A Door Into Hindi: Lesson 15

Hindi Lessons MenuContactHomeTSAC logo



ने construction

Afroz Taj on the Ne construction
Susham Bedi on the Ne construction

In Hindi, all transitive verbs in the perfect form (simple past, present perfect, and past perfect tenses) require a special construction called the ने construction.

In this construction:
  • the postposition ने must come right after the subject
  • the subject changes into oblique
  • the perfect form of the verb now agrees with the direct object in number and gender, with the following exception:
  • if the object is not stated, or if the object is followed by को then the perfect form of the verb should be in masculine singular form
  • the auxiliary verb (if any) also agrees with the object, not the subject
  • Remember: if the verb is intransitive, then you do not use the ने construction.

What are transitive and instransitive verbs?

Transitive verbs are verbs which normally have a direct object. Some transitive verbs you know are: खाना (to eat), चलाना (to drive), ख़रीदना (to buy), etc.

Intransitive verbs, on the other hand, never have a direct object. These include जाना (to go), आना (to come), होना (to be), etc.

Example with a transitive verb:

लड़के ने ख़रीदा । = The boy bought.

लड़के ने क्या ख़रीदा ? = The boy bought what?

लड़के ने कार ख़रीदी । = The boy bought a car.

The verb ख़रीदना (to buy) is transitive since it normally has a direct object, in this example कार (car). The postposition ने changes लड़का into लड़के. Note that ने blocks the agreement between the subject and the verb.  The verb must now agree with the direct object कार. Since कार is feminine singular, ख़रीदा becomes ख़रीदी.

The easiest way to figure out whether a verb is transitive or intransitive is to as the question "what" in relation to the verb's object. If the question "what" makes sense with the verb, then the verb is intransitive. If "what" doesn't make any sense after the verb then the verb is probably intransitive. Examples:

IntransitiveTransitive (ask "What?")

Remember: if the verb is transitive but the direct object isn't stated, then the verb stays in third person masculine singular. For Example:

लड़कियों ने खाया है ।

The girls have eaten.

लड़कियों ने संतरे खाये हैं ।

The girls have eaten the oranges.

If the direct object is followed by the postposition को (which it must be if the direct object is animate), then the agreement relationship between the object and the verb is also broken. Since the verb now has nothing to agree with, it remains "unagreed," i.e. in third person masculine singular form.

Compare the following sentences:

A. उसने फ़िल्में देखी थीं ।

B. उसने फ़िल्मों को देखा था ।

In sentence A there is no को after the direct object and thus the verb agrees with the direct object. In sentence B there is a को after the direct object and thus the verb stays third person masculine singular.

Let's review:

  • Transitive verbs are verbs which have a direct object.
  • In the simple past tense, present perfect tense, and past perfect tense, the subject must be followed by ने.
  • ने blocks the relation between the subject and the verb. When the ने construction is used, both the perfect form of the verb and the auxiliary verb agree with the direct object (if possible).
  • ने changes the subject into the oblique case (see table of special pronoun forms below).
  • ने is never used with any of the imperfect, habitual, progressive, future, or subjunctive tenses.
  • Intransitive verbs don't have direct objects and therefore do not need the ने construction.

ने joins with pronouns to form a single word (e.g. उसने, हमने). Most pronouns form their normal obliques when followed by ने but there are some exceptions. Refer to the table below:



1st person



2nd person (familiar)



2nd person (polite)



3rd person (far)



3rd person (near)



3rd person (unknown)



3rd person (question)



See Snell's Teach Yourself Hindi (2000)