88

LESSON 72. Negative of Far Fast_ 89

LESSON 73. Father and Mother_ 90

LESSON 74. Brother and Sister_ 91

LESSON 75. Immediate Past_ 92

LESSON 76. Possessive Adjectives_ 93

LESSON 77. Possessive Adjectives (continued)_ 95

LESSON 78. Causative Verbs_ 96

LESSON 79. Causatives (continued)_ 97

LESSON 80. Objects with Causatives_ 98

LESSON 81. Review__ 100

LESSON 82. Gutya, Gutyo_ 101

LESSON 83. Passive Verbs_ 102

LESSON 84. Past of Passives_ 103

LESSON 85. Passives of Monosyllabic Verbs_ 104

LESSON 86. Demonstrative Adjectives_ 105

LESSON 87. Demonstratives (continued)_ 107

LESSON 88. Demonstratives (continued)_ 107

LESSON 89. Not Yet Tense_ 109

LESSON 90. Review__ 110

LESSON 91. Dependent Clauses_ 111

LESSON 92. Dependent Not-yet Tense_ 112

LESSON 93. Demonstrative Pronouns; -kwirie, -rinda, -gomba_ 113

LESSON 94. Relative Clauses_ 115

LESSON 95. Relative Clauses with no Noun Antecedent_ 116

LESSON 96. Pronoun Nde?_ 117

LESSON 97. Adjective -he?_ 119

LESSON 98. Prepositional Form of Verb_ 120

LESSON 99. Uses of Prepositional Form__ 121

LESSON 100. Review__ 122

LESSON 101. Reading Lesson_ 124

LESSON 102. Miscellaneous Words_ 124

LESSON 103. Reflexive Verbs_ 126

LESSON 104. Uses of Nta_ 127

LESSON 105. Further Notes on Nta_ 128

LESSON 106_ 129

LESSON 107. Associative Verbs_ 130

LESSON 108. Adverb -te?_ 132

LESSON 109. How to Say “Why?”_ 134

LESSON 110. Review__ 135

LESSON 111. How to Say “Some”, The Conditional Vocabulary_ 137

LESSON 112. Adjectives Expressed by Verbs Vocabulary_ 138

LESSON 113. Reduplicated Verbs Vocabulary_ 139

LESSON 114. Quotations, Direct and Indirect_ 140

LESSON 115. Prepositional Suffixes vocabulary_ 142

LESSON 116. Ki and Umuki 143

LESSON 117. Ka Tense_ 145

LESSON 118. Some Adverbs; The -racya- Tense_ 146

LESSON 119. More Adverbs_ 147

LESSON 120. Miscellaneous Expressions_ 148

LESSON 121. More Miscellaneous Expressions_ 150

LESSON 122. Summary of Tenses_ 152

LESSON 123. The Narrative Tenses_ 153

LESSON 124. Narrative Continued_ 154

LESSON 125. Review__ 156


Kinyarwanda Lessons

Betty Ellen Cox and Gakuba Faustin

Kinyarwanda lessons

Kinyarwanda is a rich language with many words having similar meaning, yet fine shades of thought. Two words may be translated by the same English words and yet they may not be used interchangeably. So strive to ferret out the exact meaning of words. Also, remember that each Kinyarwanda word does not have an exact English equivalent, and likewise, do not expect to find a Kinyarwanda equivalent for each English word.

Listen carefully even when you do not understand. Learn your pronunciation from an African, not a European. From the beginning, spend time daily with an African, reading or trying simple conversation, with him (her) correcting you. Kinyarwanda is a tonal language, which means that variations of pitch of voice, as well as length of syllables, will completely change the meaning.


  1. The vowels:

a is broad as in far

e is almost like a in hay

i is almost like ee in bee

o is almost like o in obey

u is like oo in food

  1. The consonants:

d, f, g, h, k, m, n, p, s, t, v, w are pronounced practically the same as in English

b has a very soft sound with the lips barely touching, unless it is preceded by m when it is quite hard. It does not have the rather explosive quality that it has in English.

c always has the sound of ch as in church.

j has a very soft sound, like z in azure.

l is used mainly in words of foreign origin. However, in many books where one might expect ri, li is written. But the sound is that same as for r (see below).

r has a slight trill sound, as if you tried to say d, l, and r at the same time. The tongue should just flip against the roof of the mouth.

y as in you. (In combination with other consonants, see below). It is never a vowel like y in baby or by.

z as in zone

bw is pronounced bg, and even written bg in some older books. Be careful not to put a vowel sound between these two letters.

nn When this occurs in a past stem it is pronounced rather as if there were a slight i after the n‘s. It has been described as ning (as in sing). This should be practiced many times with an African.

rw is pronounced as if there were a soft g between the r and w.

ry also has a slight g sound between the r and y, but not very strong.

ty is difficult to describe. It must be learned from an African.

sw or sy — there is a slight k sound between the letters.

by, cy, dy, jy, shy — these are all special sounds which must be learned from an African.

q and x do not exist in Kinyarwanda.

These lessons have been prepared in view to a person’s spending a day on each lesson. Some lessons may require more than a day’s study. The lessons are only a guide to study. You will learn many words that are not included here.

Some Useful Expressions

Mwaramutesho Good morning. (To someone you see nearly every day. Used up until noon, or in some cases only until 10:00.)
Mwiriweho. (or, Mwiriwe.) Hello. (Used from noon on.)
Muraho? Hello. (To someone you see rarely, or haven’t seen for a long time, perhaps have never seen before.)
Amakuru? What’s the news? (Equivalent of our: How are you?)
Ni meza. Good (news). (Equivalent of: Fine.)
Muririrweho. Good-bye. (Used early in the day – through early afternoon.)
Muraramukeho. Goodnight. (Used any tome after 3:00 p.m., if you expect to see the person the next day or soon.)
Murabeho. Goodbye. (When you do not expect to see the person again soon.)
Yee, Yego. Yes.
Oya. No.
Murakoze (cyane). Thank you (very much).
Ndagushimiye. Thank you.
Urashaka iki? What do you want?
Iki ni iki? What is this?
Uruturuka he? Where do you come from?
Urajya he? Where are you going?
Uragana he? Where are you going?
Komeza. Continue. Keep on.
Ongera. Do it (or say it) again.
Rekeraho. Stop, that’s enough.
B’uretse! Wait! Stop!
Gerageza. Try.
Urakora iki? What are you doing?
Sinumva. I don’t understand (hear).
Mfasha. Help me.
Ngwino. Come here.
Igitabo kiri he? Where is the book?
Ndashaka kwiga ikinyarwanda. I want to learn Kinyarwanda.






Lesson 1. Class 1 umu- aba-

  1. As we take up the study of Kinyarwanda, we must first get a little picture of the structure of the language. The verb is perhaps the most important part of speech because it serves for several parts of speech. However, we will take that up later and first look at nouns, since their class and form affect most of the other words in the sentence. The nouns are found in ten classes, each class having its own set of prefixes. The prefix of a noun will determine the prefix of other words related to that noun.
  2. Class 1: In this class we find only nouns which are names of people (not necessarily proper nouns). However, some nouns referring to people will be found in other classes.

Here are a few words of this class:

umugabo – man(married), husband abagabo – men, husbands
umugore – woman (married) , wife abagore – women, wives
umuhungu – boy, son abahungu – boys, sons
umukobwa – girl, daughter girls, daughters

Observe that each of these words in the singular begins with umu. That is the singular prefix. The plural prefix is aba. Thus, in the word umugabo, umu is the prefix and -gabo is the stem (the unchangeable part). From now one when you meet a noun of the first class you will be able to form the plural.

  1. Some verbs to learn:

arakora – he is working; he works, he does (or, she)

barakora – they are working, they work, they do

aragenda – he(she) is going, he goes (~genda may not be used when followed by a word of place. In that case use: arajya, barajya. e.g. Arajya mu Kirambo – he is going to Kirambo.

baragenda they are going, walking, they go

arahinga – he (she) is hoeing, he hoes

barahinga – they are hoeing, they hoe

Thus, the singular verb prefix is a-, and the plural verb prefix is ba-. Note: These verbs may stand alone with no noun or pronoun subject expressed when the person referred to is known.

Now perhaps you can translate these sentences:

  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umugabo arakora. 2. Abahungu baragenda. 3. Umukobwa arahinga. 4. Umugore arakora. 5. Abagore barahinga. 6. Abagabo barahinga. 7. Umuhungu aragenda. 8. Abakobwa baragenda. 9. Umugore arahinga. 10. Baragenda.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda: (the articles a, an, the are not expressed.)
  4. The boy is hoeing. 2. The girls work. 3. The men are going. 4. The women are walking. 5. A boy is working. 6. A girl is walking. 7. Some (no word needed) boys are working. 8. The man hoes. 9. A woman is going. 10. Women work.



Lesson 2. Ni and Si


umwana (pl. abana) – child afite – he (she) has
umwami (abami) – king, Lord bafite – they have
umwigisha (abigisha) – teacher cyane (adverb) – much, very
umwigishwa (abigishwa) – pupil murakoze – thank you
  1. Vowel-change. Though we observed that the singular prefix of Class 1 is umu-, we will find some words in which it appears to be umw-, as in the nouns given above. This is due to the fact that u before another vowel becomes w. This rule applies not only in this instance, but wherever u precedes another vowel, for the language does not tolerate two vowels coming together. Thus umu-ana becomes umwana. This lengthens the vowel which begins the stem: umwigisha, abigisha.

Also, a before another vowel drops out, thus the plural of these nouns: aba-ana becomes abana; aba-igisha becomes abagisha. (Later you will learn about an exception to this rule about a.)

  1. Use of ni and si: Ni means “is” or “are”, “he (she) is”, “they are” (third-person singular and plural in present time), and does not change its form regardless of the subject. Its negative si, meaning “is not”, “are not”, “he (she) is not”, “they are not”. (These words may not be used in a dependent clause or when followed by a word of place.) Ni and si may also be used with “it” for the subject, e.g., Ni uwami – it is the king. Umawana ni umukobwa – the child is a girl. Umugabo si umwigisha – the man is not a teacher. Umwigisha ni Andereya – the teacher is Andrew.

Exception: If the subject of “is” or “are” is a place, as well as the word following, the words ni and si may be used even though followed by a word of place, e.g. Kirambo ni kure – Kirambo is far away.

Note: Since in Kinyarwanda two vowels may not come together (in speaking), and most words end in vowels, and start with vowels, the last vowel of a word is dropped (elided) when the next word begins with a vowel. e.g. (one says) umawana n’umukobwa – the child is a girl (though one does not write the apostrophe); umugor’ arahinga – the woman is hoeing (but one writes: umugore arahinga.)


  1. Without reference to the vocabularies, give the plural of the following words and their meanings:
1. umwana 3. umwami 5. umuhungu 7. umukobwa
2. umugabo 4. umugore 6. umwigisha 8. umwigishwa
  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
1. The teacher has a wife. 9. Teachers work hard (much).
2. The children are going. 10. The women have children.
3. The man is a teacher. 11. The pupil is a girl.
4. The boys are working hard (much). 12. The girl is not a teacher.
5. The pupils have a teacher. 13. Men have wives.
6. A woman is hoeing. 14. Pupils hoe.
7. The child is not a boy. 15. The teacher is a man.
8. The man has a son.



Lesson 3. Possessive Adjective


umuntu – person aravuga – he says, is speaking
umukozi – workman, employee yee, yego – yes (yego is usually used in answer to greetings)
umusaza – old man oya – no
Umukiza – Savior

Note: Observe especially the pronunciation of umuntu. It is almost as if the -ntu were blown through the nose.

  1. The possessive adjective is made up of two parts: the prefix, which refers to and agrees with the object owned, and the suffix, which refers to and agrees with the owner. This agreement refers to the system of prefixes for the various classes as indicated in Par. 1.
umwana wa-njye – my child abana ba-njye – my children

wa is the prefix which agrees with the first class singular. -njye means “me”. Thus, wanjye means “of me”, that is “my”. Do not try to use -njye for “me” in other instances. The plural prefix is ba-. In this lesson we introduce the only personal possessives (that is, the owner being a person). Other forms will be taught later.

The suffixes:

-njye – me -cu – us
-we – you (sing.) -nyu – you (plural)
-e – him, her -bo – them


Singular Plural
wanye – my banjye – my
wawe – your (sing.) bawe – your (owner sing)
we – his, her be – his, her
wacu – our bacu – our
wanyu – your (plur.) banyu – your (owner plur.)
wabo – their babo – their

Note the contraction in 3rd person singular: wa-e = we; ba-e = be e.g. umana we – his child. ubana be – his children. abana babo – their children.

Note: The possessive regularly follows the noun it modifies.

  1. Mbese. This word introduces a question, bit is not translated. Sometimes it is Ese. It is not necessary to always use it in questions. In speaking, it elides before a vowel, but not in writing. The verb keeps its normal place in the sentence, instead of being placed at the beginning as in English.

e.g. Mbese abigishwa barahinga? – Are the pupils hoeing?

Se may be used instead at the end of the sentence for the same purpose. However, mbese (or ese) is more common, except in short questions.

Abigishwa barahinga se? – Are the pupils hoeing?


  1. Translate into English:
1. Umukiza wacu ni Yesu. 5. Abigishwa babu barakora.
2. Umwigisha wabo aravuga. 6. Abantu barakora cyane.
3. Abakozi banyu barahinga. 7. Mbese umwigisha wanyu arahinga? Yee, arahinga.
4. Umwana wawe ni umuhungu. 8. Abana banjye ni abakobwa.
  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda.
1. My child 8. Your (pl.) teachers
2. Your (s.) husband 9. Your (s.) children
3. His workmen 10. Her pupils
4. Our Savior 11. The old men work (are working).
5. Our boys 12. Your (pl.) king
6. Their wives 13. Our children are hoeing.
7. Your (pl.) girls 15. My sons are not pupils.



Lesson 4. Class 2: umu- imi-


umutima – heart umutwe – head
umuriro – fire umusozi – hill, mountain
umutsima – bread neza – well (adv.), nicely
umugati – bread na – and, with, by
umunyu – salt

Note: umutsima is a sort of doughy porridge, the only bread known before the coming of Europeans. Most people now use umugati (from Swahili) for the European kind of bread.

  1. Class 2. This class is not used for people, as the first class, though the singular prefix is the same. You do not need to confuse the two classes, for if it is a person it is first class; if not, it is second. The plurals are not alike.

Prefixes: Singular: umu-, Plural imi- :: e.g. umutima – heart, imitima – hearts

Possessive prefixes: wa-, ya- :; e.g. wanjye umutwe we – his head, yanjye imitwe yabo – their heads

  1. Conjunction na – and. This word na is used for joining nouns, but it does not connect clauses. It elides n’ before words beginning with a vowel, e.g. umugabo n’umugore – a man and a woman.

So, when thus elided, in speaking there is no difference between na and ni, but the context will usually indicate which is intended. In writing, na elides, but ni does not.

Words in a series in Kinyarwanda are always connected by n. Though in English one would say “A man, woman, and child,” in Kinyarwanda it is: “Umugabo n’umugore n’umawana”.


  1. Give plurals and meanings of the following: (When necessary for the sense, make the suffix of the possessive plural, e.g., my heart, our hearts.)
1. umukozi wawe 5. umugate wanjye
2. umutima we 6. umutwe wawe
3. umwana wabo 7. umwigishwa we
4. umusozi wacu 8. umukobwa wanjye
  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda: (Do not translate words in parentheses.)
  2. The boy and the girl have their bread. 2. Jesus is my Savior. 3. The old man has salt and bread. 4. Your (pl.) children work well. 5. His daughter and your (s.) son are going. 6. My teacher has a fire. 7. The workmen and the pupils are hoeing. 8. The people are speaking. 9. Your (pl.) teachers have some salt. 10. The workman has bread and (some) salt. 11. Is your (pl.) child a boy? No, it’s a girl.





Lesson 5. Mu and Ku


umwotsi – smoke (pl. imyotsi is rare.) umucyo – light
umwijima – darkness, liver umunsi – day
umwenda – garment umunezero – joy
umwenda – debt

Note: There is a slight tonal difference in the two words umwenda. Get an African to say them for you.

  1. Vowel change.

u changes to w before a vowel (as in first class) e.g. umwenda.

i changes to y before a vowel (exceptions shown later) e.g. imyenda.

  1. Mu and ku.

mu – in, into, out of (the inside of a thing)

ku – on, at, to (the outside of a thing), from (outside)

These various meanings are often dependent on the verb accompanying them. Thus:

kuva – to come from

kuva mu muriro – to come out of the fire

kuva ku muriro – to come away from the fire

Note: mu and ku usually remove the initial vowel of the noun following. e.g. ku muriro, not ku umuriro. (For a variation of this, see Par. 32.)


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umugabo aragenda mu mwijima. 2. Umwigisha afite imyenda. 3. Umugore afite umunezero mu mutimwa we. 4. Abana be barakora neza. 5. Umwotsi uva (comes from) mu muriro. 6. Umusaza afite umwijima mu mutima we. 7. Umukiza arakora mu mitima yacu. 8. Mbese umukozi afite imyenda? 9. Abakozi barahinga ku musozi. 10. Abakobwa bafite imyenda.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The children have joy in their hearts. 2. The boy has bread on his head. 3. The women work on their hill. 4. Your (s.) debts 5. Our fire 6. In the fire 7. At the fire 8. The old men have darkness in their hearts. 9. The light (insert “wo”) on the hill is your fire. 10. The child is walking in the smoke.





Lesson 6. Possessive Particle


umusatsi – hair (of human head) ndakora – I am working, I work
umugozi – string, rope ndagenda – I am going (not followed by place)
umugisha – blessing ndajya – I am going (followed by a word of place)
umurima – garden, field mfite – I have
  1. Possessive particle. This is a small word used to indicate possession as expressed in English by “of” or “ ‘s”. It is always the same as the prefix of the possessive adjective.


Singular Plural
Class 1 wa ba
Class 2 wa ya

The possessive particle always follows the name of the thing possessed and agrees with it, not with the owner.

umutima wa Yesu – the heart of Jesus (Jesus’ heart)

imirima y’abantu – the gardens of the people (the people’s gardens)

abana b’umwigisha – the children of the teacher (the teacher’s children)

We will not give the possessive particle with each class. Simply remember that it is the same as the prefix of the possessive adjective.

The -a of the possessive particle elides before a following vowel, both in writing and in speaking, thus: w’, b’, etc. as seen in some of the preceding examples.


  1. Change to the plural and give meanings: (Make all parts plural)
1. Umwana w’umwigisha. 2. Umutwe w’umuntu. 3. Umurima w’umusaza.
4. Umugore w’umugabo. 5. Umuhungu w’umwigisha. 6. Umwigishwa wa Paulo.
7. Umugozi w’umuhungu. 8. Umwenda w’umukozi. 9. Umukiza w’abantu.
10. Umutima w’umuntu.
  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  2. The people of Jesus have joy in their hearts. 2. I have the light of Jesus in my heart. 3. The teacher’s workmen are working in his gardens. 4. The child of the king is a girl. 5. The smoke of the fire 6. I work on our hill. 7. The child has hair. 8. I am working in the darkness. 9. I am going to the teacher’s garden. 10. The old man has the blessing of the Savior in his heart. 11. Jesus is my Lord and Savior.



Lesson 7. Class 3: in-, in-


inka – cow inzira – path, way
inzu – house (pl. amazu) Imana – God
intebe – chair, stool, bench imbwa – dog
  1. Class 3. The prefix for Class 3 nouns in in- (or im-) for both singular and plural. The context and agreements will usually indicate whether the word is singular or plural. Later we will note some variations of this prefix.
Singular Plural
Noun prefix in- in-
Possessive adjective ya- za-

e.g. inka yanjye – my cow, inka zanjye – my cows

  1. Consonant change. (Memorize this rule. It is used in many words.)

N before all labials (B, M, F, V, P) becomes M. e.g. in-bwa becomes imbwa.

N before H becomes MP. e.g. in-hamba becomes impamba. Some people write it: imhamba.

N before R becomes ND. e.g. in-ririmbo becomes indirimbo.

N before another N or before M drops out. e.g. in-mana becomes Imana.

N before a vowel stem becomes NZ. e.g. in-ara becomes inzara.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Inka z’umugabo. 2. Umusaza n’imbwa ye. 3. Umuhungu arakora mu murima we. 4. Abakobwa bafite intebe zabo. 5. Umukobwa afite imyenda mu nzu yanjye. 6. Umwana afite imyenda ye. 7. Inka zawe ziri (are) mu murima wanjye. 8. Abantu barajya mu nzu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The men’s dogs. 2. The girl’s chair. 3. I have a dog. 4. Our chairs. 5. Their cows. 6. My God. 7. Your (pl.) clothes. 8. The old man’s cows. 9. The teacher’s children. 10. The woman’s clothes. 11. The children are going into the man’s garden. 12. I am working in the teacher’s garden. 13. The women have bread on their heads.



Lesson 8. Adjectives

The descriptive adjectives: (in this learn only the first half of the list.)

-bi bad, dirty, ugly

-bisi raw, uncooked, unripe

-gari wide, broad

-gufi short, low, shallow

-inshi much, many

-iza good, clean, beautiful, nice, pretty

-ke few, scanty, little (in quantity), (sometimes, -keya)

-kuru important, senior, great, adult, old

-nini big, thick, large

-nzinya very small, tiny (used only with 7th Class)

-re-re tall, long, high, deep (prefix repeated as well as stem, e.g. muremure)

-sa only, alone, mere

-shya new

-to small, little (size), young, thin (sometimes, -toya)

-zima alive, whole, living, healthy

  1. These adjectives listed here are the only descriptive adjectives in common use. Most other descriptive adjectives from English are formed by nouns or verbs as we shall see later. These adjectives take the prefix of the noun minus the initial vowel. They always agree with the nouns they modify in class and number, and they always follow the noun.
umuntu mubi – a bad person abantu babi – bad people
umutima mubi – a bad heart imitiba mibi – bad hearts
inka mbi – an ugly cow inka mbi – ugly cows
imbwa nshya – a new dog imbwa nshya – new dogs

As the other classes are give you will be able to form the adjectives according to this rule given above.

Note: If both a descriptive adjective and a possessive adjective follow a noun, the possessive must come closest to the noun, e.g. inka ze nke – his few cows. If one of the adjectives refers to quantity it usually comes last, e.g. inka mbi nke – a few bad cows.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Inka yanjye ni mbi. 2. Umugabo ni mugufi. 3. Abantu si bake. 4. Abana banjye si babi. 5. Umwigisha ni mukuru. 6. Inzu y’umusaza ni mbi. 7. Umwenda w’umwana ni mugufi. 8. Mfite umugati mubi. 9. Abana bafite imigati mike. 10. Intebe zanyu ni ngufi.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. I have an ugly dog. 2. Our house is low. 3. Your (pl.) chairs are short. 4. His bad children. 5. Their few cows. 6. The house is ugly. 7. Your (s.) clothes are dirty. 8. God is very great. 9. I have this short rope. 10. Is the teacher’s child bad?



Lesson 9. Adjectives (continued)


Learn the last half of the list of adjectives in Lesson 8.

  1. Vowel Changes.
  2. Though in Par. 4 we stated that a before another vowel drops out, there are exceptions to this rule. In the adjectives -iza and -inshi, when an a precedes the i, the two contract into e, thus: ba-iza becomes beza, ba-inshi becomes benshi.
  3. Remember that as stated in Par. 4, u before another vowel becomes w, thus: mu-iza becomes mwiza.
  4. Also remember that i often (not always) becomes y before another vowel, thus: mi-iza becomes myiza, and mi-inshi becomes myinshi.

Note I. In par. 14 we said that n before a vowel becomes nzm thus n -iza becomes nziza; however, the adjective -inshi is an exception, for n-inshi becomes nyinshi. In pronouncing this adjective -inshi, the n is nasal, and is not made with the tongue.

Class 1 mwiza beza
Class 2 mwiza myiza
mwinshi myinshi
Class 3 nziza nziza
nyinshi nyinshi

Note II. The adjective -nini in agreeing with the 3rd class does not get an extra n. It is simply like the stem: inka nini – a big cow.

Note III. The adjectives -nini and -to occasionally are reduplicated in the plural forms: abahungu banini-banini – big boys; abana bato-bato – little children.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Inka ze nyinshi. 2. Afite umwana mwiza. 3. Umukobwa we n’umuhungu we ni batoya. 4. Inzu yabo nini ni nziza cyane. 5. Abana bato si babi. 6. Umugabo muremure akora mu murima w’umwigisha. 7. Mfite intebe nziza nshya. 8. Umuhungu muto afite umunyu mwinshi. 9. Mbese abigishwa bafite imyenda myiza? 10. Mbese inka z’umusaza ni nini?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. My good dog is very short. 2. Your (pl.) large cows are very nice. 3. Our small chairs are new. 4. Our great God is good. 5. Your (pl.) many people work hard. 6. A tall man is working in the garden. 7. The good children are not few. 8. The teacher has many gardens. 9. His long string is nice. 10. Our God is living.



Lesson 10. Review

  1. Questions
  1. What are the noun prefixes singular and plural for the first class?
  2. What are the noun prefixes singular and plural for the second class?
  3. What are the noun prefixes singular and plural for the third class?
  4. What usually happens to u before another vowel?
  5. What usually happens to a before another vowel?
  6. What usually happens to i before another vowel?
  7. What is the negative of ni?
  8. When you have a noun, a descriptive adjective, an adjective of quantity, and a possessive adjective, what is the proper order?
  9. What effect do mu and ku have on the noun which follows them?
  10. Before what letters does N change to M?
  11. What happens when N comes before H?
  12. What happens when N comes before R?
  13. When can ni and si not be used for “is” and “are”?
  14. When is the final vowel of ni, si, and na omitted?
  15. What are the two parts of the possessive adjective?
  1. Make the word -iza agree with the following nouns, singular and plural, and translate each expression: umukobwa, umugati, imbwa.

III. Translate into English:

  1. Mfite umuriro mwinshi.
  2. Abagabo beza barakora cyane mu mirima yabo.
  3. Umwnan wanjye arajya mu nzu.
  4. Abagore benshi barahinga.
  5. Umwigisha afite inka nyinshi.
  6. Umwana we afite imbwa.
  7. Umuhungu muremure arakora ku ntebe nto.
  8. Imirima yacu mishya ni myiza cyane.
  9. Yesu ni Umukiza wacu muzima.
  10. Imyenda ye myiza si mishya.
  11. Abana bato barajya mu nzu.
  12. Mbese afite abana benshi? Oya, ni bake.
  13. Mbese imbwa y’umuhungu ni nziza?
  14. Intebe zanyu ni ndende.
  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda.
  1. The woman is working in her house.
  2. Salt is good.
  3. A child of God has much joy in his heart.
  4. Out good Savior is alive.
  5. Is the boy’s chair long?
  6. Your (pl.) bread is bad.
  7. A few girls are hoeing in the teacher’s garden.
  8. Our hills are very high.
  9. The important people are going to the teacher’s house.
  10. The children of God have many blessings.
  11. Do the men have many debts?
  12. The man’s good pupils are working in his new house.



Lesson 11. Class 3 (contunued)


imvura – rain ifu – flour (pl. amafu) (some use ifarini)
inyama – meat (usually pl.) isuka – hoe (pl. amasuka)
ihene – goat isaho – bag, sack (pl. amasaho)
imuhira – at home isahane (or, isahani) – plate, dish (Swahili) (pl. amasahane)
  1. Some third class irregularities. The last five words in this vocabulary, as well as ihene have no n in the prefix; the prefix is simply i.
  2. ifu – its plural, amafu, is used only of different types of flour.
  3. ifi – though the plural is usually amafi, sometimes it is the same as the singular.
  4. isuka, isaho, and isahane, all from their plurals with ama- in the place of i-. This is the regular plural of the fifth class, and you will learn the proper agreements there. See par. 30. Both the singular is 3rd class.

Note: Isahane is a Swahili word. From time to time a few Swahili words will be given because there is no equivalent for them in Kinyarwanda.

  1. Preposition i. This preposition means at, to, from. It is used almost entirely with place names, e.g. i Kibuye – at Kibuye, i Remera – at Remera. With certain places ku or mu may be used, but that must be learned by familiarity with the place. However, in general, i is used.

This preposition is also used in the expressions: imuhira – at home, and with the possessive pronoun, thus: iwacu – at our place, or, at home; iwanyu – at your place (home); iwabo – at their place (home). Note that in all of these the i is attached to the other word.

In all of these latter expressions, in most instances the plural pronoun is used; however the singular is used for the head man of the kraal or family. He would say iwanjye. If he said “iwacu” he would mean “in our vicinity”. In speaking of “his place (home)”, one would say iwe.


  1. Translate into English.
  2. Abantu benshi bafite ihene. 2. Mfite amasuka imuhira. 3. Imvura ni nziza. 4. Abagabo barajya mu Kirambo. 5. Umuhungu wawe afite ihene nyinshi n’inka nyinshi. 6. Umugabo afite inyama nziza nyinshi. 7. Iwacu mfite isaho nini cyane. 8. Abigishwa barakora i Kibogora. 9. Umusaza afite ifi nyinshi. 10. Ifu yacu ni nziza. 11. Abahungu bafite imbwa iwabo.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. I have much good flour. 2. The old man has many goats at his place. 3. The woman has a hoe in her house. 4. The new teacher has many gardens. 5. The teacher’s new house is large. 6. The boys have a few fish, (Make prefix for ‘few’ ma-). 7. The child’s plate is clean. 8. A man is walking to the house. He has a sack on (his) head. 9. My plate is dirty. 10. Are the boys hoeing in the rain?

Lesson 12. Verb -ri


ingoma – drum, throne he? or hehe? – where? (used only in questions)
imbuto – seed, plant, fruit hano – here
intama – sheep hariya – over there
hari – there is, there are (like French il y a)
  1. Verb -ri. In par. 5 we learned that ni and si are used for “is”, “are” and the negative of these words, but that in certain circumstances these words cannot be used. In many instances (in fact, whenever possible), -ri is used whenever ni and si cannot be, such as with words of place, but not for state of being, in the 3rd person, except in dependent clauses.

Here is the present conjugation of -ri:

ndi – I am (n + ri = ndi) turi – we are
uri – you are (sing.) muri – you are (pl.)
ari – he (she) is bari – they are

The bold portion is the verb prefix. In the third person, you remember that arakora is he is working, and barakora is they are working. These prefixes for the third person will change to agree with the class of the subject of that verb. Here are the forms for the classes studied thus far:

Sing. Plur.
Class 1 ari bari
Class 2 uri iri
Class 3 iri ziri

These prefixes are used for all verbs. Be sure you know them. From now on the verb prefixes of each class will be introduced with that class.

e.g. Imana iravuga – God is speaking

Ihene ziragenda – the goats are walking

Ufite imbuto – you have seeds

-ri is a defective verb, that is, it lacks certain parts. It has no infinitive and only a few tenses. The missing forms are provided by the verb kuba – to be, become, live (in a certain place). Hari is a form of -ri.

Note: Observe the sentence order when using he?. It is always at the end of the sentence or clause.

Ihene zawe hiri he?
(goats your are where?) Where are your goats?


  1. Translate into English
  2. Abahungu bari mu nzu. 2. Umwigisha ari he? 3. Uri he? Ndi hano. 4. Inka zawe ziri hariya. 5. Umwigisha afite ingoma nini nyinshi. 6. Inka n’ihene n’intama ziri mu murima w’umwigisha. 7. Ingoma ziri he? Ziri hairya mu nzu nto. 8. Hari umwotsi hariya ku musozi. 9. Ihene iri mu murima. 10. Imana irakora mu mitima y’abantu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda.
  4. Where are your (pl.) goats? 2. (the goats) They are at our place. (do not translate “the goats”, it is given to show agreement.) 3, Where are the old man’s gardens? 4, The man’s many sheep are over there. 5. Where is your (s.) new house? It is over there on the hill. 6. Where are you(pl.)? We are here at home. 7. There are many plants in the garden. 8. The child has a goat. 9. The girl has a sack of flour on (her) head. 10. The boys and girls are in the teacher’s house.



Lesson 13. Class 4 iki- ibi-


ikintu – thing igihugu – country
ikijumba – sweet potato igitabo – book
ikirenge – foot igiti – tree
  1. Class 4.
Singular Plural
Noun prefix iki- ibi-
Possessive prefix cya- bya- (cyanje, byanje)
Verb prefix ki- bi- (kiri, biri)
Adjective prefix ki- bi- (kibi, bibi)
  1. Change-down rule. When the stem of a word begins with certain letters, k in the prefix must change to g, and t in a prefix must change to d. These are the letters which cause this change: C, F, H, K, , S, T. (Maybe you can make up a nonsense sentence using these letters to help you remember them, such as: Charlie found his kite pulling a string tail.)

So it is not: ikitabo, but igitabo, since the stem -tabo begins with t. Not ikihugh, but igihugh, since the stem begins with h.

This rule is very important and is regularly applied, so learn it well. Note, however, that it does not apply to a k or t preceded by a consonant, e.g. ntukora. And it does not apply if the vowel between the k or t and the succeeding consonant is long, e.g. atihana (not, adihana).


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umugabo afite ibijumba bike. 2. Ibiti bye ni birebire. 3. Ibirenge bye ni binini. 4. Igihugu cyacu ni gito. 5. Ibintu byanyu biri he? 6. Abigishwa bafite ibitabo bishya. 7. Umwana afite imbwa mu nzu. 8. Hari ibiti binini mu mirima yanyu. 9. Ibitabo byabo biri ku ntebe. 10. Igitabo cy’umwigisha kiri mu nzu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The girl’s sweet potatoes are dirty. 2. There are tall trees over there at your place. 3. I have a few books in my house. 4. Many hills are in our country. 5. The sweet potatoes are small. 6. Where is your (s.) book? It is at home. 7. The trees over there are not very tall. 8. The women have many sweet potatoes in their gardens. 9. Are there sheep and goats in your country? 10. The pupil’s books are in the teacher’s house.



Lesson 14. Class 4 (continued)


icyuma – iron, knife, tool, metal igisimba – insect
icyaha – sin inyamaswa – wild animal (3rd cl.)
icyobo – hole (in ground) hanze – outside, out of doors
  1. The prefixes in the first three words of this vocabulary do not appear the same as those in the previous lesson, but they are still 4th class.
  2. The prefix ki- before a vowel becomes cy-, and the prefix bi- becomes by-__, e.g. iki-aha becomes icyaha, ibi-aha becomes ibyaha.
  3. This same rule applies to adjectives and verbs:
ki-iza becomes cyiza bi-iza becomes byiza
ki-inshi becomes cyinshi bi-inshi


  1. Give the singulars of the following words and translate (without looking in the vocabularies)
1. ibiti 6. abigishwa 11. amasuka
2. ibyobo 7. ibitabo 12. ibihugu
3. imyenda 8. abami 13. ibijumbi
4. ibirenge 9. ibyaha 14. iminsi
5. ibyuma 10. ibisimba 15. inyamaswa
  1. Translate into English:
  2. Igitabo cy’umukobwa kiri hano. 2. Hair ibyuma byawe byinshi mu nzu. 3. Inyamaswa mbi ziri hanze. 4. Umuntu mubi afite ibyaha byinshi mu mutimwa we. 5. Mfite igitabo cyiza cyane. 6. intama iri mu cyabo kinini hariya. 7. Ibirenge by’umwana ni bibi. 8. Mbese ibitabo byanyu bishya biri mu nzu? 9. Mbese abakozi bafite ibyuma byinshi? Oya, bafite bike. 10. Umusaza afite icyuma cyanje. Kiri mu nzu ye.

III. Translate into Kinyarwanda.

1.The holes are very deep. 2. Many people are outside. 3. There are many sins in the heart of a bad man. 4. Your (pl.) big country is nice. 5. Many good things are in their house. 6. Where are your tools? They are at home. 7. The girls have few books. 8. The tall trees over there are very beautiful. 9. The wild animal is alive. 10. There is a small hole in our garden.



Lesson 15. Special uses of Class 4


igitambaro – cloth, piece of cloth imbabazi – mercy, pity, forgiveness
ikigori – corn, maize (stalk, ear) igitoki – bananas (bunch, tree)
ikirago – grass mat (for sleeping) umuneke – ripe banana
  1. Compound subject When there is a compound subject, especially if the two nouns are not of the same class, the verb takes the 4th class plural prefix. This is true also of a possessive modifying two nouns, e.g. umugati n’umyana biri mu nzu – bread and meat are in the house., umurima n’inzi bye – his garden and house

However, if both nouns should be of the first class, the first class plural prefix is used, e.g. umuhungu n’umukobwa barakora – the boy and girl are working.

If both nouns are in the same class (other than the 1st class), the verb may take the plural prefix of that class or it may take the 4th class plural prefix. In most localities it seems preferable to used the same class as the nouns. The same is true of the possessive particle or adjective. Thus, it could be: ihene n’intama z’umusaza, or, ihene n’intama by’umusaza.

  1. Thing class. When reference to something indefinite is made, such as we in English use “thing”, “something”, “it”, etc., no definite object being referred to, the fourth class agreements are used, usually in the plural:
ibyiza – good things ibyanjye – my things
bizaba byiza – it will be well

Note that in ibyiza and ibyanjye the initial vowel has been added, making nouns out of the adjectives. Now they are just like vowel-stem nouns.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umunezero n’imbabazi by’Imana ni bikuru. 2. Ibigori ni birebire cyane. 3. Ihepe nyinshi n’inyamaswa nke biri ku musozi. 4. Imbabazi z’Imana ni nyinshi cyane. 5. Ibyanjye biri iwacu. 6. Ikirago cy’umugabo kiri mu nzu ye. 7. Umukozi wacu arakora ibyiza byinshi. 8. Abagore bafite ibigiri byinshi mu mirima yabo. 9. Abana bafite umunezero mwinshi. Ni byiza.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The dog and a wild animal are over there. 2. There are ripe bananas in his house. 3. The boys have corn (pl.) and sweet potatoes. 4. Bananas are very good. 5. The new cloth is long. 6. There is a lot of (i.e. much) rain over here. 7. The men are hoeing well in the bananas. 8. Our bread (pl.) and meat are in a cloth. 9. The child’s head and feet are large. 10. The man’s chairs and drums are in his house.



LESSON 16. -ra Present Tense of Verb


No new vocabulary is given in this lesson, but refresh your memory on the verbs already learned:

-kora – work, do, make, fix, repair -hinga – hoe, cultivate, dig
-jya – go -genda – go, walk
-vuga – speak, say -va – to come from
  1. Conjugation of -ra present. The verb is the most complicated and the most important part of Kinyarwanda grammar. It will require much careful study.

There are several ways of expressing present time, but here we take up only one – the -ra present tense. This gets its name from the fact that -ra always comes between the personal prefix and the stem of the word in this tense. You have already seen a few forms of it in Lesson 1 and elsewhere. Here is the conjugation:

ndakora – I am working, work turakora – we are working, work
urakora – you (s.) are working, work murakora – you (pl.) are working
arakora – he (she) is working, works barakora – they are working

Note: Remember, nr becomes nd, thus ndakora.

Observe and learn these personal prefixes used here: n-, u-, a-, tu-, mu-,ba-.

The third person prefixes given are those of the first class. Verb prefixes are given with each class. A verb must agree with its subject in class and number.

26.Some rules regarding this tense:

  1. It is used in stating a simple fact regarding that which is happening now, whether an object or phrase follows or not. e.g. umugabo arakora cyane – the man is working hard, umuhungu arava mu nzu – the boy is coming out of the house.
  2. It is used in questions and answers to questions, whether followed by an object or phrase or not.
  3. It is never used in a dependent clause, when it expresses present time.
  4. It is sometimes used to express habitual action, in present time, when there is no object or phrase following the verb. e.g. Mbese Abanyarwanda barahinga? – Do the Banyarwanda cultivate?, Abakobwa baravoma. – girls carry water.
  5. The -ra present expresses progressive or continuous present. e.g. arakora – he is working
  6. It is used as the same-day future tense. (See par. 57.)
  7. Continuous present may also be like this: ndi gukora mu biro – I am now working in the office. The emphasis is on the fact that the act is now happening, like the French “-etre en train de”. This is formed with the present conjugation of -ri followed by the infinitive. (For the infinitive see par. 37) In some localities, instead of saying “ndi gukora”, they say “ndimo ndakora”.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Inka ziragenda mu bijumba. 2. Mbese abantu barakora mu murima? 3. Turakora cyane mu nzu yacu. 4. Imbwa ye irajya imuhira. 5. Urajya he? 6. Nurahiriga cyane mu mirima yanyu. 7. Imana iravuga mu mutima wanjye. 8. Turajya i Kigali. 9. Abakozi bari guhinga mu murima w’umusaza. 10. Mbese muri gukora he?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. God is speaking in the hearts of people. 2. Are you (pl.) hoeing in your gardens? 3. The bad goats are going into the house. 4. A few men and a few women are working in the old man’s gardens. 5. I am going to Kirambo. 6. We are working hard in our new house. 7. The boys are corning from (out of) the field. 8. Are you (s.) going to (use mu) our country? 9. The men’s dogs are going into the teacher’s gardens. 10. Are you working in the dark?



LESSON 17. Negative of the -ra Present


inzira (cl. 3) – path, way |-kunda – love, like
umubyeyi (cl. 1) – parent -shima – praise, be content with
umuti (cl. 2) – medicine kandi – also, and (to connect clauses)
indwara (cl. J) – illness

Note: umuti is used not only for medicine, but for most preparations or mixtures, such as shoe polish, insecticide, etc.

  1. Negative of -ra present. For the negative the -ra must drop out, Its presence makes the not-yet tense (see par. 183). The negative prefix is nti- (note the exception in the first person singular), and it must precede the personal prefix. (A different negative prefix is used in dependent clauses, see par. 186).

Here is the negative conjugation:

sinkora – I am not working ntidukora – we are not working
ntukora – you are not working ntimukorn – you are not working
ntakora – he is not working ntibakora they are not working

Note: nti-u-kora becomes ntukora, nti-a-kora becomes ntakora.

Observe the parts of the word now:

nti- mu- kora
neg. prefix personal prefix verb stem

Observe also the change-down rule in 1st per. plural: ntidukora.

The third person prefixes of the other classes follow the regular rule: e.g. inka ntizijya mu murima – the cows are not going into the garden.

  1. Negative of -ri. The negative of the verb -ri is formed the same way:
sindi – I am not ntituri – we are not
nturi – you are not ntimuri – you (pl.) are not
ntari – he is not ntibari they are not


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Abantu ntibahinga mu mirima yabo, kandi ntibajya imuhira. 2.Intama ntizijya mu nzira. 3. Nkunda Imana mu mutima wanjye. 4. Ntitujya imuhira. 5. Umuhungu ni mubi, ntakora. 6. Sinshima abana babi, ariko (but) nkunda abarta beza. 7. Umwana afite indwara mbi, ariko (but) ntakunda umuti. 8. Mbese abaqyeyi bawe bari imuhira? 9. Ntitujya mu nzira nini. 10. Ntituri mu murima wanyu, turi iwacu.
  3. Translate to Kinyarwanda:
  4. I am not going to the house. 2. I praise God in my heart. He has much mercy. 3. The child’s illness is not very bad. 4. He does not like medicine. 5. My parents are not at home. 6. We love our Savior very much, and we do not like sin. 7. The women are not hoeing in the sweet potatoes, they are in the house. 8. Where are the goats? They are not on the path. 9. Don’t you (s.) love your parents? 10. The sleeping mat is not in the house, and my clothes are not on the chair.



