Grammar Notes 1.2: चाहना and चाहिए

चाहना and चाहिए

Students of Hindi as a second language quite often get confused between चाहना and चाहिए. Although they sound similar and some of the functions are similar, there is a very clear difference between them.

  • – चाहना is a verb that means “to want”, it behaves like any regular verb and is conjugated regularly in all the tenses and moods. It is mainly used as a modal verb, which means it usually goes with another verb, for instance “want to go”, “want to play”.
मैं भारत घूमना चाहता हूँ। I want to travel in India.
वह वह फ़िल्म देखना चाहती थी। She wanted to watch that film.
  • It does, but seldom go with a noun, for instance “want a book” or “want a house”.
मैं वह किताब चाहती हूँ। I want that book.
वह एक बड़ी गाड़ी चाहता है। He wants a big car.


  • चाहिए

The meaning and use of predicative form चाहिए depends on context and the type of word (noun and adjectival infinitive) it goes with. The subject appears with the postposition … को.

  • When चाहिए appears with a noun, it can mean “to need” or “to want” depending on the context.
हमें एक बड़ा घर चाहिए।  We want/need a big house.
मुझे कुछ पैसे चाहिए।  I need some money.


Below are two sentences that express difference based on the context regarding the use of चाहिए as expressed by the verb “need” and “want” in English.

हमारा घर छोटा है, हमें नया घर चाहिए।

यह घर बहुत सुन्दर है, मुझे ऐसा ही घर चाहिए।

  • The past and future tense with चाहिए is formed by adding the helping verb होना in past and future tense.

Future tense

हमें बड़ा घर चाहिए होगा। We will need a bigger house.
मुझे कुछ पैसे चाहिए होंगे। I will need some money.

Past tense

हमें बड़ा घर चाहिए था। We needed a big house.
मुझे कुछ पैसे चाहिए थे। I needed some money.
  • When चाहिए goes with a verb, it changes its meaning. It does not mean “to want” or “to need” then, it means some kind of suggestion or moral advice. The English equivalent of चाहिए with verb is “should + verb”, for instance “should study”, e.g. the students should study hard. – छात्रों को खूब पढ़ना चाहिए.

Few more examples:

आप तो बीमार हैं, आपको कुछ आराम करना चाहिए।  You are sick, you should take rest.
बच्चों को जल्दी सोना चाहिए।  The children should go to sleep early.
  • When a sentence with चाहिए does not have a subject, it gives a moral or advising statement.
झूठ नहीं बोलना चाहिए।  One should not lie.
सुबह जल्दी उठना चाहिए।  Everybody should get up early in the morning.
सेल पर सामान ख़रीदना चाहिए।  One should buy things on sale.
  • The infinitive form in a चाहिए construction behaves like a variable adjective which changes according to gender and number.
हमेशा सच (m.) बोलना चाहिए। One should always speak the truth.
बच्चों को ज़्यादा चाय(f.) नहीं पीनी चाहिए। Children should not drink a lot of tea.
उसी दुकान से जूते (m. pl.) खरीदने चाहिए। One should buy shoes from that shop.
  • The चाहिए with verb construction can also be expressed in past tense. The English translation of such sentences is “should have”.
कल रात को मुझे ज़्यादा देर तक बाहर नहीं रहना चाहिए था।  I should not have stayed out late last night.
तुम्हें कालेज ख़त्म कर लेना चाहिए था।  You should have finished college.



(2.1.) Translate the following sentences.

  1. The students should study all year long, not just before exams.
  2. She wants to go to the Olympics; she should work very hard.
  3. The party was fun, you should have come.
  4. I want to get a nice job after finishing college.

(2.2.) Make sentences using all three given components.

  1. तुम, पार्क में घूमना, चाहना
  2. हम, साड़ी ख़रीदना, चाहिए
  3. ये लड़कियां, भरतनाट्यम सीखना, चाहिए

(2.3.) Fill in the blanks.

  1. मैं दुनिया ______ (want to travel), इसके लिए मुझे बहुत पैसे ______(should earn)।
  2. उसको दुखी ________(should not be) । जो वह ________ (wants), उसको आज नहीं तो कल ज़रूर मिलेगा।
  3. हमें उसके घर ज़रूर _______(should go) । वह दिल से ________ (wants )कि हम उसका नया घर देखें।


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Hindi-Urdu by Sungok Hong, Sunil Kumar Bhatt, Rajiv Ranjan, and Lakhan Gusain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.