Hindi Lessons/Lesson 8

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Lesson 8: Modal Verbs.

Modal verbs are those such as "to want", "can" (to be able to), " to need to," "to have to" etc... This lesson covers how to use such verbs in Hindi, in particular these four.

(1). Can /be able to/ = sakna (सकना) You only have to know that it's added to the root of the main verb. "I can read hindi" - in that sentence "the main verb" is "read". So:

Verb stem + SAKNA / सकना (sakta/sakte/sakti/sakti~) + To be (hona, conjugeted) = Can + Verb

Oh, of course, you must "conjugate" the verb sakna as I taught you (i.e. add ta/te/ti/ti~ to its stem "sak"). Here are some examples:

मैं हिंदी में लिख सकता हुं. (mai~ hindi me~ likh sakta hu~) = I can write in Hindi. मैं हिंदी कुछ कुछ बोल सकता हुं. (mai~ hindi kuch kuch bol sakta hu~) = I can speak a very little Hindi. मैं वह नहीं समझा सकता हुं. (mai~ voh nahi~ samajha sakta hu~) = I cannot explain that. लडकी अच्छी राटी कर सकती हैं. (ladki acchi roti bana sakti hai~) = The girl can make tasty bread.

(2). Must (to have to)

To express the idea "to have to," Hindi uses the pattern: "to me ... it is." Thus "I have to go" in Hindi becomes "to me it is to go". "To have to" uses the Dative case, which requires the use of special pronouns which I haven't explained to you yet. For now I'll just say that "mai~" becomes "mujhe" (to me) and "tu" becomes"tujhe" (to you), while for the plural we add the particle "ko". I hope you remember it from the previous lesson. So "ham ko" = "to us".


मुझे जाना हैं. (mujhe jana hai.) = (to me / to go / is) = I have to go. तुझे खाना हैं. (tujhe khana hai.) = (to you / to eat / is) = You have to eat. भरात में हमको हिंदी बोलना हैं. (bharat me~ hamko hindi bolna hai) = (India in / to us / hindi / to speak / is) = In India we have to speak Hindi.

(3). Need (Chahie - चाहीए)

"Chahie" is used in similar manner as "to have to." Again, we say "to me," "to you," "to us,: "to the person," etc., i.e. the dative case. Instead of placing the conjugated verb "to be" at the end of the sentence place "chahie":

मुझे जाना चाहीए. (mujhe jana chahie) = I need to go. (Similar to meaning and construction with "mujhe jana hai"...) मुझे पानी चाहीए. (mujhe pani chahie) = I need water.

(4). Want (chahna = चाहना)

Verb infinitive + CHAHNA / चाहना (chahta/chahte/chahti/chahti~) + To be (hona, conjugeted) = Want to + Verb

मैं जाना चाहता हुं. (mai~ jana chahta hu~) = I want to go. वह खाना चाहता है. (voh khana chahta hai) = He wants to eat. हम हिंदी सीखना चाहते हैं. (ham hindi sikhna chahte hai~) = We want to learn Hindi. मैं चाबल चाहता है. (mai~ chaval chahta hu~) = I want rice.

That'll end this lesson. Enjoy the next lesson, where you'll learn how to count to 20 and learn some wh-questions as well...