Arabic verbs

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Arabic verbs (فِعْل fiʿl; pl. أَفْعَال afʿāl), like the verbs in other Semitic languages, and the entire vocabulary in those languages, are based on a set of two, three, four and also five (but mainly three) consonants called a root (triliteral or quadriliteral according to the number of consonants). The root communicates the basic meaning of the verb, e.g. كتب k-t-b 'write', قرء q-r-ʾ 'read', أكل ʾ-k-l 'eat'. Changes to the vowels in between the consonants, along with prefixes or suffixes, specify grammatical functions such as person, gender, number, tense, mood, and voice.

Various categories are marked on verbs:

Weakness is an inherent property of a given verb determined by the particular consonants of the verb root (corresponding to a verb conjugation in Classical Latin and other European languages), with five main types of weakness and two or three subtypes of each type.

Arabic grammarians typically use the root فعل f-ʿ-l to indicate the particular shape of any given element of a verbal paradigm. As an example, the form يتكاتب yutakātabu 'he is corresponded (with)' would be listed generically as يتفاعل yutafāʿalu, specifying the generic shape of a strong Form VI passive verb, third-person masculine singular present indicative.

The maximum possible total number of verb forms derivable from a root — not counting participles and verbal nouns — is approximately 13 person/number/gender forms; times 7.385 tense/mood combinations, counting the sa- future (since the moods are active only in the present tense, and the imperative has only 5 of the 13 paradigmatic forms); times 17 form/voice combinations (since forms IX, XI–XV exist only for a small number of stative roots, and form VII cannot normally form a passive), for a total of 1,632. Each of these has its own stem form, and each of these stem forms itself comes in numerous varieties, according to the weakness (or lack thereof) of the underlying root.

Inflectional categories[edit]

Each particular lexical verb is specified by four stems, two each for the active and passive voices. In a particular voice, one stem (the past stem) is used for the past tense, and the other (the non-past stem) is used for the present and future tenses, along with non-indicative moods, e.g. subjunctive and imperative. The past and non-past stems are sometimes also called the perfective stem and imperfective stem, respectively, based on a traditional misinterpretation of Arabic stems as representing grammatical aspect rather than grammatical tense. (Although there is still some disagreement about the interpretation of the stems as tense or aspect, the dominant current view is that the stems simply represent tense, sometimes of a relative rather than absolute nature. There are some unusual usages of the stems in certain contexts that were once interpreted as indicating aspectual distinctions, but are now thought to simply be idiosyncratic constructions that do not neatly fit into any aspectual paradigm.)[citation needed]

To the past stem, suffixes are added to mark the verb for person, number and gender, while to the non-past stem, a combination of prefixes and suffixes are added. (Very approximately, the prefixes specify the person and the suffixes indicate number and gender.) A total of 13 forms exist for each of the two stems, specifying person (first, second or third); number (singular, dual or plural); and gender (masculine or feminine).

There are six separate moods in the non-past: indicative, imperative, subjunctive, jussive, short energetic and long energetic. The moods are generally marked by suffixes. When no number suffix is present, the endings are -u for indicative, -a for subjunctive, no ending for imperative and jussive, ـَنْ -an for shorter energetic, ـَنَّ -anna for longer energetic. When number suffixes are present, the moods are either distinguished by different forms of the suffixes (e.g. ـُونَ -ūna for masculine plural indicative vs. ـُو for masculine plural subjunctive/imperative/jussive), or not distinguished at all. The imperative exists only in the second person and is distinguished from the jussive by the lack of the normal second-person prefix ـت ta-/tu-.

The third person masculine singular past tense form serves as the "dictionary form" used to identify a verb, similar to the infinitive in English. (Arabic has no infinitive.) For example, the verb meaning 'write' is often specified as كَتَبَ kataba, which actually means 'he wrote'. This indicates that the past-tense stem is كَتَبْـ katab-; the corresponding non-past stem is ـكْتُبْـ -ktub-, as in يَكْتُبُ yaktubu 'he writes'.

Tense[edit]

There are three tenses in Arabic: the past tense (اَلْمَاضِي al-māḍī), the present tense (اَلْمُضَارِع al-muḍāriʿ) and the future tense. The future tense in Classical Arabic is formed by adding either the prefix ‏سَـsa- or the separate word ‏سَوْفَsawfa onto the beginning of the present tense verb, e.g. سَيَكْتُبُ sa-yaktubu or سَوْفَ يَكْتُبُ sawfa yaktubu 'he will write'.

In some contexts, the tenses represent aspectual distinctions rather than tense distinctions. The usage of Arabic tenses is as follows:

  • The past tense often (but not always) specifically has the meaning of a past perfective, i.e. it expresses the concept of 'he did' as opposed to 'he was doing'. The latter can be expressed using the combination of the past tense of the verb كَانَ kāna 'to be' with the present tense or active participle, e.g. كَانَ يَكْتُبُ kāna yaktubu or كَانَ كَاتِبٌ kāna kātibun 'he was writing'. There are some special verbs known as "compound verbs" that can express many grammatical aspects such as Inchoative, Durative etc., for example bada’a yulfitu nnażara means "It started to attract attention" which bada’a conveys the meaning of "to start doing something (in the past)"
  • The two tenses can be used to express relative tense (or in an alternative view, grammatical aspect) when following other verbs in a serial verb construction. In such a construction, the present tense indicates time simultaneous with the main verb, while the past tense indicates time prior to the main verb. (Or alternatively, the present tense indicates the imperfective aspect while the past tense indicates the perfective aspect.)

In all but Form I, there is only one possible shape for each of the past and non-past stems for a given root. In Form I, however, different verbs have different shapes. Examples:

  • كَتَبَ يَكْتُبُ kataba yaktubu 'write'
  • كَسِبَ يَكْسِبُ kasaba yaksibu 'earn'
  • قَرَأَ يَقْرَأُ qaraʾa yaqraʾu 'read'
  • قَدِمَ يَقْدَمُ qadima yaqdamu 'turn'
  • كَبُرَ يَكْبُرُ kabura yakburu 'become big, grow up'

Notice that the second vowel can be any of a i u in both past and non-past stems. The vowel a occurs in most past stems, while i occurs in some (especially intransitive) and u occurs only in a few stative verbs (i.e. whose meaning is 'be X' or 'become X' where X is an adjective). The most common patterns are:

  • past: a; non-past: u or i
  • past: a, non-past: a (when the second or third root consonant is a "guttural," i.e. one of ʾ ʿ h ḥ)
  • past: i; non-past: a
  • past: u; non-past: u

Mood[edit]

There are three moods (حَالَات ḥālāt, a word that also means "cases"; sg.حَالَةḥālah), whose forms are derived from the imperfective stem: the indicative mood (‏مَرْفُوعmarfūʿ), usually ending in u; the subjunctive (‏مَنْصُوبmanṣūb), usually ending in a; and the jussive (‏مَجْزُومmajzūm), with no ending. In less formal Arabic and in spoken dialects, the final vowels of the indicative and subjunctive are not pronounced, making them identical to jussive.

The imperative (صِيغَة اَلْأَمْر ṣīghat al-amr) (positive, only 2nd person) is formed by dropping the verbal prefix from the imperfective jussive stem, e.g. قَدِّم qaddim 'present!'. If the result starts with two consonants followed by a vowel (a or i), an elidible alif is added to the beginning of the word, usually pronounced as "i", e.g. اِغْسِلْ ighsil 'wash!' or اِفْعَل ifʿal 'do!' if the present form vowel is u, then the alif is also pronounced as u, e.g. أُكْتُب uktub 'write!'. Negative imperatives are formed from the jussive.

The exception to the above rule is the form (or stem) IV verbs. In these verbs a non-elidible alif pronounced as a- is always prefixed to the imperfect jussive form, e.g. أرسل arsil "send!", أضف [1]aḍif 'add!'.

The subjunctive is used in subordinate clauses after certain conjunctions. The jussive is used in negation, in negative imperatives, and in the hortative li+jussive. For example: 2. sg. m.:

  • imperfect indicative تفعلُ tafʿalu 'you are doing'
  • subjunctive تفعلَ an tafʿala 'that you do'
  • jussive لا تفعلْ lā tafʿal its meaning is dependent upon the prefix which attaches to it; in this case, it means 'may you do not do!'
  • short energetic تفعلنْ tafʿalan its meaning is dependent upon the prefix which attaches to it; if the prefix is "li" it means 'you should do'
  • long energetic تفعلنَّ tafʿalanna it has more emphasis than the short energetic, its meaning is dependent upon the prefix which attaches to it; if the prefix is "li" it means 'you must do'
  • imperative افعل ifʿal 'do!'.

Voice[edit]

Arabic has two verbal voices (صِيغَات sīghāt "forms", sg. صِيغَة sīghah), active (صِيغَة اَلْمَعْلُوم ṣīghat al-maʿlūm), and passive (صِيغَة اَلْمَجْهُول ṣīghat al-majhūl). The passive voice is expressed by a change in vocalization. For example:

  • active فَعَلَ faʿala 'he did', يَفْعَلُ yafʿalu 'he is doing'
  • passive فُعِلَ fuʿila 'it was done', يُفْعَلُ yufʿalu 'it is being done'

Thus, the active and passive forms are spelled identically in Arabic; only their vowel markings differ.

Participle[edit]

Every verb has a corresponding active participle, and most have passive participles. E.g. معلم muʿallim 'teacher' is the active participle to stem II. of the root علم ʿ-l-m ('know').

  • The active participle to Stem I is فاعل fāʿil, and the passive participle is مفعول mafʿūl.
  • Stems II–X take prefix مـ mu- and nominal endings for both the participles, active and passive. The difference between the two participles is only in the vowel between the last two root letters, which is -i- for active and -a- for passive (e.g. II. active مفعِّل mu-faʿʿil, and passive مفعَّل mu-faʿʿal).

Verbal noun (maṣdar) [edit]

In addition to a participle, there is a verbal noun (in Arabic, مَصْدَر maṣdar, pl. مَصَادِر maṣādir, literally meaning 'source'), sometimes called a gerund, which is similar to English gerunds and verb-derived nouns of various sorts (e.g. "running" and "a run" from "to run"; "objection" from "to object"). As shown by the English examples, its meaning refers both to the act of doing something and (by frequent semantic extension) to its result. One of its syntactic functions is as a verbal complement of another verb, and this usage it corresponds to the English gerund or infinitive (He prevented me from running or He began to run).

  • verbal noun formation to stem I is irregular.
  • the verbal noun to stem II is تفعيل tafʿīl. For example: تحضير taḥḍīr 'preparation' is the verbal noun to stem II. of ḥ-ḍ-r ('to be present').
  • stem III often forms its verbal noun with the feminine form of the passive participle, so for ساعد sāʿada, 'he helped', produces the verbal noun مساعدة musāʿadah. There are also some verbal nouns of the form فعال fiʿāl: جاهد jāhada, 'he strove', yields jihād جهاد 'a struggle' (for a cause or purpose).

