April 20, 2012

Subjunctive Mood

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Overview

Introduction

The subjunctive mood is very common in Hindi.

The titles of many popular movies contain the subjunctive mood, such as:

जाने तू या जाने ” – “Whether you know it or not”
कल हो हो” – “Tomorrow may or may not be”, i.e. there might not be any tomorrow
रंग दे बसंती” – “Color (me) basanti” (a color signifying a patriotic sacrifice)

If you visit India, you will probably encounter signs that use the subjunctive mood, such as:

कृपया मंदिर के बहार अपने जूते उतार दें” – “Please remove your shoes outside the temple”
कृपया रेलिंग से दुरी बनाये रखें” – “Please keep a distance from the railing”

If you fly on an airplane in India, you will hear announcements that use the subjunctive mood, such as:

सभी यात्रियों से निवेदन है कि वे अपनी कुर्सी की पेटी बांध लें – “We request that all passengers fasten their seat belt”
सभी यात्रियों से अनुरोध है कि वे अपना सामान अकेला न छोड़ें – “We request that all passengers not leave their baggage unattended”

You will probably hear some common expressions that involve the subjunctive mood, such as:

जो हो सो हो – “Whatever will be will be”

The subjunctive mood is one of the four verb moods in Hindi.

The subjunctive mood is used to express an action or state that is somehow unreal, such as a possibility, condition, hypothetical statement, opinion, contingency, analogy, desire, contrafactual statement, duty, or obligation, etc., rather than an actual action or state.

For instance, consider an example:

मैंने उसे सुझाव दिया कि वह वकील से बात करे – I suggested that he talk to a lawyer

In the previous example, the verb बात करे is in the subjunctive mood and is in the subordinate clause कि वह वकील से बात करे. It is “unreal” because it is a suggestion, not an actual event.

उसने मुझे बताया कि उसने वकील से बात की

In the previous example, the indicative verb बात की was used because the speaker is describing an actual event.

The term “subjunctive” derives from the Latin word subjunctivus, meaning “joined at the end”. This name alludes to the fact that subjunctive verbs are often used in subordinate clauses (which are typically joined at the end of the main clause). However, the subjunctive mood is also frequently used in relative clauses and conditional clauses, and there are several independent uses of the subjunctive mood, i.e., uses that aren’t necessarily inside a particular type of clause.

English Subjunctive Verbs

Consider a few examples of the subjunctive mood in English:

I suggested that he talk to a lawyer”

In the previous example, the subjunctive verb “talk” was used. The indicative verb would be “talks”. The subjunctive mood was used because this verb is in the subordinate clause “that …”.

If I were you, I would be careful

In the previous example, the subjunctive verb “were” was used. The indicative verb would be “was”. The subjunctive mood was used because this verb is in a conditional clause.

We should behave as if we were being watched

In the previous example, the subjunctive verb “were” was used. It was used because it is in a subordinate clause introduced by “as if”, which is used to make hypothetical statements or contrafactual (contrary to fact) statements.

I wish I knew the answer to your question

In the previous example, the subjunctive verb “knew” was used. The indicative verb is “I know”. The subjunctive mood was used because it is a wish, and also because it is contrafactual.

Be careful, lest you be deceived

The subjunctive mood is used with certain words such as “lest”.

The new law requires that all taxes be paid sooner

In the previous example, a subjunctive verb was used in a subordinate clause. It is a command, not an actual event.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have made a different decision

In English, “had”, and “would” are used to make contrafactual sentences, as in the last example.

Examples of the Hindi Subjunctive

Consider the following examples of subjunctive verbs in Hindi:

वह चाहता है कि मैं उसे हिन्दी बोलना सिखा दूं (He wants me to teach him to speak Hindi)

In the previous example, the verb सिखा दूं is in the subjunctive mood. It is in the subordinate clause “कि मैं उसे हिन्दी बोलना सिखा दूं“.

इससे पहले कि आप सोचें कि हिन्दी सीखना बहुत कठिन है, हम आपको विश्वास दिलाना चाहते हैं कि आप आवश्य हिन्दी सीख सकते हैं. (Before you think that learning Hindi is too hard, we want to assure you that you can certainly learn Hindi)

In the previous example, the verb सोचें is in the subjunctive mood. It is in the subordinate clause “कि आप सोचें“.

बच्चा विद्यालय जाना शुरु करे, इससे पहले उसके मातापिता को कुछ तैयारियां करनी चाहिए (Before a child starts to go to school, his or her parents ought to make some preparations)

In the previous example, the verb शुरु करे is in the subjunctive mood. It is part of the subordinate clause “बच्चा विद्यालय जाना शुरु करे“, which in this case is not introduced by any subordinating conjunction.

जो हिन्दी पसंद करता हो उसे यह लेख पढ़ना चाहिए (Whoever likes Hindi should read this article)

In the previous example, the verb करता हो is in the subjunctive mood. It is in the relative clause “जो हिन्दी पसंद करता हो“.

अगर आप हिंदी सीखना चाहें तो यह लेख आप के लिए उपयोगी होगा (If you want to learn Hindi, then this article will be useful to you)

In the previous example, the verb चाहें is in the subjunctive mood. It is part of the conditional clause “अगर आप हिंदी सीखना चाहें“.

मैं रोज़ हिन्दी समाचार पत्रों की वेबसाइटों पर प्रकाशित होने वाले लेख पढ़ता हूं ताकि मेरी हिंदी पढ़ने की क्षमता बढ़ जाए (I read articles published on Hindi news websites daily so that my ability to read Hindi will increase)

In the previous example, the verb बढ़ जाए is in the subjunctive mood and is part of the subordinate clause “मेरी हिंदी पढ़ने की क्षमता बढ़ जाए“.

वह खाना ऐसे खा गया जैसे कि उसने कई दिनों से कुछ न खाया हो (He devoured the food as if he hadn’t eaten for several days)

The previous example contains the subjunctive verb खाया हो in the subordinate clause “जैसे कि उसने कई दिनों से कुछ नहीं खाया हो“.