LESSON 18. Class 5 i- ama-


izuba – sun iryinyo – tooth (pl. amenyo)
igi – egg (pl. amagi) ifaranga – franc
ivunja – jigger ishuni – school (some write, ishuri)
ibuye – stone, pebble, rock izuru – nose, nostril
ijambo – word (pl. amagambo) iziko – fireplace, stove
ijisho – eye (pl. amaso)
  1. Class 5.
Singular Plural
Class prefix i- (or, iri) ama- (ibuye, amabuye)
Possessive prefix rya- ya- (ryanjye, yanjye)
Verb prefix ri- a- (riri, ari)
Adjective’ prefix ri- ma- (ribi, mabi)

Note 1: The singular adjective prefix here is ri-. This is the only place the adjective prefix differs from the noun prefix (see par. 15). Before a vowel the singular adjective prefix becomes ry- e.g. ryiza.

Note 2: These plural prefixes are the accords used for the nouns given in Lesson 11 which form their plural with ama-.

  1. Note and learn the plurals of ijisho, ijambo, and iryinyo, since they seem irregular. Though amenyo looks irregular it actually is not. In par. 16,we saw that sometimes a and i contract into e, thus ama-inyo becomes amenyo.

The singular prefix of Class 5 nouns before a vowel is iry- instead of just i-, as in the word, iryinyo.

  1. Mu and ku with 5th class nouns. Nearly all 5th class nouns keep their initial vowel when they follow mu or ku, contrary to the regular rule. However, in speaking it is pronounced as if it were mw and kw. This is also true of the nouns which are 3rd class in the singular, but take a 5th class plural, such as isuka, isaho, isahane, but not inzu.

mu ishuri(pronounced: mw ishuri) – in school

ku ibuye (pronounced: kw ibuye) – on a rock

ku isahane (pronounced: kw isahane) – on a plate

However, a few 5th class nouns follow the regular rule and drop the initial vowel after mu and ku. The important ones are:

mu (or ku) zUba – in the sun mu (or ku) zuru – in the nose
mu (or ku) jisho – in the eye mu (or ku) ziko – in the fireplace

The plurals of all 5th class nouns follow the regular rule, dropping the initial vowel: ku mabuye – on the stones, mu maso – in the eyes.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Amabuye make ari ku musozi. 2. Amenyo y’umuhungu ni meza (Note: ma-iza becomes meza). 3. Ifaranga ryawe riri ku isahane. 4. Umugabo afite amafaranga menshi. 5. Umwana afite ikintu mu jisho rye. 6. Umuhungu afite igi rito. 7. Hari umuriro mu ziko. 8. Hari abana benshi mu ishuii ryanyu. 9. Ku musozi wacu hari amabuye menshi. 10. Amagambo y’Umukiza ni meza cyane.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The teacher says many words. 2. Our new school is very nice. J. The sun is large. 4. The Word of God is good: it works in people’s hearts. 5. Do his parents have many francs? .6. John (Yohana) doesn’t like eggs, but (ariko) he likes meat. 7. I have the blessing of the Savior in my heart, and I love His word. 8. The child has a small nose and big eyes, and much hair. 9. The old man has only a few teeth. 10. Women don’t go to (use mu) school. 11. The girl has a little stone in her nose. 12. I have a jigger in my foot.



LESSON 19. More about Class 5


amazi – water amaraso – blood
amata – milk -shaka – want, desire, look for
amavuta – butter, oil ico – dirt (not soil as in garden)
ameza – table (s.) icumu – spear
amahoro – peace
  1. Nouns with only plural form. There are a number of words in 5th class which have only the plural form. Of course, all agreements are with this plural form. The first 6 words in this vocabulary are some of these. You will learn others later.
  2. 5th class words having c. The last two words in this vocabUlary, icumu and ico, look like 4th class words with a vowel root. But they are regular 5th class words, forming their plurals like any other word in this class, but their stem begins with c: icumu – spear; amacumu – spears.

Besides the two words given here, there is one other of fairly common use: icukiro – manure heap. There may be a few other rare words like this.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umusaza afite inka nyinshi n’amata menshi. 2. Abana barajya mu ishuli ryabo. 3. Umukozi afite amacumu maremare. 4. Umukobwa arahinga mu mirima y’ababyeyi be. 5. Sinkunda amazi mabi. 6. Umwana afite ico ryinshi ku birenge bye. 7. Mbese urashaka amavuta ku mugati wawe? 8. Abana b’Imana bafite amaharo menshi cyane. 9. Ibitabo byawe bishya biri he? Biri ku meza mu nzu yacu. 10. Abigishwa barakora mu ishuri. 11. Amaraso ya Yesu adukiza (saves us from) ibyaha byacu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. God’s people have joy and peace. 2. I have a very small stone in (my) eye. 3. The pupils have the Word of God in school. 4. I want (some) clean water. 5. Bad people are not going in the way of God. 6. The clean cloths are on the table. 7. A workman is hoeing at the school. 8. oUr teacher is speaking the Word of God. 9. I am walking in the way of God. 10. We are praising God and we love our Lord Jesus Christ (Kristo).



LESSON 20. Review

  1. Questions:
  1. Name three words in the 3rd class which form their plurals like 5th cl.
  2. What are the prefixes of 4th class nouns?
  3. What change takes place in those prefixes before a vowel.
  4. Conjugate the verb -ri in the present affirmative; negative.
  5. What verb takes the place of -ri for forms that are lacking?
  6. What preposition is usually used for “at” or “to” with names of places?
  7. Give the verb prefixes (3rd pers.) singular and plural for all the classesl learned thus far.
  8. What is the change-down rule?
  9. Give tWo uses of the 4th class prefixes other than for nouns which regularly belong in that class.
  10. Conjugate: -genda,in the -ra present; -hinga in the -ra-present negative; -kunda in the present negative.
  11. When may the -ra present tense not be used?
  12. What are the 5th class noun prefixes?
  13. Explain the use of mu and ku with 5th class nouns, singular and plural.
  14. What are the exceptions to this rule?
  15. Give the possessive particle for each of the classes studied, singular and plural.
  1. Give the plurals and the meanings of the following:


  1. umubyeyi
  2. ifi
  3. isahane
  4. indwara
  5. ikigori
  6. iryinyo
  7. icyobo
  8. ibuye
  9. ivunja
  10. umuti
  11. ikirenge
  12. igi
  13. ishuri
  14. ijisho
  15. intama
  16. ikijumba
  17. icumu
  18. icyaha
  19. ikirago
  20. inzira
  21. isuka
  22. ijambo
  23. icyuma
  24. igiti
  25. umutima



III.. Translate into English:

  1. Abantu benshi bafite ibyaha mu mitima yabo. Ntibafite amahoro n’umunezero. Ariko (but) Imana ifite imbabazi nyinshi. Imana irakunda abantu. Abana b’Imana ni beza. Baragenda mu nzira y’Imana. Barashima Imana kandi bafite amahoro menshi. Barakunda Ijambo ry’Imana. Mfite amahoro meza cyane mu mutima wanjye.
  2. Abigishwa barakora mu mirima y’ishuli. Bafite ibitoke n’ibijumba n’ibigori mu mirima yabo. Bafite amasuka. Umwigisha arajya mu ishuri Abana barakunda cyane umwigisha wabo. Aravuga amagambo meza, kandi arashima abana (insert “who”) bakora neza. Umwigisha ntakuinda imyenda mibi n’umusatsi muremure.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. I am working in my big garden. 2. Children do not like wild animals. 3. The teachers have many good pupils in the schools. 4. The boys’ small mats are in their house. 5. The Banyarwanda like corn and sweet potatoes and bananas. 6. Are you (s.) going home? 7. A girl is working in her parents’ garden at their place. 8. We are praising God in our hearts. 9. The goat is on a large stone. 10. There are many cows in our country. 11. The children want (some) corn (pl.) and (some) milk. 12. Our nice new sohool is very big. 13. The child’s medicine is not on the table. Where is it? 14. I want my books. Are they in your (s.) house? 15. A big wild animal is in a hole in the teacher’s field. 16. Your (s.) new cloth is very pretty. 17. Where are the meat and butter? 18. My parents have (some) tall trees at their place.’ 19. The cows are not walking in the path. 20. Where is the teacher? He is speaking the Word of God at the school.










































Lesson 21. Verb -fite


umukene (cl. 1) – poor person inzara (cl. 3) – hunger
umukire (c1. 1) – rich person ariko – but
umuyaga (c1. 2) – wind ubu – now
inkoko (cl. 3) – chicken ubu ngubu – right now
  1. Verb -fite. This verb is defective. Like -ri it has no infinitive and no imperative, no future, and, in fact very few-other tenses. The verb used for its missing parts is kugira.

Since the -ra present tense ordinarily is not used with this verb when an object follows (and one usually does), we give here the present tense without -ra of which you have already had a number of forms:

mfite – I have dufite – we have
ufite – you have mufite – you have
afite – he (she) has bafite – they have

Note the change of letters in the personal prefixes according to the rules given in par. 14 and 21. Remember the accords for the other classes, e.g. Imana ifite – God has.

The negative is formed regularly: simfite, ntufite, ntafite, etc.

The -ra present of this verb is not used, except when there is an object pronoun in the verb (See Lesson 57, 58).


  1. Translate into English
  2. Mbese ufite inkoko? Oya, simfite inkoko. 2. Dufite ihene ariko ntidufite inka. 3. Umukire afite ibintu byiza byinshi. 4. Mbese mufite ibitabo byanyu? Oya, biri imuhira. 5. Imana ifite imbabazi nyinshi. 6. Umukene ntafite amafaranga menshi, ariko ubu arakora., 7. Mbese hari amahoro mu gihugu cyanyu? Yee, dufite amahoro menshi. 8. Dufite inyama z’inkoko. Ziri ku meza mu nzu. 9. Abakire bafite inzu nziza, n’inka n’intama n’ihene n’inkoko. 10. Hari umuyaga mwinshi mu biti hariya.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The poor man’s child has much hunger. 2. Sins are very bad, but God has mercy. 3. The rich man’s wife has a bad illness. 4. Is there much wind in your country? 5. We have chickens, but not (= they are not) many. 6. The rich man’s spear is very long. 7. We like chicken meat (meat of chicken), but poor people don’t have chickens. 8. You (s.) have good cows; do you have much milk and butter? 9. We are working hard in our gardens, but we don’t have many sweet potatoes. 10. The men are praising God, and they have much joy.


LESSON 22. Infinitive and Imperative


kumena – to spill, break, empty out ( tr.) guteka – to cook (in water)(tr.)
kujugunya i to throw away, discard gufasha – to help
gusoma – to read iki? – what?
kuzana – to bring

Note: tr. after a verb means “transitive”, i.e. a verb that takes an object. int. means intransitive, i.e. it does not take an object. “to go” is intransitive; “to help” is transitive.

  1. Infinitive. You will see that all the verbs in this vocabulary begin with ku or gu. (Remember the change-down rule, par. 21). In English we form an infinitive by placing the word “to” before the verb, e.g. to work. In Kinyarwanda, ku (gu) is attached to the verb stem. Then to conjugate a verb we simply remove the ku and add the proper prefixes. From now on all verbs given in the vocabularies will be given in the infinitive form.

Note the use: Ndashaka kugenda – I want to go.

You can easily form the infinitives of the verbs already learned.

  1. Imperative. The singular imperative is simply the stem of the verb: Kora – work! Genda – go! Zana – bring!

The singular negative imperative is like the present negative, except that the final a is changed to e, e.g. Ntugende – don’t go, Ntuteke ibijumba – don’t cook sweet potatoes.

For further explanations see par. 132-134. Two imperatives may not follow each other without changing the form of the second one (see par. 134). Except in the imperative, the verb stem can never stand alone.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Zana igitabo n’amafaranga. 2. Turashaka kujya i Kigali. 3. Ntukore mu murima ubu, kora mu nzu. 4. Abana barakunda gusoma mu ishuri. 5. Mbese mufite iki? Dufite ibitabo byacu. 6. Soma mu gitabo cyawe gishya. 7. Mena amazi mabi; ntuteke i bigori mu mazi mabi. 8. Fasha abakobwa guhinga mu bitoke. 9. Teka inyama z’inkoko ku ziko. 10. Turafasha abigisha bacu gukora mu ishuri.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Hoe well in your (s.) big garden. 2. Cook the sweet potatoes and corn. 3. Go to help the poor people. 4. I like to work in the house. 5. The boys want to go to school. 6. The pupils like to read in school. They read very well. 7. Don’t bring your (s.) sleeping mats and clothes into the house now. 8. What are you (pl.) doing? We are helping the boys (to) bring the fish. 9. Don’t empty out the milk; it is good. 10. The wind is bringing the smoke into our eyes.


LESSON 23. Class 6 uru- in-


urugi – door urukwi – stick of firewood
urutoke (or, urutoki)- finger uruzi – river
urukundo – love (no pl.) urubaho – board, slate
urugo – homestead, kraal, enclosure (urugo is often used for “home”) gushyira – to put
  1. Class 6
Sing. Plural
Noun prefix uru- (urutoke) in- (intoke)
Poss. prefix rwa- (rwanjye) za- (zanjye)
Verb prefix ru- (ruri) zi- (ziri)
Adjec.prefix ru- (rubi) n- (m-) (mbi)
  1. In forming the plurals of words. in this class remember the changes that take place when n comes in contact with certain letters (par. 14), e.g. urubaho – board , imbaho – boards
  2. The plural of uruzi is inzuzi, and that of urugi is inzugi, and likewise for all vowel-stem nouns of this class. (The stems of these words are: -uzi, -ugi.)

Note: The plural agreements of class 6 are exactly the same as those of class 3.


  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  2. The man’s fingers are long. 2. Bring wood (insert zo) to put in the fire. 3. The love of God is great (much). 4. The long river is over there. 5. We have a few slates in school.
  3. Translate into English:
  4. Shyira urubaho rwawe ku meza mu ishuri. 2. Dufite urugi rugufi mu nzu yacu. J. Mbese urugo rwanyu ruri he? Ruri hariya ku musozi. 4. Mu gihugu cyacu hari inzuzi nyinshi. 5. Umwana arashyira urutoke mu jisho.

III. Give plurals and meanings of these words. Write a sentence using each of these words in either singular or plural.

1. inka 5. uruzi 8. urukwi
2. urutoke 6. ishuri 9. urubaho
3. isahane 7. igi 10. urugi
4. inkoko




LESSON 24. Class 6 (cont.)


uruhu – skin uruyuki – bee
urufunguzo – key (Sw.) uruhinja – infant (up to one month)
ururimi – tongue, language uruzige – locust
urushyi – palm of hand urwara – fingernail, toenail
  1. Urushyi. The plural is amashyi. This word is usually used in the sense of holding out one’s hands to receive something. They say, “Tega amashyi” – hold out your hands.

Urushyi also has the a regular 6th class plural, inshyi, but it means “slaps in the face”.

  1. The words uruyuki and urwara form their plurals with a z: inzuki, inzara. (Do not confuse inzara with inzara meaning “hunger”. The tone is different as well as the syllable being longer.) These are vowel-stem words, thus inz-__ in the plural (see par. 14 and 40). Observe: | uru-uki = uruyuki | inz-uki
uru-ara = urwara (since the vowel a is long, the u of the prefix changes to w.) Pl. inzara.
  1. Observe the plurals of uruhu and uruhinja: impu, impinja. Remember that n + h = mp.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Uruyuki ruri ku rutoki rwanjye. 2. Inzige nyinshi ziri mu mirima. 3. Urubaho rwawe ntiruri hano. 4. Urukundo rw’Imana ruri mu mutima wanjye. 5. Uruhu rw’inyamaswa ni rwiza cyane. 6. Abana baratega (see par. 41) amashyi. 7. Mbese ufite imfunguzo zanjye? Ndashaka kujya mu ishufi. 8. Mbese uravuga murini wacu? 9. Sinshaka inzuki mu nzu. 10. Mbese muzana impu z’inka mu rugo?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The cow’s skin is large. 2. The teacher speaks many languages. 3. Where are your (s.) keys? They are here. 4. The boy’s fingernails are dirty. 5. The woman’s baby (infant) has a bad illness. 6. God puts love in our hearts. 7. What do you have in your hand (palm)? 8. Many bees and locusts are in our fields. 9. Put the teacher’s keys in his room. 10. Women love their babies (tiny) very much.



LESSON 25. Prefixless Present Tense


kugura – to buy n’ingoga – quickly
kugurisha – to sell vuba – quickly, soon, recently
gusenga – to pray, worship buhoro-buhoro – slowly, softly, so-so (sometimes used in the simple form “buhoro”)
kubona – to see, find, receive, get kuza – to come
urwandiko (inz-) – letter (missile)
  1. Prefixless Present. This is another tense used to express present time. It is not truly “prefixless”, for the personal prefixes are used, the same as for the -ra- present. But the -ra- is omitted. Thus:
nkora – I work dukora – we work
ukora – you work mukora – you work
akora – he works bakora – they work

The negative is the same as that of the -ra- present, see par. 28.

  1. Uses of the prefixless present tense.
  2. It is used to express habitual present: nsenga Imana – I worship God (regularly). When nothing else follows the verb in the clause, except cyane, the -ra- is retained, even to express habitual action.
  3. It must be used for present time in. most dependent clauses, which we will study later.
  4. There are times when you will hear it used when you would expect the -ra-present. Observe those by listening carefully, but for the most part follow these rules given here, and those in paragraph 26.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ibantu bagura ibitabo hano. 2. Urashaka iki? Ndashaka amata. J. Mbese mugurisha amagi? 4. Murabona iki? Turabona inzu nziza. 5. Abantu benshi basenga Imana mu rusengero (church). 6. Abana baza buhoro-buhoro mu ishuri. 7. Ndashaka kubona ishuri ryanyu rishya. 8. Abagore baza kugura umuti. 9. Jya vuba kugura inyama. 10. Dukunda gusenga Imana; ifite urukundo rwinshi n’imbabazi.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. We like to worship God. 2. The boy is coming slowly. 3. Go quickly to school. The teacher is speaking. 4. Put the books on the chair. 5. Where do you (s.) cultivate? I cultivate in my fields. 6. What are you selling? I’m selling chickens and eggs. 7. The pupils walk slowly; they don’t want to go to school. 8. Bring your (s.) books here. I want to see the words. 9. Go to the river quickly. Bring (some) fish. 10. I like to get letters. Do you get letters?





LESSON 26. Class 7 aka- utu-


agakiza – salvation (no pl.) umurimo – work, task
akazi – work (Sw.) (no pl.) umunwa. – mouth, lip
akantu – a little thing mukanwa – inside the mouth
agahinda – sorrow (no pl.) injangwe – cat (tame or wild)
ibicurane – cold in the head, runny nose
  1. Class 7.
Noun prefix aka- (akantu) utu- (utuntu)
Pass. prefix ka- (kanjye) twa- (twanjye)
Verb prefix ka- (kari) tu- (turi)
Adj. prefix ka- (kabi) tu- (tubi)

Note: ka- for adjective prefix before i changes to ke-: ka-iza = keza.

  1. The plural is not very common for most of the words given above. However the plural is used commonly, especially for words brought into this class from other classes, as you see in the following paragraph.
  2. This is the diminutive class. Words of all other classes may be given the prefixes of this class to give the meaning of a little thing:
e.g. ikintu – thing akantu – a little thing
igisimba – wild animal agasimba – insect
umwenda – garment akenda – a little clothing
umunyu – salt akunyu – a little salt
amazi – water utuzi – a little water
amata – milk uduta – a little milk

Note that the last two words, since in their regular form they have only a plural prefix, when changed to this class, still have a plural prefix. Note also that the diminutive of umunyu is akunyu, not akanyu. Also, ijambo in the diminutive is usually used in the plural: utugambo.

  1. The diminutive form is commonly used when a person is asking for something, though it isn’t just a little that he wants. e.g. Ndashaka uduta – I want a little milk (but he really wants more than a little.)


  1. Change the following words to the diminutive form, glvlng both singular and plural, if both exist (without reference to the above list).
  1. igiti
  2. umunyu
  3. imbuto
  4. igitabo
  5. ibuye
  6. ikijumba
  7. igitambaro
  8. inkoko
  9. umwenda
  10. igisimba
  11. umuga ti
  12. urukwi
  13. amazi
  14. urwandiko
  15. inyama (pl. only and retain _n_ of prefix)
  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda (use diminutive rather than adjective wherever possible)
  2. The woman has a tiny child. 2. The children want a little milk. 3. We have the salvation of Jesus in our hearts. 4. The old man has much sorrow. 5. We have much work, but we like to work. 6. The child’s mouth is small. 7. The large cat goes in the garden. 8. There is a very little mountain in our country. 9. The children have (some) very small dishes. 10. Some little dogs are in your (s.) house.



LESSON 27. Class 8 ubu- ama-


ubwenge – wisdom (no pl.) uburiri – bed
ubuntu – grace (no pl.) ishaza (5th) – pea(s)
ubugingo – life (no pl.) kuko – because
ubwato – boat
  1. Class 8.
Noun prefix ubu- (uburiri) ama- (amariri)
Poss. prefix bwa- (bwanjye) ya- (yanjye)
Verb prefix bu- (buri) a- (ari)
Adj. prefix bu- (bubi) ma- (mabi)
  1. Most words in this class have no plural, but ubwato and uburiri do have: amato, amariri.
  2. The great majority of words in this class are those expressing abstract ideas such as the first three nouns of the vocabulary; they seldom have a plural.
  3. Bwa. This is pronounced baa. You will see it written bga in some of the other printings. Have an African help you with the pronunciation.
  4. Kuko introduces a dependent clause. Remememer the rules about verbs in dependent clauses (par. 5, 19, 26). Kuko and other conjunctions ending in -ko (such as, ariko) in pronunciation change the -ko to -kw before words beginning with a, e, or i, and to k before u. You will also see it written that way in some of the older printings. e.g. kukw afite..; kuk’ ufite..


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umwigisha mwiza afite ubwenge bwinshi. 2. Amato menshi cyane ari mu ruzi. J. Uburiri bw’ umukire ni burebure cyane. 4. Nshima Imana kuko ifite ubuntu bwinshi. 5. Nfite ubugingo bushya muri Yesu (translate muri as mu). 6. Dukunda guhinga amashaza mu mirima yacu. 7. Paulo n’umwigisha mwiza kuko afite ubwenge bwinshi. 8. Dusoma iby’ (about) ubuntu bwa Yesu mu. Gitabo cy’Imana. 9. Urukundo rw’Imana ruzana umucyo mu mitima yacu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The women have a few good peas. 2. God’s wisdom is very great (much). 3. The men are going in boats. 4. Do you (pili.) have the grace of Jesus in your hearts? 5. Bring the short bed into the house. 6. A wise person (a person of Wisdom) loves God because He brings salvation into our hearts. 7. God’s mercy and grace bring peace into my life. 8. Do you (pl.) see the boat on (mu) the river over there? 9. The poor man wants to buy a new bed, but he hasn’t (any) francs. 10. I have joy because God loves to help people.



LESSON 28. Class 8 (cont.)


ubushye – burn (no pl.) ubwoya – fur, hair (except of human head) (no pl.)
ubukene – need, poverty (no pl.) uburyo – opportunity, way, kind (no pl.)
ubwana – childhood (no pl.) ubutumwa – message (no pl.)
ubusore – youth (age, not person) ubutumwa bwiza – Gospel
  1. Observe the words in this class: ubwana (from umwana), and ubusore (from umusore). Many others are formed in this way, e.g. Ubukristo (from Umukristo) – Christianity. Another use of this class is in temporal expressions, such as:

bwakeye – it has dawned

burije – it is getting dark, it is late (in the day) (bwije in dependent clauses)

bukeye – the next day

uhu – now

You will learn other expressions from time to time involving this use.

  1. Imperative of “to come’. Kuza has no imperative in the singular, and so you must use ngwino – come, come here.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ngwino vuba; burije, 2. Ubukene rw’umukene ni bwinshi. 3 . Umwana we afite ubushye bubi mu mutwe. 4. Indwara y’umuhungu ni mbi cyane. 5. Genda ubu gufasha umwigisha gukora mu murima we. 6. Imana ifasha abantu mu bukene bwabo. 7. Dusoma Ubutumwa Bwiza mu Gitabo cy’Imana. 8. Abigishwa barajya imuhira ubu kuko bwije. 9. Mwaramutseho? Amakuru? Ni meza. 10. Injangwe ifite ubwoya bwiza bwinshi.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. We have a good opportunity (insert “bwo”) to worship God. 2. There is much joy in the Gospel of Jesus. 3. Sheep’s hair is long, but a dog’s hair is short. 4. We have great (much) need in our hearts; but Jesus is our Savior and He has great mercy. 5. We want an opportunity (insert “bwo”) to help the poor people because they have great need. 6. A woman is bringing (some) flour into the house. 7. Put (some) oil on the child’s burn. 8. In my childhood I liked (nakundaga) to help my teacher. 9. Come here; bring your peas and corn. 10. Don’t you want to read in the Gospel of John (Yohana)?



LESSON 29. Future Tense


kubika – to put away, to store ejo – yesterday, tomorrow (depending on tense of verb)
kugaruka – to return, come back uyu munsi – today
kugira – to do, make, have none – today, now
gusubira – to return, go back, do again, repeat ubwoba – fear (no pl.)
nimugoroba – in the afternoon (about 3 p.m. till 6 p.m.)
  1. Future Tense. For future time after today the particle –za– is inserted in the verb between the personal prefix and the verb stem. This is often called the far future tense. -za- is always long in both affirmative and negative. Thus:
nzagenda – I shall go tuzagenda – we shall go
uzagenda – you will go muzagenda – you will go
azagenda – he will go bazagenda they will go

But for future time today (called the near future tense) the -ra- present is used. In this use the -ra- is retained even in dependent clauses.

ndagenda none – I shall go today

nzagenda ejo – I shall go tomorrow

  1. Verb kugira. This is a very important verb for it is used in many idiomatic expressions. e.g. kugira ubwoba – to be afraid, have fear.

You remember also that this is the verb which supplies the missing parts of -fite. Thus, for the future of “to have” you must use kugira.

  1. Verbs kugaruka, gusubira. Kugaruka is used in the sense of to return to the place where the speaker is. e.g. A man at Kigali would say of another, “Azagaruka hano ejo” – he will return here tomorrow. But if a man is at Kigali and says, “I will return to Butare tomorrow,” he would not use kugaruka, but gusubira, e.g. Nzasubira i Butare ejo – I will return (go back) to Butare tomorrow.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Abagabo benshi bazajya i Kigali ejo kugura imyenda. 2. Umubyeyi wanjye aragaruka uyu munsi. 3. Umuntu mubi agira ubwoba bwinshi mu mutima we. 4. Bika ibintu byawe mu nzu. 5. Ejo abahungu bazagaruka hano mu ishuri. 6. Abakozi barasubira iwabo nimugoroba. 7. Umwana wa Petero azafasha ababyeyi be mu mirima yabo. 8. Inka zijya mu nzira nta. 9. Tuzagira umunezero mwinshi kuko tuzabona Umukiza wacu. 10. Teka ibijumba byinshi n’inyama n’ibigori kuko abantu benshi baraza.

II Translate into Kinyarwanda:

  1. The women will dig in their husbands’ gardens tomorrow, but today they are reading in school. 2. The teachers are going to Kigali today but they will return tomorrow. 3. The boys will put away their books in the afternoon. 4. You (pl.) will have God’s blessing in your hearts (far future). 5. The teacher will come tomorrow into the school to speak the Word of God. 6. The children are afraid because they see a wild animal outside. 7. Will you (pl.) come back today? No, we will come back tomorrow afternoon. 8. What will the pupils do (this) afternoon? They will read in the Gospel of Matthew (Matayo). 9. The women are putting away the clothes now. They will come back tomorrow. 10. We are praising God because He will have much mercy.



LESSON 30. Review

  1. Conjugate:
  1. kugenda in the -ra- present, affirmative.
  2. -fite in the prefixless present affirmative.
  3. gukora in the prefixless present negative
  4. -ri in the prefixless present negative.
  5. gufasha in the far future affirmative.
  6. gusoma in the far future affirmative.
  1. Questions:
  1. What verb is used for the missing forms of -fite? What are some forms of -fite that do not exist?
  2. How is the imperative formed: affirmative? negative?
  3. When must the prefixless present tense be used?
  4. When is the -ra- present most often used?
  5. What tense is usually used when the present verb is the last word in the sentence?
  6. What class is used for the diminutive?
  7. What kind of words for the most part are found in Class 8?
  8. What happens when the prefix bu- precedes a vowel?
  9. What is the imperative of “to come”?
  10. When is the -za- future used?
  11. What other tense may be used to express a future idea and when is it used?
  12. Give the diminutive form of these words: igitabo, umwana, umusozi, urubaho, amazi, igiti.

III. Make the possessive adjective “my” agree with the following words. Then change the words to plurals including the possessive adjectve. Also give the meanings of these expressions. (Some words may not have a plural.) e.g. For the word umuhungu you would write: umuhungu wanjye – my son, abahungu banjye – my sons.

1. urugi 5. ubwato 9. urutoke 13. urukwi
2. injangwe 6. ururimi 10. uruzi 14. uburyo
3. umukire 7. akazi 11. umunwa 15. urwara
4. timugozi 8. uburiri 12. ubushye
  1. Make the adjective -iza agree with the following nouns, singular and plural, if plural exists, and translate:
1. ubutumwa 6. akantu 11. uruhu
2. umuyaga 7. icyuma 12. inkoko
3. uruhinja 8. ubwoya 13. urabeho
4.ishaza 9. amata 14. ifu
5. ijambo 10. agakizu 15. umunsi
  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  2. We will read in the Gospel of John now. 2. Many rich men have many things, but they do not have peace in their hearts. 3. Jesus has grace, love and, mercy; He wants to help people. 4. The woman will cook fish on the stove tomorrow. 5. Come here; don’t put the board away in the house. 6. Pour out the bad milk; bring the good milk in the house. 7. Tomorrow the old man’s sheep and goats will go into our field. 8. Work quickly; it is late and you have much work. 9. The rich man will return to his home tomorrow. 10. We are bringing our dishes because we want (some) meat.














LESSON 31. Negative of Future Tense


kuririmba – to sing kugera – to arrive
kubanza – to begin by, do first indirimbo – song, hymn
gutangira – to begin to mu gitondo – in the morning
  1. Negative of far future tense. This follows the regular rule: negative prefix, personal prefix, tense sign, stem of verb:
sinzagenda – I shall not go ntituzagenda – we shall not go
ntuzagenda – you will not go ntimuzagenda – you will not go
ntazdgenda – he will not go ntibazagenda – they will not go


nti- ba- za- genda
neg. prefix pers. pref. tense si stem

This negative form of the future cannot be used in dependent clauses.

  1. Verbs kubanza and gutangira. Though both of these words mean “begin”, they are not used interchangeably.

Banza guhinga – begin by hoeing, hoe first (implying that there is something else to do when hoeing is finished) ::Tangira guhinge. – begin to hoe (that is, start that task now)


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ejo mu gitondo abantu ntibazakora kuko bazajya gusenga Imana. 2. Ejo ntituzatangira gufasha abahungu. 3. Banza kuririmba; turashaka gushima Imana. 4. Abahungu baratangira gusoma neza. 5. Umwigisha araza vuba kuvuga Ijambo ry’Imana. 6. Abakozi barabanza guhinga mu bigori; ejo bazakora mu nzu. 7. Abana bararirimba indirimbo z’Imana mu ishJi. 8.Vuba tuzabona imyenda mishya kuko ababyeyi bacu bazagaruka imuhita. 9. Mbanza gushyira utuzi mu isahane. 10. Umwotsi mwinshi ura tangira kuva mu muriro.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The cows will not go into the river. 2. We shall have the blessings of God in our hearts. 3. The pupils will not arrive in school tomorrow morning. 4. You (s.) will come in the evening (today) to help the girls. 5. We will begin to sing soon. 6. First go to work in the garden. 7.The women will not cook fish tomorrow morning; they will cook meat. 8. Our teacher will arrive this afternoon; he is not here in the morning. 9. The old man’s son will not go to school tomorrow because he has a bad illness. 10. We will not buy your (pl.) goats; they are very small.


LESSON 32. Class 9 uku- ama-


ukuboko – arm ukuri – truth (no pl.)
ukuguru – leg ukwezi – moon, month (pl. amezi)
ugutwi – ear (u)kwizera – faith (no pl.)
ukwaha – armpit
  1. Class 9.
Sing. Pl.
Noun prefix uku- ukuboko) ama- (amaboko)
Poss. prefix kwa- (kwanjye) ya- (yanjye)
Verb prefix ku- (kuri) a- (ari)
Adj. prefix ku- (kubi) ma- (mabi)

The plural accords are the same as those of Class 5.

According to the regular rule, ku- before a vowel becomes kw- e.g. ku-iza = kwizam ku-inshi= kwinshi

  1. This class contains all infinitives, for in Kinyarwanda, as in English, an infinitive may be used as a noun. Besides the infinitives, there are very few other words in this class, except those given in this vocabulary. The word given here, (u)kwizera – faith, comes from the verb kwizera – to believe. The infinitive, become a noun, is given the initial vowel u only when it follows a form of the verb “to be”, such as ni, si, -ri. Otherwise it looks just like the infinitive, but the context will usually make it plain whether it is the infinitive or a noun.

kugaruka – to return

kugaruka kwe – his return

Kwizera kwawe kuri he? – Where is your faith?

Hari ukwizera kwinshi mu mutima we – There is great faith in his heart.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ukuboko kwe ni kugufi. 2. Umuhungu wawe afite amaguru maremare. 3. Abantu benshi bafite kwizera guko. 4. Imana ikunua gusenga kw’abantu beza. 5. Umwana muto afite indwara mbi mu matwi (ye). 6. Umwigisha wacu avuga ukuri. 7. Inkoko ntifite amaboko ariko ifite amaguru. 8. Turaririmba indirimbo z’Imana kuko dufite umunezero no (= na) kwizera. 9. Hari umunezero mu gukoracyane. 10. Umuntu afite amaguru n’amaboko, n’umutwe, n’amatwi, n’amaso, n’umunwa.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The arm of God is not short. 2. The moon is small now but soon we shall see a large moon. 3. Do you have much faith in your heart? 4. The teacher’s faith is very great (much). 5. Jesus will come soon; perhaps (ahari) we shall see His return. 6. Put (some) medicine on the child’s leg. 7. My daughter has a burn on her arm. 8. A month has many days. 9. Are you (s.) telling (speaking) the truth? Will you help the poor man tomorrow? 10. Their parents will not come tomorrow because there are locusts in their garden and they have much work.



LESSON 33. Class 10 aha-


ahantu – place gukubura – to sweep
hasi – on the ground, floor gukiza – to heal, save, save from
ibishyimbo (cl. 4) – dry beans, bean plants kuguma – to stay, remain
  1. Class 10.
Sing. Plur.
Noun prefix aha- (ahantu) All forms are the same as singular.
Poss. prefix ha- (hanjye)
Verb prefix ha- (hari)
Adj. prefix ha- (habi)
  1. There is only one word in class 10: ahantu – place. However, this prefix ha- is used to express the idea of place whether the word ahantu is used or not.
  2. Some uses of the ha- prefix:
  3. In the adjective:
  4. a) to agree with the adverb of place. e.g. Hano ni heza – here it is nice (or, clean), or, It is a good place here.

b)in the adjective when ahantu is understood. e.g. Ni habi cyane – it is very dirty (place).

2.As a verb subject:

  1. a) to agree with ahantu or adverb of place. e.g. Hariya hitwa Kigali – That place over there is called Kigali.
  2. b) in an impersonal sense when no subject is expressed. e.g. Harashyushye – it is hot.
  3. c) to represent the English expletive “there”. (You have already seen this in hari.) e.g. Haza umugabo – there comes a man. Hari ibijumba – are there any sweet potatoes? Yee, birahari – Yes, there are.

Note: In birahari the -ha- gives the idea of place also. Note that in answering this question one would make the verb agree with ibijumba: Yee, birahari – Yes, there are. Nta bihari – there are none. (See par. 213).

Sometimes just hari is used. e.g. Hari amazi menshi hano – there is much water here.

  1. In the expression: mu maso hawe – your face. Since there is no other word for “face”, amaso is used with the possessive adjective having the ha- prefix, and it is preceded by mu.
  2. “In” is not usually used with ahantu: not “mu hantu heza”. Thus “in a good place” is ahantu heza.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Hano ni habicyane. 2. Kubura hasi yuba. 3. Haza abantu benshi mu ishuh. 4. Hariya ni hanini. 5. Mbese hari ibishyimbo byinshi? Yee, birahari. 6. Umukiza akiza abantu ibyaha byabo. 7. Hari ibishyimbo byinshi hasi mu ruga. 8. Ndashaka kuguma iwacu, sinshaka kujya i Kigali. 9. Tuzajya kuba ahantu heza cyane. 10. Uyu munsi abigishwa ntigakubura hasi mu ishuri.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. I don’t want to stay in a dirty place. 2. Are there (any) bananas on the ground? 3. Jesus likes to save people from their sins. 4. The girls are sweeping the floor. 5. Outside it is very dirty; go to sweep the ground well. 6. I see a nice place over there. 7. Peter’s son will not go to Cyangugu. 8. Are there (any) people in the school? Yes, there are many men and women and a few children. 9. In the morning there come a few workmen. (While awkward in English, this is correct in Kinyarwanda.) 10. John has joy in his face.



LESSON 34. Chart of the Classes


1. Sing. umu- a- mu- wa- wa
Plur. aba- ba- ba- ba- ba
2. Sing. umu- u- mu- wa- wa
Plur. imi- i- mi- ya- ya
3. Sing. in- i- n- (m-) ya- ya
Plur. in- zi- n- (m-) za- za
4. Sing. iki- ki- ki- cya- cya
Plur. ibi- bi- bi- bya- bya
5. Sing. i- ri- ri- rya- rya
Plur. ama- a- ma- ya- ya
6. Sing. uru- ru- ru- rwa- rwa
Plur. in- zi- n- (m-) za- za
7. Sing. aka- ka- ka- ka- ka
Plur. utu- tu- tu- twa- twa
8. Sing. ubu- bu- bu- bwa- bwa
Plur. ama- a- ma- ya- ya
9. Sing. uku- ku- ku- kwa- kwa
Plur. ama- a- ma- ya- ya
10. Sing. aha- ha- ha- ha- ha
Plur. aha- ha- ha- ha- ha

Note: From now on in general the class of a noun will not be indicated in the vocabularies, for you should be able to identify them for yourself.


Translate into Kinyarwanda:


  1. His good dog.
  2. Our new books.
  3. A little boy.
  4. Cold (fresh) milk.
  5. Where is their big garden?
  6. God’s Son.
  7. The teacher’s key.
  8. A long river.
  9. The grace of God.
  10. The sheep are here.
  11. New hearts.
  12. The poor man’s many debts.
  13. My eyes.
  14. Your (s.) long fingers.
  15. God’s mercy and grace.
  16. Good seeds are in the garden.
  17. Our many bad sins.
  18. The love of Jesus
  19. The girl’s mat.
  20. Much wind.
  21. Deep holes.
  22. Our Savior.
  23. The boys’ chairs.
  24. God’s people.
  25. A short bed.
  26. The boat is on the river.
  27. Good meat.
  28. My nice cat.
  29. Many words.
  30. Your (pl.) parents.




LESSON 35. Vowel-stem Verbs


kwandika – to write kwigisha – to teach
kwizera – to trust, believe kwiga – to learn, study
kwereka – to show kwihana – to confess, repent (of)
  1. Vowel-stem verbs have stems which begin with a vowel which is always long: –andika, izera, etc. Since the vowel u before another vowel becomes w, the infinitive ku-andika becomes kwandika. So whenever you see an infinitive beginning with kw- you know it is a vowel-stem verb. In some modern orthographies the u of ku- is dropped before u and o, thus: kubaka (stem :ubaka), and koza (stem -oza).
  2. For the conjugation of these verbs it is very important to remember the rules for vowel and consonant changes. (Par. 4, 14, 21, 22, 31, 46, 62)
  3. a) Here is the -ra- present conjugation:
ndizera – I trust turizera – we trust
urizera – you trust murizera – you trust
arizera – he trusts barizera – they trust

For other classes, the same principle applies, for it is the a of -ra that makes the contraction.

Note: In all forms of these vowel-stem verbs the accent falls an that first vowel of the stem, which is always long, thus: arandika.

  1. b) The prefixless present:
nizera twizera (tu+izera = twizera)
wizera (u+izera = wizera) myizera (mu+izera = mwizera)
yizera (a+izera = yizera) bizera (ba+izera = bwizera)
  1. Note this tense for the other classes:
Class 2 wereka yereka Class 7 kereka twereka
3 yereka zereka 8 bwereka yereka
4 cyereka byereka 9 kwereka yereka
5 rjereka yereka 10 hereka hereka
6 rwereka zereka
  1. Note in the 3rd person singular yizera, the vowel change of a. Instead of the vowel a dropping out before another vowel, as you have learned, it here changes to y. Thus a-izera becomes yizera; likewise, yereka, yandika.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umwigisha yizera Imana cyane. 2. Abana biga neza mu ishuri. J. Umukobwa arihana ibyaha bye. 4. Umwigisha yigisha abana benshi gusoma no (no = na) kwandika. 5. Ndashaka kwereka abigishwa Igitabo cy’Imana. 6. Umwigisha arafasha abana kwandika. 7. Abana barereka ababyeyi babo imyenda yabo. 8. Umuhungu w’ umusaza yiga YUba indirimbo nshya. 9. Igitabo cy’Imana cyigisha abantu urukundo no kwizera. 10. Ntidushaka kugenda ubu kuko twandika inzandiko.
  3. Translate into Kinyjlarwanda:
  4. The boys write well but they do not read well. 2. The bad man is confessing his sins; he will receive the blessing of God and joy in his heart. 3. I believe the Word of God and I want to teach many people to trust God. 4. Our Savior, Jesus, will save bad people. They will receive new hearts. 5. His repentance is good. 6. Do you (s.) trust the Savior? He wants to show people His love. 7. The love of God shows people the good way. 8. Do you (pl.) write letters in school? 9. Parents teach their children to do well. 10. We are learning to sing (some) nice new songs.



