y:Üen:v:es:ýXi Aaôf em:eS:g:n:
'Only X can / will do it!'

Notes on X  hi krð t:að krð

      In Hindi-Urdu in addition to using adverbs like  kðv:l: and  es:fý with the particle  hi [as in (1)] there is a more elaborate and idiomatic way of expressing 'only X can' or 'only X will' [as in (2)]:

1.  kñv:l: eb:radri hihm:ðøt:arðg:i. n:hiø t:að hm: n:hiø t:rðøg:ð. )
   'Only the caste(-brotherhood) will save us.'

2.  eb:radri hihm:ðøt:arðg:i t:að hm:t:rðøg:ð.
   'Only the caste(-brotherhood) will be able to save us.'

   (Literally: 'Only (if) the caste(-brotherhood) will save us, will we be saved.')

   (from Chapter Eleven of   g:aðdan:. See context.)
Notice that in (2) the verb in the first clause is the transitive  t:ar 'save' while that in the second is its derived intransitive counterpart  t:r 'be saved'. (See notes on derived intransitives). The same pattern is seen in (3):

3.  B:g:v:an:Î hi p:ar l:g:ay:ðø t:að l:g:ð.
   'Only God / can / / will / save (the situation).'

   (Literally: 'Only if God saves (the situation), will it be saved.')

   (from Chapter One of   g:aðdan:. See context.)
      There is a variation on this structure in which the second clause does not show a derived intransitive, but maintains the same form as the first clause:

4.  m:òø hi Aakrc:ay: ki c:iz:ðø )  uYaUû t:að uYaUû !
   'Am I the only one to pick the tea things up!' [sarcastic: 'No-one else is willing to do it.']

   (Literally: 'Only if I come and pick them up, I pick them up!)

   (from Act One of   m:aðhn: rakñS: 's  AaD:ð AD:Ürð,  p. 14, 1978 edition)
While it is possible [as in (5)] to use the pattern in (2), the structure in (4) is more idiomatic:

5.  m:òø hi Aakr c:ay: ki c:iz:ðø )  uYaUû t:að uYðø !
     'Only if I come and pick the tea things up, will they get picked up! (No-one else is willing to do it.)'

       As an alternative to the derived intransitive, the passive may be used in the second clause:

6.  m:òø hi Aakr c:ay: ki c:iz:ðø uYaUû t:að uYaI j:aOû !
In other cases only repetition of the verb in the first clause allows a plausible and felicitous completion of the second:

7.  t:Ømhiø rK:aðg:ð t:að rK:aðg:ð.
     'Only you can save me.'

       Also worth noting is that the second clause usually is stripped of everything but the verb. Even when a noun is an inherent part of the meaning of the predicate, it is usually absent from the second clause:

8.  Et:n:a s:ara K:an:a t:Ømhiø s:ð hz:m: hað t:að hað !
    'Only you can handle such a big meal!'

Notes from  kÙs:Øm: j:òn::
A. The senses of 'can' or 'will' are not necessarily present in this structure. It can simply mean that X (the subject) is the only one who does (or is the only one to do) something:

9.  j:b: kB:i kam: haðt:a hò t:að t:Ømhiø Aat:i hað t:að Aat:i hað.  Aaòr l:aðg: t:að n:hiø Aat:ð.
     'Whenever there's work to do, you are the only one who comes. Others don't.'

Another example (this one sent by Terry Varma):

10.  K:an:ð kñ daòran: m:òø hi kÙC khÜú t:að khÜú,  v:h kÙC n:hiø kht:a.
     'During the meal if anyone speaks it's me. He doesn't say a word.'

     ( from  n:aòkran:i ki RaEri )
B. While the pattern is more frequent in the future and the subjunctive, it does occasionally occur in other tenses:

11.  us:i n:ð kha t:að kha.  Aaòr eks:i n:ð kÙC n:hiø kha.
      'He was the only one to speak. No-one else said anything.'

C. The presence of the particle  hi  in the first clause is optional:
12.  m:òø AaUû t:að AaUû.  t:Øm: t:að kB:i n:hiø Aat:ð.
      'If anyone's gonna come over it has to be me. You never come over.'

13.  Asp:t:al: m:ðø . . .  CYð-Cm:as:ð kaðI Aaòrt: edK: g:I t:að edK: g:I,  j:òs:ð unhðø kB:i raðg: G:ðrt:a hi n:hiø T:a.
      'If any woman showed up (in the hospital) it would be just once in a blue moon, as if they weren't subject to disease at all.'

      (from  km:l:ðSv:r 's  raj:a en:rb:øes:y:a,  p. 60)

D. The verb form in the first clause may be replaced by its compound counterpart in the second:

14.  m:òø hi B:Ül:ð-B:Xkñ Aat:i hÜú t:að Aa j:at:i hÜú.   t:Ü t:að kB:i haðS: B:i n:hiø l:ðt:i.
   'I may come over by mistake or because I've lost my way, but I do come over. You never even think of it!'

   ( Dialogue dd by  kÙs:Øm: j:òn:.  See context. )

E. The subordinating conjunction  Ag:r  as an option may occur in the first clause:
15.  Ag:r us:i kað y:ad AaO t:að AaO.
      'She'll be the only one who remembers.'

For further examples and discussion, see Hooper's Helps to Hindustani Idiom, p. 16.

Note: There is another, very similar construction involving partial reduplication, one which expresses  Aet:s:g:ü or indifference:
16.  v:h raðO t:að raðO,  hm:ðø Vy:a !
      '(If he cries) let him cry! What's it to me!'

   Notes on that construction are under way.

Go to exercise.

Go to index of grammatical notes.

Drafted 11 Feb 2001. Posted 12 Feb 2001. Checked by TS and KJ: 12 Feb 2001. Refined 13 Feb 2001. Rechecked by KJ 13 Feb 2001. Further exx: 9 Apr and 15 Apr 2001, 10 May 2001.