अगर मैंने हिंदी बोलने का अभ्यास किया होता तो मैं आज हिंदी बोल सकता (If I had practiced speaking Hindi then I would be able to speak Hindi today)

The previous example contains the contrafactual subjunctive verbs अभ्यास किया होता and बोल सकता.

काश कि मैं हिंदी बोल सकता (I wish that I could speak Hindi)

The previous example contains the contrafactual subjunctive verb बोल सकता.

मैं क्या करूं (What should I do?)

The previous example contains the subjunctive verb करूं.

जिसने कभी पाप न किया हो वह पहला पत्थर मारे (Let the one who has never sinned cast the first stone)

The previous example contains the subjunctive verb पाप किया हो in a relative clause, and the subjunctive verb मारे.

कृपया अपनी कुर्सी की पेटी बांध लें (Please fasten your seat belt)

The previous example contains the subjunctive verb बांध लें.

एक पल के लिए हम कल्पना करें कि हम दुनिया की किसी कोने में हों जो बाहरी दुनिया से अलग हो (Let’s imagine for a moment that we are in some corner of the world that is separated from the outside world)

The previous example contains three subjunctive verbs: कल्पना करें, हों, and हो.

जन्मदिन मुबारक हो (Happy birthday; literally: may your birthday be auspicious)

The previous example contains the subjunctive verb हो.

मैं इतना सुन्दर नहीं हूं कि मैं फिल्मों में काम करूं – “I’m not good-looking enough to work in films”

The previous example contains the subjunctive verb काम करूं in a subordinate clause that correlates with इतना.

से शुरू होते हों औरसे ख़त्म होते हों, ऐसे शब्दों के उदाहरण दो – “Give me examples of words that start with ‘l’ and end with ‘n'”

.

The previous example contains the subjunctive verbs शुरू/ख़त्म होते हों which correlate with the expletive ऐसे.

Form

Hindi subjunctive verbs follow a very regular pattern.

Hindi subjunctive verbs can be divided into two categories: non-contrafactual and contrafactual. Contrafactual verbs make statements that are assumed to be false (like “If I were rich”), whereas non-contrafactual verbs do not.

Hindi subjunctive verbs can also be divided into two more categories: non-aspectual and aspectual. Aspectual subjunctive verbs specify an aspect, whereas non-aspectual subjunctive verbs do not.

Non-aspectual verbs consist of a single word. Thus, they could also be called simple subjunctive verbs. Aspectual verbs consist of multiple words. Thus, they could also be called complex subjunctive verbs.

Simple (non-contrafactual, non-aspectual) subjunctive verbs are formed by deleting the final suffix (गा / गे / गी) from simple future tense verbs. Thus, for instance: करेगाकरे, करोगीकरो, होंगेहों, etc.

Simple Subjunctive: [future tense verb without गा/गे/गी suffix], e.g. करेगाकरे, होगाहो

Complex (Non-Contrafactual, Aspectual) Subjunctive are formed by changing the final verb in an indicative verb form to a non-aspectual subjunctive verb. Thus, for instance, कर रहा हैकर रहा हो, किए हैंकिए हों, करता हैकरता हो, etc.

Complex Subjunctive: [indicative verb form with last verb changed to a subjunctive verb], e.g. कर रहा हैकर रहा हो

Simple (Non-Aspectual) Contrafactual Subjunctive verbs incidentally have the same form as the continuous participle, e.g. करता, होता, जाते, etc.

Simple Contrafactual Subjunctive: [verb stem] + [ता/ते/ती], e.g. करनाकरता

Complex (Aspectual) Contrafactual Subjunctive verbs are formed by changing the final verb in an indicative verb form to a non-aspectual contrafactual subjunctive verb. Thus, for instance, कर रहा हैकर रहा होता, किए हैंकिए होते, करता हैकरता होता, etc.

Complex Contrafactual Subjunctive: [indicative verb form with the last verb changed to a contrafactual subjunctive verb], e.g. कर रहा हैकर रहा होता

The following table summarizes these forms with examples:

Non-ContrafactualContrafactual

Non-Aspectual करेगाकरे करनाकरता
Aspectual कर रहा हैकर रहा हो कर रहा हैकर रहा होता

Below are tables of each major form, followed by a master table.

Non-Contrafactual Subjunctive

Non-contrafactual subjunctive verbs do not make any contrary-to-fact statements.

Simple (Non-Aspectual) Subjunctive

The simple (non-aspectual) subjunctive in Hindi is formed by deleting the final suffix (गा/गे/गी) from a future tense verb. It therefore does not inflect for gender, but it does inflect for number and person.

Simple Subjunctive: करेगाकरे

The Non-Aspectual Forms of होना

The non-aspectual subjunctive forms of होना are as follows:

The Non-Aspectual Forms of होना
Pronoun Form
मैं हूँ/होऊँ
हम हों
आप हों
तुम हो
तू हो
यह/वह हो
ये/वे हों

Note the alternative spelling for the first person singular subjunctive form of होना.

The Non-Aspectual Forms of करना

The non-aspectual subjunctive forms of the verb करना are listed below.

Active Non-Aspectual Subjunctive

The active non-aspectual forms of करना are as follows:

The Active Non-Aspectual Forms of करना
Pronoun Form
मैं करूं
हम करें
आप करें
तुम करो
तू करे
यह/वह करे
ये/वे करें

Note that the subjunctive form corresponding to तुम is identical to the imperative verb form करो. The two moods can be distinguished by context.

Passive Non-Aspectual Subjunctive

The passive simple (non-aspectual) subjunctive is formed like verbs in passive voice; the perfect participle of the verb is followed by a form of the verb जाना. Both inflect for gender, number, and person like most verbs.

Passive Simple Subjunctive: [perfect participle of main verb] [form of जाना]

The passive non-aspectual forms of करना are as follows:

The Passive Non-Aspectual Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं किया जाऊं की जाऊं
हम किये जाएं की जाएं
आप किये जाएं की जाएं
तुम किये जाओ की जाओ
तू किया जाए की जाए
यह/वह किया जाए की जाए
ये/वे किये जाएं की जाएं

Complex (Aspectual) Subjunctive

The complex (aspectual) subjunctive is formed by changing the last verb of an indicative verb form to a simple subjunctive verb.

