1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Hindi
  4. >
  5. "She comes from school at hal…

"She comes from school at half past two."

Translation:वह स्कूल से ढाई बजे आती है।

September 4, 2018



I'm still a bit inexperienced with this, but Hindi has a sentence structure that follows SOV (Subject - Object - Verb), where exactly is the "timing" portion meant to be put in the sentence (by that I mean, in this case would ढाई बजे always go after the Object and before the Verb, or could it go after the Subject and before the Object, I'm thinking "She - वह" is the Subject and "school - स्कूल" is the object)?

My confusion with this is also due to the sentence आमिर डेढ़ बजे घर आता है, here the "timing" portion is put after the Subject but before the Object, which isn't consistent with the original example. Sorry for the long post but could someone explain this to me please?


You can put it either before or after the Object. Both are correct.


I agree, Devendra, but I think before the Object sounds "better" -- better, like, more typical or the "default." Putting after the Object sounds like we are emphasizing the Time. What do you think?


Why ढाई बजे? In another sentence दाई बजा was correct. Is this oblique case?


Great question! I think there are two things going on here. 1) ढाई बजा should, in my understanding, NOT have been accepted in the other one IF the sentence is ढाई बजा है. I would say it should be ढाई बजे हैं। There has been some debate about it. Suffice to say, there is some question among the community members about whether that is a mistake or an unexplained inconsistency. 2) No matter the resolution of issue #1, in the context of this sentence ढाई बजे is correct because, yes, it is in a modified case. It's like "AT 2:30" -- the "at" would trigger a change to the /ā/ ending, or else be implied (with no change) for an /e/ ending.


Sure. Yes, I do accept that the plural versions are used (and I have acknowledged this in my very first post), and I also find them to be at variance with grammar. But my attempt has been to show that the singular forms (apart from being consistent with grammar) are also commonly used. I am not an avid follower of linguistic prescription and hence wouldn't go so far as to deem a widely used expression in a language non-standard. By the way, I haven't said or implied that the singular form is the usual. I don't see ढाई बजे हैं any more grammatically problematic than I do the construction "There's many..." but I recognise the widespread use of both and think they are acceptable expressions, as are ढाई बजा है and "There are many...". That's why I thought of addressing your suggestion: "ढाई बजा should, in my understanding, NOT have been accepted in the other one IF the sentence is ढाई बजा है. I would say it should be ढाई बजे हैं।". I hope this helps you get a better picture of my position.


Thank you, Zesul ji. I am sorry to have taken so much of your time, for which I am grateful, but it is interesting (to me at least) to have these conversations. Best wishes!


Hey, no problem at all! I think it was a productive discussion and I'm glad we had it, RanzoG ji ;). Cheers!


I am a member of the "ढाई बजा है" camp. ;) I often come across the plural version but it never made sense to me. In any sentence of the form "X बजा है", X is a number, a single number (regardless of its numerical value) and it refers to a single point of time, and hence it's a singular noun. And singular nouns take singular verb forms, don't they?

Individual numbers are singular entities. Two is greater than one. Can you try to imagine that being translated as "दो एक से बड़े हैं" with a straight face? :D


:) I'm not sure where this logic is coming from or why you're necessarily trying to approach language convention with logic! (Just kidding -- I often do the same.) But:

Numbers higher than one do call for a plural declension. एक बजा है one has struck दो बजे हैं two have struck तीन बजे हैं 3 have struck

The debate is with 1.5, which in my experience is still grammatically singular. Once we get to quarter to two, 2, quarter past 2, and 2.5, we are in plural territory.


No, that's a perfectly valid point; logic isn't the sole arbiter in deciding the appropriateness of a lot of expressions. For instance, "तुम (sing) अच्छे (plu) हो" isn't logical but "तुम (sing) अच्छा (sing) हो" is, and yet we use the former.

What makes the above case different from बजा है vs बजे हैं is that there is no dispute about the former. It's extremely unlikely that a native Hindi speaker would argue that तुम अच्छा हो is a correct usage and तुम अच्छे हो is not. In the latter case, however, there is a debate as to whether बजा है or बजे हैं is more appropriate, and hence a logical approach can be helpful.

