Determiners And Relative-Interrogative Relations In Nepali


determiner is a word, phrase or affix that occurs together with a noun or noun phrase and serves to express the reference of that noun or noun phrase in the context. Determiners are words like ‘This’, ‘The’ etc.


Nepali doesn’t have articles. That means, Nepali lacks ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’ in the Language. When translating to and forth, articles must be added or subtracted in the sentence. So, translating ‘त्यो कुकुर हो’ (tyo kukur ho) can be translated into ‘That is a dog’ or ’That is the dog’.

However, Nepali does have determiners like ‘This’, ‘That’ etc. They are laid down in a system called ‘य्-’ (y-) त्य्- (ty) system. I have also added a third column, which is the क् (k-) column. Together, this system is called YTY(K) system (or as so I named it). 

The following table will tell you how य्- (y-) and त्य्- (ty-) combine with various suffixes to create determiners. Also below, there is a link for a printable document.



+ को (ko) means ’Who

+ कसैले (kasaile) can mean ’Anyone’ or ’No one’ depending on the verb’s positivity

File Link:


As you can see from the above table, य् (y) row determines things that are relatively close to the speaker (This) whereas त्य् (ty) determines things that are relatively far to the speaker (that). Also, क् (k) are question words. Out of these determiners, – ओ (-o) is classified both as a pronoun and an adjective, – अस्तो (-asto) and – अति (-ati) as adjectives, and – असरी (-asari), – अहाँ (-aha) and – असैले (-asaile) are adverbs.


य् (y) + ओ (o)    = यो   (yo)   /this/

त्य् (ty) + ओ (o) = त्यो (tyo)  /that/

and so on.



Their meanings correspond to how they are used. That means, ‘that’ is used as ‘that’ and ‘this’ is used as ‘this’ and so on…

ओ (o)  Series

The ओ (o) are those words which function both as a pronoun and as a determiner. Formally, determiners are classified as Adjectives in Nepali. The series denotes proximity to the listener or the speaker.

The two members of this series are:

यो (yo) = This

त्यो (tyo) = That


They are used in the same way as they are in English. For example:

  • As a pronoun

त्यो मेरो भाइ हो (tyo mero bhai ho)

That is my brother.


यो फूल हो (yo phul ho)

This is a Flower.


  • As a determiner (like adjective)

त्यो घर मेरो हो (tyo ghar mero ho)

That house is mine’s.                [’Tyo’ modifying ’ghar’ /house/]


यो फूल गुलाफ हो  (yo phul gulaaf ho)

This flower is (a) rose.               [’Yo’ modifying ’gulaaf’ /rose/]


अहाँ (aha) series 

The अहाँ (aha) series contains words which function as adverbs. The -aha series defines things that are present at some location. 

So, the series denotes position of an object.


The three members in this series are:

यहाँ (yaha) = Here

त्यहाँ (tyaha) = There

कहाँ (kaha) = Where?

They are used the same way as in English, to denote position:


जन कहाँ छ ? (jan kaha cha?)

Where is John?


जन यहाँ छ  (jan yaha cha)

= John is here.


त्यहाँ नजाऊ , कुकुर छ (tyaha najaau, kukur cha)

= Don’t go there, (for there) is (a) dog.


Note that when you add उ (u) in front of त्यहाँ (tyaha /there/), it denotes things even farther than what त्यहाँ (tyaha /there/) denotes by itself. So, उ त्यहाँ (u tyaha) has a meaning of ‘That over there’. Kind of like ‘あそこ’ (asoko) of Japanese, if you know Japanese.

उ त्यहाँ पहाड छ (u tyaha pahad cha)

= There is a hill over there.


असरी (asari) Series

The असरी (asari) series contains words which function as adverbs. The -asari series defines things whose actions proceed in a certain manner. This is indicated by ’In X manner’ in English.

The Series contains three members:

यसरी (yasari) = In this manner/ way

त्यसरी (tyasari) = In that manner/ way

कसरी (kasari) = In what manner/ way?  (How)


As you can see, कसरी (kasari) also works as ’How’. Why? The reason why is because, कसरी (kasari) questions how things work in what/which manner. For example, the interchange of ’how’ with ’in what manner’ doesn’t change the sentence’s meaning (the how corresponds to kasari):

How does a car work?