The Habitual Subjunctive

The habitual subjunctive is formed like the habitual indicative, yet the final verb is a simple subjunctive verb.

Habitual Subjunctive [verb stem + ता/ते/ती] [simple subjunctive verb]

The active and passive habitual subjunctive forms of the verb करना are listed below.

Active Habitual Subjunctive

The active habitual subjunctive forms of करना are as follows:

The Active Habitual Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं करता हूं/होऊं करती हूं/होऊं
हम करते हों करती हों
आप करते हों करती हों
तुम करते हो करती हो
तू करता हो करती हो
यह/वह करता हो करती हो
ये/वे करते हों करती हों
Passive Habitual Subjunctive

The passive habitual subjunctive forms of करना are as follows:

The Passive Habitual Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं किया जाता हूं/होऊं की जाती हूं/होऊं
हम किये जाते हों की जाती हों
आप किये जाते हों की जाती हों
तुम किये जाते हो की जाती हो
तू किया जाता हो की जाती हो
यह/वह किया जाता हो की जाती हो
ये/वे किये जाते हों की जाती हों

The Continuous Subjunctive

The continuous subjunctive forms are listed below.

The Active Continuous Subjunctive

The active continuous subjunctive forms are listed below.

The Active Continuous Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं कर रहा हूं/होऊं कर रही हूं/होऊं
हम कर रहे हों कर रही हों
आप कर रहे हों कर रही हों
तुम कर रहे हो कर रही हो
तू कर रहा हो कर रही हो
यह/वह कर रहा हो कर रही हो
ये/वे कर रहे हों कर रही हों
The Passive Continuous Subjunctive

The passive continuous subjunctive forms of the verb करना are listed below.

The Passive Continuous Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं किया जा रहा हूं/होऊं की जा रही हूं/होऊं
हम किये जा रहे हों की जा रही हों
आप किये जा रहे हों की जा रही हों
तुम किये जा रहे हो की जा रही हो
तू किया जा रहा हो की जा रही हो
यह/वह किया जा रहा हो की जा रही हो
ये/वे किये जा रहे हों की जा रही हों

The Perfect Subjunctive

The perfect subjunctive forms of the verb करना are listed below.

The Active Perfect Subjunctive

The active perfect subjunctive forms of the verb करना are listed below.

The Active Perfect Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं किया हूं/होऊं की हूं/होऊं
हम किये हों की हों
आप किये हों की हों
तुम किये हो की हो
तू किया हो की हो
यह/वह किया हो की हो
ये/वे किये हों की हों
The Passive Perfect Subjunctive

The passive perfect subjunctive forms of the verb करना are listed below.

The Passive Perfect Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं किया गया हूं/होऊं की गयी हूं/होऊं
हम किये गए हों की गयी हों
आप किये गए हों की गयी हों
तुम किये गए हो की गयी हो
तू किया गया हो की गयी हो
यह/वह किया गया हो की गयी हो
ये/वे किये गए हों की गयी हों

Contrafactual Subjunctive

Non-Aspectual Contrafactual

The Non-Aspectual Contrafactual Forms of होना

The non-aspectual contrafactual subjunctive forms of होना are as follows:

The Non-Aspectual Contrafactual Subjunctive Forms of होना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं होता होती
हम होते होती
आप होते होती
तुम होते होती
तू होता होती
यह/वह होता होती
ये/वे होते होती

The Non-Aspectual Contrafactual Forms of करना

The non-aspectual contrafactual forms of करना are listed below.

Active Non-Aspectual Contrafactual Subjunctive

The active non-aspectual contrafactual subjunctive forms of करना are listed below.

The Active Non-Aspectual Contrafactual Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं करता करती
हम करते करती
आप करते करती
तुम करते करती
तू करता करती
यह/वह करता करती
ये/वे करते करती
Passive Non-Aspectual Contrafactual Subjunctive

The passive non-aspectual contrafactual subjunctive forms of करना are listed below.

The Passive Non-Aspectual Contrafactual Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं किया जाता की जाती
हम किये जाते की जाती
आप किये जाते की जाती
तुम किये जाते की जाती
तू किया जाता की जाती
यह/वह किया जाता की जाती
ये/वे किये जाते की जाती

The Habitual Contrafactual Subjunctive

The habitual contrafactual subjunctive forms of the verb करना are listed below.

The Active Habitual Contrafactual Subjunctive

The Active Habitual Contrafactual Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं करता होता करती होती
हम करते होते करती होती
आप करते होते करती होती
तुम करते होते करती होती
तू करता होता करती होती
यह/वह करता होता करती होती
ये/वे करते होते करती होती
The Passive Habitual Contrafactual Forms of करना

The passive habitual contrafactual subjunctive forms of करना are as follows:

The Passive Habitual Contrafactual Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं किया जाता होता की जाती होती
हम किये जाते होते की जाती होती
आप किये जाते होते की जाती होती
तुम किये जाते होते की जाती होती
तू किया जाता होता की जाती होती
यह/वह किया जाता होता की जाती होती
ये/वे किये जाते होते की जाती होती

The Continuous Contrafactual Subjunctive

The continuous contrafactual subjunctive forms are listed below.

The Active Continuous Contrafactual Subjunctive

The active continuous contrafactual subjunctive forms are listed below.

The Active Continuous Contrafactual Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं कर रहा होता कर रही होती
हम कर रहे होते कर रही होती
आप कर रहे होते कर रही होती
तुम कर रहे होते कर रही होती
तू कर रहा होता कर रही होती
यह/वह कर रहा होता कर रही होती
ये/वे कर रहे होते कर रही होती
The Passive Continuous Contrafactual Subjunctive

The passive continuous contrafactual subjunctive forms of the verb करना are listed below.

The Passive Continuous Contrafactual Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं किया जा रहा होता की जा रही होती
हम किये जा रहे होते की जा रही होती
आप किये जा रहे होते की जा रही होती
तुम किये जा रहे होते की जा रही होती
तू किया जा रहा होता की जा रही होती
यह/वह किया जा रहा होता की जा रही होती
ये/वे किये जा रहे होते की जा रही होती

The Perfect Contrafactual Subjunctive

The perfect contrafactual subjunctive forms of the verb करना are listed below.