LESSON 36. Far Future and Present Negative of Vowel-stem Verbs


kwibagirwa – to forget kwambara- to wear, put on
kwibuka – to remember kwanga – to refuse, hate
kwuoaka (or, kubaka) – to build kwemera – to agree, be willing, accept, admit
  1. Far Future of vowel-stem verbs. This is formed by dropping the -a- of the -za- tense sign before the vowel of the stem: nzemera – I will agree, azibuka – he will remember
  2. Negative future of vowel-stem verbs is formed according to the same rule, but, of course, adding the negative prefix: sinzibagirwa – I shall not forget, ntazubaka – he will not build
  3. Negative present of vowel-stem verbs follows the same rule as that for the prefixless present affirmative, except that the negative prefix is added:
sinibuka – I don’t remember ntitwibuka – we don’t remember
ntiwibuka – you don’t remember ntimwibuka – you don’t remember
ntiyibuka – he doesn’ t remember ntibibuka – they don’t remember

All other vowel-stem verbs are handled in the same way. It is important to remember that the vowel of the stem is never lost in any kind of contraction. ntiyambara – he doesn’t wear, ntiyubaka – he doesn’t build, ntiyemera – he doesn’t agree


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umubyeyi ntiyanga gufasha abana be. 2. Abagabo bazubaka ishuri ejo. 3. Abagore bazemera gukora neza mu mirima y’abagabo babo. 4. Ntituzibagirwa kuzana ibijumba byacu ejo. 5. Abakene ntibambara imyenda myiza kandi ntibafi te amafaranga menshi. 6. Ihene ntizambara imyenda, ariko zifite ubwoya. 7. Tuzubaka inzu nshya iwacu. 8. Mbese muzambara imyenda yanyu myiza ku munsi mukuru? 9. Abana ntibibuka neza indirimbo nshya. 10. Abigishwa ntibazandika inzandiko vuba, kuko bazabanza kwiga gusoma.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The teacher’s workmen will build his new house soon. 2. You (s.) will not forget to come to buy your books today. 3. The boys agree to go to Kigali to look for their things. 4. The rich man refuses to work in his garden. 5. You (pl.) will remember to come to school tomorrow morning. 6. I am not willing to bring my slate, because we have slates at school. 7. God’s people will build a new school soon. 8. Do sheep refuse to go in the path? 9. Will you (s.) remember the good words of your teacher? 10. The poor man will not repent of his sins because he is afraid (= has fear).



LESSON 37. Cardinal Numbers 1 – 10

Your vocabulary for this lesson is the numbers given in the following paragraph. 75. Stems of the number words:

-mwe one -tanu five (u)munani eight
-biri two -tandatu six (i)cyenda nine
-tatu three -rindwi seven (i)cumi ten
-ne four

Numbers from one through seven must have prefixes according to the class of the noun modified, but from eight to ten the forms are invariable. Here are the numbers with the first class agreements. The prefixes are the same as for verbs, except the first class singular.

umuntu umwe – one person abantu batandatu – six people
abantu babiri – two people abantu barindwi – seven people
abantu batatu three people abantu munani – eight people
abantu bane – four people abantu cyenda – nine people
abantu batanu five people abantu cumi – ten people
  1. The class agreements:
Class 1 umwe babiri Class 6 rumwe ebyiri
Class 2 umwe ibid Class 7 kamwe tubiri
Class 3 imwe ebyiri Class 8 bumwe abiri
Class 4 kimwe bibiri Class 9 kumwe abiri
Class 5 rimwe abiri Class 10 hamwe habiri

Note: For the 3rd and 6th class plural agreements another form is used: two – ebyiri, three – eshatu, four – enye, five – eshanu, six – esheshatu, seven – indwi, e.g. inka eshatu – three cows, inka ndwi. (Note that indwi with these classes loses the i, just as do the numbers for 8, 9, 10, when it follows the noun.)

The numerals from 8 to 10 lose their initial vowel when immediately following a noun, but if used by themselves they retain it. e.g. ibitabo munani – eight books

Mbese hari ibitabo byinshi? Oya, ni umunani gusa.

Are there many books? No, there are only eight.

  1. Numbers always follow the nouns they modify.
  2. For just counting when no object is involed, one says: rimwe, kabiri, gatatu, kane, gatanu, gatandatu, karindwi, umunani, icyenda, icumi.


Translate into Kinyarwanda:


  1. one stone
  2. three fingers
  3. six months
  4. two cats
  5. eight chairs
  6. four teachers
  7. ten boys
  8. five books
  9. one door
  10. six dogs
  11. nine eggs
  12. seven bees
  13. three jiggers
  14. one cow
  15. five francs
  16. four hills
  17. two arms
  18. three beds
  19. six hoes
  20. ten sheep
  21. one board
  22. eight schools
  23. five little things (Use diminutive)
  24. six pupils




LESSON 38. Higher Numbers


urusengero (or, isengero) – church (building) kubara – to count
itorero – church (people) gufata – to take (hold of), catch, seize
umwaka – year (pl. imyaka – years, crops) kwinjira – to enter (usually followed by mu)
imbeba – rat, mouse
  1. Numbers 11 to 19 (First class agreements are used here.)
cumi n’umwe – eleven cumi na batandatu – sixteen
cumi na babiri – twelve cumi na barindwi – seventeen
cumi na batatu – thirteen cumi n’umunani – eighteen
cumi na bane – fourteen cumi n’icyenda – nineteen
cumi na batanu – fifteen

Note: in these last two forms it could be: na munani, na cyenda

Here you see the class agreement comes in the word following na. e.g. abahungu cumi na bane – fourteen boys; amagi cumi n’ane – 14 eggs.

Observe that with eleven, though the noun is plural, -mwe has a singular prefix: e.g. iminsi cumi n’umwe – eleven days.

In numbers from 11 to 19, icumi loses the initial vowel i- even when it does not follow a noun. e.g. Mbese hari abantu benshi? Hari cumi’na babiri basa. Are there many people? There are only twelve.

  1. The tens and hundreds.
makuinyabiri – twenty mirongwirindwi – seventy
mirongwitatu – thirty mirongwinani – eighty
mirongwine – forty mirongo cyenda – ninety
mirongwi’tanu – fifty ijana – one hundred
miro~lgwitandatu – sixty magana a1Jiri – two hundred

Note: For 800 one may say: magana inani or magana munani.

In these forms just given, there is no change for agreement.

20 people – abantu makumyabiri

20 cows – inka makumyabiri

But: 21 people – abantu makumyabiri n’umwe

34 sheep – intama mirongwitatu n’enye

124 francs – amafaranga ijana na makumyabiri n’ane.

Observe the agreement as underlined in the last word. Note that na must be used between each segment of the number: 132 men – a’bagabo ijana na mirongwitatu na babiri.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Bara abahungu (insert “who”) bari mu ishuli. 2. Hari abahungu ijana na mirongwitatu na batanu. 3. Abagabo n’abagore makumyabiri na babiri baranjira mu rusengero. 4. Injangwe nini irafata imbeba ebyiri. 5. Tuzaguma gukora hano imyaka itatu. 6. Abagabo barazana amabuye magana atatu na mirongwirindwi n’umunani. 7. Inzu y’umukire ifite inzugi cumi na rumwe. 8. Turashaka amasuka makumyabiri n’arindwi, kuko haza abakozi benshi. 9. Muzagura inyama z’amafaranga magana abiri na mirongwine n’atanu. 10. Abigishwa mu ishuli ryacu ni magana atanu na mirongo cyenda na batandatu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda: (Always write out the numbers.)
  4. Fifteen workmen are coming to build the house today. 2. The rich man has forty-three cows, and many goats. 3. We have four cats; they will catch many rats. 4. There are thirty-six trees in the teacher’s field. 5. The boys write on slates. They have fifty-one (slates). 6. Buy eighty-four eggs. 7. There are twelve sheep in our field. 8. The poor man has a debt of 465 francs. 9. Sixty-six workmen will build the church. 10. The boys will learn in school seventeen years.

LESSON 39. -ngahe? How many? Vocabulary

ingofero – hat (Sw.) gutuma – to send (see par. 82)
umujura – thief kwohereza (or, kohereza) – to send (see par. 82)
igisambo – thief nyamara – but (see par. 83)
ijoro – night (5th cl.) ahubwo – but (see par. 83)
kwumva (or, kumva) – to hear, feel, smell, taste, understand

(“at night”, or “in the night” or , “last night” is usually: nijoro.)

  1. -ngahe? – how many? This word also takes class prefixes, but observe that they are the same as those of the numbers, not of descriptive adjectives. Only plural forms exist because the idea is plural. Like other adjectives it follows the noun it modifies. -ngahe? cannot be followed by the -ra- present, except when it is used for future time today.
Class 1 bangahe? Class 6 zingahe?
Class 2 ingahe? Class 7 tungahe?
Class 3 zingahe? Class 8 angahe?
Class 4 bingahe? Class 9 angahe?
Class 5 angahe? Class 10 hangahe?

e.g. Hari abantu bangahe? – how many people are there?

Umukire afite inka zingahe? – how many cows does the rich man have?

Abigishwa bangahe bafite ibitabo? – how many pupils have books?

Notice the word order. When “how many?” goes with the subject it is in the beginning of the sentence; when it goes with the object it is at the end.

  1. Gutuma and kwohereza. Though both of these words mean “send”, they are not quite the same. Gutuma usually emphasizes the fact of a message. Kwohereza is to send anything not a message, or no emphasis on the message. Nzatuma umuntu i Kigali – I will send a person to Kigali (implying that he carries a message). Nzohereza imbaho i Kigali – I will send some boards to Kigali.
  2. Ariko nyamara, ahubwo. You have now learned three words for “but”. In most instances, ariko and nyamara are interchangeable. Ahubwo means “but” when an idea of definite contrast is involved. e.g. Ntuzane ibitabo, ahubwo uzane intebe – Don’t bring books, but bring the chair.

Note: In the vocabulary you see that kwumva (kumva) is used for all the senses except seeing. However, its commonest meaning is “to hear”. Be cautious in using it for the other senses and observe how the Africans use it. Also note this use of it: Sinumva ikinyarwanda – I don’t understand Kinyarwanda.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Mufite ibitabo bingahe? Dufite cumi na bibiri. 2. Mbese uzohereza abantu bangahe i Kigali kuzana ibintu byawe? Nzohereza icumi. 3. Mbese ufite ingofero zingahe? Mfite ebyiri. 4. Nzohereza urwandiko i Cyangugu kuko nshaka kugura imbaho mirongwitatu n’enye. 5. Imana ikunda kwumva gusenga kwacu. 6. Nbese wumva ikinyarwanda? Ndumva buhoro, nyamara si cyane. 7. Yesu atuma abantu be kuvuga Ubutumwa bwiza. 8. Abajura bafashe (past of -fata) ihene zingahe? Ni Icumi n’ebyiri. 9. Muzaguma hano amajoro angahe? Ni atatu. 10. Bara amafaranga. Ufite angahe? Mfite miongwitanu n’ane.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. How many children are entering the church? 2. How many books will you send? 3. Thieves like to go in the night because there is darkness. 4. How many years will you teach here? I will teach six years. 5. Send twelve men to bring my boards. 6. Send a pupil to bring your letter to my house. 7. Do you (pl.) hear the drums? Where are they? 8. I hear the workmen. What are they doing? They are building a church. 9. In the night the old man hears a thief in his kraal. He gets (takes) his spear. 10. I want to put away our clothes now, but I don’t see well at (in) night.



LESSON 40. Review

  1. Questions:
  1. Explain the difference between: 1) kubanza and gutangira 2) gutuma and kwohereza 3) ariko and ahubwo.
  2. What is the most common use of class 9?
  3. Name all the words in class 9 which do not come under that use.
  4. What one word belongs to class 10?
  5. Give 3 uses of the ha- prefix.
  6. How do you say “his face”?
  7. Give 2 examples of vowel-stem verbs.
  8. Count from one to twenty.
  9. In what way do the numbers 8 to 10 differ from the others in their usage? .
  10. Give the word -ngahe with all of its class agreements.
  1. Conjugate:
  1. kwambara in the far future affirmative.
  2. kwibagirwa in the present negative.
  3. kwinjira in the far future negative.
  4. kwihana in the -ra- present affirmative .
  5. kwemera in the prefixless present affirmative.

III. Translate into Kinyarwanda:

1. How many cows? 26. Six languages
2. One eye 27. How many books?
3. Three poor men 28. Thirteen mats
4. Fifty-four goats 29. Four thieves
5. Fourteen hoes 30. One rat
6.How many little things?(dimin.) 31. One stick of wood
7. Three years 32. Six skins of cows
8. Twenty-five chairs 33. Two keys
9. Thirty-six chickens 34. Seventy-eight months
10. One church 35. Ninety boats
11. Seventeen schools 36. Two beds
12. Four hundred thirty-two francs 37. Fifteen big holes
13. Forty-eight children 38. One hundred and sixty-six workmen
14. Sixty-one eggs 39. How many legs?
15. Ten hats 40. Seventy-two slates
16. One string 41. Forty-one sweet potatoes
17. Twenty-one fish 42. Ten sacks
18. Eighty~three sheep 43. Twenty-two (ears of) corn
19. Twelve hills 44. Five countries
20. Five places 45. One river
21. How many gardens? 46. Ten fingernails
22. Four teeth 47. How many seeds?
23. Fifty-nine stones 48. Twenty-six spears
24. Thirty-one nights 49. Fourteen letters
25. Many beans 50. Many peas






LESSON 41. -ose – all, every


umushumba – shepherd umwungeri – shepherd (both of these sometimes used for “Pastor”)
igitangaza – surprising thing, miracle, amazing thing izina – name (5th cl.)
gusinzira – to sleep ryari? – when?
buri – every, each (not used with pl.)
  1. -ose means “every” or “whole” in the singular, and in the plural it is “all”. Here it is with the class agreements.
Sing. Plural
Class 1 wese bose
Class 2 wose yose
Class 3 yose zose
Cla6s 4 cyose byose
Class 5 ryose yose
Class 6 rwose zose
Class 7 kose twose
Class 8 bwose yose
Class 9 kose (kwose) yose
Class 10 hose hose

Notice the first class singular is wese, not wose.

Note: hose, by itself, often means “everywhere”

  1. In the singular this word usually conveys the idea of entirety: inzu yose – the whole house; umunsi wose – the whole day (rather than “every day”). But it can mean “every”: umuntu wese – every person. In the plural it is “all”: inka zose – all the cows. Often when in English we would use the singular “every”, Kinyarwanda uses the plural: e.g. every day – iminsi yose.

Another way of saying “every” is with buri: e.g. buri munsi – every day. Observe that the initial vowel is dropped after buri.

  1. Place in the sentence. -ose always follows the noun it modifies. If there should be several adjectives modifying the same noun, -ose must come last of all: abantu bose – all the people. Inka zacu nziza zose – all our nice cows.
  2. Derived from this same stem are the words: twese – all of us; and mwese – all of you. Of course,” all of them” is bose.
  3. Ryari – When? This is used only in asking questions. It usually comes at the end of the sentence or clause, though sometimes it immediately follows the verb. e.g. Uzajya i Kigali ryari? – when will you go to Kigali?

Exercises: I. Make -ose agree with the following words both singular and plural and translate into English:

1. igitoke 6. umusozi 11. umushumba. 16. umujura
2. umukobwa 7. uruzi 12. izina 17. ingofero
3. imbwa 8. ahantu 13. igiti 19. umwaka
4.amavuta 9. ukuboko 14. inkoko 19. akantu
5. amashaza (pl. ) 10. injangwe 15. umuti 20. ubwato
  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  2. All people like to sleep all night (i. e. “in the whole night”). 2. All the miracles of Jesus are very great. 3. He is writing his whole name. 4. Every shepherd helps his sheep. 5. When will all the boys come back to school? 6. All girls like pretty clothes. 7. We will remember to worship God every day. 8. I want to see all of your big garden. 9. When will you (s.) remember to bring all my chickens? 10. Our little cat catches big rats. It’s amazing (a surprising thing).



LESSON 42. “To wash”


kumesa – to wash (clothes) kwoga (koga) – to wash feet, swim, bathe
gukaraba – to wash hands kwoza (koza) – to wash (see par. 89)
kwiyuhagira – to bathe oneself gushobora – to be able to, can, may (usually followed by infinitive)
kuronga – to wash (vegetables)
  1. Kinyarwanda does not have just one word that means “to wash” as in English. The word is determined by the thing to be washed.

Kwoza (koza) is more generally used than the others, for it is used for washing dishes, floor, windows, in fact, in most instances where there seems to be no specific word for that kind of washing, such as the other words given in this vocabulary. Kwoga (koga) is more often used for “swim” than for “wash”. Gukaraba does not need to be followed by a word for “hands”. However, you may hear it used for washing arms, and even the face.

  1. Imperative of vowel-stem verbs. These follow the regular rule: just the stem of the word. Thus: Oza amasahane – wash the dishes. Andika izina ryawe – write your name.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Abakobwa baramesa imyenda yabo mu ruzi. 2. Jya gukaraba neza. 3. Abahungu bazoza hasi mu ishuri ejo mu gitondo. 4. Kwiyuhagira cyane gushobora gufasha umuntu kwanga indwara. 5. Abana bato bashobora kwiga kwiyuhagira neza iminsi yose. 6. Ronga neza ibijumba; ndashaka guteka inyama n’ibijumba. 7. Abigishwa biga kwoga mu ruzi. 8. Mushobora kuzana amazi ,menshi kuko abana bashaka kwiyuhagira. 9. Ibuka kumesa imyenda mibi yose. 10. Ejo uzambara imyenda myiza.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Wash all my clothes today. 2. I do not want cold (akonje) water; I want to take a bath. 3. Wash the floor well in the whole house today. 4. You (pl.) can remember to wash (your) hands well every day. 5. When will you (pl.) wash all the tables in the school? 6. The boys like to swim in the river. 7. The girls are washing all the peas and beans in clean water. 8. Cats don’t wash in water. 9. Do you wash your face in the morning every day? 10. Wash all the dirty dishes now.



LESSON 43. -ndi – other


igihe – time, at the time when amakuba – troubles (no sing.)
amagorwa – difficulties, troubles ahari – perhaps
inshuti – friend igisebe – ulcer, sore, wound
guhemba – to pay (for work done, not an article)
  1. -ndi – other, another This word has for its prefix the characteristic letter(s) of the class, or the initial vowel of the class. In most cases it is just like the noun prefix. This adjective differs from the others learned thus far, in that it precedes the noun it modifies. Here it is given with’ a noun of each class, singular and plural.
Sing. Plural
Class 1 undi mugabo – another man abandi bantu – other people
Class 2 undi murima – another garden indi migozi – other ropes
Class 3 indi nka – another cow izindi mbuto – other seeds
Class 4 ikindi gitabo – another book ibindi bihugu – other countries
Class 5 irindi shuri – another school andi magambo – other words
Class 6 urundi ruzi – another river izindi mbaho – other boards
Class 7 akandi kana – another small child utundi tuntu – other little things
Class 8 ubundi bwato – another boat andi mariri – other beds
Class 9 ukundi kuboko – another arm andi mezi – other months
Class 10 ahandi hantu – another place ahandi hantu – other places (ahandi by itself is “elsewhere”)

Notice that this adjective causes the initial vowel of the noun following to be dropped. It is not: abandi abantu, but abandi bantu.

Note: This word can also be used for “more”. e.g. Mfite ibiti bitatu, nyamara ndashaka ibindi bibiri – I have three trees, but I want two more.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Haza abandi bagabo batandatu. 2. Abahungu bose ntibafite imbaho. Turashaka izindi cumi n’eshatu. 3. Umukobwa afite ibisebe bibiri ku kuguru n’ikindi ku kuboko. 4. Jya gushaka ibindi bijumba byinshi. 5. Nzahemba abakozi undi munsij si uyu munsi. 6. Inshuti zacu zifite amakuba menshi; ntizishobora kugera hano vuba; zizaza undi munsi. 7. Amazi yo (do not translate yo) mu ruzi ni make; tuzajya kwoga (koga) ahandi. 8. Petero azashaka akazi ahandi undi mwaka. 9. Sinshobora kuza iwanyu uyu munsij ariko nzaza ikindi gihe. 10. Muzagura andi magi ryari?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The poor man has few francs and he has many other troubles. 2. We will help the girls another time. 3. A friend likes to help other people (at) all times. 4. The teacher is looking for many more pupils. 5. We want to hear the Word of God today. Perhaps we shall not receive another opportunity. 6. I don’t like your hat; can’t you get another? 7. You (s.) can pay five workmen today; you will pay the others another month. 8. Find (look for) another cat, because we have a lot of rats. 9. The teacher is going to Cyangugu to buy (some) more song books (= books of songs). 10. The shepherd has ninety-nine sheep, but he is looking for the other one.



LESSON 44. Some Verbs


gusaba – to ask for, beg, pray kubaza – to ask (a question)
gusubira – to repeat, do again kwongera – to repeat, do again, add more
wenda, yenda – perhaps (same as ahari) nabi – badly (adverb)
isandugu (isanduka) – box (3rd cl. sing. 5th pl.) (Sw.)
  1. Gusubira. “to repeat, do again”. This is the same as gusubira meaning “to go back”. It is followed by the infinitive in a statement. It is followed by the subjunctive as the second of two commands (see par. 133). Arasubira kwandika – he is writing again. Subira uvuge – say again.

Kwongera and gusubira are interchangeable for the idea of “repeat”, but kwongera also is used for “to add more”.

Sinzongera kwibagirwa – I won’t forget again.

Sinzasubira kwibagirwa – I won’t forget again.

Ongera umunyu – add some salt (or, some more salt) .

  1. Gusaba and kubaza. Though both of these words mean “to ask” they are not used interchangeably. Kubaza is only to ask a question, e.g. Jya kubaza umwigisha – go to ask the teacher.

But gusaba is to ask for something, or to ask a favor. In this latter sense it means “to pray”, when asking God for something; but prayer in the sense of “worship” is gusenga.

Ndasaba agatambaro – I am asking for a little cloth.

Ndasaba umuntu kujya i Kigali – I am asking a person to go to Kigali.

Arajya gUsaba umusaza kuza hano – he is going to ask the old man to come here.

Tuzabaza umwigisha amazina y’abana – We will ask the teacher the children’s names.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Sinzongera guhemba neza abahungu kuko bakora nabi. 2. Dusaba Imana gukiza abandi bantu benshi. 3. Nzabaza abigishwa ibyo (the things which) biga mu ishuli. 4. Wenda umukozi w’umukire azasubira iwabo vuba. 5. Abashumba barasubira gushaka intama zabo. 6. Ntiwemera ko (that) ukora nabi? Yee, sinzongera. 7. Ndashaka kubaza umwigisha izina rye, ariko mfite ubwoba. 8. Abana barasaba ababyeyi babo kugura imbwa. 9. Umugabo abika imyenda ye myiza mu isandugu ye. 10. Shyira ibitabo n’imbaho mu isandugu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The water (insert yo) in the river is bad; we will look again for water. 2. I am asking all the boys to bring their books tomorrow; perhaps they will remember. 3. The boy’s parents are returning to their home, but he (ariko we) is staying at school. 4. Ask again for three more books. 5. Put five other slates in the box. 6. I want to hear again the words of the Savior. 7. Ask the new teacher his name. I can’t; I don’t speak his language. 8. The teacher does not praise his pupils, because they work badly. 9. When will you pay the workmen? I’ll ask the teacher. 10. Where are the tools? I don’t remember. Perhaps they are in the box.



LESSON 45. Verb -zi – to know


impumyi – blind person inyota – thirst
umurizo – tail kumenya – to know, know how
ihembe (5th cl.) – horn (animal) ko – that (conjunction introducing dependent clause) (see par. 54)
  1. Verb -zi, to know, know how. This is another defective verb. It has only present forms, and no infinitive. For its missing parts use kumenya.

Here is the -ra- present of -zi:

Affirmative Negative
ndazi – I know turazi – we know sinzi – I don’t know ntituzi- we don’t know
urazi – you know murazi – you know ntuzi – you don’t know ntimuzi – you don’t know
arazi – he knows barazi – they know ntazi – he doesn’t know ntibazi – they don’t know

The prefixless present also exists: nzi, uzi, azi, tuzi, muzi, bazi .

  1. Now you have learned the three most important defective verbs: -ri, -fite, -zi. Remember to use these whenever possible. Their substitutes: kuba, kugira, kumenya, are to be used only when no suitable form exists of the defective verb.
  2. One often hears: ndabizi (I know) or sindabizi (simbizi)- (I don’t know). The “bi” in this word is an object pronoun meaning “it” or”them”, which you will learn later.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Mbese impumyi izi kugenda mu nzira? 2. Mfite inyota nyinshi, ndashaka amazi meza. 3. Mbese uzi umusaza? 4. Umurizo w’inka ni mugufi nyamara amahembe ni maremare. 5. Umubyeyi we afite inzara n’inyota mu mutima kuko ashaka kumenya Yesu. 6. Ibitabo by’indirimbo biri he? Simbizi. Ahari biri mu ishuli. 7. Subira ku ruzi kuzana amazi menshi. Twese dufite ibyota. 8. Impumyi ifite amaso, nyamara ntibona. 9. Nzi ko Yesu azagaruka. 10. Abana bazamenya gusoma neza yuba.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Put all the dishes on the table. 2. The children don’t know the path. J. The blind man cannot see the Word of God, but he can hear and he can know the love of Jesus. 4. I don’t know your name. 5. The blind man feels the tail and horns of the cow. 6. Do you (s.) know how to cook fish? No, I don’t know, but I’ll ask my parent. 7. The teacher is teaching the children a new song. He knows how to sing very well. 8. The goat’s tail and horns are short. 9. Do you (s.) know our hill? It is very high. 10. Our teacher knows many languages.



LESSON 46. Adjective Chart


imbaraga- strength (usually pl.) umunyabyaha – sinner
gukizwa – to be saved, healed, cured gutsinda – to defeat, conquer
nonaha – now, right now bambe, nako – excuse me (I misspoke myself)
umbabarire – excuse me, I’m sorry, forgive me (I hurt you physically or otherwise) komera – excuse me (when causing or observing physical harm or near accident)

N.B. Before beginning these exercises, study the adjective chart given below, which is is good review of the adjectives studied.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Twese dushobora gutsinda Satani mu mbaraga za Yesu. 2. Mu rugo rwacu hari abanyabyaha benshi, ariko Yesu afite imbaraga zo gukiza bose (do not translate zo). 3. Ndashaka kugura ibindi bishyimbo byinshi, nyamara simfite akafaranga menshi cyane. 4. Injangwe zingahe ziri mu nzu ye? Hari eshatu. 5. Urugo rwe ni runini cyane, kandi ni rwiza. 6. Umbabarire, sinshobora kuza iwanyu nonaha, ariko nzaza undi munsi. 7. Hari imitima, nako, imitsima ingahe ku meza? 8. Umwana afite ubushye bubi ku kuguru. 9. Uyu munsi ndashaka kwandika inzandiko cumi n’ebyiri. 10. Sinibuka neza ibitangaza byose bya Yesu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The man has much faith; he will be saved. 2. Many sinners will be saved because they will hear the Word of God and will confess their sins and will believe Jesus. 3. I have only a little (use “few”) strength, but I like to work. 4. Jesus will help His people to defeat Satan and sin. 5. The rich man has many houses in his kraal (homestead); and he has eighty-four cows. 6. How many little stones (use diminutive) do you have? I have thirty-six. Look for (some) more. 7. Our friends are bathing in the river. 8. Write all the names of the pupils in my book. 9. We have much peace and joy because Jesus conquers sin. 10. How many people are in our new big church?
  5. Adjective Chart
1. sing. mubi umwe wanjye wese undi uwuhe
pl. babi babiri banjye bose bangahe abandi abahe
2. sing. mubi umwe wanjye wose undi uwuhe
pl. mibi ibiri yanjye yose indi iyihe
3. sing. mbi imwe yanjye yose indi iyihe
pl. mbi ebyiri zanjye zose zingahe izindi izihe
4. sing. kibi kimwe cyanjye cyose ikindi ikihe
pl. bibi bibiri byanjye byose bingahe ibindi ibihe
5. sing. ribi rimwe ryanjye ryose urundi uruhe
pl. mabi abiri yanjye yose angahe andi ayahe
6. sing. rubi rumwe rwanjye rwose urundi uruhe
pl. mbi ebyiri zanjye zose zingahe izindi izihe
7. sing. kubi kumwe kwanjye kose akandi akahe
pl. tubi tubiri twanjye twose tungahe utundi utuhe
8. sing. bubi bumwe bwanjye bwose ubundi ubuhe
pl. mabi abiri yanjye yose angahe andi ayahe
9. sing. kubi kumwe kwanjye k(w)ose ukundi ukuhe
pl. mabi abiri yanjye yose angahe andi ayahe
10. sing. habi hamwe hanjye hose ahandi he?
pl. habi habiri hanjye hose hangahe ahandi he?

N.B. The word -he? in the preceding table you will study later. He? is an adverb, meaning “where?”.


LESSON 47. Word Order


umuzungu – white person, European kubanguka – to hurry (to go)
rwose – completely, very much kure – far, far away
hafi – near (Note: kure and hafi must be followed by ya before a noun or pronoun.)

When kure and hafi are followed by a pronoun, the possessive adjective is used e.g., hafi yanjye – near me. With a noun: hafi y’inzu – near the house.

  1. Order of adjectives.

1) You have already learned that the possessive adjective must follow immediately the noun it modifies, no matter how many other adjectives there may be.

2) Also, you have learned that -ndi – other, must precede the noun it modifies, and it removes the initial vowel of the noun. e.g. abandi bantu benshi – many other people.

3) The adjective -ngahe – how many? follows all other adjectives. e.g. abandi bahungu banini bangahe? – how many other big boys?

4) If several descriptive adjectives modify one noun, the order is not important, although in some localities it seems to be preferred that adjectives of quantity, such as -inshi and -ke (keya) come after the other descriptive adjectives. e.g. inka zacu nini nyinshi – our many big cows.

5) The adjective -ose – all, preferably follows other adjectives. e.g. ibiti bye binini byose – all his big trees

6) The numeral adjectives usually follow any other descriptive adjectives, though it is not absolutely essential that they do, e.g. abana be bato babiri – his two small children.

  1. A further note about some adjectives. -inshi and -ke (-keya) mean “many” and “few”, but in their singular forms they are used of things which are uncountable or abstract, e.g. ifu nyinshi – much flour; umuyaga myinshi – a strong wind (never say umuyaga munini or mutoya); umunyu mufe – a little salt; kwizera guke – a little faith.
  2. Position of adverbs. Most adverbs follow the word they modify, though some prefer to put cyane at the end of the sentence if there are not too many words between it and the verb it modifies. e.g. A good man works hard – Umugabo mwiza arakora cyane. A very good man works – Umugabo mwiza cyane arakora.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Kibuye ni kure cyane; banguka kugenda. 2. Izindi mbwa zacu nini ebyiri ziri hafi y’inzu. 3. Umuzungu muremure arabanguka rwose. 4. Tuzajya vuba mu gihugu cya kure cyane. 5. Abahungu beza bose bakora neza mu mirima yabo minini. 6. Umuzungu afite abana bato bangahe? Ni batanu, kandi bose ni beza. 7. Umugabo azana amata meza menshi cyane iminsi yose. 8. Umugabo wanjye aragaruka nimugoroba guhemba abakozi be bose. 9. Abakozi barubaka neza cyane inzu nini y’umwigisha wacu. 10. Dufite udusandugu tunzinya dutanu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The rich man has very many nice large cows. 2. Put the chair on the floor near my small table. 3. Hurry to go to school; the other boys are there (aho). 4. Perhaps we will receive three other good books soon. 5. Your three little children are over there near the school. 6. Where are all my nice new clothes? They are in your box. 7. There is another long, wide river near our hill. 8. The girls are cooking a few small fish on the stove. 9. Minani’s child has a few more jiggers in his feet. 10. Our wonderful living Savior has much love and mercy.





LESSON 48. Personal Pronouns


urupfu – death (no pl.) kubabarira – to forgive
ubushobozi – power (no pl.) kugwa – to fall
ubwami – kingdom (no pl.) gupfa – to die
  1. Personal pronouns. Though the personal pronouns as subjects do not have to be, expressed other than by the personal prefixes (i.e. ndagenda – n is the personal prefix), these pronouns exist and are needed in many instances.
jyewe (sometimes jye) – I, me twebwe – we, Us (sometimes twe)
wowe (we) – you (s’.) mwebwe – you (pl.) (sometimes mwe)
we – he, him, she, her bo – they, them

The we in parentheses after wowe is to indicate that sometimes this pronoun is simply we. The third person singUlar welooks the same as this short form of the 2nd person, but in pronunciation it is clipped off a bit shorter than the 2nd person. Get an African to say both sounds for you.

Caution: Do not try to use these words as objects of verbs. One would never say “ndabona wowe” for “I see you”. You will learn later how to say that correctly.

These pronouns may be used as subjects of verbs when emphasis is desired; e.g. Jyewe nzaguma aha ariko wowe uzagenda – I shall stay here, but you will go.

  1. Muri and kuri. The prepositions mu and ku change to muri and kuri before: 1). proper names, 2) most words beginning with consonants, 3) the personal pronouns, 4) the demonstratives (these will be taught in a later lesson). e.g. muri Yesu – in Jesus kuri twe – to us, unto us

Exceptions: 1) With certain names of places they remain mu and ku. e.g. mu Kirambo is the form used for “at Kirambo”.

2) Before infinitives it does not change. e.g. ndi mu gusoma – I am reading right now. This form is often used to express the idea of “to be in the act of … “ like the French “en train de.”


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Jyewe ndashaka kuguma muri Yesu Kristo Umukiza wanjye. 2. Muri mwe hari benshi (insert “whom”) Yesu ashaka gukiza. 3. Imana ifite ubushobozi bwinshi bwo (do not translate bwo) gutsinda Satani. 4. Twebwe tuzi Yesu; tuzinjira mu bwami bw’Imana, ariko abanyabyaha bazabona urupfu. 5. Yesu ni Umukiza wacu; abantu bose (insert “who”) bazagenda kuri we bazakizwa. 6. Ni wowe (insert “who”) ukunda gufasha ababyeyi cyane. 7. Jyewe nkunda ibigori, ariko wowe ukunda cyane inyama. 8. Subira kuri Petero vuba; ari mu gupfa. 9. Abantu bashobora kugwa mu cyobo kuko kiri hafi y’inzira. 10. Bara abigishwa bose; umwe muri bo afite indwara mbi.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Jesus does not want sin in His people; He will forgive everyone his sins. 2. Come to Jesus; He wants to save every person. 3. We can all receive new life in Jesus, but death is in Satan. 4. You (s., emphasis) are you abiding (staying) in Jesus? Do you have His peace in your heart? 5. Send a letter to Matayo. 6. Among you (pl.) there are rich people and poor people, men and women. 7. Come to me; I will buy your eggs. 8. We (emphasis) want to have power (insert bwo) to defeat sin and (no) to enter the kingdom of God. 9. The old man will die soon; we want to go to him to speak words of love. 10. Do you (pl.) see the people over there? My child is among them.



LESSON 49. Review

  1. Questions:
  1. Where does ryari come in the sentence? What does it mean?
  2. What word is used for “to wash”: 1) clothes, 2) dishes, 3) hands, 4) floor 5) feet, 6) vegetables, 7) whole body?
  3. Give the imperative of: kwandika, kwoza, kwizera (and the meanings).
  4. Where does -ndi come in the sentence? What does it mean? What effect does it have on the noun accompanying it?
  5. Explain the difference between gusaba and kubaza.
  6. What verb supplies the missing parts of -zi? What does -zi mean? What tenses do you know of this verb?
  7. Where does -ngahe come in the sentence? What does it mean? Give a sentence using it.
  8. When may -inshi and -ke be used in’the singular?
  9. Where do most adverbs come in the sentence?
  10. Give the six personal pronouns.
  11. When do mu and ku change to muri and kuri (4 occasions)?
  1. Make the adjectives: -ose, -ngahe, -ndi, -njye, -bi, and the numerals (using “one” and “two” only) agree with the following words. Give both the singular and plural whenever possible.


  1. umushumba
  2. umuti
  3. ihene
  4. akana
  5. igisebe
  6. ubuntu
  7. ukuboko
  8. ahantu
  9. izina
  10. urutunguzo











LESSON 50. Reading Lesson


kujyana – to take with one, go with kwica – to kill
kureba – to look at, look, see (in sense of “go to see”) guhenda – to overcharge, extort, be expensive
gushuka – to deceive kurira – to cry, weep
kugira ngo – to think that, suppose that, so that, in order that

Note: kujyana igitabo – to take a book (with); kujyana na Petero – to go with Peter

Read the following aloud to an African and have him (her) help you with pronunciation. Then translate (present verbs may be translated as past):

Yosefu na Bene Se (his brothers)

Umunsi umwe Yakobo atuma Yosefu, umuhungu we, kureba bene se cumi n’umwe, kuko bajya kure kujyana inka n’ihene zabo. Bene se babona Yosefu baravuga, bati (do not translate bati, nor ati, as you see it later). Ntidukunda Yosefu, tumwice (let us kill him). Umwe mukuru, Reyubeni, aravuga, ati Oya, tumushyire (mu is “him”) mu cyobo. Reyubeni ashaka gukiza Yosefu, nyamara abandi bene se baranga rwose. Abandi bene se bafata imyenda ya Yosefu kugira ngo bayohereze (so that they might send them) kuri se (their father). Vuba haza abantu benshi. Bene se ba Yosefu baramufata (mu= him) baramugura. Abandi bantu bamujyana mu gihugu cya Egiputa. Bene se bashyira amaraso y’ihene ku myenda ye kuko bashaka gushuka Yakobo. Bohereza imyenda ya Yosefu kuri Yakobo. Baravuga, bati Reba neza. Mbese ni imyenda ya Yosefu? Yakobo areba imyenda, agira ngo Yosefu yishwe (was killed) n’inyamaswa (na can mean “by”). Ararira cyane.






















LESSON 51.Ordinary Past Tense


kunywa (nyoye) – to drink ibiryo – food
gucana (canye) – to light (fire, lamp) kare – early
kurya (riye) – to eat
  1. Ordinary Past Tense. All the tenses dealt with thus far were formed by changes in the prefix. But the past tenses are formed by changing the suffix as well as the prefix. There are some rules to go by for forming these suffixes, but since so many verbs are irregular in this respect, the past stem will be given with all verbs from now on.

Here are the past stems of a few verbs that you have learned:

gukora – -koze kuvuga -vuze
kugenda -giye kuzana -zanye
kujya -giye

Now note the conjugation:

nakoze – I worked twakoze – we worked
wakoze – you (s.) worked mwakoze – you (pl.) worked
yakoze – he, she worked bakoze – they worked

The rule for forming this tense is: personal prefix + a (which is the tense sign), + past stem of verb: n – a – koze

Note the contraction: u-a-koze becomes wakoze; a-a-koze becomes yakoze; tu-a-koze becomes twakoze, etc.

  1. The main use of this tense is to express that which has happened earlier in the same day; it may also be used for that which happened at a previous time, but the tone is different.

Past today (if nothing follows the verb)

nakoze twakoze
wakoze mwakoze The tone on a is long and low.
yakoze bakoze

If something follows the verb (other than cyane or ati) , the singular takes a short a, but it is still a low tone, whether long or short.

nakoze imirimo twakoz’e imirimo
wakoze imirimo mwakoze imirimo
yakoze imirimo bakoze imirimo

Past time before today: The form is the same but the tone is high. (See par. 141)

  1. Translate into English
  2. Abagabo ibagiye kare mu gitondo kuko bafite akazi kenshi. 2. Mwagiye kare cyane gushaka ibiryo byanyu. 3. Abana bariye ibiryo bike. 4. Ejo umwigisha yavuze amagambo meza mu ishuri. 5. Twacanye umuriro mwinshi kuko dushaka guteka vuba. 6. Abakozi bakoze umunsi wose kuko bashaka amafaranga menshi. 7. Inshuti yanjye yavuze ko izagaruka vuba cyane. 8. Abana banyoye amata yose mu gitondo. 9. Umukene yariye ibiryo byinshi maze (then) yagiye. 10. Umukozi yazanye inkwi nini mu nzu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Two boys worked well in the garden but the other three worked badly. 2. You (pl.) drank much dirty water. 3. The children brought their books to school today because they want to read. 4. The girl brought wood and she lit a big fire. 5. We eat meat and beans and bananas, and we drank much water. 6. I worked hard yesterday, and I brought my food. 7. What did you (s.) say? I said that I will come back tomorrow. 8. The girls made a fire because they want to cook (some) meat and (some) sweet potatoes. 9. Where did you (pl.) go yesterday? We went to Cyangugu to buy (some) food. 10. I think that Mary brought a new chair to school.



LESSON 52. Rules for Past Endings


umusore – young man (unmarried) inkumi – young lady (unmarried)
ingurube – pig kuvura (ye) – to treat (sickness), to doctor
umuganga – doctor kwa – to (before name of person as doctor, teacher, etc.)
  1. In forming the past stems there are certain rules to go by, but as stated before, there are many irregularities.

Here in the first column are the final syllables of present stems; in the second column are the forms to which these stems regularly change for the past; in the third column are examples.

-ba -bye guhemba -hembye, kureba -rebye
-da, ga -ze gukunda -kunze, kuvuga -vuze
-ha -shye kwubaha -ubashye
-ka -tse guteka -tetse
-ma -mye gusoma -somye
-na -nye, nnye kubona -bonye, gukena -kennye
-nya -ntje (sometimes -nye) kugabanya -gabanije, kumenya -menye
-ra (see note par. 106)
-sa -she kumesa -meshe
-ta -se (sometimes -she) gukubita -kubise, gufata -fashe
-sha -shije, -sheje, -hije,-heje kwigisha -igishije, kunesha -nesheje
-shya -shije, -sheje, -hije,-heje gushyushya -shyuhije, kureshya -resheje
-za -je, -jije, -jeje kuza -je, gukiza -kijije, kweza -ejeje

Note: A clue to determine whether the past suffix will contain i or e can be found in the A I U rule, paragraph 157.

  1. There are several things that may happen to the suffix -ra.
  2. In stems of two syllatles, when the first of these is long, the -ra changes to -rye. e.g. rutera -teye kuvura -vuye
  3. In stems of two syllables, when the first of these is short, the -ra changes to -ze. e.g. kugura -guze kurira -rize gushyira -shyize
  4. In stems of more than two syllables the -ra changes to -ye, if, the preceding syllable is short. e.g. kwinjira -injiye, kubabarira -babariye
  5. Words of more than two syllables which end in –ora or –era (a long vowel) often have their past stem in -iriye or -ereye. gusinzira -sinziriye, kurorera -rorereye. However, the vowel that is long in the present stem becomes short in the past.

