The “infinitive + होना” idiom is very common in Hindi. It has the following form:
[oblique “agent”] को [infinitive] [form of होना]
For example: मुझे जाना है, इसको जाना है, हमें जाना होगा, मुझे जाना था
In this idiom, if the infinitive has an object, then the infinitive and the form of होना both agree with the object of the infinitive in number and gender. This is analogous to ergative constructions with ने – the agent is “blocked” by the postposition को, so the infinitive agrees with its object instead.
This idiom has two primary uses:
- To express compulsion
- To express a want or desire
This idiom can be used to express a mild, incidental compulsion or need. It is similar to the English idiom “have to”.
मुझे जाना है – “I have to go”
मुझे उन लोगों के आने से पहले पराठे बनाने हैं – I have to make the parathas before they come.
मुझे उससे बात करनी है – “I have to talk to her”
हमें उन लोगों की मदद करनी है – “We have to help them”
अगर तुम उससे बात करना चाहते हो तो तुम्हें हिंदी में बात करनी होगी – “If you want to speak to her, then you’ll have to speak in Hindi”
मुझे जाना था – “I had to go”
This idiom is commonly used to express wants or desires rather than needs or compulsions. This is generally only used with the present tense. It is somewhat colloquial.
मुझे चाय पीनी है – “I want to drink tea”
मुझे पराठे खाने हैं – “I want to eat parathas”