April 20, 2012


The verb लगना is perhaps the most idiomatic verb in Hindi.

Literal Meaning

It’s literal meaning is “to be attached/to be adhered”.

तस्वीर दिवार पर लगी है – “The picture is attached to the wall” / “The picture is on the wall”

पट्टी उसके चोट पे लगी थी – “A bandage was adhered to his wound” / “A bandage is on his wound”

However, there are many instances when the verb retains its literal meaning, yet is better translated into English contextually:

A का दिल / मन B में लगना – for A to enjoy B

The idiom A का दिल / मन B में लगना means literally “for A’s heart to be attached to B”, thus “for A to enjoy B”.

मेरा दिल पिआनो बजाने में बहुत लगता है – “I really enjoy playing the piano”

उसका मन गाने में नहीं लगता – “He doesn’t enjoy singing songs”

कल मेरा दिल किसी चीज़ में नहीं लगा– “Yesterday I didn’t enjoy anything”

A को B की आदत लगना – for A to have a habit of B

The idiom A को B की आदत लगना literally means “for B to be attached to A”, but contextually means “for A to get into a habit of B”. This is an indirect verb construction.

आजकल मुझे बहुत देर तक सोने की आदत लग गयी है – “I have gotten into a habit of sleeping very late”

Note a similar idiom in which a present tense form of the verb होना may be used:

मुझे बहुत देर तक सोने की आदत है – “I am used to sleeping very late”

Also, the postposition की may be used instead of को:

मेरी बहुत देर तक सोने की आदत है – “I am used to sleeping very late”

The difference between the idiom involving लगना and the idiom involving होना is that the former expresses a newly acquired habit whereas the latter expresses an extant habit.

A में आग लगना – for A to Catch Fire

घर में आग लग गयी – “The house caught on fire”

Literally, “fire was attached to the house”

A की नौकरी लग गई – for A to get a job

मेरी बहिन की नौकरी लग गई – “My sister got a job”

Literally, “my sister’s job was attached (to her)”

A की आँख लगना – for A to fall asleep

मेरी आँखें लग गई – “I fell asleep”

Literally, “my eyes (eyelids) became attached”

To be hit or hurt by something

उसको गोली लगी – “He was shot by a bullet”

Literally, “to him a bullet was attached”

To follow (someone)

कुता मेरे पीछे लग गया – “The dog followed me”

Literally, “the dog was attached behind me”

To be occupied with some task

वह आपनी किताबें पढ़ने में लगा है – “He is busy reading his books”

To Feel Some Way

लगना is very commonly used to express feelings, sensations, perceptions, judgements, opinions, etc.

Physical Sensations

मुझे भूख लग रही है / मुझे भूख लगी है – “I’m hungry”

Literally, “to me hunger is attached”

मुझे प्यास लग रही है / मुझे प्यास लगी है – “I’m thirsty”

इसको कुत्तों से डर लगता है – “He’s afraid of dogs”

Opinions/Judgements – How something seems to someone

आपको अम्रीका कैसा लगता है – “How do you like America?” / “How does America seem to you” / “What do you think about America?”

मुझे साड़ियाँ बहुत सुन्दर लगती है – “I think saris are so beautiful”

Perceptions – “it seems that”

मुझे लगता है कि आज मौसम अच्छा होगा – “I think that the weather will be nice today” / “It seems to me that the weather will be nice today”

मुझे लगता है कि वह उसका दीवाना है – “I think that he admires her”

मुझे लगता है कि अगर वह बहुत पढ़ता है तो वह सफल हो जायेगा – “It seems to me that if he studies a lot he will be successful”

To Require (something/some amount of something)

कितना समय लगेगा – “How long will it take?”

ग्वालियर से दिल्ली रेल गाड़ी से जाने में कोई छे घंटे लगते हैं – “It takes about 6 hours to go by train from Gwalior to Delhi”

इस शहर में मकान खरीदने में बहुत पैसा लगता है – “It takes a lof of money to buy a house in this city”

Oblique Infinitive + लगना – To Begin To Do Something

वह हंसने लगी – “She started laughing”

वे सब नाचने लगे – “They all started dancing”

वह रोने लगी – “She began to cry”

To Be Arranged/Set Up

खाना मेज़ पर लगा है – “The food is arranged on the table”

  • khouloud


    first of all I would like to thank you for your lessons, your site is perfect 🙂 I like it really

    but while net surfing I’ve found these sentences and I am little confused translating them:

    रिश्ते में तो हम तुम्हारे बाप लगते हैं

    प्लेटफोर्म पर ट्रेन लग गई

    दिल्ली से दूसरी बोगी लगेगी

    लेटते ही आँख लग गई

    सिगरेट पीने की लत लग गई

    बड़ी देर लग गई

    लगे रहो मुन्ना भाई

    जल्दी ब्रेक लगाओ
    Frankly I couldn’t find the right “लगना ” for each one.

