दिशा निर्देश - Guidelines for Written Nepali v0.1Alpha

This text with highlight some of the common mistake on written Nepali usage and set some standard guidelines that everyone can follow.

Common Guidelines

Avoid justify alignment

Never use two or more than two spaces between words or sentences. This is commonly caused when you use the justify alignment.

Always use smart quotes

Never use dumb quotes (" ") but always use smart quotes (“ ”).

Dumb Quote Smart Quote


Always use smart apostrophe

Never use dumb apostrophe (') but always use smart apostrophe (’). Note: There is no use of apostrophe in written Nepali, it is written here for completion.


Commas/periods should go inside quotes. For exmaple: “नेपाल सानो देश हो,” उसले भन्यो ।

Don’t Underline Titles

Instead italicize them.

Nepali Specific Guidelines

Purna Viram

Due to the complexities in Devanagari, it is recommended that one give space before and after the Purna Viram (Devanagari Danda).


Colon when used in Devanagari text might resemble a visarga, which is not intended so please avoid using colon in Devanagari text instead consider using em dash at best or hypen.

Note: pañcam varṇa (पञ्चम् वर्ण)are those letters which fall on the fifth of 5-characters group (वर्ग).

In क वर्ग - कखगघङ - ङ is the pancham varna.

In च वर्ग - चछजझञ - ञ is the pancham varna.

In ट वर्ग - टठडढण - ण is the pancham varna.

In त वर्ग - तथदधन - न is the pancham varna.

In प वर्ग - पफबभम - म is the pancham varna.

य,र,ल,व,श,ष,स and ह don’t fall in above categorization.

Use of Anusvara

Never replace the half-form of these pañcam varṇa - ङ ञ ण न म with Anusvara when followed by all other letters other than य,र,ल,व,श,ष,स and ह. क्ष त्र ज्ञ fall under the group of क, त and ज respective as they are just conjuncts.

See the table below for the example:

Incorrect Usage[1] Correct Usage Remarks
गंगा गङ्गा Usage like गंगा is not wrong in Nepali. Ligature of ङ्ग might be different between fonts[2].
संचार सञ्चार Ligature of ञ्च might be different between fonts.
पंडित पण्डित Generally not seen, this is an gentle remainder to avoid usage like पंडित.
लोकतंत्र लोकतन्त्र Generally not seen, this is an gentle remainder to avoid usage like लोकतंत्र.


अवलम्बन Generally not seen, this is an gentle remainder to avoid usage like अवलंबन.
  अंश Use anusvara only in these cases when followed by य,र,ल,व,श,ष,स and ह.


Pancham varna(ण) usage with same varga(वर्ग)

When a half-form of any pañcam varṇa appears that follow immediately follow characters in the same 5 letter group (varga). This is the natural representation of how our tongue works in Devanagari. This rules applies even to foreign words (English words) in Nepali.

See the table below for example:

Usage Explanation Remarks
गङ्गा ङ् can be followed by another consonants that belong to the क वर्ग. ग is the character of group in which ङ falls.
सञ्चार ञ् can be followed by another consonants that belong to the च वर्ग. च is the character of group in which ञ falls.
पण्डित ण् can be followed by another consonants that belong to the ट वर्ग. ड is the character of group in which ण falls.
लोकतन्त्र न् can be followed by another consonants that belong to the त वर्ग. [3] is the character of group in which न falls.
अवलम्बन म् can be followed by another consonants that belong to the प वर्ग. ब is the character of group in which म falls.
घण्टा ण् can be followed by another consonants that belong to the ट वर्ग. Incorrect usage: घन्टा
इण्टरनेट[4] ण् can be followed by another consonants that belong to the ट वर्ग. Incorrect usage: इन्टरनेट


Use of Visarga:

Visarga is used in many Nepali words. For example: अतः, ततः, मुख्यतः and other many words.

Colon (:) is not Visarga:

Though they might should slightly similar Colon and visarga are not the same. Colon is an punctuation mark whereas a phone. Colon and visarga have different unicode points assinged to them. Use the ः for Visarga not : as visarga.