Numbers higher than one do call for a plural declension—yes, but only when they occur as adjectives (एक केला है, दस केले हैं), not when they occur as nouns (एक एक संख्या है, हज़ार भी एक संख्या है - One is a number, thousand is also a number). Sentences like "two have struck" are ungrammatical because "two", being the subject of the sentence, is a noun, and when numbers occur as nouns, each of them represents one abstract entity. A sentence of the form "two units of something have struck" is grammatically correct though because here, "two" is an adjective denoting more than one unit of something.

So, if an argument is to be made in favour of using बजे हैं instead of बजा है, it will not only go against a consistent application of grammar (not that big of a deal), it will have to be better than "Well, बजे हैं is commonly used" because, well, बजा है is commonly used as well.

If I may give my two cents on the issue about 1.5, I think that "singular", by definition, means one unit of something, and hence, more than one unit of anything is plural.


I'm confused where you're getting the idea from that one would use a singular form for plural numbers in time telling. It's not standard language to do so.

It's 1 [BELL] has struck. 2 [BELLS] have struck. That's why it's plural. It's not like, "The number 1 IS an awesome number. The number 2 IS an awesome number as well." :)


Hmm, was that really confusing? I think I've explained in a rather simple way how numbers more than one take plural verb forms when they are adjectives and don't when they are nouns. If "ढाई बजा है" is non-standard, so is "ढाई एक से बड़ा है". Sentences have to conform to the subject-verb format and verbs agree with the subject in number. Numbers, i.e. the mathematical entities, are each a singular noun.

It's 1 [BELL] has struck. 2 [BELLS] have struck. That's why it's plural.

"2" plays completely different roles in "2 has/have struck" and "2 bells have struck": it's the subject and a noun in the former, and since it's "a" noun, it takes a singular verb ending; in the latter sentence it's an adjective denoting the number of something (bells), which, being more than one, necessitates a plural verb ending.

It's getting repetitive at this point and I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree on this topic.


What's confusing to me is not the logical argument you're presenting. You didn't need to repeat that! I said what is confusing is that you are starting from an idea that 2 o'clock through 12 o'clock are expressed with बजा है, i.e. with such frequency that it is either the main expression or at least is equally common as बजे हैं. Confusing because what you are asserting to be true is something I've not observed in real life conversations or published grammars. This discussion was about the unusual case of 1.5 and 2.5, but you've made out as if all the clock-times are up for debate. The learner/speaker needs a basic standard, yes? I understand that all the values that involve "1" -- 1 minus a quarter, 1, 1 plus a quarter, 1 plus a half -- take the singular form. All others, beginning with "2 minus a quarter," take the plural. But you're saying that some mass of people out there express all of them using the singular. I don't think that's true. I would need evidence of that, not an argument (as I said in the start) that says one or the other thing is more logical.


The reason why I laid out the points I did in my last comment was that you'd said, "I'm confused where you're getting the idea from that one would use a singular form for plural numbers in time telling." Even "in the start" your stance was "Numbers higher than one do call for a plural declension. एक बजा है one has struck दो बजे हैं two have struck तीन बजे हैं 3 have struck". So yes, you have been arguing from a grammatical standpoint, too. It's only in your last comment that you mentioned not having come across बजा है for hour numbers greater than one in real life or that you wanted evidence of the usage. Anyways, I appreciate you mentioning those points this time. Well, I am a native speaker of Hindi and am quite familiar with बजा है/बज रहा है being used for telling time (for hour values in general and not just 1). To begin with, I have always heard it in my family; it's pretty common to come across it in Ghaziabad, where I stayed for two years, and it's more commonly heard in Raipur where I lived for eight years. Anecdotal account aside, I tried to access some Hindi text corpuses but none were free, but I did manage to find a Google book on Hindi grammar (Hindi for Competitive Examinations by Shivanand Nautiyal) which states that दस बजा है is correct usage (it also states that दस बजे हैं is incorrect, though, but I'm not arguing for it; I'm only trying to show that the other construction is in common use). Read point (7):



Thank you! I appreciate this reply.