Some well-known examples of verbal nouns are فتح fatḥ (see Fatah) (Form I), تنظيم tanẓīm (Form II), جهاد jihād (Form III), إسلام islām (Form IV), انتفاضة intifāḍah (feminine of Form VIII verbal noun), and استقلال istiqlāl (Form X).

Derivational categories, conjugations[edit]

The system of verb conjugations in Arabic is quite complicated, and is formed along two axes. One axis, known as the form (described as "Form I", "Form II", etc.), is used to specify grammatical concepts such as causative, intensive, reciprocal, passive or reflexive, and involves varying the stem form. The other axis, known as the weakness, is determined by the particular consonants making up the root. For example, defective (or third-weak) verbs have a و w or ي y as the last root consonant (e.g. رمي r-m-y 'throw', دعو d-ʿ-w 'call'), and doubled verbs have the second and third consonants the same (e.g. مدد m-d-d 'extend'). These "weaknesses" have the effect of inducing various irregularities in the stems and endings of the associated verbs.

Examples of the different forms of a sound verb (i.e. with no root weaknesses), from the root كتب k-t-b 'write' (using حمر ḥ-m-r 'red' for Form IX, which is limited to colors and physical defects):

Form Past Meaning Non-past Meaning
I kataba
كَتَبَ
'he wrote' yaktubu
يَكْتُبُ
'he writes'
II kattaba
كَتَّبَ
'he made (someone) write' yukattibu
يُكَتِّبُ
'he makes (someone) write'
III kātaba
كاتَبَ
'he corresponded with, wrote to (someone)' yukātibu
يُكاتِبُ
'"he corresponds with, writes to (someone)'
IV ʾaktaba
أَكْتَبَ
'he dictated' yuktibu
يُكْتِبُ
'he dictates'
V takattaba
تَكَتَّبَ
nonexistent yatakattabu
يَتَكَتُّبُ
nonexistent
VI takātaba
تَكَاتَبَ
'he corresponded (with someone, esp. mutually)' yatakātabu
يَتَكَاتَبَ
'he corresponds (with someone, esp. mutually)'
VII inkataba
اِنْكَتَبَ
'he subscribed' yankatibu
يَنْكَتِبُ
'he subscribes'
VIII iktataba
اِكْتَتَبَ
'he copied' yaktatibu
يَكْتَتِبُ
'he copies'
IX iḥmarra
اِحْمَرَّ
'he turned red' yaḥmarru
يَحْمَرُّ
'he turns red'
X istaktaba
اِسْتَكْتَبَ
'he asked (someone) to write' yastaktibu
يَسْتَكْتِبُ
'he asks (someone) to write'

The main types of weakness are as follows:

Main weakness varieties for Form I, with verbs in the active indicative
Weakness Root Past
3rd sg. masc.
Past
1st sg.
Present
3rd sg. masc.
Present
3pl. fem.
Sound (Non-Weak) كتب
k-t-b 'to write'
كَتَبَ
kataba
كَتَبْتُ
katabtu
يَكْتُبُ
yaktubu
يَكْتُبْنَ
yaktubna
Assimilated (First-Weak), W وجد
w-j-d 'to find'
وَجَدَ
wajada
وَجَدْتُ
wajadtu
يَجِدُ
yajidu
يَجِدْنَ
yajidna
Assimilated (First-Weak), Y يبس
y-b-s 'to dry'
يَبِسَ
yabisa
يَبِسْتُ
yabistu
يَيْبَسُ
yaybasu
يَيْبَسْنَ
yaybasna
Hollow (Second-Weak), W قول
q-w-l 'to say'
قالَ
qāla
قُلْتُ
qultu
يَقُولُ
yaqūlu
يَقُلْنَ
yaqulna
Hollow (Second-Weak), Y سير
s-y-r 'to travel, go'
سارَ
sāra
سِرْتُ
sirtu
يَسِيرُ
yasīru
يَسِرْنَ
yasirna
Defective (Third-Weak), W دعو
d-ʿ-w 'to call'
دَعا
daʿā
دَعَوْتُ
daʿawtu
يَدْعُو
yadʿū
يَدْعُونَ
yadʿūna
Defective (Third-Weak), Y رمي
r-m-y 'to throw'
رَمَى
ramā
رَمَيْتُ
ramaytu
يَرْمِي
yarmī
يَرْمِينَ
yarmīna
Doubled مدد
m-d-d 'to extend'
مَدَّ
madda
مَدَدْتُ
madadtu
يَمُدُّ
yamuddu
يَمْدُدْنَ
yamdudna

Conjugation[edit]

Regular verb conjugation for person-number, tense-aspect-mood, and participles[edit]

In Arabic the grammatical person and number as well as the mood are designated by a variety of prefixes and suffixes. The following table shows the paradigm of a regular sound Form I verb, kataba (كتب) 'to write'. Most of the final short vowels are often omitted in speech, except the vowel of the feminine plural ending -na, and normally the vowel of the past tense second person feminine singular ending -ti.

Paradigm of a regular Form I Arabic verb, (كتب (يكتب kataba (yaktubu) 'to write'
Past Present
Indicative
Subjunctive Jussive Long
Energetic
Short
Energetic
Imperative
Active Singular
1st katab-tu a-ktub-u a-ktub-a a-ktub a-ktub-anna a-ktub-an
كَتَبْتُ أَكْتُبُ أَكْتُبَ أَكْتُبْ أَكْتُبَنَّ أَكْتُبَنْ
2nd masc. katab-ta ta-ktub-u ta-ktub-a ta-ktub ta-ktub-anna ta-ktub-an u-ktub
كَتَبْتَ تَكْتُبُ تَكْتُبَ تَكْتُبْ تَكْتُبَنَّ تَكْتُبَنْ اُكْتُبْ
fem. katab-ti ta-ktub-īna ta-ktub ta-ktub ta-ktub-inna ta-ktub-in u-ktub
كَتَبْتِ تَكْتُبِينَ تَكْتُبِي تَكْتُبِي تَكْتُبِنَّ تَكْتُبِنْ اُكْتُبِي
3rd masc. katab-a ya-ktub-u ya-ktub-a ya-ktub ya-ktub-anna ya-ktub-an
كَتَبَ يَكْتُبُ يَكْتُبَ يَكْتُبْ يَكْتُبَنَّ يَكْتُبَنْ
fem. katab-at ta-ktub-u ta-ktub-a ta-ktub ta-ktub-anna ta-ktub-an
كَتَبَتْ تَكْتُبُ تَكْتُبَ تَكْتُبْ تَكْتُبَنَّ تَكْتُبَنْ
Dual
2nd masculine
& feminine
katab-tumā ta-ktub-āni ta-ktub ta-ktub ta-ktub-ānni u-ktub
كَتَبْتُمَا تَكْتُبَانِ تَكْتُبَا تَكْتُبَا تَكْتُبَانِّ اُكْتُبَا
3rd masc. katab ya-ktub-āni ya-ktub ya-ktub ya-ktub-ānni
كَتَبَا يَكْتُبَانِ يَكْتُبَا يَكْتُبَا يَكْتُبَانِّ
fem. katab-atā ta-ktub-āni ta-ktub ta-ktub ta-ktub-ānni
كَتَبَتَا تَكْتُبَانِ تَكْتُبَا تَكْتُبَا تَكْتُبَانِّ
Plural
1st katab-nā na-ktub-u na-ktub-a na-ktub na-ktub-anna na-ktub-an
كَتَبْنَا نَكْتُبُ نَكْتُبَ نَكْتُبْ نَكْتُبَنَّ نَكْتُبَنْ
2nd masc. katab-tum ta-ktub-ūna ta-ktub ta-ktub ta-ktub-unna ta-ktub-un u-ktub
كَتَبْتُمْ تَكْتُبُونَ تَكْتُبُوا تَكْتُبُوا تَكْتُبُنَّ تَكْتُبُنْ اُكْتُبُوا
fem. katab-tunna ta-ktub-na ta-ktub-na ta-ktub-na ta-ktub-nānni u-ktub-na
كَتَبْتُنَّ تَكْتُبْنَ تَكْتُبْنَ تَكْتُبْنَ تَكْتُبْنَانِّ اُكْتُبْنَ
3rd masc. katab ya-ktub-ūna ya-ktub ya-ktub ya-ktub-unna ya-ktub-un
كَتَبُوا يَكْتُبُونَ يَكْتُبُوا يَكْتُبُوا تَكْتُبُنِّ تَكْتُبُنْ
fem. katab-na ya-ktub-na ya-ktub-na ya-ktub-na ya-ktub-nānni
كَتَبْنَ يَكْتُبْنَ يَكْتُبْنَ يَكْتُبْنَ تَكْتُبْنَانِّ
Passive Singular
1st kutib-tu u-ktab-u u-ktab-a u-ktab u-ktab-anna u-ktab-an
كُتِبْتُ أُكْتَبُ أُكْتَبَ أُكْتَبْ أُكْتَبَنَّ أُكْتَبَنْ
2nd masc. kutib-ta tu-ktab-u tu-ktab-a tu-ktab tu-ktab-anna tu-ktab-an
كُتِبْتَ تُكْتَبُ تُكْتَبَ تُكْتَبْ تُكْتَبَنَّ تُكْتَبَنْ
fem. kutib-ti tu-ktab-īna tu-ktab tu-ktab tu-ktab-inna tu-ktab-in
كُتِبْتِ تُكْتَبِينَ تُكْتَبِي تُكْتَبِي تُكْتَبِنَّ تُكْتَبِنْ
etc.
Nominal Active Participle Passive Participle Verbal Noun
kātib maktūb katb, kitbah, kitābah
كَاتِب مَكْتُوب كَتْب، كِتْبَة، كِتَابَة

The initial vowel in the imperative (which is elidable) varies from verb to verb, as follows:

  • The initial vowel is u if the stem begins with two consonants and the next vowel is u or ū.
  • The initial vowel is i if the stem begins with two consonants and the next vowel is anything else.
  • There is no initial vowel if the stem begins with one consonant.

In unvocalised Arabic, katabtu, katabta, katabti and katabat are all written the same: كتبت. Forms katabtu and katabta (and sometimes even katabti) can be abbreviated to katabt in spoken Arabic and in pausa, making them also sound the same.

ا (alif) in final ـُوا () is silent.

Weak roots[edit]

Roots containing one or two of the radicals و w (wāw), ي y (yāʾ ) or ء ʾ (hamzah) often lead to verbs with special phonological rules because these radicals can be influenced by their surroundings. Such verbs are called "weak" (verba infirma, 'weak verbs') and their paradigms must be given special attention. In the case of hamzah, these peculiarities are mainly orthographical, since hamzah is not subject to elision (the orthography of ء hamzah and ا alif is unsystematic due to confusion in early Islamic times). According to the position of the weak radical in the root, the root can be classified into four classes: first weak, second weak, third weak and doubled, where both the second and third radicals are identical. Some roots fall into more than one category at once.

