How to learn Arabic verbs? | Noor Academy

Arabic verbs
In this article, we will learn everything about the Arabic verbs, so if that’s what you’re looking for then let’s start.

Many people want to learn the Arabic language but are scared of its difficulty, we wrote this article just to show that there is nothing to be afraid of. The Arabic language is just like every other language all it needs is time and patience, and I know you can learn it easily. So, let’s not wait anymore and get started.

What does a verb mean in Arabic?

The meaning of the word verb in the Arabic language doesn’t differ from its meaning in English. When you search for it in the dictionary you will find the following definition” a word or group of words that refers to an action, state, or experience. For example, the words ‘arrive’, ‘make’, ‘be’, and ‘feel’ are verbs.” We understand from this definition that the word verb refers to any action that happens.

There is no sentence that doesn’t have a verb, we said that verbs in Arabic are similar to English however, in Arabic the verb differs based on gender and plurality. For the verb eat, if you’re talking about a male, you will say يأكل (yakul), while when you talk about a female it will be تأكل (ta’akul).

Here are some of the common verbs in Arabic:

يأتي to come
يأخُذ to take
يأكُل to eat
يأمُر to command
يبحَث to (re)search
يبدَأ to begin
يبدُل to replace
يبرُز to emerge
يبسُط to spread (something)
يبعَث to dispatch
بقى to remain
يبكي to cry
يبلُغ to reach
يبتي to build


How many verb tenses are there in Arabic?

In Arabic, there are three tenses, and they are as follows:

1-     Present tense.

2-     Past tense.

3-     active command

1-     Present Tense:

The present tense is used in the Arabic language to describe something happening right now or something that is done daily by the person. In order to differentiate between the two is through the use of adverbs like:

الآن (al-ʾān)  “now” for something that is happening right now.

كُلَّ يَوم (kulla yawm)  “every day” for something that is done daily.

Here are some examples:

I go to the university every day.

أَذهَبُ إلى الجامِعَة كُلَّ يَوم.

ʾaḏhabu ʾilā al-ǧāmiʿah Kulla yawm.

“I am talking to my mom now.”

أَتَحَدَّثُ مَع أُمي الآن.

ʾataḥaddaṯu maʿ ʾumī al-ʾān

Below is a table showing the different Arabic verb forms:

  Present tense Negated present tense
أَنا (ana) I أَفعَل (ʾafʿal) لا أَفعَل (la ʾafʿal)
أَنتَ (anta)  you تَفعَل (tafʿal) لا تَفعَل (la tafʿal)
For femaleأنتِ (anti) you تَفعَلين (tafʿalīn) لا تَفعَلين (la tafʿalīn)
هُوَ(huwa) he يَفعَل ( yafʿal) لا يَفعَل (la  yafʿal)
For femaleهِيَ (hiya)  she تَفعَل ( tafʿal) لا تَفعَل (la  tafʿal)
نَحنُ (naḥnu) we نَفعَل (nafʿal) لا نَفعَل (la nafʿal)
For plأَنتُم (ʾantum) you تَفعَلون (tafʿalūn) لا تَفعَلون (la tafʿalūn)
Two refer to two femalesأَنتُما (ʾantuma) you. تَفعَلان (tafʿalān) لا تَفعَلان (la tafʿalān)
(ʾantunna) أَنتُنَّ you تَفعَلنَ (tafʿalna) لا تَفعَلنَ (la tafʿalna)
هُم (hum) they يَفعَلون (yafʿalūn) لا يَفعَلون (la yafʿalūn)
هُما (huma) them يَفعَلان (yafʿalān) لا يَفعَلان (la yafʿalān)


to make a negative verb just add the prefix لا before the verb like in the above table.

2-      Past Tense:

You use the past tense in Arabic just like you use the past simple in English.

“Last year we went to Alexandria.”

