Hindi/Pronouns

< Hindi

In Hindi, the pronouns are inflected depending on the number and case. The pronouns in Hindi can be declined into 9 cases. The direct case or the nominative case, the oblique case, the dative case, the genitive case, the ablative case, the instrumental case, the locative case, the ergative case and the vocative case. Out of these 9 cases, the direct case and the vocative case can be formed independently from the other cases but (some forms of) all the other cases are formed by adding certain postpositions (used as suffixes) to the oblique case pronouns. For some cases like the genitive case and the locative case, there are more than one postpositions (or suffixes) that are used but with different meanings.


1) Direct Case

Person Singular Plural
1st Person मैं (I) हम (We)
2nd Person (intimate) तू (You) -
2nd Person (familiar) तुम (You) तुम (You)
2nd Person (honorary) आप (You) आप (You)
3rd Person Proximal Formal (familiar) यह (This/He/She/It) ये (These/He/She/It)
3rd Person Proximal Formal (honorary) ये (He/She) ये (He/She)
3rd Person Distal Formal (familiar) वह (That/He/She/It) वे (Those/He/She/It)
3rd Person Distal Formal (honorary) वे (He/She) वे (He/She)
3rd Person Proximal Colloquial (familiar & honorary) ये (This/He/She/It) ये (They/These)
3rd Person Distal Colloquial (familiar & honorary) वो (That/He/She/It) वो (They/These)

Remark – Although literary Hindi differentiates between the singular and plural 3rd person pronouns (i.e. Formal Proximal and Distal), colloquially when Hindi is spoken यह and ये, वह and वे are rarely used. The pronouns यह and ये have merged to form the pronoun ये and the pronouns वह and वे have merged to form the pronoun वो. The colloquial proximal and distal pronouns ये and वो could be used as both singular and plural 3rd person pronouns. To make it obvious whether ये or वो are being used in their plural sense, often the words सब (all) or लोग (people) are added after it. You will hear Formal Proximal and Formal Distal pronouns predominantly yet limited to television news, newspapers, official documents, official announcements, literature etc but rarely while listening to daily conversations.

Examples:

  • मैं खेलता हूँ। = I play.
  • आप लिखते हैं। = You write.
  • रमेश सुनता है। = Ramesh listens.
  • वो नाचती है। = She dances.
  • ये सब क्या है? = What is all this?
  • ये सब क्या हैं? = What are all these?


2) Oblique Case

The oblique case (aka marked case) is a general-purpose case which is used to form other grammatical cases except for the direct and vocative cases by adding to them postpositions as suffixes. If you would check the following oblique cases pronouns and then look at the pronouns which are already discussed below, you would notice they how just by added postpositions as suffixes to the oblique cases all the cases (except the direct and vocative cases) are formed.

Person Singular Plural
1st Person मुझे / मेरे हम / हमारे / हमों
2nd Person (intimate) तुझ / तेरे -
2nd Person (familiar) तुम / तुम्हारे तुम / तुम्हारे
2nd Person (honorary) आप आप / आपों
3rd Person Proximal (familiar) इस इन / इन्हों
3rd Person Proximal (honorary) इन / इन्हों इन / इन्हों
3rd Person Distal (familiar) उस उन / उन्हों
3rd Person Distal (honorary) उन / उन्हों उन / इन्हों

Remark –

  • The use of the oblique cases इन्हों and उन्हों rare except to form the ergative case pronouns. However, you could hear them being used commonly depending on the particular region where Hindi is spoken.
  • The lesser-used oblique cases are the ones on the right side of the slash (/). So, हमों, तुम्हारे, आपों, इन्हों, उन्हों are less commonly used and are predominantly used only in certain regions where Hindi is spoken.


3) Dative case

The dative case is generally used to indicate the noun/pronoun to whom something is given. For example, in "John gave Mary a book". The thing being given may be a tangible object, such as "a book" or "a pen", or it may be an intangible abstraction, such as "an answer" or "help". The dative generally marks the indirect object of a verb.

"He built a snowman for me" can also be rendered as "He built [for] me a snowman". In this example, the generic objective pronoun "me" functions as a dative pronoun.

Person Singular Plural
1st Person मुझे / मुझको / मेरेको हमें / हमको / हमारेको
2nd Person (intimate) तुझे / तुझको -
2nd Person (familiar) तुम्हें / तुमको / तुम्हारेको तुम्हें / तुमको / तुम्हारेको
2nd Person (honorary) आपको आपको
3rd Person Proximal (familiar) इसे / इसको इन्हें / इनको / इन्होंको
3rd Person Proximal (honorary) इन्हें / इनको / इन्होंको इन्हें / इनको / इन्होंको
3rd Person Distal (familiar) उसे / उसको उन्हें / उनको / उन्होंको
3rd Person Distal (honorary) उन्हें / उनको / उन्होंको उन्हें / उनको / उन्होंको

Examples:

  • मुझे एक कलम चाहिए। = I need/want a pen.
  • उसे एक खत मिला। = He got/found a letter.
  • इन्हें पानी दो। = Give them water.