Assimilated (first-weak) roots[edit]

Most first-weak verbs have a و w as their first radical. These verbs are entirely regular in the past tense. In the non-past, the w drops out, leading to a shorter stem (e.g. (وجد (يجد wajada (yajidu) 'to find'), where the stem is ـجدـ -jid- in place of a longer stem like ـجلدـ -jlid- from the verb (جلد (يجلد jalada (yajlidu) 'to whip, flog'. This same stem is used throughout, and there are no other irregularities except for the imperative, which has no initial vowel, consistent with the fact that the stem for the imperative begins with only one consonant.

The are various types of assimilated (first-weak) Form I verbs:

Past stem
(3rd sg. masc.)
Non-past stem
(3rd sg. masc.)
Imperative
(masc. sg.)
Meaning Sound verb parallel
وَجَدَ
wajad-a
يَجِدُ
yajid-u
جِدْ
jid
'to find' (فَعَلَ (يَفْعِلُ
faʿala (yafʿilu)
وَرِثَ
warith-a
يَرِثُ
yarith-u
رِثْ
rith
'to inherit' (فَعِلَ (يَفْعِلُ
faʿila (yafʿilu)
(rare normally, but in assimilated verbs,
rather more common than faʿila (yafʿalu) (فَعِلَ (يَفْعَلُ)
وَضَعَ
waḍaʿ-a
يَضَعُ
yaḍaʿ-u
ضَعْ
ḍaʿ
'to put' (فَعَلَ (يَفْعَلُ
faʿala (yafʿalu)
وَجِلَ
wajil-a
يَوْجَلُ
yawjal-u
إيجَلْ
ījal
'to be scared' (فَعِلَ (يَفْعَلُ
faʿila (yafʿalu)
(rare case where w و is preserved
in non-past)
يَسَرَ
yasar-a
يَيْسِرُ
yaysir-u
إيسِرْ
īsir
'to be simple' (فَعَلَ (يَفْعِلُ
faʿala (yafʿilu)
(y ي is normally preserved
in non-past)
يَبِسَ
yabis-a
يَيْبَسُ
yaybas-u
إيبَسْ
ības
'to be/become dry' (فَعِلَ (يَفْعَلُ
faʿila (yafʿalu)
(y ي is normally preserved
in non-past)
(وَدَّ (وَدِدْتُ
wadd-a (wadid-tu)
يَدُّ
yadd-u
إيدَدْ
īdad
'to want to; to love' (فَعِلَ (يَفْعَلُ
faʿila (yafʿalu)
(also a doubled verb)
وَلِيَ
waliy-a
يَلِي
yalī
لِ
li
'to protect' (فَعِلَ (يَفْعِلُ
faʿila (yafʿilu)
(also a defective verb)

Hollow (second-weak) roots[edit]

The following shows a paradigm of a typical Form I hollow (second-weak) verb (قال (قلت، يقول qāla (qultu, yaqūlu) 'to say', parallel to verbs of the (فعل (يفعل faʿala (yafʿulu) type. See notes following the table for explanation.

Paradigm of a hollow (second-weak) Arabic verb, (قال (قلت، يقول qāla (qultu, yaqūlu) 'to say'
Past Present
Indicative
Subjunctive Jussive Long
Energetic
Short
Energetic
Imperative
Singular
1st qul-tu a-qūl-u a-qūl-a a-qul a-qūl-anna a-qūl-an
قُلْتُ أَقُولُ أَقُولَ أَقُلْ أَقُولَنَّ أَقُولَنْ
2nd masc. qul-ta ta-qūl-u ta-qūl-a ta-qul ta-qūl-anna ta-qūl-an qul
قُلْتَ تَقُولُ تَقُولَ ْتَقُل تَقُولَنَّ ْتَقُولَن قُلْ
fem. qul-ti ta-qūl-īna ta-qūl-ī ta-qūl-ī ta-qūl-inna ta-qūl-in qūl-ī
قُلْتِ تَقُولِينَ تَقُولِي تَقُولِي تَقُولِنَّ ْتَقُولِن قُولِي
3rd masc. qāl-a ya-qūl-u ya-qūl-a ya-qul ya-qūl-anna ya-qūl-an
قَالَ ُيَقُول َيَقُول ْيَقُل يَقُولَنَّ ْيَقُولَن
fem. qāl-at ta-qūl-u ta-qūl-a ta-qul ta-qūl-anna ta-qūl-an
قَالَتْ ُتَقُول َتَقُول ْتَقُل تَقُولَنَّ ْتَقُولَن
Dual
2nd masculine
& feminine
qul-tumā ta-qūl-āni ta-qūl-ā ta-qūl-ā ta-qūl-ānni qūl-ā
قُلْتُمَا تَقُولَانِ تَقُولَا تَقُولَا تَقُولَانِّ قُولَا
3rd masc. qāl-ā ya-qūl-āni ya-qūl-ā ya-qūl-ā ya-qūl-ānni
قَالَا يَقُولَانِ يَقُولَا يَقُولَا يَقُولَانِّ
fem. qāl-atā ta-qūl-āni ta-qūl-ā ta-qūl-ā ta-qūl-ānni
قَالَتَا تَقُولَانِ تَقُولَا تَقُولَا تَقُولَانِّ
Plural
1st qul-nā na-qūl-u na-qūl-a na-qul na-qūl-anna na-qūl-an
قُلْنَا ُنَقُول َنَقُول ْنَقُل نَقُولَنَّ ْنَقُولَن
2nd masc. qul-tum ta-qūl-ūna ta-qūl-ū ta-qūl-ū ta-qūl-unna ta-qūl-un qūl-ū
قُلْتُمْ تَقُولُونَ تَقُولُوا تَقُولُوا تَقُولُنَّ ْتَقُولُن قُولُوا
fem. qul-tunna ta-qul-na ta-qul-na ta-qul-na ta-qul-nānni qul-na
قُلْتُنَّ تَقُلْنَ تَقُلْنَ تَقُلْنَ تَقُلْنَانِّ قُلْنَ
3rd masc. qāl-ū ya-qūl-ūna ya-qūl-ū ya-qūl-ū ya-qūl-unna ya-qūl-un
قَالُوا يَقُولُونَ يَقُولُوا يَقُولُوا يَقُولُنَّ ْيَقُولُن
fem. qul-na ya-qul-na ya-qul-na ya-qul-na ya-qul-nānni
قُلْنَ يَقُلْنَ يَقُلْنَ يَقُلْنَ يَقُلْنَانِّ

All hollow (second-weak) verbs are conjugated in a parallel fashion. The endings are identical to strong verbs, but there are two stems (a longer and a shorter) in each of the past and non-past. The longer stem is consistently used whenever the ending begins with a vowel, and the shorter stem is used in all other circumstances. The longer stems end in a long vowel plus consonant, while the shorter stems end in a short vowel plus consonant. The shorter stem is formed simply by shortening the vowel of the long stem in all paradigms other than the active past of Form I verbs. In the active past paradigms of Form I, however, the longer stem always has an ā vowel, while the shorter stem has a vowel u or i corresponding to the actual second root consonant of the verb.

No initial vowel is needed in the imperative forms because the non-past stem does not begin with two consonants.

There are various types of Form I hollow verbs:

  • (قال قلن (يقول يقلن qāla qulna (yaqūlu yaqulna) 'to say', formed from verbs with و w as their second root consonant and parallel to verbs of the (فعل (يفعل faʿala (yafʿulu) type
  • (سار سرن (يسير يسرن sāra sirna (yasīru yasirna) 'to get going, to travel', formed from verbs with ي y as their second root consonant and parallel to verbs of the faʿala (yafʿilu) type
  • (خاف خفن (يخاف يخفن khāfa khufna (yakhāfu yakhafna) 'to fear', formed from verbs with و w as their second root consonant and parallel to verbs of the (فعل (يفعل faʿila (yafʿalu) type
  • (نام نمن (ينام ينمن nāma nimna (yanāmu yanamna) 'to sleep', formed from verbs with ي y as their second root consonant and parallel to verbs of the (فعل (يفعل faʿila (yafʿalu) type

The passive paradigm of all Form I hollow verbs is as follows:

  • (قيل قلن (يقال يقلن qīla qilna (yuqālu yuqalna) 'to be said'

Defective (third-weak) roots[edit]

فعى يفعي faʿā (yafʿī)[edit]

The following shows a paradigm of a typical Form I defective (third-weak) verb (رمى (يرمي ramā (yarmī) 'to throw', parallel to verbs of the (فعل (يفعل faʿala (yafʿilu) type. See notes following the table for explanation.

Paradigm of a defective (third-weak) ي y Arabic verb, (رمى (يرمي ramā (yarmī) 'to throw'
Past Present
Indicative
Subjunctive Jussive Long
Energetic
Short
Energetic
Imperative
Singular
1st ramay-tu a-rmī a-rmiy-a a-rmi a-rmiy-anna a-rmiy-an
رَمَيْتُ أَرْمِي َأَرْمِي أَرْمِ َأَرْمِيَنَّ ْأَرْمِيَن
2nd masc. ramay-ta ta-rmī ta-rmiy-a ta-rmi ta-rmiy-anna ta-rmiy-an i-rmi
رَمَيْتَ تَرْمِي َتَرْمِي تَرْمِ َتَرْمِيَنَّ ْتَرْمِيَن اِرْمِ
fem. ramay-ti ta-rm-īna ta-rm-ī ta-rm-ī ta-rm-inna ta-rm-in i-rm-ī
رَمَيْتِ تَرْمِينَ تَرْمِي تَرْمِي َتَرْمِنَّ ْتَرْمِن اِرْمِي
3rd masc. ram-ā ya-rmī ya-rmiy-a ya-rmi ya-rmiy-anna ya-rmiy-an
رَمَی يَرْمِي َيَرْمِي يَرْمِ َيَرْمِيَنَّ ْيَرْمِيَن
fem. ram-at ta-rmī ta-rmiy-a ta-rmi ta-rmiy-anna ta-rmiy-an
رَمَتْ تَرْمِي َتَرْمِي تَرْمِ َتَرْمِيَنَّ ْتَرْمِيَن
Dual
2nd masculine
& feminine
ramay-tumā ta-rmiy-āni ta-rmiy-ā ta-rmiy-ā ta-rmiy-ānni i-rmiy-ā
رَمَيْتُمَا تَرْمِيَانِ تَرْمِيَا تَرْمِيَا تَرْمِيَانِّ اِرْمِيَا
3rd masc. ramay-ā ya-rmiy-āni ya-rmiy-ā ya-rmiy-ā ya-rmiy-ānni
رَمَيَا يَرْمِيَانِ يَرْمِيَا يَرْمِيَا يَرْمِيَانِّ
fem. ram-atā ta-rmiy-āni ta-rmiy-ā ta-rmiy-ā ta-rmiy-ānni
رَمَتَا تَرْمِيَانِ تَرْمِيَا تَرْمِيَا تَرْمِيَانِّ
Plural
1st ramay-nā na-rmī na-rmiy-a na-rmi na-rmiy-anna na-rmiy-an
رَمَيْنَا نَرْمِي َنَرْمِي نَرْمِ َنَرْمِيَنَّ ْنَرْمِيَن
2nd masc. ramay-tum ta-rm-ūna ta-rm-ū ta-rm-ū ta-rm-unna ta-rm-un i-rm-ū
رَمَيْتُمْ تَرْمُونَ تَرْمُوا تَرْمُوا َتَرْمُنَّ ْتَرْمُن اِرْمُوا
fem. ramay-tunna ta-rmī-na ta-rmī-na ta-rmī-na ta-rmī-nānni i-rmī-na
رَمَيْتُنَّ تَرْمِينَ تَرْمِينَ تَرْمِينَ تَرْمِينَانِّ اِرْمِينَ
3rd masc. ram-aw ya-rm-ūna ya-rm-ū ya-rm-ū ya-rm-unna ya-rm-un
رَمَوْا يَرْمُونَ يَرْمُوا يَرْمُوا َيَرْمُنَّ ْيَرْمُن
fem. ramay-na ya-rmī-na ya-rmī-na ya-rmī-na ya-rmī-nānni
رَمَيْنَ يَرْمِينَ يَرْمِينَ يَرْمِينَ يَرْمِينَانِّ
Two stems each