ذَهَبنا إلى الإسكَندَرِيَّة في السَنَةِ الماضِيَة

ḏahabnā ʾilā al-ʾiskandariyyah fī al-sanaẗi al-māḍiyah

Past tense Negated past tense  
أَنا (ana) – “I” فَعَلتُ (faʿaltu) لَم أَفعَل (lam ʾafʿal)
أَنتَ (anta) – “you” masc. فَعَلتَ (faʿalta) لَم تَفعَل (lam tafʿal)
أنتِ (anti) – “you” fem. فَعَلت (ifaʿalta) لَم تَفعَلي (lam tafʿalī)
هُوَ (huwa) – “he” فَعَلَ (faʿala) لَم يَفعَل (lam yafʿal)
هِيَ (hiya) – “she” (faʿalat) فَعَلَت لَم تَفعَل (lam tafʿal)
نَحنُ (naḥnu) – “we” فَعَلنا (faʿalna) لَم نَفعَل (lam nafʿal)
أَنتُم (ʾantum) – “you” pl. masc. فَعَلتُما (faʿaltuma) لَم تَفعَلوا (lam tafʿalū)
أَنتُما (ʾantuma) – “you” dual masc. فَعَلتُم (faʿaltum) لَم تَفعَلا (lam tafʿalā)
– (ʾantunna) أَنتُنَّ”you” pl. fem. فَعَلتُنَّ (faʿaltunna) لَم تَفعَلن (lam tafʿaln)
هُم (hum) – “they” فَعَلوا (faʿalu) لَم يَفعَلوا (lam yafʿalū)
هُما (Huma) – “them” dual فَعَلا (faʿala) لَم يَفعَلا (lam yafʿalā)

and to make a negative verb just add the prefix لا before the verb like the above table.

 How to conjugate verbs in Arabic?

Now we will learn the Arabic verb conjugation, but first, let’s understand the meaning of the word conjugation in Arabic. It refers to how the verb is derived from a set of what is called base letters which usually are three letters. And they change in the different tenses based on gender, plurality, and voice.

There are a few things to keep in mind when conjugating verbs in Arabic and they are based on the person or persons doing the action. Here’s what to keep in mind regarding Arabic verbs.   

  •       Person (third, second, and first): we use the third person to talk about someone who is not present at the moment of speaking. The second is used when you are addressing the subject. While the first is when the subject is you.
  •       gender (masculine and feminine)
  •        the plurality (singular, dual, and plural)

dual refers to two people and plural refers to more than two people. Here’s a table showing the different forms of the Arabic grammar verbs.

Conjugation     English Pronoun
3rd person Masculine Singular He
    Dual They (2 male)
    Plural They (3+ male)
  Feminine Singular She
    Dual They (2 female)
    Plural They (3+ female)
2nd person Masculine Singular You (1 male)
    Dual You (2 male)
    Plural You (3+ male)
  Feminine Singular You (1 female)
    Dual You (2 female)
    Plural You (3 female)
1st person Masculine Singular I (1 male)
    Dual We (2 male)
    Plural We (3+ male)
  Feminine Singular I (1 female)
    Dual We (2 female)
    Plural We (3+ female)

How to conjugate Arabic verbs in Past Tense Verb?

verb conjugation in Arabic in the past tense follows the formفَعَلَ, here’s an example to make it easier for you to understand. The word (won)نصر and its root letters are ن ص ر just following the form فَعَلَ

Conjugation     Conjugation 
3rd person Masculine Singular نَصَرَ 
    Dual نَصَرَا 
    Plural نَصَرُوْا 
  Feminine Singular نَصَرَتْ 
    Dual نَصَرَتَا 
    Plural نَصَرْنَ 
2nd person Masculine Singular نَصَرْتَ 
    Dual نَصَرْتُمَا 
    Plural نَصَرْتُمْ 
  Feminine Singular نَصَرْتِ 
    Dual نَصَرْتُمَا 
    Plural نَصَرْتُنَّ 
1st person Masculine & Feminine Singular نَصَرْتُ 
    Plural نَصَرْنَا 

Here are the aspects that variations happen to the past verbs based on them:

  •       Voice (active and passive): just similar to the English language.
  •       negation of verb in Arabic language (affirmative and negative).

How to conjugate Arabic verbs in present tense?

