को marks the dative case and the accusative case.


  • Theme: The direct object of a verb, when acted on by an Agent and undergoing some change or being subject to some act.को-marking is often optional in this sense (except for animate objects), and it when it is used it also connotes saliency.
  • Recipient: The indirect object of a verb involving transfer of some possession or an abstract mental state. को is not optional in this sense. This sense includes the notorious dative subject.
  • Goal: Indicates a destination or time1 in a postpositional phrase. Often optional in this sense.
  • Agent: Only when marking reduced volition of the subject in a modal construction. In this sense it acts as ने.

  1. Not sure if Time should be subsumed in this.