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Confused about the oblique case, please help!

Hello there! I'm having a really hard time wrapping my head around the oblique case :( In the tips and notes section it explains well how to change nouns and possessives to the oblique case... But it's just not clear about WHEN the oblique case takes place.

How do I know when to use the oblique case and when not to use it? Can someone help me with some general rules or an explanation?:(

July 11, 2019



I'll copy my comment from another discussion. Hope it will help you too.

'Case' is a feature of some languages where words change form depending on the function being served by the word in a particular sentence. For example, in English, both 'I' and 'me' can be said to be two different forms of the same word and you use 'I' when it is the subject of a sentence and 'me' when it is the object.

In Hindi, pronouns have 8 different cases. For example, while referring to yourself, you will use मैं when it is the subject, मुझे to mean 'to me', मेरा to mean 'my', मुझसे to mean 'from me' etc.

However, nouns have just three cases. You will not encounter the third case, 'vocative case' much on Duolingo. It is the case that the noun takes when it is being directly addressed. For example, in 'Hey boy, come here', 'boy' is in the vocative case. The Hindi word for boy is लड़का and its vocative case form is लड़के so the translation would be 'हे लड़के, इधर आओ'.

The other two cases are the direct case and the oblique case. The direct case is the default form of the noun and is used whenever the noun is not an object of a postposition (like ने, का, की, के, को, के पास, से, में, पर etc ). The oblique case is the form a noun takes when it is the object of a postposition. When we say that something is the object of a postposition, we mean that the noun phrase it is part of is directly followed by a postposition. For example, the object of a postposition में (in) is the part of the sentence which answers the question किस में (in what) and comes directly before में.

For example, in 'इंग्लैंड की रानी' ( queen of England), the object of postposition की is the noun इंग्लैंड (because it answers the question किस की-of what) and hence इंग्लैंड is in the oblique case. Similarly, in ' मेरे बड़े भाई का घर' (my elder brother's house), the object of the postposition का is the noun phrase 'मेरे बड़े भाई' (because it answers the question किस का) and hence मेरे, बड़े and भाई are in the oblique case. As this last example shows, all the words (adjectives, possesives etc along with nouns) that are part of a noun phrase take the oblique case.

Whether or not a noun changes form in the oblique case depends on the ending of the noun. For example, singular masculine nouns that end with ा in the direct case have their ending changed to े, singular masculine nouns that end with any other sound don't change form in the oblique case etc.


Can the oblique case be used when there is no postposition? I mean, sometimes the object of the sentence is not followed by any postposition, for example:

वह मेरे घर जा रही है

Here मेरे घर is in oblique case but there isn't any postposition. The oblique case is needed because मेरे घर is not the subject but the object of the verb जाना. Is that right?


Great question. I was going to include this when I was writing my parent comment but forgot so thanks for reminding me.

Like in English, verbs in Hindi can be either transitive or intransitive. A transitive verb is one which can have one or more direct objects. Direct objects are nouns that are placed directly before (in Hindi) or after (in English) the verb without being separated by a preposition/postposition. For example, verbs like 'eat'/खाना and 'write'/लिखना are transitive because they can take direct objects as in 'I eat apples'/'मैं सेब खता हूँ' and 'I am writing a letter/ 'मैं चिट्टी लिख रहा हूँ' where 'apples'/सेब and 'a letter'/चिट्टी are direct objects of the respective verbs.
An intransitive verb is one which cannot take a direct object. Examples include 'walk'/चलना, 'come'/आना , 'go'/जाना etc because you can't say something like 'walk park'. The object has to be separated from the verb with a preposition as in 'walk in the park'.

I just said that जाना is intransitive so what is happening in 'वह मेरे घर जा रही है'? जाना cannot take direct objects so मेरे घर cannot be a direct object of जाना. We thus say that there is an implicit postposition between the object and the verb though it is dropped in practice - 'वह मेरे घर (को) जा रही है. Since this postposition is required but not explicitly present, some people around these forums have begun calling it a 'ghostposition'. 'मेरे घर' is in the oblique case because it is the object of this ghostposition.

An additional note about transitivity: Unlike in English where the same verb can behave as both transitive and intransitive depending on the meaning it is used in, Hindi is rigid about a verb always being either transitive or intransitive. This is apparent in the past tense where both categories of verbs behave very differently (transitive verbs agree in number and gender with their objects while intransitive verbs agree with the subject).


Thank you so much for such a detailed answer, very helpful!


Tnks a lot...this was so informative. God bless U.

[deactivated user]

    I'm learning myself here, but isn't it used when you have a postposition?

    e.g. "in the banana" केले में "the child's name" मेरे बच्चे का नाम

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