Each of the two main stems (past and non-past) comes in two variants, a full and a shortened. For the past stem, the full is رميـ ramay-, shortened to رمـ ram- in much of the third person (i.e. before vowels, in most cases). For the non-past stem, the full is rmiy-, shortened to rm- before -ū -ī. The full non-past stem ـرميـ rmiy- appears as ـرميـ rmī- when not before a vowel; this is an automatic alternation in Classical Arabic. The places where the shortened stems occur are indicated by silver (past), gold (non-past).

Irregular endings

The endings are actually mostly regular. But some endings are irregular, in boldface:

  • Some of the third-person past endings are irregular, in particular those in رمى ram-ā 'he threw', رموا ram-aw 'they (masc.) threw'. These simply have to be memorized.
  • Two kinds of non-past endings are irregular, both in the "suffixless" parts of the paradigm (largely referring to singular masculine or singular combined-gender). In the indicative, the full stem ـرمي -rmī actually appears normally; what is irregular is the lack of the -u normally marking the indicative. In the jussive, on the other hand, the stem actually assumes a unique shortened form ـرمـ -rmi, with a short vowel that is not represented by a letter in the Arabic.
(فعا (يفعو faʿā (yafʿū)[edit]

The following shows a paradigm of a typical Form I defective (third-weak) verb (دعا (يدعو daʿā (yadʿū) 'to call', parallel to verbs of the (فعل (يفعل faʿala (yafʿulu) type. Verbs of this sort are entirely parallel to verbs of the (فعا (يفعي faʿā (yafʿī) type, although the exact forms can still be tricky. See notes following the table for explanation.

Paradigm of a defective (third-weak) و w Arabic verb, (دعا (يدعو daʿā (yadʿū) 'to call'
Past Present
Indicative
Subjunctive Jussive Long
Energetic
Short
Energetic
Imperative
Singular
1st daʿaw-tu a-dʿū a-dʿuw-a a-dʿu a-dʿuw-anna a-dʿuw-an
دَعَوْتُ أَدْعُو َأَدْعُو أَدْعُ َأَدْعُوَنَّ ْأَدْعُوَن
2nd masc. daʿaw-ta ta-dʿū ta-dʿuw-a ta-dʿu ta-dʿuw-anna ta-dʿuw-an u-dʿu
دَعَوْتَ تَدْعُو َتَدْعُو تَدْعُ َتَدْعُوَنَّ ْتَدْعُوَن اُدْعُ
fem. daʿaw-ti ta-dʿ-īna ta-dʿ-ī ta-dʿ-ī ta-dʿ-inna ta-dʿ-in u-dʿ-ī
دَعَوْتِ تَدْعِينَ تَدْعِي تَدْعِي َتَدْعِنَّ ْتَدْعِن اُدْعِي
3rd masc. daʿ-ā ya-dʿū ya-dʿuw-a ya-dʿu ya-dʿuw-anna ya-dʿuw-an
دَعَا يَدْعُو َيَدْعُو يَدْعُ َيَدْعُوَنَّ ْيَدْعُوَن
fem. daʿ-at ta-dʿū ta-dʿuw-a ta-dʿu ta-dʿuw-anna ta-dʿuw-an
دَعَتْ تَدْعُو َتَدْعُو تَدْعُ َتَدْعُوَنَّ ْتَدْعُوَن
Dual
2nd masculine
& feminine
daʿaw-tumā ta-dʿuw-āni ta-dʿuw-ā ta-dʿuw-ā ta-dʿuw-ānni u-dʿuw-ā
دَعَوْتُمَا تَدْعُوَانِ تَدْعُوَا تَدْعُوَا تَدْعُوَانِّ اُدْعُوَا
3rd masc. daʿaw-ā ya-dʿuw-āni ya-dʿuw-ā ya-dʿuw-ā ya-dʿuw-ānni
دَعَوَا يَدْعُوَانِ يَدْعُوَا يَدْعُوَا يَدْعُوَانِّ
fem. daʿ-atā ta-dʿuw-āni ta-dʿuw-ā ta-dʿuw-ā ta-dʿuw-ānni
دَعَتَا تَدْعُوَانِ تَدْعُوَا تَدْعُوَا تَدْعُوَانِّ
Plural
1st daʿaw-nā na-dʿū na-dʿuw-a na-dʿu na-dʿuw-anna na-dʿuw-an
دَعَوْنَا نَدْعُو َنَدْعُو نَدْعُ َنَدْعُوَنَّ ْنَدْعُوَن
2nd masc. daʿaw-tum ta-dʿ-ūna ta-dʿ-ū ta-dʿ-ū ta-dʿ-unna ta-dʿ-un u-dʿ-ū
دَعَوْتُمْ تَدْعُونَ تَدْعُوا تَدْعُوا َتَدْعُنَّ ْتَدْعُن اُدْعُوا
fem. daʿaw-tunna ta-dʿū-na ta-dʿū-na ta-dʿū-na ta-dʿū-nānni u-dʿū-na
دَعَوْتُنَّ تَدْعُونَ تَدْعُونَ تَدْعُونَ تَدْعُونَانِّ اُدْعُونَ
3rd masc. daʿ-aw ya-dʿ-ūna ya-dʿ-ū ya-dʿ-ū ya-dʿ-unna ya-dʿ-un
دَعَوْا يَدْعُونَ يَدْعُوا يَدْعُوا َيَدْعُنَّ ْيَدْعُن
fem. daʿaw-na ya-dʿū-na ya-dʿū-na ya-dʿū-na ya-dʿū-nānni
دَعَوْنَ يَدْعُونَ يَدْعُونَ يَدْعُونَ يَدْعُونَانِّ

Verbs of this sort are work nearly identically to verbs of the (فعى (يفعي faʿā (yafʿī) type. There are the same irregular endings in the same places, and again two stems in each of the past and non-past tenses, with the same stems used in the same places:

  • In the past, the full stem is دعوـ daʿaw-, shortened to دعـ daʿ-.
  • In the non-past, the full stem is دعوـ dʿuw-, rendered as دعوـ dʿū- when not before a vowel and shortened to دعـ dʿ- before ـُو، ـِي -ū -ī.

The Arabic spelling has the following rules:

  • In the third person masculine singular past, regular ا alif appears instead of alif maqṣūrah: hence دَعَا not *دَعَى.
  • The otiose final alif appears only after the final wāw of the plural, not elsewhere: hence تَدْعُو 'you (masc. sg.) call (ind.)' but تَدْعُوا 'you (masc. pl.) call (subj.)', even though they are both pronounced تدعو tadʿū.
فعي يفعى faʿiya (yafʿā)[edit]

The following shows a paradigm of a typical Form I defective (third-weak) verb nasiya (yansā) 'to forget', parallel to verbs of the (فعل (يفعل faʿila (yafʿalu) type. These verbs differ in a number of significant respects from either of the above types.

Paradigm of a defective (third-weak) a Arabic verb, (نسي (ينسى nasiya (yansā) 'to forget'
Past Present
Indicative
Subjunctive Jussive Long
Energetic
Short
Energetic
Imperative
Singular
1st nasī-tu a-nsā a-nsā a-nsa a-nsay-anna a-nsay-an
نَسِيتُ أَنْسَى أَنْسَى أَنْسَ َأَنْسَيَنَّ ْأَنْسَيَن
2nd masc. nasī-ta ta-nsā ta-nsā ta-nsa ta-nsay-anna ta-nsay-an i-nsa
نَسِيتَ تَنْسَى تَنْسَى تَنْسَ َتَنْسَيَنَّ ْتَنْسَيَن اِنْسَ
fem. nasī-ti ta-nsa-yna ta-nsa-y ta-nsa-y ta-nsa-yinna ta-nsa-yin i-nsa-y
نَسِيتِ تَنْسَيْنَ تَنْسَيْ تَنْسَيْ َتَنْسَيِنَّ ْتَنْسَيِن اِنْسَيْ
3rd masc. nasiy-a ya-nsā ya-nsā ya-nsa ya-nsay-anna ya-nsay-an
نَسِيَ يَنْسَى يَنْسَى يَنْسَ َيَنْسَيَنَّ ْيَنْسَيَن
fem. nasiy-at ta-nsā ta-nsā ta-nsa ta-nsay-anna ta-nsay-an
نَسِيَتْ تَنْسَى تَنْسَى تَنْسَ َتَنْسَيَنَّ ْتَنْسَيَن
Dual
2nd masculine
& feminine
nasī-tumā ta-nsay-āni ta-nsay-ā ta-nsay-ā ta-nsay-ānni i-nsay-ā
نَسِيتُمَا تَنْسَيَانِ تَنْسَيَا تَنْسَيَا تَنْسَيَانِّ اِنْسَيَا
3rd masc. nasiy-ā ya-nsay-āni ya-nsay-ā ya-nsay-ā ya-nsay-ānni
نَسِيَا يَنْسَيَانِ يَنْسَيَا يَنْسَيَا يَنْسَيَانِّ
fem. nasiy-atā ta-nsay-āni ta-nsay-ā ta-nsay-ā ta-nsay-ānni
نَسِيَتَا تَنْسَيَانِ تَنْسَيَا تَنْسَيَا تَنْسَيَانِّ
Plural
1st nasī-nā na-nsā na-nsā na-nsa na-nsay-anna na-nsay-an
نَسِينَا نَنْسَى نَنْسَى نَنْسَ َنَنْسَيَنَّ ْنَنْسَيَن
2nd masc. nasī-tum ta-nsa-wna ta-nsa-w ta-nsa-w ta-nsa-wunna ta-nsa-wun i-nsa-w
نَسِيتُمْ تَنْسَوْنَ تَنْسَوْا تَنْسَوْا َتَنْسَوُنَّ ْتَنْسَوُن اِنْسَوْا
fem. nasī-tunna ta-nsay-na ta-nsay-na ta-nsay-na ta-nsay-nānni i-nsay-na
نَسِيتُنَّ تَنْسَيْنَ تَنْسَيْنَ تَنْسَيْنَ تَنْسَيْنَانِّ اِنْسَيْنَ
3rd masc. nas-ū ya-nsa-wna ya-nsa-w ya-nsa-w ya-nsa-wunna ya-nsa-wun
نَسُوا يَنْسَوْنَ يَنْسَوْا يَنْسَوْا َيَنْسَوُنَّ ْيَنْسَوُن
fem. nasī-na ya-nsay-na ya-nsay-na ya-nsay-na ya-nsay-nānni
نَسِينَ يَنْسَيْنَ يَنْسَيْنَ يَنْسَيْنَ يَنْسَيْنَانِّ
Multiple stems

This variant is somewhat different from the variants with ـِي or ـُو in the non-past. As with other third-weak verbs, there are multiple stems in each of the past and non-past, a full stem composed following the normal rules and one or more shortened stems.