4) Genitive Case

The genitive cases show possession. In Hindi, the pronouns and nouns in the genitive case agree with the number and gender of the direct object of the sentence.

Person Singular (masculine) Singular (feminine) Plural (masculine) Plural (feminine)
1st Person Singular मेरा मेरी मेरे मेरी / मेरीं
1st Person Plural हमारा हमारी हमारे हमारी / हमारीं
2nd Person Singular (intimate) तेरा तेरी तेरे तेरी / तरीं
2nd Person Singular and Plural (familar) तुम्हारा तुम्हारी तुम्हारे तुम्हारी / तुम्हारीं
2nd Person Singular and Plural (honorary) आपका आपकी आपके आपकी / आपकीं
3rd Person Proximal (familiar/intimate) इसका इसकी इसके इसकी / इसकीं
3rd Person Distal (familiar/intimate) उसका उसकी उसके उसकी / उसकीं
3rd Person Proximal (honorary/plural) इनका इनकी इनके इनकी / इनकीं
3rd Person Distal (honorary/plural) उनका उनकी उनके उनकी / उनकीं

Note - Although the nasalised feminine plural forms of the genitive case pronouns exist, these are rarely used colloquially and even less frequently in literally works. However, the nasalised plural forms are commonly used (but much less frequently than their non-nasal counterparts) when conjugating verbs according to gender and grammatical person and making the adjectives agree to the gender and number of the direct object of a sentence.

Examples:

  • ये किताबें मेरी हैं। = These books are mine.
  • मेरी किताबें पुरानीं हैं। = My books are old.
  • तुम्हारा घर बड़ा है। = Your house is big.
  • उसके पेड़ हरे हैं। = His trees are green.


5) Ablative Case

Ablative pronoun/nouns, in general, represent a motion away from something as "ablative" is derived from the Latin ablatus, the (irregular) perfect passive participle of auferre "to carry away". A rough translation for the ablative case would be "from pronoun"

Person Singular Plural
1st Person मुझसे / मेरेसे हमसे / हमोंसे
2nd Person (intimate) तुझसे / तेरेसे -
2nd Person (familiar) तुमसे / तुम्हारेसे तुमसे / तुम्हारेसे
2nd Person (honorary) आपसे आपसे / आपोंसे
3rd Person Proximal (familiar) इससे इनसे / इन्होंसे
3rd Person Proximal (honorary) इनसे / इन्होंसे इनसे / इन्होंसे
3rd Person Distal (familiar) उससे उनसे / उन्होंसे
3rd Person Distal (honorary) उनसे / उन्होंसे उनसे / उन्होंसे

Examples:

  • मुझसे गलती हो गई। - I made a mistake. (lit: A mistake was committed by me)
  • मेरा तुमसे भरोसा उठ गया। - I lost my faith in you. (lit. My trust from you is "stood up") [Note: The compound verb उठ जाना (lit. to get/rise up and go) is often used to show loss of trust/faith in something.]
  • आपसे यही उम्मीद थी। - This was expected from you.


6) Instrumental Case

Instrumental case pronoun/nouns are used to form comparatives and can also show that some action is done by/using somebody/something.

Person Singular Plural
1st Person मुझसे / मेरेसे हमसे / हमोंसे
2nd Person (intimate) तुझसे / तेरेसे -
2nd Person (familiar) तुमसे / तुम्हारेसे तुमसे / तुम्हारेसे
2nd Person (honorary) आपसे आपसे / आपोंसे
3rd Person Proximal (familiar) इससे इनसे / इन्होंसे
3rd Person Proximal (honorary) इनसे / इन्होंसे इनसे / इन्होंसे
3rd Person Distal (familiar) उससे उनसे / उन्होंसे
3rd Person Distal (honorary) उनसे / उन्होंसे उनसे / उन्होंसे

Examples:

  • माचिस से जलाइये। = Burn [it] with/using a matchstick.
  • वो अच्छे से कर रहा है। = He is doing it in a good manner. [lit. He is doing it "using" (or "with") a good manner.]
  • उसे नेहा से करवाऊँगा। = I'll make Neha do it. [lit. I'll do it using Neha.] (Note: Don't confuse उसे being in the Instrumental or Ablative case. It is instead the oblique case of the 3rd Person Proximal Pronoun.)

Note: The postposition for the ablative case and the instrumental case is the same (से).


