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Lesson Transcript

Afrah: Assalam u alaikum Urdupod101.com mein khush amdeed.
Eric: Hi everyone, and welcome to Urdupod101.com. This is All About lesson 3, Painless Urdu Grammar. I’m Eric.
Afrah: Oh no, Urdu grammar!
Eric: I am sure some listeners are having that very same reaction right about now, but we’re here to tell you that there’s nothing to worry about. We’ve made Urdu grammar so simple that you’ll wonder what the fuss was all about.
Afrah: You’ll be surprised to learn that in comparison with English or other foreign languages, some parts of Urdu grammar are amazingly easy.
Eric: Easy, you say. How can that be possible? Well, we’re about to show you, listeners!
Afrah: Okay, so let’s get started.

Lesson focus

Eric: First, what we want to do is to take a look at English. English is what we call an SVO language.
Afrah: Eric, what does SVO stand for?
Eric: Subject, verb, object. SVO. That means that in an English sentence, the subject always comes first, followed by the verb and then the object. That’s how English sentences are put together.
Afrah: Can we have an example?
Eric: For example, “I eat bread.” “I” here is the subject or the one doing the action. “Eat” is the verb or the action that’s taking place, and lastly “bread” is the object that receives the action.
Afrah: So now I understand. That’s SVO.
Eric: Some other examples would be “I read the newspaper,” or “I watch TV.” These are all SVO sentences.
Afrah: Urdu uses a different sentence order than English. Urdu is a Subject, Object, Verb language, or SOV.
Eric: What’s an example?
Afrah: shyam khat likhta hai.
Eric: Which means “Shyam writes a letter.”
Afrah: Here, Shyam is the subject, khat is the object, and likhta is the verb.
Eric: I see. So here, it differs from English.
Afrah: Yes. Now we’ll show you some more points.
Eric: What we’ve decided to do is compare Urdu grammar examples to English grammar examples so that you can really see the differences. First, let’s talk about gender.
Afrah: Sure. In Urdu, there are two genders for nouns – masculine and feminine.
Eric: That means Urdu is similar to many other Indo-European languages such as Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. So can you give us an example?
Afrah: Okay. I’ll give you the word one time at natural native speed and then Eric can give the English translation. Then I can give you the same word again syllable by syllable, followed by the word again at natural native speed. Is that okay?
Eric: Yeah. That sounds good. Let’s have a listen. First we have...
Afrah: beta
Eric: “Son.”
Afrah: be-ta. beta
Eric: And next
Afrah: beti
Eric: “Daughter.”
Afrah: be-ti. beti
Eric: And next we have
Afrah: ladka
Eric: “Boy.”
Afrah: lad-ka. ladka.
Eric: And next we have
Afrah: ladki
Eric: “Girl.”
Afrah: lad-ki. ladki.
Eric: So in Urdu, it seems like you just add an [e] sound to the word to make it feminine.
Afrah: Yeah, that’s correct. And for masculine words, you just put the [aa] sound at the end.
Eric: That should make things pretty simple.
Afrah: Well, there are exceptions, but that’s the general rule.
Eric: I see. Let’s now have a look at singular and plural.
Afrah: In Urdu, the verb “to be” is hai. It’s always placed at the end of the sentence.
Eric: Do Urdu words also change to reflect plurals, like English?
Afrah: Yes. Let us see some examples.
Eric: Okay so what we are going to do again is give you the word one time at natural native speed. Then we’ll give you the English translation, after which we will break it down syllable by syllable and then give you the word again at natural native speed. Afrah, can you start? Here’s a word we heard before.
Afrah: ladka
Eric: “Boy.”
Afrah: lad-ka. ladka.
Eric: And next?
Afrah: ladke
Eric: “Boys.”
Afrah: lad-ke. ladke
Eric: Next.
Afrah: ladki
Eric: “Girl.”
Afrah: la-d-ki. ladki.
Eric: And next, the plural.
Afrah: ladkiyan
Eric: “Girls.”
Afrah: la-d-ki-yan. ladkiyan.
Eric: Next.
Afrah: kitab
Eric: “Book.”
Afrah: ki-tab. kitab.
Eric: And next.
Afrah: kitaben
Eric: “Books.”
Afrah: ki-ta-ben. kitaben.
Eric: And next we have
Afrah: Aurat
Eric: “Woman.”
Afrah: . Au-rat Aurat.
Eric: And finally,
Afrah: Aurataen
Eric: “Women.”
Afrah: aw-ra-taen. auraten. So Eric, what do you think? Do you have the pattern already?
Eric: Yes, it seems pretty simple, I just have to practice.
Afrah: You’ll definitely get more of it in our more advanced lessons. Now let’s see how Urdu verbs conjugate according to the subject.
Eric: The verb conjugation depends on who is doing the action. Can we hear some examples?
Afrah: Sure. main jata hoon. Here the subject is masculine
Eric: That means “I go,” right?
Afrah: Yes. It’s main jati hoon when the subject is feminine.
Eric: Which again means “I go.”
Afrah: Yes. Your gender will determine whether you add [ta] or [ti] to the end of the verb.
Eric: Good to know. The next point we will be talking about is tense.
Afrah: First, what is tense?
Eric: Good question. Tense refers to time, so the past, present and future. There are tons of tenses in English with scary names like present perfect continuous and things like that.
Afrah: Well I think those scare a lot of English listeners too.
Eric: Yes, and that’s why you will be glad to know that in Urdu, words are modified or conjugated in the same way as English.
Afrah: That’s correct.
Eric: That means there are past, future, and present tenses.
Afrah: Yes, the same as in English.
Eric: Let’s hear some examples. How about a simple sentence?
Afrah: Shyam khat likhta hai
Eric: which means “Shyam writes a letter.” It’s in the present tense. How do we change it to the future tense? “Shyam will write a letter.”
Afrah: It will be a very similar sentence. Shyam khat likhe ga.
Eric: How do we form this sentence?
Afrah: Simple. To make it simple future tense, we just need to add [ga] and remove [ta] from the end of the verb.
Eric: Okay, what about past tense?
Afrah: For past tense, it’s very simple. We just modify our stem verb likhna as likhta by adding the [aa] to the verb.
Eric: For example,
Afrah: shyam ne khat likha
Eric: So you only add [aa] to the end of the verb and this sentence becomes past tense.
Afrah: Isn’t that simple?
Eric: I think so! Now, this sentence means “Shyam wrote a letter.”
Afrah: That’s right.


