July 14, 2012

Negative Particles

Negative particles are words used to negate, such as “not” in English.

The three primary negative particles in Hindi are नहीं, मत, and .

In general, नहीं is used with indicative verbs, मत is used with imperative verbs, and  is used with subjunctive verbs. नहीं is used with contrafactual subjunctive verbs.

नहीं is sometimes used with imperatives in colloquial Hindi, e.g. “नहीं रो” – “don’t cry”.

is used to translate “no” as in “I said ‘no’!”, e.g. “मैंनेकहा“.

is used with phrases that contain verbals (infinitives and participles), e.g. “पानी न होने के कारन“, “कल्पना न किया जा सकने वाला“, etc.

is used as a conjunction, like “neither … nor” in English:  “न ज्यादा न कम” – “neither too much nor too little”.

In Hindi, negative adjectives and negative nouns generally aren’t used, such as “no” in “I had no other option”, and “nothing” in “he knows nothing”. Instead, positive words are used with negative particles, as in “मेरे पास दूसरा कोई विकल्प नहीं था“, and “उसको कुछ नहीं पता है“.