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Urdu Negation: Master the Art of Saying No in Urdu

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Paulo Coehlo said it well: When you say Yesto others, make sure you are not saying Noto yourself.

Wherever you are in the world, knowing how to say ‘no’ tactfully is an invaluable skill. It’s crucial to have the linguistic tools necessary to assert your identity and keep in balance with others. 

In Pakistan, it’s customary to be mindful and courteous while giving a negative statement or response to someone. Due to these cultural nuances, today we’ll teach you not only how to form negative sentences in Urdu but also how to apply them to various real-life situations. In addition, we’ll introduce you to several negative expressions in the Urdu language that you can start practicing right away.

A Businessman Saying No with a Gesture of His Hand
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Urdu Table of Contents
  1. How to Negate a Statement
  2. Giving a Negative Response to a Question
  3. Other Negating Words and Phrases
  4. Double Negatives
  5. Conclusion

1. How to Negate a Statement

The basic words of negation in Urdu are: نہ (nah) – no and نہیں  (nahin) – “no” / “not. In this section, you’ll learn how to use these words in different sentences to impart the proper meaning to your interlocutors.

Generally speaking, the most common way to make a sentence negative in Urdu is: 

Noun + نہیں (nahin) + Conjugated Verb

This is a simple formula that requires no additional changes to the sentence nor any further negation words.

Urdu Negation in Simple Present Tense

وہ سکول جاتا ہے۔
Woh school jata hai.
He goes to school.

وہ سکول نہیں جاتا ہے۔
Woh school nahin jata hai.
He does not go to school.

In the negative sentence, you can see that the Urdu word نہیں (nahin) is placed after the noun سکول (school) and before the conjugated form of the Urdu verb جاتا (jata).

Urdu Negation in Simple Past Tense

وہ لاہور گئی۔
Woh Lahore gayi.
She went to Lahore.

وہ لاہور نہیں گئی۔
Woh Lahore nahin gayi.
She did not go to Lahore.

In the negative Urdu sentence above, you can see that the word نہیں (nahin) is added after the noun لاہور (Lahore) and before the conjugated verb گئی (gai).

Urdu Negation in Future Simple Tense

ہم رات کا کھانا کھائیں گے۔
Hum raat ka khana khayain gay.
We will have dinner.

ہم رات کا کھانا نہیں کھائیں گے۔
Hum raat ka khana nahin khayain gay.
We will not have dinner.

Again, you can see that the word نہیں (nahin) is added after the noun رات کا کھانا (raat ka khana), meaning “dinner,” and before the conjugated verb کھائیں (khayain).

A Hand Saying No to Alcohol

2. Giving a Negative Response to a Question

Having learned the fundamentals of negation in the Urdu language, let’s now look at how to respond to questions by negating them in Urdu. In this context, you can take one of two approaches: 

1) You can be courteous enough to refuse politely.

2) You can give an upfront “No” to avoid any such invitations in the future.

Giving a Polite Negative Response in Urdu

If you find yourself caught in a formal situation where you want to say no to an invitation, it’s always recommended that you refuse it politely. Otherwise, the other person may take offense. 

Let’s see how to do this…

Question:

کیا آپ میرے ساتھ رات کا کھانا کھائیں گے؟
Kia aap mere sath raat ka khana khayain gay?
Will you have dinner with me?

Response:

معذرت خواہ ہوں، میں ذاتی مصروفیت کی وجہ سے ایسا کرنے سے قاصر ہوں۔
Maazrat khwah hun, mei zati masroofiyat ki wajah se aisa kernay se qasir hun.
Sorry, I am unable to do so due to personal commitments.

In this scenario, someone asks you to have dinner with him in Urdu and you wish to decline politely. Here, the most formal and recommended way of declining is to add the Urdu phrase, معذرت خواہ ہوں (maazrat khwah hun) to the beginning of the sentence. This phrase is equivalent to the English word “sorry” and can be used by both male and female speakers without any changes.

The next sentence—میں ذاتی مصروفیات کی وجہ سے ایسا کرنے سے قاصر ہوں۔ (Mein zati masroofiyat ki wajah se aisa kernay se qasir hun.)—will allow you to decline an invitation without offending the other person.


Giving a Flat Negative Response in Urdu

Now, it’s time to learn how to assert yourself while refusing an unwelcome invitation and preventing future invitations.

Question:

کیا آپ میرے ساتھ رات کا کھانا کھائیں گے؟
Kia aap meray sath raat ka khana khayain gay?
Will you have dinner with me?

Response:

نہیں، آپ اپنے کام سے کام رکھیں۔
Nahin, aap apne kaam se kaam rakhain.
No, mind your own business.

A Young Girl Refusing to the Dance Proposal in a Bar

In this sentence, you can see that the word نہیں، (nahin) serves as a sort of blunt refusal that does not have any preceding courtesy word or phrase. The remaining part of the sentence—آپ اپنے کام سے کام رکھیں (Aap apne kaam se kaam rakhain.)—is an indication that you’re not interested in any such future invitations.

3. Other Negating Words and Phrases

Besides نہ (nah) and نہیں (nahin), there are a few other expressions that can be used for negation in Urdu. Here are just a few more negation words in Urdu you should know: 

نہ یہ نہ وہ (nah ye nah woh) – neither…nor

This phrase is equivalent to “neither…nor” in English. Here’s an example for you:

مجھے نہ یہ پسند ہے نہ وہ۔
Mujhay nah ye pasand hai nah who.
I like neither this nor that.

A Signboard Symbolizing Refusal and Negation

 (kabhi nahin) – never

میں تمھیں کبھی نہیں بھولوں گا۔
Mei tumhain kabhi nahin bhoolon ga.
I will never forget you.

کچھ نہیں (kuch nahin) – nothing

This is a versatile phrase that can be used to form a variety of negative sentences in Urdu. It’s used to negate a thing. Here’s just one example: 

میں نے صبح سے کچھ نہیں کھایا۔
Mei ne subah se kuch nahin khaya.
I have eaten nothing since morning.

A Youngster Is Holding a Fork and Knife in His Hands, and Seems to Have Eaten Nothing for a While

 (koi nahin) – nobody

This phrase of Urdu negation refers to people. Here’s an example:  

یہاں کوئی نہیں آیا۔
Yahan koi nahin aaya.
Nobody came here.

کہیں نہیں (kahin nahin) – nowhere

The word کہیں نہیں (kahin nahin) is used for the negation of a place:

وہ کہیں نہیں گیا۔
Woh kahin nahin gaya.
He went nowhere.

4. Double Negatives                        

While conversing with native Urdu speakers, you’ll notice that they often use double negatives in their conversations. To understand how double negatives are used in Urdu, you must first learn how to use the word نا (na) as a prefix to negate adjectives and verbs. For example:

  • خوش (khush) – “happy” ➜ ناخوش (nakhush) – “unhappy”

When these negative adjectives and verbs are used in tandem with the word نہیں (nahin), the latter word cancels out the negative adjective or verb to make it positive. See the use of the word ناخوش (nakhush) / نہیں (nahin) in the following sentence to better understand this concept: 

وہ مجھ سے ناخوش نہیں ہے۔
Woh mujh se nakhush nahin hai.
He is not unhappy with me.

Ultimately, the sentence is used to negate the already reported negative adjective ناخوش (nakhush). In other words, it indicates that the speaker is on good terms with the person being spoken about. 

Here’s another example: 

مجھے سمجھانا ناممکن نہیں ہے۔
Mujhay samjhana namumkin nahin hai.
It is not impossible to make me understand.

This sentence cancels out the negative adjective ناممکن (namumkin). In other words, it is possible to explain. 

وہ کرکٹ ناپسند نہیں کرتا ہے۔
Woh cricket napasand nahin karta hai.
He does not dislike cricket.

In this sentence, the verb پسند کرنا (pasand kerna), meaning “to like,” is made negative by adding the نا (na) prefix. After the addition of the prefix, its infinitive form becomes ناپسند کرنا (napasand karna), meaning “to dislike.” The word نہیں (nahin) is used with the conjugated form of the negative verb ناپسند کرنا (napasand karna) to further negate it.

In other words: He does like cricket. 

5. Conclusion

In this article, you’ve learned the essentials of Urdu negation. You can now…

  • …negate sentences in Urdu.
  • …give negative responses to questions.
  • …apply a variety of negative Urdu words and phrases to sentences.
  • …begin practicing double negation in Urdu.
  • …negate verbs and adjectives using the prefix نا (na).

Do you still have any questions? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible! 

In the meantime, make sure to continue exploring UrduPod101.com. We are a rich repository of useful resources that will hone your integrated Urdu language skills. With a free lifetime account, you’ll have access to an Urdu dictionary, grammar and pronunciation guides, vocabulary lists, lessons on useful phrases and expressions, and more. 

Very Happy Urdu Learning!

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Why learn Urdu? Let’s explore some reasons to start today.

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Should I learn Urdu? 

While this may appear to be a simple yes-or-no question, its answer is embedded within myriads of internal discourses. There are several reasons that one may wish to learn Urdu, and still other reasons that one may shy away from the task.

Because people differ in their proclivities, it’s also common for one to be drawn to Urdu for a very different set of reasons than another person is. A backpacker, for instance, will learn Urdu for a different reason than that of a culture critic. Likewise, an anthropologist will give a different reason for learning the language than a businessman would.

In this article, we’ll discuss why you should learn Urdu as well as the numerous benefits doing so can bring to your life.

An Asian Boy Using Headphones to Listen and Learn; He Is Enjoying the Activity
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Urdu Table of Contents
  1. The Country and the Language
  2. Benefits of Learning Urdu
  3. Personal and Professional Aspects
  4. How Difficult is it to Learn Urdu?
  5. Conclusion

1. The Country and the Language

Pakistan has the largest number of Urdu speakers in the world. Considering the country’s wealth of natural beauty and its share of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it’s not surprising that it’s become a new tourist hotspot in recent years. 

Our first few reasons for why you should learn Urdu have to do with certain facts and figures about this increasingly popular country and its culture. 

1. Learning Urdu will help you experience the exotic Urdu culture, literature, and music.

The culture of Pakistan attracts foreigners due to its exotic nature. 

Pakistani people have inherited some of the oldest civilizations on Earth, including Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa; they are also heirs to the famous Indus civilization. Nowadays, Pakistan is home to a variety of cultures and languages—including Punjabi, Pashto, Balochi, Saraiki, and Urdu—which presents a unique diversity that tempts foreigners to come here in exploration of these cultures. Those interested in this distinctive conglomerate of culture and language have a very good reason to learn Urdu! 

Also, the Urdu language is self-sufficient in terms of its literature and music. It has a rich poetic tradition that dates back to the seventeenth century, with meritorious poets like Ghalib and Meer having written phenomenal works in this language. In addition, there are a number of writers who have together composed the pinnacle of Urdu literature in the form of short stories and novels. These writers include, to name only a few:  

  • Saadat Hasan Manto
  • Prem Chand
  • Abdullah Hussain
  • Mumtaz Mufti
  • Quratul ain Haider

Works by these authors are absolutely worth reading! One of the foremost reasons to learn the Urdu language is so that you can enjoy these great feats of writing in their original language.

A Collection of Classic Literary Books

Similarly, Urdu musicians have preserved the legacy of Indian classical music and carried it forward in its original form. They have also made some highly appreciated innovations to it, while still keeping the element of the Urdu language alive. Learning Urdu will allow you to cherish the legacy of Indian classical music as it’s played and enjoyed today.

A Female Rehearsing Classical Music on Tanpura, an Eastern Musical Instrument

2. Urdu has a rich linguistic and political history.

Another compelling reason to learn the Urdu language is to explore its rich background. In fact, even the British colonizers of the nineteenth century learned Urdu and translated a wide range of Urdu writings into English for this reason. Also consider that most primary resources on topics surrounding the historic turmoils and political upheavals of the region are written in the Urdu language. Therefore, ardent lovers of history and linguistics should consider learning Urdu in order to gain access to these invaluable resources.   

3. The number of Urdu speakers is rapidly increasing.

Ethnologue reports the total number of Urdu speakers (including those who speak it as a second language) to be 170 million. It also reports that the Urdu language is the 11th most widely spoken language across the globe. These facts demonstrate the rapid growth of the Urdu language, giving you one more reason to consider studying it yourself. 

2. Benefits of Learning Urdu 

Having discussed some of the cultural and historical reasons for learning the language, let’s look at a list of more-specific benefits you can expect from learning Urdu. 

4. Urdu has increasing geo-strategic significance.

The Urdu language has entered a new era of international acceptance and popularity with the creation of the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) in the region. In addition, this language becomes truly relevant in the backdrop of the Afghan war as well as the future role of Gwadar Port. Other than these factors, the nuclear status of Pakistan also makes it geo-strategically unavoidable. These regional developments have further bolstered the growth of the Urdu language and motivated a great number of foreigners to learn and speak Urdu.

A Map Highlighting the Geographical Location of Pakistan

5. It will open up refreshing Oriental vistas.

Since the establishment of the Fort William College in Calcutta in 1800 by Lord Wellesley, the unique cultural imagery put forth by the Urdu language has become accessible to Europeans and other foreigners. The language’s unconventional writing script, unfamiliar vowel and consonant sounds, and culturally estranged stories and their characters are just a few examples of new Oriental vistas foreigners can now enjoy.