The Active Perfect Contrafactual Subjunctive

The active perfect subjunctive forms of the verb करना are listed below.

The Active Perfect Contrafactual Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं किया होता की होती
हम किये होते की होती
आप किये होते की होती
तुम किये होते की होती
तू किया होता की होती
यह/वह किया होता की होती
ये/वे किये होते की होती
The Passive Perfect Contrafactual Subjunctive

The passive perfect contrafactual subjunctive forms of the verb करना are listed below.

The Passive Perfect Contrafactual Subjunctive Forms of करना
Pronoun Masculine Feminine
मैं किया गया होता की गयी होती
हम किये होते की गयी होती
आप किये होते की गयी होती
तुम किये होते की गयी होती
तू किया गया होता की गयी होती
यह/वह किया गया होता की गयी होती
ये/वे किये होते की गयी होती

The Master Active Subjunctive Verb Chart

The Master Active Subjunctive Verb Chart
Subjunctive Contrafactual
Pronoun Masculine Feminine Masculine Feminine
Non-Aspectual मैं करूं करूं करता करती
हम करें करें करते करती
आप करें करें करते करती
तुम करो करो करते करती
तू करे करे करता करती
यह/वह करे करे करता करती
ये/वे करें करें करते करती
Aspectual Habitual मैं करता हूं/होऊं करती हूं/होऊं करता होता करती होती
हम करते हों करती हों करते होते करती होती
आप करते हों करती हों करते होते करती होती
तुम करते हो करती हो करते होते करती होती
तू करता हो करती हो करता होता करती होती
यह/वह करता हो करती हो करता होता करती होती
ये/वे करते हों करती हों करते होते करती होती
Continuous मैं कर रहा हूं/होऊं कर रही हूं/होऊं कर रहा होता कर रही होती
हम कर रहे हों कर रही हों कर रहे होते कर रही होती
आप कर रहे हों कर रही हों कर रहे होते कर रही होती
तुम कर रहे हो कर रही हो कर रहे होते कर रही होती
तू कर रहा हो कर रही हो कर रहा होता कर रही होती
यह/वह कर रहा हो कर रही हो कर रहा होता कर रही होती
ये/वे कर रहे हों कर रही हों कर रहे होते कर रही होती
Perfect मैं किया हूं/होऊं की हूं/होऊं किया होता की होती
हम किये हों की हों किये होते की होती
आप किये हों की हों किये होते की होती
तुम किये हो की हो किये होते की होती
तू किया हो की हो किया होता की होती
यह/वह किया हो की हो किया होता की होती
ये/वे किये हों की हों किये होते की होती

The Master Passive Subjunctive Verb Chart

The Master Passive Subjunctive Verb Chart
Subjunctive Contrafactual
Pronoun Masculine Feminine Masculine Feminine
Non-Aspectual मैं किया जाऊं की जाऊं किया जाता की जाती
हम किये जाएं की जाएं किये जाते की जाती
आप किये जाएं की जाएं किये जाते की जाती
तुम किये जाओ की जाओ किये जाते की जाती
तू किया जाए की जाए किया जाता की जाती
यह/वह किया जाए की जाए किया जाता की जाती
ये/वे किये जाएं की जाएं किये जाते की जाती
Aspectual Habitual मैं किया जाता हूं/होऊं की जाती हूं/होऊं किया जाता होता की जाती होती
हम किये जाते हों की जाती हों किये जाते होते की जाती होती
आप किये जाते हों की जाती हों किये जाते होते की जाती होती
तुम किये जाते हो की जाती हो किये जाते होते की जाती होती
तू किया जाता हो की जाती हो किया जाता होता की जाती होती
यह/वह किया जाता हो की जाती हो किया जाता होता की जाती होती
ये/वे किये जाते हों की जाती हों किये जाते होते की जाती होती
Continuous मैं किया जा रहा हूं/होऊं की जा रही हूं/होऊं किया जा रहा होता की जा रही होती
हम किये जा रहे हों की जा रही हों किये जा रहे होते की जा रही होती
आप किये जा रहे हों की जा रही हों किये जा रहे होते की जा रही होती
तुम किये जा रहे हो की जा रही हो किये जा रहे होते की जा रही होती
तू किया जा रहा हो की जा रही हो किया जा रहा होता की जा रही होती
यह/वह किया जा रहा हो की जा रही हो किया जा रहा होता की जा रही होती
ये/वे किये जा रहे हों की जा रही हों किये जा रहे होते की जा रही होती
Perfect मैं किया गया हूं/होऊं की गयी हूं/होऊं किया गया होता की गयी होती
हम किये गए हों की गयी हों किये होते की गयी होती
आप किये गए हों की गयी हों किये होते की गयी होती
तुम किये गए हो की गयी हो किये होते की गयी होती
तू किया गया हो की गयी हो किया गया होता की गयी होती
यह/वह किया गया हो की गयी हो किया गया होता की गयी होती
ये/वे किये गए हों की गयी हों किये होते की गयी होती

Notes About Vowels

A few notes regarding vowels in subjunctive verbs are instructive.

Alternative Spellings

Note also that subjunctive verbs may have alternative spellings because future tense verbs may have alternative spellings. If the final vowel of the verb stem ends in or , a may be infixed between the verb stem and the suffix, as in खायेंगे versus खाएँगे, or पियेंगे versus पिएँगे.

Shortening of Vowels

Also note that if the final vowel of the verb stem end in the long vowels or , then the vowel is shortened to the corresponding short vowel, or respectively. For instance, पीना has the first person subjunctive form पिऊँ, and छूना has the first person subjunctive form छुऊं.

Tense of Subjunctive Verbs

Subjunctive verbs do not specify any particular tense. Their tense is understood from the context.

