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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:

يأتيto come
يأخُذto take
يأكُلto eat
يأمُرto command
يبحَثto (re)search
يبدَأto begin
يبدُلto replace
يبرُزto emerge
يبسُطto spread (something)
يبعَثto dispatch
بقىto remain
يبكيto cry
يبلُغto reach
يبتيto 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 tenseNegated present tense
أَنا (ana) Iأَفعَل (ʾafʿal)لا أَفعَل (la ʾafʿal)
أَنتَ (anta) youتَفعَل (tafʿal)لا تَفعَل (la tafʿal)
For femaleأنتِ (anti) youتَفعَلين (tafʿalīn)لا تَفعَلين (la tafʿalīn)
هُوَ(huwa) heيَفعَل ( yafʿal)لا يَفعَل (la yafʿal)
For femaleهِيَ (hiya) sheتَفعَل ( tafʿal)لا تَفعَل (la tafʿal)
نَحنُ (naḥnu) weنَفعَل (nafʿal)لا نَفعَل (la nafʿal)
For plأَنتُم (ʾantum) youتَفعَلون (tafʿalūn)لا تَفعَلون (la tafʿalūn)
Two refer to two femalesأَنتُما (ʾantuma) you.تَفعَلان (tafʿalān)لا تَفعَلان (la tafʿalān)
(ʾantunna) أَنتُنَّ youتَفعَلنَ (tafʿalna)لا تَفعَلنَ (la tafʿalna)
هُم (hum) theyيَفعَلون (yafʿalūn)لا يَفعَلون (la yafʿalūn)
هُما (huma) themيَفعَلان (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 tenseNegated 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) فَعَلَتلَم 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” dualفَعَلا (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 personMasculineSingularHe
DualThey (2 male)
PluralThey (3+ male)
FeminineSingularShe
DualThey (2 female)
PluralThey (3+ female)
2nd personMasculineSingularYou (1 male)
DualYou (2 male)
PluralYou (3+ male)
FeminineSingularYou (1 female)
DualYou (2 female)
PluralYou (3 female)
1st personMasculineSingularI (1 male)
DualWe (2 male)
PluralWe (3+ male)
FeminineSingularI (1 female)
DualWe (2 female)
PluralWe (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 personMasculineSingularنَصَرَ
Dualنَصَرَا
Pluralنَصَرُوْا
FeminineSingularنَصَرَتْ
Dualنَصَرَتَا
Pluralنَصَرْنَ
2nd personMasculineSingularنَصَرْتَ
Dualنَصَرْتُمَا
Pluralنَصَرْتُمْ
FeminineSingularنَصَرْتِ
Dualنَصَرْتُمَا
Pluralنَصَرْتُنَّ
1st personMasculine & FeminineSingularنَصَرْتُ
Pluralنَصَرْنَا

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 personMasculineSingularيَسْمَعُ (he hears)
Dualيَسْمَعَانِ (they hear)
Pluralيَسْمَعُوْنَ (they hear)
FeminineSingularتَسْمَعُ (she hears)
Dualتَسْمَعَانِ (they hear)
Pluralيَسْمَعْنَ (they hear)
2nd personMasculineSingularتَسْمَعُ (you hear)
Dualتَسْمَعَانِ (you hear)
Pluralتَسْمَعُوْنَ (you hear)
FeminineSingularتَسْمَعِيْنَ (you hear)
Dualتَسْمَعَانِ (you hear)
Pluralتَسْمَعْنَ (you hear)
1st personMasculine & FeminineSingularأَسْمَعُ (I hear)
Pluralنَسْمَعُ (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.

doerpresent passivepast passivepresentpast
وَاجِديُوْجَدُوُجِدَيَجِدُوَجَدَ
one who findshe is found by someonehe was found ~ by someonehe findshe found
واضِعيُوْضَعُوُضِعَيَضَعُوَضَعَ
one who putshe is put by someonehe was puthe is puttinghe puts

 

بَاْعِيُبَاْعُبِيْعَيَبِيْعُبَاْعَ
one who sellshe is soldhe was soldhe sellshe sold

 

داعِيُدْعَىدُعِيَيَدْعُودَعَا
one who callshe is calledhe was calledhe callshe called
أَتِيُؤْتَىْأُتِييَأْتِيْأَتَى
one who comeshe is made to comehe was made to comehe comeshe 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.

SingularDualPlural
First-personلَسْتُ لَسْنَا
Second person (m)لَسْتَلَسْتُمَالَستُم
(f)لَسْتِلَسْتُمالَسْتُنَّ
Third person (m)لَيْسَلَيْسَالَيْسُوا
(f)لَيْسَتْلَيْسَتَالَسْنَ

Examples:

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 wrotekatabaكَتَبَ
writerkātibكَاتِب
He correspondedkātabaكَاتَبَ
bookkitābكِتَاب
office; deskmaktabمَكْتَب
librarymaktabaمَكْتَبَة
writingkitābaكِتَابَة
Write! uktubuاُكْتُبْ
I write aktubuأَكْتُبُ

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