6. You’ll be able to build rapport with the natives.

Another fair reason to learn Urdu? Being adept in the Urdu language will place you at a vantage point when it comes to building rapport with native speakers. This advantage might just be the first step toward achieving your goals in Pakistan.

3. Personal and Professional Aspects

Imagine yourself as an entrepreneur or employee in Pakistan. Without the ability to communicate in Urdu, you would always feel handicapped and this personal incapacity would impede your success in Pakistani society. Therefore, Urdu can be an instrument to polish your personal and professional skills. Here are a few advantages of learning Urdu in this regard:

7. Pakistan has a developing marketplace.

Keeping the emerging geo-strategic significance of Pakistan in mind, you can anticipate a surge in the country’s developing marketplace. Many unattended business opportunities and avenues speak of gaps in the market that need to be bridged. If you want to avail yourself of any such opportunity here, you should learn Urdu to maximize the chances of your success.

8. The nation also has a growing tourism industry. 

As mentioned earlier, the tourism industry is on the rise in Pakistan. This will be of particular interest to you if you like to follow tourism trends or are looking for business opportunities in this sector. In either case, you’ll need to be well-versed in the Urdu language to succeed in the field of tourism.

A Beautiful View of a Tourist Spot in Pakistan

9. Knowing Urdu will help you make a difference in Pakistan.

Above all, it’s not easy to assert your identity in a culture unknown to you. In order to make a difference in Pakistan, you must differ from the rest. Mastering Urdu can help you become familiar with the surrounding culture, give you a means to communicate with native speakers, and help you stand out from the crowd. 

4. How Difficult is it to Learn Urdu?

Many aspiring Urdu learners get cold feet when they hear others talk about how hard it is to learn the language. But is it really that difficult? 

10. The language is difficult for Western learners to master, but…

…modern technology is making it easier than ever to learn the language anyway. 

A major factor to consider here is that Westerners with no prior exposure to Oriental languages will find learning Urdu to be a Herculean task, while someone who already speaks an Oriental language will have a much easier time. The reasons behind this are the unique Urdu writing script and the unavailability of certain Urdu sounds in the European languages; these facts may perplex Westerners looking to learn the language.

A Wind Compass Pointing East and West

The good news? The technological revolution has made language learning easier by bringing a wealth of languages right to your fingertips. Learning Urdu has never been easier or more convenient, considering the number of apps and language learning sites offering courses and materials on this language.

If you’re wondering where to learn Urdu online for the best experience, consider UrduPod101.com. As one of the top Urdu learning sites, we have several resources and lesson pathways to help make your language learning journey easier and more joyful. Our YouTube channel is another technological innovation that will make your studies less stressful and more engaging!

The Interface of a YouTube Channel

5. Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question, “Why learn Urdu?” and listed several benefits that come with knowing this distinctly beautiful language. 

Have you identified your reason to learn Urdu? If you want to dig deeper into the topic or have any questions you’d like answered, feel free to let us know! We’ll get back to you at the earliest. 

To make the most of your studies, we recommend you explore UrduPod101.com and create your free lifetime account today. We provide lessons and learning materials on every aspect of the Urdu language and culture, for learners at every level. Themed vocabulary lists, audio and video lessons, and pronunciation guides are only a small sample of what you can expect when learning with us.

Very Happy Urdu Learning!

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Learn Verb Tenses in Urdu

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Do you aim at passing through the labyrinth of Urdu tenses without becoming lost in it? Like you, many Urdu learners are hesitant to enter the intricate maze of Urdu-language tenses and their numerous conjugations for the present, past, and future.

That said, you may be relieved to hear that dealing with mundane matters in the Urdu language does not require you to learn the verb tenses in Urdu to mastery. If you’re a smart learner with some linguistic common sense, you’ll find ways to formulate Urdu sentences for everyday usage—even if you only have a rudimentary knowledge of tenses. 

In this article from UrduPod101, we’ll guide you through the vast world of Urdu verbs and tenses. You’ll learn how to form everything from the simple present to the future conditional, and the examples we provide along the way will help you understand how each tense is used. 

Are you ready for the challenge?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Urdu Table of Contents
  1. An Overview of Urdu Verb Conjugation
  2. Present Tenses in Urdu
  3. Past Tenses in Urdu
  4. Future Tenses in Urdu
  5. Conclusion

1. An Overview of Urdu Verb Conjugation

Urdu verbs conjugate according to the person, mood, tense, voice, and gender. For now, though, don’t worry too much about the details. In this section, we’ll cover only the most important aspects.


A- Tense

As an Urdu learner, you should be glad to know that learning just three basic Urdu tenses can empower you to deal with any real-life situation in an Urdu-speaking society

1. زمانۂ ماضی (zamana-e-maazi) – past tense
2. زمانۂ حال (zamana-e-haal) – present tense
3. زمانۂ مستقبل (zamana-e-mustaqbil) – future tense

If you can master using the present simple, past simple, and future simple effectively, you’ll be well-equipped to manage any situation or occasion that may arise while in Pakistan.

B- Mood 

“Mood” refers to the speaker’s attitude toward the action described by the verb. This is a key factor in the conjugation of Urdu verbs, but we won’t go into too much detail here. For now, just keep in mind that there are four grammatical moods in Urdu:

  • I – Indicative
  • II – Subjunctive
  • III – Conditional
  • IV – Imperative
A Corporate Boss in an Unpleasant Mood

C- Simple vs. Complex Tenses

In Urdu, tenses can be further categorized as “simple” or “complex.” 

A simple tense is one that does not make use of auxiliary verbs; a complex tense is one that does. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to easily distinguish one from the other. 

D- Gender

In the Urdu language, every noun has a gender. While this can certainly make it a challenge to use nouns properly, it also affects the conjugation of Urdu verbs!

The Symbols of Male and Female Genders Drawn on a Blackboard

2. Present Tenses in Urdu

Because present tenses are the most commonly used in daily Urdu conversations, it’s appropriate for us to study them first. The Urdu present tense is used to describe actions that happen frequently, ongoing affairs, and what may happen in the future. 

For your convenience and understanding, we’ll use a single Urdu sentence and verb throughout this article to demonstrate how a verb conjugates for each tense. We’ll use the Urdu verb کھیلنا (khelna), meaning “to play.”

Also keep in mind that each conjugation will be for the first person singular. 

·  فعل حال مطلق (fael haal mutliq) Present Indefinite Tense

        Masculine

    میں کرکٹ کھیلتا ہوں۔
    Mein cricket khelta hun.
    I play cricket.

        Feminine

    میں کرکٹ کھیلتی ہوں۔
    Mein cricket khelti hun.
    I play cricket.

A Cricketer Driving the Ball on the Leg-side

·         فعل حال جاری (fael haal jari) Present Continuous Tense

        Masculine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل رہا ہوں۔
    Mein cricket khel raha hun.
    I am playing cricket.

        Feminine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل رہی ہوں۔
    Mein cricket khel rahi hun.
    I am playing cricket.

·          فعل حال مکمل (fael haal mukammal) Present Perfect Tense

        Masculine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل چکا ہوں۔
    Mein cricket khel chuka hun.
    I have played cricket.

        Feminine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل چکی ہوں۔
    Mein cricket khel chuki hun.
    I have played cricket.

·          فعل حال مکمل جاری (fael haal mukammal jari) Present Perfect Continuous Tense

        Masculine

    میں صبح سے کرکٹ کھیل رہا ہوں۔
    Mein subah se cricket khel raha hun.
    I have been playing cricket since morning.

        Feminine

    میں صبح سے کرکٹ کھیل رہی ہوں۔
    Mein subah se cricket khel rahi hun.
    I have been playing cricket since morning.

Present Conditional

        Masculine

    اگرمیں وقت پر آؤں تو کرکٹ کھیل سکتا ہوں۔
    Agar mein waqt par aao tu cricket khel sakta hun.
    If I come on time, I can play cricket.

        Feminine

    اگرمیں وقت پر آؤں تو کرکٹ کھیل سکتی ہوں۔
    Agar mein waqt par aao tu cricket khel sakti hun.
    If I come on time, I can play cricket.

Present Imperative

Here, you can simply use the same sentence for both genders.

    کرکٹ کھیلو۔
    Cricket khelo.
    Play cricket.

3. Past Tenses in Urdu

You can’t expect to master any language without giving due consideration to the past tense forms of its verbs. In this part of the article, you’ll learn a few constructions that are widely used in formulating the Urdu past tense.

 فعل ماضی مطلق (fael maazi mutliq) – Past Indefinite Tense

        Masculine

    میں کرکٹ کھیلا۔
    Mein cricket khela.
    I played cricket.

        Feminine

    میں کرکٹ کھیلی۔
    Mein cricket kheli.
    I played cricket.

 فعل ماضی جاری (fael maazi jari) – Past Continuous Tense

        Masculine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل رہا تھا۔
    Mein cricket khel raha tha.
    I was playing cricket.

        Feminine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل رہی تھی۔
    Mein cricket khel rahi thi.
    I was playing cricket.

فعل ماضی مکمل (fael maazi mukammal) – Past Perfect Tense

        Masculine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل چکا تھا۔
    Mein cricket khel chuka tha.
    I had played cricket.

        Feminine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل چکی تھی۔
    Mein cricket khel chuki thi.
    I had played cricket.

 فعل ماضی مکمل جاری (fael maazi mukammal jari) – Past Perfect Continuous Tense

        Masculine

    میں صبح سے کرکٹ کھیل رہا تھا۔
    Mein subah se cricket khel raha tha.
    I had been playing cricket since morning.

        Feminine

    میں صبح سے کرکٹ کھیل رہی تھی۔
    Mein subah se cricket khel rahi thi.
    I had been playing cricket since morning.

Past Conditional 

        Masculine

    اگر میں وقت پر آتا تو کرکٹ کھیل سکتا۔
    Agar mein waqt par aata tu cricket khel sakta.
    If I had come on time, I could have played cricket.

        Feminine

    اگر میں وقت پر آتی تو کرکٹ کھیل سکتی۔
    Agar mein waqt par aati tu cricket khel sakti.
    If I had come on time, I could have played cricket.

4. Future Tenses in Urdu

Learning to speak or write about the future in Urdu is an essential skill that any Urdu learner will need to master eventually. To give you an idea of what to expect from the Urdu future tenses, we’ve compiled some example sentences for you.

 فعل مستقبل مطلق (fael mustaqbil mutliq) – Future Indefinite Tense

        Masculine

    میں کرکٹ کھیلوں گا۔
    Mein cricket khelun ga.
    I will play cricket.

        Feminine

    میں کرکٹ کھیلوں گی۔
    Mei cricket khelun gi.
    I will play cricket.

A Highway Ending at the Horizon, Symbolizing a Hopeful Future

 فعل مستقبل جاری (fael mustaqbil jari) – Future Continuous Tense

        Masculine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل رہا ہوں گا۔
    Mein cricket khel raha hun ga.
    I will be playing cricket.

        Feminine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل رہی ہوں گی۔
    Mein cricket khel rahi hun gi.
    I will be playing cricket.

 فعل مستقبل مکمل (fael mustaqbil mukammal) – Future Perfect Tense

        Masculine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل چکا ہوں گا۔
    Mei cricket khail chuka hun ga.
    I will have played cricket.

        Feminine

    میں کرکٹ کھیل چکی ہوں گی۔
    Mei cricket khail chuki hun gi.
    I will have played cricket.

 فعل مستقبل مکمل جاری (fael mustaqbil mukammal jari) – Future Perfect Continuous Tense

        Masculine

    میں صبح سے کرکٹ کھیل رہا ہوں گا۔
    Mein subah se cricket khel raha hun ga.
    I will have been playing cricket since morning.

        Feminine

    میں صبح سے کرکٹ کھیل رہی ہوں گی۔
    Mein subah se cricket khel rahi hun gi.
    I will have been playing cricket since morning.

Future Conditional 

        Masculine

    اگر میں وقت پر آؤں گا تو کرکٹ کھیل لوں گا۔
    Agar mein waqt par aaon ga tu cricket khel lun ga.
    If I come on time, I’ll play cricket.

        Feminine

    اگر میں وقت پر آؤں گی تو کرکٹ کھیل لوں گی۔
    Agar mein waqt par aaon gi tou cricket khail lun gi.
    If I come on time, I’ll play cricket.

A Young Business Professional Looking at His Wristwatch and Preparing to Leave for a Destination to Reach it on Time

5. Conclusion

In this article, you learned about both simple and complex tenses in Urdu. You should now have a better idea of how to conjugate Urdu verbs for each tense and gender. With some practice and real-world experience, you’ll be able to handle nearly any conversation topic using what you’ve learned today! 

Do you already feel confident in your Urdu conjugation skills? Or do you still have a question or concern about something we covered? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us in the comments; we’ll get back to you at the earliest! 

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to create your free lifetime account on UrduPod101.com today to explore the easiest and most effective ways to learn the Urdu language. You’ll benefit from a wide range of online Urdu resources, including simple guides to Urdu pronunciation and grammar, vocabulary lists, and more. 

