Grammar and Spelling
Section One - Grammar and Spelling
1. Case: The cases in Urdu are easily recognizable and they require agreements.
2. Articles: Definite and indefinite articles are not present in Urdu.
3. One letter words: There are no one letter words in Urdu. However when a letter appears independently in a word, it may look like a one letter word. This should not be a problem for a person familiar with Arabic/Persian script.
4. Accents: Accents exist in Urdu but they are used only to clarify the pronunciation of a word. As such there is no upper case or lower case in Urdu.
5. Plurals: There are many ways in which plurals can be made in Urdu. This depends on the origin of the word and what language it comes from.
Section Two – Punctuation
Since Urdu is written from right to left, the shapes of marks like comma and question mark are mirror images (like ؟) of what used in English.
1. Full stops: Full stops are not used in Urdu. A dash like the character (¯) is used to end sentences and it is not used at any of the locations mentioned above. After a heading, a colon followed by a dash (-:) is used.
2. Speech marks: The following sentences reflect the use of speech marks in Urdu.
1. “Give me more work!”, shouted Chloe.
2. “Would anyone like some tea?” asked George.
3. “I’m bored – can I go home now?”, Michala said.
3. Colons, semi-colons and ellipsis: Colons are used in almost the same way as in English. Semi-colon and ellipsis are not generally used in Urdu. However, we can see their use sometimes because Urdu is still evolving and is influenced by English.
Section Three – Measurements and Abbreviations
1. Measurements: Mostly the metric system is used. But the transition is not yet complete. For computer monitors, inner diameter of pipes/tubes, nautical miles, size of computer disks, size of refrigerators, etc., imperial measurements are still used.
To separate thousands in 4-digit numbers, normally a comma is used. “ء” had previously been used instead of a decimal point but the use of a decimal point is common now.
Time: The following examples show how the time is written in Urdu.
Date: Similarly, the following examples show how to write the date in varying formats in Urdu.
20 February 2004
20th February 2004
There should be no space between a number and a measurement, including percentages and degrees Celsius, so 50% and 30°C.
Currency: The Pakistani currency is Rupees (Rs.). Rs. 20 is written as:
£230 / 230 pounds sterling / €45 / 45 euro / $98 billion / 98 billion Dollars would be written as:
(Europe, Middle-East & Asia)
However, please note that abbreviation is not very common in Urdu.
Section Four – Hyphenation
Hyphens and dashes are not used in Urdu.
Section Five – Miscellaneous Peculiarities
Tonal marks are used to distinguish between the meanings of various words and also to help pronounce a word in the right way.
Some place names are different in Urdu.
People’s names are always written in this sequence: first, middle, last. There is no upper case or lower case in Urdu.
Re stylistic forms, Italics are not used in Urdu, but bold is used in the same sense as in English.
Section Six – Geographic Distribution
Urdu is the national language of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in India, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Qatar, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Apart from Urdu, regional languages like Punjabi, Pushto, Sindhi, Balochi, etc. are spoken by large populations. For official matters, English is mainly used. Urdu is the second official language but its use is very rare in that capacity. English is taught from the first day in school. All professional college and university education is in English.
Urdu, at the beginning, was a mixed language in which most of the words were from Hindi. It was later influenced by Persian, Arabic, Punjabi and English at various times. Now we see that Urdu is a conglomerate of all these languages. It is an evolving language and new terms (especially English ones) are being added to it all the time.
Section Seven - Character Set
The Urdu character set has 36 characters. Urdu has the same right-to-left script as Arabic and Farsi/Persian have. The majority of the letters can have 3 possible shapes depending upon where they occur in a word (in the beginning, in the middle or at the end). There is no upper or lower case.
Shortcut: Unicode (Hex), ALT+X
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