April 20, 2012

Future Participles

Future participles indicate an imminent action or an action which is going to happen some time in the future.

Their form is as follows:

[masculine singular oblique form of an infinitive|form of वाला]

For instance: जानेवाले लोग (“the people who are about to go”)

The suffix may be adjoined or separated from the masculine singular oblique form of the infinitive:

जाने वाले

Like other participles, future participles may be used attributively:

दिल्ली जाने वाले लोग वहां खड़े हुए हैं – “The people who are about to go to Delhi are standing over there”

They may also be used predicatively:

हम दिल्ली जानेवाले हैं – “We are about to go to Delhi”

The predicate use of future participles may be viewed as a finite verbal usage. In other words, the form

[masculine singular oblique infinitive|वाला] [form of होना] can be viewed as a kind of future verb form, often implying imminent action:

मैं कुछ तो बोलने वाली थी – “I was going to say something”

  • adeeba

    other than wale there can be other elements for showing future participle? its my question

  • Olivier Massicot


    First thanks for your website, it seems to me to be pretty accurate and complete. I had a question, it’s something you just can’t say in English without a periphrasis because the modality in English is, well, expressed through modals and not regular verbs.

    “He was going to have the power to do X” which I actually would like to say “He was going to be able to do X” but English isn’t that flexible I think. In Hindi, I had guessed it could be “वह X कर सकने वाला था”, and after looking up I see you can use the future participle with the past perfective: मैं कुछ तो बोलने वाली थी – “I was going to say something”.

    But I have a native speaker with me, and she says “you can’t say it” but without any other argument, so I thought I could ask a knowledged person about that. I know it’s grammatically correct and that it can convey a meaning, or at least that it has a meaning in some languages, but I’m curious about why it wouldn’t make sense to a native speaker’s ear.


    • Thanks, I’m glad you like the site. That’s a good question. Indeed, the sentence “वह X कर सकने वाला था” is incorrect. The reason is that compound verbs cannot be used in certain situations (see the heading “When Compound Verbs Are Not Used” on the page http://hindilanguage.info/hindi-grammar/verbs/compound-verbs/). Compound verbs are those verbs that are comprised of a verb stem (e.g. कर) followed by some form of an auxiliary verb (e.g. सकना). The list on the page I mentioned above is not complete. Compound verbs can be used in habitual participles; here’s an actual example from a Microsoft support webpage written in Hindi: “अगर आप किसी कंप्यूटर को स्वतः लॉग ऑन के लिए सेट करते हैं, तो कंप्यूटर तक भौतिक पहुँच कर सकने वाला कोई भी व्यक्ति कंप्यूटर की सभी सामग्री तक पहुँच प्राप्त कर सकता है, जिसमें ऐसे सभी नेटवर्क शामिल हैं, जिससे वह कनेक्ट हो” (translation: “If you set a computer for automatic log on, then any person with physical access to the computer can obtain access to the entire contents of the computer”). In this example, the participle was “भौतिक पहुँच कर सकने वाला” (“able to physically access”). However, in my limited experience, I’ve only seen such participles (i.e. those containing compound verbs) used as habitual participles. I’ve never seen them used as future participles. My best guess is that there is one more rule to add: compound verbs aren’t used in future participles. Future and habitual participles have the same form in Hindi, e.g. “करने वाला”; what distinguishes them is the context, e.g. when followed by some form of होना like था or है we know that a future participle is intended, as in “मैं थोड़ा काम करने वाला हूँ” – “I’m going to do some work”).