Very Happy Urdu Learning!

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Urdu?

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Is it possible to give a definite time-frame for learning Urdu? 

Frankly speaking, it’s quite difficult to specify exactly how long it will take someone to learn the language. There are multiple variables that affect one’s second-language acquisition, such as necessity, motivation, level of education, culture, and previous experience with languages.

Keeping this in view, it’s also imperative for an aspiring Urdu learner to decide what level of fluency they hope to attain. For example, picking up basic survival phrases for travel will take far less time than trying to become fluent.

In this article, we’ll answer questions such as, “How long does it take to learn Urdu?” and give you some tips on how to learn Urdu fast!

A Calendar
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Urdu Table of Contents
  1. Key Considerations
  2. Beginner Level
  3. Intermediate Level
  4. Advanced Level
  5. Learning Urdu When You’re Short on Time
  6. Conclusion

Key Considerations

The United States’ Foreign Service Institute (FSI) groups languages into four categories, with Category I languages being those most similar to English and Category IV languages being the least similar. According to this system, Urdu falls under Category III. The FSI approximates that one can gain basic fluency in a Category III language with about 720 hours of intensive study (10 hours per day) and reach full fluency with around 1100 hours (44 weeks) of intensive study. 

Of course, this is only an approximate.

If you plan to study Urdu, you must first take the time to consider the following factors. Doing so will give you a good idea of what your strengths and weaknesses will be as you start out, so you can plan accordingly. Who knows? You may even discover that you’re at an advantage! 

1. Your Background

Have you already studied a second language? Were you raised bilingual? What language(s) do you know besides English? 

Your answers to these questions will play a major role in how long it takes to learn Urdu. 

Urdu learners who already know an Oriental language tend to have a much easier time with their studies than learners who do not. In addition, people who have learned a second language already—no matter what that language is—have a huge advantage over those who only know one language. 

Also, a person with prior exposure to the native Pakistani culture and ways of living is at an advantage. 

2. Your Motivation

Another dominant factor that may affect the pace of your Urdu learning is your implicit or explicit motivation for learning the language. If you have a lucrative end-goal in mind (such as a promotion or acceptance to a university) or are learning so you can better communicate with a loved one, you’ll be willing to put in more effort and will achieve your goals faster.

A Man Climbing a Steep Mountain, Symbolizing a High Level of Motivation

3. Your Learning Methods

Your selected method of learning is another significant factor here. For example, students who learn via the grammar-translation method will require a different amount of overall learning time than students being taught via the direct method

In the same vein, you should determine whether to take an Urdu course at a language institution, at a university, via a tutor, or even online. Each of these methods will result in a different type of language learning experience, and the amount of time it takes you to master Urdu will vary as a result. 

Of course, any learning method you opt for should be supplemented (as much as possible) by direct exposure to the language and immersion in the culture.

Beginner Level

It may take you around 150 to 200 hours to reach the A1 (absolute beginner) level.

At the beginner level, you should be able to understand and apply basic survival phrases and other day-to-day vocabulary. There are a few fundamental concepts of the Urdu language you should focus on mastering at this point. Here are some tips on how to learn Urdu quickly as you approach and attain the beginner level: 

1. Study the basic syntax. 

Try to focus on the rudimentary word order and sentence structure. It’s too early to comprehend all of it right away, but you should still familiarize yourself with the basics. It will become more clear to you as you advance and gain more exposure to the language. 


2. Start dealing with the present. 

The present tense is very important when learning any language. Try to grasp command over the present tense, and practice using it with the first and second person pronouns.

3. Don’t hesitate to conjugate.

While you shouldn’t be overly ambitious here, you should try learning to conjugate some basic Urdu verbs. Practice is the only way to get better, and your mistakes will help you learn even faster! 


4. Flashcards are effective.

Never underestimate the power of the flashcard technique. Try to learn as many nouns, verbs, and adjectives as possible, along with examples of their appropriate usage in the Urdu language.

A Small Girl Using Flashcards for Learning the Names of Different Fruits

Intermediate Level

It may take you approximately 500-600 hours to reach the B1 level of proficiency in the Urdu language.

At the intermediate level, you’ll be able to…

  • …comprehend basic conversations on familiar topics and things that interest you.
  • …interact with native Urdu speakers concerning routine matters. 
  • …explain your ideas, plans, and experiences with others in an appropriate manner. 

Here are a few things you can do to learn Urdu effectively at this point:

1. Experiment with the tenses.

At the beginner level, you became familiar with how to use the present tense. Now that you’re approaching the intermediate level, you should begin experimenting with the other tenses. In doing so, you can formulate more interesting sentences on a number of topics.

A Small Boy Experimenting with Science Equipment and Enjoying Learning

2. Build up your vocabulary and practice your pronunciation.

You should focus on building and expanding your vocabulary so that you can avoid using words that sound very basic or childish. In addition, you should work on mastering your pronunciation of Urdu words. Being able to use more advanced words and pronounce them correctly will surely impress native speakers! 


3. Start learning and using common phrases.

As you build your vocabulary, you should also start learning more common phrases. Pay attention to how native speakers converse with each other, and try applying the most frequently used phrases and sentences to your own speech. At this stage, you can also begin crafting your own unique phrases using your newly acquired vocabulary. This will enhance your sentence formulation skills and keep you interested in your studies.


Advanced Level

You should expect to spend a good 1000-1200 hours reaching the threshold of the advanced (C1) level. 

While many learners are satisfied with reaching the intermediate level, the most devoted students have set their minds to mastering Urdu completely! This is a huge feat and certainly not an easy one, but well worth the effort. At the advanced level, you can…

  • …understand intricate texts and their implicit meanings. 
  • …effectively communicate in both professional and casual contexts. 
  • …present your thoughts and ideas in a clear, unmistakable manner. 

Here are a few tips to speed up your progress: 

1. Confidence does matter.

Having reached the B1 level, you’ve covered a lot of distance. Total mastery and command of the Urdu language are not too far out of reach at this point. Nonetheless, you must remember that the final steps are always hard to take.

But don’t worry. Have confidence in yourself. Keep the joy of getting a befitting reward in your mind to muster up your courage for these heavy steps. There’s only one level (B2) between you and your dream level (C1).

A Working Executive Woman, Posing Confidently

2. Explore classic Urdu books, movies, and music.

While traditional study methods play a key role in mastering Urdu, you should begin exploring some secondary Urdu resources as well. The best way to become proficient in the language is to expose yourself to it outside of the classroom (or textbook, or app). 

Some of the best ways to immerse yourself in the language include: 

  • Watching classic Urdu movies
  • Reading Urdu literature
  • Listening to Urdu music

If you’re not sure where to start, why not see our lists of the Top 10 Urdu TV Shows and Drama Series and YouTube Channels to Enhance Your Skills?

A Man Enjoying a Movie on a Tablet

3. Interact with native Urdu speakers.

If possible, you should plan to either live in Pakistan for a while or visit for a short time. This will work wonders for your Urdu language skills! Your time in Pakistan will give you constant exposure to Urdu in natural contexts, from slang terms to formal everyday language—something you would miss out on in the traditional classroom setting. 

Learning Urdu When You’re Short on Time

As already discussed, how long it takes to learn Urdu is determined by numerous factors. These include your attitude toward learning it, how much time you spend studying each day, and why you’re learning it in the first place. 

We understand that not everyone has enough time in their busy schedules to attend regular classes or devote hours a day to studying. The good news is that you can learn Urdu online or through mobile apps—both methods give you much more flexibility than traditional courses and let you study from anywhere. 

While there’s no substitute for hard work, we believe these methods can help you learn Urdu more effectively even when you’re short on time. Let’s take a closer look. 

1. Online Resources

Despite the proven track record of classroom education, virtual education has revolutionized the way in which people learn and study. This applies to language learning as well, and you can find many online resources to help you learn Urdu to varying degrees of proficiency.

UrduPod101.com is unparalleled in this regard. We have the solutions to all your language learning problems, and we seek to answer all of your questions and dispel all of your doubts. When you subscribe, you get access to a huge resource of online lessons customized to the needs of Urdu learners at all different levels. We make learning Urdu both fun and effective! 

To reinforce what you’ve learned on our website, you can head over to our YouTube channel and watch any number of our fun, educational videos. 

2. Mobile Phone Applications

Google and other app stores are replete with applications claiming to teach the Urdu language effectively. While many of them can be used as excellent secondary resources, we recommend choosing your learning apps with caution. 

In addition to the InnovativeLanguage101 app, we recommend trying out Learn Urdu Kids

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the frequently asked question: How long will it take to learn Urdu? 

We also discussed what factors will determine your learning speed, what skills are expected of you at each Urdu proficiency level, and how to learn Urdu effectively. 

Are you ready to hop on the plane of Urdu learning and enjoy its adventurous pathways? More importantly: Have we answered all of your questions? If not, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible! 

We hope you choose to make UrduPod101.com a part of your Urdu learning diet. We’re a rich repository of learning resources, ready to help you master all of the necessary Urdu language skills. 

Very Happy Urdu Learning!

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Urdu Proverbs: Sound Wise Among Urdu Speakers

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Have you ever found yourself struggling to get a point across, only to have the perfect proverb come to mind and save the day? You really can’t deny the utility of proverbs in everyday communication! 

The Urdu language is resplendent with traditional sayings and proverbs that reflect the collective consciousness and group identity of its speakers. These Urdu proverbs may come from a variety of sources, from popular folk wisdom to words of the learned elite, but they all share a common cultural understanding and value for the community. 

In this article, we’ll introduce you to several of the most common Urdu proverbs and their meanings in English. Studying these proverbs will not only stretch your vocabulary and grammar muscles, but also get you better acquainted with Pakistani culture and enlighten you on a personal level. Shall we begin?

A Man Contemplating while Keeping His Index Finger on His Right Temple

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Urdu Table of Contents
  1. Proverbs About Success
  2. Proverbs About Life
  3. Proverbs About Time
  4. Proverbs About Love
  5. Proverbs About Family and Friends
  6. Proverbs About Health
  7. Conclusion

1. Proverbs About Success

Let’s start our Urdu proverbs list with a few frequently used proverbs on success. These can serve as words of congratulations or as advice on how to succeed in life. 


#1 

محنت کامیابی کی کنجی ہے۔
‘mehnat kamyabi ki kunji hai.’
Hard work is the key to success.

This proverb is popular in both Urdu- and English-speaking cultures. It can be used to motivate someone to work hard in order to achieve his/her goals, or as a compliment to acknowledge someone’s hard work. 

#2

ہمتِ مرداں مددِ خدا۔
‘himmat e marda madad e khuda.’
God helps those who help themselves.

This Urdu proverb means that when men muster up their courage, the God Almighty helps them. While it literally translates to, “Courage of men, help of God,” it’s very close in meaning to the English saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” Like the previous phrase, it can be used to motivate or compliment someone. 

#3 

کام بِن دام نہیں۔
‘kaam bin daam nahi.’
No pain, no gain.

This proverb means that if you do not work, you will not get money. It’s the near equivalent of the given English proverb. It can be used to warn a worker who isn’t performing well, or to motivate someone to work even harder to earn more money.

#4

مشق انسان کو کامل بنا دیتی ہے.
‘mashq insaan ko kamil bana deti hai.’
Practice makes a man perfect.

This Urdu proverb is the true translation of its English counterpart. It’s used to encourage someone who wants to master a skill or to congratulate someone who has already mastered a skill after practicing very hard.

#5

جہاں چاہ وہاں راہ۔
‘jahan chah wahan raah.’
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Here’s another Urdu proverb that’s the exact translation of its English counterpart. It means that if someone is interested in any particular job, he’ll find an apt way to do it successfully. 

#6

انت بھلا تو سب بھلا۔
‘anth bhala toh sab bhala.’
All’s well that ends well.

This proverb has the same meaning as the English version. In Urdu, it’s used to congratulate someone who has completed a task well despite facing multiple hurdles. It can also be roughly translated as, “The ends justify the means.”

A Man Standing at the Peak of a Mountain and Celebrating Success

2. Proverbs About Life

Now, let’s spend some time poring over the most common Urdu proverbs about life. These sayings touch on the harsh and sweet realities of our existence, and they’re sure to give you valuable insight into Pakistani culture. 

#7

زندگی پھولوں کی سیج نہیں۔
‘zindagi phoolon ki sej nahi.’
Life is not a bed of roses.

This Urdu proverb is the true translation of its English counterpart. It’s typically used to console someone who has undergone a bitter life experience, though it can also be used to warn young people not to waste their time without purpose and to instead prepare for the hard times. 

#8

زندگی زندہ دلی کا نام ہے۔
‘zindagi zinda dili ka naam hai.’
Life is the name of liveliness.

This is a poetic verse by Sheikh Imam Baksh Nasikh, but has gained acceptance as a proverb in Pakistani society. It’s used to cheer up sad souls and to uplift their spirits to enjoy life fully.

#9

تجربہ سب سے بڑا استاد ہے۔
‘tajurba sab say barha ustad hai.’
Experience is the greatest teacher.

If you know someone who is going through a trying situation or a new experience, you can use this proverb to shed some light on how significant it is.

