December 27, 2012

Expressing Inability with बनना

The verb बनना means “to be made” / “to become”, etc. It is a common verb: आज मैं मौसी बन गयी – “Today I became an aunt”.

This verb has several idiomatic uses too. One idiomatic use is to express inability:

मुझसे इतना स्वादिष्ट खाना कभी बनाए नहीं बनेगा – “I’ll never be able to make such delicious food”

उससे एक शब्द भी बोलते नहीं बनता – “He isn’t able to speak even a single word”

Here are a few notes about this idiom:

  1. It can be used to express ability, but it is almost always used to express inability (i.e., it’s used with a negative particle, such as नहीं)
  2. It’s basic form is X से Y [invariable oblique singular masculine participle] [form of बनना]
  3. This idiom can be used with either an imperfective participle or a perfect participle. The perfect participle is perhaps more common.
  4. This idiom is somewhat rare.