Postpositions: Temporal


Time flies like an arrow, and fruit flies like a banana. Time and time again we hear more about time, but is it time to time our actions so they go according to time? Time is temporary; the words “temporary” and “temporal” (time) both come from the Latin temporalis, which means “time”.

From a physics perspective, time is also relative. In fact, time is linked with space. Space-time transcends our perspective. Maybe this is why so many postpositions that describe “space” (position) can also be used to describe time. Thus, we arrive, through our imppecable reasoning that space and time are related, to our mainpoint: temporal postpositions.

Temporal postpositions are postpositions that deal with information regarding time. For example, the word made bold is what a temporal postposition is:
I will do the work until tomorrow.

Let’s have a look at temporal positions, and you will find them to be quite similar to local positions. It’s all connected!


पुग्नु (pugnu) = (here) 1. To reach | 2. To be enough
सकाइहाल्नु (sakāihālnu) = To finish a task (as soon as possible)
सकिनु (sakinu) = To be finished
पर्सि (parsi) = Day after tomorrow


भित्र (bhitra) has the meanings of “within”. It can also mean “by”. The general feeling of the word is to point towards an even that must occur within a specified timeframe. For example:
हामी ४ बजेभित्र पुग्नुपर्छ  (hāmī cār baje-bhitra pugnuparcha)
= We must reach (there) by 4 o’ clock
[we + four + o’ clock (+) bhitra-postposition + verb]

काम सात मिनटभित्र सकाइहाल्  (kām sāt minaṭ-bhitra sakāihāl)
= Finish (the) work within seven minute(s)
[work + seven + minute(s) (+) bhitra-postposition + verb]


अगाडि (agāḍi) has the meaning of “before”. It can also be “ago”. This is used to indicate a period in time before the one mentioned. For example:
सात मिनटअगाडि के भयो? (sāt minaṭ-agāḍi ke bhayo)
= What happened seven minute(s) before?
[seven + minute(s) (+) agāḍi-postposition + what + copula]

काम सात मिनटअगाडि सक्यो (kām sāt minaṭ-agāḍi sakyo)
= Work finished seven minute(s) ago
[work + seven + minute(s) (+) agāḍi-postposition + verb]

अगाडि (agāḍi) can also be replaced by अघि (aghi) to mean the same thing:
काम सात मिनटअघि सक्यो (kām sāt minaṭ-aghi sakyo)
= Work finished seven minute(s) ago
[work + seven + minute(s) (+) aghi-postposition + verb]


पछाडि (pachāḍi) has the meanings of “after”. The general feeling of the word is to describe actions after a given period of time. For example:
सात मिनटपछाडि के भयो ? (sāt minaṭ-pachāḍi ke bhayo)
= What happened seven minute(s) after?
[seven + minute(s) (+) pachāḍi-postposition + what + copula]

काम सात मिनटपछाडि सक्यो (kām sāt minaṭ-pachāḍi sakyo)
= Work finished after seven minute(s)
[work + seven + minute(s) (+) pachāḍi-postposition + verb]

After my brilliant time-saving examples, पछाडि (pachāḍi) can also be replaced by पछि (pachi) to mean the same thing. The difference is that “pachi” is faster to say:
सोमबारपछि मात्रै आउन मिल्छ रे ! (somabār-pachi mātrai āuna milcha re)
= (We’re) allowed to come only after Monday, it is!
[Monday (+) pachi-postposition + only + to come + allowed + particle]


सम्म (samma) has the meanings of “until” or “till”. The general feeling of the word is to indicate an upper range, or threshold. For example:
पार्टी ७ बजेसम्म छ (pārṭī sāt baje-samma cha)
= (The) party is until 7 o’ clock
[party + seven + o’ clock (+) samma-postposition + copula]

हिजोसम्म काम सकिएको थिएन (hijo-samma kām sakieko thiena)
= (The) work hadn’t finished till yesterday
[yesterday (+) samma-postposition + work + verb]


तिर (tira) has the meaning of “around”. It gives an approximate feeling of time, to indicate that the time period is moving towards it. This is quite an important postposition in case of telling the time, as it allows you approximate time. You can’t use तर्फ (tarpha) to substitute tira, however. For example:
११ बजेतिर के भयो ? (eghāra baje-tira ke bhayo)
= What happened around 11 o’ clock?
[eleven + o’ clock (+) tira-postposition + what + copula]

ऊ पर्सितिर मात्रै आउँछ रे ! (ū parsi-tira mātrai āum̐cha re)
= He (will) come only around day after tommorrow, he said!
[he + day after tomorrow (+) tira-postposition + only + come + he said]

You will note that this is an approximate time. It’s not an exact time, so he may arrive day after tomorrow, or maybe tomorrow, or maybe never. It’s not very certain. This also has the effect that removing the “tira” makes the sentence still grammatically correct, with the exception that time will then be exact:
ऊ पर्सि मात्रै आउँछ रे ! (ū parsi mātrai āum̐cha re)
= He (will) only come (on the) day after tommorrow, he said!
[he + day after tomorrow + only + come + he said]

Note that in the above sentence, it is certain that he will only arrive day after tomorrow. The time is exact when you forgo the use of tira.


  • Temporal postpositions are postpositions that deal with information regarding time.
  • भित्र (bhitra) has the meanings of “within”. It can also mean “by”.
  • अगाडि (agāḍi) has the meaning of “before”. It can also be “ago”.
  • पछाडि (pachāḍi) has the meanings of “after”.
  • पछाडि (pachāḍi) can also be replaced by पछि (pachi) to mean the same thing.
  • तिर (tira) has the meaning of “around”.
  • You can’t use तर्फ (tarpha) to substitute tira, however. 
  • तिर (tiragives the feeling of an approximate time, so removing the “tira” results in the time given to be be exact.

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