An Old Man Who Seems to Have Undergone Several Experiences and Learned a Lot

#10

دودھ کا جلا چھاچھ بھی پھونک پھونک کر پیتا ہے۔
‘doodh ka jala chach bhi phoonk phoonk kar peeta hai.’
A burnt child dreads the fire.

The Urdu version of this proverb is very similar to the Turkish proverb that goes: “If you burn your mouth on hot milk, you blow before you eat yogurt.” It evokes the same imagery as its English counterpart does.  

3. Proverbs About Time

No society could make any significant progress without giving due importance to time. With this in mind, let’s see how people in Pakistan value this priceless commodity…

#11

وقت کسی کا انتظار نہیں کرتا۔
‘waqt kisi ka intezar nahi karta.’
Time and tide wait for none.

In Urdu-speaking societies, this proverb is often used to address the fanciful youth who waste their precious time doing unimportant activities. Feel free to use this phrase on occasion if you come across any such person!

An Hourglass in Which Sand Is Coming Down Fast, Signifying the Unstoppable Nature of Time

#12

وقت پر ایک ٹانکا نو کا کام کر دیتا ہے۔
‘waqt par ek tanka no ka kaam kar deta hai.’
A stitch in time saves nine.

The Urdu proverb is the literal translation of the English one. It refers to the mending of any stitched article, where getting it fixed early on using only one stitch will save you needing to use nine stitches later on. It means that if one acts in a timely manner, it can save that person from many impending ordeals. 

#13

وقت سب سے بڑا مرہم ہے۔
‘waqt sab say barha marham hai.’
Time is a big healer.

Like its English equivalent, this proverb is used to soothe one’s grief and sorrow. It guarantees that all wounds will heal with time.

#14

وقت وقت کا راگ اچھا ہوتا ہے۔
‘waqt waqt ka raag acha hota hai.’
An appropriate action at the right time and right place is appreciated.

This proverb literally translates to, “The melody is good from time to time.” It refers to raags, a unique component of Eastern Classical music. In a raag, a specific melodic framework is used and then built upon through improvisation in order to influence the emotions of the audience in a fresh, distinctive way. 

The proverb encourages us to take the right step at the right time, and to talk pertinently. For example, if an old person was talking and acting like he was still young, someone may tell him this proverb as a way of saying, “Act your own age.”

#15

وقت پڑنے پر گدھے کو باپ بناتے ہیں۔
‘waqt parhnay per gadhe ko baap banatay hain.’
In the hour of need, fools are praised and respected.

This Urdu proverb can be translated as, “to make a donkey your father in the hour of need.” Both this translation and its English counterpart describe the bitter reality that, when in need, people give even fools undue attention. 

#16

دیر آید درست آید۔
‘der ayad durust aayad.’
Better late than never.

In Urdu-speaking societies, this proverb might be used when a person understands something very late. Saying this to someone would simultaneously point out their mistake and show them that it’s not a big deal. 

#17

آج کا کام کل پر مت چھوڑو۔
‘aaj ka kaam kal par mat chorho.’
Do not put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

The Urdu and English versions of this proverb are synonymous with each other. This proverb is used to help someone understand the value of doing a given task on time.

4. Proverbs About Love

Love is a universal phenomenon, and people from all walks of life and in every culture have something to say about it. Though there are myriads of Urdu proverbs about love, we’ll only cover the most common ones here.

#18

محبت اندھی ہوتی ہے۔
‘Mohabbat andhi hoti hai.’
Love is blind.

This Urdu proverb refers to the blind nature of love. It means that when a person is in love, he/she is unable to evaluate their feelings or the situation rationally. This proverb is often used to point out the irrationality of lovers.

 #19

محبت اور جنگ میں ہر چیز جائز ہوتی ہے۔
‘Mohabbat aur jang mei har cheez jayaz hoti hai.’
Everything is fair in love and war.

The English and Urdu versions of this proverb are identical in meaning. One can use this proverb to comment on (or to justify) the wrongdoings of lovers and warriors. 

#20

دل کو دل سے راہ ہوتی ہے۔
‘dil ko dil se raah hoti hai.’
Love begets love.

This Urdu proverb is the near equivalent of the given English proverb. It means that a loving heart attracts another loving heart. It’s used to express that a person who feels love for another will have their love reciprocated.

A Group of Young People Making the Heart Sign with Their Hands, Exhibiting the Significance of Love

#21

دل کو ہو قرار تو سب کو سوجھیں تیوہار۔
‘dil ko ho qarar to sab ko soojhain teohaar.’
A cheerful heart aims at festivities.

We use this proverb when we see someone who is happy and unworried engaging in merrymaking. 

5. Proverbs About Family and Friends

Family and friends are part and parcel of any humane society. Therefore, you’ll find an abundance of proverbs related to friends and family in the Urdu language.

#22

دوست وہ جو مصیبت میں کام آئے۔
‘dost woh jo moseebat mei kaam aaye.’
A friend in need is a friend indeed.

This Urdu proverb means the same thing as its English equivalent, and it helps us to differentiate between true friends and false friends.

#23

اپنا اپنا غیر غیر۔
‘apna apna ghair ghair.’
Blood is thicker than water.

This one refers to the fact that blood relations differ from all other relations. It expresses that our family should always come before the other people in our lives. 

#24

دوست ہوتا نہیں ہر ہاتھ ملانے والا۔
‘dost hota nahi har hath milane wala.’
Every visitor is not a friend.

This is a poetic verse by the famous Urdu poet Ahmad Faraz. Nowadays, it has gained currency as an Urdu proverb, and we use it to draw a line of demarcation between true friends and seasonal birds.

A Person Offering His Hand for a Handshake, with the Other Person not Reciprocating

#25

دوست کا دشمن دشمن، دشمن کا دشمن دوست
‘dost ka dushman dushman, dushman ka dushman dost’
The enemy of a friend is an enemy; the enemy of an enemy is a friend.

This famous quote has gained status as a proverb in Pakistan. It justifies the act of befriending the enemy of an enemy and developing animosity for the enemy of a friend. 

#26

یار زندہ صحبت باقی۔
‘yaar zinda sohbat baqi.’
Reunion is subordinate to survival.

We use this phrase when parting ways with friends and loved ones. It also contains an embedded prayer for the survival of the other party and for future reunions with him/her. 

#27

ماں کی دعا جنت کی ہوا۔
‘maa ki dua Jannat ki hawa.’
A mother’s prayer brings heavenly air.

This Urdu proverb is used to elevate the rank of the mother in society. It also has a religious connotation as it’s inspired by an Islamic Hadith meaning that Heaven lies under the feet of the mother.

#28

دوستوں کو قریب لیکن دشمنوں کو قریب تر رکھو۔
‘dosto ko qareeb lekin dushmano ko qareeb tar rakho.’
Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

We use this proverb to advise others to keep a close eye on their enemies. Because an enemy is likely to try and harm you, it’s important to be vigilant about watching them. 

6. Proverbs About Health

All the pleasures of life become meaningless if you’re unhealthy. Take a look at the proverbs below to see how much importance Pakistani culture places on health.

#29

تندرستی ہزار نعمت ہے
Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
Health is wealth.

This proverb is the near equivalent of its English counterpart, and it means that health is equal to a thousand blessings. It’s often used to encourage someone to be thankful for their health.

#30

تن سکھی تو من سکھی
‘tan sukhi toh mann sukhi’
Healthy body, healthy mind.

This one states that only a healthy body guarantees a healthy mind. It’s often used to emphasize the significance of a healthy lifestyle, especially when speaking to workaholics or those who don’t take good care of themselves. 

#31

پرہیز علاج سے بہتر ہے۔
‘perhaiz ilaj se behtar hai.’
Prevention is better than cure.

This proverb underscores that it’s better to prevent a problem than to fix it after it happens. We most often use it to convince someone to take preventive measures so they can avoid the anticipated medical complications.

A Huge Stock of Drugs Symbolizing the Cure with Antibiotics

7. Conclusion

In this article, you learned a number of commonly used Urdu proverbs with their meanings in English. By memorizing these proverbs and learning how to use them, you can begin to take on your new identity as a very literate Urdu speaker and impress those around you. 

Which proverbs did you most resonate with, and why? We recommend starting with those, because they’ll be easier for you to remember! 

If studying these proverbs has made you even more curious about Pakistani culture and the nuances of the Urdu language, consider creating your free lifetime account with UrduPod101.com. We will be your friendly and knowledgeable companion, always here to help you along on your language learning journey. To give you a sample of what to expect, here are links to just a few resources we provide our learners: 

Very happy Urdu learning! 

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10 Places to Visit in Islamabad, the City of Peace

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Is Islamabad your next summer holiday destination? Endowed with natural beauty and embellished with well-thought-out and perfectly executed infrastructure, Islamabad remains one of the best tourist attractions in Pakistan. In addition, the city’s cultural diversity marks it with a cosmopolitan hue and makes it the ultimate heaven for tourists.

The city was built in 1960 to become the capital of Pakistan. Despite its youth, the city has its historic value, a few glimpses of which will be provided in this Islamabad travel guide from UrduPod101.com.

Before you travel to Islamabad, it’s crucial that you know the best and most beautiful attractions in this lively city. To give you a hand, we’ll not only outline the top ten places to visit in Islamabad, but also provide you with useful information on the city and a list of Urdu survival phrases.   

A View of Blue Area, Islamabad at Night

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Table of Contents
  1. Considerations Before You Go
  2. 10 Must-Visit Places in Islamabad
  3. Even More Places to Visit for an Extended Stay
  4. Urdu Survival Phrases for Travelers
  5. Conclusion

Considerations Before You Go

We’ll start with a question that many potential tourists ask themselves: “Is it safe to visit Islamabad?” The answer to this question is a very simple “yes.” Islamabad has a steady system of law and order, and the crime rate here is very low compared to that of other global metropolitans.

Why Visit Islamabad?

Islamabad is the federal capital of Pakistan, situated in the Pothohar Plateau 14 kilometers northeast of Rawalpindi. With a population of just over 1.1 million, it’s considered the ninth-largest Pakistani city. It’s famous for its high living and maintenance standards, and the city itself was built with immaculate planning.

While visiting Islamabad, you’ll find greenery everywhere due to its tropical rainy climate. The beautiful Margalla Hills, for example, lend the city a breath of fresh air. Islamabad is a place where you can find modernity inextricable from nature.

Still not convinced this gorgeous city is for you? Read on for more compelling reasons to visit Islamabad! 

An Ideal Time to Visit

As an insider, I would encourage you not to worry about finding the “best” time to visit Islamabad. The weather of Islamabad remains moderate most of the year, and bouts of extreme weather are very unusual. I recommend booking your tickets at the earliest. Natural beauty and cultural uniqueness abound any time of year! 

Popular Intercity Modes of Transportation

In Islamabad, taxis are the most popular mode of transportation. Other than that, you can also use the Metro Bus Service, which covers most of the areas of Islamabad. Remember to bargain over taxi fare with the taxi driver before hiring, because some of them tend to overcharge foreigners (if not all their passengers).

Language

Though Islamabad accommodates people from all provinces and foreign lands, the Urdu language is a binding factor and is used for most communication and connection among the city’s inhabitants. Since most of Islamabad’s citizens are educated, English is also used as a lingua franca to communicate with foreigners.

Food & Lodging

You can book a hotel at rates of anywhere from 4000 Pakistani rupees (about 25 USD) to 25000 (about 155.50 USD) per night. As for food, you can get a wide variety of Desi, Chinese, and continental food in Islamabad. Dining can be as cheap as 500 PKR (about 3 USD) per meal, or as costly as a Western five-star restaurant.

If you’re a lover of Desi cuisine, don’t forget to visit UrduPod101’s article all about Pakistani Cuisine!

10 Must-Visit Places in Islamabad

Now that you’re equipped with the information you need to make the most of your trip, let’s have a look at the top ten must-visit places in Islamabad.

یادگارِ پاکستان .1 (Yadgar-e-Pakistan) – Pakistan Monument

Inaugurated on March 23, 2007, Pakistan Monument is one of the national monuments of Pakistan. It’s situated on the Western Hills of Shakarparian, has a total area of 2.8 hectares, and features a granite construction. 

An average of 1500 tourists visit this site each day, taking in its unique blooming flower shape. Its four chief petals represent the unity of Pakistan. An aerial view of the monument gives the impression of a crescent with a star in its center.

A Beautiful Front View of Pakistan Monument at Night

2 (Shah Faisal Masjid) – Shah Faisal Mosque

Shah Faisal Mosque is another must-visit place in Islamabad. You’ll find this mosque on the foothills of the Margalla Hills. The mosque is named after the Saudi King Faisal, who granted $120 million for the construction of this mosque in 1976. The mosque bears a contemporary design inspired by a nomadic tent in an Arabian desert.

The total area of the mosque is approximately 54,000 square feet, including the structure. It’s located on the northern side of Faisal Avenue.

A Front View of Faisal Mosque, Islamabad

3 (National Art Gallery)

The National Art Gallery is the first of its kind in Pakistan. It’s located in Islamabad, opposite the مجلسِ شوریٰ (Majlis-e-Shoora), or the Parliament of Pakistan, and ایوانِ صدر (Aiwan-e-Sadar), which is the Pakistani President’s House. The gallery is run by پاکستان قومی انجمن فنون (Pakistan Qaumi Anjuman Fanoon), or the Pakistan National Council of Arts.