A car works in what manner?


As you know, Nepali has two ways of saying ‘How’ and you can read more about them on ’Question Structure’.

Using them might be a bit tricky, but they are very easy to use. Take these sentences:

गाडी कसरी काम गर्छ ? (gadi kasari kaam garcha?)

How does a car work?    [OR A car works in what manner?]


गाडी यसरी काम गर्छ (gadi yasari kaam garcha)

= A car works in this way/ manner


त्यो काम त्यसरी गर्ने होईन (tyo kaam tyasari garne hoina)

= That work should not be done (in) that way.


See? It wasn’t that difficult to use it, right?


असैले (asaile) Series

The असैले (asaile) series contains words which function as adverbs. The -asari series answers the question ’Why’. This is indicated by ‘X is why’ in English. 

There are two members in this series:

यसैले (yasaile) = This is why

त्यसैले (tyasaile) = That is why


Why doesn’t कसैले (kasaile) exist? Well, does ’Why is Why?’ make sense? Same logic. Also, कसैले (kasaile) is an emphasis for कसले (kasle) which means ‘Anyone’ as in ‘Can anyone do it?’.  

These are usually used to answer questions and can also be translated into ‘Because’ or ‘hence’.

The two words are pretty easy to use, actually. Take these sentences:

मलाई भोक लाग्छ त्यसैले म भात खान्छु (malai bhok laagcha tyasaile ma bhat khanchu) 

= I feel hungry that’s why I eat rice.


यो गर्‍यो भने बिग्रिन्छ यसैले यो गर्न हुँदैन (yo garyo bhane bigrincha yasaile yo garna hundaina)

= If (we) do this then (it) will malfunction this is why (we) shouldn’t do this.


अस्तो (asto) Series

The asto series contains words which function as adjectives. It corresponds as ’Like X’ in English.

There are three members:

यस्तो (yasto) = Like this/ This sort of

त्यस्तो (tyasto) = Like that/ That sort of

कस्तो (kasto) = What sort of?


Using these words are not that easy as the above ones.’Sort’ can also be replaced by ’kind’. ’Kasto’ is an intermediary between Interrogatives and non-interrogatives; kasto can also be used as a non question word. When kasto is used as a non-interrogative, it takes a meaning of ’How much’, ’So’ in that case. (basically shows emphasis)

Take these sentences:

यस्तो मान्छे (yasto manche)

This sort of person    [Or (A) person like this]


परिक्षा कस्तो गाह्रो थियो ! (pariksha kasto gahro thiyo!)

= The test was so difficult!


कस्तो काम गर्नु हुँदैन ? (kasto kaam garnu hudaina?)

What kind of work should (we) not do?


त्यस्तो काम गर्नु हुँदैन (tyasto kaam garnu hudaina)

= (You) should not do that kind of work.


Note: When kasto is used as emphasis, it usually sends a meaning like ‘So’ or ‘How much’ in Nepali. Such emphasis do not function as a part of a question, so the final mark should not be a question mark when used as such. For example:

कस्तो कराएको! (kasto karaeko!)

= How much (you) are shouting!     [OR (you) are shouting so much!]


अति  (ati) Series

The ati series has words which function as adjectives. It corresponds as ‘X Much’ in English and hence shows quantity.

The three members are:

यति (yati) = This much

त्यति (tyati) = That much

कति (kati) = How much?


Do note that these three words can work like emphasis adjectives. As such, they are often used in situations where emphasis is given. That meaning, the ‘this’ and ‘that’ is readily replaced by So. However, the proximity must be respected when translating, hence the proximity is expressed in the end of the phrase. Also, कति (kati) can too, mean ’So much’ and is an intermediary like कस्तो (kasto); कति (kati) can also be used as non-question words.

Take these sentences:

कति खाने ? (kati khane?)

= How much will (you) eat?


यति खाने । (yati khane)

= (I) will eat this much.


यति धेरै मान्छे (yati dherai manche)

These much people    [OR So much people there]


कति धेरै मान्छे ! (kati dherai manche!)

