7.7 Grammar: The present and past habitual tense

The Present and Past Habitual Tense Video

Instructor Video: The Present and Past Habitual Tense

Structure

Verb stem Habitual aspect marker Present tense Past tense
खा, जा -ता/-ते/-ती  हूँ, हो, है, हैं  था, थे, थी, थीं 
Example:
  • मैं आम खाता हूँ | “I eat mangoes.”
  • वह आठ बजे स्कूल जाता है | “He wakes up at 8 o’clock.”
  • मैं आम खाता था | “I used to eat mangoes.”
  • वह आठ बजे स्कूल जाता था | “He used to wake up at 8 o’clock.”

Use of Habitual Aspect Marker with Different Subjects

Habitual markers (-ता, -ते, -ती) are used based on the number, person and gender features of the agreeing subject.

Person Singular Pronoun Habitual markers

Masculine/Feminine

Plural pronoun Habitual markers

Masculine/Feminine

1st मैं “I” -ता/-ती हम “We” -ते/-ती
2nd तू “You” -ता/-ती NA
तुम “You” -ते/-ती तुम (लोग) “You” -ते/-ती
आप “You” -ते/-ती आप (लोग) “You” -ते/-ती
3rd यह/वह “S/he,”  and  singular noun -ता/-ती ये/वे “They,” and plural nouns -ते/-ती

Note: When subject of a sentence is of mixed gender please use plural masculine aspect marker.

Negation of Habitual Aspect

In order to change habitual aspect sentences in negative, we use the word नहीं right before the verb. When habitual sentences appear in negative, generally, the verb “to be” in present (हूँ, हो, है, हैं) are dropped. However, in the past form of verb “to be” (था, थे, थी, थीं) are not dropped.

Examples:

  • लड़कियां फुटबॉल खेलती हैं | “Girls play football.”
  • लड़कियां फुटबॉल नहीं खेलतीं | “Girls do not play football.”
  • आप हर दिन अपना कमरा साफ़ करते थे | “You used to clean your room everyday.”
  • आप हर दिन अपना कमरा साफ़ नहीं करते थे | “Yo used not to clean your room everyday.”

Note: Please notice the extra nasal dot in negative sentences with subject लड़कियां “girls.” As we drop the verb “to be,” the dot indicates the plural feminine subject in contrast to singular feminine subject.

Uses of Habitual Aspect

(a) To express routine actions

Examples:

  • मैं चार बजे जागता हूँ | “I get up at 4 o’clock.”
  • मैं पांच बजे चाय पीता हूँ | “I drink tea at 5 o’clock.”
  • मैं आठ बजे स्कूल जाता हूँ | “I go to school at 8 o’clock.”

Activity:

Please add five more examples here. After writing your examples please change your sentences in negative and past tense.

Examples Negative Past tense
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

(b) To express habitual actions

Examples:

  • सीता किताबें पढ़ती है | “Sita reads books.”
  • राहुल गिटार बजाता है | “Rahul plays guitar.”
  • ऋतिक सिग्रेट पीता है | “Hrithik smokes.”

Activity:

Please add five more examples here. After writing your examples please change your sentences in negative and past tense.

Examples Negative Past tense
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

(c) To express permanent actions

Examples:

  • पीटर मिशिगन में रहता है | “Peter lives in Michigan.”
  • जेन यहाँ काम करती है | “Jen works here.”
  • मैं अपने शिक्षक का आदर करता हूँ | “I respect my teacher.”

Activity:

Please add five more examples here. After writing your examples please change your sentences in negative and past tense.

Examples Negative Past tense
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

(d) To express general/universal truth.

Examples:

  • पृथ्वी सूर्य की परिक्रमा करती है| “The earth revolves around the sun.”
  • आम तौर से, गुलाब लाल होते हैं| “Generally, roses are red.”
  • मिशिगन में, बर्फ़बारी होती है | “It snows in Michigan.”

Activity:

Please add five more examples here. After writing your examples please change your sentences in negative and past tense.

Examples Negative Past tense
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

(e) To narrate a story and to express series of events:

When narrating a story, background information is generally expressed using habitual (imperfective aspect) construction. Whereas, the foreground information is expressed using perfective aspect. Habitual construction (background information) in the story below is highlighted.

Example:

  • एक जंगल में एक शेर रहता था| उसी जंगल में, एक चूहा भी रहता था | एक दिन शेर चूहे से कहता कि मैं तुम्हें खा जाऊँगा | चूहा कहता है “मुझे मत खाइए|” एक दिन शिकारी शेर को जाल में फसाता है तब चूहा जाल काटता है| इस तरह चूहा शेर की मदद करता है |
  • “A lion lived in a forest. In the same forest, a mouse also lived. One day the lion says to the rats that I will eat you. The Rat says “please don’t eat me.” One day the hunter traps the lion into the net then the rat bites the net. This is how the rat helps the lion.”

(f) To express impersonal sentences

Examples:

  • लोग कहते हैं कि … “People say that…”
  • (आप) हिन्दी में “flower” कैसे कहते हैं ? How do you say “flower” in Hindi.
  • यहाँ अच्छी चाय मिलाती है| Good tea is available here.

Activity:

Please add five more examples here. After writing your examples please change your sentences in negative and past tense.

Examples Negative Past tense
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

(g) To express immediate future action by adding adverbs like अभी “right away,” and चलिए “let’s.”

Examples:

  • मैं अभी आती हूँ | “I will come right away.”
  • चलिए, एक फ़िल्म देखते हैं | “Let’s watch a film.”
  • रोओ मत, माँ अभी तुम्हें खाना देती है | “Don’t cry, mother will give you food right away.”

Uses of the Past Habitual Tense

(a) The past habitual tense is generally used to express past habit, routine, permanent actions.

Examples:

  • मैं पिछले साल दस बजे स्कूल जाता था | “I used to go to school at 10 o’clock last year.”
  • आप हिन्दुस्तान में कहाँ रहती थीं ? “Where used you to live in India?”
  • पिछले महीने तक, मेरा भाई हर दिन मुझ से बात करता था | “My brother used to talk to me everyday till last month.”

Activity:

Please add five more examples here. After writing your examples please change your sentences in negative and past tense.

Examples Negative Past tense
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Activities

(a) Please choose the correct form of habitual aspect marker based on the subject of the sentence.

(b) Please write your daily routine of this semester/year. After writing your daily routine compare it will last semester/year. [Hint: Please use present habitual for current daily routine, and use past habitual for last semester/year]

(c) Please ask your friends about their hobbies and enlist them here. [Hint: Use आप ख़ाली समय में क्या करते/करती हैं? “What do you do in your free time?” to ask their hobbies.]

(d) Please watch a short film, and write the story in Hindi in Hindi. After writing, please record yourself here and share your story with the instructor/any native speaker for the feedback.

धन्यवाद !

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Basic Hindi I by Rajiv Ranjan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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