It covers a nearly 1800-square-yard area with a total of fourteen galleries and areas for display. It also has certain other facilities such as a library, lecture halls, laboratories, and arrangements for workshops. The Pakistan National Council of Arts is well-known for arranging the meritorious events regarding visual arts, performing arts, pictorial exhibitions, etc. If you’re an art-lover, do not miss the opportunity to visit this place. It will add value to your memories.

The Building of the National Art Gallery, Islamabad

4 (Pakistan Museum of Natural History)

The Pakistan Museum of Natural History is located at the Garden Avenue in Shakarparian, and has been functional since 1976. With a rich collection of over 300,000 objects, it has been divided into four main sections: 

  • Earth Sciences
  • Botanical Sciences Division
  • Zoological Sciences Division
  • Public Services Division

Today, it’s one of the largest attractions in Islamabad for tourists and locals alike. 

The museum is a compendium of information on the subjects of geology, ecology, and the country’s paleontology. It’s also a research center that works under the guidance of the وزارتِ سائنس و ٹیکنالوجی (Wazarat-e-science wa technology), or Ministry of Science and Technology. Every day but Friday, the museum is accessible for all from ten a.m. to five p.m. If you’re curious about natural history, include this place on your Islamabad agenda! 

دامنِ کوہ .5 (Daman-e-koh) – Foothill   

The phrase Daman-e-Koh is made by combining the two Persian words دامن (daman) and کوہ (Koh), and it means “foothill.” Located on the Margalla Hills, this is a famous viewing point that attracts many visitors who want to enjoy the panoramic view of Pakistan’s capital. From this point, you can capture the full-frame view of Faisal Mosque, Rawal Lake, and Seventh Avenue with the help of already-installed telescopes. It also serves as a midpoint to the place of Pir Sohawa. 

Coming across wildlife here is a common event, with monkeys being particularly abundant. Some people have even spotted snow leopards during the season of snowfall.   

Tourists Enjoying the Beauty of Daman-e-Koh

6 (Lok Virsa Ajaib Ghar) – Lok Virsa Museum

Started in 1974 and gaining autonomy in 2002, لوک ورثہ عجائب گھر (Lok Virsa Ajaib Ghar), or Heritage Museum, is located in Islamabad at the Hills of Shakarparian. The National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage runs the museum, which focuses on the subjects of culture and history. It’s a vast complex with an area of 60,000 square feet and the capacity to hold 3000 visitors simultaneously.

Among its major departments are: 

  • Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology
  • Lok Virsa Library
  • Virsa Research and Publication Center
  • Virsa Media Center
  • Sufi and Shrines Hall 

This is a great source for learning about the folklore, folk music, anthropology, folk history, arts, and so on, of Pakistan. You’ll also be able to see a great collection of Pakistani jewelry, embroidery, pottery, textiles, and statues. Your trip to Islamabad should absolutely include this gem of a museum, especially if you want to explore the Pakistani folk realm.

The Main Entrance of Lok Virsa Museum, Islamabad

7 (Said Pur Gaon) – Said Pur Village

With a 500-year-old history, Said Pur Village has been influenced by the Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu eras. The village is situated on the Hills of Margalla in the city of Islamabad. This location has been mentioned in the biography of the famous Mughal emperor Jahangir in Tuzk-e-Jahangiri.

During the Mughal reign, the village was named after Sultan Said Khan, the son of Sultan Sarang Khan. The latter was the lord of the region of the Pothohar. 

Due to its richness in cultural terms, the Government of Pakistan has given concentrated efforts to restore and maintain its ancient grandeur. The goal is to make it an attraction for tourists visiting Islamabad from different corners of the world.

A Splendid View of the Said Pur Village, Islamabad

8 (Islamabad Chirrya Ghar) – Islamabad Zoo

If you love animals and want to spend some quality time with the indigenous species, mark the Zoo of Islamabad as a place to visit during your visit to Pakistan. It covers an area of approximately 82 acres in the Hills of Margalla and has a huge collection of birds and animals. In the past, it provided a natural habitat for wildlife, but it has been converted into a zoo for the public.

Roaring wild animals and enchanting fowls are waiting to entertain you and keep you company at the Zoo of Islamabad. Go visit them!

راول جھیل .9 (Rawal Jheel) – Rawal Lake

Covering an area of 8.8 kilometers, Rawal Lake is a water reservoir. A few small streams and the River of Korang contribute to making this artificial reservoir sufficient for the water requirements of the twin cities (Islamabad and Rawalpindi). It’s located in the Hills of Margalla and also touches the premises of the Bani Gala and the villages of Malpur.

It’s a famous picnic spot with heavy flowery plantations. You can enjoy boating and fishing here, and you may even see some rare wildlife species such as jungle cats, wild boars, foxes, jackals, and some poisonous reptiles like the Indian cobra. 

A Beautiful View of the Rawal Lake with the Margalla Hills Visible in the Background

10 (Shahdara Valley)

The Valley of Shahdara is also located in the Hills of Margalla, and it lies at a distance of 10 kilometers from the official residence of the president of Pakistan (Aiwan-e-Sadar). The residents of this valley largely speak Potohari, though they can understand and speak Urdu and Punjabi as well.

It’s full of natural beauty with green hilltops, agricultural planes, natural meadows, and flowing water rills. If you want to return to your country regret-free, do not exclude Shahdara Valley from your list of must-visit places in Islamabad.

Even More Places to Visit for an Extended Stay

Are you going to be spending a little longer in Pakistan and have some extra cash to spend? Great! Here are our recommendations on where to visit in Islamabad for an extended stay.

سملی ڈیم (Simli Dam)

Nineteen miles east of the city of Islamabad, on the Soan River, lies the Simli Dam. This is the drinking water reservoir of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, which gets its water from the melting snow of the Murree Hills. It’s 260 feet high and became functional in 1982. This is a good tourist resort for travelers, so make sure to put it on your list! 

شاہ اللہ دتہ کیوز (Shah Allah Ditta Caves)

Shah Allah Ditta is an ancient village located in Islamabad in the Hills of Margalla, and also functions as the union council of the city of Islamabad. Its history dates back many centuries, as it’s thought to have existed for more than seven hundred years. Its remnants and relics of the Budh culture attract visitors from all over the world. 

فاطمہ جناح باغ (Fatima Jinnah Bagh) – Fatima Jinnah Park

Also known as Capital Park and F-9 Park, Fatima Jinnah Park occupies an area of 750 acres. This public park is named after the مادرِ ملت (Madar-e-millat), or Mother of Nation, Fatima Jinnah. This is one of the best parks to visit in Islamabad if you have enough time during your stay. 

Urdu Survival Phrases for Travelers

When visiting a foreign land, it’s always useful to have a set of phrases and sentences in the native language. They can save you trouble and money under numerous circumstances. To give you a head start, here are some useful Urdu survival phrases that you can use as needed.

 السلامُ علیکم
(Assalam-u-alaikum.)
Hello.

 صبح بخیر
(Subha Bakhair.)
Good morning.

اللہ حافظ
(Allah Hafiz.)
Goodbye.

شکریہ
(Shukriya.)
Thank you.

 معاف کیجئے گا۔
(Maaf Kijiye ga.)
Excuse me.

میں معافی چاہتا/چاہتی ہوں۔
(Main Maafi chahta/chahti hun.)
I am sorry.

بیت الخلاء کہاں ہے؟
(Baitul Khala Kahan Hai?)
Where is the restroom?

براہِ مہربانی کیا آپ دُہرا سکتے ہیں؟
(Barah-e-meharbani kya aap dohra sakte hain?)
Can you repeat it, please?

براہِ مہربانی، ذرا آہستہ۔
(Barah-e-meharbani, zara aahista.)
A bit slower, please.

معاف کیجئے، مجھے سمجھ نہیں آئی۔
(Maaf kijiye, mujhe samajh nahi aayi.)
I am sorry, I couldn’t understand.

کیا آپ انگلش بولتے ہیں؟
(Kia aap English bolte hain?)
Do you speak English?

In addition to learning these survival phrases, we recommend checking out our lesson on the 20 Travel Phrases You Should Know on UrduPod101.com.

Conclusion

In this article, you’ve learned tons of useful information to help you plan your visit to Islamabad: the best time to visit, what to expect weather-wise, the best places to see, and much more. 

Are you ready to pack your bags and book your ticket to Islamabad? Are you excited to explore the beauty and cultural heritage of this magnificent city? 

If so, you’re in for the experience of a lifetime. But it’s okay if you’re not quite feeling up to the task yet. Feel free to leave us a comment with any questions you still have about Islamabad or Pakistan in general. We’re always glad to help! 

Also, remember to visit UrduPod101.com to hone your Urdu language skills. Our website is a rich repository of Urdu language learning resources with pages on Urdu vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and more—all designed to develop your integrated language skills and help you benefit from them in real-life situations.

Very Happy Urdu Learning!

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English Words in the Urdu Language: Do You Know Pinglish?

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While visiting Pakistan, don’t be surprised if you hear the indigenous people using a few English words in their Urdu conversations. This implementation of English words in the Urdu language (a phenomenon referred to as Pinglish or Paklish) is a normal occurrence in everyday Urdu speech. 

The English language and culture have imprinted deeply on Pakistani society, largely due to the historical colonial context of Pakistan. Remember that before it gained its independence in 1947, Pakistan was under British rule for many decades.

In this article, we’ll discuss two categories of English words used in the Urdu language: Pinglish/Paklish and loanwords. And because this language exchange goes both ways, we’ll also introduce you to some common Urdu words used in English. 

Let’s get started.

A Man Dressed in Pants and Shirt Waving Pakistani Flag Signifying Cultural Hybridity

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Urdu Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Pinglish / Paklish
  2. Pinglish Examples
  3. Loanwords vs. Pinglish
  4. How to Say These Names in Urdu
  5. English Words Derived From Urdu
  6. Conclusion

Introduction to Pinglish / Paklish

Language is a continuous phenomenon. In fact, it’s much like a living organism in that it evolves over time as the world around it changes and advances. This is especially noticeable in the fields of education, science, medicine, and technology, for example. 

With the rise of globalization, the Urdu language has come to accommodate, adapt, and assimilate a bunch of useful English words, creating a unique language hybrid: Pakistani English. 

Historical Development

The evolution of Pinglish didn’t happen overnight. Its roots can be traced back to the nineteenth century, when educationists and political activists (such as Sir Syed Ahmed Khan) motivated Muslims to learn English and use that knowledge as a medium of resistance against the colonial forces.

Impacts of Colonization

Colonization deeply affected the culture of the subcontinent, which in turn had an impact on the Urdu language. During the colonial era, people were discouraged from using the Urdu language and higher-ups in particular were encouraged to learn and use English. This resulted in an emerging comprador class that popularized English among Pakistanis at every level of society.

A Man Dressed in Clothing Reminding of the Colonial Era

Current Sociolinguistic Scenario in Pakistan

Keeping this historical context in view, it’s easy to see how the English language made its initial cultural inroads into Pakistani society. Pakistanis took pride in learning and using English, which served as a mode of communication in a variety of public and private sectors. 

This trend continues to date, and English is popular among the majority of Pakistanis today. Being able to speak English is seen as a status symbol in Pakistan. Over time, they have acclimatized the language according to their needs.

Pinglish Examples

Today, there are many English words used in Urdu across a variety of sectors and mediums, at every level of society. 

Pinglish refers to the mixing of English and Urdu words by Urdu speakers, and this mixing is often necessary when discussing certain topics. For example, Pinglish may be employed if an Urdu word does not exist for a specific concept (or vice-versa). 

In the following sections, we’ll introduce you to a few Pinglish words as well as important grammatical concepts related to Pinglish. 

Urdu Vocabulary Used in Pakistani English

As mentioned, Pakistanis often switch between English and Urdu while speaking in order to use the best words for a given context. When it comes to topics such as Islamic values and Pakistani culture, Urdu words are most often used because there are no suitable English words to describe them. 

Here are a few examples of Urdu words used when speaking Pinglish:

  • مدرسہ (madressa) – school
  • نماز (namaz) – prayers
  • مشاعرہ (mushaira) – a gathering of poets for a poetic rendition
  • بُزکشی (buzkushi) – a game of sheep-hunting

a Muslim Offering Namaz

Pinglish Grammar

In addition to vocabulary swapping, another common characteristic of Pinglish is the adaptation of English grammar rules when inflecting Urdu words. A great example of this is when Pakistanis add the ‘s’ sound to the end of an Urdu noun to make it plural:

  • جاگیردار (jagirdar) – “landlord” —-> جاگیردارز (jagirdars) – “landlords”
  • جلسہ (jalsa) – “meeting” —-> جلساز (jalsas) – “meetings”

The opposite also takes place, where Pakistanis use an English word and apply Urdu grammar rules to it. For example, one of the formulas for making a word plural in Urdu is to attach یں (ain) to the end:

  • آنکھ (aankh) – “eye” —-> آنکھیں (aankhain) – “eyes”

Pakistanis sometimes attach this suffix to English words to make them plural: 

  • کلاس (class) – “class” —-> کلاسیں (classain) – “classes”
  • میڈم (madam) – “madam” —-> میڈمیں (madmain) – “madams”
  • بال (ball) – “ball” —-> بالیں (ballain) – “balls”

Urdu Vocabulary Used for Abrogation

Sometimes, Pakistanis use an Urdu word even when there is a suitable English word available. This is especially common among Pakistani writers who do so as an act of abrogation or defiance, in order to strengthen the process of decolonization. 