So much people! 


कति (kati) can also be used as an emphasis like kasto. In this case, their meanings coincide and hence they usually carry the same magnitute. That makes them interchangeable and is often interchanged. For example:

यो कस्तो ठूलो रहेछ  (yo kasto thulo rahecha)


यो कति ठूलो रहेछ (yo kati thulo rahecha)

Both have the same meaning as ‘This is so big, I see’ (warning: not what she said)


So, that was about determiners. Now, lets see what relation interrogative words have with relative words. Why not ’interrogate’ them to see how they ’relate’? 



Do you know what are interrogative words? They are question words, meaning they are used to ask questions. Kind of like ’What’ in ’What is this?’

On the other hand, Relative words are those words which shows the relation between two clauses. It is like ’Who’ of ‘That man who plays guitar is my father.’

So, what is their relationship in Nepali?


In Nepali, the relation is shown by k- and j- system. The k- system is the interrogative system whereas the j- system is the Relative System. As you can see in the following table, the relation between the JK system is:


Did you see that K- system is followed by a question mark but j- system isn’t? That is because the j- system is the Relative System. 

Let’s learn how to use them!



They work as question words. Words in this system usually start with the alphabet क (ka). Since how they work is already explained in the lesson ’Question Structure’, you can visit that lesson for more information. 

Just in Brief, I will present some sentences as examples:

त्यहाँ को छ ? (tyaha ko cha)

= Who is there?


कुन मान्छे भात खान्छ ? (kun manche bhat khancha?)

Which person eats rice?


यो कति हो ? (yo kati ho)

How much is this?



Let’s learn how to use relative words! They are words like ’Which’ in ‘The thing which displays images’. These words are not question words! These words usually start with the letter ज (ja) and have the same or at least similar meaning as their interrogative counterparts sans the interrogative nature.


Using जो (jo)

The word जो (jo) has a meaning of Who in Nepali. It is like ’who’ of ‘The person who made that painting is my brother’. Please note that the oblique form of जो (jo) is जस (jas).

The format of Jo is usually:

Jo + 1st clause + Dummy Determiner (usually ‘tyo’) + 2nd Clause

Take the sentence:

The one who eats rice is my father.

That relative here is जो (jo) and the 1st clause would be the introducing clause ‘the one who eats rice’. Ignoring the ‘who’, the sentence in nepali would be ‘one eats rice’ which is preceded by the relative. The second clause would be ‘is my father’. The resulting structure will be:

जो भात खान्छ त्यो मेरो बाबा हो (jo bhat khancha tyo mero baba ho)

[Who + Rice + Eat + That + My + Father + Is]


Why is त्यो (tyo) added? When using relatives, a dummy determiner must be used after the first clause is introduced and the most preferred dummy is त्यो (tyo). वहाँ (waha) can also be used for people if you want to give respect.


Let’s take another sentence:

जो मह काढ्छ त्यो हात चाट्छ (jo maha kadcha tyo haat chatcha)

= (He) who extracts the Honey licks (his) hand.

[Who + Honey + Extract + That + Hand + Lick]


That sentence is an quote in Nepali, which roughly means ‘The one who does hard work gets to reap its rewards’.

As you can see, a dummy determiner must be placed. Usually, the dummy determiner preferred belongs to the same family. 


Using जहाँ (jaha)

The word जहाँ (jaha) has a meaning of ’Where’ in Nepali. It is like ’where’ in the sentence ‘This is where I slept yesterday’. 

The structure is usually something like this:

1st Clause + Jaha + 2nd Clause


Take the following sentence:

This is where the accident had happened.

The relative word here would be ’where’ which corresponds to as जहाँ (jaha). The first clause would be ‘This is’ and the second clause would be ‘the accident had happened’. The resulting form in Nepali would be:

यो हो जहाँ दुर्घटना भएको थियो (yo ho jaha durghatna bhaeko thiyo)

[ This + Is + Where + Accident + Had Happened]


Another Sentence:

घर हो जहाँ आफ्नो मन छ (ghar ho jaha aafnu man cha)

= Home is where the heart is.

