February 20, 2013

Inverted Postpositions

Certain compound postpositions that are formed with के or की can be inverted.

Such postpositions thus have two forms:

[object] के / की X


X [object] के

Here is a list of commonly inverted postpositions with example phrases:

के बिनाबिना पानी के – “Without water” (NOTE: this form is often used with a perfect participle.)

के सिवायसिवाय अंजलि के – “Except for Anjali”

के सिवा: सिवा अंजलि के – “Except for Anjali”

के अलावा: अलावा संगीत के – “In addition to music”

के / की बजाय: बजाय पानी के – “Instead of water” (NOTE: when inverted, this postposition is used with के)

  • Andrei Khramtsov

    Oh lord. Thank you for this post.

    Is a reason, other than aesthetics, to use this construct? Is inversion more poetic? (like “you I love” instead of “I love you” in English). Also can’t this lead to confusion with possessive के?

    • You’re welcome! As far as I know, it’s just a minor variation of style. The inversion is pretty common in spoken Hindi. This could certainly confuse someone who is learning, but generally the syntax will be clear from the context. When we encounter बिना, for instance, we expect the के. There’s almost a kind of cadence to the sentence.

      • Andrei Khramtsov

        Gotcha, thanks!