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:
|يبسُط||to spread (something)|
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.
|Dual||They (2 male)|
|Plural||They (3+ male)|
|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
|1st person||Masculine & Feminine||Singular||نَصَرْتُ|
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|
|one who finds||he is found by someone||he was found ~ by someone||he finds||he found|
|one who puts||he is put by someone||he was put||he is putting||he puts|
|one who sells||he is sold||he was sold||he sells||he sold|
|one who calls||he is called||he was called||he calls||he called|
|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.
|Second person (m)||لَسْتَ||لَسْتُمَا||لَستُم|
|Third person (m)||لَيْسَ||لَيْسَا||لَيْسُوا|
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
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.
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