Negative Verb Conjugation: Present Tense

INTRODUCTION

Negative Present tense is one of the three negative tenses in Nepali, used to denote or express actions that is not currently going on or is not performed in a habitual basis. It can also be used to denote a state that currently does not exist or generally doesn’t exist. In Nepali, the negative present tense is called अकरण वर्तमान काल (akaraṇ vartamān kāl). For example, statements below in English all denote actions that are either currently not happening or states that currently do not exist (verbs in italics):

John does not eat the cake.
Mary is not going to an adventure.
am not a doctor.

Thus, the negative present tense is used to denote a sense of the negated ‘present’ time. There are three aspects of negative present tense:

  • Negative present indefinite tense
  • Negative present progressive tense
  • Negative present perfect tense

Now, we shall see how verbs will conjugate according to the grammatical person used.

VOCABULARY

खानु (khānu) = To eat
रोक्नु (roknu) = To stop
म (ma) = I
हामी (hāmī) = We
तँ (tam̐) = You (low respect)
तिमी (timī) = You (medium respect)
तपाईँ (tapāīm̐) = You (high respect)
ऊ (ū) = He/ She (neutral respect)
उनी (unī) = He/ She (medium respect)
उहाँ (uhām̐) = He/ She (high respect)
उनीहरू (unī-harū) = They (medium respect)

EXTRACTING THE ROOT OF THE VERB

We first get the lemma, or the basic form of the verb. Now, we simply remove the -नु (-nu) from the verb to obtain the root of the verb. For example:

खानु (khānu) > खा (khā) [Root ending in a vowel sound] /to eat/
रोक्नु (roknu) > रोक् (rok) [Root ending in a consonant sound] /to stop/

EXCEPTIONS

The verb हुनु (hunu) or ‘to be’ in Nepali is irregular and thus does not follow the conjugation rules given below. Thus, you should not try to attempt to conjugate this verb. Another verb, जानु (jānu) or ‘to go’, also behaves slightly differently in present perfect tense. When such, the root ‘ग’ (ga) should be used instead.

Other verbs are regular in case of Present tense and you can apply the rules below for all the other verbs. High honour forms may take different conjugations.

NEGATIVE PRESENT INDEFINITE TENSE

The negative present indefinite tense, also known as negative simple present tense, is a tense used to describe actions in present time that are not finished. In Nepali, it is called सामान्य अकरण वर्तमान काल (sāmānya akaraṇ vartamān kāl). For example in English, a statement in negative present indefinite tense would be:
John eats the cake.

Steps

  1. If the root ends in a syllable or a vowel sound, add ँ () to the last syllable. If the root ends in a consonant sound, skip this step. For example: खा (khā) + ँ () = खाँ (khām̐
  2. Add the required suffix (or ending) to the modified root obtained in step 1. depending on the grammatical person.

I: म (ma), add दिनँ (dinam̐) or दैनँ (dainam̐) [either is fine for any gender]

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + दिनँ (dinam̐) = रोक्दिनँ (rokdinam̐)
खानु (khānu) = [खा (khā) + ँ ()] + दिनँ (dinam̐) = खाँ (khām̐) + दिनँ (dinam̐) = खाँदिनँ (khām̐dinam̐)

We: हामी (hāmī), add दैनौँ (dainaum̐)

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + दैनौँ (dainaum̐) = रोक्दैनौँ (rokdainaum̐)
खानु (khānu) = खाँ (khām̐) + दैनौँ (dainaum̐) = खाँदैनौँ (khām̐dainaum̐)

You (low respect): तँ (tam̐), add दैनस् (dainas)

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + दैनस् (dainas) = रोक्दैनस् (rokdainas)
खानु (khānu) = खाँ (khām̐) + दैनस् (dainas) = खाँदैनस् (khām̐dainas)

You (medium respect): तिमी (timī), add दैनौ (dainau)

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + दैनौँ (dainau) = रोक्दैनौ (rokdainau)
खानु (khānu) = खाँ (khām̐) + दैनौँ (dainau) = खाँदैनौ (khām̐dainau

He (neutral respect): ऊ (ū), add दैन (daina)

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + दैन (daina) = रोक्दैन (rokdaina)
खानु (khānu) = खाँ (khām̐) + दैन (daina) = खाँदैन (khām̐daina)

She (neutral respect): ऊ (ū), add दिन (dina)

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + दिन (dina) = रोक्दिन (rokdina)
खानु (khānu) = खाँ (khām̐) + दिन (dina) = खाँदिन (khām̐dina)

He/She/They (medium respect): उनी (unī) and उनीहरू (unī-harū), add दैनन् (dainan) if masculine or दिनन् (dinan) if feminine

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + दैनन् (dainan) = रोक्दैनन् (rokdainan)
खानु (khānu) = खाँ (khām̐) + दैनन् (dainan) = खाँदैनन् (khām̐dainan)

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + दिनन् (dinan) = रोक्दिनन् (rokdinan)
खानु (khānu) = खाँ (khām̐) + दिनन् (dinan) = खाँदिनन् (khām̐dinan)

You/He/She/They (high respect): तपाईँ (tapāīm̐) and उहाँ (uhām̐), leave the basic form intact and add हुँदैन (huncha) [EXCEPTION]

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक्नु (roknu) + हुँदैन (hum̐daina) = रोक्नुहुँदैन (roknuhum̐daina)
खानु (khānu) = खानु (khānu) + हुँदैन (hum̐daina) = खानुहुँदैन (khānuhum̐daina)

NEGATIVE PRESENT PROGRESSIVE TENSE

The negative present progressive tense, also known as negative present continuous tense, is a tense used to describe actions in present time that are not happening as of now. In Nepali, it is called अपूर्ण अकरण वर्तमान काल (apūrṇa akaraṇ vartamān kāl). For example in English, a statement in negative present progressive tense would be:
John is not eating the cake.