  • In this case, only one form in the past uses a shortened stem: نسوـ nas-ū 'they (masc.) forgot'. All other forms are constructed regularly, using the full stem نسيـ nasiy- or its automatic pre-consonant variant نسيـ nasī-.
  • In the non-past, however, there are at least three different stems:
  1. The full stem نسيـ -nsay- occurs before -a/ā- or ـنـ -n-, that is before dual endings, feminine plural endings and energetic endings corresponding to forms that are endingless in the jussive.
  2. The modified stem نساـ -nsā occurs in "endingless" forms (i.e. masculine or common-gender singular, plus 1st plural). As usual with third-weak verbs, it is shortened to نسـ -nsa in the jussive. These forms are marked with red.
  3. Before endings normally beginning with -i/ī- or -u/ū-, the stem and endings combine together into a shortened form: e.g. expected تنسين *ta-nsay-īna 'you (fem. sg.) forget', تنسيون *ta-nsay-ūna 'you (masc. pl.) forget' instead become تنسين ta-nsayna, تنسون ta-nsawna respectively. The table above chooses to segment them as تنسين ta-nsa-yna, تنسون ta-nsa-wna, suggesting that a shortened stem ـنسـ -nsa- combines with irregular (compressed) endings ـين -yna < ـين *-īna, ـون -wna < ـون *-ūna. Similarly subjunctive/jussive تنسوا ta-nsaw < تنسيوا *ta-nsay-ū; but note energetic تنسون ta-nsawunna < تنسين *ta-nsay-unna, where the original ـيـ *-yu- has assimilated to ـوـ -wu-. Consistent with the above analysis, we analyze this form as تنسون ta-nsa-wunna, with an irregular energetic ending ـون -wunna where a glide consonant has developed after the previous vowel. However, since all moods in this case have a form containing ـنسوـ -nsaw-, an alternative analysis would consider ـنسوـ -nsaw and ـنسيـ -nsay as stems. These forms are marked with gold.
Irregular endings

The endings are actually mostly regular. But some endings are irregular in the non-past, in boldface:

  • The non-past endings in the "suffixless" parts of the paradigm (largely referring to singular masculine or singular combined-gender). In the indicative and subjunctive, the modified stem ـنساـ -nsā appears, and is shortened to ـنسـ -nsa in the jussive. In the forms actually appears normally; what is irregular is the lack of the -u normally marking the indicative. In the jussive, on the other hand, the stem actually assumes a unique shortened form ـنسـ -nsa, with a short vowel that is not represented by a letter in the Arabic script.
  • In the forms that would normally have suffixes -i/ī- or -u/ū-, the stem and suffix combine to produce ـنسيـ -nsay-, ـنسوـ -nsaw-. These are analyzed here as consisting of a shortened stem form ـنسـ -nsa- plus irregular (shortened or assimilated) endings.

Doubled roots[edit]

The following shows a paradigm of a typical Form I doubled verb (مد (يمد madda (yamuddu) 'to extend', parallel to verbs of the (فعل (يفعل faʿala (yafʿulu) type. See notes following the table for explanation.

Paradigm of a form I doubled Arabic verb, madda (yamuddu) "to extend"
Past Present
Indicative
Subjunctive Jussive Long
Energetic
Short
Energetic
Imperative
Singular
1st madad-tu a-mudd-u a-mudd-a a-mudd-a,
ʾa-mudd-i,
ʾa-mdud
a-mudd-anna a-mudd-an
مَدَدْتُ أَمُدُّ أَمُدَّ أَمُدَّ,
أَمُدِّ,
أَمْدُدْ
أَمُدَّنَّ أَمُدَّنْ
2nd masc. madad-ta ta-mudd-u ta-mudd-a ta-mudd-a,
ta-mudd-i,
ta-mdud
ta-mudd-anna ta-mudd-an mudd-a,
mudd-i,
u-mdud
مَدَدْتَ تَمُدُّ تَمُدَّ تَمُدَّ,
تَمُدِّ,
تَمْدُدْ
تَمُدَّنَّ تَمُدَّنْ مُدَّ,
مُدِّ,
اُمْدُدْ
fem. madad-ti ta-mudd-īna ta-mudd-ī ta-mudd-ī ta-mudd-inna ta-mudd-in mudd-ī
مَدَدْتِ تَمُدِّينَ تَمُدِّي تَمُدِّي تَمُدِّنَّ تَمُدِّنْ مُدِّي
3rd masc. madd-a ya-mudd-u ya-mudd-a ya-mudd-a,
ya-mudd-i,
ya-mdud
ya-mudd-anna ya-mudd-an
مَدَّ يَمُدُّ يَمُدَّ يَمُدَّ,
يَمُدِّ,
يَمْدُدْ
يَمُدَّنَّ يَمُدَّنْ
fem. madd-at ta-mudd-u ta-mudd-a ta-mudd-a,
ta-mudd-i,
ta-mdud
ta-mudd-anna ta-mudd-an
مَدَّتْ تَمُدُّ تَمُدَّ تَمُدَّ,
تَمُدِّ,
تَمْدُدْ
تَمُدَّنَّ تَمُدَّنْ
Dual
2nd masculine
& feminine
madad-tumā ta-mudd-āni ta-mudd-ā ta-mudd-ā ta-mudd-ānni mudd-ā
مَدَدْتُمَا تَمُدَّانِ تَمُدَّا تَمُدَّا تَمُدَّانِّ مُدَّا
3rd masc. madd-ā ya-mudd-āni ya-mudd-ā ya-mudd-ā ya-mudd-ānni
مَدَّا يَمُدَّانِ يَمُدَّا يَمُدَّا يَمُدَّانِّ
fem. madd-atā ta-mudd-āni ta-mudd-ā ta-mudd-ā ta-mudd-ānni
مَدَّتَا تَمُدَّانِ تَمُدَّا تَمُدَّا تَمُدَّانِّ
Plural
1st madad-nā na-mudd-u na-mudd-a na-mudd-a,
na-mudd-i,
na-mdud
na-mudd-anna na-mudd-an
مَدَدْنَا نَمُدُّ نَمُدَّ نَمُدَّ,
نَمُدِّ,
نَمْدُدْ
نَمُدَّنَّ نَمُدَّنْ
2nd masc. madad-tum ta-mudd-ūna ta-mudd-ū ta-mudd-ū ta-mudd-unna ta-mudd-un mudd-ū
مَدَدْتُمْ تَمُدُّونَ تَمُدُّوا تَمُدُّوا تَمُدُّنَّ تَمُدُّنْ مُدُّوا
fem. madad-tunna ta-mdud-na ta-mdud-na ta-mdud-na ta-mdud-nānni umdud-na
مَدَدْتُنَّ تَمْدُدْنَ تَمْدُدْنَ تَمْدُدْنَ تَمْدُدْنَانِّ اُمْدُدْنَ
3rd masc. madd-ū ya-mudd-ūna ya-mudd-ū ya-mudd-ū ya-mudd-unna ya-mudd-un
مَدُّوا يَمُدُّونَ يَمُدُّوا يَمُدُّوا يَمُدُّنَّ يَمُدُّنْ
fem. madad-na ya-mdud-na ya-mdud-na ya-mdud-na ya-mdud-nānni
مَدَدْنَ يَمْدُدْنَ يَمْدُدْنَ يَمْدُدْنَ يَمْدُدْنَانِّ

All doubled verbs are conjugated in a parallel fashion. The endings are for the most part identical to those of strong verbs, but there are two stems (a regular and a modified) in each of the past and non-past. The regular stems are identical to the stem forms of sound verbs, while the modified stems have the two identical consonants pulled together into a geminate consonant and the vowel between moved before the geminate. In the above verb (مد (يمد madda (yamuddu) 'to extend' (s.th.), the past stems are مددـ madad- (regular), مدـ madd- (modified), and the non-past stems are مددـ mdud- (regular), مدـ mudd- (modified). In the table, places where the regular past stem occurs are in silver, and places where the regular non-past stem occurs are in gold; everywhere else, the modified stem occurs.

No initial vowel is needed in most of the imperative forms because the modified non-past stem does not begin with two consonants.

The concept of having two stems for each tense, one for endings beginning with vowels and one for other endings, occurs throughout the different kinds of weaknesses.

Following the above rules, endingless jussives would have a form like تمدد tamdud, while the corresponding indicatives and subjunctives would have forms like تمد tamuddu, تمد tamudda. As a result, for the doubled verbs in particular, there is a tendency to harmonize these forms by adding a vowel to the jussives, usually a, sometimes i. These are the only irregular endings in these paradigms, and have been indicated in boldface. The masculine singular imperative likewise has multiple forms, based on the multiple forms of the jussive.

