Hindi: but


Senior Member
Hi all,

I've encountered a bunch of different words for the English word "but" in Hindi: magar, par, lekin... is there a different between these?

  • panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    Some people argue a difference between /magar/ and /lekin/ although I don't see it. They are both from Persian and /lekin/ is actually short for the Persian /valekin/. They are both equally common in my view.

    /par/ comes from /parantu/ and in my opinion is very highly used. It is also used in Panjabi (we don't use the other ones). My family also says /parantu/ and /kintu/ from time to time, perhaps in jest.

    So in short, I think they are all the same, but I'd use personally /par/, /magar/, or /lekin/.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    /lekin/ comes from the Arabic لكن (laakin)

    I didn't know /parantu/ was Hindi too! I thought it was very much Gujarati word. I myself never use it in Hindi/Urdu. I always use /lekin/

    /paN/ and /parantu/ are two different words in Gujarati. paN (પણ) just means "but" whereas /parantu/ (પરંતુ) is a more formal word meaning "however". I would never use /parantu/ at home - it's just not a word used in Bharuchi Gujarati. My friends (Bharuchi-Gujarati speaking) wouldn't have a clue what it meant if I asked them!

    I would say that the difference between /lekin/ and /magar/ is like the difference between "but" and "however".

    /lekin/ is the commonest, I would say.


    Senior Member
    Persian - Iran
    /lekin/ comes from the Arabic لكن (laakin)
    Granted and I mean no discussion but any Arabic word hasn't come to Hindi or Urdu thru Arabic. They are mostly thru Persian.

    Dear panjabigator,

    In Persian, magar has a different meaning. It means "unless; except" when used as a conjunction. Don't you have such a usage for it?


    Senior Member
    Starting with my most recent Urdu grammar, the excellent Urdu: An Essential Grammar (Routledge, 1999) has an example which clearly makes no difference between lekin and par. (I suppose that parantu will sound as more Sanskritized Hindi.)

    Same absence of a difference in Phillot: Hindustani Manual (Calcutta 1918).

    Finally: Platts: A Grammar of the Hindustani Language (New Delhi [1878] 1990) gives, among others, the adversative conunctions par 'but, lekin 'but', 'yet' and the one that I was looking for, balki 'but rather', 'on the contrary'.
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