    • Thank you! लगना and लगाना are very idiomatic verbs! Here are the translations:

      रिश्ते में तो हम तुम्हारे बाप लगते हैं – “As far as relationships go, I’m like a father to you”
      प्लेटफोर्म पर ट्रेन लग गई – “The train arrived at the platform”
      दिल्ली से दूसरी बोगी लगेगी – “A second carriage/car/wagon/bogie is going to be added to the Delhi (train)”
      लेटते ही आँख लग गई – “As soon as I lay down, I fell asleep”
      सिगरेट पीने की लत लग गई – “(Someone) got addicted to smoking cigarettes”
      बड़ी देर लग गई – “It took a very long time”
      लगे रहो मुन्ना भाई – “Keep on, Munna Bhai!” (keep going, persevere, continue)
      जल्दी ब्रेक लगाओ – “Press the brakes quickly!”

  • Hindi Learner

    I have heard this is a useful question:

    आपको कैसा लगता है? – How does that strike you/feel to you? (Generally meaning, how do you feel about …. [something already mentioned])

    I don’t know if I heard that right.

    But, it seems to me that this sentence question comes under the above Opinions/Judgements – How something seems to someone. It also seems that this sentence uses one of those Indirect Verb Constructions (although I am not sure about this). Does that sound correct?

    Although the word ‘that’ is dropped from the Hindi rendition, probably its implication would obvious from context. If we were being explicit, it looks as though sentence could have been written as (again I am not sure about this):

    आपको वह कैसा लगता है?

    Indirect Verb Object – Subject – Interrogative Pronoun – Intransitive Verb

    This is my guess:
    Indirect Verb Object – The person or thing being acted upon / affected by the subject
    The Subject – The experience or feeling being attached / associated (i.e. it could have been a cold)
    Intransitive Verb – Here showing agreement with the implied subject वह, and defaulting to singular masculine.

    If it’s not too much trouble, may I ask how you would explain the use of लगना in this first sentence?

    • Your analysis seems right to me. Your sentences are correct. This is indeed an indirect verb construction. Often such sentences will be very elliptical; my wife might ask me “कैसी लगी” (“What did you think about the movie?”) after watching a movie, for instance. The agent of the indirect verb construction (तुम्हें) and the subject (मूवी) are both implied by the context, and thus omitted. The full sentence would be “तुम्हें मूवी कैसी लगी”. The word order is flexible here. The subject is often placed after the verb, e.g. “कैसी लगी मूवी”. In the sentence “आपको कैसा लगता है”, the speaker is soliciting an opinion, just as you noted. The closest literal English equivalent to this idiom is “how did it strike you”, as you noted, since लगना literally means to be or become attached to something, or even to strike or touch something (e.g. my wife might ask simply “लगी?” to mean “Did you get hurt?”, the implication being “क्या तुम्हें चोट लगी”).

      • Hindi Learner

        Oh wow, that was a try hard guess – I don’t know much about grammar and I learnt about indirect verb constructions from your website !

        So, if a Noun-Subject is dropped from an indirect verb construction because its reference is clear from the context, लगना will agree in gender with the ommitted noun (such as ‘movie’ in कैसी लगी). Otherwise it will default to masculine singular.

        Thank you very very much.

        I’m sure I’ll have many more questions and comments, but don’t let me pester you :-).

        • That’s right. Don’t worry, you’re not pestering me. 🙂 You’re welcome to ask questions.

  • Kamlini s

    hi david

    i am refering to your notes on मुझे लगता है कि…

    would i be correct in assuming that the rest of the sentence will be in the indicative mood when using this phrase?

    also if i use the phrase ऐसा लगता है मानो… would the rest of the sentence be in the subjunctive mood ?

    for eg. ऐसा लगता है मानो उसकी सफलता न हो जाए
    it seems as if he would not have sucess ??

    please clarify this .