Urdu-Hindi: achchhaa thaa vs achchhaa hotaa

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Qureshpor

Senior Member
Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
What would you say is the difference between the following two sentences?

1) agar mujhe makaan mil jaataa to achchhaa thaa.

2) agar mujhe makaan mil jaataa to achchhaa hotaa
 
  • Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    The first sentence is incorrect in my opinion.
    Both the sentences that I have given as examples in post 1 are "made up" sentences. However, I have seen sentences of this type in literature. I too feel/felt the same way as you do but I think there is a subtle difference which I can't quite get my head round. Here is an example from Majaz Lakhnavi, a very revolutionary line from one of his Ghazals.

    tere maathe pah* yih aaNchal bahut xuub hai lekin
    tuu is aaNchal ko parcham** banaa letii to achchhaa thaa

    * I have transcribed this word in the Lakhnavii manner of speech

    ** flag
     

    greatbear

    Banned
    India - Hindi & English
    Strangely, the line didn't feel so wrong to me in the fine couplet you have quoted: I don't see any difference of meaning between "hotaa" and "thaa" here, except for that of style. Somehow "thaa" here sounds more literary, more beautiful.
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    What would you say is the difference between the following two sentences?

    1) agar mujhe makaan mil jaataa to achchhaa thaa.

    2) agar mujhe makaan mil jaataa to achchhaa hotaa
    #1 sounds familiar and correct to my ears. For #2, I think the preferred construction should be more like:

    achchhaa hotaa agar mujhe makaan mil jaataa

    Overall not very different and both correct.
     
    Last edited:

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    In the same way we can say tuu is aaNchal ko parcham banaa letii to achchhaa hai.
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    So, 3aalii-janaab is of the view that in this type of sentence "hai/thaa/hotaa" all have equal worth?
    I'd have to ask a 3aalii-janaab if I meet him but my modest opinion is that thaa is equal to hotaa, but hai would imply that there is still a chance it happens.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I'd have to ask a 3aalii-janaab if I meet him but my modest opinion is that thaa is equal to hotaa, but hai would imply that there is still a chance it happens.
    Then, would n't you have said to the lady in question..

    tuu is aaNchal ko parcham banaa le to achchhaa hai (?)
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I'd have to ask a 3aalii-janaab if I meet him but my modest opinion is that thaa is equal to hotaa, but hai would imply that there is still a chance it happens.
    Did you get an opportunity?

    Here is Ghalib with similar sort of construction.

    pakRe jaate haiN farishtoN ke likhe par naa-Haq
    aadamii ko'ii hamaaraa dam-i-taHriir bhii thaa!

    I would expect "hotaa" here.
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Did you get an opportunity?

    Here is Ghalib with similar sort of construction.

    pakRe jaate haiN farishtoN ke likhe par naa-Haq
    aadamii ko'ii hamaaraa dam-i-taHriir bhii thaa!

    I would expect "hotaa" here.
    Probably you haven't understood the irony and my humble stance. You addressed me in the third person so I said that this third person was still to be consulted.

    The Ghalib shi3r doesn't fit here. It is not an example of this construction.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Probably you haven't understood the irony and my humble stance. You addressed me in the third person so I said that this third person was still to be consulted.

    The Ghalib shi3r doesn't fit here. It is not an example of this construction.
    Well, marrish SaaHib, it would not be the first time when I have n't understood what my sharp-witted forum friends are implying!:)

    I thought Ghalib's shi3r is the same sort of construction.

    ham farishtoN ke likhe par pakRe jaate haiN. kaash un ke likhte vaqt hamaaraa bhii ko'ii aadamii vahaaN hotaa jo kih dekh saktaa kih aayaa vuh durust likh rahe haiN yaa kih nahiiN.

    Edit: I accept there is no "achchhaa" in this shi3r but the "thaa vs hotaa" scenario is there.
     
    Last edited:

    aevynn

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, Hindustani
    Well, I'm not @marrish saahib, but... Perhaps I can help clarify at least one small point. The type of sentence that's being discussed in this thread is a counterfactual:
    [X did not happen, but] If X had happened, then Y.​

    In Hindi-Urdu counterfactual sentences: the typical situation is that the antecedent X uses an untensed "fake imperfective" [-taa/-te/-tii/-tiiN], and so does the consequent Y.

    It seems like @Qureshpor saahib has presented us with two examples which belie the above heuristic.

    (1) The aaNchal-parcham example is a situation where the consequent Y uses a simple past instead of an untensed imperfective. It seems like the question in the opening post asks if there's a difference in meaning between using an untensed imperfective vs a simple past for the consequent.

    (2) The farishtaa example [as interpreted here] seems to be a situation where the antecedent X is being expressed using a past tense. The consequent Y is left unstated [so perhaps one can extrapolate that the consequent is a tacit "to acchha hotaa," or something like that...?].

    I suspect this is why @marrish saahib felt that the farishtaa example was not an example of the same phenomenon that's being asked about in the opening post.

    Anyway, that's all I have to contribute for now :) I also can't put my finger on any semantic differences between these syntactic variations, but I shall return to this thread if ever that changes.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Thank you aevynn SaaHib. You are indeed not marrish SaaHib but your response is very welcome as is everyone else's.

    I am fully aware of the grammatical terminology such as "antecedent", "counterfactual" and the like but did not wish to unnecessarily clutter my simple query which you have understood fully. Why "thaa" and not "hotaa" in these examples, that is the question. And as you have indicated, if "thaa" is fine here, what difference is there between the two possibilities?

    I accept that the "farishte" example is not identical and Ghalib being Ghalib was a "mushkil-pasand", allowing more than one if not multiple interpretations for his ash3aar. The second line could also be interpreted as..

    likhte vaqt, kyaa ko'ii hamaaraa bhii aadamii vahaaN maujuud thaa?

    If this is implied, then there is no need for a "hotaa" construction.
     
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