Steps

  1. If the root ends in a syllable or a vowel sound, add ँ () to the last syllable. If the root ends in a consonant sound, skip this step. For example: खा (khā) + ँ () = खाँ (khām̐)
  2. Add दै (dai) to the end of the modified root obtained in step 1.
  3. Add a space ( ).
  4. Add the required ending to the modified root obtained in step 3 depending on the grammatical person. These endings are all the various negative forms of “cha”.

The below are demonstrations on how you can carry this out.

I: म (ma), add छैनँ (chainam̐)

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + दै (dai) + [space] + छैनँ (chainam̐) = रोक्दै छैनँ (rokdai chainam̐)
खानु (khānu) = [खा (khā) + ँ ()] + दै (dai) + [space] + छैनँ (chainam̐) = खाँ (khām̐) + दै (dai) + [space] + छैनँ (chainam̐) = खाँदै छैनँ (khām̐dai chainam̐)

He/She (neutral respect): ऊ (ū), add छैन (chaina)

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + दै (dai) + [space] + छैन (chaina) = रोक्दै छैन (rokdai chaina)
खानु (khānu) = खाँ (khām̐) + दै (dai) + [space] + छैन (chaina) = खाँदै छैन (khām̐dai chaina)

You/He/She/They (high respect): तपाईँ (tapāīm̐) and उहाँ (uhām̐), to the root add हुनुहुँदैन (hunuhum̐daina) instead of only हुन्छ (huncha) [EXCEPTION]

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक्दै (rokdai) + हुनुहुँदैन (hunuhum̐daina) = रोक्दै हुनुहुँदैन (rokdai hunuhum̐daina)
खानु (khānu) = खाँदै (khām̐dai) + हुनुहुँदैन (hunuhum̐daina) = खाँदै हुनुहुँदैन (khām̐dai hunuhum̐daina)

NEGATIVE PRESENT PERFECT TENSE

The negative present perfect tense is a tense used to describe actions in present time that started in the past but is not complete yet, or actions that did not start in the past. In Nepali, it is called पूर्ण अकरण वर्तमान काल (pūrṇa akaraṇ vartamān kāl). For example in English, a statement in negative present perfect tense would be:
John has not eaten the cake.

Steps

  1. If the root ends in a single vowel sound, remove it. If the root is polysyllabic (i.e. has more than one syllable) and ends in an –a sound, e.g. बिर्स (birsa), turn that into an -i sound, i.e. बिर्स (birsa) > बिर्सि (birsi). If else the root ends in a consonant or syllable sound, skip this step. For example: आउ (āu) = आ (ā)
  2. Add एको (eko)/ एकी (ekī)/ एका (ekā) to the end of the modified root obtained in step 1. The first for neutral/masculine singular, the second for feminine singular and the third for plural cases. Remember that the consonant will take on a diacritic while taking up the vowel sound.
  3. Add a space ( ).
  4. Add the required ending to the modified root obtained in step 3 depending on the grammatical person. These suffixes are identical to the ones in negative present progressive tense. These endings are all the various negative forms of “cha”.

I: म (ma), add छैनँ (chainam̐)

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + एको (eko) + [space] + छैनँ (chainam̐) = रोकेको छैनँ (rokeko chainam̐)
खानु (khānu) = खा (khā) + एको (eko) + [space] + छैनँ (chainam̐) = खाएको छैनँ (khāeko chainam̐)
आउनु (āunu) = आ (ā) + एको (eko) + [space] + छैनँ (chainam̐) = आएको छैनँ (āeko chainam̐)

He/She (neutral respect): ऊ (ū), add छैन (chaina)

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक् (rok) + एको (eko) + [space] + छैन (chaina) = रोकेको छैन (rokeko chaina)
खानु (khānu) = खा (khā) + एको (eko) + [space] + छैन (chaina) = खाएको छैन  (khāeko chaina)

You/He/She/They (high respect): तपाईँ (tapāīm̐) and उहाँ (uhām̐), leave the verb intact, add भ (bha), then add एको (eko) [or its forms], and finally add छैन (chaina) [EXCEPTION]

रोक्नु (roknu) = रोक्नु (roknu) + भ (bha) + एको (eko) + [space] + छैन (chaina) = रोक्नुभएको छैन (roknubhaeko chaina)
खानु (khānu) = खानु (khānu) + भ (bha) + एको (eko) + [space] + छैन (chaina) = खानुभएको छैन (khānubhaeko chaina)

SUMMARY

  • Negative Present tense is used to denote or express actions that is not currently going on or is not performed in a habitual basis
  • There are three aspects: indefiniteprogressiveperfect
  • The root can be extracted by removing the –nu from the lemma
  • To this root, we add various suffixes according to the grammatical person
  • The high respect form are exceptions as in, they do not usually follow the standard method
  • The negative present indefinite tense, also known as negative simple present tense, is a tense used to describe actions in present time that are not finished
  • The negative present progressive tense, also known as negative present continuous tense, is a tense used to describe actions in present time that are not happening as of now
  • The negative present perfect tense is a tense used to describe actions in present time that started in the past but is not complete yet, or actions that did not start in the past

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