[Home + Is + Where + One’s + Heart + Is]


When ’where’ appears as the first word in a sentence, the structure gets converted into:

Subject of 1st Clause + Jaha + 1st Clause Verb + Subject of 2nd Clause + Dummy Determiner + 2nd Clause Verb

For example:

Where you go, I go (there).

तिमी जहाँ जान्छौ म त्यहाँ जान्छु (timi jaha jaanchau ma tyaha jaanchu)

[You + Where + Go + I + There + Go]


The structure is a bit complicated, though. However, it can be sometimes restructured into:

Jaha + Subject of 1st Clause + 1st Clause Verb

when there is only one clause. (like in ’Where I eat food.’)


Using जसरी (jasari)

जसरी (jasari) has a meaning of ’How’. It is like ’how’ in the sentence ’How I eat is how he eats’. Please note that it is not like ’how’ in ’How I eat food’. In that case, it takes कसरी (kasari).


जसरी (jasari) acts like a linker between two clauses where both sentences has ‘how’ whereas कसरी (kasari) is used when there is only one clause.

The structure is something like this:

Subject of 1st Clause+ Jasari + 1st Clause Verb +2nd Clause Subject + Dummy Determiner + 2nd Clause Verb

For example: 

तिमी जसरी आयौ त्यसरी जाऊ (timi jasari aayau tyasari jaau)

How you came, go in the same manner.

[ You + How + Come + that manner + Go ]


Using जस्तो (jasto)

This will be explained in an upcoming lesson. The aspect of jasto is beyond the scope of this lesson and will be explained later in a new lesson.


Using जति (jati)

जति (jati) has a meaning of ’How much’. It is just like ’how much’ of ’How much I eat is how much you eat’. It is not used when the sentence is like ’How much work there is!’. In that case, the expression कति (kati) is used. The reason is, जति (jati) is used when there are like two ’how much‘es in the sentence, where as कति (kati) is used when there is only one ’how much’. कति (kati) is also an interrogative.


The structure is something like this:

Subject of 1st Clause+ Jati + 1st Clause Verb +2nd Clause Subject + Dummy Determiner + 2nd Clause Verb

So, it is similar to others.

रामले जति खान्छ म त्यति खान्छु (ram le jati khancha ma tyati khanchu)

How much Ram eats is how much I eat.

[Ram + How much + Eat + I + That much + eat]

Replacing ‘how’ with ‘that’ will make the translation more literal.


Using जुन (jun)

जुन (jun) has a meaning of ’Which’. It is just like ’which’ in ‘The Thing Which cooks’. It is also like ’that’ of ‘The person that walks on the moon’

The structure is usually something like this:

Jun + Subject of Clause + Clause’s Verb    [Single Clause]


Jun +  Subject of 1st Clause + Dummy Relative (opt.) + 1st Clause Verb + Dummy Determiner + 2nd Clause               [2 clauses]

 A sentence:

जुन मान्छे जूनमा हिँड्छ (jun manche jun ma hidcha)

= The person that walks on the moon

[That + Person + Moon + On + Walk]


जुन मान्छे पानी खान्छ त्यो मान्छे राम्रो हुन्छ (jun manche pani khancha tyo manche ramro huncha)

= The person that drinks water, that person is good.

[ That + Person + Drink + Water + That + Person + Good + Is]


That is all you have to know about Determiners and Relatives! If you are confused or need to ask something, feel free to do so.




1. _________ मान्छे मेरो भाई हो (That person is my Brother)

2.  टेबल र कुर्सी ________ छ      (The Table and the chair are there)


1. मेरो घर उ त्यहाँ छ (mero ghar u tyaha cha)

2. Here is where the airport will be made.


1. ____ घर छ त्यहाँ आमा हुन्छ (जहाँ / जुन)

2. ____  घर जान्छ त्यो भात खान्छ  (जो / जुन)


A. 1. त्यो 

A. 2. त्यहाँ 

B. 1. My house is that over there.

B. 2. यहाँ हो जहाँ विमानस्थल बनिनेछ 

C. 1. जहाँ 

C. 2. जो 

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