April 20, 2012

Present Perfect

The present perfect is a “perfect” verb form – it indicates that the action is completed and has relevance in the present time.

It is formed as perfect participle + present tense form of होना.

Pronoun Masculine Form Feminine Form
मैं गया हूँ गयी हूँ
हम गए/गये हैं गयी हैं
आप गए/गये हैं गयी हैं
तुम गए/गये हो गयी हो
तू गया है गयी है
यह/वह गया है गयी है
ये/वे गए/गये हैं गयी हैं
  • Madhumitha

    Why does everyone say maine dekha, usne dekha even for female, is it not suppossed to be dekhi?
    Please explain present perfect for female.

    • Hi, Madhumitha! That’s a good question. In Hindi, sometimes the verb agrees with its object, not with its subject. This phenomenon is sometimes called “ergativity”. Here’s the basic rule:

      1. If the verb is transitive …
      2. AND the verb is a perfect or perfective form …
      3. AND the verb requires “ergative alignment” (most verbs do, I’ll explain)

      then … the subject is marked with ने and the verb agrees with the object.

      If the verb is compound, both the main verb and auxiliary verb must follow rules 1,2 and 3.

      If the object is “blocked” by a postposition then:

      1. If the verb is a nominal conjunct verb, it agrees with the noun of the conjunct verb

      2. Otherwise, it defaults to masculine

      Let me give you some examples:

      I could say “मैंने एक रोटी खायी”. The verb is feminine, even though I am a man. Why? Because the verb खाना is a transitive verb, खायी is a past perfective form, and खाना exhibits ergative alignment.

      I could say “मैंने उससे बात की”. Again, the verb is feminine. Notice something in this example. The object is उससे. Since there’s a postposition (से), the verb cannot agree with it. Thus, the conjunct verb (बात करना) agrees with the noun बात, which is feminine.

      I could say “मैंने उसको देखा”. Here, the verb is masculine because the object is “blocked” by को. It defaults to masculine. Even a woman would say मैंने उसको देखा.

      The verb समझना does not use ergative alignment. So, I man would say “मैं समझा” and a woman would say “मैं समझी”.

      I would say “मैं पूरा खाना खा गया” because “खा गया” is a compound verb, and गया is an intransitive verb. A woman would say “मैं पूरा खाना खा गयी”.

      I know this seems really complicated, but once you practice it, it really isn’t hard to use. Does my explanation make sense?

      I’ve written a few articles about this topic. For instance, read http://hindilanguage.info/hindi-grammar/verbs/ergativity/ and http://hindilanguage.info/notes/volume-1/pana-and-ne

      • Madhumitha

        Thank you for the good and prompt explanation!

        • Madhumitha

          It would be really helpful if you can give more examples
          that we use in daily life, just the sentences no need of explanations 🙂

          • This article is part of a grammar reference. I am creating a series of lessons for this site. The lessons are designed to be simple; they teach by example, and there is very little grammatical terminology. Every lesson includes lots of exercises. Some lessons will include audio recordings too. It will take me a few more weeks to finish the first few lessons. I’ll make an announcement when it is ready. If you haven’t already, you might want to subscribe to Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail for updates.