The are various types of doubled Form I verbs:

Modified past stem
(3rd sg. masc.)
Regular past stem
(3rd plur. fem.)
Modified non-past stem
(3rd sg. masc.)
Regular non-past stem
(3rd plur. fem.)
Meaning Sound verb parallel
مَدَّ
madd-a
مَدَدْنَ
madad-na
يَمُدُّ
ya-mudd-u
يَمْدُدْنَ
ya-mdud-na
'to extend' (فَعَلَ (يَفْعُلُ
faʿala (yafʿulu)
تَمَّ
tamm-a
تَمَمْنَ
tamam-na
يَتِمُّ
ya-timm-u
يَتْمِمْنَ
ya-tmim-na
'to finish'" (فَعَلَ (يَفْعِلُ
faʿala (yafʿilu)
ظَلَّ
ẓall-a
ظَلِلْنَ
ẓalil-na
يَظَلُّ
ya-ẓall-u
يَظْلَلْنَ
ya-ẓlal-na
'to remain' (فَعِلَ (يَفْعَلُ
faʿila (yafʿalu)

Formation of derived stems ("forms")[edit]

Arabic verb morphology includes augmentations of the root, also known as forms, an example of the derived stems found among the Semitic languages. For a typical verb based on a triliteral root (i.e. a root formed using three root consonants), the basic form is termed Form I, while the augmented forms are known as Form II, Form III, etc. The forms in normal use are Form I through Form X; Forms XI through XV exist but are rare and obsolescent. Forms IX and XI are used only with adjectival roots referring to colors and physical defects (e.g. "red", "blue", "blind", "deaf", etc.), and are stative verbs having the meaning of "be X" or "become X" (e.g. Form IX iḥmarra 'be red, become red, blush', Form XI iḥmārra with the same meaning). Although the structure that a given root assumes in a particular augmentation is predictable, its meaning is not (although many augmentations have one or more "usual" or prototypical meanings associated with them), and not all augmentations exist for any given root. As a result, these augmentations are part of the system of derivational morphology, not part of the inflectional system.

The construction of a given augmentation is normally indicated using the dummy root f–ʿ–l (ف–ع–ل), based on the verb faʿala 'to do'. Because Arabic has no direct equivalent to the infinitive form of Western languages, the third-person masculine singular past tense is normally used as the dictionary form of a given verb, i.e. the form by which a verb is identified in a dictionary or grammatical discussion. Hence, the word faʿala above actually has the meaning of 'he did', but is translated as 'to do' when used as a dictionary form.

Verbs based on quadriliteral roots (roots with four consonants) also exist. There are four augmentations for such verbs, known as Forms Iq, IIq, IIIq and IVq. These have forms similar to Forms II, V, VII and IX respectively of triliteral verbs. Forms IIIq and IVq are fairly rare. The construction of such verbs is typically given using the dummy verb faʿlala. However, the choice of this particular verb is somewhat non-ideal in that the third and fourth consonants of an actual verb are typically not the same, despite the same consonant used for both; this is a particular problem e.g. for Form IVq. The verb tables below use the dummy verb faʿlaqa instead.

Some grammars, especially of colloquial spoken varieties rather than of Classical Arabic, use other dummy roots. For example, A Short Reference Grammar of Iraqi Arabic (Wallace M. Erwin) uses فمل FaMaLa and فستل FaSTaLa for three and four-character roots, respectively (standing for "First Middle Last" and "First Second Third Last"). Commonly the dummy consonants are given in capital letters.

The system of identifying verb augmentations by Roman numerals is an invention by Western scholars. Traditionally, Arabic grammarians did not number the augmentations at all, instead identifying them by the corresponding dictionary form. For example, Form V would be called "the tafaʿʿala form".

Verbs Derived nouns Typical meanings, notes Examples
Active voice Passive voice Active participle Passive participle Verbal noun
Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) Imperative (2nd sg. masc.) Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) sg. masc. nom.
I فَعَلَ
faʿala
يَفْعُلُ
yafʿulu
اُفْعُلْ
ufʿul
فُعِلَ
fuʿila
يُفْعَلُ
yufʿalu
فَاعِل
fāʿil
مَفْعول
mafʿūl
فَعْل faʿl, فُعُول fuʿūl, فِعْل fiʿl, (فُعْل(ة fuʿl(ah), (فَعَال(ة faʿāl(ah), (فِعَال(ة fiʿāl(ah), etc. basic verb form (كتب (يكتب kataba (yaktubu) 'write"; (دخل (يدخل dakhala (yadkhulu) 'enter'; (درس (يدرس darasa (yadrusu) 'study"; (قتل (يقتل qatala (yaqtulu) "kill"
يَفْعِلُ
yafʿilu
اِفْعِلْ
ifʿil
(حمل (يحمل ḥamala (yaḥmilu) 'carry'; (قدر (يقدر qadara (yaqdiru) 'be able'; (عرف (يعرف ʿarafa (yaʿrifu) 'know'; (جلس (يجلس jalasa (yajlisu) 'sit'
يَفْعَلُ
yafʿalu
اِفْعَلْ
ifʿal
usually with a guttural consonant (ʾ ʿ h ḥ) in second or third position (قطع (يقطع qaṭaʿa (yaqṭaʿu) 'cut'; (قرأ (يقرأ qaraʾa (yaqraʾu) "read"; (ظهر (يظهر ẓahara (yaẓharu) 'seem'; (بحث (يبحث baḥatha (yabḥathu) 'search'
فَعِلَ
faʿila
often stative verbs (temporary conditions) (فهم (يفهم fahima (yafhamu) 'understand'; (ركب (يركب rakiba (yarkabu) 'ride'; (شرب (يشرب shariba (yashrabu) 'drink'; (لبس (يلبس labisa (yalbasu) 'wear'
يَفْعِلُ
yafʿilu
اِفْعِلْ
ifʿil
often stative verbs (temporary conditions); rare except with initial و w consonant (which disappears in non-past) (حسب (يحسب ḥasiba (yaḥsibu) 'estimate'; (وثق (يثق wathiqa (yathiqu) 'trust'
فَعُلَ
faʿula
يَفْعُلُ
yafʿulu
اُفْعُلْ
ufʿul
only with stative verbs (permanent conditions) (كبر (يكبر kabura (yakburu) 'grow big, grow old'; (كثر (يكثر kathura (yakthuru) 'be many, be numerous'; (بعد (يبعد baʿuda (yabʿudu) 'be distant (from)'; (كرم (يكرم karuma (yakrumu) 'be/become noble'
II فَعَّلَ
faʿʿala
يُفَعِّلُ
yufaʿʿilu
فَعِّلْ
faʿʿil
فُعِّلَ
fuʿʿila
يُفَعِّلُ
yufaʿʿalu
مُفَعِّل
mufaʿʿil
مُفَعَّل
mufaʿʿal
تَفْعِيل
tafʿīl
causative and intensive; denominative; transitive of form 1. كتّب kattaba 'make (someone) write (something)'; دخّل dakhkhala 'bring in (someone/something)'; درّس darrasa 'teach'; قتّل qattala 'massacre'; حمّل ḥammala 'burden, impose'; عرّف ʿarrafa 'announce, inform'; قطّع qaṭṭaʿa "cut into pieces"
III فاعَلَ
fāʿala
يُفَاعِلُ
yufāʿilu
فَاعِلْ
fāʿil
فُوعِلَ
fūʿila
يُفَاعَلُ
yufāʿalu
مُفَاعِل
mufāʿil
مُفَاعَل
mufāʿal
مُفَاعَلة، فِعَالة
mufāʿalah, fiʿāl
the verbs in this form need an indirect object which is often "with" and sometimes "against". كاتب kātaba 'write to, correspond with (someone)'; داخل dākhala 'befall (someone)'; دارس dārasa 'study with (someone)'; قاتل qātala 'fight'; جالس jālasa 'sit with (someone), keep (someone) company'; قاطع qāṭaʿa 'disassociate (from), interrupt, cut off (someone)'
IV أَفْعَلَ
afʿala
يُفْعِلُ
yufʿilu
أَفْعِلْ
afʿil
أُفْعِلَ
ufʿila
يُفْعَلُ
yufʿalu
مُفْعِل
mufʿil
مُفْعَل
mufʿal
إِفْعَال
ifʿāl
usually transitive and causative of form 1 (this form has not intensive meaning). أكتب aktaba 'dictate'; أدخل adkhala 'bring in (someone), bring about (something)'; أقدر aqdara 'enable'; أجلس ajlasa 'seat'; أقطع aqṭaʿa 'make (someone) cut off (something), part company with, bestow as a fief'
V تَفَعَّلَ
tafaʿʿala
يَتَفَعَّلُ
yatafaʿʿalu
تَفَعَّلْ
tafaʿʿal
تُفُعِّلَ
tufuʿʿila
يُتَفَعَّلُ
yutafaʿʿalu
مُتَفَعِّل
mutafaʿʿil
مُتَفَعَّل
mutafaʿʿal
تَفَعُّل
tafaʿʿul
usually reflexive of Form II. تدخّل tadakhkhala 'interfere, disturb'; تدرّس tadarrasa 'learn'; تحمّل taḥammala 'endure, undergo'; تعرّف taʿarrafa 'become acquainted (with someone), meet'; تقطّع taqaṭṭaʿa 'be cut off, be disrupted, be intermittent'
VI تَفاعَلَ
tafāʿala
يَتَفاعَلُ
yatafāʿalu
تَفاعَلْ
tafāʿal
تُفوعِلَ
tufūʿila
يُتَفاعِلُ
yutafāʿalu
مُتَفاعِل
mutafāʿil
مُتَفَاعَل
mutafāʿal
تَفَاعُل
tafāʿul
reciprocal of Form III; and even "pretend to X" تكاتب takātaba 'correspond with each other'; تداخل tadākhala 'meddle, butt in'; تدارس tadārasa 'study carefully with each other'; تقاتل taqātala 'fight with one another'; تحامل taḥāmala 'maltreat, be biased (against)'; تعارف taʿarrafa 'become mutually acquainted, come to know (something)'; تقاطع taqāṭaʿa 'part company, break off mutual relations, intersect (of roads)'
VII اِنْفَعَلَ
infaʿala
يَنْفَعِلُ
yanfaʿilu
اِنْفَعِلْ
infaʿil
اُنْفَعِلَ
(unfuʿila)
يُنْفَعَلُ
(yunfaʿalu)
مُنْفَعِل
munfaʿil
مُنْفَعَل
munfaʿal
اِنْفِعَال
infiʿāl
anticausative verb of Form I; انكتب inkataba 'subscribe'; انقطع inqaṭaʿa 'be cut off, cease, suspend'
VIII اِفْتَعَلَ
iftaʿala
يَفْتَعِلُ
yaftaʿilu
اِفْتَعِلْ
iftaʿil
اُفْتُعِلَ
uftuʿila
يُفْتَعَلُ
yuftaʿalu
مُفْتَعِل
muftaʿil
مُفْتَعَل
muftaʿal
اِفْتِعَال
iftiʿāl
reflexive of Form I; often some unpredictable variation in meaning اكتتب iktataba 'copy (something), be recorded'; اقتتل iqtatala 'fight (with)'; احتمل iḥtamala 'carry away, endure, allow'; اقطدر iqtadara 'be able'; iʿtarafa 'confess, recognize'; ; اقتطع iqtaṭaʿa 'take a part (of something), tear out/off, deduct'
IX اِفْعَلَّ
ifʿalla
يَفْعَلُّ
yafʿallu
اِفْعَلِلْ
ifʿalil
(اُفْعُلَّ)
(ufʿulla)
(يُفْعَلُّ)
(yufʿallu)
مُفْعَلّ
mufʿall
n/a اِفْعِلَال
ifʿilāl
stative verb ("be X", "become X"), specially for colors (e.g. "red", "blue") and physical defects. احمرّ iḥmarra 'turn red, blush'; اسودّ iswadda 'be/become black'; اصفرّ iṣfarra 'turn yellow, become pale'; احولّ iḥwalla 'be cross-eyed, squint'
X اِسْتَفْعَلَ
istafʿala
يَسْتَفْعِلُ
yastafʿilu
اِسْتَفْعِلْ
istafʿil
اُسْتُفْعِلَ
ustufʿila
يُسْتَفْعَلُ
yustafʿalu
مُسْتَفْعِل
mustafʿil
مُسْتَفْعَل
mustafʿal
اِسْتِفْعَال
istifʿāl
"ask to X"; "want to X"; "consider (someone) to be X"; causative, and sometimes autocausative verb; often some unpredictable variation in meaning استكتب istaktaba 'ask (someone) to write (something)'; استقتل istaqtala 'risk one's life'; استقدر istaqdara 'ask (God) for strength or ability'; استعرف istaʿrafa 'discern, recognize'; استقطع istaqṭaʿa 'request as a fief'
XI اِفْعَالَّ
ifʿālla
يَفْعالُّ
yafʿāllu
اِفْعالِلْ
ifʿālil
n/a مُفْعَالّ
mufʿāll
n/a اِفْعِيلَال
ifʿīlāl
rare except in poetry; same meaning as Form IX احمارّ iḥmārra "turn red, blush"; اصحابّ iṣhābba 'be/become reddish-brown'; الهاجّ ilhājja 'curdle'
XII اِفْعَوْعَلَ
ifʿawʿala
يَفْعَوْعِلُ
yafʿawʿilu
اِفْعَوْعِلْ
ifʿawʿil
اُفْعُوعِلَ
ufʿūʿila
يُفْعَوْعَلُ
yufʿawʿalu
مُفْعَوْعِل
mufʿawʿil
مُفْعَوْعَل
mufʿawʿal
اِفْعِيعَال
ifʿīʿāl
very rare, with specialized meanings; often stative احدودب iḥdawdaba 'be convex, be hunchbacked'; اغدودن ighdawdana 'grow long and luxuriantly (of hair)'; احلولك iḥlawlaka 'be pitch-black'; اخشوشن ikhshawshana 'be rough/crude, lead a rough life'
XIII اِفْعَوَّلَ
ifʿawwala
يَفْعَوِّلُ
yafʿawwilu
اِفْعَوِّلْ
ifʿawwil
اُفْعُوِّلَ
ufʿuwwila
يُفْعَوَّلُ
yufʿawwalu
مُفْعَوِّل
mufʿawwil
مُفْعَوَّل
mufʿawwal
اِفْعِوَّال
ifʿiwwāl
الجوّذ ijlawwadha 'gallop'; اعلوّط iʿlawwaṭa 'hang on the neck of (a camel)'
XIV اِفْعَنْلَلَ
ifʿanlala
يَفْعَنْلِلُ
yafʿanlilu
اِفْعَنْلِلْ
ifʿanlil
اُفْعُنْلِلَ
ufʿunlila
يُفْعَنْلَلُ
yufʿanlalu
مُفْعَنْلِل
mufʿanlil
مُفْعَنْلَل
mufʿanlal
اِفْعِنْلَال
ifʿinlāl
اقعنسس iqʿansasa 'have a protruding chest and hollow back, be pigeon-breasted'; اقعندد iqʿandada 'reside'; اسحنكك isḥankaka 'become very dark'
XV اِفْعَنْلَى
ifʿanlā
يَفْعَنْلَى
yafʿanlā
اِفْعَنْلَ
ifʿanla
اُفْعُنْلِيَ
ufʿunliya
يُفْعَنْلَى
yufʿanlā
مُفْعَنْلٍ
mufʿanlin
مُفْعَنْلًى
mufʿanlan
اِفْعِنْلَاع
ifʿinlāʾ
احرنبى iḥranbā 'become very furious'; اغرندى ighrandā 'curse and hit (someone)'
Iq فَعْلَقَ
faʿlaqa
يُفَعْلِقُ
yufaʿliqu
فَعْلِقْ
faʿliq
فُعْلِقَ
fuʿliqa
يُفَعْلَقُ
yufaʿlaqu
مُفَعْلِق
mufaʿliq
مُفَعْلَق
mufaʿlaq
فَعْلَقة faʿlaqat, occ. فَعْلَاق faʿlāq, فِعْلَاق fiʿlāq basic form, often transitive or denominative; similar to Form II, but verbal noun is different; reduplicated roots of the form فعفع faʿfaʿa are common, sometimes فعفل faʿfala is also seen دحرج daḥraja 'roll (something)'; ترجم tarjama 'translate, interpret'; هندس handasa 'sketch, make a plan'; بيطر bayṭara 'practice veterinary surgery' (< 'veter(inary)'); زلزل zalzala 'shake (something), frighten'; وسوس waswasa 'whisper'; غرغر gharghara "gargle"
IIq تَفَعْلَقَ
tafaʿlaqa
يُتَفَعْلِقُ
yatafaʿlaqu
تَفَعْلِقْ
tafaʿlaq
تُفُعْلِقَ
tufuʿliqa
يُتَفَعْلَق
yutafaʿlaqu
مُتَفَعْلِق
mutafaʿliq
مُتَفَعْلَق
mutafaʿlaq
تَفَعْلُق
tafaʿluq
reflexive of Form Iq; frequentative intransitive denominative; similar to Form V تدحرج tadaḥraja 'roll' (intrans.)'; تزلزل tazalzala 'shake (intrans.), tremble'; تفلسف tafalsafa 'philosophize' (< فيلسوفـ faylasūf- 'philosopher'); تمذهب tamadhhaba 'follow a sect' (< مذهبـ madhhab- 'sect' < ذهب dhahaba 'go'); تقهقر taqahqara 'be driven back'
IIIq اِفْعَنْلَقَ
ifʿanlaqa
يَفْعَنْلِقُ
yafʿanliqu
اِفْعَنْلِقْ
ifʿanliq
اُفْعُنْلِقَ
ufʿunliqa
يُفْعَنْلَقُ
yufʿanlaqu
مُفْعَنْلِق
mufʿanliq
مُفْعَنْلَق
mufʿanlaq
اِفْعِنْلَاق
ifʿinlāq
rare اخرنطم ikhranṭama 'be proud' (cf. الخرطوم al-Kharṭūm- 'Khartoum')
IVq اِفْعَلَقَّ
ifʿalaqqa
يَفْعَلِقُّ
yafʿaliqqu
اِفْعَلْقِقْ
ifʿalqiq
اُفْعُلِقَّ
ufʿuliqqa
يُفْعَلَقُّ
yufʿalaqqu
مُفْعَلِقّ
mufʿaliqq
مُفْعَلَقّ
mufʿalaqq
اِفْعِلْقَاق
ifʿilqāq
usually intransitive; somewhat rare اطمأنّ iṭmaʾanna 'be tranquil, calm'; اضمحلّ iḍmaḥalla 'fade away, dwindle'; اقشعرّ iqshaʿarra 'shudder with horror'