Incorrect Usage Correct Usage
अत: अतः
तत: ततः
मुख्यत: मुख्यतः
दु:ख दुःख


Use of ZWJ and ZWNJ

Zero-width joiner (ZWJ)/ Zero-width non-joiner are to be avoided in most cases:

To get different ligature: Consider the font Lohit Hindi, when the user types हुन्न the default ligature of न्न is one the looks like त्र. And using ZWJ we can achieve a ligature of half-form न with full न which is the expected ligature at least for Nepali. So, a user publishes a web document with हुन्न with ZWJ like this हुन्‍न. The document is a seen by a Windows user, the default font Mangal makes no variations between हुन्न with and without ZWJ. And when the user searches for हुन्न without ZWJ the हुन्न with ZWJ is of course not shown. So, to avoid issues like this avoid the use of ZWJ and ZWNJ in most cases. Pareli glyph(which has been explain below) is the only place where ZWJ is required.

Remember: The shape of the glyph has nothing to do with use of ZWJ and ZWNJ, that is different with different font.

Correct: हुन्न without ZWJ in Lohit Devanagari Incorrect: हुन्‍न - one with ZWJ in Lohit Devanagari


For Pareli (Eyelash) Ra:

Pareli र is an popular glyph is widely popular in Nepali. There are two method to achieve this and both have their pros and cons.

ZWJ Method (र्‍):

This method used half form ra with ZWJ to achieve the pareli (Eyelash) Ra.

र् + ZWJ = र्‍


  1. Easier to achieve on Nepali keyboard like Traditional Bakaman and Romanized Layout.
  2. Most popular Unicode font support this ligature.


  1. This is an controversial method to achieve Eyelash Ra so some fonts like Lohit Devanagari and other don’t support this.
  2. ZWJ is not allowed in IDN - Internationalized domain name.

Ra + Sign Nukta Method(ऱ):

This method is the officially designated method by the Unicode Consortium. This method uses half form of Ra with Sign Nukta.

र + ़ + ् = ऱ्


  1. It’s the official method.
  2. Most of the common Unicode font support this method.


  1. Windows family of fonts like Mangal, Aparajita doesn’t support this method.

Note: Fonts like Lohit Devanagari only supports this method.

Recommended Method:

For achieving Eyelash RA in Nepali the recommended method is ZWJ Method, Linux users should consider using Lohit Nepali. (With newer version of Lohit Devanagari is expected to use locale method which add hope for supporting ZWJ method).

Non-Native words in Devanagari

While writing foreign words in Nepali please italicize the text. This is better method use in standard writing. For example:

इण्टरनेट सङ्गणकसञ्जालहरुको विश्वव्यापी संयन्त्र हो ।

Giving Meaning of non-native words

It is recommended to avoid the use of non-native words in most cases. But if you really need to use the non-native words consider giving two meanings of the term. One the literal meaning and other the implied meaning. Never leave non-native words without any meaning or explanation. For example:

इण्टरनेट(शब्दार्थ - अन्तरजाल, भावार्थ - सङ्गणकहरुको अन्तरसञ्जाल ) ताररहित पनि हुन्छ ।

Usage of words

Whether you are writing for a blog or newspaper you must consider using formal terms. For selection of words you must start with thet Nepali terms (ठेट नेपाली) if you cannot find a thet Nepali term than consider using तत्सम or तत्भव words and then move to the आगन्तुक words. For example:

In case of using word disappear:

Priority 1 ठेट नेपाली = बिलाउनु

Priority 2 तत्सम\तत्भव = अदृश्य हुनु

Priority 3 आगन्तुक = गायब हुनु

Consider using thet Nepali terms, then तत्सम\तत्भ and then only आगन्तुक terms.

Scientific and Technical Terms

Scientific and Technical Terms are abundant on Nepali language as it draws it’s technical vocabulary from Sanskrit. When writing any scientific and technical terms consider writing the Nepali word instead of writing English words in Devanagari. Also consider adding English term in Roman or Devanagari to explain the term. For example:

… पूर्वावलोकन (preview) ….

[1]Usage considered incorrect here might be correct in other languages using Devanagari. Here only Nepali language usage are considered.

[2]The default Devanagari font on Windows - Mangal doesn't contain the original ligature. But this can’t be the excuse to not use ङ्ग. Try considering moving to other Devanagari fonts like Kalimatii, Madan, Lohit Devanagari etc.

[3]त्र is a conjuct of त् and र.

[4]The author suggests to use the translated term for English words. Though इन्टरनेट is widely used (Comparing Google Search Result Numbers), it is not the correct at least for Nepali.

These Guidelines were prepared by Ujjwol Lamichhane. If you have any suggestions please comment below. Mail him through his contact page or mention him on twitter at @Ujjwol

Originally Published at: ujjwol.com.np