June 13, 2010

Written Hindi: कि or की?

Yet another post for Red Marker Blogathon.

If some word/phrase/idiom/spelling/syntax/punctuation incorrectly used drives you up the wall, blog about it.

The only rule is that you must explain what is wrong with the usage that it bothers you so and you must also explain the proper usage.
Today I am talking, er, writing about a mistake that even native-Hindi speakers make all the time while writing Hindi. This mistake has been driving me up to the wall since I was a kid.

The mistake being interchanging the words की and कि (sorry have to do this one in Devnagari script. Can’t explain this in Latin alphabet system). A mistake in matra usually irritates me a lot but this mistake takes the cake. So what is the difference between the two, you ask?

कि is a conjunction and is equivalent to ‘that’
की is a postposition and is equivalent to ‘of’

For example:
ध्वनि ने कहा कि प्रथम के पास उस ताले की चाभी है|
Dhvani said that Pratham has the key of that lock.

So कि is used to connect two phrases like ध्वनि ने कहा and प्रथम के पास उस[…]  (conjunction), while की is used to connect two nouns (or a noun and a pronoun) like ताला and चाभी (postposition). Simple, no?

Anyway, that’s all from my corner on Red Marker Blogathon. If you have, your own peeves with something you don’t like in any language, do share.

P.S.: I am confused about usage of equivalent. Whether it should be कि  is equivalent to ‘that, or कि is the equivalent of ‘that’? Or, are both correct? For some reason, I am always confused when it comes to English.


  1. Arre waah, Dhvani aur Pratham ek saath?

  2. Equivalent of.

    Thanks for reminding me. Finally a rule I always knew and managed to use too!

  3. Hehehe..glad you noticed it! :)

  4. And what is the rule, pray tell! I will also learn something new :)

  5. There you have me. My knowledge of English grammar is intuitive, picked up from I know not where, not derived from my schooling. I changed too many schools to have any cohesive training in grammar. But as far as I know, it's 'equal to' and 'the equivalent of'.

  6. Realize this is an old thread. But have a question. When writing which post-positions are written together? For example, is it "aapki" or "aap ki" ; "sabse" or "sab se"? Are there some rules or rough coventions?

    Not a Hindi speaker; but understand basic real-life speak, and Bollywood movie dialogs and songs. :)