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The Hindi Particle “Bhi” Explained Posted by on Dec 30, 2018 in Hindi Language

As you progress in your Hindi studies, you will come upon a pesky little particle – “bhi” (भी) – that may threaten to send you into a tailspin of confusion. But, fear not, it is not as complex as it first appears. This blog is dedicated to an explanation of this particle – or minute part of speech – and its contrasting uses in a variety of sentences.

Image by Gopikastk on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

भी (bhi)

“Bhi” is a common particle that you should understand well in order to parse the meanings of a variety of sentences, as it lends a subtle shade of meaning that would otherwise be unachievable. “Bhi” has the sense of “also, as well, too, even” – in essence, when you add “bhi” to a sentence, you are implying the “addition” of something or an emphasis on something as an exception. And, you should be careful because, when you use “bhi,” you want to place it directly AFTER the word to which it applies. This explanation will become clearer with a few examples:

  • मैं भी जाना चाहती थी लेकिन उसने मुझे नहीं बुलाया Main bhi jaanaa chahti thi lekin usne mujhe nahin bulaayaa (I wanted to go too but he/she didn’t invite me).

In this example, “bhi” functions as “too” as in “I too wanted to go” (literally). It implies that “I” (the subject of the sentence) also wanted to go to an outing but was not invited – in essence, it is an expression of an “addition” of “I” to the imaginary group of people going on the outing.

  • विराट भी प्रभावशाली/हुनरमंद है । Virat bhi prabhaavshaali/hunarmand hai vs. विराट प्रभावशाली/हुनरमंद भी है । Virat prabhaavshaali/hunarmand bhi hai (Virat, too, is talented vs. Virat is talented too).

Now what, may you ask, is the difference between these two sentences? These examples demonstrate the vital nature of your placement of “bhi” – it must be placed directly behind the word or phrase that it is qualifying (that is, modifying). “Virat, too, is talented” means that Virat, as well as some other people, are talented because “bhi” comes directly after “Virat” and is thus modifying the subject of the sentence. On the other hand, “Virat is talented too” means, because “bhi” is directly behind the word “talented,” that Virat is talented, in addition to his many other traits.

  • जभी मेरा कुत्ता मुझे सेब काटते हुए देखता है, तभी वह बिलबिलाने लगता है क्योंकि सेब तो उसका मनपसंद फल है । Jabhi mera kutta mujhe seb kaatate hue dekhta hai, tabhi voh bilbilaane lagtaa hai kyoonki seb to uskaa manpasand phal hai (Whenever my dog sees me cutting an apple, (then, at that instant) he starts whining because apples are his favorite fruit).

In this example, “bhi” when combined with “jab” (जब-when) and “tab” (तब-then), has a slightly different meaning – it means “whenever” and “tabhi” (तभी) means “at that very instant, right then.” These two words are usually found in a pair, though the second word (तभी) is usually optional in casual conversation.

  • शिक्षक के नए नियमों के लागू होने पर भी, सभी विद्यार्थी हरकतें करते रहे और उनके मार्क्स और भी गिर गए । Shikshak ke naye niyamo ke laago hone par bhi, sabhi vidyaarthi harkate karte rahe aur unke marks (grades) aur bhi gir gaye (Even after the teacher’s new rules went into effect, all of the students continued to behave badly and their grades sunk even lower).

In this sentence, you can see two distinct uses of “bhi.” In the first part of the sentence, you see a common phrase “oblique form of infinitive verb (in this case, होने) + पर + भी” which means something like “even after doing x” – the implication is that, even after implementing new rules, etc. the teacher did not get his desired result of better behavior and better grades from his students. In this case, “bhi” means “even.” In the second part of the sentence, “bhi” is part of the common phrase “और भी” which means “even more” – in this case, too, “bhi” has the sense of “even.”

  • पुलिस वाले ने इस मामले के बारे में कुछ भी बोलने से इनकार कर दिया । Pulis vaale ne is maamle ke baare me kuch bhi bolne se inkaar kar diya (The policeman refused to say anything (at all) about this matter).

In this sentence, “bhi” is part of a common phrase – कुछ भी – which means something like “anything at all” – in this case, भी has the purpose of emphasizing the policeman’s refusal to say anything, at all, about the case.

  • आज देश के आम चुनाव में लोग आम आदमी के लिए ज़्यादा अधिकार ज़ोर शोर से माँग रहे हैं और वह भी भारी बहुमत के साथ । Aaj desh ke aam chunaav me log aam aadmi ke liye zyaada adhikaar zor shor se maang rahe hain aur voh bhi bhaari bahumat ke saath (Today, in the country’s general elections, people are vociferously demanding more rights for the common man and that too with a large majority).

In this example, another common phrase “वह भी” (that too) is used in which “भी” emphasizes the sheer size of the majority as well as the other features the voters of the country have going for them. In this case, “bhi” is more akin to “too.”

  • अगर आपको घेवर पसंद हो, तो ये बंगाली मिठाइयाँ भी अच्छी लगेंगी । Agar aapko ghevar (a Rajasthani sweet) pasand ho, to ye Bengali mithaaiyaan bhi acchi lagengi (If you like ghevar, you will like these Bengali sweets too/also).

In this case, “bhi” has the more straightforward meaning of “also” or “too” as it is adding the Bengali sweets to the kind of sweets that this person likes. Now, if you said something like “आपको भी ये बंगाली मिठाइयाँ अच्छी लगेंगी,” it would mean something like “even you/you too will like these Bengali sweets” adding “you” to the list of people who like these sweets.

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About the Author:Rachael

नमस्ते, मेरा नाम रेचल है/السلام علیکم، میرا نام ریچل ہے۔ Hello, my name is Rachael, but I also on occasion go by Richa––an interesting story for another time :) My two great loves are Hindi and Urdu. I first traveled to India (Jaipur, Rajasthan) in college on a Hindi study abroad program. A little over a year later, I returned to the same city to study Hindi in a yearlong program. I've also spent a summer in Kolkata, West Bengal learning Bengali, and I studied Urdu at the University of California, Berkeley, where I was a graduate student in South Asian Studies. I hope to share with you the fascinating world of Hindi and Urdu literature, society, culture and film through my blogs!


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