Each form can have either active or passive forms in the past and non-past tenses, so reflexives are different from passives.

Note that the present passive of forms I and IV are the same. Otherwise there is no confusion.

Sound verbs[edit]

Sound verbs are those verbs with no associated irregularities in their constructions. Verbs with irregularities are known as weak verbs; generally, this occurs either with (1) verbs based on roots where one or more of the consonants (or radicals) is w (wāw, و), y (yāʾ, ي) or the glottal stop ʾ (hamzah, ﺀ); or (2) verbs where the second and third root consonants are the same.

Some verbs that would be classified as "weak" according to the consonants of the verb root are nevertheless conjugated as a strong verb. This happens, for example:

  • Largely, to all verbs whose only weakness is a hamzah radical; the irregularity is in the Arabic spelling but not the pronunciation, except in a few minor cases.
  • Largely, to all verbs whose only weakness is a y in the first radical (the "assimilated" type).
  • To all verbs conjugated in Forms II, III, V, VI whose only weakness is a و w or ي y in the first or second radicals (or both).

Form VIII assimilations[edit]

Form VIII has a ـتـ -t- that is infixed into the root, directly after the first root consonant. This ـتـ -t- assimilates to certain coronal consonants occurring as the first root consonant. In particular, with roots whose first consonant is د، ز، ث، ذ، ص، ط، ض، ظ d z th dh ṣ ṭ ḍ ẓ, the combination of root and infix ت t appears as دّ، زد، ثّ، ذّ، صط، طّ، ضط، ظّ dd zd thth dhdh ṣṭ ṭṭ ḍṭ ẓẓ. That is, the t assimilates the emphasis of the emphatic consonants ص، ط، ض، ظ ṣ ṭ ḍ ẓ and the voicing of د، ز d z, and assimilates entirely to the interdental consonants ث، ذ، ظ th dh ẓ. The consonant cluster ضط ḍṭ, as in اضطرّ iḍṭarra 'compel, force', is unexpected given modern pronunciation, having a voiced stop next to a voiceless one; this reflects the fact that ط was formerly pronounced voiced, and ض was pronounced as the emphatic equivalent not of د d but of an unusual lateral sound. (ض was possibly an emphatic voiced alveolar lateral fricative /ɮˤ/ or a similar affricated sound /dɮˤ/ or /dˡˤ/; see the article on the letter ض ḍād.)

Defective (third-weak) verbs[edit]

Other than for Form I active, there is only one possible form for each verb, regardless of whether the third root consonant is و w or ي y. All of the derived third-weak verbs have the same active-voice endings as (فعى (يفعي faʿā (yafʿī) verbs except for Forms V and VI, which have past-tense endings like (فعى (يفعي faʿā (yafʿī) verbs but non-past endings like (فعي (يفعى faʿiya (yafʿā) verbs. The passive-voice endings of all third-weak verbs (whether Form I or derived) are the same as for the (فعي (يفعى faʿiya (yafʿā) verbs. The verbal nouns have various irregularities: feminine in Form II, -in declension in Form V and VI, glottal stop in place of root w/y in Forms VII–X.

The active and passive participles of derived defective verbs consistently are of the -in and -an declensions, respectively.

Defective Form IX verbs are extremely rare. Heywood and Nahmad list one such verb, iʿmāya 'be/become blind', which does not follow the expected form اعميّ *iʿmayya.[2] They also list a similarly rare Form XI verb اعمايّ iʿmāyya 'be/become blind' — this time with the expected form.