Note: Verbs of one syllable stem follow no regular rule. All present stems end in a, except those of defective verbs, and all past stems end in e.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Abakobwa bashatse kujya kwa muganga kuko azi kuvura. 2. Twabaze abasore n’inkumi; hari abasore cumi na batatu n’inkumi cumi n’ebyiri. 3. Abasore banyoye amazi mu ruzi. 4. Abakobwa babangutse cyane kugera hano uyu munsi. 5. Umujura yafashe intama eshatu. 6. Abantu benshi baje ku muganga kuko avura indwara nyinshi. 7. Umwana yarize kuko umubyeyi we yamushutse (mu = him). 8. Mbese mwageze mu rusengero ryari? Twageze mu rusengero mu gitondo. 9. Abana basinziriye neza mu ijoro ryose. 10. Abigisha bafashije abana gukora iki? Bafashije abana gusoma.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda: (Do not try to find a word for “did” – that is just the English way of making a question past.)
  4. The doctor treated many people today; he knows much wisdom. (This soUnds queer in English, but is the way it is expressed in Kinyarwanda.) 2. I put the seeds in the box. Where are they now? 3. Did you (pl.) see the teacher’s books? 4. Did you (s.) read the whole book of John today? 5. Jesus saved many people because they prayed (to) God. 6. We knew that you (pl.) came because we saw the children. 7. The thief deceived the rich man and took his things at (in) night. 8. The young man wanted to go with his friend. 9. The girls washed their clothes in the river. 10. The women cooked a lot of (many) corn and sweet potatoes.



LESSON 53. Past Verb Endings

(Instead of a new vocabulary this time we give a table of all the verbs given thus far, with their past stems. Memorize as many of them as possible for this lesson, and the remainder for the vocabulary work in the following lesson.)


kwambara -ambaye -fite no past
kwandika -anditse kugaruka -garutse
kwanga -anze kugenda -giye
kuba -baye kugera -geze
kubabarira -babariye kugira -gize
kubanguka -bangutse kuguma -gumye
kubanza -banje kugwa -guye
kubara -baze kugurisha -gurishije
kubaza -bajije kugwa -guye
kubika -bitse guhemba -hembye
kubona -bonye guhenda -henze
gucana -canye guhinga -hinze
kwemera -emeye kwibagirwa -ibagiwe
kwereka -eretse kwibuka -ibutse
gufasha -fashije kwica -ishe
gufata -fashe kwiga -ize
kwigisha -igishije kuririmba -ririmbye
kwihana -ihannye kuronga -ronze
kwinjira -injiye kurya -riye
kwiyuhagira -iyuhagiye gusaba -sabye
kwizera -izeye gusenga -senze
kujya -giye gushaka -shatse
kujyana -jyanye gushima -shimye
kujugunya -jugunye gushobora -shoboye
gukaraba -karabye gushuka -shutse
gukiza -kijije gushyira -shyize
gukizwa -kijijwe gusinzira -sinzirye
gukora -koze gusoma -somye
gukubura -kubuye gusubira -subiye
gukunda -kunze gutangira -tangiye
kumena -mennye guteka -tetse
kumenya -menye gutsinda -tsinze
kumesa -meshe gutuma -tumye
kunywa -nyoye kwubaka -ubatse
kwoga -oze kwumva -umvise
kwohereza -ohereje kuva -vuye
kwongera -ongeye kuvuga -vuze
kwoza -ogeje kuvura -vuye
gupfa -pfuye kuza -je
kureba -rebye kuzana -zanye
-ri no past
kurira -rize

Note that in most instances it is only the last two letters of the stem which change. In the vocabularies from now on only the syllable which is changed will be shown, except where the whole stem changes.

In the above list the verbs whose stems begin with o or u have been given with kw- as the infinitive, but remember that these-are often written without the w, koza rather than kwoza, kumva rather than kwumva.

No further grammar is given in this lesson. Spend your time learning these past suffixes.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Abahungu bakubuye neza hose mu ishuri. 2. Mbese wabitse ibitambaro byiza byose? 3. Yesu yakijije Abanyarwanda benshi nyamara dushaka ko abandi benshi bakizwa. 4. Nahembye abakozi amafaranga magana inani na mirongwine n’abiri. 5. Twagarutse hano kuko dushaka kwumva Ijambo ry’Imana. 6. Abana baje mu ishuri, ariko batatu bagumye hanze. 7. Mbese mwakarabye neza? Oya, ntidufite amazi. 8. Umusore yaguye hasij hari ibuye mu nzira. 9. Twafashe imbeba eshatu nijoro. 10. Mbese waguze iki? Naguze inyama n’amavuta.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. We helped our teacher today because he has much work. 2. Did you (pl.) sleep well in the night? 3. The child cried all day because he wanted food. 4. I counted all the men and women in church yesterday; I saw 83 men and 97 women (Write out numbers). 5. Our teachers went home (this) morning. 6. Where did you (s.) put away the dishes? I put ten in a box. 7. Jesus forgave Paul all his sins. He is a wonderful Savior. 8. What did you do today? 9. We sang many songs in church yesterday. I like to sing. 10. We went with the young men to look at the big river.



LESSON 54. Ordinary Past (continued)

In this lesson, instead of a new vocabulary, continue memorizing the past suffixes of verbs given in Lesson 53.

  1. For forming this past tense in agreements with nouns of classes other than first, it is important to remember the rules for vowel and consonant change. Here are some examples:
Sing. Plural
2nd class wagiye yagiye
3rd class yagiye zagiye
4th class cyagiye byagiye
5th class ryagiye yagiye
6th class rwagiye zagiye
7th class kagiye twagiye
8th class bwagiye yagiye
9th class kwagiye yagiye
  1. Vowel stems in past. For the conjugation of vowel-stem verbs in the ordinary past, remember that a before other vowels drops out. Thus:
nibagiwe – I forgot yubatse – he built
bemeye – they agreed twogeje – we washed
mwanditse – you (pl.) wrote


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Inka zagiye ku ruzi kunywa amazi. 2. Twibagiwe kuzana ibitabo byacu. 3. Mbese mwogeje neza amasahane yose? 4. Twizeye ijambo rya Yesu kuko twumvise ibitangaza (insert “which”) yakoze. 5. Ubukene bw’umugabo bwazanye amagorwa menshi n’ubwoba. 6. Ihene yanyoye amazi mu ruzi. 7. Inyamaswa zishe intama eshatu. 8. Inkumi zogeje amasahane mabi yose. 9. Injangwe yacu yafashe imbeba nyinshi. 10. Umuriro wazanye umwotsi mu nzu yose.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Two blind men went to the church to pray. 2. Thieves entered the house in the night because the man was sleeping hard (cyane). 3. The old man’s workmen built a big house in his kraal. 4. I wrote the names of all the girls in the school. 5. The new books fell on the floor. 6. The old man died yesterday. 7. Did you (pl.) hear the words of the teacher? 8. Sin brought death to all people. 9. Did you (s.) remember to send three men to Kigali to buy food? 10. We repented of all our sins and Jesus came into our hearts.



LESSON 55. Negative of Ordinary Past


iteraniro (5th) – meeting, crowd gukurikira – to follow
urupapuro – paper, page cyangwa – or
ikaramu – pencil (3rd sing., pl. may be 3rd or 5th)
  1. The negative of the ordinary past is simply the negative prefix, personal prefix, tense sign, and past stem: nti – tw – a – koze.
sinagiye – I didn’t go ntitwagiye – we didn’t go
ntiwagiye – you didn’t go ntimwagiye – you didn’t go
ntiyagiye – he didn’t go ntibagiye – they didn’t go

The same rule applies for vowel-stem verbs: sinogeje – I didn’t wash, ntibubatse – they didn’t build.

With other classes: inka ntizagiye – the cows didn’t go

  1. Remember that kuva is usually followed by mu or ku (par. 11), though it may not, always be, e.g. wavuye he? navuye mu ishuri – where did you come from? I came from school. (This implies that one has been in the school. If you said, “Navuye ku ishuri,” you would mean, “I came from the area around the school.”


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Sinshobora kwandika urwandiko; sinazanye ikaramu yanjye. 2. Abantu bangahe bavuye mu rusengero? 3. Navuye mu byaha byinshi; ubu nzakurikira Yesu imyaka yanjye yose. 4. Mbese ntimwazanye amakaramu yanyu n’impapuro zanyu? 5. Iteraniro rinini ryakurikiye Yesu hose, ntiryashatse kuva kuri we. 6. Ababyeyi bacu ntibubatse inzu nini cyane. 7. Mbese ntiwaguze impapuro n’ikaramu? 8. Imbwa ntizaje mu rusengero; ntitwashatse ko zinjira. 9. Inyamaswa ntizumvise abantu; nuko rero (so) bafashe nyinshi. 10. Umujura ntiyabonye ibintu byinshi kuko umusore yinjiye mu nzu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The boys didn’t come from the school; they came from church. 2. The children wrote on all the paper and we didn’t have any other. 3. The blind men fell; they couldn’t see the path. 4. Didn’t you (s.) want to cook the sweet potatoes in the evening yesterday, or did you forget? 5. The young men did not eat all the beans. 6. We didn’t ask the teacher to write a letter because he is very busy (= has much work). 7. Didn’t you (pI.) bathe this morning? Your legs are very dirty. 8. They sang two songs at church, but I didn’t sing. 9. Didn’t the young girls agree to hoe in our garden today? 10. The dog didn’t look at the cat; it looked for food.



LESSON 56. Past of -ri; -ga tense


umufundi (Sw.) – mason, skilled workman akabande – valley
gutaha (shye) – to go home, quit work gusura (ye) – to visit, go to visit
kurangiza (je) – to finish (tr.) kuzamuka (tse) – to go up (as hill)
kumanuka (tse) – to go down
  1. For the past of -ri there is no change in the suffix; it is as follows:
nari – I was twari – we were
wari – you (s.) were mwari – you (pl.) were
yari – he, she was tari – they were

There is no other simple past tense for -ri, so this form is used whenever any past time of -ri is expressed.

For agreement with nouns of other classes this verb follows the regular rules (see par. 108).

  1. The negative is the same with, of course, the negative prefix: sinari, ntiwari, ntiyari, etc.
  2. -ga tense. The suffix -ga is added to the present stem of a verb with a past prefix:

1) To express continuous past action, e.g. I was hoeing – nahingaga, I was not hoeing – sinahingaga

2) To express habitual past action. I liked to learn – nakundaga kwiga.

3) Past time after the word igihe: Nakubonye igihe wavaga mu ishuri – I saw you when you came from school. Naje igihe wandikaga – I came while you were writing.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umufundi yari hano ejo nyamara uyu munsi ari imuhira. 2. Mbese wairangije imirimo yose? Oya, sinari hano. Nzarangiza vuba. 3. Abakozi base batashye ariko bazagaruka ejo. 4. Twari mu ishuri mu gitondo cyose kandi twigaga byinshi. 5. Abagore bari mu kabande guhinga. 6. Mwari he ejo? Twazamutse umusozi, twagiyegusura inshuti zacu. 7. Umufundi ntiyari hano mu gitondo; nuko abandi bakozi ntibashoboye gukora.(nuko= so) 8. Twarangije gucana; ntimushaka guteka ubu? 9. Abagore bamanutse mu kabande, kandi abana bakurikiye ababyeyi babo. 10. Ntitwari imuhira igihe mwazaga iwacu. Mbese muzagaruka ejo?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The children went up the hill this morning but they came back. Now they are in school. 2. The teacher’s wife was not in church yesterday. 3. The mason was building a house, then (maze) he went to Butare. 4. Were you (s.) at school yesterday? Where were you? I was working in my field. 5. The young girls used to (= habitual past) go down to dig in the valley. 6. The workmen have quit work, but the masons are here in the yard (kraal). 7. I was at your (pl.) place yesterday but you were not at home. 8. The rats were many in our Kraal, but we got a cat; it caught four in the night. 9. The poor man forgot his troubles, because he found much joy in Jesus. 10. You (s.) didn’t wear your new clothes today. Where are they?



LESSON 57. Object Pronouns


gucungura (ye) – to redeem gutegeka (tse) – to rule, govern, command
kurushya (hije) – to trouble, be difficult guha (haye) – to give, give to
guhana (nnye) – to punish guhana (nye) – to give to each other
  1. Personal object pronouns. These are expressed by little particles inserted in the verb between the tense sign and the verb stem. These particles are:
n (or m) – me tu (du) – us
ku (gu) – you (s.) ba – you (pl.)
mu – him, her ba – them

e.g. ndakubona – I see you (s.), Imana iratubabarira – God forgives us, turamushima – we praise him, irankunda – He loves me.

(For the use of gu or ku, and du or tu, remember the change-down rule in par. 21; and for the use of m for n, the rule in par. 14.)

  1. These object pronouns are the same whether used as direct or indirect objects. e.g. I give you the book, is: Ndaguha igitabo, though “you” here is an indirect object. As indicated in par. 101, one would not say “Ndabona wowe” for “I see you”. However, for special emphasis one might say, “Ndakubona wowe.”- I see you, you there!”

Note: The k or t of an object pronoun changes according to the change-down rule, but the k or t of a syllable preceding the object pronoun is not changed by it. Thus: ndagusaba, kukubona.

Whenever an object pronoun intervenes between an infinitive prefix and the stem, the infinitive prefix reverts to ku- , even though originally it may have been -gu or kw- .

  1. Kurushya. This is often used with impersonal prefixes (4th class):

Biraruhije – it is difficult (for tense see par. 129).

Byamuruhije – it was difficult for him.

Note 1: Observe the imperative of guha: “give me” is mpa. The stem is only -ha, of which the h changes to p because of the preceding m. To be polite one sometimes says: mpa se – please give me.

Note 2: the suffix -nnye (as, -hannye) is pronounced rather like n+ng (as in “ring”) + ye. Work on this sound with an African.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Abahungu bari he? Ntitwababonye mu ishuri uyu munsi. 2. Umwana yakoze nabi cyane; umubyeyi we azamuhana. 3. Imana yaduhaye agakiza n’ibindi byiza byinshi. 4. Yesu yaje mu isi (earth) kuducungura no kudukiza (no = na). 5. Imana yambabariye ibyaha byanjye byose. 6. Twabahaye amakaramu n’impapuro. Biri he? 7. Biraturuhije kujya iwanyu ubu. Tuzababona ejo. 8. Mbese umuganga yakuvuye neza? Yagukijije indwara yawe? 9. Minani (a name) ntari hano; namutumye ku Gisenyi. 10. Yesu yabajije Petero, ati (don’t translate ati) Urankunda?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Where were you (pl.) yesterday? I did not see you the whole day. 2. The pupil is bad; his teacher cannot govern him. 3. I praise God because He saved me and He gave me peace and joy. 4. It is difficult for him to learn because he has much other work. 5. Jesus helps us every day to do His work; we praise Him with (in) all our hearts. 6. Andrew’s (Andereya) children are good; he governs them well. 7. What do you (s.) want? I paid you yesterday. 8. It was difficult for us to finish our work. Will you help us? 9. Where were you (pl.)? Your parents were looking everywhere for you. 10. We saw you (s.) yesterday near the old man’s kraal.




LESSON 58. Object Pronouns (continued)


kubeshya (shye) – to lie, lie to, deceive kwiba (bye) – to steal, steal from
gukubita (se) – to hit, strike, beat kureka (tse) – to leave, forsake, stop (int.), allow (tr.) (see par. 136)

Note: Use of kubeshya: arambeshya – he is lying to me. “He is lying about me” requires the prepositional ending, see par. 200. Kwiba aranyiba – he is stealing from me. (for ny, see par. 119)

  1. The object pronoun must agree with the noun it refers to in class and number. In the previous lesson, you learned the personal object pronouns. Now, here are the pronouns for each of the classes:
Sing. Pl. Sing. Plur.
Class 1 mu ba Class 6 ru zi
Class 2 wu yi Class 7 ka tu
Class 3 yi zi Class 8 bu ya
Class 4 ki bi Class 9 ku ya
Class 5 ri ya Class 10 ha ha

e.g. Ufite igitabo? Yee, ndagifite. Do you have the book? Yes, I have it. Habonye ahantu? Yee, nahabonye. Did you see the place? Yes, I saw it. Urufunguzo ruri he? Ararufite. Where is the key? He has it.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Mbese waretse ibyaha byawe byose? Yee, nabiretse kera (long ago). 2. Imbwayagize nabi cyane; umusore yayikubise. 3. Wabonye igitabo gishya? Ndakireba ubu. 4. Umusore ni umunyabyaha; akunda kubeshya, kandi ejo yibye amafaranga cumi; ariko azayazana. 5. Uzazana ibiryo byawe ryari? Nzabizana vuba. 6. Biranduhije kwibuka amazina yanyu. Ongera kuyavuga. 7. Nabahaye imirimo myinshi. Mwayirangije yose? 8. Wacanye umuriro? Oya, Mariya yawucanye. 9. Wakoze iminsi ingahe mu murima? Sinayibaze. 10. Naguhaye utwuma tubiri. Turi he? Natubitse mu isandugu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Have you seen my new house? No, I will look at it tomorrow. 2. What did you give the cat? I gave it milk. 3. I gave you (some) new books. Did you bring them? 4. The boy stole the paper; but he refuses to bring it. 5. Did you steal the European’s dog? No, I bought it. 6. Where did you buy the salt? I bought it at Eutare. 7. We bought a new bed; my wife liked (praised) it very much. 8. I didn’t hear the child’s name. Did you say it? 9. God gave us a wonderful Savior; we praise Him (God) very much. 10. Did you see the moon last night (= in the night)? Yes, I saw it; it was very large.


LESSON 59. Object Pronouns with Vowel-stem Verbs


kwanika (tse) – to put out in sun kwanura (ye) – to bring in from sun
kwubaha (kubaha) (shye) – to honor, reverence, respect kwinginga (nze) – to beseech, beg
ijwi – voice
  1. a) In using these object pronouns with vowel-stem verbs it is very important to remember the rules for vowel contractions.

1) u before another vowel changes to w. e.g. bamwanga (for ba-mu-anga) – they hate him, batwigisha (for ba-tu-igisha) – they teach us, ndakwizera (for nda-ku-izera) – I trust you, yarwibye (for ya-ru-ibye) – he stole it (key), ndabwemera (for nda-bu-emera) – I accept it (grace)

The wu of 2nd class, loses the u before a vowel. yawibye (for ya-wu-ibye) – he stole it (salt)

2) a before another vowel drops out. ndabereka (for nda-ba-ereka) – I show them.

3) i in 3rd and 6th Class forms and in 2nd class plural drops out. arazica (ara-zi-ica) – he kills them (chickens), yayibagiwe (ya-yi-ibagiwe) – he forgot them (debts)

4) In class 4, ki changes to cy and bi to by before a vowel. ndacyibuka (nda-ki-ibuka) – I remember it (book), nabyibagiwe (na-bi-ibagiwe) – I forgot them (books)

5) ri of class 5 changes to __ry. yaryibye (ya-ri-ibye) – he stole it (franc)

6) The object pronoun for “me” n changes to ny before a vowel: anyerereka (a-n-ereka) – he shows me.

  1. b) The future of vowel-stem verbs with a pronoun object: when a pronoun object is inserted it follows -za-, and makes whatever changes are necessary according to the above rules.

Thus: nzacyibuka – I will remember it, nzabereka – I will show them, nzakwereka – I will show you.

  1. If an indirect object and a direct object come in the same verb, the direct prercedes the indirect. e.g. Did you give Tom the book? I gave it to him: Wahaye Toma igitabo? Nakimuhaye.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Turakwinginga kudufasha mu mirimo yacu. 2. Mfite ibitabo byawej nzabiguha ejo. J. Ijwi ry’Imana ryanyeretse inzira y’agakiza; naryumvise. 4. Umukobwa yanika imyenda mu gitondo; ni mugoroba arayanura. 5. Imana ifite ubushobozi bwinshi; ni byiza kuyubaha. 6. Mwaduhaye imirimo myinshi, ariko twayemeye. 7. Wavuze amazina yose? Yee, nayavuze kandi nayanditse. 8. Ndabona imvura. Mbese imyenda iri hanze? Yee, ndayaanura vuba. 9. Umwigisha wawe yakwigishije byinshi. Mbese uzabyibuka? 10. Dufite udusahane twiza. Watwogeje neza?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Where are my two sheep? The dog is killing them. 2. I forgot to bring the book today, but I will remember it tomorrow. 3. The old man has done (worked) many sins, but he is confessing them. 4. The teacher wants medicine; the doctor will give it to him in the evening. 5. Where are the good peas? A thief stole them. 6. The people respected him (the teacher) because he taught them well. 7. Did you take the key to the mason? No, I forgot it. 8. Has John seen your garden? Yes, I showed it to him. 9. Did you put the wood out in the sun? I put it out yesterday morning. 10. Where are my new ropes? Thieves stole them.



LESSON 60. Review

  1. Give the ordinary past of the following verbs, using a 3rd class singular subject. Then translate the forms you have written.
1. kwigisha 6. gukurikira 11. kuva 16. gutaha
2. kubona 7. kubaza 12. kwinginga 17. guha
3. kubanguka 8. gufata 13. guteka 18. kubeshya
4. kurangiza 9. kuza 14. kwihana 19. gusenga
5. kwinjira 10. kurira 15. kurushya 20. gupfa
  1. Write in Kinyarwanda: (Do not translate the words in parentheses)
1. The cows drank. 14. The goat slept.
2. The boy washed them (clothes). 15. I gave it (cat) the meat.
3. Jesus saved me. 16. The bee stayed in the house.
4. I gave it (key) to her. 17. The child found it (franc).
5. She cooked them (corn). 18. Thieves stole it (board) from him.
6. The animal ate them (peas). 19. They washed them (plates).
7. The sheep died. 20. Jiggers were in his feet.
8. We saw it (bed). 21. Did you wash them (feet)?
9. The young girls sang. 22. Sinners repented (of) them (sins).
10. The pupils learned them(words). 23. They gave them (gardens) to us.
11. The trees fell. 24. The plants died.
12. We saw them (trees). 25. We heard it (voice).
13. We reverence Him (God).

III. Give the ordinary past of kugira showing agreement with all classes singular and plural.

  1. Using the first person singular as subject, give the ordinary past of guha, inserting the object pronoun for each class, singular and plural.









LESSON 61. Ordinal Numerals; -ombi


icyayi (no pl.) – tea (4th cl.) ikawa (3rd cl.) – coffee, coffee trees
nyuma (or, hanyuma) – afterward, later inanasi (3rd cl.) – pineapple
ikirayi – white potato inyanya (or, urunyanya) – tomato
igikombe – cup
  1. The ordinal numerals (i.e. first, second, etc.) are formed by the possessive particle followed by the ka- form of the numeral, for numbers from 2 to 7; for 8 to 10 use the invariable form of the numeral; “first” is the possessive particle followed by mbere. Note that the noun and possessive particle are in the singular, and that the possessive particle agrees with the noun.

umuntu wa mbere – the first person

urupapuro rwa kabiri – the second paper (or, page)

inzu ya gatatu – the 3rd house

ubwato bwa kane – the 4th boat

ishuri rya gatanu – the 5th school

umusozi wa gatandatu – the 6th hill

akantu ka karindwi – the 7th little thing

urubaho rwa munani – the 8th board

ukwezi kwacyenda – the 9th month

igiti cya cumi – the 10th tree

inanasi yacumi na rimwe – the 11th pineapple (note rimwe, not mbere)

For numbers from 12th upward, the last part of the number usually makes the plural accord. However, you will often hear it with the ka- form.

igitabo cya cumi na bitatu (or, gatatu) – the 13th book

urupapuro rwa makumyabiri n’eshanu (or, na gatanu) – the 25th page

  1. The “last” of anything is nyuma or imperuka preceded by the posssessive particle. In a line of people the last one is: umuntu wa nyuma or, umuntu w’imperuka.
  2. Numeral adverb. You have already learned that when counting with no object involved you say: rimwe, kabiri, etc. This same form is used for “once”, “twice”, etc. Also for “three times”, etc. e.g. Yasomye kabiri – he read twice.

Using this same prefix ka- , kenshi means “many times”, thus, “often”. Kangahe? means “how many times? e.g, Yaje hano kangahe? Yaje kenshi – How many times did he come here? He came often.

124 -ombi, both. When one wishes to say “my two eyes”, he must say: amaso yanjye yombi, that is, “both my eyes”. To use abiri here would imply that he had more than two eyes. This word may be used just as we use “both”, and must be used in referring to two of anything when that is all there is of it. Speaking of two people when only two are being considered, one would say bombi. “Both of you” is mwembi; “both of us” is twembi. For other class agreements use -ombi with the consonants of the possessive particles as prefixes.


Translate into Kinyarwanda:


  1. The 4th sheep
  2. The 16th boy
  3. The last paper
  4. The 3rd shepherd
  5. The 57th song
  6. My two ears
  7. The 29th egg
  8. The 18th letter
  9. The first house
  10. The 2nd river
  11. Five times
  12. The 24th man
  13. The 43rd tree
  14. The 10th string
  15. The 5th pineapple
  16. The 12th potato
  17. The 4th cup of coffee
  18. The 27th tomato
  19. The last woman
  20. How many times?




Lesson 62. Months, Days of Week, Telling Time.


igice – part, half, chapter ino – here
kurara (ye) – to spend the night, lodge icyumweru 4th cl. – week
isaha (or isaa, saa) (3rd-5th) – hour, clock iminota (iminuta) (2nd) – minute
itarike (3rd-5th) – date umushyitsi – guest, visitor
gusiba (bye) – to be absent, omit, kumara (ze) – to stay, spend (length of time), finish (tr.)
gusiba (bye) – to erase (short i)
  1. Months. This is formed by the word for “month” with the ordinal numeral.
Nukwezi kwa mbere – January ukwezi kwa cyenda (or, kw’icyenda) – September
ukwezi kwa kabiri – February ukwezi kwa cumi (or, kw’icumi) – October
ukwezi kwa karindwi – July ukwezi kwa cumi na kumwe (or, na rimwe) – November
ukwezi k’umunani – August ukwezi kwa cumi n’abiri (or, na kabiri) – December

There are other Kinyarwanda names for the months, which you can find in a dictionary or on a calendar. You should try to learn them as well, as they are used a great deal. Dates are usually given like this:

itariki ya makumyabiri na gatatu y’ukwezi kwa kane – April 23 or, ku itariki ya … (on such and such a date).

To ask: What date? one says: ku itariki ya kangahe?
What month? mu kwezi kwa kangahe?
What day? ku wa kangahe?
  1. The days of the week are formed in the same way, using the agreement for “day”,. Note that Sunday is different:

ku cyumweru – Sunday

ku wa mbere – Monday

ku wa kabiri – Tuesday

ku wa gatatu – Wednesday etc.

  1. Telling Time. In Kinyarwanda they have names for the various times of the day; such as, “the time when the birds begin to sing,” “the time when the cows go to pasture,” etc. But for common use the Swahili word for “hour” (saa, or,isaa) is used. However, it is to be remembered that the day begins with daylight, rather than at midnight. Also, usually the Swahili numerals are used as well. A helpful clue to figuring the hour is that if by English time the number of the hour is 6 or less, add 6 to it; if the number is 7 or more, subtract 6 from it, Thus, 6:00 (English) (6 + 6 = 12) is: saa cumi n’ebyiri. 4:00 (English) (4 + 6 = 10) saa kumi.
7:00 – saa moya 1:00 – saa saba
8:00 – saa mbili 2:00 – saa munani (or, saa nani)
9:00 – saa tatu 3:00 – saa cyenda
10:00 – saa ine 4:00 – saa kumi
11:00 – saa tanu 5:00 – saa kumi n’imwe (or, na moya)
12:00 – saa sita 6:00 – saa kumi n’ebyiri (or, na mbili)

In some areas they prefer the Kinyarwanda form to the Swahili, thus: 7:00 – isha imwe 8:00 – isaha ebyiri

Observe that in those cases the agreement of the numeral is 3rd cl. plural.

When the word isaha is used for”hours” (duration) or for “clocks”, the regular Kinyarwanda words are used, with 3rd class singular, 5th plural. 9:00 – saa tatu, three hours – amasaha atatu, three clocks – amasaha atatu

If you wish to indicate that the time is at night, you could say: saa ine za nijoro – 10:00 at night (or, saa ine ya nijoro).

For the fractions of hours, see the following:

9:10 – saa tatu n’iminota cumi, 9:10 – saa tatu n’igice

9:50 – saa ine ibuze iminota cumi (i.e. 10:00 lacking ten minutes).


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Abashyitsi bazaza ino mu kwezi k’umunani. 2. Waraye he ku wa kane? 3. Nari ahandi ibyumweru bitatu, nyamara nagarutse ku wa mbere. 4. Wasibye mu ishuri ku wa kabiri. Wari he? 5. Abandi bazungu bazaza mu Rwanda mu kwezi kwa gatandatu. 6. Ku itariki ya makumyabiri na karindwi y’ukwezi kwa cyenda tuzasubira mu ishuri. 7. Muzatangira imirimo saa mbili ibuze iminota cumi n’itanu. 8. Abashyitsi bacu bamaze ino igice cy’ukwezi. 9. Abakozi batashye saa kumi n’ebyiri za nimugoroba. 10. Abajura batwibye ku itariki ya cumi n’icyenda mu kwezi kwa karindwi. Hari ku munsi wa gatandatu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Did you come to church Sunday? I didn’t see you. 2. The pupils will return to school in October. 3. Four guests came Thursday and stayed five days. 4. On the 14th day of January we went to see the doctor, but he was not at home. 5. We wanted to go to Butare Wednesday, but rain fell the whole day. We will go tomorrow at 8:00. 6. On Sunday they start to sing at 9:30. 7. My friends are coming at 10:00 at night. 8. You (pl.) were absent a whole week in March. How many days did you spend at Kigali? 9. It is 2:15. Go to school quickly. 10. The masons worked six hours on Friday.



LESSON 63. Some Household Terms


indobo – pail imbugita (or, icyuma) – knife
ifura (or, iziko) – stove, fireplace ikanya (5th) – fork
ikiyiko – spoon akayiko – teaspoon
isukari (Jrd) – sugar imiteja – green beans
imboga – leafy vegetable urusenda – pepper
ingano – wheat gutonora (ye) – to peel, shell, husk
guhata (se) – to peel with knife gusuka (tse) – to pour, (into something)
kwatsa (akije) – to blow the fire kubaga (ze) – to butcher, dress an animal
kubiza (jije) – to boil (tr.) kubira (ze) – to boil (int.)
kuvanga (nze) – to stir, mix gukaranga (nze) – to fry
gusya (seye) – to grind gucagagura (ye) – to chop up
  1. These are only a few of the terms one needs. You can easily learn many others from the Africans. Necessarily, many of these terms come from Swahili, or English, or French, because many of these things did not exist in the country until Europeans brought them.

For “to set the table” one says: Tegura ameza – prepare the table. For “to clear the table”: Kura ibintu ku meza – take the things from the table.

Note: kubira and kubiza: One would say: Biza amazi – boil the water, but Amazi arabira – the water is boiling,


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Teka imiteja n’ibirayi ku ziko. 2. Baga inkoko ebyiri, kuko abashyitsi baraza nimugoroba 3. Mena amazi mabi; shaka andi meza. 4. Karanga inyama mu mavuta menshi. 5. Ngwino gusya inanasi. Shyira isukari nke mu nanasi. 6. Abakobwa baracagagura imiteja, bayishyira mu ndobo. 7. Ndashaka ko muhata ibirayi byinshi, kandi ko mutonora ibigori bike. 8. Umuboyi (houseboy) aravanga ifu n’umunyu n’amata n’amagi. 9. Dufite abashyitsi batatu. Tegura ameza vuba. Shyira ku meza imbugita n’amakanya n’utuyiko n’amasahane n’ibikombe. 10. Kariya yagiye mu murima kuzana imboga n’inyanya.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Cook the sweet potatoes on the stove. 2. I boiled much clean water, but now it is dirty. 3. I want sugar and milk in my coffee. 4. He poured out the good milk but he put away the bad milk. 5. There is only a little (few) fire; put more wood in the fire; blow it (fire). 6. Did you (s.) put salt and pepper in the meat? I want to fry it. 7. Put a tablespoon of sugar in the tea; then (maze) we will pour it into the cups. 8. The wheat was in a bucket (pail), but the girls are putting it out in the sun. 9. We have finished eating (= to eat); clear the table. I will put away the food. 10. I want to grind the wheat. Where did you put it?



LESSON 64. Stative Voice


kunezerwa (nezerewe) – to be happy kurwara (ye) – to be sick, ill
gukomera (ye) – to be strong kumera (ze) neza – to be well
gusonza (shonje) – to be hungry gukonja (nje) – to be cold, wet, damp
  1. Stative Voice. In Kinyarwanda, words that express a condition or state of being, or bodily or mental attitude, are used in the stative voice which means that the prefix is in the -ra- present, but the suffix is past. This applies to present time. For past and future time these verbs are formed like any others (or by compound tenses which are not taught in this book). In the negative and in dependent clauses the -ra- drops out; it also drops out when an object or phrase (other than the infinitive) follows the verb in the same clause. e.g. arwaye malaria – he’s ill with malaria.
ndarwaye – I am ill ndanezerewe – I am happy
ndicaye – I am sitting down ndizeye – I trust, am trusting

For habitual present of these verbs the regular prefixless present is used. e.g. Arwara iminsi vose – he is ill every day (or, always)

Note: When a part of the body is the object of a verb, but the owner of the part is not the same person as the subject of the verb, use the proper object pronoun in the verb instead of the possessive adjective. e.g. Yamfashe ukuboko – he seized my arm.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ndanezerewe cyane kuko Yesu yambabariye ibyaha byanjye kandi yanyogeje umutima. 2. Umwana w’impumyi ararwye cyane. Baramujyana kwa muganga. 3. Ntitwariye uyu munsi; turashonje cyane. 4. Cana umuriro mwinshi; ndakonje. 5. Umuhungu yarwaye mu gitondo ariko ubu arameze neza. 6. Abana baranezerewe kuko babonye imyenda mishya. 7. Abigishwa bemeye gufasha ababyeyi babo mu mirima. 8. Inzira iraruhije ariko ndagira ngo turahagera vuba. 9. Inzu yacu nshya irakomeye cyane kandi ni nini. 10. Umunyabyaha arizeye Yesu; nuko arakizwa ibyiha bye. (nuko = so)
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The children want a lot of food. They are very hungry. 2. Two girls were absent today because they are sick. 3. I trust Jesus because He saved me. 4. I heard that you were sick. Are you well now? Yes, I am very well and I have peace in my heart. 5. The teachers are willing to work hard to help their people to be saved. 6. The shepherd’s dog is dying; the doctor can’t treat it. 7. The clothes are wet; I’ll put them out in the sun. Remember to bring them in (this) evening. 8. My rope is very strong. I bought it yesterday. 9. Mary’s baby (infant) is always sick. The doctor is treating it. 10. We are very happy to see you (pl.). We haven’t seen you (for) years.



LESSON 65. -o with the infinitive


urukero – saw inyundo – hammer
umusumari – nail, straight pin itafari (or, idafari) – brick (5th)
itegura (5th) – tile for roof incabiti, ishoka, indyankwi – axe
gusakara (ye) – to roof, put on roof gusenya (nye) – to tear down
umucanga – sand, gravel umusenyi – sand
kubumba (mbye) – to mold (bricks, pottery) gukeba (bye) – to cut meat, cloth paper
gusatura (ye) – to cut lengthwise guca (ciye) – to cut (tree, string cut in chunks
kubaza (jye) – to plane (boards), do wood carving kwasa (shije) – to split wood
  1. Note the construction in the following phrases:

umucanga wo kwubaka – sand for building

imbaraga zo gutsinda Satani – strength to defeat Satan

amategura yo gusakara – tiles to make a roof, or, for roofing

In all of these examples you notice that the verb is explaining the work or use of the thing named. But in Kinyarwanda the simple infinitive is not sufficient as in English for this construction. You must use this little particle which is the possessive particle with a changed to o. Remember that whenever you wish to use a noun followed by an infinitive explaining the use of the object you must use this particle in agreement with the noun. This may also be translated: “for using” as “for building” (above) instead of “to build.” Note these examples:

Ndashaka umuntu wo kujya i Kigmi – I want a man to go to Kigali (purpose).

Yasabye umugabo kugenda – he asked the man to go (no particle needed).


  1. Translate into Sngl ish:
  2. Uyu munsi abafundi babumbye amatafari magana atanu. 2. Ohereza abaagabo bo kuzana umucanga mwiza; ndawushaka. J. Zana inyundo yo gushimangira (pound) imiswnari. 4. Senya inzu; mwubatse nabi. 5. Imana yaduhaye imbaraga zo gutsinda Satani. 6. Ndashaka imbugita yo guhata ibirayi. 7. Ntidufite uburyo bwo kuza iwanyu. 8. Umukozi arashaka icywna cyo kubaza. 9. Ndashaka ibitoke byo kurya. Mbese murabifite? 10. Ku cyumweru ni umunsi wo gusenga.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. I want four hoes to cultivate (with) in the bananas. 2. Bring all the tools for cutting trees. 3. Look for a man to put a roof on the house. 4. The workers have many nails to put in the boards. 5. We want two other workers to plane boards; one is sick. 6. Where is your axe for splitting wood? 7. Find (look for) a pencil for writing the names of the pupils. 8. Bring a cloth to put on the table. 9. We have thirteen pieces of paper (= 13 papers) to sell. 10. The children don’t have books to read.



LESSON 66. Imperatives with the Subjunctive


gutegereza (je) – to wait, wait for guhamagar~ (ye) – to call
kubwira (ye) – to tell gusa – only (this is the adverb derived from adj. -sa.)
  1. In Lesson 22 you learned the simple singular imperative. For the plural imperative the personal prefix mu- is used, and the final a of the stem is changed to e. e.g. mugende – go (pl.), mukore – work.
  2. You will remember that, as given in par. 37, the singular imperative is just the stem of the verb. However, whenever an object pronoun occurs in the verb (imperative), except that of the first person singular, the final a of the verb must change to e. e.g. Mpa igitabo – give me the book; Muhe igitabo – give him the book; Duhe igitabo – give us the book; Yabumbe – mold them (bricks); Bizane – bring them (books).
  3. Subjunctive. All these imperative forms which end in e are in reality in the subjunctive mood, about which you will learn more in the next lesson.

The singular imperative may also be used in the subjunctive: ukore neza – work well, uzane imbaho – bring the boards, wandike amazina – write the names.

Usually the simple form (not SUbjunctive) means “do it right now”, but the imperative using the subjunctive may mean “do it any time today”. Genda – go (now), Ugende – go (any time today)

However, the subjunctive form must be used for the second of two commands e.g. Zana ibijumba ubiteke – Bring the sweet potatoes and cook them. Genda ushake isuka – Go and look for a hoe.

Observe that no word is used for “and” for joining the two commands.

Note: If the first imperative verb is affirmative, the second will be subjunctive, but if the first is negative the second will often be the infinitive. e.g. Subira ubikore – do it again; Ntusubire kubikora – don’t do it again. Bwira Yohana aze – tell John to come; Ntubwire Yohana kuza – don’t tell John to come.

Note 2: Often the imperative is prefixed by ni-, especially in the plural. This does not particularly change the meaning. Nimugende – go (pl.) Nuze – come (s.)


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Mubwire umugabo aze hano uyu munsi. 2. Injangwe irashonje; yihe inyama nke. 3. Mutegereze ibitabo byanyu; ndabibaha vuba. 4. Abakobwa baje; babwire gushaka andi masuka abiri gusa. 5. Abakozi bagiye; bahamagare vuba; ndabashaka. 6. Mubaze imbaho, kuko tuzatangira kwubakaivuba. 7. Hari amatafari menshi mu kabande; muyazane hano yose. 8. Mu ishuri ni habi cyane; hakubure vuba. 9. Abana bagiye kure; genda ubabwire kugaruka kuko bwije. 10. Nabahaye imirimo mike; muyirangize mu gitondo, nyuma ndabaha indi.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Where is your pencil? Bring it to school. 2. Bring all the books; put them away in the large box. 3. Come back here (pl.). Help the boys hoe in the garden. 4. Go, wash your hands well (pl.); now set the table. 5. You have the names of all the pupils; write them in the book. 6. I can’t find (= see) my goats; look for them and bring them here. 7. We have only a few bricks; mold (pl.) some more today. 8. Learn well now (pI.) because later you will want to know much wisdom. 9. First (= begin by) (pI.) wash the dishes; afterward work outside. 10. The hammer and nails and saw are here: take them to the skilled workman.



LESSON 67. Subjunctive


itara (5th) – lamp itabaza (5th) – lantern, small lamp
igikoni – kitchen ururabyo – flower
umutego – trap rwagakoco (3rd) – small trap
icyumba (4th) – room (in house) kwitonda (nze) – to be careful
  1. a) As in other languages the subjunctive is used in expressions such as “let us”, “let him”, etc. (not “let” in the sense of “permit”, but as we say “let’s go”, etc.) In the 3rd person it has the idea of “have him do”, or “he may do”.

tugende – let’s go akore – let him work, have him work, he may work

batangire kuririmba – have them begin to sing

Bakore iki ubu? Bahinge mu murima wanjye. – What shall they do now? Have them hoe in my garden.

Any of these forms, except the question, may be preceded by ni- without changing the meaning. e.g. nitugende, naze.

  1. b) The negative imperative is:
ntugende – don’t go ntitugende – let’s not go
ntagende – have him not go ntimugende – don’t go
ntibagende – have them not go
  1. Subjunctive with kugira ngo. In Lesson 50 you learned that kugira ngo may mean “in order that” or “so that”. When so used in the affirmative it must be followed by the subjunctive: e.g. Araza kugira ngo yige – he is coming so that he may learn.

Sometimes kugira ngo is shortened to ngo. When kugira ngo means “to think” or “suppose” it does not take the subjunctive.

When kugira ngo means “so that” and the word following is in the negative, the subjunctive is not usually used, but rather the dependent negative form as taught in par. 186. e.g. Yirutse kugira ngo adafatwa – He ran so he wouldn’t be caught. Yasabye umuti kugira ngo atarwara – he asked for medicine so he wouldn’t get sick. –


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Zana itara uricane. 2. Mwarangije imirimo yose (insert “which”) nabanaye; nimutahe. 3. Simfite amasuka; yashake uyazane. 4. Abigishwa bajye he? Bajye mu murima kugira ngo bahinge. 5. Mesa imyenda uyanike vuba. 6. Ntushyire rwagakoco yo gufata imbeba mu gikoni. 7. Ntutahe ubu kuko mfite indi mirimo yo kuguha. 8. Abana ntibajyane amatafari ku ishuri. 9. Mbese wahamagaye umuntu wo kujya i Kigali? Ntagende ubu, azagende ejo. 10. Witonde kugira ngo rwagakoco itagufata u.rutoke.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Let the visitor spend the night here; it is getting dark; he cannot go home now. 2. Let us learn well because we want to get much wisdom. 3. Wash all the dishes and put them away. 4. The pupils are outside; call them; have them come in now. 5. I want a light; look for it and bring it here. 6. Go home (pl.) and find (look for) your francs and bring them. 7. What shall Mary do now? Have her boil water to drink. 8. Don’t take the flowers into the kitchen. Take them into the other room. 9. Let’s not refuse to help our friends, because they have lots of work. 10. Don’t (pl.) bathe in the river because the water is dirty. 11. Don’t put the potatoes out in the sun again. Put them away in the house. 12. Don’t have the workmen tear down the house; it is strong.