Below are a few examples of words that some famous postcolonial writers have used in their fiction writing.

  • جشن (jashan) – festival
  • تھانہ (thana) – police station
  • میلہ (mela) – a Punjabi festival

Baisakhi: A Cultural Festival [Mela] of Punjab

Loanwords vs. Pinglish

So far, we have talked about the various manifestations of Pinglish. But now we will focus our attention on loanwords, which are English words commonly used in Urdu without any morphological or semantic changes. These words are taken directly from English and do not have a translation in Urdu. 

Below are some examples of English loanwords in Urdu you’re likely to come across. 

Food-Related Vocabulary

  • برگر (burger)
  • ہوٹل (hotel)
  • سینڈوچ (sandwich)
  • چاکلیٹ (chocolate)
  • چپس (chips)

Be sure to check out our Food vocabulary list to learn more relevant words! 

 Technology-Related Vocabulary

  • کمپیوٹر (computer)
  • ٹیلیویژن (television)
  • فریج (fridge)
  • فریزر (freezer)
  • اوون (oven)
  • موبائل (mobile)
  • انٹرنیٹ (internet)

 For more words, see our vocabulary list on Technology.

Film Industry-Related Vocabulary

  • فلم (film)
  • کیمرہ (camera)
  • مووی (movie)
  • فلم سیٹ (film set)
  • سینما (cinema)
  • تھیٹر (theater)

Are you a film buff? Here are some Useful Words and Phrases for Going to the Movies

A Movie Theater with the Curtains Drawn

More Loanwords

  • پیریڈ (parade)
  • پیٹرول (petrol)
  • نمبر (number)
  • سر (sir)
  • ریڈیو (radio)
  • ماسٹر (master)
  • فلائی اوور (flyover)

How to Say These Names in Urdu 

Having discussed a few intricacies of Pinglish, let’s divert our attention to a lighter subject. Have you ever wondered how Urdu pronunciation affects the way Pakistanis say Western names? Below are a few examples of how Pakistanis pronounce some of the most famous brand and personality names. 

چارلس (Char-las) – Charles

The name ‘Charles’ is given an Urdu touch by being pronounced with two syllables. 

لیڈی ڈیانا (Lady Da-ya-na) – Lady Diana

Despite Lady Diana being one of the most renowned Western celebrities in Pakistan, the majority of the population mispronounces her name. In this case, it’s often broken down into three syllables: ڈیانا (da-ya-na).

نائیکی (Nike-ee) – Nike

Nike is a famous brand in Pakistan, but is pronounced incorrectly as نائیکی (Nike-ee).

قلوپطرہ (Colo-pat-ra) – Cleopatra

The historically famous name ‘Cleopatra’ has been appropriated into Urdu as قلوپطرہ (Colo-pat-ra). As you can see, its Urdu pronunciation is quite different from its English one.

میڈم باوری (Madam Bav-ri) – Madame Bovary

The popular fictitious character ‘Madame Bovary’ becomes میڈم باوری (Madam Bav-ri) in Urdu.

English Words Derived From Urdu

Until now, we’ve discussed how colonization has affected the Urdu language and resulted in what we now know as Pinglish or Pakistani English. But did you know that there are plenty of English words borrowed from Urdu as well? 

During the colonial era, English administrators, missionaries, and travelers picked up certain oriental words and added them to their memoirs and travelogues. Many of these words became an integral part of the English language over time.

Here are just a few examples of common English words from Urdu: 

  • جنگل (jungle)
  • کمربند (cummerbund)
  • خاکی (khaki)
  • پاجامہ (pajama)
  • خوشی (cushy)
  • ٹھگ (thug)

Army Troops Wearing Khaki and Marching

Conclusion

In this article, we introduced you to the various dimensions of Pakistani English and even presented you with English words that originally came from Urdu. We hope you now feel more confident about your upcoming trip to Pakistan and that you’re better equipped to handle day-to-day conversations using Pinglish and loanwords. 

Are there any loanwords we forgot to mention? Or a name you would like to know the Urdu pronunciation of? Drop us a comment and we’ll get back to you! 

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to continue exploring UrduPod101.com. We are the best online platform for learning Urdu and studying Pakistani culture, offering our students a rich repository of resources on Urdu vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and more. Learn Urdu faster and easier than ever before, and start speaking from your first lesson. 

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The Colorful Corridor of Pakistan and its Culture

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Culture defines a nation’s society. Not only does it contextualize the multiple perspectives contained within that nation, but it also influences how people live, behave, engage, and communicate with others. As such, studying a nation’s culture will provide you with the framework you need to make the most of your travels there. It’s also a great opportunity to broaden your horizons by exploring cultural traits unfamiliar or foreign to you. 

While exploring the cultural background of Pakistan, you’ll find its society to be a montage of various cultural and ethnic values of different provinces. Its unique sociopolitical, gastronomic, cultural, historical, and artistic identities are certainly a sight to behold! 

In this Pakistani culture introduction, you’ll gain a wealth of information regarding Pakistan and its culture. We will cover a range of topics, from the political culture of Pakistan to its most popular foods and customs.

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Urdu Table of Contents
  1. Values and Beliefs
  2. Philosophies and Religions
  3. Family and Work
  4. Art and Sports
  5. Food
  6. Traditional Holidays
  7. Conclusion

1. Values and Beliefs

Minar-e-Pakistan, a National Monument of Pakistan

While Pakistan is not a ‘melting pot’ nation, it does feature numerous provinces and sub-regional cultures with their own sets of traditions. This creates a kaleidoscope of customs that reflects our unity in diversity. Let’s take a look at how this ‘kaleidoscope’ applies to the values and beliefs held throughout Pakistan. 

A- The Cultural Kaleidoscope of Pakistan

What comes to mind when you think of the ‘typical’ Pakistani? A man wearing a شلوار، قمیض، شیروانی (shalwar, qameez, sherwani) and speaking the Urdu language? If so, you’re not necessarily wrong. But to really understand Pakistani culture and society, you must dig deeper. There is a lot of diversity to be discovered!

In Pakistan, each province contributes to enriching our cultural kaleidoscope without compromising its own unique indigenous identity. To give you a clearer picture of what this Pakistani cultural diversity looks like, let’s have a brief look at life in the different cultural regions throughout the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Punjab

Population-wise, پنجاب (Punjab) is Pakistan’s largest province. The language spoken here is Punjabi. It is customary for the men of Punjab to wear shalwar and qameez, though you can also find a large number of men wearing pants and a shirt in the metropolitan areas. Women wear شلوار، قمیض، دوپٹہ (shalwar, qameez, dupatta). Traditional men still cover their heads with a پگڑی (pagri), or turban.

Sindh

Sindh is another provincial unit of Pakistan with its own unique history, culture, and language. The language spoken here is Sindhi. In addition to the شلوار قمیض (shalwar, qameez) mentioned earlier, men of Sindh also wear a سندھی ٹوپی (Sindhi topi), or Sindhi cap, or a shawl called اجرک (ajrak). Like Punjabi women, Sindhi women also tend to wear شلوار، قمیض، دوپٹہ (shalwar, qameez, dupatta).

Balochistan

Territorially, Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan. Due to its remoteness, it is quite orthodox and more traditional in its cultural approach. People in this region live in tribes, and the province’s indigenous language is Balochi. Men wear شلوار، قمیض، بلوچی پگڑی (shalwar, qameez, Balochi pagri), while women wear a headscarf, a long upper dress, and a shalwar

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, and it parallels the traditionalist and orthodox approach of Balochistan. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also features a tribal system in which people prefer living in tribes and clans. Men wear شلوار، قمیض، پختون پگڑی (shalwar, qameez, Pakhtoon pagri) and women wear فراک پرتوگ (firaq partug), which is a Pashtun type of shalwar and qameez.

B- Motto & Slogan

Even though there is much diversity in the ways of living of these major provincial units, Pakistanis are bound together with a common motto and slogan. 

ایمان، اتحاد، تنظیم (Iman, Ittihad, Tanzeem) – Faith, Unity, Discipline

ایمان، اتحاد، تنظیم (Iman, Ittihad, Tanzeem) translates to “Faith, Unity, Discipline.” This motto has become the unifying force among Pakistanis. It was put forward by the nation’s founder, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, whom Pakistanis revere as the father of the nation.

پاکستان زندہ باد (Pakistan Zindabad)

The national slogan of Pakistan is پاکستان زندہ باد (Pakistan Zindabad), meaning “Long Live Pakistan.” It is customary to raise this slogan at all national festivities to ensure patriotism and strengthen the nation’s unity.

A Few People Holding Pakistani Flags in Their Hands in an Ecstatic Mood

2. Philosophies and Religions

Pakistani culture and traditions are largely influenced by our dominant religions and philosophical ideals. In this section, we’ll discuss the most important information regarding the topics of philosophy and religion in Pakistan. 

اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکستان (Islami Jamhooria Pakistan) – The Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Pakistan is an ideological country that attained independence in the name of Islam. Therefore, the country is named after the Islamic religion: اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکستان (Islami Jamhooriya Pakistan).

دو قومی نظریہ (Do Qaumi Nazria) – Two-Nations Theory

At the time of the decolonization of the subcontinent in 1947, Pakistan was encouraged to remain a part of the united sub-continent. However, Pakistanis had already defined their national philosophy in the form of the دو قومی نظریہ (do qomi nazriya), or “two-nations theory.” 

This theory states that Muslims are part of a separate nation from the Hindus. Further, it states that Muslims have a different religion, culture, and language from the Hindus, as well as distinct ways of worshipping and living. 

The two-nation theory was postulated and popularized by the father of the Pakistani nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

A Portrait of the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Probably on a Postal Stamp

An Ideal Islamic State/Sovereignty of Islam

Since Pakistan was founded on the ideology of Islam, it seeks guidance from the two Islamic sources: the Holy Quran and Hadith. The National Assembly of Pakistan passed the current Constitution of Pakistan on April 10, 1973. The constitution also seeks guidance from the Holy Quran and Hadith, and never contradicts them.

Freedom of Religion for Minorities

Despite being an Islamic state, Pakistan allows minorities to exercise full religious freedom in light of The Constitution of Pakistan. You will also see an inter-religious harmony in Pakistani society, refuting the narratives of fundamentalism.

3. Family and Work

Like in any country, family and work are two integral aspects of daily life in Pakistan. The institution of family, in particular, is a cementing force in Pakistani society. Let’s take a closer look.

A- The Joint Family System

In Pakistani culture, family life is largely centered on the joint family system. According to this system, several generations of a family live together under the same roof, with one person heading the household. While you may also find nuclear families in Pakistan, they are uncustomary and few in number. Nuclear families tend to be more popular in urban areas than in the countryside.


B- Friendship and Unmarried Couples

Because Pakistan is an Islamic country, you will not find opposite-sex friendships here. It is also illegal to move in with someone as a couple or friend if you’re not married to that person.

C- Government vs. Private Sector

Whether it’s a remnant from the Colonial era or due to some other reason, Pakistani people prefer to enter the civil services rather than the private sector in their work. In general, they associate civil services with the sense of security government jobs offer.

D- Work Ethics 

In Pakistan, you’ll find that most places have gender segregation. For this reason, there are separate work ethic expectations and protocols for both genders. For example, male employees may be asked to spend extra time at the office while a female employee would not face this situation.

4. Art and Sports

Art is part and parcel of any culture. As such, you would be hard-pressed to find a culture that doesn’t preserve its indigenous arts! Pakistani culture features a rich artistic history, and the country also has a strong presence in the sports world. Take a look.

A- Legacy of Mughal Art

Originating in the sixteenth century, the Mughal dynasty of the Muslim rulers contributed greatly to the cultural art of the sub-continent. After partition from India, Pakistan received a large heritage of Mughal art in different domains. The Mughals encouraged generous patronage to different art forms like music, architecture, painting, and calligraphy.

The Lahore Fort, a Building Reminiscent of the Mughal Architecture in Pakistan

B- Pakistani Music, Dramas, and Movies

After gaining its independence in 1947, Pakistan made great progress in its film, music, and TV industries. The dramas telecasted by the national TV channel of Pakistan (PTV) were widely popular among the neighboring countries because of their strong scripts and high standards of acting. The Pakistani film industry, named Lollywood, has gone through different boom and bane periods and is now struggling to once again raise its standard.

Classical and semi-classical are the most-praised forms of Pakistani music. Pakistan has produced many great names in these genres, including Ustad Mehdi Hasan Khan, Ustad Ghulam Ali Khan, and Madam Noor Jehan.

C- Calligraphy and Painting

Contemporary Pakistani artists have benefited from the legacy left behind by Mughal calligraphy and paintings, and have taken this legacy to the pinnacle of their careers. In the fields of calligraphy and painting, we must mention two names who greatly contributed to these fine arts: Sadequain and Chughtai. 