7) Locative Case

The locative case indicates a location. It corresponds roughly to the English prepositions "in", "on", and "at" combined with nouns/pronouns.

The postposition पर (which is often shortened to पे ) when used as a suffix with the pronouns to form the locative case, it roughly means "on pronoun" or "at pronoun"

Person Singular Plural
1st Person मुझपर / मुझपे / मेरेपर / मेरेपे हमपर / हमपे / हमारेपर / हमारेपे
2nd (intimate) तुझपर / तुझपे / तेरेपर / तेरेपे -
2nd (familiar) तुमपर / तुमपे / तुम्हारेपर / तुम्हारेपे तुमपर / तुमपे / तुम्हारेपर / तुम्हारेपे
2nd (honorary) आपपर / आपपे आपपर / आपपे
3rd Proximal (familiar) इसपर / इसपे इनपर / इनपे / इन्होंपर / इन्होंपे
3rd Proximal (honorary) इनपर / इनपे इनपर / इनपे / इन्होंपर / इन्होंपे
3rd Distal (familiar) उसपर / उसपे उनपर / उनपे / उन्होंपर / उन्होंपे
3rd Distal (honorary) उनपर / उनपे / उन्होंपर / उन्होंपे उनपर / उनपे / उन्होंपर / उन्होंपे

Examples:

  • मुझपे भरोसा करो। = Have faith in me. [lit. Have faith "on" me.]
  • वो तुमपर दया करे। = May he have pity on you.
  • सारी उम्मीदें उसपर टिकीं हैं। = All hopes rest on her.
  • तुमपे पैसे हैं? (slang) = Do you have money? (lit. Do you have money on you?) [Note: This is not the standard way Hindi shows possession. The standard way would be: तुम्हारे पास पैसे हैं?]

The postposition में when used as a suffix with the pronouns to form the locative case it roughly means "in pronoun" or "within pronoun"

Person Singular Plural
1st मुझमें हममें / हमारेमें
2nd (intimate) तुझमें / तेरेमें -
2nd (familiar) तुममें / तुम्हारेमें तुममें / तुम्हारेमें
2nd (honorary) आपमें आपमें / आपोंमें
3rd Proximal (familiar) इसमें इनमें / इन्होंमें
3rd Proximal (honorary) इनमें / इन्होंमें इनमें / इन्होंमें
3rd Distal (familiar) उसमें उनमें / उन्होंमें
3rd Distal (honorary) उनमें / उन्होंमें उनमें / उन्होंमें

Examples:

  • तुममें कुछ बात तो है। = You have something (special) in you.
  • उसमें कुछ रखा है। = There is something kept inside that.
  • बक्से में किताबें हैं। = There are books in the box.


8) Ergative Case

The ergative case marks the subject of a sentence. The ergative case is marked on agents in the preterite and perfect tenses for transitive, while in other situations agents appear in the nominative case.

Person Singular Plural
1st Person मैंने हमने
2nd Person (intimate) तूने -
2nd Person (familiar) तुमने तुमने
2nd Person (honorary) आपने आपने
3rd Person Proximal (familiar) इसने इन्होंने / इनने
3rd Person Proximal (honorary) इन्होंने / इनने इन्होंने / इनने
3rd Person Distal (familiar) उसने उन्होंने / उनने
3rd Person Distal (honorary) उन्होंने / उनने उन्होंने / उनने

Examples:

  • मैंने सब देख लिया। = I saw everything.
  • मैंने सब देख लिया है। = I have seen everything.
  • क्या तूने काम किया? = Did you do the job?
  • इसे नेहा ने खाया था। = Neha ate that. [Note: Changing the word order often emphasises certain parts of the sentence. See the next example.]
  • इसे खाया था नेहा ने। = Neha [was the one who] ate that.
  • तुम सब ने देखा वो? = Did you (all) saw that?

Remark – Often the word 'लोग' or 'सब' which means 'people' and 'all' (respectively) are added to plural pronouns for emphasizing and/or indicating the plurality. Such as वे लोग खाते हैं।, हम लोग खेलते हैं।, तुम सब गाते हो। and so on.


The ergative case is an optional case and all the sentence which can be said using the ergative case could also be equivalently said without it. In the northern and western dialects of Hindi, the ergative case is used by default and around the eastern regions where Hindi is spoken natively the ergative case is either optional or not used at all. The table below shows how equivalent non-ergative sentences could be formed from the ergative sentences.