LESSON 68. How to say “Stop” and “Wait”


gutwara (ye) – to carry, take (away) kureka (tse) – to stop (int.)
kurekera aho – to stop (int.) kubuza (jije) – to hinder, prevent, stop (tr.)
guhaguruka (tse) – to stand up guhagarara (hagaze) – to stand, stop (int.), wait
guhagarika (tse) – to stop (tr.) (something moving as car, person)
  1. a) Observe these uses of “stop”.

1) (Someone is going away) Stop, I want to tell you something – Hagarara (or, Buretse) ndashaka kukubwira ijambo. (B’uretse is just “Stop.”)

2) Stop writing on the slate – Reka (or, rekera aho) kwandika ku rubaho.

3) The child is going into the water, stop him – Umwana agiye mu mazi. Mubuze! Stop the child from going into the water – Buza umwana kujya mu mazi (or, ngo ntajye mu mazi).

4) Stop the car, I want to get out – Hagarika imodoka, ndashaka kuyivamo.

In (1) the word “stop” is by itself, and means only to cease going away with the idea of “wait” or “wait a minute”.

In (2) “stop” means to stop any kind of action that is already begun.

In (3) the idea is to “stop” or hinder, prevent, someone else from what he is doing.

In (4) the idea is to “stop” someone or something from going.

Note regarding -reka: If the subject of -reka is the same as the one who is. doing the action, it means “stop”. (In this case it may also be -rekero aho). e.g. Reka kwandika (or Rekera aho kwandika) – Stop writing (The one who is to stop is the one who is writing.)

If the subject of -reka is not the same as the one who is doing the action, it means “allow” -(e.g. Umureke agende – allow him to go.)

  1. b) -tegereza and -hagarara, meaning “wait”.

Wait for me -ntegereza (or, untegereze).

Wait, I want to give you something – Hagarara, ndashaka kuguha ikintu. If you state whom one waits for, use -tegereza.

  1. c) Guharuruka and guhagarara, meaning “to stand”:

The act of coming to a standing position is: guhaguruka. Referring to the duration of standing, use: guhagarara. Let’s stand and sing – Duhaguruke turirimbe. We stood for two hours – Twahagaze amasaha abiri.

  1. Object pronoun: -ha-. In par. 66 you learned the use of birahari. This particle is often inserted in forms of the verb “to be”, and sometimes in other verbs as well, to mean “there” or “here”. You hear it most often if someone comes to the door and asks: Mbese muganga arahari? The reply: Yee, arahari. – Is the doctor here? Yes, he’s here.

In the past, when -ha- is inserted in a form of -ri, the verb is repeated. Observe: Wari uhari ejo? Yee, nari mpari – Were you here yesterday? Yes, I was here.

Note this other use: Washyize umusumeno hasi? Narawuhashyize. – Did you put the saw on the floor? I put it there.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Duhaguruke twese, dusenge. 2. Abakozi bareke gusenya inzu. 3. Bareke kwasa inkwi, sinshaka izindi. 4. Muhagarare; mfite ibitabo nshaka kubaha kugira ngo mubijyane ku mwigisha. 5. Umwana afite imbugita; mubuze gukeba igitambaro. 6. Inshuti zawe ziri mu nzu? Yee, zirahari. Uziihamagare. 7. Ntimutware indabyo zose, zihagume. 8. Wajyanye amatara hanze? Yee, nayahashyize kuko nshaka kuyoza. 9. Abigishwa barahari? Bahamagare, ntibagume hanze. 10. Yohana nagende vuba kugira ngo afashe inshuti ze.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Stop. (s.) Don’t go home now. There is work to do. 2. Wait (pl.) for the girls; they are coming. 3. Light a lamp so that we may see to read. 4. Stop the children from going (to go) to the river. 5. Stop the doctor. I want to show him my child. 6. Were you in school yesterday? Yes, we were here. 7. Were your parents in church yesterday? Yes, they were there. 8. Put the trap on the floor in the house. I put it there this morning (in the morning). 9. Let us not wait for the others but let’s hurry. 10. Don’t leave stones in the path; we want to walk there.



LESSON 69. Possessive Particle with a changed to o


ishami – branch igitaka (or, ubutaka) – soil, earth
gutema (mye) – to cut (grass, plants, trees) kwitema (mye) – to cut oneself (as finger, nitemye urutoke)
ishyamba (5th) – forest, brushy place ikibabi – leaf
ubwatsi – grass (tall, for building) ibyatsi – grass (any kind)
ibyatsi bibi – weeds
  1. The possessive particle, wa, ba, etc., and the word na change their a to o before infinitives and before mu and ku.

e.g. kurya no kunywa – to eat and drink

ku meza no ku ntebe – on the table and on the chair

mu ishuri no mu rusengero – in the school and in the church

igitabo cyo gusoma – a book to read

  1. The possessive particle, as wa, ba, ya, etc. sometimes becomes wo, bo, yo, etc. as seen in par. 130. The idea of the particle wa, etc. is possession. But there are some instances in English where we use the possessive “of” when really the thought of place is intended; e.g. we say “the trees of the forest” when we mean “in the forest”. In those instances the forms wo, yo, etc. are used, followed by mu or ku:

e.g. ibiti byo mu ishyamba – the trees of the forest

umusatsi wo ku mutwe – the hair of the head

ibibabi byo ku mashami – the leaves of the branches

A part of a thing may not possess. Thus, one would say, “ibibabi byo ku mashami”, and “ibibabi by’igiti” because the tree is the whole thing, and thus the plain possessive may be used.

  1. On the other hand, when in English we would use only “in” or “on” to connect two nouns, in Kinyarwanda the form wo, yo, etc. must be used as well as mu or ku, when a prepositional phrase modifies a noun. e.g. The trees on the hill – ibiti byo ku musozi, the pages in the book – impapuro zo mu gitabo.

In this use one could also say, “ibibabi byo ku giti” when the emphasis is on location. Note the difference here:

Put the book on the table – shyira igitabo ku meza (ku meza modifies shyira)

The book on the table is good – igitabo cyo ku meza ni cyiza (ku meza modifies igitabo).


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ukubure neza mu nzu no mu rusengero. 2. Inyamaswa zo mu ishyamba ni mbi, kandi ni nyinshi cyane. 3. Abagabo bagiye gushaka ubwatsi bwo gusakara inzu. 4. Abantu batemye ubwatsi bwose bwo ku musozi. 5. Tugende guhinga no gutema ibyatsi. 6. Unyereke imbuto zo murima. 7. Hari ibyatsi, bibi byinshi mu mirima no mu nzira. 8. Tuzatangira kwubaka vuba; turashaka umucanga mwiza wo mu ruzi. 9. Imana ikuhda cyane umuntu wese wo mu bwami bwayo (his). 10. Mugende mushake imbuto zo ku biti.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The soil in the garden is not good. 2. The leaves on the trees are beginning to fall. 3. We want to sing and to pray in the church. 4. The bricks of the house are not strong. 5. Cut (pl.) all the grass in the garden. I don’t want it. 6. The flowers on the hills are beautiful; let’s go get (look for) some (them). 7. The weeds in the garden will kill the plants. 8. The hair on the sheep’s skin is long. 9. The pages of the book are very dirty; let’s be careful in reading them. 10. The words in God’s book are wonderful; let’s read them every day.



LESSON 70. Review

  1. Questions:
  1. How do the ordinal numerals differ from the cardinals in Kinyarwanda?
  2. What kind of verbs are in the stative voice?
  3. How is the stative formed? Give an example.
  4. When does na become no (2 instances)?
  5. When does the possessive particle wa, etc. change to wo, etc. (3 instances)
  6. How is the plural imperative formed? Give an example.
  7. How is the subjunctive formed? Give an example.
  8. How is the negative imperative formed? Give an example.
  9. How are the names of the months formed?
  10. How are the days of the week formed?
  11. Distinguish (by giving examples other than those used in the lesson) between: a) the 4 words used for “to stop”; b) the 2 words used for “to wait”; c) the 2 ways of saying “to stand”.


  1. Write in Kinyarwanda the names of all the months.
  2. Write in Kinyarwanda the names of the days ‘of the week.

III. Translate into Kinyarwanda:

  1. Don’t go (pl.) to the valley to cut grass for putting on a roof.
  2. Bring (s.) green beans and tomatoes, and cook them.
  3. I will punish you (s.) because you were absent four days.
  4. I told you to put the new books on the table. Where are they? I put them there.
  5. The fundis want tools to plane boards.
  6. The grass in the garden is very tall, cut it.
  7. The last page in your book is very dirty.
  8. Go, both of you, to work in your gardens.
  9. The children are very cold; they have no clothes; give them (clothes) to them.
  10. We are very happy because Jesus saved us and gave us new hearts; we praise Him.
  11. How many times did you (s) bring beans to sell? I brought them three times.
  12. The men often go to Butare to look for work.
  13. The old man is sick (in) both his legs.
  14. The guests will go home Friday afternoon.
  15. The children came at 7:00 this morning. Give them their francs now.
  16. On Sunday we like to sing and worship.
  17. The thief came in the night so that he might find an opportunity to steal.
  18. The cows are going into the garden; stop them from eating (to eat) the corn.
  19. Two boys were bad (did badly) in school; the teacher punished them; they stood for two hours.
  20. Cut all the weeds in the garden.































LESSON 71. Far Past Tense


umugani – parable, proverb ingeso – custom, habit
urugendo- journey guca (ciye) umugani – to tell a proverb, parable
gutinda (nze) – to be late gutegura (ye) – to prepare
gutekereza (je) – to think, think about
  1. You learned that the ordinary past tense is used in speaking of that which has been done today. For more distant time, yesterday or before, use the far past tense, of which the tense sign is -ara-. Thus, there is: personal prefix, tense sign -ara- , past stem: tw-ara-koze: we worked. ya-ara-giye – he went away.

1) Note the conjugation when nothing follows the verb within the clause except cyane or ati:

narakoze – I worked twarakaze – we worked
warakoze – you worked mwarakoze – you worked
yarakoze – he, she worked barakoze – they worked

In the singular, the first a of -ara- is short, in the plural it is long. Both are high tones. Remember that for past time today the tones are low. Vowel-stem verbs follow the regular rule: naribagiwe – I forgot; waribagiwe – you forgot; yaribagiwe – he forgot, etc.

2) If something follows the verb, within the clause, the -ra is dropped (but -a- retained), giving the appearance of the ordinary past, but the tone is high instead of low.

nakoze twakoze
wakoze mwakoze
yakoze bakoze

Note the short a in the singular, but long in the plural.

3) In dependent clauses and in the negative, though the time is far distant, the -ra- is omitted. However, the tone distinctions remain the same.

Note: You will hear and see exceptions to rule 2) and 3).


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Yesu yaciye imigani myinshi, kandi abantu benshi baramukurikiye. 2. Umugabo yagize ingeso mbi cyane, nyamara nyuma yaraziretse. 3. Twateguye neza ibintu byacu byose. 4.Nagiye mu kindi gihugu mu kwezi kwa gatanu. 5. Abahungu batinze kenshi mu ishuri kuko bavuye kure. 6. Ejo twarabategereje, ariko ntimwaje. Yee, twaribagiwe. 7. Abana batwinginze ngo tubajyane, kandi twarabyemeye. 8. Umubyeyi wanjye yambwiye kwasa inkwi, kandi narabikoze. 9. Utegure ameza neza, kuko dufite abashyitsi kandi bavuye kure. 10. Umwigisha afite ingeso yo guca imigani iminsi yose.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The people heard the Gospel; they thought about it much (add -ho to end of verb). 2. The boys prepared much food because they went on a long journney. 3. The workmen carried large boxes on their heads. 4. I waited a whole day to see the European. 5. The old man told many proverbs to teach the young men. 6. Didn’t you go to help build the church? Yes, we went. 7. The girls prepared their clothes nicely because they wanted to go to school. 8. Did you (pl.) hear that thieves stole the rich man’s cows? What did you think about it? (add -ho to end of verb). 9. We were late to arrive there, but we wanted to enter in order to see the leaders (important men). 10. The pastor (umupasitori) spoke very good words; afterward many sinners were saved.



LESSON 72. Negative of Far Fast


impamba – food for a journey kwiruka (tse) – to run, run away
kera – long ago, long time in future kuremba (mbye) – to be very ill (almost dying)
gutabara (ye) – to help, go to assistance of gushira (ze) – to finish (int.), be all gone, end (int.)

Note: gushira is common in expressions like: mu cyumweru gishize – last week; mu kwezi gushize – last month; ifu irashize – the flour is all gone. “Next week” is: mu cyumweru gitaha.

  1. For the negative of the far past, -ra- is dropped, making it resemble the ordinary past but the tone remains high: sinagiye, ntiwagiye, etc.
  2. Sentence order. You learned that when both an indirect object pronoun and a direct one come in the same verb, the direct precedes the indirect. However, when both a direct and an indirect object follow the verb, the indirect is usually first, unless it is a long phrase; in which case, if the direct object is but one word, it will come first. e.g. Nahaye Petero igitabo – I gave Peter a book. Nahaye igitabo umwana wa Petero – I gave Peter’s child a book.
  3. Ejobundi. This means “day before yesterday” or “day after tomorrow”. e.g. Yagiye ejobundi – he went day before yesterday. Azagenda ejobundi – he will go day after tomorrow.
  4. The stative of gupfa is often used when a person is not actually dead, but is very ill (sometimes when he is not even very ill). e.g. Arapfuye (lit.) he is dying (but actually “he is very ill”). Sometimes they use ararembye in the same way – “he is about to die”. However, when they say, “Yarapfuye” or “Yapfuye”, they usually mean that he is actually dead. Gupfa is sometimes used of things that no longer function. e.g. Umupira wapfuye – the tin is flat. Imashini yarapfuye – the machine broke down.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Abantu ntibemeye kudufasha mu mirimo yacu. 2. Nagiye kure gusura umwungeri nyamara sinamubonye kuko yagiye ahandi. 3. Bashatse impamba z’iminsi itatu: ntibashatse gusonza. 4. Ejobundi umusaza yarapfuye. 5. Nahaye umuhungu igitabo n’ikaramu. 6. Mbese imbugita yanjye iri he? Nayiguhaye ejobundi. 7. Nahembye abakozi amafaranga menshi mu kwezi gushize. 8. Umwigisha yigishije byinshi abana t’abakozi. 9. Ntimwirutse vuba cyane, nuko mwaratinze. 10. Mu cyumweru gishize umuganga yavuyei abantu benshi indwara zabo.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The boys ran to school; they didn’t want to be late. 2. My food for the journey was all gone and I was hungry. 3. Long ago the people helped us to build the church. 4. Did you (pl.) give the children clothes? Yes, we gave them to them. 5. The woman is very sick (dying); have them take her to a doctor. 6. The day after tomorrow we will go to help (to the assistance of) the poor man. 7. Last month the “fundis” didn’t finish building our new house, but they worked very hard. 8. You have come very late (= you were late to come). Yes, the journey was very difficult for us. 9. The young lady lied to me, but I have forgiven her. 10. On our journey we saw many wild animals, and they didn’t run away.



LESSON 73. Father and Mother


data – my, our father so – your (s. and pl.) father
se – his, her, their father mama – my, our mother
nyoko – your (s. & pl.) mother nyina – his, her, their, mother
kworoherwa (hewe) – to get better
  1. You will note that there are three words for “father” and three for “moher”, depending on whose father or mother it is. The possessives are not often used with these words. Data in itself means “my father” (or, “our father”); nyoko alone means “your mother”, etc. Do not say data wanjye or mama wanjye. Data wacu is my, our paternal uncle, and mama wacu is my, our maternal aunt.

In the Lord’s prayer we say “Data wa twese”- Father of Us all, because to say Data wacu would be “my uncle” not “our father”.

  1. These words have first class agreements, even though they do not have the regular noun prefxes. To make any of these forms plural the prefix ba is used, but not attached, but still no possessive is used. e.g. Ba so – your fathers; ba nyina – their mothers.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Mama ararwaye cyane; tuzamujyana kwa muganga. 2. Nyina wa Rebeka yakoze cyane mu murima we. 3. Nyoko arorohewe ubu? Aratangiye kworoherwa buhoro, nyamara ntafi te imbaraga nyinshi. 4. Se wa Yosefu yaramufashije cyane; yamwuhaye inka n’ibindi bintu byinshi. 5. Data afite urugo rwiza, nyamara azajya ahandi vuba. 6. So yatashye ryari? Yatashye mu kwezi gushize ku itariki ya cumi n’icyenda. 7. Abigishwa bazahamagara ba se ngo baze ku ishuri ku munsi mukuru. 8. Ba nyina b’abakobwa babigisha guhinga no guteka. 9. Nyoko ariho? Oya, yapfuye mu mwaka ushize. 10. So na nyoko bari imuhira? Oya, bagiye gusura data wacu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Where is your father? He died long ago. 2. John’s mother came here day before yesterday, but I didn’t see her. 3. We saw your mother in church yesterday. 4. My father is waiting for us; let’s hurry. 5. Call Peter’s father; I want to give him work. 6. Our fathers work hard in order to give (that they may give) us food and clothing. 7. I want to go tell my mother that the doctor is here. 8. My father in heaven (ijuru) loves us all and wants to save us. 9. The children’s mother is cooking their food. 10. Tell your father that the workmen have finished molding (to mold) the bricks.



LESSON 74. Brother and Sister

(Vocabulary is included in the grammar.)

  1. In Kinyarwanda it is a bit complicated to say “brother” and “sister” for it depends on the age and sex of the parties involved.

1) A boy’s sister is mushiki (no initial vowel). It must be followed by the possessive: mushiki wanjye – my sister; mushiki wawe – your sister; mushiki we – his sister; mushiki wacu – our sister; mushiki wa Yohana – John’s sister. In the plural: bashiki banjye – my sisters, etc.

2) A girl’s brother is musaza, which follows the same rules as mushiki. Musaza wanjye – my brother; basaza babo – their brothers, etc.

3) A boy’s older brother is mukuru: mukuru wanjye, mukuru we, bakuru banjye, bakuru babo, etc.

4) A girl’s older sister is also mukuru, and is used exactly the same as for a boy’s older brother.

5) A boy’s younger brother is murumuna: murumuna wanjye – my younger brother; bamurumuna banjye – my younger brothers, etc.

6) A girl’s younger sister is also murumuna, and used in the same way as for younger brother.

7) Exactly the same terms are used for the children of one’s paternal uncle or maternal aunt, so one is never quite sure if two people are actually brothers and sisters, or only cousins. If necessary to distinguish them from true siblings, one says: e.g. mushiki wanjye kwa data wacu – my female cousin (daughter of my paternal uncle).

  1. If when seeing a boy and girl together, or two boys or two girls, you wish to ask, “Are you brother and sister?”, you would say, “Muva inda imwe?” (lit. did you come from the same stomach?)” Likewise I “we are brother and sister” is: Tuva inda imwe. Abavandimwe is siblings.


Translate into Kinyarwanda:

1. John’s younger brother 12. Elizabeth’s younger sister
2. My sister (I – a boy) I3. My older sister (I – girl)
3. Your older brother (you – boy) 14. My younger brother (I – boy)
4. His sisters 15. Your brother (you – girl)
5. Mary’s brother 16. Your younger sister (you – girl)
6. Ruth’s older sister 17. My younger sister (I – girl)
7. My brother (I – girl) 18. Your older sister (you – girl)
8. Your sister (you – boy) 19. Your brothers (you – girl)
9. His older brother 20. My sisters (I – boy)
10. Your younger brother (you – boy) 21. Her brothers
11. My older brother (I – boy) 22. Are you brothers?



LESSON 75. Immediate Past


inkuru – news kubakara (ye) – sad, to suffer, be sorry
kubabara (ye) (or, amakuru) – to be angry kuryama (mye) – to lie down, go to bed
kwitaba (bye) – to answer when called gucucuma (mye) – to mash
gukora (ze) umugati – to make, knead bread
  1. The immediate past tense is formed by the personal prefix + -ra- + the past stem, thus: a-ra-giye – he has gone (just now). The conjugation:
ndagiye – I have gone turagiye – we have gone
uragiye – you have gone muragiye – you have gone
aragiye – he, she has gone baragiye – they have gone

Note: In appearance this is just like the stative, but this tense is normally used for action verbs, while the stative is for a state of being,

  1. The use of this tense is to express that which has happened just now, or is about to happen in a moment. e.g. Aragiye – he has just now gone. Often it is used when he is just now doing it. You call a person and he answers, “Ndaje”, though he hasn’t started to move yet. He means, “I’m just coming”, though he says “I have come.”
  2. In the negative of this tense and in dependent clauses the -ra- drops out. Usually if there is an object or phrase after the verb, the -ra- is dropped. e.g. Mbonye umwana – I’ve just seen the child.

Exercises: (Can you recognize in these exercises which verbs are stative and which are immediate past?)

  1. Translate into English:
  2. Twumvise inkuru nziza; turanezerewe kuzumva. 2. Wahamagaye Samweli? Yee, aritabye. 3. Umwigisha arahana umuhungu; ararakaye cyane. 4. So ari he? Araryamye mu nzu. 5. Umwana arwaye malaria; ararembye cyane. 6. Paulo, ngwino. Yee, ndaje. 7. Wumvise inkuru? Yee, Yohana araziimbgiye. 8. Umugati urahari? Yee, ndawukoze ubu. 9. Abasore bemeye gufasha kiwubaka ishuri. 10. Mushiki wanjye araje; arampamagaye.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. I have just gone to bed because I am sick. 2. John’s father has heard bad news and he has gone (just now). 3. Did you call the names just now? Yes, all have answered. 4. The men went just now to begin their work. 5. The woman has a bad ulcer on her leg; she is suffering a lot (much). 6. It’s getting late, I can’t see well. Yes, I just lit a lamp. 7. What are the workmen doing? They’ve just gone home. 8. When will you make bread? I’ve just finished making it. 9. My mother is preparing tea; the water has just boiled. 10. This morning I saw that the floor was very dirty in your room. I know, but I just swept it.



LESSON 76. Possessive Adjectives


umubiri – body umuzi – root (usually plural)
urukwavu – rabbit igicucu – fool, foolish person, shade, shadow
ingwe – leopard
  1. See the tables at the end of the lesson.

In par. 6 you learned that the possessive adjective is made up of two parts: the first part agrees with the thing possessed and the last part with the possessor. However, all the possessive adjectives you have learned thus far have been when the possessor was a person. But other things may possess, e.g. referring to a cow, one might say “its tail” – umurizo wayo. Here, wa agrees with umurizo (thing possessed), and yo agrees with inka (possessor). It is especially important to remember this when speaking of God. The word Imana is third class. Thus, His word would not be ijambo rye, but ijambo ryayo.

  1. The vowel in the first part of the word is always a, and in the second part always o, except when the possessor is a person (which forms you have already learned).
  2. An easy rule to help you remember these forms is that the first part, agreeing with the object owned, is the possessive particle, and the second part, agreeing with the possessor, is the possessive particle with a changed to o. Do not be frightened by the number of forms given in the accompanying table. If you follow this rule given here it will not be difficult.

For this lesson, study especially the first four columns of the table on the following page (that is, the first four classes) before doing the following exercises.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Kabonye ingwe; amenyo yayo ni manini. 2. Hariya hari igiti kirekire; imizi yacyo ni myinshi cyane. 3. Imana ikunda abantu bayo; imbabazi zayo ni nyinshi. 4. Igicucu gifite inkwavu, ariko rumwe mu nkwavu zacyo rurapfuye. 5. Mbona impumyi; numva amajwi yazo. 6. Murumuna wa Petero yaguze intebe nshya. Amaguru yayo arakomeye cyane. 7. Urugi rw’inzu yacu ni ruto, kandi ibyuma byarwo birapfuye. 8. Hari inyamaswa mu ishyamba, twabonye imitwe yazo. 9. Ndababaye kubona igicucu; amagorwa yacyo ni myinshi cyane. 10. Nkunda cyane igihugu cyanyu; imisozi yacyo n’ibiti byacyo ni byiza cyane.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. We have many chickens; their legs are short. 2. My older brother (of boy) has a very good cow; its horns are long. 3. God is able to defeat Satan; His strength is very great. (“strength” should be plural, and for “great” use “much”.) 4. The foolish man has very few clothes, and his hair is long. 5. The fire is big (much); its light helps us to see to read. 6. Your rabbit is very nice; its body is big. 7. Did you (pl.) see our big dog? Its tail is short, but its eyes are very big. 8. The young men have their spears because they are going to the forest. 9. John’s father built a new house; its rooms are large and it is very strong. 10. There is a lot of corn in our garden; its roots are very short.


1st Class 2nd Class 3rd Class 4th Class
1st we – wabo wawo – wayo wayo – wazo wacyo – wabyo
be – babo bawo – bayo bayo – bazo bacyo – babyo
2nd we – wabo wawo – wayo wayo – wazo wacyo – wabyo
ye – yabo yawo – yayo yayo – yazo yacyo – yabyo
3rd ye – yabo yawo – yayo yayo – yazo yacyo – yabyo
ze- zabo zawo – zayo zayo – zazo zacyo – zabyo
4th cye – cyabo cyawo – cyayo cyayo – cyazo cyacyo – cyabyo
bye – byabo byawo – byayo byayo – byazo byacyo – byabyo
5th rye – ryabo ryawo – ryayo ryayo – ryazo ryacyo – ryabyo
ye – yabo yawo – yayo yayo – yazo yacyo – yabyo
6th rwe – rwabo rwawo – rwayo rwayo – rwazo rwacyo – rwabyo
ze – zabo zawo – zayo zayo – zazo zacyo – zabyo
7th ke – kabo kawo – kayo kayo – kazo kacyo – kabyo
twe – twabo twawo – twayo twayo – twazo twacyo – twabyo
8th bwe – bwabo bwawo- bwayo bwayo – bwazo bwacyo – bwabyo
ye – yabo yawo – yayo yayo – yazo yacyo – yabyo


9th kwe – kwabo kwawo – kwayo kwayo – kwazo kwacyo – kwabyo
ye – yabo yawo – yayo yayo – yazo yacyo – yabyo
10th he – habo hawo – hayo hayo – hazo hacyo – habyo

Explanation for use of above table: You will note that there are four forms for each class: for example, in 1st class there are: we, wabo, be, babo. This is because: 1) the thing may be singular and the possessor singular: umwana we; 2) the thing may be singular and the possessor plural: umwana wabo; 3) the thing may be plural and the possessor singular: abana be; 4) the thing may be plural and the possessor plural: abana babo.

Let us take a word of another class, for example, to help you to understand the use of these forms. Suppose we wish to talk about the “roots of trees.” Root – umuzi is second class, while tree – igiti is fourth. Remember the first part of the word agrees with the thing possessed and the last part with the possessor. When we say “its root”, the tree is the possessor and the root the thing possessed. Now note: 1) umuzi wacyo – its root (1 tree and 1 root); 2) umuzi wabyo – their root (trees plural but 1 root); 3) imizi yacyo – its roots (1 tree, but roots plural); 4) imizi yabyo – their roots (trees and roots both plural) .

5th Class 6th Class 7th Class 8th Class 9th Class 10th Class
waryo – wayo warwo – wazo wako – watwo wabwo – wayo wakwo – wayo waho
baryo – bayo barwa – bazo bako – batwo babwo – bayo bakwo – bayo baho
waryo – wayo warwo – wazo wako – watwo wabwo – wayo wakwo – wayo wahe
yaryo – yayo yarwo – yazo yako – yatwo yabwo – yayo yakwo – yayo yaho
yaryo – yayo yarwo – yazo yako – yatwo yabwo – yayo yakwo – yayo yaho
zaryo – zayo zarwo – zazo zako – zatwo zabwo – zayo zakwo – zayo zaho
cyaryo – cyayo cyarwo – cyazo zyako – cyatwo cyabwo – cyayo cyakwo – cyayo cyaho
byaryo – byayp byarwo – byazo byako – byatwo byabwo – byayo byakwo – byayo byaho
ryaryo – ryayo ryarwo – ryazo ryako – ryatwo ryabwo – ryayo ryakwo – ryayo ryaho
yaryo – yayo yarwo – yazo yako – yatwo yabwo – yayo yakwo – yayo yaho
rwaryo – rwayo rwarwo – rwazo rwako – rwatwo rwabwo – rwayo rwakwo – rwayo rwaho
zaryo – zayo zarwo – zazo zako – katwo zabwo – zayo zakwo – zayo zaho
karyo – kayo karwo – kazo kako – katwo kabwo – kayo kakwo – kayo kaho
twaryo – twayo kwarwo – twazo kwako – twatwo kabwo – twayo kwakwo – twayo twaho
bwaryo – bwayo kwarwo – bwazo kwako – bwatwo bwabwo – bwayo bwakwo – bwayo bwaho
yaryo – yayo yarwo – yazo hako – yatwo yabwo – yayo yakwo – yayo yaho
kwaryo – kwayo kwarwo – kwazo kwako – kwatwo kwabwo – kwayo kwakwo – kwayo kwaho
yaryo – yayo yarwo – yazo yako – yatwo yabwo – yayo yakwo – yayo yaho
haryo – hayo harwo – hazo hako – hatwo habwo – hayo hakwo – hayo haho



LESSON 77. Possessive Adjectives (continued)


imbaragasa – flea igipfamatwi – deaf person
umupanga – machete, grass knife idirishya (5th) – window
ivi – knee (pl. amavi) munsi – under (followed by ya if object follows)

For grammar, study the remainder of the chart of possessive adjectives.

Exercises: Translate into Kinyarwanda: Follow this pattern:

The boy; his hat: umuhungu; ingofero ye.

1. The rabbit; its hair 11. The chickens; their heads
2. The dogs; their fleas 12. The sChool; its books
3. The cat; its ears 13. The house; its windows
4. The blind man; his eyes 14. The countries; their languages
5. God; His grace 15. Animal; its teeth
6. God; His works 16. The sheep; its tail
7. The deaf person; his faith 17. The lantern; its light
8. The cats; their tails 18. The trees; their fruit
9. The man; his knees 19. The young girl; her teeth
10. The books; their pages



LESSON 78. Causative Verbs


kuboha (shye) – to tie, bind, knit, weave gusasa (shashe) – to make a bed, spread grass
isabune – soap (3rd sing. 5th pl.) gutanga (nze) – to pay (francs), to give, offer(as offering)
gutinya (nye) – to fear kubohora (ye) – to untie

Note: gutanga is not used if the recipient is named.

  1. To give the meaning of “to cause to” to a verb, the suffix -isha or -esha is added to a verb. For example: gukora – to work, gukoresha – to cause to work.
  2. To determine whether to use -esha or -isha, it is necessary to know the A I U rule: If the next to the last syllable in a verb stem contains a, i, or u, the added suffix will contain i (-isha) but if the next to the last syllable has e or o, the added suffix will contain e (-esha).

Thus: gukora becomes gukoresha – to cause to work, use. kuririmba becomes kuririmbisha – to cause to sing, lead in singing.

This form is not always translated in English by “to cause to”. It may have the idea of “to use” or “to do with.” e.g. gukoresha isuka – to use a hoe, work with a hoe (lit. cause a hoe to work) kubohesha umugozi – to tie with a rope (cause rope to tie).

You have already learned kwigisha. Now you can see that it is simply the causative form of kwiga. Thus “to teach” is “to cause to learn.”

  1. The past suffix of causatives is -sheje or -shije (according to the A I U rule). Do not use the usual past stern. e.g. yakoresheje – he used, caused to work.

Note: There are quite a number of verbs which form their causatives irregularly, but in general you can follow the above rule.


  1. Make the following verbs causative, and give the meaning of the causative forms:


  1. gukora
  2. kugenda
  3. guhinga
  4. gukunda
  5. gushima
  6. gusenga
  7. gusoma
  8. guhana
  9. gutinya
  10. gutanga


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umugabo yibye amafaranga; abantu baramufashe, kandi ubu baramubohesha imigozi. 2. Nitemesheje imbugita urutoke. 3. Sasa ibyatsi mu ikawa (Coffee plantation) yawe, ariko ntuhahingishe isuka. 4. Mukundishe Imana imitima yanyu yose. 5. Ndashaka kuryamisha umwana. 6. Umwigisha wacu arandikisha abana. 7. Ukoreshe ifu nyinshi mu gukora umugati. 8. Abana bakarabishe isabune kugira ngo bange ico ku ntoke. 9. Abigisha batangishije abana umwe-umwe (see par. 227) amafaranga atanu. 10. Umufundi yubakishije amatafari menshi. 11. Isaka yaririmbishije neza mu rusengero uyu munsi.



LESSON 79. Causatives (continued)


guta (taye) – to throw away, lose gukura (ze) to grow (int.)
gukura (ye) – to take away, subtract kujugunya (nye) – to throwaway
guseka (tse) – to laugh, laugh at kuvoma (mye) to bring water from source
uburo – millet

(Causatives of these verbs are formed regularly, except that of gukura and guklira. These are gukuza and gukuza.)

  1. Some common irregularities of the causative:

1) Verbs ending in -za often replace -za with -risha or -resha. e.g. gukiza – to save gukirisha – to cause to save, save by means of

2) Some verbs ending in -ra change -ra to -za. e.g. kubabara – to suffer, kubabaza (past -je) – to cause to suffer, hurt (tr.)

Note: kubabara also has a regularly formed causative: kubabarisha – to use something to cause to suffer. e.g. kubabarisha Yesu ibyaha byacu – to cause Jesus to suffer by our sins. ‘

3) Some verbs ending in -za in their usual form are already causative, but take a different causative form when the instrument of the action is named. e.g. kwoza is the causative of kwoga. But “to wash with soap” is kwogesha isabuni.

4) Guseka has two causatives: gusekesha, gusetsa – to cause someone to laugh. The two forms are used quite interchangeably, but gusetsa is the more common. e.g. gusekesha umwana – to make the child laugh; Ibyo uvuga biransetsa – what you say makes me laugh.

5) Monosyllabic verbs must be learned one by one, for there is no rule to determine whether the suffix will have e or i.

kugwa – kugusha, kunywa – kunyweshan gusya – gusyesha, kuva – kuvusha, guha – guhesha, kurya – kurisha, guta – gutesha, guca – gucisha.

It is difficult to know for oneself how to form causatives since many follow the regular rule, and others follow those given above. Thus it is important to learn from the Africans each verb. But knowing these rules will help you to recognize what you hear, and by far the majority of verbs form it regularly with -isha or -esha.

Note: guhesha, though active in form, really is passive in meaning: kubahesha – to cause them to be given.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ibyaha byacu bibabaza Yesu. 2. Satani akunda kutugusha mu byahaj ariko Yesu adushoboza kumutsinda. 3. Abafundi bamenesha amabuye inyundo nini. 4. Amaraso ya Yesu yaduhesheje agakiza. 5. Canisha inkwi nini. 6. Ndagusabye kumfasha ariko sinshaka kugutesha igihe. 7. Kera Abanyaarwanda barishaga intoke ariko ubu abenshi (a makes it a pronoun) barisha ibiyiko. 8. Umwana (insert “who”) Urwaye, umunyweshe umuti mu kiyiko. 9. Abakozi batemesheje umupanga ibyatsi. 10. Abana banze kuvoma; byarakaje nyina.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Three boys lost their books, and the teacher punished them with a stick. 2. Have you (some) millet? Grind it with stones. 3. Jesus saved us with His blood. 4. Rain and sun make the plants grow (= cause plants to grow). 5. I want to praise God with my whole life. 6. Let’s not worship God with just (only) words, but let’s worship Him with our hearts. 7. Wash the windows with a lot of clean water and clean cloths.



LESSON 80. Objects with Causatives


gutata (se) to make trouble, fight with verbally kubora – to rot, spoil (int.) (caus. kuboza)
inkoni – walking stick uburakari – anger
  1. With causative verbs one is apt to have two objects, for in English two verbs are really involved: “to cause to” and “to work” (as for exammple in gukoresha). These two objects may be:
  2. One a secondary subject and the other a true object. e.g. gukundisha Petero Yohana – to cause Peter to love John. Petero is really the object of “to cause to” and the subject of “to love”; thus it is a secondary subject, while Yohana is the true object.
  3. The two objects may be one an instrument and the other the object. e.g. kwitemesha imbugita urutoke – to cut the finger with a knife. Imbugita is the instrument with which the finger is cut.

In both of these examples the true object comes last, with the secondary subject or the instrument immediately following the verb; However, you will hear and see examples where the true object comes first: e.g. Ukundishe Imana umutima wawe wose – love God with all your heart. If the secondary subject involves a group of words and the true object is only one word, the secondary subject will come last. One cannot make a definite rule about the order, for it may vary. Experience will teach you. This is also true of the following rule. Occasions are rare when this will be a problem to you.

  1. The two objects may both be pronouns in the verb. e.g. bawumubohesheje – they tied him with it ( a rope).

When it is thus, the secondary subject or the instrument usually comes first with the true object following, except the pronouns: n – me, ku – you, and tu – us, always come second and only the context can determine the meaning. e.g. kumugukundisha – could be: to cause him to love you; or, to cause you to love him.

  1. If one is a pronoun and the other is a noun, only the context can determine the meaning. e.g. Umwigisha amukundisha umukene – could be, the teacher causes him to love the poor man; or, the teacher causes the poor man to love him. However, in most instances the context will make it clear.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Mama aratekesha ibishyimbo amazi menshi. 2. Umugabo yasakarishije inzu ye ubwatsi bwinshi. 2. Babagishije imbugita inkoko. 4. Imbuto mbi ziboza imbuto nziza. 5. Imana ifite ibyiza byinshi, Yesu arabiduhesha. 6. Amabuye ni manini cyane; yameneshe inyundo nini. 7. Abahungu barakubitisha inkoni imbwa; mbese ushobora kubayikundisha? 8. Ibiryo byiza bikuza abana. 9. Nyina wa Petero atangiye gukurikira inzira ya Yesu, ariko Satani ashaka Kumuyitesha. 10. Abakobwa bagiye kuvoma amazi mu kabande. Mbese bayavomesha iki?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The teacher causes the boys to read the books. 2. The man’s troubles make him sad (hurt him). 2. The old man’s anger made them laugh at him. 4. Let us praise God with our lives, not just words. 5. The bad meat will sppil all the food. 6. Peel the potatoes. What shall I peel them with? 7. The grass in the kraal is very tall. Do you have a machete? Cut it with it. 8. I want to build a house and I have (some) good, bricks. Come (pl.) help me build it with them. 9. My father’s anger hurts me very much in my heart. Jesus can save us from it. 10. You (girl) told your brother bad news. It makes him fight with you (verbally).



LESSON 81. Review

  1. Questions:
  1. Conjugate kumena in the far past affirmative (no words following).
  2. Conjugate kubika in the far past negative.
  3. Conjugate guseka in the immediate. past affirmative.
  4. What is the A I U rule?
  5. The possessive adjective contains two parts. What is the purpose of each? How are they determined?
  6. When two nouns follow a causative verb, what is the proper order?
  7. When two pronoun objects occur in a causative verb, what is the proper order? Are there any exceptions?
  1. Make the following verbs causative, and translate the causative form.
1. kugenda 7. gufasha 13. kwubaka 19. kugwa
2. guhinga 8. gusenga 14. gufata 20. kwica
3. kuvuga 9. kuririmba 15. kwumva 21. gucana
4. gushima 10. kubika 16. gushobora 22. kurya
5. kuzana 11. kuguma 17. gusaba 23. guha
6. guteka 12. kwandika 18. kumenya 24. kureba

III. Translate into Kinyarwanda:


  1. your father
  2. my mother
  3. his brother (older)
  4. your (s.) sister (you – boy)
  5. their father
  6. my younger sister (I – girl)
  7. my father
  8. your (s.) mother
  9. his sisters
  10. their mothers
  11. my younger brother (I – boy)
  12. your (pl.) brother(you – girls)
  13. my older sister (I – girl)


  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda: (Do not translate words in parentheses)


  1. (the cows) their tails
  2. (the cat) its hair
  3. (the deaf man) his ears
  4. (God) His word
  5. (the fire) its smoke
  6. (the blind man) his tongue
  7. (the cow) its milk 8. (Cod) His love
  8. (the tree) its leaves “10. (the coun try) its namE:
  9. (fleas) their legs
  10. (young men) their anger
  11. (kraal) its Douses
  12. (the house) its kitchen
  13. (the young girls) their lamp
  14. (God) His kingdom
  15. (the leopard) its body
  16. (the house) its door
  17. (friends) their letters
  18. (lamp) its light









LESSON 82. Gutya, Gutyo


umwete – zeal, enthusiasm kwaka (tse) – to shine (int.)
kugira umwete – to be zealous, enthusiastic, energetic kunebwa (bwe) – to be lazy
gushidikanya (nye) – to doubt
  1. Gutya, gutyo. These adverbs mean: gutya – like this; gutyo – like that. This is one of the most difficult sounds in Kinyarwanda. Practice with an African until you can say it well.

These adverbs are variable, that is, they usually take the same prefix as the verbs they modify.

yabikoze at yo – he did it like that

babikoze bat yo – they did it like that

tugire dutya – let’s do it like this

ndakora ntya – I do like this.

When following an infinitive it takes gu- in agreement with the infinitive. e.g. Turashaka kuririmba gutyo – we want to sing like that.

With the imperative it may be: kora utya, or, kora gutya – do like this.

Note: Do not try to use this form for “Do like John”. (For that, see par. 251.)

A common error of beginners is to want to always use -tya, or -tyo, but it is better to make it agree with the verb it modifies.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Paulo yagize umwete mwinshi mu mirimo y’Imana; natwe (we also) tugire dutyo. 2. Kuko umucyo w’Imana waka utyo tugende neza muri wo (it. i.e. light). 3. Kuko munyinginze mutyo nzabibaha. 4. Abahungu barahinga neza; mwebwe mukore mutyo. 5. Toma ntiyizeye kugeza aho (until) abonye Yesu; ntidushidikanye dutyo. 6. Imbwa zirya zitya ariko abantu barya batya. 7. Niba (if) inkumi ibeshya ityo, ntidushobora kuyizera. 8. Sinshobora guha umufundi akazi kuko anebwe atyo. 9. Umwana wacu arwara atya iminsi yose; mbese ntimushobora kumukiza? 10. Akabwa kibye inyama gatyo; sinshaka ko kagaruka mu nzu.
  3. Translfte into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Let us be zealous to sing like this. 2. Plane (s.) the bOards like that. 3. It is not nice to laugh like that. 4. The children run like this. 5. I did it like this, but you (pl.) do it like that. 6. It’s difficult to catch wild animals because they fear people like that. 7. Do you (s.) write like this with a pencil? 8. Stop laughing like that and help your sister (to a boy). 9. Because God’s love is strong like that, He wants to save everybody. 10. We can’t bring in (from sun) the clothes, because they are wet like that.



