April 20, 2012

Conjunct Verbs

Many Hindi verbs are formed by conjoining a noun or adjective with a verb. Such verbs are called conjunct verbs. The most common verb used to form conjunct verbs is करना (“to do/to make”).


The general form is as follows:

noun/adjective + form of करना

A conjunct verb formed with a noun is called a nominal conjunct verb. A conjunct verb formed with an adjective is called an adjectival conjunct verb.

Nominal Conjunct Verbs

Nominal conjunct verbs combine a noun with a verb to form a conjunct verb.

There are two basic patterns of nominal conjunct verbs.

Often the object of the verb in the corresponding English sentence is marked with a postposition, typically का,की, or से.

However, some nominal conjunct verbs are like basic transitive verbs. Their object is either unmarked, or marked by को.


Consider the following examples of nominal conjunct verbs.

With Postpositions

मदद करना “to help”

मैंने उसकी मदद की – I helped her

हमें एक दुसरे की मदद करनी चाहिए – We should help each other

इंतज़ार करना “to wait (for someone/something)”

मैं अपनी बहिन का इंतज़ार कर रहा हूँ – I am waiting for my sister

कोशिश करना “to try/to attempt”

मैं हिंदी सिखने की कोशिश कर रहा हूँ – I am trying to learn Hindi

Like Regular Transitive Verbs

मना करना – “to forbid”

मैंने उससे जाने के लिए मना किया – I forbade him to go

शुरू करना “to begin (transitive)”

अध्यापक ने क्लास शुरू की – The teacher began the class

पता करना – “to come to know / to find out / to realize”

मैंने उसकी असलियत पता किया – “I came to know her true nature”

Adjectival Conjunct Verbs

Adjectival conjunct verbs combine an adjective with a verb to form a conjunct verb.


बड़ा करना – To enlarge / to increase

मुझे ये फोटो और बड़ा करना है – I have to enlarge this photo

ठीक करना “to fix/to make right”

यह आदमी मेज़ ठीक करेगा – This man will fix the table

कम करना “to reduce/to make less”

मैं दाम कम करूँगा – I will reduce the price

साफ़ करना “to clean”

उसने कमरा साफ़ किया – He cleaned the room


A few notes are instructive.

Postpositions and Agreement

If the subject of a nominal conjunct verb is “blocked” by a postposition, then the verb agrees with the noun.

हमें एक दुसरे की मदद करनी चाहिए – We should help each other

Note that the infinitive करनी agrees with मदद, which is feminine, since the subject, हम, is blocked by the postposition को (implicit in the special form हमें = हम + को).

मैंने उसकी मदद की – I helped her

Note that the verb की agress with मदद, since the subject, मैं, is blocked by the postposition ने.


All conjunct verbs with करना are transitive (their agents require the agentive postposition, ने, when they are transitive and perfective). Hence in the sentence मैंने उसकी मदद की, the agent is marked with ने and the verb agrees with the conjunct noun.

Intransitive Counterparts

Many conjunct verbs have corresponding intransitive forms which employ होना (“to be”). Contrast the following two sentences:

माँ ने मूवी शुरू की – Mom started the movie

मूवी शुरू हो गयी – The movie has started

Negation of Conjunct Verbs

In negative sentences, the negative particle नहीं generally comes between the noun or adjective and करना.

उन लोगों ने हमारी मदद नहीं की – Those people did not help us

आदमी मेज़ ठीक नहीं करेगा – The man will not fix the table