April 20, 2012


Conjunctions are words that conjoin two or more words or phrases.

There are several varieties of conjunctions in Hindi:

Coordinating conjunctions “coordinate” two or more words or phrases, like the English word “and”.

Correlative conjunctions correlate two or more words or phrases, and exist in complementary pairs, as the English “neither … nor”, “either … or”, “if … then”, “lest … not”, etc.

Subordinating conjunctions make one clause subordinate to another, as the English “that, in order that, because, etc.”

The most basic conjunction in Hindi is the conjunction और (“and”). It can be used as a simple coordinating conjunction. और can be used as an adjective and as an adverb meaning “more”.

मैं और मेरी बहिन दिल्ली जानेवाले हैं – “My sister and I are going to go to Delhi”

Some conjunctions are listed below:

और – “and”

कि – “that” as in “I told him that I am going”

लेकिन – “but”

पर – “but”

मगर – “but”

चाहे – “whether”

चाहेचाहे / या – “whether … or”

या – “or”

अगरतो – “if … then”

तो – “then”

कहीं – “lest … not”

क्यूंकि – “because”

चूँकि – “because”

जब कि – “whereas”

एंव – “and”

इसलिए – “for this reason, therefore, so”

इसलिए कि – “for the reason that, because”

या फिर – “or else, or”

नहीं तो – “otherwise”

याया – “either … or”

– “neither … nor”

जैसे कि – “as, for example”

  • Davi

    Namaste, guys! Bhagwan ke liye I could find this site right on time!!

    So, one question I have here:

    इसलिए – “for this reason, therefore, so”

    इसलिए कि – “for the reason that, because”

    In the (very) old grammar books I’m trying to use here, there’s a sentence that is driving me nuts:

    आपने हाथ साबुन से इसलिए धो कि बिलकुल साफ हो जाएं = Wash your hands with soap, so that they become completely clean. (This is the way I have translated.)

    So, the question is:

    इसलिए धो कि = “for the reason” + “wash” + “that”

    धो इसलिए कि = “wash” + “for the reason that, because”.

    Which one is correct? Both…? One of them…?

    Or perhaps one isn’t used anymore, while another is…?

    Maybe one of them is more typical in Urdu than in Hindi and vice-versa…?

    How is it that the verb might come in the middle of the pair??

    • Hi, Davi! The word order in the sentence is correct (इसलिए धो कि). You’ve discovered a phenomenon that some linguists call “expletives”. Here’s an example in English: “It’s fun to learn another language”. What does “it” refer to in this sentence? It refers to “to learn another language”. In fact, I could have written “to learn another language is fun”, although this is awkward. The “it” is like a “placeholder” that “stands for” the larger phrase (an “expletive”). This is very common in English, and it is very common in Hindi too. The “इस” in the example you gave is an expletive. It stands for “बिलकुल साफ हो जाएं”. This sentence is literally: “wash your hands for this (reason): that they become completely clean”. In English, we pair infinitives with expletives (“to learn”, etc.). In Hindi, however, subjunctive clauses are used. “इसलिए कि” is not a “pair”; they are separable. There are two syntactic options for subjunctive clauses that go with expletives: the subjunctive clause can go after the expletive (and after the main clause) or before it (and before the main clause). When it goes after, a conjunction is used to combine the main clause and the subjunctive clause (कि), just like other conjunctions are used to conjoin clauses (“and”, etc.). When it goes before, no conjunction is used; instead, punctuation might be used (a comma actually, borrowed from English), and the speaker might briefly pause, etc. So, in other words, there are two ways to write your example sentence: “अपने हाथ साबुन से इसलिए धो कि बिलकुल साफ हो जाएं”, or “अपने हाथ बिलकुल साफ हो जाएं, इसलिए साबुन से धो”, although the second sentence is perhaps less common. Another example is “‘ल‘ से शुरू होते हों और ‘न‘ से ख़त्म होते हों, ऐसे शब्दों के उदाहरण दो” (“give me examples of words that start with “l” and end with “n”). You can read more information in this article: http://hindilanguage.info/hindi-grammar/verbs/mood/subjunctive-mood/ There is a section about expletives in the article. Does this make sense? Let me know if you have any more questions.