For instance, in the following example, the verb हो जाए is interpreted to be in the past tense because the verb निश्चय कर लिया in the main clause is in the past tense:

इससे पहले कि बहुत देर हो जाए, मैंने उसे बताने का निश्चय कर लिया – “I decided to tell him before it was too late”

However, in the following sentence, the same verb is understood to be present/future tense:

इससे पहले कि बहुत देर हो जाए, मुझे उसे बताना चाहिए – “I ought to tell him before it is too late”

The Negation of Subjunctive Verbs

Subjunctive verbs are negated with the negative particle . Contrafactual subjunctive verbs are negated with नहीं.

Usage

The subjunctive mood has many usages.

In Clauses

The subjunctive mood is very often used in subordinate clauses, relative clauses, and conditional clauses.

Subordinate Clauses

The subjunctive mood is very often used in subordinate clauses. This is where the name “subjunctive” comes from: the Latin word subjunctivus means “subjoined” – i.e., appended at the end. Subordinate clauses in Hindi are typically appended at the end of a main clause and they are typically introduced by a subordinating conjunction. The most common subordinating conjunctions that are used with the subjunctive mood in Hindi are:

  • कि (“that”)
  • ताकि (“so that”)
  • जैसे (कि) (“as if”)
  • बशर्ते (“provided”)
  • मानो (“as if”)

However, only certain subordinate clauses are appropriate for subjunctive verbs. Some subordinate clauses use the indicative mood, whereas others use the subjunctive mood.

The subjunctive mood is generally only used in subordinate clauses to express an action or state that is somehow unreal, such as a possibility, condition, hypothetical statement, opinion, contingency, analogy, desire, contrafactual statement, duty, or obligation, etc.

Some examples of various kinds of subordinate clauses in which subjunctives are typically used are mentioned below.

Following Main Clauses

Subordinate clauses usually follow main clauses.

मैं नहीं चाहता कि यह घटना इतिहास के पन्नों से मिट जाए – “I do not want this event to be erased from the pages of history”

Subjunctive verbs are often used in subordinate clauses that follow main clauses. Consider several examples:

Indirect commands:

बच्चों से कहो कि सड़क पर न खेलें – “Tell the children not to play on the road”

The subordinating conjunction जैसे (कि) can be used as a subordinating conjunction meaning “as if / as though”:

हमें ऐसा लगा जैसे हमने बहुत दिनों से कुछ न खाया हो – “We felt as if we hadn’t eaten for many days”

It often correlates with the adjective ऐसा, as in the previous example, literally “it seemed to us like this, as if …”. The longer form जैसे कि may also be used.

हमें ऐसा लगा जैसे कि हम परिवार के साथ हों – “We felt as if we were among family”

In Hindi, the subjunctive mood is always used with चाहना in a subordinate clause when the speaker wants something for another person; this idiom can also be used when the person is speaking about oneself too, but it is more common to use an infinitive in that case.

पिता जी चाहते हैं कि मैं घर जाऊं – “Father wants me to go home”
मेरे पिता जी की इच्छा है कि मैं अमेरिका में पढूं – “It is my father’s desire that I study in America”
कितना अच्छा हो कि हम एक साथ भारत जाएं – “It would be so nice if we (could) go to India together”

चाहिये can be used with subordinate clauses as well as with infinitives.

हमें चाहिये कि एक दुसरे की मदद करें – “We ought to help one another”

The adjectives ज़रूरी and आवश्यक (“necessary”) can be used with a subordinate clause to indicate necessity:

बहुत ज़रूरी है कि मैं ठीक से पढ़ लूं – “It is important that I study properly”

The nouns कर्त्तव्य / फ़र्ज़ (“duty”) can be used with a subordinate clause to indicate duty:

आपका कर्त्तव्य / फ़र्ज़ है कि अपने बच्चों की देखभाल करें – “It is your duty to take care of your children”

The adjectives मुमकिन / संभव (“possible”) can be used with a subordinate clause to indicate a possibility:

(यह) मुमकिन / संभव है कि मैं जीत जाऊं – “It is possible that I will win”
यह मुमकिन / संभव नहीं है कि मैं आज अपना काम ख़त्म करूं – “It is not possible that I may finish my work today”

The phrase “हो सकता है” can be used to indicate possibility:

हो सकता है कि हम अमेरिका में मिलें – “It is possible that we may meet in America”

(यह) उचित / मुनासिब है कि – “It is appropriate that …”:

यह उचित है कि आप उससे बात करें – “It is appropriate that you talk with him”

(यह) अच्छा / बेहतर है / होगा कि … “It is better/would be better if …”

अच्छा होगा कि तुम अब अपना काम करो – “It would be better if you do your work now”

In Hindi, जिससे कि / ताकि can be used with a subordinate clause to express purpose.

ठीक से पढ़ लो जिससे कि तुम्हें अच्छी नौकरी मिले – “Study well so that you will get a good job”

With Expletives

If a subordinate clause correlates with an expletive, the subjunctive mood is typically used. An expletive is a word that is used as a grammatical placeholder, and has no meaning by itself. For instance, the sentence “it’s fun to learn Hindi” contains the expletive “it”, which stands for “to learn”. One could say “to learn Hindi is fun”, although this is unnatural. The “it” has a grammatical use, but no meaning of its own. This same phenomenon is common in Hindi.

इससे पहले कि आप सोचें कि वह निर्दोष है मैं आपको याद दिला दूं कि उसने क्या किया है – “Before you think that he’s innocent, let me remind you what he has done”

The expletive इस correlates with the subordinate clause “कि आप सोचें“. In other words, इस is a grammatical placeholder for the subordinate clause. The subjunctive mood was also used in the first person imperative “याद दिला दूं” (“let me remind”).

इससे पहले कि बहुत देर हो जाए, मैंने उसे बताने का निश्चय कर लिया – “I decided to tell him before it was too late”

The expletive इस correlates with the subordinate clause “कि बहुत देर हो जाए” in the last example.

अगले साल का सम्मलेन कहां स्थित हो, इस बारे में उन्होंने अब तक कुछ नहीं कहा है – “They haven’t said anything yet about where next year’s conference will be located”

In the previous example, the subordinate clause came before the expletive इस, and therefore it was not introduced by any subordinating conjunction.

वे वहां से नहीं जाएंगी हम उनसे पूछें उससे पहले – “She won’t go before we ask her”

In the last example, the phrase “before we ask her” contains the subjunctive verb पूछें and the expletive उस.

