• Overview of Punjabi Grammar


There are various particles that are used in the Punjabi sentences for emphasis, negation etc. These particles do not change forms for any of the grammatical categories. Three main types of particles are provided here:


These particles are used to emphasize or put stress on some part of the sentences. That part can be a single word or a phrase. These particles typically follow the word or phrase being emphasized. For example, ਈ ī, ਹੀ , ਤਾਂ tāṃ, ਤੇ , ਖਾਂ khāṃ, ਵੀ , ਭੀ bhī etc. can be used as emphatic particles, as in the following examples:
  1. ਮੈਂ ਵੀ ਜਾਵਾਂਗਾ।
    maiṃ vī jāvāṅgā.
    I will also go.
  2. ਬੱਚਾ ਖੇਡ ਹੀ ਤਾਂ ਰਿਹਾ ਸੀ।
    baccā khēḍ hī tāṃ rihā sī.
    The boy was just playing.
The emphatic particles can be joined for a greater degree of emphasis, as shown in the second example above – ਹੀ ਤਾਂ hī tāṃ.


These particles are normally used for negation effect in sentences. ਨਹੀਂ nahīṃ, ਨਾ , ਨਾਹ nāh are the commonly used negative particles in Punjabi sentences. In a typical Punjabi sentence, if both the emphatic and negative particles are used, then the negative particles follow the emphatic ones, as in the following example:
  1. ਅੱਜ ਮੀਂਹ ਵੀ ਤਾਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਨਾ ਪੈ ਰਿਹਾ ਸੀ।
    ajj mīṃh vī tāṃ nahīṃ nā pai rihā sī
    Today it was not even raining.
In the above example, ਨਾ is used as an emphatic particle not negative one.


Honorific particles are quite common in Punjabi, and are used for giving respect, e.g. ਜੀ , ਜੀਓ jīō, ਸਾਹਿਬ sāhib etc. Whenever honorific particle is used with subject of a sentence, the verb will always be in masculine plural third person form. If some modifiers are used with the noun followed by an honorific particle, then all those modifiers must be in masculine plural form. For example, compare the following sentence 4 with its honorific counterpart sentence 5:
  1. ਮੇਰੀ ਮਾਤਾ ਜਾ ਰਹੀ ਹੈ।
    mērī mātā jā rahī hai.
    My mother is going.
  2. ਮੇਰੇ ਮਾਤਾ ਜੀ ਜਾ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ।
    mērē mātā jī jā rahē han.
    My mother is going.

Note: There are some other particles like ਕੇ , ਕੁ ku etc, which do not fall into any of the above-mentioned categories.

Vocative Particle

As its name implies, these particles are commonly used in vocative case i.e. to call someone. These particles change form with gender – masculine and feminine, and number – singular and plural, e.g. ਅਡ਼ਿਆ aṛiā (masculine singular), ਅਡ਼ਿਓ aṛiō (masculine plural), ਅਡ਼ੀਏ aṛīē (feminine singular) etc. Some vocative particles can equally be used for both the genders, e.g. ਹੇ , ਭਈ bhaī etc.
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