This tense of the verb follows the formيَفْعَلُ, يَفْعِلُ, orيَفْعُلُ. In this example, we will take the formيَفْعُلُ.


Conjugation     Conjugation and Translation
3rd person Masculine Singular يَسْمَعُ (he hears)
    Dual يَسْمَعَانِ (they hear)
    Plural يَسْمَعُوْنَ (they hear)
  Feminine Singular تَسْمَعُ (she hears)
    Dual تَسْمَعَانِ (they hear)
    Plural يَسْمَعْنَ (they hear)
2nd person Masculine Singular تَسْمَعُ (you hear)
    Dual تَسْمَعَانِ (you hear)
    Plural تَسْمَعُوْنَ (you hear)
  Feminine Singular تَسْمَعِيْنَ (you hear)
    Dual تَسْمَعَانِ (you hear)
    Plural تَسْمَعْنَ (you hear)
1st person Masculine & Feminine Singular أَسْمَعُ (I hear)
    Plural نَسْمَعُ (we hear)

How to conjugate irregular verbs in Arabic?

Irregular verbs in Arabic are the verbs that have the letter waw (و) or yaa (ي) as root letters and they are called weak verbs. Here are some examples of this verb:

وصل = arrived

وجد = found

وعد = promised

وزن = weighed

 The following table shows how the Arabic irregular verbs change.

doer present passive past passive present past
وَاجِد يُوْجَدُ وُجِدَ يَجِدُ وَجَدَ
one who finds he is found by someone he was found ~ by someone he finds he found
واضِع يُوْضَعُ وُضِعَ يَضَعُ وَضَعَ  
one who puts he is put by someone he was put he is putting he puts


بَاْعِ يُبَاْعُ بِيْعَ يَبِيْعُ بَاْعَ
one who sells he is sold he was sold he sells he sold


داعِ يُدْعَى دُعِيَ يَدْعُو دَعَا
one who calls he is called he was called he calls he called
أَتِ يُؤْتَىْ أُتِي يَأْتِيْ أَتَى
one who comes he is made to come he was made to come he comes he came

 How to negate a verb Arabic?

There are five ways to negate the verb, let’s learn each one of them with examples:

1- The verb لَيْسَ  

here are its different forms.

Singular Dual Plural  
First-person لَسْتُ   لَسْنَا
Second person (m) لَسْتَ لَسْتُمَا لَستُم
(f) لَسْتِ لَسْتُما لَسْتُنَّ
Third person (m) لَيْسَ لَيْسَا لَيْسُوا
(f) لَيْسَتْ لَيْسَتَا لَسْنَ


ليس الدَّرسُ صَعبًا  The lesson is not difficult

ليسَتْ مِصرِيّةً She is not Egyptian

2- Laa لا

Are you hungry? No. I am not hungry.

هَل أنت جائِعٌ؟

لا. لستُ جائِعًا

I don’t understand what you are saying

لا أفهم ماذا تقول

 Don’t worry

لا تَقلَقْ

 3- Negating the verb using Lam لَمْ

Used for negating the past tense.

لَمْ نَذهبْ للوليمةِ

We did not go to the feast

لَمْ أَنَمْ جَيِّدًا البارحةَ

I did not sleep well yesterday

لَمْ يقُلْ أَحَدٌ هذا

No one has said this! 

4- Negation using Maa ما

It is mostly used to negate the verbs in the past tense.

ما ذَهَبَ He did not go

ما رأيتُهم I did not see them

ما كَلَّمَتْهُ He did not speak to him

How many root consonants do most Arabic verbs contain?

In the Arabic language, there are mainly three or four consonant bases called the root system or مصدر.

For example, the root k-t-b كَتَبَ means ‘written.

Here are the different forms derived from the word كَتَبَ.

He wrote kataba كَتَبَ
writer kātib كَاتِب
He corresponded kātaba كَاتَبَ
book kitāb كِتَاب
office; desk maktab مَكْتَب
library maktaba مَكْتَبَة
writing kitāba كِتَابَة
Write!  uktubu اُكْتُبْ
I write  aktubu أَكْتُبُ

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