तुम लोग मुझसे ऐसा व्यवहार करो, मैं यह बर्दाश्त नहीं करूंगा – “I won’t tolerate you treating me this way!”

In the previous example, the subjunctive verb व्यवहार करो was used in the subordinate clause “तुम लोग मुझसे ऐसा व्यवहार करो“. The expletive यह corresponds to the subordinate clause.

As the “Subject” of a Verb

Subjunctive verbs can be used as the “subject” of the verb in the main clause, although it is more common to use an infinitive in such cases.

हालांकि उसने विज्ञान के क्षेत्र में कई उपलब्धियां हासिल कीं, लेकिन इस विषय को लेकर कुछ जानकारी पाए बहुत कठिन साबित हुआ – “Although he made several accomplishments in the field of science, it proved rather difficult to find any information in this regard”

In the previous example, the clause “इस विषय को लेकर कुछ जानकारी पाए” serves the role of the subject of the main verb “(साबित) हुआ“.

Relative Clauses

The subjunctive mood is very commonly used in relative clauses. It is used whenever the relative clause is somehow indefinite, generic, or qualitative, etc; in other words, it is used when the clause describes a kind of thing or a category of things, not a specific thing.

एक पल के लिए हम कल्पना करें कि हम दुनिया की किसी कोने में हों जो बाहरी दुनिया से अलग हो – “Imagine for a moment that we are in some corner of the world that is separated from the outside world”

In the previous example, the relative clause “जो बाहरी दुनिया से अलग हो” uses the subjunctive verb हो because it is describing a kind of place, not a particular place.

जब कुछ ऐसा की करनामा इस क्षेत्र का नाता नहीं रखने वाला कोई व्यक्ति कर दे तो सहज भरोसा करना कठिन है – “When someone accomplishes such a feat who has no relationship with this field of research, then it is difficult to believe”

In the previous example, the subjunctive verb करनामा कर दे was used because it is not referring to a specific event, but a kind of event.

जो लोग अर्थशास्त्र के क्षेत्र में काम करते हों वे शायद इस सम्मलेन में भाग लेना चाहेंगे – “People who work in the field of economics might want to participate in this conference”

In the previous example, the subjunctive verb काम करते हों was used because a kind of people is being discussed, i.e., those people who work in the field of economics.

वह ऐसी बातें बोलती है जिसे लोग सुनकर चौंक जाएं – “She says things that shock people when they hear”

In the previous example, the kind of the statements is being described, so the subjunctive mood was used.

The subjunctive is often used with indefinite relative pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs:

The subjunctive mood is used with जब तक as follows:

Conditional Clauses

The subjunctive mood is often used within conditional sentences. Refer to the article about conditional sentences for more information.

Independent Usages

Interrogative Subjunctive

The subjunctive mood is commonly used to express uncertainty when asking questions. Such questions solicit advice:

मैं क्या करूँ – “What should I do?”
हम बाहर बैठें – “Shall we sit outside?”
कुछ पैसा दूँ – “Should I give some money?”

Imperative Subjunctive

First Person Imperative

The subjunctive mood may be used to make exhortations. The subjunctive will be first person plural in such instances.

अन्दर चलें – “Let’s go inside”

It is perhaps more common in colloquial Hindi to use the imperfect participle + form of होना to make exhortations, however:

जाते हैं – “Let’s go”

This idiom can be used in the first person singular also:

मैं आपको याद दिला दूं कि उसने क्या किया है – “Let me remind you what he has done”

Second Person Imperative

The subjunctive may be used as a very polite imperative. The sense is that the speaker is merely suggesting something rather than commanding it. The subject is always आप, since it is a respectful address.

उनको बताएँ – “Please tell them”

Such imperatives are negated by :

उनको न बताएँ – “Please do not tell them”
अपना नाम यहाँ लिखें – “Please write your name here”

Third Person Imperative

The subjunctive mood can be used as a third person imperative. English has no distinct third person imperative form, although third person imperatives can easily be translated into English using various idioms:

चोट न लग जाए – “Don’t let (someone) get hurt”
बच्चे सडकों पर न खेलें – “Do not let the children play in the streets”

Optative Subjunctive

The subjunctive can be used to express wishes or blessings:

जन्मदिन मुबारक हो – “Happy birthday” – literally, “May your birthday be happy (auspicious)”
खुश रहो – “May you remain happy”
भगवान तुम्हें सफलता दें – “May God grant you success”
आपके दुश्मान मर जाएं – “May your enemies die!”

To Express Nescience

When expressing doubt or nescience, the subjunctive mood is often used to emphasize the uncertainty.

Often idioms involving the subjunctive mood like न जाने “no one knows” or कौन जाने “who knows” will be used.

कौन जाने कल बारिश हो या न हो – “Who knows whether it will rain tomorrow or not”
खुदा जाने – “God only knows”

Permission

The subjunctive mood is used to ask permission:

क्या मैं अंदर आऊं – “May I come inside?”

Disjunctions

The subjunctive mood is used with statements like “whether … or”:

मानो या न मानो – “Believe it or not…”

With शायद

The adverb शायद with the subjunctive mood expresses maximum uncertainty.

शायद वह अपने भाई के घर में हो – “Perhaps he is in his brother’s house”

The subjunctive mood is generally not used to make statements equivalent to “may” or “might” or “maybe” in English. Instead, a future tense indicative verb with शायद is more common, e.g.:

मैं शायद भारत जाऊंगा – I might go to India

With काश

Hindi has an idiom (काश (कि) …) that is similar to the English idioms “if only” and “O that”:

काश कि हम एक साथ हों – “If only we were together!”

This idiom is used with contrafactual verbs too.

With कहीं

(कहीं) ऐसा न हो कि – “May it not be that …”
lest…

With चाहे

Contrafactual Sentences

Contrafactual sentences make statements that are assumed to be false. These sentences use the Hindi contrafactual subjunctive.

The simple contrafactual subjunctive does not use ergative alignment (ने with verbs), whereas the complex contrafactual subjunctive does.