LESSON 83. Passive Verbs


kudoda (ze) – to sew kwita (se) – to name, call
ishyari – jealousy -fite ishyari – to be jealous (momentarily)
kugira ishyari – to be jealous (as a characteristic, or in past)
  1. Do not confuse passive voice with past time! Passive voice is used when the subject receives the action of the verb. ego The man beats the dog – active voice; the dog is beaten by the man – passive voice. Passive verbs are formed simply by inserting w before the final a of the verb:

gukunda – to love

kubona – to see

gukundwa – to be loved

kubonwa – to be seen

  1. The passive is often followed by na meaning “by”. e.g. Dukundwa n’Imana – we are loved by God.
  2. The verb kwita must not be confused with guhamagara. Kwita is “to call” only in the sense of “to name.” e.g. Bamwise Yohana – they called (named) him John. Bahamagaye Yohana – they called John (to come).

This verb in the passive is the commonest way to ask someone his name. Witwa nde? – what is your name? Literally, you are called who? (nde = who).


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Imana ishimwe kuko yaduhaye agakiza. 2. Abigishwa bose bategekwa n’abigisha babo n’ababyeyi babo (note 2 uses of na). 3. Imyenda idodwa neza n’abakobwa. 4. Uruhinja rw’umwigisha rwitwaSembwa. 5. Umuhungu afite ishyari kuko abandi bashimwa cyane. 6. Ndashaka ko inyanya zirongwa kabiri mu mazi yo kunywa. 7. Abana banyu ni beza kuko bakunda gutegekwa neza n’abakuru babo. 8. Abantu bose bazabwirwa inkuru nziza ko Yesu akiza. 9. Abajura birutse kuko batinye ko bazafatwa. 10. Abakuru b’igihugu bubahwa n’ahantu bose.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The child is taken out of school because he is very bad (“to take out” is followed by mu or ku, like kuva). 2. The man is sent to Butare to buy food. J. The books are brought by the boys and we shall use them in school tomorrow. 4. Jesus is called Savior because He came to save all people. 5. We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus. 6. The Word of God can be trusted because it is (use ari, see par. 185) the truth. 7. We want that all your (pl.) things be prepared because we will go very early. 8. The francs (which) are offered today will be used to buy books. 9. Our guests are called by the teacher so that they may go to see the school. 10. Give me (some) food quickly for (because) I am dying of hunger (i. e. I am being killed by hunger).

LESSON 84. Past of Passives


kuremera (reye) – to be heavy kuremerwa (rewe) – to be heavy laden,loaded down
guca (ciye) – to tear (tr.) as paper, cloth) gucika (tse) – to tear (int.), break (as rope)
gutora (ye) – to choose, elect, pick up, find gutoranya (nije) – to choose (out of many)
kugaya (ye) – to despise, scorn intoboro – hole (as in cloth, paper)
umwubatsi – builder
  1. Most passives form their past just like the past of the active verb, except that the w is retained.
gukunda – yakunze kuboha – yaboshye
gukundwa – yakunzwe kubohwa – yaboshywe
  1. However, there are some verbs which do not follow this rule: 1) Verbs ending in -ma and forming the past in -mye, in the passive have no y. kuvoma – yavomye, kuvomwa – yavomwe

2) Verbs with passive ending in -rwa. gutwarwa – yatwawe, kuremerwa – yaremerewe

Note: kuremera is used like any stative verb: biraremereye – they are heavy; biraremerewe – they are heavily laden.

If the active past ends in -ze, the passive past ends in -zwe. kugira – yagize, kugirwa – yagizwe

3) The verb kugaya becomes in the passive, kugawa, with the past yagawe.

4) Verbs whose regular past is -nnye change to -nywe in the past passive. yamennye – yamenywe

5) Verbs in -ba make the past passive -bwe. guhemba – yahembwe, kureba – cyarebwe


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ibuye (insert “which”) ryagawe n’abubatsi ni Yesu. 2. Twatowe n’Imana kugira ngo tube abana bayo. 3. Imyenda y’umugore yagawe n’abandi kuko yacitse. 4. Umuhungu mubi agawa n’abantu kuko agira nabi iminsi yose. 5. Intama eshatu zishwe n’inyamaswa. 6. Amasahane yogejwe neza n’abakobwa, ariko abiri yamenywe n’injangwe. 7. Tugende gutabara umukozi kuko aremerewe cyane. 8. Ibitabo byanjye biri he? Simbizi, byose byashyizwe ku meza mu gitondo. 9. Mama arashaka imyenda ye; iri he? Yameshwe kare, kandi yanitswe. 10. Basaza banjye bombi batumwe guhamagara abantu bo gusakara inzu.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The leopard was feared by all the people because it caught two goats. 2. Many francs were offered by the people in the church. 3. The boys were punished by the teacher because they were absent many days. 4. The chair was broken and the boy’s clothes were torn. 5. There are many little holes in the new clothes. 6. The teacher’s house will be torn down because it was built badly. 7. How many francs were the workmen paid? I don’t know. 8. The lamps were lit by the houseboy (umuboyi) because it got dark early. 9. My sister’s (boy speaking) new clothes were stolen yesterday, and she doesn’t have (any) francs to buy more. 10. We know that there are wild animals here because they have been seen by many people.



LESSON 85. Passives of Monosyllabic Verbs


inzoga – beer, alcoholic drink urusyo – grindstone (for millet, etc.)
ikinyobwa – peanut, ground nut, lima beans, beverage akabemba – peanut, ground nut
icyubahiro – respect, honor, reverence ubwiza – glory, beauty
ijuru – sky, heaven
  1. The monosyllabic verbs form their passives in -bwa. In the past forms the b drops out leaving just the w.
Infinitive Present Passive Past Passive


guca gucibwa yaciwe
kugwa kugubwa yaguwe
guha guhabwa yahawe
kunywa kunyobwa yanyowe
gusya gusebwa yasewe
guta gutabwa yatawe
kurya kuribwa yariwe
  1. Some of these passives could not be translated literally into English, but have an idiomatic use, such as kugubwa. Kugubwa means “to be settled down nicely” – yaguwe neza, or, “to have good pleasant living.” Kugubwa nahi is the opposite. Kuribwa mu nda means “to have a stomach ache”.
  2. Guhabwa is not “to be given” in the sense of “the book was given to me”, but: nahawe igitabo is “I was given a book.” Thus, guhabwa really means “to receive.” It is often used for the future of -fite.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Imana ihabwa icyuhahiro mu gusenga kwacu. 2. Inzoga nyinshi zanyowe n’abantu ku munsi mukuru. 3. Uburo bwasewe na Mariya ku rusyo. 4. Twebwe tuzahabwa ubwiza mu ijuru. 5. Inyama ziri he? Zariwe n’injangwe. 6. Umugore ararakaye cyane; ntiyahawe imyenda n’ umugabo we. 7. Ndanezerewe ko turi hano i Cyangugu, ndumva ko naguwe neza. 8. Nabonye ko umushyitsi yaje kubaha ibintu. Mbese mwahawe iki? 9. Ndashaka gukora umugati w’imineke; ndakoresha akabemba (or, ibinyobwa)(insert “which”) gaseye (active used for passive). 10. Dufite inkwi nke cyane. Mbese ibindi biti bizacibwa ryari?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The clothes were thrown away because they were torn. 2. Two trees were cut down by the men, but the fundi didn’t want them. 3. Let us give reverence (to) God for (because) He should (ikwiriye followed by infinitive) be given it. 4. I want to go to (mu) heaven far we shall see Jesus and we shall have much joy. 5. Much milk was drunk by the children. 6. Is the meat of the sheep eaten by the Banyarwanda? No, they don’t eat it. 7. Were my papers thrown away? Go, look for them because I want them. 8. Jesus left His glory in heaven and came to earth (isi). Here He was hated by many people. 9. All the beer was poured out when(igihe) the people were saved. 10. The good bricks and tiles were chosen by the builder; the others were thrown away.



LESSON 86. Demonstrative Adjectives

Vocabulary for this lesson is to learn the forms in the first two columns of the following table.

  1. Demonstratives. Do not be frightened by the many forms listed in the table. Once you observe how each different kind of demonstrative is formed; it is not difficult. It is very important to know when each kind of demonstrative is to be used.
  2. Uyu. This is formed by the initial vowel of the class prefix and the verb prefix for that class. When two vowels come together it is inserted between them. (The first class singular is an exception to this, u being used instead of a). e.g. ahaa is the initial vowel of the first class plural prefix, and -ba is the verb prefix. iyi (3rd cl. sing.) -i is the initial vowel of the noun prefix, and i is the verb prefix. Since the two vowels come together they are joined by y, thus making iyi.

Uyu (and the other forms in the first column) means “this”- referring to that which is near: uyu mugabo – this man.

  1. Uwo – that. This is simply the initial vowel of the class plus the possessive particle with a changed to o. It means “that” which is quite near.
  2. Uwo can also mean “that” in the sense of that which has already been mentioned, while uyu may mean “that which I am about to mention,” or at least which has not yet been mentioned. e.g. ayo magambo – those words (which I have already spoken) aya magambo – these words (whiCh I am about to speak)
  3. An important rule: Demonstratives precede their nouns (there are a few rare exceptions to this), and remove their initial vowels. e.g. abo bagabo – those men.

Remember the rule about mu and ku with demonstratives (par. 102). e.g. muri abo bantu – among those people.




Class this that that yonder that
1st sing. uyu uwo uriya wa
pl. aba abo bariya ba
2nd sing. uyu uwo uriya wa
pl. iyi iyo iriya ya
3rd sing. iyi iyo iriya ya
pl. izi izo ziriya za
4th sing. iki icyo kiriya cya
pl. ibi ibyo biriya bya
5th sing. iri iryo ririya rya
p. aya ayo ariya ya
6th sing. uru urwo uriya rwa
pl. izi izo ziriya za
7th sing. aka ako kariya ka
pl. utu utwo turiya twa
8th sing. ubu ubwo buriya bwa
pl. aya ayo ariya ya
9th sing. uku ukwo ( uko) kuriya kwa
pl. aya ayo ariya ya
10th s. & pl. aha aho hariya ha


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Zana ibyo bitabo; biri ku meza. 2. Uyu mugabo azajya i Kigali. 3. Iri buye rinini ni ryiza; urijyane kuko nzaryubakisha. 4. Muri iki gihugu hari abantu benshi cyane. 5. Muri iyo minsi twahawe umunezero mwinshi muri Yesu. 6. Iyi njangwe ni nziza kuko ikunda gufata imbeba iminsi yose. 7. Urwo rugo rwubatswe na mukuru wanjye. 8. Muri uku k~ezi abantu benshi bafashwe n’indwara mbi cyane. 9. Izi nanasi zibwe n’aba bana. Bazahanwa n’ ababyeyi babo. 10. Mbese urandikisha iyo karamu cyangwa urashaka indi?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. That child is very sick; give him (some) medicine. 2. Those words of Jesus help us to follow Him. 3. Take these books to those teachers. 4. Let us sing that song again. 5. Take those cows from the path. 6. The teacher is going to read (do not translate “going”) the Word of God. These are good words. 7. I can’t make (= cause to) the child drink this medicine. 8. Put away this milk but pour out that milk. 9. All these people can’t go in that boat; it is very small. 10. In these days there are thieves everywhere.




LESSON 87. Demonstratives (continued)

Vocabulary: Learn the forms in the Jrd column of the table in the preeceding lesson.

  1. Uriya. This demonstrative means “that” of something not near the speaker, but in sight. It could be “that over there”, or, “that yonder”. It is formed by the prefix of the verb plus -riya (except in 1st class sing. it is u instead of a). e.g. uriya mugore – that woman over there. The more distant the object, the longer drawn out the i is. e.g. ur-i-i-ya musozi – that hill way over there.

This demonstrative, like all others, precedes the noun removing the initial vowel. Now you can recognize the word hariya that you learned some time ago.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Bariya bantu bavuye mu rusengero vuba. 2. Uriya mufundi azi neza kwubakisha runatafari. 3. Iriya njangwe ni mbi; yibye inyama. 4. Iriya nzu n’inh y’umukire; ni nziza cyane. 5. Twagiye mu ruzi muri buriya bwato. 6. Uriya musozi uri mu gihugu cy’uRwanda. 7. Inshuti yanjye yubatse iriya nzu muri uyu mwaka. 8. Abagabo bakurikiye ingwe muri riri-i-ya shyamba. 9. Uriya muzungu yamaze imyaka myinshi muri iki gihugu. 10. Mbese mwabonye kiriya gipfamatwi? Kiravuga neza ariko nticyumva.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Bring those boxes over there. 2. That man (quite near) is John’s younger brother. 3. Those stones yonder near the school, bring them here for we shall use them. 4. Those sweet potatoes over there are spoiled; throw them away. 5. That river over there is very long and wide. 6. Do you see that sand over there? It’s good; we want to use it in building (= to build). 7. Go (pl.) cut that tall grass over there for we shall use it to roof with. 8. That church yonder was built by the people of the church. They gave many francs and worked many days. 9. Those doors over there were made by a fundi. They’ll use them in the new school. 10. The millet in those fields yonder is not good. There was too much (= a lot of) rain, so (rero) it isn’t strong.



LESSON 88. Demonstratives (continued)


umupira – tire, ball, eraser, rubber (any kind), sweater kubura (ze) – to lack, not have, not find, fail to
umwanya – place, space, time gukira (ze) – to get well, heal(int.)
guheba (bye) – to be unable to find uruguma – wound, cut (fresh)
none – now, today umufuka – bag, sack
nonaha – right now
  1. Wa, etc,. This is the demonstrative which calls attention to that which has been mentioned previously or is well known to both speaker and hearer. The form is exactly the same as the possessive particle, but it precedes the noun and removes the initial vowel.

wa mukobwa – that girl (as much as to say, “you know the one”)

cya gitabo – that book (which we talked about before)

wa mwana twabonye kare – that child we saw earlier

  1. Kubura. In addition to the meaning given in this vocabulary, this word is used in the future negative to express the idea of certainty, e.g. Ntazabura kugenda – he will certainly go (lit. he will not fail to go)
  2. Igihe. This word and umwanya, both of which mean “time” are not always used interchangeably. Igihe means “time” in the sense of days, weeks, years, etc., or a certain specific time. It may also sometimes be used for a duration of time.

e.g. Waje gihe ki? – what time did you come?

Wamazeyo igihe kinini? – Did you spend’a long time there?

Mu gihe cyo gusoma abana bicara neza – At reading time (time to read) the children sit quietly.

  1. Umwanya. Umwanya usually implies duration or space of time. Someetimes it is used like uburyo.

e.g. Simfite umwanya wo kugikora – I don’t have time to do it.

Nta mwanya mfite, nzaza ejo – I don’t have time, I’ll come tomoorrow.

It also has the other meanings as given in the vocabulary.

Ntidufite umwanya wo kukujyana ~ we don’t have room to take you.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Rwa ruguma rubi rwakize neza. 2. Umwigisha ntazabura guhana ba bana babi. 3. Wa musore utafite umwanya wo gushaka cya gitabo. 4. Imbwa zishe ya njangwe yacu; none imbeba nyinshi zizaza. 5?Mbese wibutse kuzana ya mafaranga? Oya, nayibagiwe. 6. Yesu azatujyana mu ijuru kugira ngo tubone bwa bwiza bwe. 7. Mbese wabonye ya mbugita yawe? Oya, nayihebye. 8. Mbese mutinya iki? Kwa kwizera kwanyu kuri he? 9. Wa mwana ararizwa n’iki? Ararira kuko yahebye ya mbwa ye. 10. Genda wanure za ngano uzishyire mu mifuka.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The boy’s Parents prevented him from bringing (= to bring) those sweet potatoes. 2. That bad tire is flat (dead); we will be late to go. 3. Where are those medicines? The people want them. 4. Did you take those seeds? I do not see them. 5. That thief came again in the night; let’s catch him. 6. Yesterday that foolish man came back here. Can’t the doctor heal him? 7. Where is that machete you cut grass with yesterday? 8. The doctor has treated well your father’s wounds, he will certainly get well. 9. Will you take me to Butare? I’m sorry, I don’t have room. 10. When will those workmen be paid their francs? I’ll give them to them on May 3rd.


LESSON 89. Not Yet Tense


kubyara (ye) – to give birth gukanguka (tse)- to awaken (int.)
gukangura (ye) – to awake (tr.) gusoroma (mye) – to pick, gather produce (vegetables,etc.)
inkere (or, -ri) – berries

Note: Gusoroma is to gather fruit or vegetables as for a meal. One usually says: guca ibigori. Guca may be used for certain fruits, too.

Note 2: Observe examples of gukanguka and gukangura:

umugabo yakangutse – the man woke up

bakanguye umugabo – they woke the man up

  1. Not-yet tense. This tense is formed by the negative prefix + verb prefix + -ra + present verb stem: nti-tu-ra-genda – we haven’t gone yet.

The tone on -ra- is high and long.

Notice the difference: singenda – I’m not going, sindagenda – I haven’t gone yet, ntaragenda – he hasn’t gone yet.

In vowel-stems the a is elided before the vowel of the stem: ntaroza amasahane – she hasn’t washed the dishes yet. In English this sounds like a past tense, but in Kinyarwanda the form is more like that of the present. This tense is also used in the affirmative, especially in questions: e.g. Mbese aragenda? – Has he gone yet? (Tone high and long)


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Abagabo ntibarakanguka; genda ubakangure. 2. Mbese ntimurasoroma inkere? Turazishaka uyu munsi. 3. Umufundi yagiye i Cyangugu, ariko ntaragaruka. 4. Ntiturubaka urusengero nyamara dushaka gutangira vuba. 5. Sindoza amasahane kuko nkora ibindi bintu. 6. Ibisebe byanjye ntibirakira, none sinshobora kujya muri rwa rugendo. 7. Mbese umuhungu wanyu ariga mu ishuri? Oya, ntarakura. 8. Mbese mushiki wawe yabyaye umuhungu cyangwa umukobwa? Ntarabyara. 9. Umukozi ntarasa inkwi? Umubwire ko tuzishaka ubu. 10. Mbese nturihana ibyaha byawe? Imana iragukunda kandi ishaka kugukiza.
  3. Translate into kinyarwanda:
  4. John’s wife hasn’t given birth yet. 2. How many eggs are there? I haven’t counted them yet. 3. I want to go now, but the workmen haven’t come yet. 4. That man (referred to before) is not yet saved, but he likes to hear the Word of God. 5. Haven’t you put the clothes in the sun yet? 6. My wife was sick in the night. She’s sleeping now, she hasn’t awakened yet. 7. Did you pick the tomatoes yet? Yes, I picked them and there are a lot (many). 8. Hasn’t your (s.) brother (older) stopped drinking (= left beer) yet? 9. What is your (s.) new baby’s name? We haven’t named him yet (= haven’t named him a name). 10. Have the people begun to build the new church? No, they haven’t finished making ( = finished to make) the bricks yet.

LESSON 90. Review

  1. Questions:
  1. Conjugate kwiga in the -ra- present affirmative, together with gutya, making the proper agreements.
  2. How is the passive voice formed? Give two examples.
  3. How do most passive verbs form their past?
  4. There are two different ways of making the past of passives which end in -rwa. What are they?
  5. Give the passive (present and past) of: guca, guha, gusya, guta, kurya.
  6. What is the difference between kwita and guhamagara?
  7. How is the demonstrative adjective for “this” formed?
  8. How is the demonstrative adjective for “that”(near) formed?
  9. How is the demonstrative adjective for “that over there” formed?
  10. What is the order in a sentence when a noun is modified by a demonstrative?
  11. What happens to mu and ku when used with a demonstrative?
  1. Make uyu, uwo, uriya, wa, agree with the following nouns, singular and plural. Translate the expressions for no. 1 only.
1. inka 3. ahantu 5. ishuri 7. umurima 9. icyuma
2. ubwato 4. umwana 6. uruzi 8. akantu 10. ukuguru

III. Vocabulary quiz. Give in Kinyarwanda. Give also past suffixes of verbs:


  1. tire
  2. to doubt
  3. berries
  4. to be heavy
  5. to get well
  6. to beseech
  7. zeal
  8. reverence
  9. beer
  10. to give birth
  11. glory
  12. to shine
  13. to rule
  14. to awaken (int.)
  15. heaven
  16. jealousy
  17. wound
  18. to tell
  19. to awake (tr.)
  20. to sew
  21. to lack
  22. grindstane
  23. hole (in clath)
  24. to chase
  25. to name
  26. to hinder
  27. to refuse
  28. now
  29. to tear (tr.)
  30. to be zealous
  31. like that
  32. to fail to find
  33. space
  34. builder
  35. peanut
  36. sweater
  37. to be heavy-laden









LESSON 91. Dependent Clauses


gukena (nnye) – to need, be poor, lack gukina (nnye) – to play
indimu – lemon, orange icunga (5th) – orange (not used in some areas)
kwihangana (nye) – to endure, be patient, wait patiently ibitaro – hospital
ivuriro – dispensary

Note: gukena is “to need” in the sense of “to not have”; also for the idea of poverty. If you are at the table and there is no salt there, you wauld say, “Ndashaka umunyu” rather than “ndakena umunyu”, because you probably do have some salt in the house.

  1. You have already learned that no -ra- tense may be used in a dependent clause, either -ra- present, -ra- past,-or -ara- past. However, the not-yet tense does retain -ra- in dependent clauses. The only words you have learned so far which introduce dependent clauses are: kuko, ka, and kugira nga when followed by the negative. You will learn others later.
  2. After kuko and ka, the verb “to be” when in 3rd person must always be ari, regardless of the class and number of the subject, except when an expression of place faollows the verb. e.g. ute izo nyama kuko ari mbi – throw away that meat because it is bad. (Note that it is not ziri mbi, as one might expect.) But: Sinshabara kubana inzu kuko iri kure – I can’t see the house because it is far away. Since kure is a word of place the verb makes the agreement. For this use, the negative of ari is atari (see following paragraph).
  3. Dependent negative. The negative in dependent clauses, in all tenses, is not formed like other negatives at all. It is formed by -ta- placed after the personal prefix.

kuke ntagenda – for I’m not going

kuke utagenda – for you are not going

kuke atagenda – for he is not going

kuko tutagenda – for we are not going

kuka mutagenda – for you are not going

kuke batagenda – for they are not going

1) The dependent negative of -ri follows the same rule: ntari, utari, etc.

2) The change-down rule does not apply to syllables preceding the negative, but the -ta- is subject to the rule. e.g. tutagenda– badasaba

3) The past dependent negative is: batagiye, batakinnye, batubatse.

4) Befere vowel-stems the a elides: kuko atihannye – because he did not repent.

  1. a) Kugira ngo (in order that) introduces a dependent clause. In the affirmative it is followed by the subjunctive; but in the negative it takes -ta- and the final vowel is not changed to e.

e.g., Yabeshye kugira ngo batamufata – he lied so they wouldn’t catch him

Bashyize umutego mu nzu kugira ngo bafate imbeba – they put a trap in the house so they might catch rats.

  1. b) Notice this: Sinshobora kukigura kuko ndafite amafaranga – I can’t buy it because I don’t have any money.

Though normally t following a consonant does not change to d, in this particular case it does (-ta- negative in 1st pers. sing.). While it looks like the -ra- present affirmative, you will not be confused because you cannot have a -ra- present in a dependent clause.


  1. Translate inlo English:
  2. Umukene arakemye cyane kuko adafi te ibintu byinshi cyangwa amafaranga menshi. 2. Ndashaka iriya nka kuko ari nziza cyane. 3. Umwigisha ntazaza ejo kuko arwaye malaria. 4. Ntushobora kubona umuzungu uyu munsi kuko agiye ahandi. 5. Ntidushaka kujya hariya kuko ari inzira mbi. 6. Uwo mwana yapfuye kuko atavuwe neza. 7. Musaza wanjye yavuze ko atazajya i Cyangugu muri iyi minshi. 8. Sinshobora kwihangana kuko ndashaka gutinda. 9. Yemwe! (you!) bana, ntimukinishe indimu kuko atari imipira, ni ibiryo. 10. Ntidushaka kugura amacunga uyu munsi kuko tutayakennye.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. That man over there cannot see because he is a blind man. 2. You can all learn in one room because you are not many. 3. The workmen will finish today because they aree not lazy. 4. Don’t bring that lamp for it is not good. 5. I can’t finish that work today for I haven’t time. 6. I don’t have (any) flour to make bread, because I can’t untie the sack. 7. The boys don’t have food because they didn’t gather the sweet potatoes today. 8. The “fundis” were not paid today because they didn’t wait (patiently). 9. The people are afraid because they didn’t catch the thieves. 10. The teacher’s child is crying because the other children didn’t play nicely.



LESSON 92. Dependent Not-yet Tense


gushya hiye) – to cook (int) , be done, be cooked, ripen, burn (int.) gushyuha (shye) – to be hot, get hot
gushyushya (hije) – to heat (tr.) guhisha (-hije) – to ripen (esp. fruit)
umuhana – locality, neighborhood (usually mu mihana) umujyi – city, town, large village
igiturage- small village, cluster of huts inkweto – shoe, sandal

Note 1: igiturage refers to a little group of huts as one sees on a hillside, but it is not an organized village. Umujyi – a large group of huts, or a city.

Note 2: Observe uses of gushya: inzu irahiye – the house is burned down (or burning). Ibishyimbo birahiye – the beans are done (cooked). Note that these verbs are in the stative. Gushya is also usually used in the stative: amazi arashyushye – the water is hot. Inkere zirahishije – the berries are ripe.

  1. The dependent not-yet tense simply follows the regular personal prefix + -ta- + -ra- + present stem: e.g. kuko ataragenda – for he hasn’t gone yet.
  2. One use of this dependent not-yet tense is to express the idea of “before”, as a conjunction. e.g. Zana inkwi utaragenda – bring the wood before you go (lit. when you have not yet gone)

Note that no word is necessary for “before”.

In modern Kinyarwanda, another way of saying “before” is: mbere yo kugenda – before going, or, mbere y’uko inyama zishya – before the meat is done


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ntidushobora kurya ubu kuko ibiryo bitarashya. 2. Mubanze murangize imirimo yose mbere yo gutaha. 3. Uzabona umusozi muremure utaragera mu mujyi. 4. Mukamusoni (person’s name) ntafite inkweto kuko atarabona amafaranga yo kuzigura. 5. Abakozi ntibaratangira gukora kuko umufundi ataraza. 6. Ntusorome inkere zitarahisha. 7. Nimwiruke; inzu y’umwigisha irahiye hariya mu giturage. 8. Mutarajya mu mujyi mushake amafaranga yo kugura ibintu. 9. Ubwire umusaza Ubutumwa Bwiza kugira ngo akizwe atarapfa. 10. Ibiryo birahiye neza, none dushoborakurya utarataha.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. I can’t begin to cook the potatoes because the water isn’t hot yet. 2. We aren’t going now for the workers haven’t been paid yet. 3. Heat the food again for we haven’t eaten yet. 4. Bring the clothes in (from sun) before it rains  before fain falls). 5. Sweep the floor before you start to work outside. 6. The water is very hot; prepare the coffee before you go. 7. Are the oranges ripe yet? Yes, they are very ripe. Pick them all. 8. Have the children finish reading before they play. 9. Take that child to the doctor; he can’t get well before he receives medicine. 10. Be patient; we can’t eat before the meat is done.



LESSON 93. Demonstrative Pronouns; -kwirie, -rinda, -gomba


kugomba (mbye) – must (Obligation) -kwiriye – ought, should, be enough, be necessary, be worth (par. 191)
kurinda (nze) – ought, should, wait for, protect, guard (par.191) igihano – punishment
gukorwa n’isoni – be ashamed isoni – shame
  1. The demonstrative adjectives (except wa, ba, etc.) when used by themselves, not modifying a noun, are the demonstrative pronouns. Their form is not changed.

e.g. Zana ibitabo. Ni ibi? Oya, si iqyo. – Bring the books. These? No, not those.

Nabonye ibyo ejo – I saw those (things) yesterday.

  1. -kwiriye, -rinda, -gomba.

1) These are all verbs which are followed by an infinitive to convey the idea of obligation. Kugomba is the strongest meaning “must”. e.g. Akwiriye kugenda – he should go, Ntiyarinze kumubwira – he didn’t have to tell him, Tugomba kuvuga ukuri – we must tell the truth

In the affirmative -kwiriye and -rinda are almost interchangeable, though -kwiriye is used in most cases. But in the negative note the difference: ntakwiriye kugenda – he should not go; ntarinda kugenda – he doesn’t have to go; ntagomba kugenda – he must not go have to go

2) Note this use of -kwiriye

Mbese ibijumba birakwiriye? Yee, birakwiriye – are there enough sweet potatoes? Yes, there are enough.

Observe the same idea with a passive form:

Abigishwa bose ntibakwiwe ibitabo – there were not enough books for all the pupils.

3) -kwiriye may mean “to be worthy of”:

Sinkwiriye gushimwa gutyo – I am not worthy to be praised like that; or, Ntibinkwiriye gushimwa gutyo.

Note: -kwiriye is only used with this past suffix; while -rinda and -gomba may be used in any tense.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ndashaka ikaramu; zana iyo (insert “which”) iri ku meza. 2. Umuntu w’Imana akwiriye kureka ibyaha bye. 3. Uyu yari hano mu gitondo; yarnfashije mu mirimo myinshi. 4. Uwo ntarinda kujya gukora mu murima. 5. Abahungu (insert “who”) bongera gukina mu ishuri bagomba kubona igihano. 6. Abigishwa bose ntibakwiwe imbaho; mugomba gushaka izindi. 7. Ntimurinda gukorwa n’isoni, mwakoze ibyo neza cyane. 8. Sindabyuniva neza. Ufwiriye kongera kubimbwira. 9. Ibyo bitoke ntibikwiriye bose; ukwiriye kongera ibindi. 10. Ugomba kongera kwandika ibyo utarataha.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. You (pl.) ought to confess your sins and begin to follow God. 2. They ought to be ashamed because they haven’t yet finished their work. 3. Do you want a mat? Shall I bring this one? 4. We don’t have to cut all the grass today. 5. There are two beds; do you want to lie on that one? 6. The workmen want to be given more (use kongera) francs; they do not praise those they got. 7. They must work hard before they will be given more. 8. God is worthy of reverence; let us praise Him with our lives and words. 9. We must go to Butare soon, because there are (some) things we need. 10. You (s.) mUst not tear this paper. We don’t have any more.



LESSON 94. Relative Clauses


umusaraba – cross ikiganza – palm of hand (sometimes used for whole hand)
kuganira (riye) – to talk, chat kwonona (nnye) (or, konona) – to spoil, damage (tr.)
kurwana (nye) – to fight (int.)
  1. Relative clause with noun or pronoun antecedent. Relative clauses (those introduced by who, which, that, etc. have no introductory word in Kinyarwanda for “who”, “which”, etc. All rules which apply to verbs in dependent clauses apply in these (see Lessons 91 and 92). The singular prefix for 1st class is u not a, as for other verbs. Observe the following examples:

Abantu bakunda Imana barayikurikira neza – the people who love God follow Him well.

Umugabo ukora hariya ni data – the man who is working over there is my father.

Abahungu bataje mu ishuri bazahanwa – the boys who didn’t come to school will be punished.

Sinshaka injangwe idafata imbeba – I don’t want a cat that doesn’t catch rats.

The tone in the relative is not the same as in the ordinary prefixless. Listen to an African say them.

Note that in these examples it would be almost impossible to make them make sense by reading any other way than as a relative. Thus, though there is no introductory word you should not have trouble with them. You have already encountered some examples of these in the exercises where you were told to insert “which” or “who”.

  1. The preceding examples all had the antecedent (preceding noun) as the subject of the dependent verb. Now note these examples where the antecedent is the object of the dependent verb:

Umuntu nahamagaye araje – the person whom I called is coming. Imbwa mfite zirya ibiryo byinshi – the dogs which I love eat much food. Abantu Yesu ashaka gukiza – the people whom Jesus want to save.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Kuko Yesu yapfuye ku musaraba azakiza abantu bose bamwizera. 2. Dukunda kuganira n’abantu badukunda. 3. Abakozi bataje uyu munsi ntibazabona amafaranga yabo ejo. 4. Abagore nabonye baje mu rusengero. 5. Inkere wasoromye ni mbi; ntidushobora kuzirya. 6. Utwo tuntu ufite mu biganza, wadukuye he? 7. Abana basubira kuganira mu ishuri ntibazabura guhanwa. 8. Mureke kurwanaj umugabo wabanje gukubita undi akwiriye kumusaba imbabazi. 9. Ntimwonone ya myenda myiza mwahawe. Ntimuzabona indi. 10. Ntiturinda gutegereza wa mwana utinze; araza hanyuma.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda.
  4. The men who went home early are lazy. 2. I don’t see the books which I brought. 3. The love which God showed us in Jesus is very great (much). 4. The sheep which you bought, is it here? 5. The cows which went in the corn are sick now. 6. Those people who are chatting over there ought to go to work. 7. The food you destroyed is that which we bought last week (see par. 195). 8. At the time when Jesus was put on the cross, they drove (-teye) nails into His hands. 9. The oranges which you (pl.) picked aren’t ripe yet. 10. Can’t you endure patiently in these few troubles which you have now? They will soon end.



LESSON 95. Relative Clauses with no Noun Antecedent


kwakira (riye) – to receive (as with hands) kwakira abashyitsi – to receive, welcome guests
isi (3rd) – earth inyoni – little bird
gusohoka (tse) – to go outside gutembera (reye) – to visit, go for a walk
  1. The singular prefix in a relative clause with no noun or pronoun antecedent is u-. You can recognize it in speech as different from the second person singular or the first person relative form, because the u is longer drawn out. In fact, it often sounds like uwu-.

It is uw- before a vowel-stem verb: e.g. uwiba – he who steals. Ushaka kugura igitabo aze – he who wants to buy a book, let him come.

The past prefix is uw-: e.g. uwabonye ingwe – he who saw a leopard. For the plural the prefix is aba-. e.g. Abazaza bazaoona akazi – those who come will get work.

When referring to a thing it takes the regular verb prefix and the initial vowel of the class of the thing referred to (often 4th cl. for indefinite “it”) . Ikitubuza gukora ni uko tudafite imbaraga – that which hinders us from working is that we are not strong (do not have strength).

  1. When only a pronoun is the antecedent of a relative clause and it is the object of the dependent verb, the demonstrative pronoun is used: abo nkunda – those whom I love. Umuntu w’Imana akora icyo ishaka – a person of God does that which He wants.
  2. When the antecedent is 1st or 2nd person, the verb prefix of the dependent verb is the prefix for third person plural relative. e.g. Twebwe abakora iminsi yose turashaka guhembwa – we who work every day want to be paid.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ukora neza azashimwa cyane. 2. Abo nabonye mu nzira ntibaragera hano. 3. Uzihana wese azababarirwa. (Note use of wese to modify an antecedent in the verb prefix.) 4. Mbese wakoze icyo nakubwiye? 5. Uwo nkunda ni we ukora icyo Imana ishaka. 6. Abasohotse tutararangiza ntibumvise ibyo. twavuzie byose. 7. Abakira neza abashyitsi bazakirwa neza n’abandi. 8. Ikipyereka umwete wanyu ni imirimo mwarangije gukora. 9. Mbese mwibagiwe ibyo nababwiye mu kwezi gushize? 10. Mu bihugu byose byo mu isi hari abakunda Imana.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Those (things) which I want are in the school. 2. He who wants to go with Bwana must come early. 3. That which is praised by God is a good heart. 4. He who follows God shall be given many blessings. 5. The little birds which I saw in the tree have gone. 6. Those who go for a walk in the evening must come back (when) it gets dark. 7. We have troubles on the earth, but we who trust Jesus will have everlasting joy (= joy that does not end) in heaven. 8. What (= that which) I told you to do is to heat the food so that those who are hungry can eat. 9. I am calling those who know (how) to make bricks. 10. The things which we learned in school will help us (for) many years.



LESSON 96. Pronoun Nde?


kwicara (ye) – to sit gupima (mye) – to measure, weigh, examine
kuruka (tse) – to vomit gukorora (ye) – to cough
inkorora – cough gusuzuma (mye) – to examine
kugera (ze) – to measure

Note: gupima, Swahili for “to measure” is used for measuring anything; weight, length, quantity, examination in school, or examining the sick. Gusuzuma, Kinyarwanda for “to examine” is used for examining the sick, examining a problem or situation, etc. Kugera usually indicates measuring with some kind of instrument, and only for length or quantity. Examinations in school are ibibazo, or as verb, kubaza.

  1. Nde? Plural: Bande? means “who?”. It is used only in questions, not in relative clauses. This word is used only of persons and expects in reply a name of a person or persons, or at least a description. Do not use it for “which one”. Learn these various uses of nde?

1) With the verb “to be”:

Uri nde? – Who are you? (s.)

Muri bande? – Who are you? (pl.)

Ni nde? – Who is it? Who is he?

Ni bande? – Who are they?

Umuntu nabonye ni nde? – Who is the person I saw?

Observe the word order. Nde comes at the end of the phrase to which it belongs.

2) As subject of a verb. In this use it is used with ni, and the clause following is a relative clause.

Ni nde wasohotse? – Who went outside? (lit. it is who who went… )

Ni bande batazanye amafaranga? – Who didn’t bring francs?

3) As object of verbs, thus “whom?” (here it follows the verb).

Wabonye nde? – Whom did you see?

Mutinya bande? – Whom do you fear?

Witwa nde? – What is your name? (lit. you are called who?)

4) With possessive “whose?”

Iki gitabo ni icya nde? – Whose book is this?

Izo nka ni iza bande? – Whose cows are those?

Note: uwa, icya, ibya, etc. means literally “the one of” or, “the ones of”. This is a possessive pronoun formed by the possessive particle preceded by the initial vowel of the class. The same form will be used in the reply. Inka ni iya nde? Ni iya Paulo – Whose cow is it? It is Paul’s.

5) After preposition. (Here instead of ku the form kwa is used.) Tugende kwa nde? – To whom shall we go?

Note: In pronunciation, because nde is a one-syllable word, it throws the accent onto the last syllable of the word preceding it: uri nde? witwa nde?


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Numva umwana ukorora. Ni nde? 2. Abicaye ku ntebe zacu ni bande? 3. Wasuzumye nde? Ararwaye cyane? 4. Biriya biti ni ibya nde? 5. Nabonye abana barwaye inkorora, barutse cyane. Mose ni abana ba nde? 6. Ni nde wageze uwo murima nshaka kugura? 7. Ibyo byuma ngomba kubijyana kwa nde? 8. Mu bigishwa babajijwe ejo ni bande batsinze (gutsinda = to pass)? 9. Iriya mirima iri hafi y’igiturage ni iya nde? 10. Igihe mwajyaga gushaka abajura mwafashe nde?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Whom did you send to Cyangugu? 2. Whose are the three books which are on the table? (see note below). 3. Who are the men who are sitting on the floor? 4. To whom did you send the letters you wrote yesterday? 5. Who is the woman you examined? 6. Who came to the school to call the boys? 7. Whose voice did we hear in the night? 8. Who will help that poor man build a house (= those who will are who)? 9. I saw a woman who is very sick. She vomited and could not sit up. Who is she? 10. At whom are the children laughing?

Note: In sentences no. 2, 3, and 4, and others, the word nde must follow the relative clause. See par. 197 no. 4).


LESSON 97. Adjective -he?


icyibo – shallow basket intambara – battle, strife
igitebo – deeper basket (no lid) umusambi – small grass mat
igiseke – tall pointed basket inama – council, counsel, advice, committee
intango – basket (various kinds)

Note: Inama may refer either to a group which meets to make plans, or it may refer to the counsel or advice given by that group, or an individual.

  1. The adjective -he? with its various agreements, means “which?”. It is used only in asking questions and carries the though of “which one among several?” It is declined just like uyu + -he. However, the singular for 1st and 2nd classes is uwuhe instead of uyuhe__.
Sing. Plural Sing. Plural
Class 1 uwuhe abahe Class 6 uruhe izihe
Class 2 uwuhe iyihe Class 7 akahe utuhe
Class 3 iyihe izihe Class 8 ubuhe ayahe
Class 4 ikihe ibihe Class 9 ukuhe ayahe
Class 5 irihe ayahe Class 10 (not used)
  1. Some rules for the use of -he?

1) It usually precedes the noun it modifies and removes the initial vowel of the noun, ikihe gitabo – which book?

2) The second syllable is long and accented. That is the reason the change-down rule does not affect the k’s and t’s, as you note in ikihe and akahe and others.

3) It may follow its noun, if there are other adjectives modifying the same noun, in which case this one must come last, e.g. inka zawe nini zihe? – which of your big cows?

But it is more often used in the pronoun form, like this: Urashaka ikihe muri ibi bitabo – Which of these books do you want?

4) Following mu or ku it loses its initial vowel: mu yihe? – in which?

5) Like other interrogative words, it is often preferable to put the phrase containing “which?” at the end of the sentence or clause. e.g. Muri izi ndabyo nce izihe? – Which of these flowers shall I pick?


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Inka zawe ni izihe muri izo? 2. Mbage iyihe muri izo nkoko? 3. Mbese urashaka igitebo? Yee, ntware ikihe? 4. Muzaza gutangira kwubaka uwuhe munsi? 5. Nataye urufunguzo rumwe. Ni uruhe? 6. Ni uwuhe muhungu wakubise undi? 7. Nshyire ibishyimbo mu kihe cyibo, icyo kinini cyangwa iki gito? 8. Ni ayahe mata yazanywe uyu munsi? Ntuyavange n’ay’ (aya) ejo. 9. Natowe kujya mu kahe kanama? 10. Iki gitebo cyaboshywe n’uwuhe mugore muri abo?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:

1.There are many houses in this village; which one do you live in? 2. Which baskets (shallow) shall we take tomorrow? 3. The council chose one man among these four. Which one? 4. In that battle five men were killed. Which ones? 5. I want to buy a small mat, but you have many. Which one shall I buy? 6. Which vegetables do you want me to gather (= want that I gather)? 7. Which of those men yonder is your brother (to a girl)? 8. Which of the pupils are sick ( with) coughs? They should go to the dispensary now. 9. From (in) which river did you drink that dirty water? 10. In which month did your friend come to see you? In November.



LESSON 98. Prepositional Form of Verb


guhindukira (ye) – to turn around (int.) guhindukiza (je) – to turn around (tr.)
guhunga (nze) – to flee impunzi – refugee (one who flees)
umuryango – family, clan umuryango – doorway

Note: The two words umuryango are pronounced slightly differently. On the one for “doorway” the -rya- is a high tone, on “family” it is low. Umuryango is “clan” rather than “family” as we think of it, though it is increasingly used. for “family.”

  1. Prepositional Form. This is made by chaing the final a of the verb to -era or -ira, according to the A I U rule (par. 157)– kuzana – to bring, gukora – to work, kuzanira – to bring to, for gukorera – to work for.

The translation of this form in its simple use is just “to”, “for”, “at”, etc. Nzamugurira igitabo – I’ll buy a book for him.

Note: With verbs of motion, (go, run, flee, etc.) the prepositional ending is not used to express “to” e.g. Yagqrutse imuhira – he returned to his home.