      • Davi

        Wow! Amazing! The same phenomenon of expletives happens in Brazilian Portuguese (my language), colloquially, practically in the same contexts, as well!

        But as for the second sentence (which in my language would sound a little bit strange),

        अपने हाथ बिलकुल साफ हो जाएं, इसलिए साबुन से धो,

        could it be considered a sort of topic-structured one?

        • Hindi has borrowed some words from Portuguese, e.g. मेज़ (mesa). Yes, when the subjunctive clause comes first, it could be because the speaker wants to emphasize the subjunctive clause.

      • Davi

        Ah, one thing I haven’t mentioned: in the respective lesson, the subject worked are the conditional sentences (there named “The Aorist”, for you to see how old is this book, heheh!).

        So, if I “translate” the respective sentence:

        अपने हाथ साबुन से इसलिए धो कि बिलकुल साफ हो जाएं


        अगर / जब अपने हाथ साबुन से धो, तब बिलकुल साफ हो जाएं

        (then) would it be fine, as well?

        • Wow, yes, “aorist” isn’t used much anymore! You could write अगर तुम अपने हाथ साबुन से धो तो वे बिलकुल साफ़ हो जाएंगे. The subjunctive mood is appropriate in the “if” clause “अगर तुम … धो”. We wouldn’t use it in the “then” clause for this sentence; the “if” part is hypothetical (“if you wash your hands, but I don’t know if you will”), the “then” part is certain (“your hands will certainly be clean”). We can use the subjunctive in the “then” part in other sentences: “अगर हम बहुत मेहनत करें तो हम शायद समय-सीमा तक काम पूरा करें” (“If we work very hard, then maybe we’ll complete the task before the deadline”). In this sentence, the speaker is doubtful that the work will be completed (hence the subjunctive and the शायद). The शायद is still necessary, though; the speaker could have used “करेंगे”. This would technically mean “probably” instead of “maybe”, but we can’t be certain that the speaker deliberately chose the verb. Since the subjunctive mood is very subtle, many (native) speakers neglect it. In English we often hear “if I was you”, instead of “if I were you”, etc. In the same way, Hindi speakers often substitute the indicative mood for the subjunctive mood. Thus, you might hear “अगर तुम अपने हाथ साबुन से धोगे तो वे बिलकुल साफ़ हो जाएंगे”. This could mean that the speaker is confident that the listener will indeed wash their hands; or, it could just be that the speaker prefers the indicative (धोगे) more than the subjunctive (धो). These are subtle distinctions that aren’t absolute. Furthermore, there are other ways to form “if/then” sentences. It is very common to use simple, past-tense verbs (perfective, or “aorist” in your book, hehe) in the “if” part, e.g. “अगर मैं काम पूरा नहीं किया तो क्या हो जाएगा” (“If I don’t finish the work, what will happen?”). Also, we use the indicative if the “if” part is known or certain; e.g. “मुझे हिन्दुस्तानी खाना बहुत अच्छा लगता है. अच्छा! अगर तुम्हें हिन्दुस्तानी खाना अच्छा लगता है तो यह दाल खा लो!” (“Person 1: I really like Indian food. Person 2: Really? If you like Indian food, then eat these lentils!”). The person was certain about the “if” part. But, if we hear: “अगर आपको हिन्दुस्तानी खाना अच्छा लगे तो शायद आपको थाई खाना भी अच्छा लगेगा” (“if you like Indian food then you’ll probably like Thai food too”) – then the speaker is not certain, etc. Does that make sense? Now, regarding “when .. then” sentences; you could say “जब तुम अपने हाथ साबुन से धो तो वे बिलकुल साफ़ हो जाएंगे”. It’s actually quite similar to the “if/then” sentence. The subtlety is this: with “जब” we use the subjunctive to describe a hypothetical event, or a kind of event, not an actual event. It’s sort of like saying “whenever”. I hope this makes sense. If you see enough examples, you’ll be able to use these sentences easily. Let me know if you have any more questions.