Hindi Lessons/Lesson 5

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Lesson 5: Hindi Verbs - Part 2.

We continue with some other tenses in Hindi:

Present Continuous Tense:

Verb Stem + रहा / / रही (rahae/they) + Present Tense of "Hona" (to be)

For those who don't like grammatical terms and don't know for sure what's "continuous tense", I'll tell that it's the same as the English verbs, ending in "-ing". So if you want to say that you "read" a book in the moment of speaking, you have to say "I am reading a book", not simply "I read a book", because the last could mean that you read a book in general, i.e. you're not reading it in the moment of speaking. So let's clear all that out with some examples.

  • मैं किताब पढ रहा हुं. (mai~ kitab padh raha hu~) = I'm reading a book.
  • मैं पानी पी रहा हुं. (mai~ pani pi raha hu~) = I'm drinking water.
  • मैं रोटी खा रही हुं. (mai~ roti kha rahi hu~) = I'm eating bread. (a girl speaking!)
  • The verbs stem and raha/rahe/rahi are pronounced almost as one (at once), although they're written separately. Sometimes in colloquial speech all is even shortened more. The "raha hu~" for example is pronounced "rahu~", "raha hai" as "rahai"...

    Past Tense:
    (This section needs to be revised as it does not account for the distinction between intransitive and transitive verbs. When forming the perfect tense (past) in Hindi, the verb will not always match the traditional subject of your sentence in gender/number (this depends on transitivity of the verb). Some of the examples below are incorrect for this reason and should be rewritten according to standard Hindi grammar and the "ne" construction.)

    Building past is easy. Just take the root of a verb and add -a, -e, or -i, respectively for Masculine Singular, Masculine Plurar and Feminine both - Singular and Plurar:

    Verb Stem + ा/े/ी (-A/-E/-I) = Past Tense

    Note: For verbs, whose stem end in a vowel you have to add या/ये/यी (ya/ye/yi) E.g. खाना -> खा -> खाया(Khana -> Kha (stem) -> Khaya)

    Some examples:

    • मैं खाया. (mai~ khaya) = I ate.
    • मैं पढा. (mai~ padha) = I read.
    • लडका खाया. (larka khaya) = The boy ate.
    • लडकी खायी. (larki khayi) = The girl ate.
    • आप पीया. (aap piya) = You drank. (Sg. polite or Plural)
    • मैं पानी पीया. (mai~ pani piya) = I drank water.
    • तुम पानी पीये. (tum pani piye) = You drank water.

    Some Verbs are irregular. I'll show you some of them (A little below you'll see the past of 'to be', which is needed to build the imperfect past tense, necessary to be able to say such phrases as "I've used to go ..."):

    Past of जाना (Janaa = to go)

    गया / गये / गयी / गयीं (gaya / gaye / gayi / gayi~) (1: Masc. Sg, 2: Masc. Pl. 3: Fem. Sg, 4: Fem. Pl.)

    To build the past imperfect tense, we have first to learn the past tense of the "main" hindi verb: "to be" (Hona). Past of "hona" is even simplier than the present form:

    Past of होना (Honaa = To be)

    था (tha) = was (for Masculine SINGULAR) थे (the) = were (for Masculine PLURAL)

    थी (thi) = was (for Feminine SINGULAR) थीं (thi~) = was (for Feminine PLURAL)


    • मैं वहां था. (mai~ vaha~ tha.) = I was there.
    • आप यहां थे. (aap yaha~ the) = You (polite) were here OR You (plural) were here.
    • (वहां /vaha~/ = there, यहां /yaha~/ = here, जहां /jaha~/ = where)

    Now as you know here/there/where (btw, there exists also another word for where = kaha~) I'll give you a Hindi proverb:

    जहां धुआं है, वहां आग भी है. (jahan dhua~ hai, vaha~ aag bhi hai) = Where there is a smoke, there is a fire too.

    Past Imperfect Tense:

    ... Verb Stem + ता / ते / ती (TA/TE/TI) + Past Tense of "Hona" (to be) = Past Imperfect Tense Stem + ता/ते/ती + था/थे/थी/थीं = Past Imperfect Tense The past imperfect tense is used to tell about habitual actions in the past. In English it's best translated with the pattern "used to + verb":

    • मैं खाता था. (mai~ khata tha) = I used to eat.
    • लडका खाता था. (larka khata tha) = The boy used to eat.
    • लडकी खाती थी. (larki khati thi) = The girl used to eat.
    • आप पीते थे. (aap pite the) = You used to drink. (Sg. polite or Plural)
    • मैं पानी पीता था. (mai~ pani pita tha) = I used to drink water.
    • तुम पानी पीते थे. (tum pani pite the) = You used to drink water.

    Next comes of course the past continous tense:

    Past Continuous Tense:

    Well, no need to help you much here. It's the same as the present continous except that it's used the past tense of Hona:

    Verb Stem + रहा / रहे / रही (raha/rahe/rahi) + Past Tense of "Hona" (to be) = Past Continuous Tense

  • मैं किताब पढ रहा था. (mai~ kitab padh raha tha) = I was reading a book.
  • मैं पानी पी रहा था. (mai~ pani pi raha tha) = I was drinking water.
  • मैं रोटी खा रही थी. (mai~ roti kha rahi thi) = I was eating bread. (a girl speaking!)
  • I think you got it, now for the FUTURE:

    Future Tense:

    The Future tense it a bit more complicated than the past for it has more verb-endings for person than those by the past tense.

    Future Imperfect Tense:

    Let us conjugate a verb in the future tense, then I'll give the endings:

    Future Imperfect of "Pina" (पीना = to drink)

  • मैं पीउंगा (mai~ piunga) = I will drink
  • तु पीएगा (tu piega) = You will drink
  • तुम पीओगे (tum pioge) = You will drink
  • वह पीएगा (voh piega) = He/She/It will drink.
  • हम पीएंगे (ham pienge) = We will drink
  • आप पीएंगे (aap pienge) = You will drink.
  • वे पीएंगे (ve pienge) = They will drink.
  • For "I" use -unga, for "Tu" use "ega", for "Tum" use "oge", for "voh" use "ega" and for "ham/aap/ve" the plural form "enge".

    Future Continuous Tense:

    To build that tense use these endings: रहूंगा रहेगा रहेंगे रहोगे (rahunga/rahega/rahenge/rahoge) similarly as the forms for Future Imperfect together with the "conjugated" verb.

    Verb Stem + TA / TE / TI + rahunga/rahega/rahenge/rahoge = Future Continuous Tense

    Let's make the future continuous of the verb "pina" to make things clear:

    Future Continuous of "Pina" (पीना = to drink)

  • मैं पीता रहुंगा. (mai~ pita rahunga) = I will be drinking.
  • तु पीता रहेगा. (tu pita rahega) = You will be drinking.
  • तुम पीते रहोगे. (tum pite rahoge) = You will be drinking.
  • वह पीता रहेगा. (voh pita rahega) = He/She/It will be drinking.
  • हम पीते रहेंगे. (hum pite rahenge) = We will be drinking.
  • आप पीते रहेंगे. (aap pite rahenge) = You will be drinking.
  • वे पीते रहेंगे. (ve pite rahenge) = They will be drinking.
  • So, now you have everything you have to know about verbs except if I've missed something. That was a long and a hard lesson so have a rest before you go to the next lesson :) Mr. Samir