D- Pakistani Literature 

Pakistani culture finds its due representation in the domain of Pakistani literature. Pakistan has produced many poets, novelists, and dramatists of worldwide merit. To give you an idea of the most prominent names:

Poets

  • Faiz Ahmad Faiz
  • Ahmad Faraz
  • Muneer Niazi

Short Story Writers

  • Saadat Hasan Manto
  • Ghulam Abbas

Novelists

  • Abdullah Hussain
  • Mumtaz Mufti
  • Quratul-ain-Haider

Pakistani Literature Written in English

  • Taufiq Raffat
  • Ahmad Ali
  • Mohsin Hamid
  • Kamila Shamsi

Be sure to check out our vocabulary list for Talking About Books in Urdu to learn some useful vocabulary! 

E- Sports

Pakistanis are a sports-loving people. The average Pakistani is well-built, muscular, and loves physical activities. Hockey is the national sport of Pakistan; nevertheless, cricket is the most popular. Pakistan won the Cricket World Cup in 1992. کبڈی (kabaddi) and کشتی (kushti) are two other indigenous sports of Pakistan, both of them well-loved and often-played throughout the country. 

    → See our lesson on Sports to learn some relevant Urdu vocabulary—and to familiarize yourself with the top five sports in Pakistan.

5. Food

Pakistan can be described as a foodie nation. In Pakistani culture, food is considered one of life’s pleasures, and Pakistanis enjoy eating a good meal and arranging food-related festivities. Pakistani cuisine has a long list of specialties! Because we can’t list all of the delicacies here, we’ll just introduce you to the most popular ones. 

چکن/مٹن کڑاہی (Chicken/Mutton Karrahi)

To make this dish, the meat is fried right in front of the customer. Tomatoes, onions, ginger, chilis, and lemon are then added, in addition to a variety of spices including: coriander, pepper powder, cumin seeds, and red button chilis.

نهاری (Nihari)

The main ingredients in Nihari are meat, onion, ginger-garlic paste, chili paste, yogurt, and wheat flour. Coriander, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and cardamom give it a special aroma. Lemon and ginger make the best garnishes for this dish.

بریانی (Biryani)

Filled with the aroma of Pakistani Basmati rice, this dish is one of the most popular Desi main courses. To make this dish, rice is boiled in water and then combined with meat and cooked with the following ingredients: green chili paste, ginger-garlic paste, coriander, cumin, yogurt, black pepper, and bay leaf.

حلیم (Haleem)

The meat is cooked while mixing grains and lentils in with it. Spices like cumin, coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon are added later to add flavor and aroma.

چپلی کباب (Chapli Kabab)

This dish consists of minced mutton or beef (with a reasonable amount of fat in it) that is deep-fried in boiling oil. Other ingredients include onion, ginger, garlic, tomato, coriander, and chilis.

A Traditional Pakistani Delicacy: Chapli Kabab

6. Traditional Holidays

While visiting Pakistan, you’ll notice that Pakistanis celebrate many holidays of religious significance. However, there are also a few holidays that are more secular in nature. Let’s take a look.

یومِ آزادی (Youm-e-Azadi) – Independence Day

August 14 is a national holiday to commemorate the Independence Day of Pakistan. The country received its independence on August 14, 1947.عیدین (Eidain)

A Father and Son Embracing Each Other at the Sight of the Moon in the Background

Pakistanis celebrate three عیدین (Eidain), or Eids, at different times of the year.

عیدالفطر (Eid-ul-fitr) is celebrated after the completion of the holy month of Ramadan on the first day of the Islamic month Shawwal. عیدالاضحٰی (Eid-ul-azha) is celebrated on the tenth of Zilhaj. Pakistanis normally get three days of holiday for both of these Eids. 

The final Eid celebrates the birthday of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). This is a public holiday celebrated on the twelfth of the holy month of Rabi-ul-awwal. It’s called عید میلاد النبی (Eid Milad-ul-nabi).

The Mosque of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad [Peace Be Upon Him]

 (Ashur)

Ashur is a public holiday celebrated on the tenth of the Islamic month of Moharam to commemorate the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

یومِ یکجہتئ کشمیر (Youm-e-Yakjehti E Kashmir) – Kashmir Solidarity Day

Every year on February 5, Pakistanis observe this public holiday to exhibit solidarity with the Indian-occupied Kashmiris and to help them achieve their right of self-determination.

یومِ مزدور (Youm-e-mazdoor) – Labor Day

On May 1, all public and private offices and institutions remain closed.

یومِ پاکستان (Youm-e-Pakistan) – Pakistan Day

March 23 is a national holiday to commemorate the historic achievement of the Muslims of the sub-continent on this particular date in 1940. The Muslims of the sub-continent passed the Resolution of Pakistan on this date at the historical Minto Park Lahore.  

7. Conclusion

In this guide to Pakistani culture, you’ve learned a lot of practical information that you can start applying to your language studies or travel plans right away. Did we forget to bring up any particular detail about Pakistan? If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments; we’ll get back to you as soon as possible! 

In the meantime, don’t forget to explore UrduPod101.com to benefit from this extremely rich repository of Urdu language learning resources. Here, you’ll have access to a variety of useful Urdu linguistic resources, including an Urdu dictionary, pronunciation tips, vocabulary lists, and grammar lessons. We also aim to include practical cultural information in each of our lessons, so you can get a more immersive learning experience.

Very Happy Urdu Learning!

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Let’s Take a Tour of Some Mouthwatering Pakistani Foods

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We’ve all heard the cliché that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. 

But are you familiar with the following words from George Bernard Shaw? 

There is no love sincerer than the love of food. 

Or these from Virginia Woolf? 

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

Considering the significant role that food plays in our lives, we’ve decided to compose an entire article dedicated to Pakistani food and cuisine. In this article, you’ll learn about a variety of traditional Pakistani dishes, from Pakistani street food to recipes you can make at home. You’ll also discover some facts about Pakistani food culture and pick up essential food-related vocabulary. 

Let’s dig in.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Urdu Table of Contents
  1. Must-Try Dishes in Pakistani Restaurants
  2. Unique Pakistani Foods
  3. Food-Related Vocabulary
  4. Cultural Tips Regarding Food in Pakistan
  5. Conclusion

1. Must-Try Dishes in Pakistani Restaurants

A superb way to begin is with some widely popular Desi dishes of Pakistan. You’ll find them available at just about any Pakistani restaurant, with few exceptions.

چکن/مٹن کڑاہی (Chicken/Mutton Karahi)

Chicken or mutton Karahi is one of the most popular main courses in Pakistani restaurants. Karahi refers to the cookware the meal is cooked (and sometimes also served) in. It’s a metal pan, often made of iron, with a flattened base.

The meat (either chicken or mutton) is fried in an open fire until tender, usually right in front of the customers. Seeing the meat cooked in front of you makes the dish more desirable. The main ingredients include: 

  • Chicken/Mutton (cut into small pieces)
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Ginger
  • Chilis
  • Lemon 

Common spices include coriander, pepper powder, cumin seeds, and red button chilis.

The meat can be served with butter, and many Desi foodies love to have it cooked in desi ghee which makes the meal very authentically Desi. The best time to have this dish is in the evening, though it’s also served in the afternoon.

Of course, روٹی (roti) and نان (naan) are Pakistani food staples that will always be present at the table. Enjoy your karahi with a crispy Roti or Nan.

Chicken Karahi recipe

Karahi Dish

 (Nihari)

Nihari, another Desi delicacy, is said to have been the recipe of the eighteenth century. It’s associated with the Nawabs of the Indian subcontinent. Since, etymologically, the word is derived from the Urdu word نہار (nihar) meaning “morning,” it’s clear to see that the best time to enjoy this dish is in the morning at breakfast time.

On average, it takes 6-8 hours to cook beef Nihari, though the time frame may change for lamb or chicken. This dish’s main ingredients are:

  • Meat
  • Onion
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Chili paste
  • Yogurt
  • Wheat flour

The main spices are coriander, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and cardamom. Lemon, ginger, and coriander can also be used as tasty garnishes.

Nihari recipe

 (Biryani)

The first two Pakistani dishes we described are served with Roti or Nan. Now, let’s move toward something a little different: Biryani. This is a frequent main course in Pakistani homes and restaurants, easily identified by the unique aroma of Pakistani Basmati rice.

Its main ingredient is rice boiled in water, and you can add chicken, mutton, or beef depending on your preferences. This dish features a range of flavors from spices like: 

  • Green chili paste
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Yogurt
  • Black pepper
  • Bay leaf

Note that this dish has a completely different taste and texture when cooked in the cauldron! 

Biryani recipe

Biryani Dish

 (Haleem)

Haleem is another must-eat Pakistani Desi dish. Beef is usually the main ingredient, but you can replace it with chicken or mutton. This dish also includes grains and lentils, including rice, mixed lentils, barley, and wheat. 

Cumin, coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon are commonly used to flavor haleem. Popular garnishes include chopped ginger, fried onion, green chilis, and lemon wedges.

Haleem recipe

 (Sajji)

It’s not unusual to see whole chickens being barbecued at small ‘Sajji corners’ throughout Pakistan. Sajji is a common delicacy everywhere in the country. That said, you should expect a little bit of variation in the recipe and ingredients depending on the region.

Originally, Sajji was a Balochi dish from the nomads of Balochistan. But today, it’s just as popular among Pakistanis all over the country. 

Sajji is barbecued on the coals; a whole chicken is grilled on the fire and served with a great deal of simplicity, with or without fried rice. Other ingredients and spices used in this simple meal include: 

  • Vinegar
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Black pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon

Sajji recipe

 (Chapli Kabab)

The authentic Pakistani cuisine item chapli kabab, also called Chappal kabab, is a delicacy of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (the Northern Western province of Pakistan). The city of Peshawar is the most famous place to order chapli kabab in the country. 

The most important ingredient in this dish is mince of mutton or beef, preferably with a reasonable amount of fat. Other essentials include:

  • Onion
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Tomato
  • Coriander
  • Chilis 

After marinating the mixture for an hour or two, the kababs are ready to be fried and enjoyed. They’re typically served with Naan or Roti.

The unique flavor and aroma of these kababs distinguish them from the rest!

Chapli Kabab recipe

Chapli Kebab

 (Hareesa)

Another popular Desi Pakistani recipe, Hareesa consists of a meat, porridge, and lentil mixture. This dish demands patience; it’s cooked slowly and requires constant stirring.

Beef is the ideal meat for this delicacy, though people may use lamb or chicken instead. It’s also worth noting that three types of lentils are used: channa, moong, and maash

Although it looks like gravy, Hareesa is ultimately unique from other Desi gravies in its taste and texture. When it’s ready, some chefs add kababs or koftas (meatballs) to it to make it thicker. It’s then served with Roti or Naan.

Hareesa recipe

 (Paye)

One of the most popular Pakistani cuisine dishes, paye (goat/calf trotters) are often served as the main course at breakfast. This delicacy is normally eaten during winter, but it’s easily available year-round as it’s never out of demand. To prepare it, one uses goat/cow trotters and spices them with: 

  • Coriander
  • Red chili
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Onions
  • Oil
  • Salt

You can get ready-to-cook paye in any meat market in Pakistan. This delicacy tastes best when served fresh with lemon wedges, green coriander, and green chilis for garnish.

Paye recipe

2. Unique Pakistani Foods

Having discussed some finger-licking main course Desi Pakistani dishes, let’s expand your knowledge of Pakistani food culture. Below is a list of unique Pakistani foods that are typically used as side dishes, appetizers, desserts, or staples to be eaten with certain main course dishes.

پراٹھہ (Paratha)

In Pakistan, paratha is a staple food that can be used with curry in place of Roti or Naan. It can also be stuffed with potatoes or mince and eaten as a main course. It’s made by kneading wheat flour and frying it in oil or desi ghee on a traditional tawa (a Desi utensil).

Paratha

 (Lassi)

Lassi is a traditional Pakistani drink, usually taken alongside breakfast. It’s prepared by blending yogurt, milk, butter, and sugar or salt.

Glasses of Lassi

 (Halwa Poori)

While visiting Pakistan, never miss Halwa Poori at breakfast; it’s a real exotic specialty of Pakistani cuisine. This typical Desi breakfast consists of fried bread served with the traditional sweet dish halwa. A curry of chickpeas (channay) is another integral part of this meal.

Halwa Poori

 (Gol Gappay)

For those who love spicy foods, Gol Gappay is a must-try dish. You’ll enjoy the hollow, ball-like fried Poori with the tamarind drink. You may fill the Poori with boiled chickpeas or aloo-chat to discover a range of flavors.

 (Sweets/Desserts)

We can’t forget dessert. Never underestimate the power of Pakistani sweets—they’re good enough to challenge any main course! There are three Pakistani desserts you really need to try on your visit:

1.  جلیبی (Jalebi)

Jalebi consists of maida flour batter that’s been fried in a circular shape and then dipped in sugar syrup. This usually red-colored Pakistani sweet is a treat for the eyes and the tongue! We recommend you treat your taste buds to it during your visit.

