A Door Into Hindi: Lesson 18

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Past Subjunctive / Past Conditional

You know how to use the normal subjunctive (optative) to talk about future events that are uncertain, desired, or conditional. Hindi also has a past subjunctive tense which allows us to talk about past events that are conditional (“if I had gone…”), counterfactual (“I would have gone”), hypothetical (“I would go”), or regretted (“if only I had gone”).

The past subjunctive is simply the imperfect form of the verb with no auxiliary verb:

अगर वह वहाँ जाती तो वह मुझसे मिलती।

If she had gone there, she would have met me.

मैं आपके साथ फ़िल्म ज़रूर देखता लेकिन

I would certainly have seen the film with you but…

The word काश may be used to introduce a past subjunctive sentence expressing regret or a wish that something were otherwise:

काश मेरे पास बहुत पैसा होता।

I wish I had a lot of money.

काश ये मर्द लोग हमारी बात सुनते।

I wish these men-folk listened to what we say.

काश तुम समझतीं।

I wish you understood.

Note: with a feminine plural subject (e.g. the third example above), when there is no auxiliary verb to indicate the plural, the “dot” should be transferred to the main verb.