  1. Some verbs form this a bit irregularly:

1) Most verbs ending in -za change to -riza or -reza (A I U rule). gukiza – gukiriza, kubaza (ask) – kubariza

2) Many verbs in -sha or -shya change to -shiriza or -shereza, -hiriza or -hereza (A I U rule). Causatives are included here.

gushyushya – to heat, gushyuhiriza – to heat for

gukoresha – to use, gukoreshereza – to use for (someone, not a task)

There are other irregularities which you will meet, but these are the main ones. Most verbs form the prepositional regularly.

  1. The past of the prepositional form ending in -ira or -era is -iye, or -eye. e.g. yandikiye, yakoreye.

Those endijng in -za become -je e. g. Yambarije Bwana – he asked Bwana for me.


  1. Make the following verbs prepositional and translate:
1. kwandika 5. kwubaka 9. kubika
2. kugaruka 6. guteka 10. kwanga
3. kugira 7. gusaba 11. konona
4. gusoma 8. guhunga 12. kurakara
  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umwigisha arasomera abana mu kihe gitabo? 2. Mbona ko uzi kuboha neza. Urabohera nde uwo mupira? 3. Ndagusaba kunyihanganira. Ndaza vuba, ngiye (I am about to) kurangiza imirime. 4. Impunzi nyinshi zizaza muri iki cyumweru. Umfashe kuzitegurira ibiryo byiza kugira ngo tuzakire neza. 5. Yesu yatweretse urukundo rwe rwinshi kuko yadupfiriye ku musaraba.

III. Translate into Kinyarwanda:

  1. Turn (pl.) to God and He will save you and give you new hearts. 2. The man saw a leopard and he fled to the doorway of his house. 3. Heat much water for me because I want to take a bath. 4. I haven’t seen my brother (I, a girl) (for) many months; I want to write to him. 5. We want to know the names of the teachers; will you ask John for us?



LESSON 99. Uses of Prepositional Form


kurega (ze) – to accuse (of) gusarura (ye) – to harvest
kugesa (she) – to harvest millet, small grains inyanja – ocean, lake
kugeza ubwo – until
  1. Uses of Prepositional Form:
  2. The simple use of “to”, “for” (sometimes “in”, “against” ,“from”): kuzanira – to bring to, gushimira – to praise for.

Note: Some verbs’ natural meaning implies “to” or “for”, such as guha. In those cases the prepositional form is not necessary. However, those verbs may have a prepositional form for one of the other uses given here.

2) Time. When a future time is uncertain the prepositional form is used with the future, particularly in clauses introduced by ubwo, igihe, aho, meaning “when” or “where”. Past or present verbs in clauses introduced by ubwo may also take this form. Sinzi ubwo nzagarukira – I don’t know when I shall return. Igihe Yesu azazira azatujyana mu ijuru – When Jesus comes He will take us to heaven.

Also, if igihe is the antecedent of a relative clause, the verb in that clause will be in the prepositional form, unless the time is specific and known. Sihzi igihe yapfiriye – I don’t know the time (when) he died.

3) Place. If it is stated that the action of the verb is done in or at a particular place or region, the prepositional form is usually used. e.g. Tuzashimira Imana mu ijuru – we shall praise God in heaven.

Sometimes the prepositional is not used in these cases where we might expect it. Observe it used in this way in these Scripture verses: Math. 2:1; 3:l; 11:20, 21.

Note: Here also if the natural meaning of the verb implies place it is necessary to use the prepositional form. Verbs such as: kurara, kwicara, etc.

  1. Prepositional form of Monosyllabic Verbs
kuba kubera kunywa kunywera kurya kurira
guca gucira gupfa gupfira kuva kuvira
kugwa kugwira gushya guhira kuza kuzira
guha guhera gusya gusera kujya kugira

Note: These are all formed regularly. Just remember whether the vowel is i or e. Also, in each case the i or e is long.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Dukwiriye gukora neza iminsi yose kuko tutazi igihe Yesu azagarukira. 2. Hano ni uruzi aho Sehene yanywereye amazi. 3. Muziga iminsi yose kugeza ubwo nzazira. 4. Bamureze ko yiba igihe b’asaruriraga ibishyimbo. 5. Twese turashaka kujya mu ijuru kuko ari ho (there) tuzanezererwa ibihe byose. 6. Yesu yatuviriye (kuva can mean “to shed”) arnaraso ku musaraba kugira ngo adukize ibyaha. 7. Kuri ririya buye ni ho (there) nagwiriye. 8. Igihe ibiryo bihira umparnagare kugira ngo tudatinda kurya. 9. Sinzi aho urnunsi mukuru uzabera, ariko ndashaka kuwubona. 10. Tujyane impamba zikwiriye bose kuko turarira mu nzira.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. When my father dies he will give me all his things. 2. Jesus healed many people at the shore (inkombe) of the lake. 3. I don’t know when the workers will cut those trees. 4. We will go to Kigali when we have (use “see”) the time. 5. Let us work for Jesus until He comes. 6. I asked the policeman (umupolisi) for mercy and he had it for me (awkward in English, but normal in Kinyarwanda). 7. That boy has been accused of many bad things. Let’s pray for him so that he will repent and ask God for forgiveness. 8. They are harvesting the millet this week. The women will grind it in their kraals. 9. That old man over there doesn’t know (how) to read but he loves to tell (to) us stories (parables). 10. Please look for my knife for me. I have searched everywhere and I fail to find it.



LESSON 100. Review

  1. Questions:
  1. Conjugate gukena in the present dependent negative.
  2. Conjugate kwicara in the present dependent negative.
  3. What is the 3rd person singular prefix (1st class) for the relative without an antecedent? The plural?
  4. Explain the difference between: -kwiriye, -rinda, -gomba. Give examples of each in a sentence. How do you say: You don’t have to?
  5. How would you say “before he comes”? (2 ways)
  6. Is there any difference between the demonstrative adjective and the demonstrative pronoun?
  7. What does nde? mean? What is the plural form of it?
  8. Give examples using nde? 1) with “to be”, 2) as subject of verb, 3) as object of verb, 4) with possessive.
  9. What does -he? mean? Give its form with each class agreement.
  10. How is the prepositional form of the verb made?
  11. Give three uses of the prepositional form.
  1. Give the prepositional forms of the following and translate:
1. gukora 6. kuzana 11. kuza 16. kwandika 21. guca
2. kuvuga 7. guteka 12. kubika 17. kwubaka 22. kunywa
3. gushima 8. kugura 13. kugira 18. gutuma 23. gupfa
4. gushaka 9. gusenga 14. kuririmba 19. kohereza 24. kurya
5. gusoma 10. kubona 15. gukiza 20. kubaza 25. kuba

III. Vocabulary quiz:


  1. isi
  2. igihano
  3. gukena
  4. gukorora
  5. kwihangana
  6. intambara
  7. kurega
  8. kongera
  9. ivuriro
  10. igiseke
  11. guhindukira
  12. guhindukiza
  13. gusarura
  14. kuganira
  15. inyoni
  16. inama
  17. umujyi
  18. igiturage
  19. umusambi
  20. ikiganza
  21. to sit
  22. to play
  23. little basket
  24. family
  25. until
  26. to be hot
  27. to heat
  28. lake
  29. cough (noun)
  30. to measure
  31. to visit
  32. to vomit
  33. shame
  34. to go outside
  35. cross
  36. shoes
  37. to understand
  38. to knit
  39. doorway
  40. to damage








LESSON 101. Reading Lesson


ibyondo – mud kurema (mye) – to create
ingurube – pig gutangara (ye) – to wonder at, be amazed
inkende – monkey umwicanyi – murderer
mwene – son of, daughter of nka – like (pl. bene)

Note: In the following paragraphs you will note the syllable -ka– in some verbs. You will learn about that tense later, but for the present translate -ka- as “and”. You may see some other things that you don’t understand altogether; however, do the best you can with the translation.

  1. Translate into English. You may translate present verbs as past where it makes sense to do do.

Imana yarangije kurema igitoke, nyuma Satani na we afata inkende ayicira munsi yacyo. Arongera afata ingwe ayicira aho nyine (right there) munsi y’icyo gitoke. Arongera afata ingurube ayicira aho nyine munsi yacyo. Rero (then) icyo gitoke kinyunyuza (suck in) amaraso ya za nyamaswa zose Satani yiciye munsi yacyo.

Ni cyo gituma (reason) umuntu anywa inzoga nke akabanza gukina nk’inkende, ngo yongera kunywa akarwana nk’ ingwe; nyuma akaza arivurunga (roll oneself) mu byondo nk’ingurube. (from Imigani. by E. Sibomana, p. 22)

  1. Translate this Scripture passage: (1 John 3:13-19). Try to do it without first reading the passage in English.

Bene Data, ntimutangazwe n’uko (that) ab’isi babanga. Twebwe tuzi ko twavuye mu rupfu, tukagera mu bugingo, kuko dukunda bene Data. Udakunda aguma mu rupfu. Umuntu wese wanga mwene se n’umwicanyi; kandi muzi ko nta (no) mwicanyi afite ubugingo buhoraho (everlasting) muri we. Iki ni cyo kitumenyesha urukundo icyo ari cyo, ni uko Yesu yatanze ubugingo bwe ku bwacu (see par. 207); natwe ikidukwiriye ni uko twatanga ubugingo ‘bwacu ku bwa bene Data. Ariko Ufite ibintu byo mu isi, akareba ko mwene Se akennye, akamukingira (close up for him) imbabazi ze, urukundo rw’Imana rwaguma (would remain) muri we rute (how)? Bana bato, ntidukundane (-na, or, -ne = each other) mu magambo cyangwa ku rurimi, ariko dukundane mu byo dukora no mu by’ukuri. Icyo ni cyo’kizatumenyesha ko turi ab’ukuri.



LESSON 102. Miscellaneous Words


kuzimira (ye) – to lose one’s way, go astray umwanzi – enemy
kugerageza (je) – to try, tempt kubera – because of, on account of
ku bwa – for the sake of, in (my) opinion
  1. Ntuza. This word means “what’s-his-name.” It is used when for the moment one cannot remember the name of a person. e.g. Hamagara ntuza uriya – call what’s-his-name over there.

When a thing is referred to, the specific name being forgotten, the form is intuza. Sometimes one hears something like this: Ndashaka kugura intuza-intuza – ikaramu – I want to buy what-you-call-it – a pencil.

  1. Naka. This word (sometimes doubled: naka-naka) means “so-and-so.” “In English we sometimes say: “He goes to so-and-so and says such-and-such.” In Kinyarwanda this would be: Ajya kuri naka avuga binaka. Or, one may say: Ku munsi munaka – on such-and-such a day.
  2. Ku bwa and kubera. Kubera means “on account of,” “through the agency of”, as well as “because of.” Listen for African usage of this word to get the right slant of meaning. Ku bwa may be used like this: Ku bwanjye Petero arabeshya – in my opinion, Peter is lying. Or, Yesu yapfuye ku bwacu – Jesus died for our sakes.

Note that this is ku followed by the possessive with bu- prefix. ku bwanjye, ku bwawe, ku bwacu, ku bwayo, etc. e.g. Kubera abantu bose – because of all the people.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ntuza azajya i Kigali vuba gushakll akazi. 2. Ku bwanjye Mariya akwiriye kujya kwiga kugira ngo amenye gusoma no kwandika. 3. Muzagenda ryari kurega abanzi banyu? Ntimuratangira gutegura iby’ urugendo? 4. Nidusabe ku bwa Yesu Kristo kugira ngo biduheshe ibyo dusaba. 5. Ntuza yarazimiye kuko atumvise neza icyo abantu bamubwiye. 6. Byaturuhije cyane mu gitondo, kuko abakozi bataje. Kubera ibyo dukwiriye kubangtika cyane kugira ngo tugerageze kurangiza gusarura ibishyimbo. 7. Intama za naka zazimiye, maze yahamagaye abamufasha kuzishaka. 8. Twese dukwiriye kugerageza cyane kwanga kunebwa kugira ngo tugire umwete mu mirimo yacu. 9. Abantu baratangaye cyane igihe Yesu yababwiraga ko dukwiriye gukunda abanzi bacu. 10. Mbese mwabonye ntuza ku ishtui ejo?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Jesus was: tempted for our sakes in order that He may help us in our temptations (make noun out of verb here- “our being tempted”). 2. Try (pl.) hard (cyane) to do what God wants and He will help you. 3. I am looking for what-you-call-it – a tool to pound (gukubita) nails with – a hammer. 4. Jesus died on the cross because of your sins and my sins. 5. The men will go to Kibuye tomorrow to begin to build a new house. 6. The fundi sent me to look for what-you-call-it. But I can’t find it. Tell me what you want and I’ll help you look for it. 7. When you go to Kigali please buy four pails for me. 8. Don’t stay home because of me; I’m not very sick, and I want you to go with the others. 9. For whom did they weave that tall pointed basket over there? 10. When the visitors came here, they lost their way and we waited for them (for) five hours.





LESSON 103. Reflexive Verbs


kunezeza (je) – to please, make happy kurinda (nze) – to watch, guard, protect
guhisha (shije) – to hide (from) (tr.) ubusa – in vain, nothing, for nothing
kwishima (mye) – to be happy, satisfied
  1. Reflexive verbs. By reflexive is meant that the subject does the action to himself. This is formed by attaching -i- to the stem of the verb, or -iy- if it is a vowel-stem verb. gukunda – to love; kwikunda – to love oneself; kwigisha – to teach; kwiyigisha – to teach oneself.

This attached prefix actually becomes a part of the stem and the forms are treated as any other vowel-stem verbs, in all respects. e.g. Umuhungu aribaza – the boy asks himself (wonders). Umwigisha ariyubakira inzu – the teacher is building a house for himself.

  1. The reflexive can be used making the subject the direct object, as in kwikunda – to love oneself; or, it may be made an indirect object when used with a prepositional form of the verb, or with a prepositional suffix (Lesson 115), as in ariyubakira above. e.g. kwigurira igitabo – to buy a book for oneself
  2. The imperative of reflexive verbs differs from ordinary vowel-stems in that it must end in e. e.g. Ikize – save yourself.


  1. Make the following verbs reflexive and translate:
1. kwereka 4. guklira 7. gutema
2. gtikiza 5. gutanga 8. kubabaza
3. kubuza 6. guha 9. kwanga
  1. Translate into English:
  2. Abikunda ntibanezeza Imana ariko batekereza ibyabo gusa. 2. Ku bwarijye sinzafasha utifasha. 3. Umuntu wibye akunda kwihisha kuko atinya gufatwa. 4. Irinde kugira ngo utazagwa igihe uzageragerezwa na Satani. 5. Uwibwira ko amafaranga menshi azana iununezero aribeshya.

III. Translate into Kinyarwanda:

  1. Many people like to please only themselves, but they work (use prep.) in vain because they do not please God. 2. He who remains in sin does evil (badly) to himself. 3. My older brother is looking for gardens for himself, because those he has are small. 4. Those who love themselves very much cannot love others. 5. Let’s examine ourselves that we may see if (ko) we have sins in our hearts.




LESSON 104. Uses of Nta


umubabaro – pain, grief, suffering, sorrow imfura – first-born
gusigara (ye) – to be left (over, behind) icumbi (5th) – lodging place
inda – stomach, pregnancy, fetus gucumbika (tse) – to lodge
nubwo – although (introduces dependent clause.)
  1. Nta, meanihg “no one”, “not”, “not any”, may be used either as an adjective or pronoun. Thus used it is followed by a relative clause, which is subject to rules for dependent clauses.

Actually, in some ways nta seems to be a verb form, meaning “there is not”. In all the examples given here it suits both sense and form to consider it this way. However, it does replace the English adjective or pronoun “no,” “none,” “no one.”

1) When used as an adjective it precedes the noun and removes the initial vowel. The following verb is a dependent one, the literal meaning being “there is not… who…” e.g Nta muntu waje – not a person came, or, no one came (lit. there is not a person who came). Nta gitabo mfite – I haven’t a book (lit. there is not a book which I have).

2) When used as a pronoun the relative begins with u- (as forms in par. 194), in reality uwu- and the initial vowel ( u) of uwu- is dropped. But in modern orthography the w is not written, though it is pronounced. Nta ushaka kugenda (one says: nta wushaka) – no one wants to go (lit. there is no one who wants to go).

With the vowel-stems likewise the u of uw- is dropped after nta, but here the w is written. Nta wanga umwana we – no one hates his child.

3) Nta very frequently is placed at the beginning of the sentence.

  1. Nta is sometimes used with na, which in this instance means “even.” Nta n’umwe uri hano – not even one is here (this is simply an emphatic way of saying “no one.”)

The number, as umwe here, would agree with the class of whatever was being referred to.

  1. This word, nta, plus the relative, is common for “anyone” (really “no one”) in asking questions. e.g. Nta wabonye igitabo cyanjye? – has anyone seen my book? (lit. Is there not he who has seen my book?)

However, the Banyarwanda might sometimes say, “Nta gi tabo cyanjye wamboneye – lit. No book of mine have you seen for me?

Note also these examples: Ibijumba birahari? Oya, nta bihari. – Are there any sweet potatoes? No, there are none. Nutza arahari? Oya, nta uhari – Is what’s-his-name here? No he is not here.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Nta muntu nabonye mu ishuri mu gitondo.2. Mbese nta uri aha ushaka kunkorera? 3. Nta gitabo na kimwe gisigaye. 4. Nta mubabaro yagize nubwo se yapfuye. 5. Igihe Imana yaktiraga abantu hayo mu Egiputa, nta mfura n’imwe wasigaye mu Banyegiputa itapfuye. 6. Mbese muri ibyo bi toke byose waguze, nta na kimwe gisigaye? 7. Uriya mugabo nta bana afite bazima atari (except) imfura ye. 8. Nta mubabaro mfite mu nda, ni mu mutwe gusa. 9. Nubwo twagerageje cyane, nta rubaho na rumwe rwo gukora urugi twashoboye kubona. 10. Nta wumvise ingoma? Ni igihe cyo kwinjira mu rusengero.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. No lodging place were they able to find. 2. Those old men have some bad habits; but not one wants to leave them. 3. Has anyone seen my pencil? 4. I haven’t any francs to buy beans. 5. No one builds a house on sand. 6. No visitors came, although we prepared lodging for them. 7. Doesn’t anybody lack a songbook (= book of songs)? I picked one up here. 8. Didn’t anybody go to harvest the millet? 9. No news of our friends has come yet, although they went home last month. 10. Are there no “fundis” who know how to put a roof on a house?



LESSON 105. Further Notes on Nta


ikirondwe – tick inda – louse (tone different from that of “stomach”. Ask an African.)
inyenzi – cockroach ubutunzi – riches, wealth
intozi – pincher ant
  1. Nta as object is usually used in the adjective form. It may not be used by itself. e.g. Nta biti nabonye hariya – I saw no trees over there.

Since nta biti is antecedent of the relative clause nabonye, as well as object of that verb, it precedes the verb. Nta can never follow a verb as object.

  1. Nta as pronoun obJect:

Nta we nabwiye – I told no one

Nta bo muzabona – You will see none (e.g. workers).

  1. a) Nta with the demonstrative pronoun (see par. 190) may be used as object of the verb, referring to a thing. (Remember that nta removes the initial vowel, even from a pronoun.) Ufite inka? Nta zo mfite – Do you have cows? I have none. Ntuza afite isuka? Nta yo afite – Does what’s-his-name have a hoe? He has none.
  2. b) Nta cyo is commonly used for “nothing”. Ufite iki? Nta cyo – what do you have? Nothing.

Mbese ukora iki? Nta cyo. – What are you doing? Nothing.

  1. c) Nta ho is used for” nowhere”, usually placed at the beginning of the sentence. e.g. Wagiye he? Nta ho nagiye – Where did you go? Nowhere.
  2. d) Nta bwo may mean “never.” It may also just be a strong negation. Nta bwo azakora icyo – he’ll never do that.
  3. In a dependent clause nta does not change: e.g. Karisa ntashobora kugura imyenda kuko nta mafaranga afite – Karisa cannot buy clothes because he has no francs.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Uwo mwana ntashaka kuza kwiga kuko nta myenda afite. 2. Mbese warangije gukura ibirondwe byose kuri ya mbwa? Yee, nta na kimwe gisigaye. 3. Ndagira ngo hari inda nyinshi mu myenda y’uwo muhungu. Oya, nta zo afite. 4. Mbese wabonye ab’ iwacu uyu munsi? Oya, nta bo nabonye. 5. Nta ntozi twabonye mu gihugu cyacu. 6. Nta mukobwa araza gukubura mu rusengero? Nta we ndabona. 7. Mbese nturabona ikirondwe? Reba mfi te kimwe aha ku kuguru ubu. 8. Sinasho boye kubwira ab’ iwanyu amakuru yawe, kuko nta we nabonye mu rugo. 9. Yesu yatubwiye kubika ubutunzi mu ijuru aho nta nyenzi zishobora kubwonona. 10. Nta ho umwigisha azajya ejo.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. There is nowhere he has not gone in this country. 2. I saw no one in your kraal yesterday. 3. I don’t know about (ibya) this child because he says nothing. 4. There are no cockroaches in her kitchen. 5. This man wants to buy clothes although he has nothing. 6. Are there pincher ants in your garden? I haven’t seen any. 7. Don’t tell anyone that thieves stole that cow. 8. I haven’t seen a monkey or a leopard anywhere in this country. 9. Have you climbed this mountain? I haven’t climbed any mountain. 10. This young man never writes to his older brother.




Reciprocal Form of Verb


gukurura (ye) – to draw, pull, drag amarira – tears
kwegera (reye) – to come near to guhanagura (ye) – to wipe, wipe away
gutonganya (nije) – to rebuke, reprove, scold
  1. The reciprocal form is made simply by adding -na to the verb stem. In a few verbs it is -nya. You will learn those by experience. One of these is gufashanya – to help each other; another is kwigishanya – to teach each other. There are two meanings to this ending. But the meaning implied by the term “reciprocal” is “one another” or “each other.”

gukunda -to love

kubona – to see

gukundana- to love each other

ubonana – to see each other

  1. There are two important things to be remembered.

1) Only a transitive verb becomes reciprocal, for it must have an object: “one another”.

2) A reciprocal verb does not usually have any other direct object following, since the object is “one another”.

  1. 1) The past of these verbs ends in -nye. Those which end in -nya form the past with -nije. Bakundanye – they loved each other. Bafashanije – they helped each other.

2) A verb may have both a prepositional suffix and a reciprocal. In this case there may be another direct object expressed. e.g. Kwandikirana inzandiko – to write letters to each other.

Often when there is a prepositional and reciprocal, the prepositional is repeated twice, before and after the -na. e.g. kugiriranira ishyari – to be jealous of each other.

Note these examples: gusengeranira – to pray for each other, guhingiranira – to cultivate for each other, kurwaniranira – to fight for each other.


  1. Make the following verbs reciprocal and translate.
1. kubwira 3. gufata 5. kwanga 7. kwizera 9. kurega
2. kwereka 4. kwegera. 6. kureba 8. kubeshya 10. guseka
  1. Translate into English:
  2. Hari abantu benshi uyu munsi. Mukwiriye kwegerana kugira ngo bose babone aho bicara. 2. Yesu yatwigishije ko dukwiriye gukundana nk’uko (as) yadukunze. 3. Dufite imirimo myinshi; dufashanye kugira ngo turangize vuba. 4. Natonganije cyane abahungu kuko batafashanije neza mu mirimo y’ishuri. 5. Muraramukeho. Tuzabonana ejo mu rusengero. 6. Ni mufashanye gukurura urwo rugi, kuko ruremereye cyane. 7. Dusengeranire kuko twesedukennye imbaraga zo gutsinda ibigeragezo (temptations). 8. Ni twigishanye, wowe unyigishe ikinyarwanda, nanjye nkwigishe icyongereza (English). 9. Mwaranganye, ubu mukwiriye kubabarirana. 10. Nabonye abahungu babiri bakubitana, ariko nababujije, nyuma nababwiye ko bakwiriye gukundana.

III. Translate into Kinyarwanda:

  1. Those two men are afraid of each other because both have riches and they are jealous (of) each other. 2. I am going to America soon, but let us write to each other. 3. The boys hated each other but now they love each other because Jesus has saved them. 4. The girls showed each other their new clothes. 5. God’s people love each other, help each other, and trust each other. 6. Let’s help each other wash these dishes; you (s.) wash them and I’ll dry them (wipe). 7. The girls were shedding (= crying) many tears, but we told them not to (= that they not) sorrow. 8. Please get near to each other, all of you, so that you can hear what I say. 9. Those thieves are lying to each other. I can’t trust anyone (of them). 10. Those who respect each other are able to help each other.



LESSON 107. Associative Verbs


gutera ye) – to throw, plant imbyiro – dirt (on body, clothes)
isoko (5th) – market igiciro – price, value
isoko (3rd s., 5th pl.) – fountain, source (of water) inyungu – profit, gain
umwanda – dirt (esp. as an floor) kwuma (mye) – to dry (int.)
  1. Associative verbs are formed exactly like reciprocal verbs – By the addition of -na (sometimes -nya). The past is also the same, ending in -nye (or, -nije). This form means to do a thing together, or, with.
gukora – to work gukorana – to work together
kuguma – to stay kugumana – to stay together

You are not apt to confuse these two kinds of verbs, for they scarcely ever occur in the same verbs, and the meaning is usually obvious. Usually reciprocals are transitive verbs and associatives are intransitive, but not always.

  1. a) When the second subject is named, that is, the one with whom the thing is done, the word na meaning “with” is also used. e.g. gukora n’abandi benshi – to work together with many others.
  2. b) Remember the use of kujyana: Petero ajyana abana – Peter takes the children. Abana bajyana na Petero – the children go with Petero.

If no second subject is expressed or object, with associative verbs it is important to be careful about using transitive verbs where the meaning would be “each other” rather than “together” e.g. turirimbane – let us sing about each other (not, let us sing together). In cases like this, to avoid the reciprocal meaning one would have to use the simple form of the verb with hamwe e.g. Turirimbe hamwe – let’s sing together.

Often in this instance the prepositional form is used: Turirimbire hamwe.

Gusengana is to “worship each other” (not “pray together”).

Gusengera hamwe is “to pray together.”

Sometimes the associative form is used like this: Garukana igitabo cyanjye – come back with my book, thus, return my book.

  1. Gutera. This verb is used in a multitude of ways with many idiomatic expressions. It is derived from the verb guta – to throwaway, or lose. Note these phrases:

gutera ipasi – to iron (clothes) (Sometimes kugorora imyenda is used instead)

gutera imbuto – to plant seeds

gutera umupira (or, amabuye) to throw the ball (or, stones), play ball

gutera ubwoba – to frighten, make afraid (throw fear)

gutera icyubahiro – to bring, cause honor, respect

From these examples you will be able to understand the use of this word in other similar expressions when you hear them. As in the last two examples, it often has the idea of “to cause.”


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Mwirukire hamwe kugira ngo turebe uzi kwiruka cyane. 2. Abana bakunda gukinira hamwe; bakunda cyane gutera umupira. 3. Nzagarukana intebe yawe ejo. 4. Tujyane ku isoko kugura ibishyimbo; nyuma tuzabigurisha ahandi, ahari tuzabona inyungu. 5. Hari umwanda mwinshi mu ishuri; mukorane vuba gukubura no koza hasi. 6. Abagore barajyana ku isoko kuvoma. 7. Twicarane mu nzu ngo tuganire gato. 8. Twese dufite ibiturushya, rero ni twibuke gusabirana. 9. Za mbuto zose nateye ziri he? Nta zo mbona. 10. Data yansigaranye na murumuna wanjye, none sinshobora kujyana n’abandi i Kigali.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Those men work together well because they like each other. 2. The teachers will spend the night together so that they may have opportunity to pray together. 3. Let us sing together hymn no. 26; (write out number). 4. I scolded the thief with many words because I wanted to frighten him. 5. Iron all the clothes today before they dry completely. 6. People who live together (use kuba) must trust each other. 7. The girls went down to hoe with the women in the valley. 8. Let’s do what (the things which) God wants so that we may bring Him honor. 9. My brother (girl speaking) wants his children (wants that… ) to learn together with the teachers’ children. 10. The pupils went out together (in order) to play ball.



LESSON 108. Adverb -te?


kuruha shye) – to be tired kuruhuka (tse) – to rest
kuruta (se) – to surpass kurusha (shije) – to surpass
gusumba (mbye) – to surpass kumera (ze) – to be like, be in a certain state, germinate
uruhushya – permission, rest, vacation, time off si byo? – isn’t it? isn’t that so?

Note: si byo? is often added after a statement, like “n’est-ce pas?” in French; but do not use it to excess.

  1. -te? This word, meaning “how?” (only in questions), though an adverb, has a variable prefix. The prefix is the same as the verb prefixes for each class and also for each person. Ameze ate? – how is he? (usually used only of one who has been ill) Ameze neza – he’s well (better). Nta ko ameze – he’s no better.

Note that in these expressions, ameze is a stative without -ra-.

Here are the various forms:

1st person nte dute
2nd person ute mute
3rd person ate bate


2nd class ute ite
3rd class ite zite
4th class gite bite
5th class rite ate
6th class rute zite
7th class gate dute
8th class bute ate
9th class gute ate
10th class hate

You will hear this word in expressions such as these:

bakora bate? – how are they working?

tugire dute? – what shall we do? (lit. how shall we do?) This could also be: tugira dute?

bigenda bite? – how are things going?

nkora nte (or, nkore nte)? – what shall I do? (or, how shall I do?)

hameze hate? – what is it like there?

intozi zigenda zite? – how do pincher ants walk?

  1. Comparison.
  2. a) The verb kuruta is most commonly used for this when an adjective is involved. Note these examples: Uyu mwana ni munini kuruta uyo – This child is bigger than that one. Iki giti ni kirekire kuruta icyo – This tree is taller than that one. Umwenda wa Mariya ni mwiza kuruta uwa Ana – Mary’s dress is nicer than Ana’s. Ihene yanjye ni nto kuruta intama – My goat is smaller than a sheep.
  3. b) Two other verbs, kurusha and gusumba, are also used for comparisons.

It seems that kurusha is used when the comparison has to do with a verb that shows activity, but if the verb is a stative kuruta is used.

  1. g. Paulo aririmba neza kurusha Petero – Paul sings better than Peter.

Umukozi wanjye akora cyane kurusha uriya – My workman works harder than that one.

Umugozi muremure urakomeye kuruta uwo mugufi – The long rope is stronger than the short one

  1. c) When the comparison is made by means of a noun the verb is kurusha. e.g. Arusha Yohana u wenge – he is wiser than John.
  2. d) Gusumba is often used in comparing height, or length, and no other word for “height” is necessary. You will hear it used for other comparisons sometimes as well. e.g, Mukuru wanjye aransumba – My older brother is taller than I.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ndasabye uruhushya kuko ndushye cyane. 2. Nyoko ameze ate ubu? Nta ko ameze. 3. Ashobora kugenda ate ko (since) arwaye ukuguru? 4. Imana izafasha ite abantu banga kuyakira mu mitima yabo? 5. Nsome nte ko (since) ndafite igitabo? 6. Ndashaka isahane nini kuruta iyi kuko ibiryo ari byinshi. 7. Ngire nte, ko ndwaye cyane uyu munsi kuruta ejo? 8. Abakene bakunda Imana batanga amafaranga menshi kurusha abakire bikunda. 9. Igiciro cy’ibishyimbo ni kinini cyane ubu kuruta umwaka ushize. 10. Murumuna wa Yohana aramusumba.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. How are things going in your school? 2. What shall we do since the others are not coming to help us? 3. How can I rest now for there is much work? 4. How will you (pl.) pay the workers today? You have no francs. 5. How are your cows now? They were sick, weren’t they? 6. What is your new kraal like? Is it nicer than the other one? 7. I heard that your father is very ill. How is he now? He’s no better. 8. How did they build, since it’s raining (= rain falls) every day? 9. My sister (boy speaking) knows how to weave baskets (flat ones) better than my mother. 10. I like (use “praise”) these shoes more than those, but the price is very big.



LESSON 109. How to Say “Why?”


inzika – grudge, crossness ishavu – sadness
isabune (3rd s. 5th pI.) – soap kurenganya (nije) – to persecute, treat unjustly
kugira ishavu – to be sad kugira inzika – to be cross
  1. There are a number of ways of saying “why?”, each with its own particular uses.

1) Ni kuki? This is used as we use the word “Why?”, all by itself.

Yagiye kwa muganga. Hi kuki? – He went to the doctor. Why?

Or one may say: Hari kuki? (especially for past time).

Kuki may also introduce a clause, in which case the clause following is a dependent one. Also, the ni may then be omitted.

  1. g. Kuki utazanye amafaranga – Why didn’t you. bring the money?

2) a. Present or future tense with a clause: Ni iki gituma? e.g. Ni iki gituma ukubita umwana: – Why are you beating the child? Ni iki gituma uzajya i Cyangugu? – Why will you go to Cyahgugu?

  1. Recent past: (the -ra- of the immediate past is lost from the main verb because it is a dependent clause.) e.g. Ni iki gitumye ukubise umwana? – Why did you beat the child (just now)? (Here you must use gitumye.)
  2. Past: Ni iki cyatumye followed by the prefixless present of the main verb. e.g. Ni iki cyatumye ukubita umwana – Why did you beat the child? Ni iki cyatumye abigisha bajya i Cyangugu ejo? – Why did the teachers go to Cyangugu yesterday?

3) For the negative one commonly uses this construction with kubuza: Ni iki cyakubujije gukora neza? – Why didn’t you work well? (lit. What hindered you from working well?)

Note that it is the infinitive which follows cyakubujije.

One may also use the proper tense of ni iki gituma followed by the -ta- negative. – e.g. Ni iki cyatumye udakora neza? – Why didn’t you work well?

4) Another way of expressing “why?” is the prepositional form of the verb, followed by iki? – in other words, “for what?” e.g. Unyangira iki? – Why do you hate me? (lit. For what do you hate me?)

This form is chiefly used when there is a pronoun object in the verb, though not only then.

Note: Kuki? is usually considered less polite than ni iki gituma, and may imply disapproval of the action.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Ni iki gituma udashaka kwemera Yesu no kureka ibyaha byawe? 2. Ni iki cyatumye usiba cyane mu kwezi gushize. 3. Ni iki cyakubujije kujya i Kigali ejo hamwe n’abandi? 4. Numvise ku ejo wanze gukorana na Kalisa. Ni kuki? 5. Umwangira iki? Hari inabi yakugiriye? 6. Ni iki gitumye uguze ishoka kandi ufite indi? 7. Ni iki cyabujije ya nkumi kujya kuvurwa? Ni uko (it is that, or, because) nta mafaranga ifite. 8. Ya nka, so ayikundira iki? Mbona imeze nabi. 9. Ni iki cyabujije umwubatsi kurangiza inzu ye muri uku kwezi? Ni imvura nyinshi. 10. Ni iki cyatumye ugirira murumuna wawe inzika?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Why didn’t your father send you to school yesterday? 2. Why did you (pl.) throw stones (just now) into the school? 3. Why are you angry at me? 4. Long ago Paulo persecuted those who followed Jesus. Why? 5. Why do you want to quit your work? Because I want more money(francs). 6. Why won’t the teacher go to reprove those boys? 7. Why do the elders persecute these two young men? They didn’t steal anything. 8. Why (for what) is that woman punishing her little child? 9. Why did you (just now) drag that big box into this room? 10. Why did you wait until today to tell me that news?



LESSON 110. Review

  1. For the following verbs write the causative, prepositional, passive, reflexive, reciprocal (or associative) forms:
1. gukunda 3. kubona 5. kuvuga |7. kubeshya 9. gutinya
2. gukora 4. gufasha 6. kwanga |8. guha 10. gutuma
  1. Questions:
  1. What is the difference between kujya and kugenda?
  2. What is the difference between ntuza and naka?
  3. What is the difference between reciprocal and associative verbs?
  4. What does kubwa mean? Kubera?
  5. Give five expressions using gutera, and translate them.
  6. What is the word for “why?” when it does not in traduce a clause?
  7. How do you say “why?” when introducing an affirmative clause (other than what you gave in no. 6)? 1) present or future, 2) recent past, 3) far past.
  8. Give two ways for saying “why?” in negative clauses.
  9. What does -te? mean? How are its prefixes determined?
  10. Write a sentence as an example of a comparison for each of the commonly used words, and translate your examples.

III. Vocabulary Quiz:

1. intozi 11. inyenzi 21. to be tired 31. tears
2. uburakari 12. isoko 22. to hide 32. stomach
3. kubera 13. gusigara 23. to persecute 33. to rebuke
4. ubusa 14. imfura 24. to try 34. although
5. kujya 15. inzika 25. grudge 35. louse
6. uruhushya 16. ikirondwe 26. dirt (on body) 36. to wipe
7. icumbi 17. kwuma 27. to lose one’s way 37. riches
8. inyungu 18. inkende 28. to rest 38. mud
9. igiciro 19. gutangara 29. to draw near 39. to plant
10. umwanzi 20. kurema 30. to please 40. to guard


































LESSON 111. How to Say “Some”, The Conditional Vocabulary

ihwa (5th) – thorn ibyago – troubles
ikimenyetso – sign niba – if

Note: Niba cannot be used for “if” in all cases, but mainly is used for the simple present, future, or immediate past, as. “if you do thus…” Further explanations about “if” will be found in more advanced grammars. Niba elides before vowels in speaking, but not in writing. e.g. Niba agenda – if he goes.

  1. “Some”. Often when we would say “some” in English, there is no word needed for it in Kinyarwanda. e.g. Do you have some sweet potatoes? – Moose ufite ibijumba? Here no word is needed for “some”.

However, there is a word for “some,” which is the stem of the word for “one” with a plural numeral prefix. (In 3rd and 6th class the prefix is zi-.) e.g. abantu bamwe – some people; ibintu bimwe – some things; inka zimwe – some cows. But note there is a difference. In the first example above “some sweet potatoes”, the meaning was “any sweet potatoes,” while in the later examples the meaning was “some as part of a larger group.”

This word for “some” is sometimes used in the reduplicated form: bamwe-bamwe, or, bamwe na bamwe. It may be used either as an adjective or a pronoun. It often means “a few.”

Abantu baje? Bamwe-bamwe. – Have the people come? Some (of them). Ibitabo bimwe biri ku meza, ariko ibindi sinzi aho biri – Some books are on the table, but I don’t know where the others are.

Some adverbial uses of this construction are: rimwe na rimwe – sometimes; hamwe-hamwe, or hamwe na hamwe – some places, here and there.

  1. One each, two each, etc.

Nzabahemba abiri-abiri – I will pay you two (francs) each.

Mwinjire umwe-umwe – enter one by one.

Mu kugura amagi turatanga atanu-atanu – In buying eggs we pay five (francs) each.

  1. The simple conditional is formed by: personal prefix + a + present stem: n-a-kunda – I would like.

Observe the necessary vowel contractions:

nakunda twakunda
wakunda mwakunda
yakunda bakunda

Learn the correct tone from an African.

  1. a) This form is usually translated by “would”.

Nakuncia kujya i Cyangugu ejo – I would like to go to Cyangugu tomorrow.

Mbese washobora kumfasha? – Could you (= would be able to) help me?

Niba ufite umwanya, washobora kuruhuka gato – If you have time you could rest a little.

  1. b) With vowel-stems the entire infinitive is retained, except when there is an object pronoun in the verb: n-a-kw-ibuka – I would remember.

Mbese wakwemera kujyana na bo? – Would you be willing to go with them?

Wakwandikira inshuti yawe igiye i Buraya? – Would you write to your friend if he goes to Europe?

Moose wabyemera? – would you agree to it?

  1. c) The negative is formed regularly:
sinakunda ntiyakunda ntiyakwemera


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Abantu bamwe baza ku bitaro bava kure cyane. 2. Hari ubutaka bwiza hamwe na hamwe; ariko si hose. 3. Mfite ibitabo bimwe-bimwe byo kugurisha, ariko si byinshi cyane. 4. Tuzabonana rimwe na rimwe nubwo tutari hafi cyane. 5. Yesu yahaye abigishwa be ibimenyetso bimwe kugira ngo bamenye ko ari Kristo. 6. Mbese wareka kwiga cyangwa wakwemera kugira umwete? 7. Niba ubishaka, washobora gusomera abana ubu. 8. Mbese ntimwantegereza? Ndi kurangiza uyu murimo. 9. Niba bakora ibyiza bashimwa n’abakuru babo. 10. Niba ushyira ibirayi byaboze mu bindi byiza, byose bizabora.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. There are many stones here. Take away some of them. 2. Are there any sweet potatoes in the garden? Some, but not many. 3. Sometimes the people of God have troubles but He helps us in everything. 4. Some thorns are in the path; take them away. 5. Some difficulties are very bad, but let us not fall because of them. 6. Wouldn’t you (s.) bring me some oranges? I don’t want all of them. 7. Although we would do only good (things), some people would accuse us. 8. If I tell you (pI.) all that God did for me, you would be amazed. 9. Wouldn’t you (s.) like to rest now? 10. If the goats should go in the garden, they would destroy the little plants. ‘



LESSON 112. Adjectives Expressed by Verbs Vocabulary

kwera (ze) – to be white, pure; bear fruit kugorwa (we) – to be unfortunate
guhora (ze) – to cool (int.), be quiet, always do gutunga (hze) – to be rich, possess (usually with object)
gufungana (nye) – to be narrow umutwaro – burden, load
kweza (jeje) – to make white, pure kubyibuha (shye) – to be fat

Note: Ukwezwa is the term often used for holiness or purity of heart.

  1. You have already learned some verbs which take the place of adjectives in English. This is the most common way of expressing descriptive adjectives. Most verbs which take the place of adjectives are usually used in the stative voice (though kwera is not; nor kunebwa). e.g. Umuntu unebwa – a lazy person. Here are some you have already learned:

gukonja – to be cold, damp, wet

gusonza – to be hungry

gukomera – to be strong

kunezerwa – to be happy

Others are given in this vocabulary. You will hear many others. Whenever the English adjectives are translated this way, the verb is really a relative clause (except when used as a predicate adjective), thus the -ra- drops out. e.g. a strong man – umugabo ukomeye. a happy child – umwana unezerewe. damp clothes – imyenda ikonje

If the adjective is in the predicate (i. e. follows verb “to be”), the regular stative is used. e. g. inzira irafunganye – the path is narrow. In negative and dependent clauses the -ra- drops out.

