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A Comprehensive Guide to Arabic Verbs

https://www.fluentarabic.net/a-comprehensive-guide-to-arabic-verbs/

Understanding the grammar of verbs is essential to your mastery of Arabic. Fortunately, the verb system in Arabic is fairly straightforward and not too difficult to grasp.

So here we attempt to explain the core rules of the Arabic verb. Mastering these rules can insha Allah provide you a strong foundation which will help you along on your Arabic journey.

Tenses

Three Cases of Verbs in Arabic

Every verb in Arabic has 3 forms: Past, Present and Command tense.

Examples:

CommandPresentPast
اُكتُبْيَكْتُبُكَتَبَ
كُلْيَأْكُلُأَكَلَ
اِجّلِسْيَجْلِسُجَلَسَ

If you have noticed, the patterns are different for each of these examples. We will come to the reason in the later sections.

Past Tense Verb Forms

The past tense verbs are divided into different forms based on person, gender and number.

PluralDualSingular
Third PersonThey wrote كَتَبُواThey wrote كَتَبَاHe wrote كَتَبَM
Second PersonYou wrote كَتَبّتُمYou wrote كَتَبْتٌماYou wrote كَتَبْتَM
First PersonWe wrote كَتَبْنَاI wrote كَتَبْتُM or F

M: Masculine F: Feminine

Examples of Usage:

قَرَأَ الطَّالِبُ الكِتَابَ

The student read the book.

قَرَأَتْ الطَّالِبَةُ الكِتَابَ

The student (female) read the book

الطَّالباتُ قرأْنَ الكِتابَ

The students (female) read the book.

Present Tense Verb Forms

The present tense verbs are also divided into 14 forms according to person, gender and number:

PluralDualSingular
Third PersonThey write يَكْتُبُونَThey write يَكْتُبَانِHe writes يَكْتُبُM
Third PersonThey write يَكْتُبْنَThey write تَكْتُبَانِShe writes تَكْتُبُF
Second PersonYou write تَكْتُبَونَYou write تَكْتُبَانِYou write تَكْتُبُM
Second PersonYou write تَكْتُبْنَYou write تَكْتُبَانِYou write تَكْتُبِينَF
First PersonWe write نَكْتُبُSame as pluralI write أَكْتُبُM or F

Imperative Verbs

The imperative or command tense verb is always used in the second person. Therefore each verb can occur in all these forms:

PronounImperativeGender
You = أنتَاُكْتُبْM
You = أنتِاُكْتُبِيF
You = أنتمااُكْتُبَاM or F
You = أنتماُكْتُبُواM
You = أنتنَّاُكْتُبْـنَF

The Imperative differs for different types of verbs. We will look at this in detail in the following sections.

Regular Verbs ( الفِعْلُ الصَّحِيْح)

The root of these verbs does not include a weak letter (و ، ا ، ي), so they are regular verbs (i.e. their conjugation is regular).

The Healthy Verb has three types:

الفِعْلُ الصَّحِيْح
Salim - soundMahmuz - hamzatedMuda'af - doubled
PluralDualSingular
Third PersonThey write يَكْتُبُونَThey write يَكْتُبَانِHe writes يَكْتُبُM
Third PersonThey write يَكْتُبْنَThey write تَكْتُبَانِShe writes تَكْتُبُF
Second PersonYou write تَكْتُبَونَYou write تَكْتُبَانِYou write تَكْتُبُM
Second PersonYou write تَكْتُبْنَYou write تَكْتُبَانِYou write تَكْتُبِينَF
First PersonWe write نَكْتُبُI write أَكْتُبُM or F

Healthy Salim Verbs (الفعل الصحيح السالم)

The Healthy Salim Verb does not have a hamza, doubled letter or sick letter.

Ex.: – خرجَ محمد من الفصل

Mohammad went out of the class.

CommandPresentPast
أُدْرُسْ Studyيَدْرُسُ He studies/is studyingدَرَسَ He studied
اِجْلِسْ Sitيَجْلِسُ He sits/is sittingجَلَسَ He sat
اِذْهَبْ Goيَذْهَبُ He goes/is goingذَهَبَ He went

Rules to keep in mind:

If the third letter of the present tense has kasra or fatha, the first letter of the imperative will have kasra. If it is dhamma, then the first letter of the imperative will also be dhamma.

Questions:

How do you determine the imperative for each of these verbs if you were speaking to a female?

Not sure? Read the section on imperatives again.

Past tense    
PluralDualSingular
Third Personدَرَسُوا They studiedدَرَسَا They studiedدَرَسَ He studiedM
Third Personدَرَسْنَ They studiedدَرَسَتَا They studiedدَرَسَتْ She studiedF
Second Personدَرَسْتُمْ You studiedدَرَسْتُمَا You studiedدَرَسْتَ You studiedM
Second Personدَرَسْتُنَّ You studiedدَرَسْتُما You studiedدَرَسْتِ You studiedF
First Personدَرَسْنَا We studiedدَرَسْتُ I studiedM or F
Present tense    
PluralDualSingular
Third Personيَدْرُسونَ They studyيَدْرُسانِ They studyيَدْرُسُ He studiesM
Third Personيَدْرُسْنَ They studyتَدْرُسانِ They studyتَدْرُسُ She studiesF
Second Personتَدْرُسونَ You studyتَدْرُسانِ You studyتَدْرُسُ You studyM
Second Personتَدْرُسْنَّ You studyتَدْرُسانِ You studyتَدْرُسينَ You studyF
First Personنَدْرُسُ We studyأَدْرُسُ I studyM or F
Imperative (command) tense    
PluralDualSingular..
Third Person......M
Third Person......F
Second Personأُدْرُسوا Studyأُدْرُسا Studyأُدْرُسْ StudyM
Second Personأُدْرُسْنَ Studyأُدْرُسا Studyأُدْرُسي StudyF
First Person......M or F

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