While learning Marathi it is important to understand the customs or traditions of Marathi community which get reflected in language. One important aspect to learn is how elders are addressed in Marathi.


In Marathi, plurals are used to indicate respect. This is called आदरार्थी बहुवचन (AdarArthI bahuvachan )

e.g. If you are talking about prime minister of you are country. In English you will say. 

“He is Prime Minister. He is speaking”. 

As seen before in Marathi, “He” in English is तो (to) in Marathi. So In Marathi, literal translation will be 

तो पंतप्रधान आहेतो बोलत आहे ( to paMtapradhAn Ahe. to bolat Ahe  )

But because you are talking about P.M. and you will want say these sentences with respect, so actually you will use plural of तो (to) which is ते(te). And sentence will be formed accordingly. 

So Marathi sentence will be 

ते पंतप्रधान आहेतते बोलत आहेत ( te paMtapradhAn Ahet. te bolat Ahet ). 

Which if translated literally in English, it will be “They are Prime Minister. They are speaking”. Which sounds odd in English. But in Marathi it is natural and correct way. And it should be followed when you are talking with an elder person or with any one who you want to give respect.

Similarly if you are talking about lady 

She is good -> ती चांगली आहे ( tI chAMgalI Ahe )

When saying with respect; plural of is ती(tI) is त्या(tyA). So sentence will be 

त्या चांगल्या आहेत( tyA chAMgalyA Ahet ). 

Similarly “How are you” is translated as 

तू कसा आहेस ( tU kasA Ahes  )

Plural of तू (tU) is तुम्ही( tumhI). So question with respect will be asked as  

तुम्ही कसे आहात ( tumhI kase AhAt )

In old time few learned persons or rich person, used to address themselves with respect. So they used आम्ही ( AmhI) which is “we” in English while talking about themselves.


I am coming -> मी येतो आहे ( mI yeto Ahe  )

Giving oneself respect they used to say आम्ही येत आहोत ( AmhI yet Ahot )

In editorials of Marathi newspaper you will find editor calling himself आम्ही (AmhI)

But nowadays in day-to-day communication nobody calls himself आम्ही ( AmhI)  as it looks like boasting.

I have listed pairs here just for reference :- 

मी -आम्ही mI -AmhI

तू -तुम्ही ( tU -tumhI )

तो – ते ( to – te )

ती -त्या ( tI -tyA )

ते -ती  ( te -tI  )


Even if sentences does not have pronoun; it should be formed with plural way to indicate respect. 


Shivaji Maharaj was great

Literal translation -> शिवाजी महाराज महान होता ( shivAjI mahArAj mahAn hotA)

Correct way with respect -> 
शिवाजी महाराज महान होते ( shivAjI mahArAj mahAn hote)

Kaushik is my teacher Literal translation ->  कौशिक माझा शिक्षक आहे ( kaushik mAjhA shikshak Ahe ) 
Correct way with respect -> कौशिक माझे शिक्षक आहेत ( kaushik mAjhe shikshak Ahet )

Note that, we do not use plural of main noun. Plural form of only pronoun, adjective, verb is used. 

Your mother is good (with respect) -> तुझ्या आई चांगल्या आहेत (tujhyA AI chAMgalyA Ahet).

We used आई(AI) and not its plural i.e  आया (AyA)

Another example, 

She is my husband’s sister -> त्या माझ्या नणंद आहेत (tyA mAjhyA naNaMd Ahet). We will not use “नणंदा”(naNaMdA) which is plural of नणंद (naNaMd)


But when you use a preposition with noun, we use plural.

e.g. To mother (literal translation) -> आईला (AIlA)

To mother (with respect) ->आईंना (AIMnA)

For teacher (literal translation) -> शिक्षकासाठी (shikShakAsAThI)

For teacher (with respect) ->शिक्षकांसाठी (shikShakAMsAThI )

I have thoroughly discussed preposition in later chapter. So revisit this part after you are clear with that concept.

*********** Using  आपण (ApaN)  instead of तुम्ही(tumhI)*************

When speaking very formally or in very formal written communication  instead of तुम्ही(tumhI) we use आपण (ApaN)Rest of the sentence structure remains same. 

How are you ->

(With respect)  तुम्ही कसे आहात ( tumhI kase AhAt )

(Very formal communication  ) ->  आपण कसे आहात ( ApaNkase AhAt )


You are doing work ->

(With respect)  तुम्ही काम करत आहात ( tumhI kAm karat Ahat )

(Very formal communication  ) ->  आपण काम करत आहात ( ApaN kAm karat Ahat )

What do you want ->
(With respect)  तुम्हाला काय पाहिजे ? ( tumhAlA kAy pAhije)

(Very formal communication  ) -> आपल्याला काय पाहिजे ? ( ApalyAlA kAy pAhije )


Listen examples online at