Grammatical Person with Ergative Case without Ergative Case (masc. subject) without Ergative Case (fem. subject) Translation
1st Person Singular मैंने नाश्ता कर लिया है। मैं नाश्ता कर लिया हूँ। मैं नाश्ता कर ली हूँ। I have eaten breakfast.
1st Person Plural हमने नाश्ता कर लिया है। हम नाश्ता कर लिये हैं। हम नाश्ता कर लीं हैं। We have eaten breakfast.
2nd Person Singular (intimate) तूने ट्रेन को देखा था? तू ट्रेन को देखा था? तू ट्रेन को देखी थी? Did you see the train?
2nd Person Singular (familiar) तुमने काम किया होगा? तुम काम किये होगे? तुम काम की होगी? You must have worked?
2nd Person Plural (familiar) तुम लोगों ने किया होगा? तुम लोग किये होगे? तुम लोग की होगी? You (people) must have done [it]?
2nd Person Singular (honorary) आपने वो देखा है? आप वो देखे हैं? आप वो देखीं हैं? Have you seen that?
2nd Person Plural (honorary) आप सब ने वो देखा है? आप सब वो देखे हैं? आप सब वो देखीं हैं? Have you (all) seen that?
3rd Person Proximal Singular Formal (familiar) इसने अच्छा किया हो। यह अच्छा किया हो। यह अच्छा की हो। (I hope) He/She did well.
3rd Person Proximal Plural Formal (familiar) इन सब ने अच्छा किया हो। ये सब अच्छा किये हों। ये सब अच्छा कीं हों। (I hope) They did well.
3rd Person Proximal Singular Formal (honorary) इन्होंने पढ़ाई की। ये पढ़ाई किये। ये पढ़ाई कीं। He/She studied.
3rd Person Proximal Plural Formal (honorary) इन्होंने पढ़ाई की। ये पढ़ाई किये। ये पढ़ाई कीं। They studied.
3rd Person Distal Singular Formal (familiar) उसने चिल्लाया था। वह चिल्लाया था। वह चिल्लायी थी। He/She shouted.
3rd Person Distal Plural Formal (familiar) उन्होंने चिल्लाया था। वह चिल्लाया था। वह चिल्लायी थी। They shouted.
3rd Person Distal Singular Formal (honorary) उनहोंने तमाशा किया था। वे तमाशा किये थे। वे तमाशा कीं थीं। He/She made a scene.
3rd Person Distal Plural Formal (honorary) उन सब ने तमाशा किया था। वे सब तमाशा किये थे। वे सब तमाशा कीं थीं। They made a scene.
3rd Person Proximal Singular Colloquial (familiar & honorary) इसने कल लिया था। ये कल लिया था। ये कल ली थी। He/She took [it] yesterday.
3rd Person Proximal Plural Colloquial (familiar & honorary) इन लोगों ने कल लिया था। ये लोग कल लिये थे। ये लोग कल लीं थीं। They took [it] yesterday.
3rd Person Distal Singular Colloquial (familiar & honorary) उसने कल पी लिया। वो कल पी लिया। वो कल पी ली। He/She drank it yesterday.
3rd Person Distal Plural Colloquial (familiar & honorary) उनने कल पी लिया। वो सब कल पी लिये। वो सब कल पीं लीं। They drank it yesterday.


Note: When the ergative case is not used, the verb agrees with the number and the gender of the subject in the sentence but when the ergative case is used, the verb, agrees in gender and number of the object of the sentence instead of the subject of the sentence.


9) Vocative Case

The vocative case is used for addressing someone, with or without a preposition. The pronouns in their vocative case are the same as the direct case pronouns but they can take prepositions to distinguish themselves from the direct case. There are many such vocative prepositions which are commonly used such as अरे! अबे! ओए! ओई! उफ़! ओहो!. Note that these are used under different contexts. For example, उफ़! and ओहो! shows disappointment or anger, ओए! is used to call somebody out, अरे! is used to show sudden realisation about something or also to call somebody out, अबे! (often considered rude) is the more intimate version of अरे! etc. The table uses अरे! as the default preposition to show the vocative case pronouns.

Person Singular Plural
1st अरे मैं! अरे हम!
2nd (intimate) अरे तू! -
2nd (familiar) अरे तुम! अरे तुम!
2nd (honorary) अरे आप! अरे आप!
3rd Proximal Formal (familiar) अरे यह! अरे ये!
3rd Proximal Formal (honorary) अरे ये! अरे ये!
3rd Distal Formal (familiar) अरे वह! अरे वे!
3rd Distal Formal (honorary) अरे वे! अरे वे!
3rd Proximal Colloquial (familiar & honorary) अरे ये! अरे ये!
3rd Distal Colloquial (familiar & honorary) अरे वो! अरे वो!

Examples:

  • अरे! सुनो मेरी बात। = Hey you! Listen to what I say.
  • ओहो ऐसा मत किया करो। = Please don't do [something] like this.

Note: The vocative prepositions are often cannot be translated into English.