Remember what our language teachers said? What tenses are the foundation upon which a language rests? There are rules for how to use them depending on the time being referred to and who or what are the subjects (nouns) in the sentence. Like English, Hindi grammar also uses tenses for Present, Past, and Future, which are further subdivided. Knowledge about the tenses helps in better expression of thoughts and prevents many faux pas.
The tenses in Hindi are referred to as follows:
- Present tense — वर्तमान काल
- Past Tense —-भूत काल
- Future tense — भविष्य काल
Using these tenses can be a bit daunting if you are unfamiliar with the rules governing them. Worry not! We have designed the tenses rules with examples in a manner that will do away with your woes of using them and make you even realize how easy they can be!
Tips to remember:
- In Hindi, the verb gets conjugated depending on whether the subject is masculine or feminine. There is no ‘it’ in Hindi. Every noun is assigned a gender. The masculine can be recognized when the verb ends with aa like:
वह जाता है ( He goes)
वह सोता है ( He sleeps)
वह खेलता है ( He plays)
Feminine verbs usually end with an ee like:
वह जाती है ( She goes)
वह सोती है ( She sleeps)
वह खेलती है ( She plays)
- For plurals, verbs get conjugated with ending like “e”
वे जाते हैं ( They go)
वो सोते हैं ( They sleep)
हम खेलते हैं (We play)
- The second pronoun changes according to the person, unlike in English, where the second pronoun is always ‘you’. In Hindi, it is tū or tum for those who you are familiar with and are younger than you. “Āp” is used in formal settings and if the person is older than you.
- The “to be” form of verb in Hindi also changes as an auxiliary verb. It changes its form depending on the tense it is being used for.
Eg: in present tense it is “hun” “ho” and “ hain”which changes to “tha” , “thi” or “thay” in past tense.
Each of the tenses below are explained in their Simple and Continuous or Progressive forms.
Simple Present Tense:
This is used for general truths, opinions or actions that happen regularly. In Hindi, to conjugate any verb in the present simple, you will use the auxiliary verb “to be” which is “hun”. The stem verb will get conjugated depending on the subject.
It would be “jaata” ,“ jaati” “jaate”, “hota” ,“hoti”, “ hote” etc.
I play मैं खेलता हूँ / मैं खेलती हूँ
You play तुम खेलते हो / आप खेलते हैं
He / She play वह खेलता है / वह खेलती है
We play हम खेलते हैं
They play वे खेलते हैं
Present Continuous / Progressive Tense:
It is used to to describe events that are happening currently or to talk about future plans. The verb “ raha” ( masculine), “rahe” ( masculine plural) , “rahi” ( singular and plural feminine) accompanies the stem verb in this tense. The stem verb remains the same.
I am playing मैं खेल रहा हूँ / मैं खेल रही हूँ
You are playing तुम खेल रहे हो/आप खेल रहे हैं
He/ She is playing वह खेल रहा है / वह खेल रही है
We are playing हम खेल रहे हैं
They are playing वे खेल रहे हैं
Simple Past Tense
This form of tense is used to speak about events or actions that were completed. The ‘to be’ form of the verb in Hindi changes its form to ‘tha’ ( masculine), ‘thi’ ( singular and plural feminine), ‘thay’ ( plural masculine)
I played मैं खेला था/ मैं खेली थी
You played तुम खेले थे / आपने खेला था
He/ She played वह खेला था / वह खेली थी
We played हम खेले थे
They played वे खेले थे
Past Continuous / Progressive Tense
This form of tense is used to talk about an action which started in the past and continued for some time before ending. In Hindi the auxiliary verb changes to past. In this case, “raha tha” (masculine), “rahi thi” ( singular and plural feminine) and “rahe thay” ( masculine plural)
I was playing मैं खेल रहा था
You were playing तुम खेल रहे थे / आप खेल रहे थे
He/ She was playing वह खेल रहा था / वह खेल रही थी
We were playing हम खेल रहे थे
They were playing वो खेल रहे थे
Simple Future Tense
We use this tense to mention events that haven’t occurred yet but will happen some time in the future. In Hindi this tense is unique as you don’t need an auxiliary verb to denote it. The following conjugation of the verb will explain :
I will play मैं खेलूंगा
You will play तुम खेलोगे /आप खेलेंगे
He / She will play वह खेलेगा/ वह खेलेगी
We will play हम खेलेंगे
They will play वे खेलेंगे
Future Continuous/ Progressive Tense
This tense is used while talking about an action or event that will take place in the future and go on for a while. The auxiliary verb steps in and changes to “raha hunga”
( masculine), “rahi hungen” (singular and plural feminine) and “rahe hongen”
( masculine plural)
I will be playing मैं खेल रहा हूँगा / मैं खेल रही हूँगी
You will be playing तुम खेल रहे होंगे / आप खेल रहे होंगे
He/ She will be playing वह खेल रहा होगा /वह खेल रही होगी
We will be playing हम खेल रहे होंगे
They will be playing वे खेल रहे होंगे
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