April 20, 2012

Conjunctive Participles

As the name implies, “conjunctive participles” may be used to conjoin two verb phrases, in a manner similar to conjunctions such as और (“and”). If the same subject performs two sequential actions, the first action may be expressed with a conjunctive participle. Conjunctive participles are very common in Hindi, and many speakers prefer to use them versus conjunctions.

Form of Conjunctive Participles

Conjunctive participles are formed simply by adding the suffix कर or के to the verb stem:

जाना, जा + के = जाके

पढ़ना, पढ़ + के = पढ़के

लेना, ले + के = लेके

सुनना, सुन + कर = सुनकर

पहुँचना, पहुँच + कर = पहुँचकर

कर and के may be used interchangeably. However, in common spoken and written Hindi, के is much more common. कर may be used in more formal writing. For the verb करना, however, the only possible form is करके; करकर is not correct.

In colloquial Hindi, the conjunctive participle करके may be used with the verb stem to form a periphrastic conjunctive participle:

वह खाना खा करके जायेगा – “He will go after eating”

Occasionally, the suffix कर or के may be dropped altogether, and the verb stem may be used as a conjunctive participle:

दोस्त देख वह हंसने लगी – “Upon seeing her friend, she began to laugh”

The suffix may occasionally be written separately:

खाना खा के सो जाओ – “Eat some food and go to sleep”


Although conjunctive participles can be literally translated as “having ___ed” in English (“having reached there…” etc.), they correspond to several English idioms.

Conjunctive – ” ___ and ___”

मैं घर जाके थोड़ा काम करूँगा – “I will go home and do a little work”, literally “I, having gone home, will do a little work.”

Temporal – “After ___ing”, “Upon ___ing”

तुम्हें वहां पहुँचकर उससे बात करनी चाहिए = “You should talk with her after you reach there”, literally "After reaching there, you should talk with her.” अपनी माँ की आवाज़ सुनकर, वह घर वापस आया – “When he heard his mother’s voice, he returned home”, literally “Upon hearing his mother’s voice…” संभलकर चलाओ – “Drive carefully” मेहरबानी करके धीमी आवाज़ में बात कीजिये – “Please talk quietly” (very formal).


जल्दी से दौड़के, उसने अपने दोस्त पकड़े – “Running quickly, she caught her friends.” – Or perhaps simply “she ran quickly and caught her friends.”


Certain conjunctive participles occur often with certain verbs to form a sort of compound verb. For instance, लेके आना is a common combination. लेके जाना is another common combination.

  • Divija Sampathi

    Hai David..

    1.तुम्हें वहां पहुँचकर उससे बात करना चाहिए..Shouldn’t it be ‘baat karni’ as the object ‘उससे’ is blocked by से and verb should inflect the noun which is ‘बात’ , a feminine?

    2.महरबानी करके धीमी आवाज़ में बात कीजिये : What is the meaning of धीमी and महरबानी?

    3.जल्दी से दौड़के, उससे अपने दोस्त पकड़े : shouldn’t it be ‘उसने’ instead of ‘उससे’?? And what is the gender of ‘दोस्त’ in common?

    Pls clarify

    • Hey, Divija. Regarding #1: Yes, that was an error. I corrected it. Regarding #2: धीमी can mean “faint”, “slow”, “quiet”. Here, it means “quiet”. “मेहरबानी” is the correct spelling. It literally means “kindness”. Thus “महरबानी करके” means “kindly”, i.e. “please”. It is a formal expression that means “please”. Regarding #3: yes, that was a typographical error, thanks. Certain personal nouns, like “दोस्त”, can be either feminine or masculine. So, if it refers to a female friend, it will be feminine, and if it refers to a male friend, it will be masculine. If it refers to a group of mixed gender, it will be masculine.

  • Matthew Chang

    I have a question regarding verb agreement. If both verbs are transitive with the same object does the second verb agree with the object? Would you say मैंने रोटी लेकर खा ली or मैंने रोटी लेकर खाया (I took the roti and ate it)

    • Yes, it agrees with its object even if it “shares” the object with a participle.