In contrafactual conditional sentences, the conjunctions अगर/यदि typically aren’t used, but it is correct to use them.

Consider the following examples:

I wouldn’t do that If I were you – (अगर) मैं आप की जगह होता तो मैं ऐसा नहीं करता
I wish that this moment could last forever – काश कि यह पल हमेशा के लिए रह सकता
If I had not stayed up so late watching the movie then I wouldn’t be so tired – (अगर) मैं इतने देर तक मूवी देखते हुए नहीं जागता तो मैं इतना नींद में नहीं होता
If I wanted advice, then I would have asked for it – (यदि) मुझे सलाह चाहिए होती तो मैं मांगता
I can’t even imagine what my life would be like if I had never met you – मैं यह कल्पना कर ही नहीं पता कि अगर मैं तुमसे नहीं मिलता तो मेरी ज़िंदगी कैसी होती
If I hadn’t worked so hard, then I wouldn’t have succeeded – (अगर) मैं इतना मेहनत नहीं करता तो मैं सफ़ल नहीं होता
If you had asked me, then I would have said ‘yes’ – (अगर) तुमने मुझे पूछा होता तो मैनेहांबोला होता
What would you do if you didn’t have to work? – (अगर) तुम्हें काम करना नहीं पड़ता तो तुम क्या करते?
I wish that we could spend more time here – काश कि हम यहाँ और समय बिता सकते
I wish that I hadn’t wasted so much time watching t.v. today – काश कि मैने ती.वी. देखने में इतना समय नहीं गवाया होता
I would spend all of my time reading if it were possible – (अगर) संभव होता तो मैं किताबें पढ़ने में अपना सारा समय बिताता
If I had known then what I know now, I would have made a different decision – (यदि) मुझे वो तब पता होता जो मुझे अब पता है तो मैने अलग निश्चय किया होता
Even if I had worked all night long I still would not have been able to finish my work – (अगर) मैने रात भर काम किया होता तो भी मैं अपना काम पूरा नहीं कर पाता
If I were a wealthy man, I wouldn’t have to work hard – (अगर) मैं अमीर आदमी होता तो मुझे मेहनत करने की ज़रूरत नहीं होती
I would have gone to see the movie with you, but I had to study last night – मैं तुम्हारे साथ मूवी देखने जाता, लेकिन मुझे पढ़ना था
I might have gone if I knew you would cook food! – मुझे पता होता कि तुम खाना बनाओगी तो मैं शायद जाता
I would have helped you if I knew you needed help – (अगर) मुझे पता होता कि तुम्हें मदद चाहिए थी तो मैं तुम्हारी मदद करता
If I had money, I would buy another car – (अगर) मेरे पास पैसा होता तो मैं दूसरी गाड़ी खरीदता.
If I were in India, I would go to Kerala – (अगर) मैं भारत में होता तो मैं केरला जाता
I would have studied art, but my grandfather wanted me to study science – मैं कला पढ़ता लेकिन मेरे दादा जी चाहते थे कि मैं विज्ञान पढूं
I wish that I’d started learning Hindi long ago! – काश कि मैं बहुत समय पूर्व से हिन्दी सीखने लगता
I would have played with you all, but my arm was injured – मैं तुम लोगों के साथ खेलता लेकिन मेरे हाथ को/में चोट लगी थी
If you hadn’t studied science, which other subject would you have studied? – (अगर) तुमने विज्ञान नहीं पढ़ा होता तो कौन सा दूसरा विषय पढ़ा होता?
What would have happened if you hadn’t saved me! – (अगर) आप मुझे नहीं बचाते तो क्या होते!
I’d help you if I were able – (अगर) मैं आपकी मदद कर सकता तो मैं आपकी मदद करता
If learning another language were easy, then it wouldn’t be necessary to practice – (अगर) दूसरी भाषा सीखना आसान होता तो हमें अभ्यास करने की कोई ज़रूरत नहीं होती!

The contrafactual subjunctive can be used in subordinate clauses:

विस्तृत प्रतिबंध लगाने से बेहतर होता कि ऐसे अपराधों में लिप्त लोगों की पहचान कर उनके ख़िलाफ़ कार्रवाई की जाती – “It would have been better to have identified the people involved in these crimes and to have taken action against them than to apply an extensive ban”

The Subtlety of the Subjunctive Mood

In Hindi, as in English, the subjunctive mood is often neglected because of its subtleties. Thus, it is common to hear or read the indicative mood where the subjunctive mood is appropriate.

  • Rpb

    I apologise if I am repeating myself, but I think my last post failed because I was not signed in. I noticed, I think, that the example given for the P.Perf.Contrafactual was in fact another example of the P. Cont., using kartaa hotaa again, not kiyaa hotaa. For example it could have been ‘If you had practised on that day – us din men kiyaa hotaa?

    • Yes, indeed, that was a mistake. I will correct it. Thanks for letting me know.

      • Emma Kumudini

        Hello ,
        I am a Hindi teacher in an IB school and would like to know the Hindi word for subjunctives?
        Thank you in advance,
        Emma

        • Hi, Emma! I haven’t read many Hindi grammars written in Hindi, so I’m not familiar with the conventional terminology. However, a quick search in Google reveals that many people refer to a subjunctive verb as “क्रिया का संशयार्थ-सूचक रूप” (i.e. “the verb’s potential form”), or “संभावनार्थक क्रिया” (i.e. “subjunctive verb”). Let me know if you have any further questions.

          • Emma Kumudini

            क्या यह उत्तर मुझे ललित जी से मिला है??

          • मुझे पता नहीं कि ललित जी कौन है. आपको यह उत्तर मुझसे मिला. 🙂

  • Rpb

    Sorry, I meant another example of the Past Habitual, not Past Continuous.

  • Kateryna Kon

    Really great work, thank you so much!
    Could you please also translate the phrase above ‘इससे पहले कि आप सोचें कि वह निर्दोष है मुझे आपको याद दिलाने दो कि उसने क्या किया है.’?

    • Thank you! This sentence is translated “Before you think that he is innocent, let me remind you what he has done”

      • Kateryna Kon

        Oh, thank you! I was confused with मुझे and आपको together. Now I understood!