This form is often used to express the English participle form in -ing. A sleeping child – umwana usinziriye:


  1. Transiate into English:
  2. Mbese nturarangiza guteka ibiryo? Turashonje cyane. 2. Wa mugabo ubyibushye atunze byinshi kandi afite abakozi benshi. 3. Uyu muntu aranezerewe kuko akijijwe. 4. Biraruhije kugendamu nzira ifuriganye. 5. Wa muntu mukuru aba mu nzu yera; ni nziza cyane. 6. Unzanire amazi akonje kuko mfite inyota nyinshi. 7. Umuntu unebwa ntiyashimwa n’abashaka kumukoresha. 8. Ndashaka ko abigishwa bose bazaza ejo bambaye imyenda imeshe. (Sometimes active is used with passive meaning.) 9. Bika imyenda yumye, indi ikonje uyanike. 10. Ndananiwe cyane, ntiwaffipa uruhushya ngo nduhuke gato?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Do not bring the clothes in (from sun); they are damp. 2. The man’s cows are very fat; he will sell them (for) many francs. 3. God wants that his people have pure hearts; He can make them pure. 4. A strong man can carry heavy loads. 5. The path of life is very narrow, and the path of sin is wide; but he who goes in the narrow path is very happy. 6. Your child is very fat. I think he is very healthy (=strong). 7. A rich person ought to help (-tabara) the unfortunate. 8. We are asking the adults (= those who are grown) to come on Friday to build the school. 9. A sorrowing woman is outside; wouldn’t you go to help her? 10. The happy children of God should cause others to know what Jesus did for them.



LESSON 113. Reduplicated Verbs Vocabulary

kunyeganyega (ze) – to shake, tremble, (esp. earth, objects) ikibyimba – boil, abcess
igufwa (or, igufka) – bone gushakashaka (tse) – to look for everywhere
umuswa (sing. only) – white ants kubeshyabeshya (shye) – to amuse (child), deceive, fool
  1. Reduplicated verbs. Some verbs redouble the stem to give a slightly different meaning:
kugenda – to go kugendagenda (nze) – to take a walk
gushuka – to deceive gushukashuka (tse) – to deceive (lightly), fool
gukora – to work gukorakora (korakoye) – to touch, feel of
kuvanga – to stir kuvangavanga (nze) – to mix thnroughly
kureba – to look at kurebareba (bye) – to look all over (in search)

There are other verbs which have only the doubled form (no single form existing). All reduplicated verbs change only the stem of the last part of the word in forming the past.

yagendagenze – he went for a walk

yanyeganyeze – the earth shook

yakorakoye urubaho – he felt of the board


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umuswa mwinshi wari mu nzu i ngira ngo igihe isi izanyeganyegera cyane ya nzu izagwa. 2. Ejo nimugoroba twaragendagenze, nyamara uyu munsi imvura iratubuza. 3. Umwana yasetse cyane kuko bamubeshyabeshye. 4. Petero yashakashatse ikaramu ye ariko yayihebye. 5. Mu mwakaushize hari ibihe bitatu isi yanyeganyeze cyane. 6. Impumyi yakorakoye amagufwa, maze yarnenye ko ari ay’ (those of) ingwe. 7. Niba ukora utyo, uzakorwa n’isoni cyane. 8. Twarebarebye hose mu nzu kugira ngo tuhakure umuswa wose. 9. Ukwiriye kuvangavanga rwose umuti utarawuha abarwaye. 10. Umwana yariraga cyane, ariko nyina yamubeshyabeshye, none araseka.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. This man is not deceiving us; he is very sick (with) boils. 2. The earth shook in the night; it made me afraid. 3. Don’t try to fool me; I know very well that you have francs. 4. I cannot go for a walk for I haven’t time. 5. The boys amused the child until he laughed. 6. Did you mix the sugar and butter well? Then add some flour and salt. 7. The child is feeling of the fur (hair) of the cat. 8. The thieves looked everywhere for the money. They didn’t know what (= that) to do. 9. Your abcesses are completely healed. I have finished all I can do (work) for you. 10. Wouldn’t you (s.) amuse the baby so that he’ll stop crying?



LESSON 114. Quotations, Direct and Indirect


umurabyo – lightning inkuba – thunder
urubura – hail (no pl.) kuyoberwa (bewe) – to not know, be ignorant of
gukumbura (ye) – to be lonesome for, miss

Note: In the African thinking, inkuba is a big animal, or being, living in the sky. They usually say, “Inkuba yakubise umuntu,” not umurabyo as we would expect. This is because they think the animal did it.

  1. Direct quotations with -ti. This little word sort of takes the place of quotation marks, and often is not translated at all. On the other hand, it may be the main verb, in which case it is translated “(he) said,” or “says,” as the case may be. It is followed by the exact words of the speaker.

Yavuze ati Ni mugende, nzabonana namwe (you) ejo – He said, “Go, I will see you tomorrow.”

-ti always has the regular verb prefixes: mvuga nti, uvuga uti, avuga ati, etc.

Uti iki? Nti Ngwino kumfasha – What did you say? I said, “Come help me.”

The change-down rule does not affect -ti. e.g. Igicucu kiravuga, kiti – the fool says…

“What did you say?” may be: Uti iki? or just: Uti?

  1. a) Indirect quotations are usually introduced by ko, with the verbs following subject to rules for dependent clauses. Yavuze ko adashaka abakozi benshi – he said that the doesn’t want many workmen.
  2. b) Ngo may introduce either a direct or an indirect quotation. In this use it does not require rules for dependent clauses.

Direct: Yavuze ngo Tugende – He said, “Let’s go.”

Indirect: Yavuze ngo uyu muntu ni we wishye ya nyamaswa – He said that this man is the one who killed that animal.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Yesu yaravuze ati Ni mugume muri jye nanjye (and I) ngume muri mwe. 2. Uti iki? Nti Genda uhamagare abakozi. 3. Umupastori yavuze ko azaza ejo. 4. Impumyi yavuze iti Nataye inzira, ngwino umfashe.
  3. Sinzi ibyo wavuze. Ongera ubivuge. Navuze nti iki gitabo kigurishwa amafaranga atandatu. 6. Abakuru bategetse ko bose bagomba gukora ku wa gatandatu. 7. Mukuru wanjye yavuze ngo arabemba abakozi saa kumi. 8. Umwigisha yashimye abana ati Mwatsinze neza (you passed) mu kubazwa. 9. Impumyi iti Nakorakoye cyane iki kintu, ariko sinkizi. 10. Umwubatsi yatubwiye ko azarangiza inzu mu kwezi kwa gatatu.
  4. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  5. The fool says, “There is no God.” 2. Tell the people that the doctor will come tomorrow to examine those who are sick. 3. This man says that there was much rain and thunder and lightning at his place in the night. 4. The rich man said, “All my people must come to work tomorrow.” 5. The white man who went to Europe (Buraya) says that he is very lonesome for the Banyarwanda. 6. Did you hear me when I said that it hailed (= hail fell) near Kibuye? 7. The shepherds said, “Wild animals killed three sheep in the night.” 8. The deaf man went to the doctor and said, “Wouldn’t you try to heal me?” 9. The young girls said that they didn’t have any grudge, although their older sisters reproved them very strongly (= much). 10. The old man stood in the doorway of his house and said, “Don’t enter my house.”



LESSON 115. Prepositional Suffixes vocabulary

guhiga (ze) – to hunt kubyuka (tse) – to get up (esp. from bed)
ikiraro – bridge (large) umugogo – small bridge (poles across)
igicucu – shade, shadow

Note: The word for “shadow” or “shade” is just the same as the word for “fool”, but the context will usually make it clear.

  1. -ho. This suffix is used in many greetings, which you already know.

Mwaramutseho – good morning

Muraho? Yego turaho. – Hello. (and response)

Muriho? Yego turiho – (same as muraho)

Mwiriweho? – good afternoon (or evening)

Muririrweho – goodbye (when expecting to meet again same day)

Muraramukeho – goodbye (after noon, and. expecting to meet next day)

Murabeho – goodbye (not expecting to meet again soon)

  1. -ho. Apart from the greetings given above, in general one might say that -ho attached to the verb is used like the preposition ku. It is attached to the verb when the preposition ku governs an object pronoun in the verb, or when the thought of ku is expressed without a noun following. e.g. Washyize igitabo ku meza? Yee, nagishyizeho. – Did you put the book on the table? Yes, I put it there(meaning “on it.”) Yesu yadukuyeho ibyaha – Jesus took away our sins (from us).

-ho attached to a passive verb governs the subject of the verb. e.g. Twakuweho ibyaha byacu – Our sins have been taken away (lit. we have been taken away from our sins).

  1. -yo. This suffix means “there,” in reference to a place previously mentioned. -ho is usually used for a small place, such as on table, chair, etc., while -yo is for a location, such as kraal, hill, town, etc. e.g. Nzasubirayo vuba – I shall return there soon. (place previously mentioned) Yavuyeyo – he came from here.
  2. -mo. This suffix is used for mu, as -ho is used for ku, and usually governs an object in the verb, or is used when no object of mu is named.

Sukamo amazi – pour water into it.

Kuramo ifu – take flour out of it.

Ni muvemo – come out of it.

(These examples all imply that the thing containing the water, flour, etc. is already referred to or known. One can also insert an object pronoun for the container: Uyisukemo amazi – pour water into it (pail). This same form may be used with -ho. Pointing to a chair, one might say, “Uyishyireho imyenda”- put the clothes on it.

-rimo (-ri +-mo) means “contains”. e.g. Isandugu irimo amafaranga – the box contains francs.

These suffixes may be attached to a verb of any tense or form and do not in any way change the form of the verb itself. For past tenses the verb has its regular past suffix followed by the attached prepositional suffix. The addition of these suffixes brings the accent onto the syllable just preceding them: Sukamo amazi.

In speaking the -o usually elides wth a following vowel, or with -ho and -mo it Changes to w before a, i, and e, and is dropped before u.


  1. Translate into English:

1.Mbese wagiye mu ishyamba guhiga? Yee, mvuyeyo ubu ngubu (just now). 2. Nazanye ikibindi (water pot); sukamo amazi menshi. 3. Washyize imyenda ku ntebe? Yee, nayishyizeho. 4. Iwanyu ni i Kigali? Mbese uzasubirayo ryari? Si vuba kuko ikiraro cyapfuye. 5. Yesu yaje ku isi kugira ngo akureho ibyaha. 6. Mbese urashaka iyihe sandugu? Ndashaka iyo irimo amafaranga. 7. Naka yabyutse vuba kuko uburiri bwe burimo intozi. 8. Mbona hari amazi hasi. Yee, nayamennyeho vuba. 9. Izuba ni ryinshi (it’s hot), ndashaka igicucu kugira ngo nicaremo. 10. Twabonye ibintu byinshi ku meza. Ubikureho byose kuko dushaka kuyategura kugira ngo tuyarireho.

  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  2. There is much wood in the fire; take some out. 2. Tell the people who are in the school that they must come out of it. 3. I want to go to Cyangugu. All right (nuko) I will send you there soon to take a letter. 4. Is the meat on the table in the kitchen? I put it there this morning. 5. Are there white potatoes in the garden? Yes, there are. 6. We want to go in this path, but there are cows in it. Take them out of it. 7. We have long benches (chairs) in the church and many people sit on them. 8. A workman was splitting wood. His axe got caught (was caught) in the tree and he can’t take it out. 9. Did the girls go to the valley to work this morning? Yes, but they came from there at noon. 10. What do you have in your tall basket? I have some peas. Take them out and show them to me.



LESSON 116. Ki and Umuki


ubwoko – race, nation, people, kind umumaraika (Sw.) – angel
gutera (ijwi) hejuru – to shout, call out gusiga – to leave
gusiga – to anoint, rub on, paint
  1. Ki, meaning “What kind of?” is an invariable adjective which always follows the noun it modifies. Also the noun loses its initial vowel. Sometimes this indicates wonder or astonishment.

Iki ni gitabo ki? – what sort of book is this?

Uyu ni muntu ki? – what kind of person is this?

Ubwoko bwe ni bwoko ki? – Whatever kind of race is his? (astonishment)

Ki is also used in greetings like this: Amakuru ki? – what’s the news? To which one replies: Ni meza – it’s good (news).

  1. Umuki is a declinable pronoun usually preceded by ni. It means “what kind of?”, in the sense of nationality, genus, etc. However, it is not used much, except in expressions like the following:

Ibi ni ibiki? – what sort of things are these?

Utu ni uduki? – whatever are these little things?

Aka ni agaki? – what is this?

The prefixes of this word are those of the nouns:

umuki abaki uruki inki
umuki imiki agaki uduki
inki inki ubuki amaki
igiki ibiki uguki amaki
iriki amaki
  1. There is also: ni iki?, meaning “what?” showing absolute ignorance of the nature of the thing. Now note these three forms given in this lesson:

Swahili ni rurimi ki? – what kind of language is Swahili?

Swahili ni iki? – what is Swahili? (people, language, thing)

Ibi ni ibiki? – whatever are these?


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Mbese ni muhungu ki ukunda kurwana iminsi yose? 2. Ubwoko bwo muri iki gihugu ni owoko ki? 3. Uzatora gitabo ki muri ibyo byinshi? 4. Ni muntu ki utegeka atyo? 5. Za nyamaswa mwahize ni nyamaswa ki? 6. Umuti wasize ku mwana ni muti ki? 7. Mwavuze ko naka afite iradiyo. Mbese iradiyo ni iki? 8. Cya gihugu mwavuyemo ni gihugu ki? 9. Ibiryo babateguriye ni biryo ki? 10. Uwanditse urwo rwandiko ni muntu ki? 11. Ibyo bintu ni ibiki?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. You have many books. What kind are they? 2. Did you hear what this man said? What sort of man is he? 3. What is “umumaraika?” 4. What sort of flowers are those? 5. What kind of dish is that from which you took out food? 6. What kind of clothes did you leave at home? 7. I saw the doctor rubbing medicine on that man. What kind of illness does he have? 8. What are pincher ants? We don’t have any in our country. 9. What kind of nails does the fundi want me to bring? (= that I bring). 10. Whatever kind of a hat is that? Where did you get it (= take it from)?




LESSON 117. Ka Tense


guhaga (ze) – to eat a lot, be satisfied gutinyua (tse) – to dare, be fearless
kwifuza (je) – to covet, want very much gukinga (nze) – to close (door)
gukingura (ye) – to open (door) kubiba (bye) – to plant (small seeds)
  1. a) The -ka- tense is usually used for the purpose of connecting verbs when the action between is very close, in fact, the second action is a natural result of the first one. It is subject to the change-down rule. It is primarily used for a series of habitual happenings in past and present; in a series of conditionals; and in a series in a dependent clause except where there is subjunctive or narrative tenses (see lessons 123 and 124). For the negative where a -ka- would be expected, use the negative subjunctive. Also, -ka- may he used in a series of future happenings, by putting -za- after it e.g. Bakwiriye kugenda bakazahembwa. Atera imbuto zikamera, zigakura, zikera imbuto – he plants the seeds and they sprout and grow and bear fruit.
  2. b) A -ka- verb always implies the tense of the verb preceding it. The first verb of the sentence or account sets the tense and mood for the -ka- verbs following. -ka- may be translated “and”, or may not be translated.

Exercises: (Some of these sentences are taken from Scripture, but have been adapted to the vocabulary you have studied.)

  1. Translate into English:
  2. Umuntu abiba imbuto, zimwe zikagwa mu nzira, inyoni zikaza zikazirya. 2. Ubwami bwo mu ijuru busa n’umusemburo (is like leaven); umugore akawufata akawuhisha mu ngero (measures) eshatu z’ifu. 3. Herode yafashe Yohana, akamuboha akamushyira mu nzu y’imbohe (prisoners). 4. Dawidi yinjiye mu nzu y’lmana akarya imitsima ikwiriye kuribwa n’abatambyi (priests) basa, akayiha n’abandi bari kumwe (with) na we. 5. Abandi ni bo bumva ijambo ry’Imana bakaryemera bakera imbuto ryinshi. 6. Ijwi rivugira mu ijuru riti Ni wowe (you are) mwana wanjye nkunda, nkakwishimira. 7. Izo mu nzira, abo ni bo bamara kwumva (when they have heard), uwo mwanya Satani akaza, agakuramo iryo jambo ryabibwe muri bo. 8. Aho yajyaga hose, bashyiraga abarwaye mu nzira bakamwinginga ngo abemerere gukora ku mwenda we gusa, abawukozeho bose bagakira. 9. Dushaka ko mutinyuka kuvuga Ijambo ry’Imana imbere y’abantu mukababwira ko bakwiriye kwihana mukabigisha inzira y’agakiza. 10. Icyo mbifuriza (prep. form) ni uko muhaga mu by’Imana, maze mugatinyuka kubimenyesha abandi kugira ngo na bo (they too) bahage.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. A man planted seeds and he went and slept and in the morning he got up and looked at his garden. 2. The people began to come and they brought the sick and asked Jesus to heal them. 3. I want you all to hear me (= that you hear) and do what I say. 4. You know that those who rule tell people to work and they want to be obeyed (obey = kwumvira). 5. I remember your tears and I am lonesome to see you and I want to talk with you (namwe). 6. In times to come (= that will come) people will throw away their faith and will put their hearts on things of earth and they will go astray. 7. My friend wrote me a letter and told me his news and asked me to write to him.


LESSON 118. Some Adverbs; The -racya- Tense

Vocabulary is included in the grammar. This lesson is for the purpose of giving you some of the common adverbs. You already know many of them.

  1. Adverbs of manner:
cyane – very, much neza – well, nicely
vuba – soon, recently, quickly ubusa – in vain
gusa – only nabi – badly
buhoro (or, buhoro-buhoro) gently, slowly, slightly, so-so rwose – altogether, completely, very much

Note: ubusa (derived from gusa), besides meaning “in vain” or “nothing”, can also mean empty or naked. igikombe kirimo ubusa – the cup is empty (contains nothing) umwana agenda yambaye ubusa – the child is naked, goes naked.

  1. Adverbs of place:
hepfo – below, lower down hejuru – up, above, on top
haruguru – higher up, in an inner room hagati – in the middle, midst of
hafi – near kure – far
hino – on this side (Of river, valley, road)(if near) hirya – on that side, far side of something, but this side of river
hakuno – on this side of river, valley, road hakurya – on the other side of river, valley, road
imbere – in front of, inside of inyuma – behind, outside of
hanze – outside (of house) out doors aha, hano – here (this very spot)
hariya – over there ino – here (this place or district)
ahandi – elsewhere

Note 1: Be careful in using imbere and inyuma. They are often used just the opposite of the way we expect. For example, in the number 124, we would say that the number 4 is behind, or after, 2, but an African would say that it is imbere. What we consider the front of a house the Africans often call inyuma. In placing things on a shelf, we would say that the things at the back are behind the others. Africans would say they are imbere because they are further inside. Learn from them how to use these two words correctly.

Note 2: All the words in par. 242 from hepfo to inyuma, inclusive, must be followed by ya (or in case of a pronoun, by the possessive with the y prefix) if an object follows. e.g. Imbere y’umuhungu – in front of the boy. inyuma ye – behind him

  1. -racya- tense. This is inserted between the personal prefix and the present stem (or with statives the past stem), and it means “still”. In the negative it is “no longer”. The dependent form has the meaning of “while” with no introductory conjunction necessary. Here is the conjugation:
ndacyakora – I am still working turacyakora – we are still working
uracyakora – you are still working muracyakora – you are still working
aracyakora – he is still working baracyakora – they are still working

This is also used with the verb -ri. e.g. Mariya aracyari hana – Mary is still here.

In the negative and in dependent clauses the -racya- changes to -ki (this is subject to the change-down rule). Paulo ntakiza kwigishwa – Paul no longer (does not still) comes to learn. Ntacyiga (ki before a vowel becomes cy) – he no longer learns. Dependent: Agihinga avugana n’abandi – while he’s hoeing, he talks with others.


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Inzu yawe iri he? Iri hakurya y’uruzi. 2. Mbese ibitabo biri mu isandugu? Oya, isandugu irimo ubusa. 3. Yesu yaraje ahagarara hagati y’abigishwa be. 4. Imirima jri hepfo y’aho; iri hafi y’akabande. 5. Hari abantu benshi cyane hariya imbere y’ urusengero. 6. Kera inyamaswa zanteye ubwoba, n’ubu ziracyabuntera. 7. Mbese wa mujura aracyihisha? 8. Abakozi bakibumba amadafari bararirimba. 9. Mariya ntacyambara wa mwenda we mushya. Uri he? Waracitse. 10. Ndacyakurikira Yesu kandi ndashaka kumukurikira imyaka yanjye yose.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The birds are above the trees. 2. There are five men behind me. 3. The bricks are on the ground near the house. 4. The rich man’s kraal is on this side of the valley. 5. Everywhere the people are planting seeds now because the rains (use sing.) are beginning. 6. Gahungu is still asking us for work, although we told him many times that we have none. 7. We no longer covet the things of earth because we have been saved. 8. Is that blind man still here? No, he is no longer here, he went to Burundi. 9. The fundis are still building that new school on the other side of the river. 10. I am no longer a child, I have grown up and I don’t learn in school any more (no longer).



LESSON 119. More Adverbs

  1. Adverbs of time:
none – now (in sense of today) ubu – now
ubu nyine, ubu ngubu – right now kenshi – often
kangahe? – how often? how many times? rimwe na rimwe – sometimes
maze, rero – then, after that iminsi yose – always
ubwo nyine – at that very time kare – early
ubundi – at some other time kera – long ago, far in the future
ejo – yesterday, tomorrow bukeye, bukeye bw’aho – the next day
ejobundi – day before yesterday, day after tomorrow mbere – before (as to time)
nyuma – after (as to time) aha – when, where (as conj.), there

Note: mbere and nyuma when preceding and governing a noun or pronoun must be followed by ya. Nyuma y’ibyo – after those things.

  1. Miscellaneous adverbs:
iburyo – at the right ibumoso – at the left
iruhande – beside, at the sides imuhira – at home
ahari, yenda, wenda – perhaps nuko – thus, therefore, so
nuko rero – so then hamwe – together, in unison, at the same place
kumwe – together with (referring to people; followed by na) nka – like, approximately, about
by’ukuri, mu by’ukuri – truly, really

Note: The first three words here are always followed by the possessive, if anything follows which is governed by that word. e.g. iburyo bwe – at his right side. iruhande rw’inzira – beside the path


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Stefano yabonye mu ijuru abona Umwami Yesu ibUryo bw’Imana. 2. Nasize ibitabo byanjye byose imuhira. 3. Imana iri iruhande rwacu iminsi yose. 4. Mbese ushobora kwandikisha ukuboko kw’ibumoso? 5. Abagabo batangiye gukora; maze bamwe batangira kureka akazi no kunebwa. 6. Umwana wicaye iburyo bwawe ni nde? 7. Mukuru wawe aracyari imuhira? Oya, yagiye i Kigali gushaka akazi. 8. Umumarayika yari kumwe na Petero igihe bamushyiraga mu ibohero (prison). 9. Ibyo twasaruye mbere biruta ibyo dusarura uyu munsi. 10. Mbese abana banyu baracyari kumwe na se wabo?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. Go to take that letter right now. 2. Perhaps we shall see our friends tomorrow. 3. One day the boys learned well, but the next day some were absent. 4. There were two animals beside the path. 5. After these things, the man tried to hide; then some children saw him. 6. I always like to sit near the teacher so that I hear everything he says. 7. Sometimes we are tempted to doubt God’s Word, but Jesus enables us (causes us to be able) to defeat Satan. 8. The sower (umubibyi) planted the seed and some fell beside the path and the birds ate them. 9. Often the children like to play (prep. form) together beside the school. While they are playing they chat. 10. The baby is still sleeping in the bed which is at the right of his mother’s bed. Don’t waken him.



LESSON 120. Miscellaneous Expressions


umusabirizi – beggar intege – strength
intege nke – weakness umupastori – pastor
gutashya (hije) – to send, take greetings gusobanura (ye) – to explain, interpret

Note: gutashya is usually used like this: Ndabatashya – I greet you. Or, Untahirize abandi – greet the others for me.

  1. There are nouns formed by prefixing umunya– to a noun giving a characteristic of a person. You have already seen this in the word: umunyabyaha – sinner.

Here are a few others:

umunyeshuri – pupil (person of school). Observe that sometimes a and i contract to e.

umunyabwenge – a wise person

umunyantege nke – a weak person

Note in the last example that an adjective may follow the noun agreeing with it, though the word as a whole is first class. e.g. abanyantege nke bamwe – some weak people This same construction may be used with ikinya-, referring to a thing:

ikinyabwoya – a hairy caterpillar (lit. a hairy thing)

ikinyantege nke – a weak thing

  1. A noun may be used to describe another noun by using the possessive particle between the two. This is one more way of expressing our English adjectives.

umusabirizi w’ impumyi – a blind beggar

umwana w’ umuhungu – a boy baby

24B. Suffix -nyinye. This means “itself” or “alone” or “the same,” “the very one.” Ni icyo gitabo nyine – that’s the very book.

This may be attached to any pronoun:

wenyine – you, or he, alone bonyine – they themselves
twenyine – we ourselves, alone mwenyine – you yourselves

Also, with pronouns of other classes:

ryonyine: Ijambo ry’Imana ryonyine – the Word of God itself.

cya giti dOnyine – that very tree

Another similar expression is:

aha ngaha – right here

ubu ngubu – right now

ibi ngibi – these very ones.

  1. There is also the form ubwanjye, meaning “myself” (and: ubwawe, ubwe, ubwabo, ubwayo, etc.). But note the difference: Nabikoze ubwanjye – I did it myself (it was my idea) Nabikoze jyenyine – I did it myself (no one helped me)


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Nkumbuye cyane abantu b’i wanyu; ubantahirize cyane mu Mwami wacu. 2. Uzi kudoda neza. Wadoze iyi myenda wenyine? 3. Imana yonyine ishobora gukiza abantu no kubaha ubugingo. 4. Ukwiriye gutonora bya binyobwa byose wenyine. 5. Ubwanjye sinzi neza kuvuga ururimi rwanyu; undi akwiriye kunsobanurira. 6. Uriya muntu ni umunyanzika cyane. Tumukunde tugerageze kumufasha guhinduka ukundi. (While ukundi has the idea of “differently” in this expression, no English word is needed for it.) 7. Nu mujyi nabonye umwana w’umusabirizi. Nifuje kumufasha kugira ngo ajye mu ishuri kwiga. 8. Icyo giseke cyonyine ni icyo mama yaboshye. 9. Umupastori wacu ni umunyamwete mwinshi. Amaze imyaka myinshi mu mirimo ye, ariko aracyakora cyane. 10. Abo bana b’impunzi bahinze aho hantu hose ubwabo.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. The pupils (use construction in par. 246) will come back to school day after tomorrow. 2. The Word of God itself has power to speak in the hearts of people. 3. Some wise men went to visit (i. e., look at) the baby Jesus. 4. The teacher’s wife gave birth to a baby girl. 5. I will greet our people for you (pl.). 6. A merciful person (use form in 246) is kind (= does nicely) to others. 7. Did you catch the leopard in a trap by yourself? 8. Lying and stealing are shameful habits (use form in 247). 9. Medicine is a valuable thing (= thing of value) because it heals sicknesses of many kinds (uburyo). 10. This very bridge is the one that broke (= died) the time we went to Kibuye,



LESSON 121. More Miscellaneous Expressions


gusa – to be like (no past) kwumvira (ye) – to obey
kwumviriza (je) – to listen to (as eavesdrop) gutega (ze) amatwi – to listen
kwuzura (ye) – to be full kwuzuza (ujuje) – to fill (tr.)

Note: kwuzura is usually used in the stative: igikombe kiruzuye – the cup is full, or, igikombe cyuzuye – a full cup.

Remember that verbs whose stems begin with u may omit the w in the infinitive: kuzura, kumvira, etc.

  1. Na (and, with, by, also) and nka (like) join with the personal pronouns like this:
nanjye – and I nawe – and you (s.)
na we – and he, she natwe – and we
namwe – and you (pl.) na bo – and they
nkanjye – like me nkawe – like you (s.)
nka we – like him, her nkatwe – like us
nkamwe – like you (pl.) nka bo – like them

Note: nanjye could be “and me” as well as “and I” depending on its use in the sentence, and likewise the others. Also, it could be: “with me”, “by me”, “I also.” Observe that in the 3rd person both singular and plural it is written as two words and the a is short.

e.g. Ndashaka kubikora nanjye – I want to do it too.

Yabikoze na we – he did it too.

Other examples:

Bazajyana natwe – they will go with us.

Ameze nkanjye – he is like me.

Ubikore nawe – you do it, too.

This form is used with the pronouns of other classes as well:

Zana icyo gitabo na cyo – bring that book, too.

Another way to say the same thing is: Zana n’icyo gitabo.

  1. Gusa, “to be like”, is always followed by na. It is used like any other verb, but it has no past forms. e.g. Umwana asa na se – the child is (or, looks) like his father. Notice the difference between nka and gusa.

Uyu mwana asa na se – this child is like (looks like) his father.

Zana isahane nk’iyi – bring a dish like this one.

Wa muhungu akora nk’umugabo – that boy works like a man.

Perhaps it could be explained this way: when “like” is used with the verb “to be” the verb gusa is used; when “like” refers to appearance, but the verb “to be” is not used, the word nka is used; when the similarity has to do with action the word nka is used. The word kumera followed by nka is used when the similarity is in character, nature, habits. e.g. Umwana ameze nka se – the child is like his father (in character, habits).


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Uzuza igikombe amata uyahe uyu mwana. 2. Nutege amatwi neza kuko mfite ikintu cyiza cyo kubabwira. 3. Yesu yabwiye Abafarisayo ko bameze nka se Satani. 4. Unshakire undi muhungu uzakora nk’uyu. 5. Ayo mafaranga ko (since) ushaka ko tuyakujyanira, mbese nta yo uduha natwe? 6. Hazaza undi mupastori uzafashanya ranjye mu mirimo y’Imana. 7. Igihugu cyanyu ntigisa n’igihugu cyacu kuko ino hari imisozi myinshi n’ibitoke byinshi. 8. Mbese ntiwanshakira indi mbugita nk’iyi? 9. Ni ba nde bashaka gukinira hamwe natwe? 10. Ndangije kwuzuza igikombe. Mbese nuzuze n’indobo?
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. I have seen no others who obey their teachers like you (pl.). 2. The hole is full of water. 3. Bring two other books like this one. 4. I know this child because she looks (is) like her mother. 5. Will you go with us to the market? 6. The pastor is an honorable person (use form in par. 246). We ought to listen to him. 7. We are ready (= have prepared ourselves, stative) to begin our journey. Bring your sleeping mats and your food (for the journey) too. 8. Are you (pl.) afraid to walk in the dark too? There’s nothing bad there. 9. Jesus was always kind (did nicely) to people. Let’s try to do like Him, and to obey Him. 10. You (pl.) have been patient (for) many hours. Are you tired? I’m tired, too.



LESSON 122. Summary of Tenses


kuvuna (nnye) – to break (tr.) gutwika (tse) – to burn up (tr.)
kuvunika (tse) – to break (int.) gusiba (bye) – to erase
kunanirwa (niwe) – to be tired, unable to do something guhumeka (tse) – to breathe
umubare – number

Note 1: kunanirwa is usually used in the stative, and very often means physical weariness. It is also used like this: a person has been trying to solve a problem and is unable, so he says, “Ndananiwe” – I’ve tried and can’t. Or often the transitive form is used: birannaniye – it has defeated me. (Usually the 2 n’s are not written, but it is done here to show you the 1st pers. sing. as object.)

Note 2: kuvuna and kuvunika are used of breaking a slender thing, such as a stick, bone, etc., while kumena is used for “to break” other things. However, while in English we would say, “I broke my arm,” in Kinyarwanda the transitive is not used unless it was done intentionally. One would say, “Navunitse ukuboko.” Observe that it is not: ukuboko kwavunitse. People often say this when the bone is not actually broken, but it is just a sprain.

  1. A. Here is a summary of imperative forms. Some of these you have not been taught before, so you need to learn them.
Singular Plural
Immediate present Affirmative: genda nimugende
Negative wigenda mwigenda
Future today Affirmative: ugende mugende
Negative wekugenda, ntugende mwekugenda, ntimugende
Far future Affirmative: uzagende muzagende
Negative: wekuzagenda, ntuzagende mwekuzagenda, ntimuzagende

“never” imperative: insert -ka- Ntukabeshye – never lie.

  1. Summary of suffixes and other stem changes:
passive -bonwa to be seen
prepositional -bonera to see at, for
causative -bonesha to cause to see
reflexive -ibona to see oneself
reciprocal -bonana to see each other
prep. suffix -bonayo to see there (also, -bonaho, -mo)
  1. Here is a summary of all the tenses you have studied, with the verbs given in the 3rd person singular.
Regular verb aragenda agenda agende azagenda
Negative ntagenda ntagenda ntagende ntazagenda
Vowel-stem verb arereka yereka yereke azereka
Neg. vowel-stem ntiyereka ntiyereka ntiyereke ntazereka
Regular verb aragiye yagiye yaragiye yagendaga
Negative ntagiye ntiyagiye ntiyagiye ntiyagendaga
Vowel-stem verb areretse yeretse yareretse yerekaga
Neg. vowel-stem ntiyeretse ntiycretse ntiyeretse ntiyerekaga
Regular verb akagenda aracyagenda yagenda
Negative ntaragenda ntakigenda ntiyagenda
Vowel-stem verb akereka aracyereka yakwereka
Neg. vowel-stem ntarereka ntacyereka ntiyakwereka


  1. Translate into English:
  2. Nasibye amazina y’ abanyeshuri bamwe kuko bataje iminsi yose. 2. Mfite inyota cyane, unzanire amazi akonje. 3. Dutwitse izo mpapuro ubu ngubu. 4. Uyu mwana ararwaye cyane; ananiwe guhumeka. 5. Jyana uyu mugabo mu bi taro vuba kuko yavunitse ukuboko. 6. Nbese nturasiba ayo magambo yanditswe n’umwana mu gitabo? 7. Sinakingura urugi rw’inzu yawe (insert “if”) utabimbwiye. 8. Igihe muzasubirira iwanyu, muzantahirize inshuti zanyu. 9. Umwana yorohewe, ntakiruka kandi ntagikorora. 10. Mugomba gushaka abakozi benshi mukajyana na bo mugatwika umusozi. 11. Wekuvuna icyo giti. Dushaka kugikoresha mu murima.
  3. Translate into Kinyarwanda:
  4. This woman’s husband died (long ago). 2. Just now we drank lots of water because we were very thirsty. 3. I am defeated in working (to work) these numbers. Help me. 4. This morning the men will burn all the grass on the hill. 5. Yesterday two people came to the dispensary who had broken their legs. 6. Why are you erasing all those words? You must write them again. 7. The children are beating the dog with a stick. Take the stick and break it. 8. Who didn’t use a cup to drink with? 9. Before you fill these pails wash them well with soap. 10. Wouldn’t you try to take the children on the narrow path? 11. Don’t burn those papers (right now) because I want them.



LESSON 123. The Narrative Tenses


gusimbuka (tse) – to jump gucukura (ye) – to dig a hole
ubukwe – wedding
  1. The narrative is not a new tense, but another use of tense already learned. As the name indicates it is used in recounting something which has happened. It may be a long story or just a sentence or two. The two main tenses used in a narration are the -ra- present and the prefixless present, even though the time is past. Often the first verb in the narration will be past, indicating the time, then it continues with present form verbs. Here is an important rule to remember: In the narrative a main verb is in the -ra- present tense if nothing follows within that main clause except cyane or ati (or other forms of -ti); if something else follows, the prefixless present is used. It is not necessary to use a word for “and” in most cases in the narrative. Before ngo, or ko the -ra- present is used since these words introduce another clause. Before an infinitive the prefixless present is used. e.g. Umugabo yabonye ingwe aratinya arahungaj agera mu nzu arihisha – The man saw a leopard and he was afraid and fled; he arrived in the house and hid.

As you read in the Gospels you will observe the use of the narrative throughout. Try reading Mark 1:9, 11, and other passages.


  1. Translate into English:

Adamu yari afite (he had) abana babiri; amazina yabo yari Kayini na Abeli. Umunsi urnwe bazanira Imana ibitambo (sacrifices). Abeli ntiyaburaga gukura igitambo mu ntama ze, ati Imana ntiyemera igitambo kidafite amaraso. Nta kintu gikura ikibi mu mutima w’umuntu keretse (except) arnaraso. Ariko Kayini, mukuru we, ntiyazanaga ikintu gifite amaraso, ariko azana ibivuye mu mirima ye gusa, arabitanga. (For negatives, see next lesson.)

  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda:

Then God accepted Abel, but he refused the other. Then Cain was angry and he killed Abel. God called him, saying, “Where is your brother?” Cain said, “Do I know? Do I watch him?” Then God punished him and cursed (kuvuma) him. I tell you that the blood of Jesus is that which washes the hearts of people.

III. Translate into English:

Mark 1:9, 11, 13; 2:13; 3:I3.



LESSON 124. Narrative Continued


kwishyura (ye) – to pay a debt gusana (nnye) – to mend, repair (esp, woven things)
urnugaragu – servant (male) umuja – servant (female)
guhimbaza (je) – to praise gusubiza (je) – to answer (as question, letter), return (tr.) (as borrowed object)
  1. Other tenses in the narrative:

1) Most dependent clauses within the narrative use the prefixless past (that is: personal prefix + verb stem with past suffix): e.g. ngiye, ugiye, agiye, etc. When reading narrative and you see this tense you will know .it is a dependent clause. If there is no other introductory word, it is very often translated “when”, or as a participle: “going.” e. g. Avuye mu rusengero aragenda ashaka Yohana avugana na we – When he came (or, coming) from the church he went and found John and talked with him.

2) A direct quotation takes whatever tense was used in the original statement. e.g. Abantu baraza baramubaza, bati Uzajya i Yerusalemu? Arabasu biza ati Oya, sinjyayo ubu. – The people came and asked him, “Will you go to Jerusalem?” He answered them, “No, I am not going there now.”

3) Sometimes within the narrative there is a statement that refers to a characteristic of a person or a habitual action or attitude that is not really a part of the events, only telling something about a person. This verb then takes the ordinary past prefix but the present stem + -ga. e. g. yakundaga. It will have a -ra- in it also if nothing follows it in the clause except cyane or ati. e.g. Kera hari umugabo ufite abahungu babiri. Umwe yakundaga gukora, undi akanebwa. Se arabahamagara, arababwira, ati Ni mugende mukore mu murima. – Long ago there was a man who had two sons. One liked to work and the other was lazy. Their father called them and told them, “Go to work in the garden.” You will observe that here “to like to work” and “to be lazy” are character traits, not a part of the series of actions, thus they have the tenses you see above.

4) The negative in the narrative, whether anything follows or not, is: sinabonaga, ntiwabonaga, ntivabonaga, etc. (neg. + pers. pref. + past prefix + present stem + -ga.)

5) There is,a tendency to avoid using the word nta in the narrative, so you will find expressions like this: Ntihagiraga umuntu ubimenya – no one knew it (lit. there was not a person who knew it, instead of: nta muntu yabimenyaga.

There are other tenses used within the narrative sometimes, but these are the ones you need to know now.


  1. Translate into English:

Bamaze kubohesha Yohana, Yesu ajya i Galilaya, avuga Ubutumwa Bwiza bw’Imana, ati Igihe kirasohoye (arrived), ubwami bw’Imana buri hafi; mwihane mwemere Ubutumwa Bwiza. Aciye i ruhande rw’inyanja y’i Galilaya, abona Simoni na Andereya mwene (son of) se baterera urushundura (net) mu nyanja, kuko bari abarobyi (fishermen). Yesu arababwira ati Nimunkurikire, nzabagira abarobyi b’abantu. Uwo mwanya basiga inshundura, baramukurikira. Agiye imbere hato abona Yakobo mwene, Zebedayo na Yohana mwene se, na bo bari mu bwato basana inshundura. Uwo mwanya arabahamagara, basiga se Zebedayo mu bwa to hamwe n’abakozi be, baramukurikira. Mariko 1:14-18.

  1. Translate into Kinyarwanda:

Long ago a woman named Hannah gave birth to a son and she named him Samuel. When three years were finished she took him to the church in order that he might work for God. Every year she went to see him and gave him clothes. After (hashize) a few years, one night God called him. Samuel thought that Eli called him. He ran and said, “Did you call me?” Eli said, “No, I didn’t call you, go back to bed.” After three times Eli understood that God was calling Samuel. He told Samuel that he ought to answer, “Yes, Lord, your servant hears.” God called again and Samuel answered. Then God showed him the punishment he was going to send (just use future of “send”, nothing for “going to”) on the sons of Eli.


LESSON 125. Review

  1. Questions:
  1. How is the word for “some” formed?
  2. What part of speech in Kinyarwanda is often used to express descriptive adjectives (other than adjectives)?
  3. How is the past of reduplicated verbs formed?
  4. What word usually introduces a direct quotation?
  5. What words may introduce an indirect quotation?
  6. Give three common prepositional suffixes attached to verbs and give an example of each. Translate your examples.
  7. What is the difference between ki and umuki?
  8. What is the -ka- tense used for?
  9. What must always follow adverbs such as hafi, inyuma, etc. if they have an object?
  10. Explain the difference between gusa and nka.
  11. What are the two main tenses used in narrative and what determines which tense a verb will be?
  12. How can you recognize a “when” clause or other dependent clause within the narrative?
  13. What determines the tense used in a direct quotation within the narrative?
  14. What tense or form is used in the narrative to express habitual past action?
  15. How is the negative of the narrative formed? Illustrate.
  1. Translate into English:

Imana ibwira Samweli ngo asige Sauli abe umwami, iti Azakiza abantu banjye, kuko nabonye ibyago byabo, numvise ugusenga kwabo. Sauli yari mwiza kandi yari umunyamwete. Yari afite umuhungu w’umusore witwaga Yonatani, yasaga na se akagira umutima nk’uwe; Umunsi umwe Sauli ajya mu mujyi Samweli yarimo; Samweli aramuhamagara amuha icyubahiro. Bukeye bari bonyine amusiga amavuta mu mutwe; aravuga ati Ubu Uwiteka (the Lord – the Eternal) aragusize; uzaba umwami w’abantu be, uzabakiza abanzi. Sauli atashye ntiyavugaga ibyabaye (what happened). Umwuka (Spirit) w’Imana amuzaho. Ukwezi gushize abanzi bakikiza (surround) umujyi umwe; abari muri wo bahamagara abandi Bisirayeli bose ngo babatabare. Sauli arabajyana batsinda abanzi.

III. Vocabulary Quiz:


  1. kubyibuha
  2. guhora
  3. gusubiza
  4. kwuzuza
  5. umurabyo
  6. igufwa
  7. gutashya
  8. umutwaro
  9. guhaga
  10. kunyeganyega
  11. kunanirwa
  12. hakurya
  13. ahari
  14. ibyago
  15. ikiraro
  16. gutera hejuru
  17. guhimbaza
  18. kubyuka
  19. ikimenyetso
  20. haruguru
  21. to deceive
  22. to choose
  23. to be like
  24. to be narrow
  25. to answer
  26. to be lonesome
  27. to be rich
  28. to open door
  29. to explain
  30. to be fearless
  31. to greet
  32. on the left
  33. to rub on
  34. to covet
  35. to burn up
  36. together
  37. to protect
  38. shade
  39. to be for
  40. white
  41. obey

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