April 20, 2012

ही

The particle ही has several usages in Hindi.

ही can express “only” or “just”:

मैं एक ही किताब पढ़ लूँगा – “I will read only one book”

मैंने यह किताब ही पढ़ ली – “I only read this book”

ही can amplify a word – like “very”:

यह साड़ी बहुत ही सुन्दर है – “This sari is very beautiful”

ही can come between a word and the postposition that follows it:

मैं आप ही का खाना खा रहा हूँ – “I’m only eating your food”

ही is a particle, not a postposition. Therefore, it does not require the word that precedes it to be in the oblique case.

ही can emphasize verbs as well:

वह तो होना ही है – “that at least must be so” – “that much is obvious”

प्यार तो होना ही है – “love has to happen”

Pronouns have special forms when combined with ही:

तुम + ही = तुम्हीं

यह + ही = यही

वह + ही = वही

इस + ही = इसी

उस + ही = उसी

इन + ही = इन्हीं

उन + ही = उन्हीं

Note that the plural pronouns are nasalized.

Some adverbs can be combined with ही too:

यहाँ + ही = यहीं – “right here”

वह + ही = वहीँ – “right there”

अब + ही = अभी – “right now”

तब + ही = तभी – “right then”

If ही is adjoined to the word, then it is emphatic. If it follows the adverb separately, then it has the sense of exclusivity (“only”):

अब ही – “only now” – अभी – “right now”

ही can emphasize a word in an emphatic way too:

यहीं है – “It is in this very place” – “it’s right here”