AUXILIARY VERBS

Auxiliary/Helping verbs are those verbs which are used with the main verbs to express an action or to make a statement.

  • already
  • se
  • ke se ke tsamaea (I am already leaving)
  • still
  • sa
  • Ba sa ja (they are still eating)
  • not yet/never
  • eso
  • Ha a eso fihli (he/she has not yet arrived)
  • often
  • atisa
  • O atisa ho chaka (she/he ofte visits)
  • until
  • ba
  • Re eme ra ba ra khathala (we waited until we became tired.)
  • almost
  • bala
  • A batla a oela ka metsing (He/she almost fell in the water)
  • again
  • boela
  • Ba boela ba matha (they again run)
  • always
  • hlola
  • Tichere e hlola e shapa baithuti (the teacher always whips students)
  • sometimes
  • 'ne
  • Ke 'ne ke bone bana ba hae (I sometimes see his/her children)
  • But / However
  • mpa
  • Re bapetse ra mpa ra hloleha ho kora (We played but had difficulties in scoring)
  • perhaps / often
  • ee
  • Na le ee le chakele Thaba-Bosiu (Do you all often visit Thaba-Bosiu.)

The following prefixes and suffixes may be added to verbs to achieve certain meanings and/or forms of the verb.

Type Prefix/suffix Original
form
New
Example
Translation Description
Infinitive ho - bala ho bala to read Forms infinitive form - adds "to"
(Also functions in a nominal capacity.)
Passive -oa ja jeoa being eaten Creates passive form - 
action is done to noun.
Neutral -ahala
utloa utloahala be audible Verb expresses noun 
in transformative manner.
Applied -etsa seba sebetsa work Creates applied form of verb.
Causative -tsa bona bonts'a cause to see Something is caused to happen 
to the noun.
Intensive -isisa utloa utloisisa understand The act of the verb is intensified.
Reciprocal -ana bona bonana see each other Action is carried out among
parties - from both sides.
Reversive -oloha
-olla
tlama tlamolla untie A certain action is reversed - undone.
Reflexive i- bona ipona see yourself Action is done by subject or object
to itself.

Note that a positive Sesotho verb in the present tense and in its original form always ends by "-a"

abandon - ngala
abolish - fedisa
accuse - qosa
admire - boha
allocate - aba
answer - araba
approach - atamela
argue - loana
arrive - fihla
ask - botsa
assault - otla
assess - hlahloba
bake - baka
bark - bohola
become blind - foufala
beg - kopa
bend - koba
bite - loma
break - roba
bring - tlisa
borrow - adima
buy - reka
boil - bela
call - bitsa
catch - tsoara
chase - lelekisa
chew - hlafuna
classify - hlophisa
clean - hloekisa
close - koala
come - tloho
complete - phetha
confiscate - hapa
conserve - boloka
consult - rerisa
contest - tseka
cook - pheha
correct - tsoaea
cry - lla
cut - seha
dance - tants'a
dazzle - fahla
deny - hana
desire - lakatsa
divide - arola
drink - noa
drive - khanna
dry - omisa
eat - ja
enter - kena
entertain - thabisa
fall - oella
finish - qeta
fly - fofa
fold - mena
get - fumana
give - fa
guide - tataisa
help - thusa
herd - disa
hit - otla
hold - tsoara
immerse - ina
improve - lokisa
indicate - supa
inject - hlaba
inoculate - enta
invite - moma
kick - raha
kill - bolaea
knock down - diha
know - tseba
laugh - ts'eha
listen - mamela
live - phela
look - sheba
love - rata
make fire - besa
marry - nyala
meet - kopana
modify - fetola
obtain - fumana
open - bula
originate - hlaha
pass - fetisa
pay - lefa
play - bapala
plant - jala
pray - rapela
press down - hatella
put on - tena/apara
race - beisa
read - bala
reduce - fokotsa
receive - amohela
refuse - hana
remove - tlosa
require - batla
respect - hlompha
respond - araba
rest - phomola
return - khutla
reveal - senola
rinse - tsokotsa
run - matha
say - re
see - bona
sell - rekisa
sew - roka
sign - saena
sing - bina
sit - dula
sleep - robala
smell - monko
stand - ema
steal - utsoa
succeed - atleha
surpass - feta
suspend - emisa
swallow - koenya
swear - rohaka
sweep - fiela
talk - bua
teach - ruta
tell - bolella
thank - leboha
tie - tlama
wait for - emela
wake up - tsoha
want - batla
wash - hlatsoa
win - hlola
work - sebetsa
write - ngola
wring - sotha