Eric: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time!
Afrah: Phir milenge, goodbye.


Please to leave a comment.
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UrduPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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What's the most difficult part about Urdu grammar for you?

Tuesday at 02:07 PM
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Hi Lauren,

Thank you for your comment.

You are right. It matters in the past and future tense as well. The sentence you wrote is also correct.

Afrah is female: Afrah khat likhegii

Ali is male: Ali khat likhega

Feel free to ask questions if you face any difficulty.



Team UrduPod101.com

Monday at 03:56 AM
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In the present tense of a verb, like jaanaa, the verb is conjugated differently depending on whether you're a man or woman (jaataa or jaatii). Is this true for the past and future tenses too?

For example, would it be correct to say, "Afrah khat likhegii"?


UrduPod101.com Verified
Monday at 09:40 PM
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Hi Kacey,

Thank you for your comment.

Ne signifies the person who is doing action here.

Feel free to ask questions if you face any difficulty.



Team UrduPod101.com

Friday at 08:18 PM
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Thanks for your response. I don't understand what is "ne" in the sentence, Shyam ne khat likha. I know that this is future tense, but what does "ne" signify?

Thanks again.

UrduPod101.com Verified
Friday at 04:24 AM
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Hi Kacey,

Thank you for your comment.

Shayam ne khat likha is a past tense sentence and it if you read the examples carefully, it is categorized as past tense.

Hai is usually used to indicate present tense. Shayam khat likhta hai is a present countinous tense and requires hai.

The addition of 'e' is not true for all the verbs, though it follows for most of them. The verbs that are usually made by the addition of "kerna" do not tend to follow this addition of 'e' pattern. For example, Baat kerna (to talk). Its future tense verb is Baat karay ga.

Shayam writes a letter can be either translated as Shayan aik khat likhta hai or as Shayam khat likhta hai. Either way is fine. If the numbers are usually more than one, we need to specify them. For example, Shayam writes two letters = Shayam dou khat likhta hai.

Usually "aap" is followed by "hain". For example: Aap kaisay hain (How are you?).

Hai can also follow aap. For example : Kia yeh aap ka hai? (Is this yours). The same can be said for plural things using "hain". For example: Kia yeh aap ky hain? (Are these yours?).

Use of Ho:

Tum kaisay ho? (How are you?)

Tum kahan ho? (Where are you?

Tum kia ker rahay ho? (What are you doing?)

If you say: Tum kahan hai? This is incorrect. You cannot use hai with tum.

Feel free to ask questions if you face any difficulty.



Team UrduPod101.com

Tuesday at 09:43 PM
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What is the "ne" in this sentence as found in the lesson notes? Shyam ne khat likha. That doesn't follow the pattern of present and future.

Is it necessary to use "hai" in the present tense sentence "Shyam khat likhta hai"? Do Pakistanis omit the "to be" verb at times? In the example of the past tense "hai" is omitted.

In the lesson notes the future tense of the verb likh is likhega, but the present is likhta and the past is likha. There is an "e" added to the future tense verb. Is that the pattern for conjugating future tense verbs, you also add and "e"?

Are indefinite and definite articles readily used in Urdu? For example Shyam aik khat likhta hai. Shyam writes "a" letter. In the example in the lesson notes "aik" is omitted.

Could you please give examples of how to use "ho"? It means are, correct? I saw that you can use "ho" both with aap and tum, but we also use "hai" with aap. In the lesson notes it says use "ho" for the singular second person, but I am confused. Can't you also use "hai" for singular second person as well?

Thanks for your help.

UrduPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 03:16 PM
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Hi Georgia,

Thank you for your feedback!

ہے is used when you are talking about singular, ہیں is mostly used with plurals or when you want to give respect to someone.

As for the question sentences, they all start with the word کیا . Whenever you see this word at the start of the sentence, it indicates the sentence is a question.

Hope this helps.

Feel free to ask more questions.

Have a nice day!


Team UrduPod101.com

Tuesday at 08:04 AM
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I'm struggling with the "to be" verbs (ہے، ہیں, etc) and with question words...they all start with ک!

UrduPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 01:26 PM
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Hi Lareyna,

Thank you so much for your kind comment.

I can completely relate to your problems. Don't worry, a little bit of practice can make things really easy.

I hope you will master the art of SOV and surprise your in-laws.

If you need any help regarding the grammatical structure or lessons on our website, please feel free to write it in the comments section.

Thank you again for your kind comment.

Happy Learning!


Team UrduPod101.com

Sunday at 01:12 AM
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I always have a difficult time with the gender. My in-laws like to tease me quite a bit because I get confused about the gender of objects vs. the gender of the person speaking. For example, I used to get confused as to whether I, as a woman, would say, "Mera shohar Pakistani hai" (because my husband is masculine) or "Meri shohar Pakistani hai" (because I'm a female talking about my husband)! It took a long time for me to remember it's "Mera shohar" ....I need to get the SOV pattern in my memory really well so I can keep track of what I'm talking about!