  • Kateryna Kon

    One more question. In the example ‘मेरा पिता जी की इच्छा है कि मैं अम्रीका में पढ़ती हो ‘ should last word be ‘हूँ/ होऊँ’?

    • Hi, Kateryna! That sentence was wrong. I think something happened with copying and pasting. Anyway, I’ve corrected it to: मेरे पिता जी की इच्छा है कि मैं अमेरिका में पढ़ूँ.

  • Saul

    Hi, an impressive page indeed… Only reading the examples takes some time… Thanks for your hard work. However, I think sometimes you are “too good”. You provide for instance a very detailed classification of subjunctive verbs but it could be summarized in a different way, without resorting to tables and technical words that make it harder for the student to go ahead. Aren’t complex subjunctive verbs just simple verbs with one of them in a subjunctive form? I have checked some grammars (up to three) and they don’t differentiate between factual and contrafactual verbs. They don’t provide so many examples and details as you do (they then are worse or inferior than you in that sense) but their simpler approach makes it easier to learn what’s subjunctive in Hindi.

    Anyway, thanks again for your work

    • Thanks, Saul. As you noted, the abundance of examples is an advantage. Of course, any presentation of Hindi grammar could be organized in more than one way. Although I’ve experimented with some other formats, my site is primarily a grammar reference. I think that tables, examples, and terminology are appropriate for a reference. I don’t encourage people to learn Hindi by studying it intensively; I’ve written a brief blog post about learning Hindi at http://hindilanguage.info/posts/english-blog/how-to-learn-hindi/ People with analytical minds might learn Hindi from this site, whereas others might simply ask a question, or search for a particular verb form, or try to clarify something that they heard, etc. I don’t expect people to read every article from start to finish like a tutorial. Thank you for your comment, and for the compliments.

      • Saul

        well, I have read the mistakes section of your “how to learn hindi” and I don’t need to add anything to that. (by the way, the jagram.com link is dead)You use the right approach to learn a foreign language. Finding the right ratio of grammar rules and input/output takes some trial and error time and each student has its own one. It is inevitable to make mistakes while you find it.

        That analysis of subjunctive is made for grammarians, not for students of Hindi. Maybe it is a good idea to mention this for the non-analyitical reader before he starts to read and gets enmeshed in that net. You usually have a more hands-on approach in your posts and that sudden jump into the abyss of the language may confound your readers.

        There will be exceptions because every case is different but I guess Hindi learners in Western countries are well-educated sophisticated readers who don’t have any complaint when they read the grammar lingo of your posts. However, its presence indicate who writes for the sake of the language and who writes for the sake of the student. Thanks to those terms you can describe the language in a much more precise way but the students usually don’t need a perfect blade to cut through that jungle, a humble knife is much better (and faster)

        • An article in a grammar reference and didactic material are two separate things with distinct purposes. I’ve experimented with other formats too, such as the “lessons”: http://hindilanguage.info/lessons/ However, it takes a lot of time to prepare content on this site, and very few people expressed any interest in the lessons, so I have only prepared a few lessons. Why should I conflate the two kinds of articles? I encourage you to try to write an article as detailed as this article or as detailed as the lessons; you might gain an appreciation of how difficult it is.

          • Saul

            OK, little by little I know better what you are doing in this web. Actually I know first hand how difficult it is to write articles for a book or a web, we will not fight about that.

            Kind of funny?curious?… that, after accumulating so much stuff here you say that “you’ll never learn Hindi by using this website”. I agree with what you are trying to say but at the same time I think that what it implies is false: you can indeed learn Hindi by using this website. The fact that you will not become bilingual here or something like that doesn’t mean that you are not going to learn. Most of your readers probably don’t have such a high aim and they are in fact more than happy with what you have done so far.

            You have then three groups of Hindi “pills” (let me put it that way): grammar, lessons and notes, each one with different purposes, ranges… The tutorials and Q&A of the “more” section have also good stuff to read. It seems that people need usage instructions before jumping into all the
            information you have gathered or they will probably miss something but I think I don’t need to tell you need to rearrange everything because you are already aware of it. Besides, you are doing all this for free and doing that would take dozens of hours so, I repeat again, I won’t say that.

            Your web works fine but there are visual communication mistakes everywhere. Correcting them would be again a huge task and asking for it would be unpolite, to say the least, when you are working for free. This site is basically an extension of yourself, it is the Hindi language arm of David Templin. Pruning and cutting it in order to serve only Hindi, without filtering it through your own way of doing things will leave you out of the picture and when you are so much personally involved in doing all this, that won’t be easily accepted. That’s fine, no problem about that but, would you do it if I try?. I mean, can I create a web, using what you already have here (mentioning only your name, of course. It will always be clear that only you are the author) getting rid of usage instructions, trying not to be grammarian, teacher of Hindi… at the same time and focusing only in displaying the information in the most accessible way, changing the Hindi à la David Templin you serve now for just Hindi? It may not be possible in the end because it may be more difficult than I think and I don’t have too much time either but the challenge would be great.

            (if you are interested maybe it is better to speak about it in private. The ry… email address is not my real one, just a surfing-internet one but it works and I regularly check it)

          • I appreciate your interest in my site. However, I am not interested in collaborating on another website. I agree that this website could be improved, and I thank you for your suggestions. Please be honest with me: are you the same person who e-mailed me using the name “Rafael Díaz Sánchez”? Disqus indicates that your message originated from a location near Madrid, Spain, and he also wrote from Spain. Also, your writing style is very similar. If you are not the same person, I apologize.

  • Matthew Chang

    I’ve not seen any usages of a complex counterfactual subjunctive with a habitual aspect like करता होता. Is it possible to say
    अगर मैं रोज़ हिन्दी सीखता होता, तो मेरी हिन्दी अब तक सुधरी होती (If I had studied Hindi every day, then by now my hindi would have improved).

    • Yes, the habitual contrafactual subjunctive is rare. Your sentence is a good example.

  • Divija Sampathi

    You have given such a beautiful notes…just awesome…thnq so much

    • Thanks, Divija! I’m glad that you like these notes. Please let me know if you ever have any questions.