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Difference between हमारा and अपना.

Hi, I just finished Family, and I wanted to understand the difference between these two, because both seem to mean 'ours'.

August 4, 2018



अपना can mean «our» - or any of «my», «your», «his», «her», «its», «their». It depends on the context.

It always says that something belongs to the subject of the sentence. So if «we» / हम is the subject it means «our». And then it has to be used instead of हमारा. When writing Hindi you can check if it must be used by asking if it would possible to use «our own» (or «my/... own») in English.

Maybe a few examples make it clear:

हम अपनी किताब पढ़ते हैं
We read our (own) book.

हम उसकी किताब पढ़ते हैं
We read her book. (or his)

वे हमारी किताब पढ़ते हैं
They read our book.

In the first example the subject is the possessor/owner. So अपना is used. In the other two someone other than the subject owns the book, so the normal possessive forms of the personal pronouns are used.

When translating into English do not add the word «own», as it would imply an emphasis that does not exist in a Hindi sentence with अपना.

Above is my understanding and examples I created. I wrote another comment on a similar question (the reply to RaleighStarbuck) that is backed up a bit better by references to grammar books.


Hamārā is Genitive (Possessive) form of Ham, which means we. It just means ours in Standard Hindustani and in the Northern dialects. Apnā means own in Standard Hindustani and the aforementioned Northern dialects. In the Southern dialects, however, there's this extra pronoun called "Apan" which also means we. It comes from those various languages spoken in the respective regions notably Nimadi, Marathi, and Malvi. These dialects have this thing called clusivity. In clusivity, with the help of what word you use for saying "we", the person you're talking to gets to know if he's being included or excluded. Ham is exclusive. It doesn't include the second person. Apan is inclusive. Ham jāyenge means you're not coming with us, but if I say apan jāyenge, I'm asking or telling you that we're going somewhere, maybe just the two of us. Here, apnā means ours, including the second person, and hamārā is used when referring to an object that belongs to the first person and his associates and not the second person. In these dialects, to mean "own" we use the phrase "xud kā ख़ुद का". So, while someone in the North would say "hamārā apnā ghar", we would rather say "apnā xud kā ghar".


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