However, I've lost the plot of what you're saying, a bit. You started off saying that singular form for all of the clock-times is the usual—or at least you implied that. You accept the plural forms as existing, but seem to believe they are either errant or, at best, incorrect. Can you confirm? I am now trying to contextualize your experience in Ghaziabad and Raipur (


I believe, ढाई बजा है is correct usage. Here is why, when दाई is used sans the oblique case, or other such mitigating influence, that half-past-two is an instance in which दाई (in the singular word sense is being used). For instance, if we were to say, "half past three' we would use three words, making बजे plural.: साढ़े तीन बजे. Your thoughts?


My thought is that I have only heard people say (in Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Punjab, and in Pakistan) -- to my recollection -- the singular form when the time is some version of "1". And that's what I've seen taught everywhere I've looked, too. That's not a theory of the language, it's description of practice. However, I find it interesting that others may know/observe a different usage, and it's helpful to know that variation exists.


I really appreciate all those comments. Thank you. They often help me to understand Hindi better. In this case I feel, the है belongs not to बजे, (otherwise it should be sure हैं ) but to आती, and that's singular, because it's one person, which comes home. Isn't it?


But they have used tayd baja????


ढाई बजे is an adverbial phrase, just like "at half past two", and as such, it stays the same regardless of PNG (person, number, gender) and TAM (tense, aspect, mood).

हम ढाई बजे आये - We came at half past two. वह ढाई बजे आयेगा - He will come at half past two. तुम क्यों नहीं ढाई बजे आयी - Why didn't you come at half past two?

ढाई बजा, on the other hand, is a complete sentence in itself (ढाई = subject (singular, masculine), बजा = verb (past tense of बजना)), though not directly translatable into English. It roughly means "it was half past two", although the literal meaning is closer to "it became half past two" ("it" being the dummy pronoun used in English to tell time). Since बजा is a verb, it's subject to declension (excuse the pun).

कितना बज रहा है? - What's the time?

ढाई बज रहा है। - It's half past two.

अभी तक ढाई नहीं बजा है। - It's not half past two yet. (Literally: Until now (अभी तक) it hasn't become half past two)

पता नहीं कब ढाई बजेगा! - (I) Don't know when it will be half past two! (said by someone who is frustrated that it's not half past two yet)


See, I would be asking कितने बजे हैं? (lit. "How many have struck?")


Sure, I am aware that many people say कितने बजे हैं. No disagreement there.


I thought it was a rule (or I thought I read this in comments somewhere) that the time should be the first item in a sentence. This is getting very confusing.


I tend to think of it as after the subject. 'She, at half past two, comes home from school' if you will.

Here the given answer is actually later than that, though I think it's accepted; perhaps a better 'rule' would be 'before the verb'.


What is the difference between हैं and है, if any?


Plural vs Singular! :)


Oh dear I've watched Hindi movies without subtitles all my life, learned to read the script years ago, and never noticed this lol Thanks!


Why is is not using actual Hindi words like विद्यालय or शिक्षालय , but rather an English word स्कूल ?


Because nobody says those words.


This is a long thread, so bear with me if I repeat a comment, but I am having difficulty with putting down a correct answer and having it "marked" incorrect. My translation, character for character, is identical to the one given as correct, but mine is not accepted. Am I missing something? It doesn't happen all of the time, but its frustrating when it does. If I could post a picture, I'd show you.


Just a couple of ideas based on my own errors:

  1. In some fonts ी & ो are incredibly similar. It's hard for me to believe myself as I write this, since in the one I'm using ो is way more upright, just like an े but with vertical, but in some it curls over just not quite so much as ी, but it's very close and trips me up reading too.

  2. ू & ु I find easy to mix up. Again some fonts don't help. Especially since the word here is a loanword 'skūl' your keyboard might not have it in the dictionary, and just show both options स्कूल & स्कुल (indeed mine does) and you selected the first one you saw because at a quick glance it looks right.

Just thoughts, not saying you got it wrong.

Learn Hindi in just 5 minutes a day. For free.