How do you Conjugate Verbs in Arabic?

Posted in CategoryStandard Arabic Grammar Questions
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    Mohamed Essam Bakry 1 year ago

    You might think that Arabic verb conjugation is complicated or hard when you start learning the language, but it is quite simple if you remember this rule: The subject and the doer of the verb are included in the conjugated verb. That explains why subject pronouns are usually omitted in verb sentences. You see, they are not needed here because the Arabic verb itself contains all the information you need to know about the subject.

    The Arabic verbs in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) are categorized based on three main tenses:

    -       Past Tense.

    -       Present Tense.

    -       Imperative Tense.

    Before getting started, it is worth mentioning Arabic has root verbs (the masculine third-person perfect form), which are called in Arabic الأفعال المجردة (mojaradah verbs). The base/root verb is always in the Past tense.

    The Arabic verb has different forms for Feminine Singular and Plural verbs. They are marked by various sets of Suffixes added to the Masculine form. With Arabic verb conjugation, we use the base verbs in the past tense to make the required changes, and every tense has its own rules.




    1-  Past Tense in Arabic:

    Used for actions that happened in the past and been completed. When conjugating Past tense verbs, you will add suffixes to the "base" form of the verb.

    Base verb كِتَبْ(katb) = He wrote:

    I wrote أَنَا (ana) كَتَبْت katbt

    He wrote هُو (houa) كَتَب katb

    She wrote هِي (heya) كَتَبَت katbat

    You (masc.) wrote أنْت (anta) كَتَبْت katbt

    You (fem.) wrote أنْتِ (anti) كَتَبْتِ katbati

    We wrote (nahnou)  نَحنُ كَتَبْنَا katbabna

    They (masc.) wrote (hum)  كَتَبَوا هُم katabou

    They (fem.) wrote (hunna)  هُنّ كَتَبَنَ katabna

    You (pl) wrote (antom)  أَنتُم كَتَبتُم katabtom

    2-  Present Tense in Arabic:

    Used to indicate actions in the present, occurring at the moment of speaking.

    The process of present Arabic verb conjugation is quite simple:

    1) Determine who the subject is. The subject is categorized by number (Singular, Dual, Plural) and gender (Masculine, Feminine).

    2) Add the necessary suffixes/prefixes to the base verb.


    Base verb كِتَبْ(katb) = He wrote:

    I write أَنَا (ana) أَكْتُب aktob

    He writes هُو (houa) يَكْتُب yaktob

    She writes هِي (heya) تَكْتُبْ taktob

    You (masc.) write أنْت (anta) تَكْتُب taktob

    You (fem.) write أنْتِ (anti) تَكْتُبِينْ takobeen

    We write (nahnou) نَحنُ نَكتُب naktob

    They (masc.) write (hum) هُم يَكتُبُون yaktoboon

    They (fem.) write (hunna)  هُنّ يكْتَبُن yaktobna

    You (pl) write (antom)  أَنتُم تَكتُبُون taktoboon


    2b- Future Tense in Arabic:

    The future particle in Arabic سَوْفَ is added before the imperfect present verb. So “I will go to the library to study Arabic” is سَوْفَ أذهَبُ إلى المكتَبَة لأَدْرُسْ العربية

    سَوْفَ can be abbreviated to سَ

    When the abbreviation is used, it is written as part of the verb. For example سَأذْهَبُ “I will go.”

    Please note that the future in Arabic, is somehow different than the future in English. In Arabic it is used for any incident that will happen later even if it will happen one minute from present moment.

    سأذهب للمدرسة حالاً I am going to school now (literally: I will go to school now).


    3-  Imperative Tense (Command) in Arabic:

     The imperative (الأمر) is used to make orders. It is addressed to a person or persons; therefore, verbs are conjugated with second-person pronouns only.

    The process of Imperative Arabic verb conjugation is quite simple:

    1) Determine who the subject is. The subject is categorized by number (Singular, Dual, Plural) and gender (Masculine, Feminine).

    2) Add the necessary suffixes/prefixes to the base verb.

    Base verb كِتَبْ(katb) = He wrote:

    You (masc.) write أنْت (anta) اكْتُبْ oktob

    You (fem.) write أنْتِ (anti) اُكْتُبِي oktobi

    You (pl) write (antom)  أَنتُم اُكْتُبْوا oktobou

    Please have a look at our videos

    Arabic present tense verb conjugation

    How to form the future tense in Arabic?

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