2.  رس ملائی (Ras Malai)

Ras Malai (roughly translated to “juicy cream” in English) is a Desi Pakistani dessert consisting of milk, sugar, cream, cardamom, saffron, and pistachio.

3. گلاب جامُن (Gulab Jamun)

Gulab Jamun is known as the national sweet of Pakistan. It’s prepared with dried milk (khoya), oil, and flour (maida). It’s dipped in sugar syrup and flavors such as saffron, rose water, and cardamom are added to it.

3. Food-Related Vocabulary

Now that you’re good and hungry for Desi Pakistani cuisine, it’s time to jump into some practical vocabulary. We’ll cover phrases you can use during conversations or at the restaurant, as well as other food-related words you should know!

    → For even more words and their pronunciation, you can visit our Food vocabulary list.

Basic Phrases

مجھے سخت بھوک لگی ہے۔
Mujhe sakht bhook lagi hai.
I am very hungry.

مجھے بھوک نہیں ہے۔
Mujhe bhook nahi hai.
I am not hungry.

مجھے لسّی پسند ہے۔
Mujhe lassi pasand hai.
I like lassi.

مجھے سلاد پسند نہیں ہے۔
Mujhe salaad pasand nahi hai.
I don’t like salad.

میں گوشت نہیں کھاتا۔
Mei gosht nahi khata.
I don’t eat meat.

مجھے سی فوڈ سے الرجی ہے۔
Mujhe seafood se allergy hai.
I am allergic to seafood.

میرا پسندیدہ کھانا پلاؤ ہے۔
Mera pasandeeda khana pulao hai.
My favorite dish is pulao.

Ingredients

Whether you plan on reading through some Pakistani food recipes in Urdu or just want to add to your core vocabulary, these ingredient words will come in handy.

  • چینی (cheeni) – sugar
  • نمک (namak) – salt
  • لال مرچ (lal mirch) – red chili
  • کالی مرچ (kaali mirch) – pepper
  • تیل (teil) – oil
  • دودھ (doodh) – milk
  • پانی (pani) – water
  • آٹا (aata) – flour
  • پھل (phal) – fruit
  • گوشت (gosht) – meat
  • سبزی (sabzi) – vegetable

Utensils

You should also be familiar with the names of common cooking utensils:

  • کڑاہی (karrahi) – a type of Desi cooking pan
  • تندور (tandoor) – a type of Desi oven
  • دیگ (deig) – cauldron
  • چاقو (chaqoo) – knife

To learn more utensil-related vocabulary, please visit our vocabulary list for Talking About Utensils and Tableware in Urdu

Cooking Verbs

Here are a few cooking verbs you’ll come across often in recipes:

  • پکانا (pakana) – to cook
  • تلنا (talna) – to fry
  • کاٹنا (katna) – to cut
  • چیلنا (cheelna) – to peel

You can find more useful words and their pronunciations on our list of Essential Vocabulary About Cooking

How to Order at a Restaurant

Learn the following Urdu sentences to impress the crew of a Pakistani restaurant with your Urdu speaking skills.

مینو لائیں۔
menu layain
Bring the menu.

آپ کھانا کتنی دیر میں لاؤ گے؟
aap khana kitni der mei lao gey?
How much time will you take to bring food?

بِِل لے آئیں۔
bill le ayain.
Bill, please.

To learn more relevant phrases, please visit our list of the Most Useful Phrases and Vocabulary for Ordering Food in Urdu.

4. Cultural Tips Regarding Food in Pakistan

Because Pakistan is an Islamic country, it has some cultural specificities concerning food. Let’s wade through these customs together so you can become familiar with them and respect them while in Pakistan.

Remember to Ask for Hilal Food Only

Pakistani society is traditionally orthodox and Islamic, so you should never ask for any food item that’s not Hilal. If you insist on doing so, you’ll have to face the music. We recommend that you don’t do this under any circumstances.

Hospitality in Pakistan

Because Pakistan is a tradition-bound society, you’ll find that the majority of the population follows the tradition of hospitality. If you’re a guest, they’ll go out of their way to entertain you. 

On a side note, if you have a Pakistani host who has invited you to a meal, do not try to pay the bill. He will take this as a token of discourtesy.

5. Conclusion

In this article, you’ve learned about the most popular Pakistani foods, relevant vocabulary, and crucial Pakistani food customs.

Are you ready to order your favorite Pakistani dish in Urdu? Have we answered all your questions? If we missed anything, please let us know in the comments and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Continue exploring UrduPod101.com to speed up your Urdu language learning process. Our website is a huge compendium of Urdu language learning resources that will prove useful in improving your Urdu vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and more.

Very Happy Urdu Learning!

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A Concise Guide to Urdu Grammar

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Edgar Allan Poe believed, “A man’s grammar, like Caesar’s wife, should not only be pure, but above suspicion of impurity.” 

If you want to sanctify your Urdu grammar, you’re in the right place.

The structure of every language hinges upon its grammar. Having a basic understanding of a language’s grammar allows learners to fine-tune their listening comprehension and use the language clearly and accurately.

On this page, UrduPod101.com will inspire you to learn Urdu grammar in full by providing you with comprehensive overviews of the Urdu grammar basics and showing you how everything falls together.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Urdu Table of Contents
  1. The Urdu Script and Transliteration System
  2. Urdu Syntax and Word Order
  3. Verbs and Tenses
  4. Nouns
  5. Pronouns
  6. Adjectives
  7. Negation
  8. Interrogation
  9. Conclusion

1. The Urdu Script and Transliteration System

Urdu is a complete language with a unique script. It borrows its script from two widely popular oriental languages: Persian and Arabic. خطِ نستعلیق (khat-e-Nastaliq) is the standard Urdu writing system, which emerged from a mixture of two different writing scripts called Naskh and Talique. As a rule, you’ll find it written from right to left (instead of left to right, like in English). This writing script includes thirty-eight letters and ten vowel marks (called airaabs).


2. Urdu Syntax and Word Order

As an English speaker, you’re probably used to the SVO (Subject + Verb + Object) word order. Well, in Urdu grammar, sentences follow the SOV (Subject + Object + Verb) order, where the verb and object switch places.

Urdu is called a ‘verb final’ language because, syntactically, the verb comes at the end of the sentence.

To understand this properly, have a look at the following example:

میں چائے پیتا ہوں۔
mei chaye peeta hun.
Subject + Object + Verb

In English, this sentence would be:

I take tea.
Subject + Verb + Object

The word order will take some getting used to, but with enough practice and exposure, it will become second-nature to you.

Apple-cinnamon Tea

I take tea.

3. Verbs and Tenses

In Urdu grammar, verbs are rather complex. That said, it’s generally best to start learning the Urdu verbs in their basic (infinitive) form.

Urdu Infinitives

Urdu infinitives always end with نا (na):

  •  بولنا (bolna) – “to speak”
  • ہنسنا (hansna) – “to laugh”
  •  دوڑنا (dodhna) – “to run”

See our article on the 100+ Must-Know Urdu Verbs on UrduPod101.com to learn the most common verbs and how to use them.

The Conjugation of Urdu Verbs

Once you’ve learned a good number of Urdu infinitives, you’ll be better placed to start learning how to conjugate them. We’ll admit that Urdu verb conjugation is pretty complex, but there are several keys to it that will make the process simpler for you over time.

Urdu verbs conjugate according to the tense, person, number, gender, and mood. For the purposes of this overview, we’ll discuss the two most important factors: tense and gender.

Tenses

In Urdu grammar, tenses affect conjugation in a consistent manner. To see what we mean, study the example given below.

سونا (sona) is the base for the Urdu verb that means “to sleep.” Now, let’s have a look at how it conjugates in the present, past, and future simple tenses.

وہ سوتا ہے۔
woh sota hai.
“He sleeps.”

وہ سویا۔
woh soya.
“He slept.”

وہ سوئے گا۔
woh soye ga.
“He will sleep.”

A Baby Comfortably Sleeping in a Blanket

Gender

Gender also plays a vital role in the conjugation of Urdu verbs. Let’s see how gender affects the conjugation of سونا (sona), or “to sleep.”

Male:

میں سوتا ہوں۔
mein sota hun.
“I sleep.”

Female:

میں سوتی ہوں۔
mein soti hun.
“I sleep.”

You can see that the English translation of the sentence remains the same, while the gender of the subject has conjugated the verb in Urdu.

To learn everything about verb conjugation in Urdu, visit our Urdu Verb Conjugation article on UrduPod101.com.

The Symbols of Male and Female Genders Drawn on a Blackboard

4. Nouns

Now that we’ve talked about verbs and their conjugation, let’s spend some time discussing the Urdu nouns.

Every Noun Has a Gender 

Remember: In Urdu, every noun has a gender. This means that it’s necessary for foreigners to learn the nouns with their proper gender. 

For example:

  • کرسی (kursi) – “chair” [feminine]
  • میز (maze) – “table” [masculine]

Once you acquire the skill of using Urdu nouns properly, it means that you’ve covered a long distance in your learning and aren’t very far away from total mastery!

Chairs and a Table, Probably a Kitchen’s Furniture

Noun Types and Placement in Sentences

The two basic noun types in Urdu are: 

  • اسمِ نکرہ (isme nakirah) – “common noun”
  • اسمِ معرفہ (isme marfa) – “proper noun” 

They play the same roles in Urdu as their counterparts do in English. Normally, Urdu nouns are placed between the subject and verb of a sentence.

To know more on this topic, read our Urdu Nouns article on UrduPod101.com.

5. Pronouns

Just like English pronouns, Urdu pronouns play a significant role in the structure and function of sentences. They replace nouns that are mentioned more than once in order to avoid repetition.

Basic Types of Urdu Pronouns

Urdu uses many of the same pronoun types as English does. For example, you’ll find the following groups in Urdu:

  • ضمیر متکلم (zameer mutkallam) – “first person”
  • ضمیر حاضر (zameer hazir) – “second person”
  • ضمیر غائب (zameer ghayab) – “third person”

The Special Case of تم (tum) and آپ (aap)

In Pakistan, always be vigilant when using the second person pronoun “you,” which can be translated two ways: آپ (aap) and تم (tum). You must use the former with people you don’t know, the elderly, or those who are above you in status; it sounds the most respectful and formal. Use the latter only if you’ve developed a high level of intimacy with the other person. Otherwise, you may face some serious repercussions.

To explore this topic further, read our Urdu Pronoun article on UrduPod101.com.

A Woman Raising Her Finger to a Man in Anger

6. Adjectives

Like those in English, Urdu adjectives describe nouns and thus are a crucial element of Urdu grammar. Let’s have a cursory look at the nature and function of Urdu adjectives.

The first thing that you must learn is that the gender of an adjective is determined by the noun:  

  • گہرا دریا (gehra darya) – “deep river”
  • گہری نہر (gehri nehar) – “deep canal”

In the first example, the adjective گہرا (gehra) is used in masculine form because the noun دریا (darya) is masculine. In the second example, the adjective گہری (gehri) is used in feminine form because the noun نہر (nehar) is feminine. Thus, you can see how Urdu adjectives must agree in gender with the noun they describe.

Also remember that Urdu adjectives are normally placed before the nouns they describe. 

7. Negation

In the Urdu language, نہیں (nahi) and نہ (nah) are the most important words of negation. They are equivalent to “no” or “not” in English. Being able to use these words of negation in your own Urdu sentences is a huge milestone, as it will allow you to communicate more complex thoughts. 

Here are a couple of examples of how these words can be used:

یہ نہ کرو۔
yeh na karo.
“Don’t do this.”

میں تم سے ناراض نہیں ہوں۔
mein tum se naraz nahi hun.
“I am not angry with you.”

A Girl Gesturing to Negate and Decline Something

8. Interrogation

You can hardly imagine a conversation without questions, right? Let’s look at how to form questions in Urdu! 

Words of Interrogation

The first step is to memorize the question words in Urdu. These are:

  • کیا (kia) – “what”
  • کیوں (kyun) – “why”
  • کب (kab) – “when”
  • کہاں (kahan) – “where”
  • کیسے (kaise) – “how”

Using These Words in Questions

Got it? Great! Then let’s see how to form interrogative sentences with them. 

You can form questions by placing the appropriate question word at the beginning of the sentence or after the subject. 

کیا تم خوش ہو؟
kia tum khush ho?
“Are you happy?”

 تم کیسے ہو؟
tum kaise ho?
“How are you?”

تم کیوں ناراض ہو؟
tum kyun naraz ho?
“Why are you angry?”

تم کہاں ہو؟
tum kahan ho?
“Where are you?”

تم کب آؤ گے؟
tum kab aaoge?
“When will you come?”

A Boy Gesturing to Ask a Question

9. Conclusion

We’ve now guided you on the basic Urdu grammar rules. You can always use this concise Urdu grammar guide as a quick reference point for your Urdu learning in the future. 

How do you feel so far? If you have any questions or concerns about something we covered here, don’t hesitate to let us know! We’ll be glad to help you out. And if you feel like you need to go over this information with fresh eyes, check out our lesson Painless Urdu Grammar

If you enjoyed this lesson and want to learn more with us, feel free to explore UrduPod101.com. We are a rich repository of Urdu language learning resources designed to enhance your Urdu vocabulary, pronunciation, and other relevant skills.

Very Happy Urdu Learning! 

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