Verbs Derived nouns
Active voice Passive voice Active participle Passive participle Verbal noun
Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) Imperative (2nd sg. masc.) Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) sg. masc. nom.
I فَعَى
faʿā
يَفْعِي
yafʿī
اِفْعِ
ifʿi
فُعِيَ
fuʿiya
يُفْعَى
yufʿā
فَاعٍ
fāʿin
مَفْعِيّ
mafʿiyy
فَعْي faʿy, فَعْو faʿw, فَعًى faʿan, فِعًى fiʿan, فَعَاء faʿāʾ, فَاعِية fāʿiyah, فِعَاية fiʿāyah, فَعَاوة faʿāwah, مَفْعَاة mafʿāh, مَفْعِية mafʿiyah, فُعْية fuʿyah, فُعْوة fuʿwah, فُعُوْ fuʿuww, فُعْوَان fuʿwān, etc.
فَعَا
faʿā
يَفْعُو
yafʿū
اُفْعُ
ufʿu
مَفْعُوّ
mafʿuww
فَعِيَ
faʿiya
يَفْعَى
yafʿā
اِفْعَ
ifʿa
مَفْعِيّ
mafʿiyy
II فَعَّى
faʿʿā
يُفَعِّي
yufaʿʿī
فَعِّ
faʿʿi
فُعِّيَ
fuʿʿiya
يُفَعّى
yufaʿʿā
مُفَعٍّ
mufaʿʿin
مُفَعًّى
mufaʿʿan
تَفْعِية
tafʿiyah
III فَاعَى
fāʿā
يُفَاعِي
yufāʿī
فَاعِ
fāʿi
فوعِيَ
fūʿiya
يُفَاعَى
yufāʿā
مُفَاعٍ
mufāʿin
مُفَاعًى
mufāʿan
مُفَاعَاة mufāʿāh, فِعَاء fiʿāʾ
IV أَفْعَى
afʿā
يُفْعِي
yufʿī
أَفْعِ
afʿi
أُفْعِيَ
ufʿiya
يُفْعَى
yufʿā
مُفْعٍ
mufʿin
مُفْعًى
mufʿan
إفْعَاء
ifʿāʾ
V تَفَعَّى
tafaʿʿā
يَتَفَعَّى
yatafaʿʿā
تَفَعَّ
tafaʿʿa
تُفُعِّيَ
tufuʿʿiya
يُتَفَعَّى
yutafaʿʿā
مُتَفَعٍّ
mutafaʿʿin
مُتَفَعًّى
mutafaʿʿan
تَفَعٍّ
tafaʿʿin
VI تَفاعَى
tafāʿā
يَتَفاعَى
yatafāʿā
تَفاعَ
tafāʿa
تُفوعِيَ
tufūʿiya
يُتَفاعَى
yutafāʿā
مُتَفَاعٍ
mutafāʿin
مُتَفاعًى
mutafāʿan
تَفَاعٍ
tafāʿin
VII اِنْفَعَى
infaʿā
يَنْفَعِي
yanfaʿī
اِنْفَعِ
infaʿi
(اُنْفُعِ)
(unfuʿī)
(يُنْفَعَى)
(yunfaʿā)
مُنْفَعٍ
munfaʿin
مُنْفَعًى
munfaʿan
اِنْفِعَاء
infiʿāʾ
VIII اِفْتَعَى
iftaʿā
يَفْتَعِي
yaftaʿī
اِفْتَعِ
iftaʿi
اُفْتُعِيَ
uftuʿiya
يُفْتَعَى
yuftaʿā
مُفْتَعٍ
muftaʿin
مُفْتَعًى
muftaʿan
اِفْتِعَاء
iftiʿāʾ
IX (اِفْعايَ (اِفْعَيَيْت
ifʿāya (ifʿayaytu?)
(يَفْعَايُ (يَفْعَيْنَ
yafʿāyu (yafʿayna?)
اِفْعَيْ
ifʿay?
مُفْعَاي
mufʿāy
اِفْعِيَاء
ifʿiyāʾ
X اِسْتَفْعَى
istafʿā
يَسْتَفْعِي
yastafʿī
اِسْتَفْعِ
istafʿi
اُسْتُفْعِيَ
ustufʿiya
يُسْتَفْعَى
yustafʿā
مُسْتَفْعٍ
mustafʿin
مُسْتَفْعًى
mustafʿan
اِسْتِفْعَاء
istifʿāʾ

Hollow (second-weak) verbs[edit]

Only the forms with irregularities are shown. The missing forms are entirely regular, with w or y appearing as the second radical, depending on the root. There are unexpected feminine forms of the verbal nouns of Form IV, X.

Verbs Derived nouns
Active voice Passive voice Active participle Passive participle Verbal noun
Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) Imperative (2nd sg. masc.) Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) sg. masc. nom.
I (فَالَ (فِلْت
fāla (filtu)
يَفِيلُ
yafīlu
فِلْ
fil
فُوِلَ
fuwila
يُفَالُ
yufālu
فَائِل
fāʾil
مَفِيل
mafīl
usually فَوْل fawl, فَيْل fayl; also فُول fūl, فَوَال fawāl, (فِيَال(ة fiyāl(ah), فِوَال fiwāl, فُوَال fuwāl, (مَفَال(ة mafāl(ah), مَفِيل mafīl etc.
(فَالَ (فُلْت
fāla (fultu)
يَفُولُ
yafūlu
فُلْ
ful
مَفُول
mafūl
(فَالَ (فِلْت
fāla (filtu)
يَفَالُ
yafālu
فَلْ
fal
مَفُول
mafīl
(فَالَ (فُلْت
fāla (fultu)
مَفُول
mafūl
IV (أَفَالَ (أَفَلْت
afāla (ʾafaltu)
يُفِيلُ
yufīlu
أَفِلْ
afil
أُفِيلَ
ufīla
مُفِيل
mufīl
مُفَال
mufāl
إفَالة
ifālah
VII (اِنْفَالَ (اِنْفَلْت
infāla (infaltu)
يَنْفَالُ
yanfālu
اِنْفَلْ
infal
n/a مُنْفَال
munfāl
اِنْفِيَال
infiyāl
VIII (اِفْتَالَ (اِفْتَلْت
iftāla (iftaltu)
يَفْتَالُ
yaftālu
اِفْتَلْ
iftal
اُفْتيلَ
uftīla
يُفْتَالُ
yuftālu
مُفْتَال
muftāl
اِفْتِيَال
iftiyāl
X اِسْتَفَالَ
istafāla
يَسْتَفْيلُ
yastafīlu
اِسْتَفِلْ
istafil
اُسْتُفِيلَ
ustufīla
يُسْتَفَالُ
yustafālu
مُسْتَفِيل
mustafīl
مُسْتَفَال
mustafāl
اِسْتِفَالة
istifālah

Assimilated (first-weak) verbs[edit]

When the first radical is w, it drops out in the Form I non-past. Most of the derived forms are regular, except that the sequences uw iw are assimilated to ū ī, and the sequence wt in Form VIII is assimilated to tt throughout the paradigm. The following table only shows forms with irregularities in them.

The initial w also drops out in the common Form I verbal noun ʿilah (e.g. ṣilah 'arrival, link' from waṣalah 'arrive').

Verbs Derived nouns
Active voice Passive voice Active participle Passive participle Verbal noun
Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) Imperative (2nd sg. masc.) Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) sg. masc. nom.
I waʿala yaʿulu ʿul wuʿila yūʿalu wāʿil- mawʿūd- waʿl, wuʿūl, ʿilah etc.
yaʿilu ʿil
yaʿalu ʿal
waʿila
yaʿilu ʿil
waʿula yaʿulu ʿul
IV ʾawʿala yūʿilu ʾawʿil ʾūʿila yūʿalu mūʿil- mūʿal- ʾīʿāl-
VIII ittaʿala yattaʿilu ittaʿal uttuʿila yuttaʿalu muttaʿil- muttaʿal- ittiʿāl-
X istawʿala yastawʿilu istawʿil ustūʿila yustawʿalu mustawʿil- mustawʿal- istīʿāl-

When the first radical is y, the forms are largely regular. The following table only shows forms that have some irregularities in them, indicated in boldface.

Verbs Derived nouns
Active voice Passive voice Active participle Passive participle Verbal noun
Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) Imperative (2nd sg. masc.) Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) sg. masc. nom.
I yaʿala yayʿulu ūʿul yuʿila yūʿalu yāʿil- mayʿūd- yaʿl- etc.
yayʿilu īʿil
waʿala yayʿalu īʿal
waʿila yayʿalu īʿal
yayʿilu īʿil
waʿula yayʿulu ūʿul
IV ʾayʿala yūʿilu ʾayʿil ʾūʿila yūʿalu mūʿil- mūʿal- ʾīʿāl-
VIII ittaʿala yattaʿilu ittaʿal uttuʿila yuttaʿalu muttaʿil- muttaʿal- ittiʿāl-
X istayʿala yastayʿilu istayʿil ustūʿila yustayʿalu mustayʿil- mustayʿal- istīʿāl-

Doubled verbs[edit]

Verbs Derived nouns
Active voice Passive voice Active participle Passive participle Verbal noun
Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) Imperative (2nd sg. masc.) Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) sg. masc. nom.
I falla (falaltu) yafullu fulla, fulli, uflul fulla yufallu fāll- maflūl- fall- etc.
yafillu filla, filli, iflil
yafallu falla, falli, iflal
falla (faliltu) yafallu falla, falli, iflal
III fālla yufāllu fālla, fālli, fālil fūlla yufāllu mufāll- mufāll- mufāllat-, filāl-
IV afalla yufillu afilla, afilli, aflil ufilla yufallu mufill- mufall- iflāl-
VI tafālla yatafāllu tafālil tufūlla yutafāllu mutafāll- mutafāll- tafāll-
VII infalla yanfallu infalla, infalli, infalil n/a munfall- munfall- infilāl-
VIII iftalla yaftallu iftalla, iftalli, iftalil uftulla yuftallu muftall- muftall- iftilāl-
X istafalla yastafillu istafilla, istafilli, istaflil ustufilla yustafallu mustafill- mustafall- istiflāl-

Hamzated verbs[edit]

The largest problem with so-called "hamzated" verbs (those with a glottal stop ʾ or "hamzah" as any of the root consonants) is the complicated way of writing such verbs in the Arabic script (see the article on hamzah for the rules regarding this). In pronunciation, these verbs are in fact almost entirely regular.

The only irregularity occurs in verbs with a hamzah as the first radical. A phonological rule in Classical Arabic disallows the occurrence of two hamzahs in a row separated by a short vowel, assimilating the second to the preceding vowel (hence ʾaʾ ʾiʾ ʾuʾ become ʾā ʾī ʾū). This affects the following forms:

  • The first-person singular of the non-past of Forms I, IV and VIII.
  • The entire past and imperative of Form IV.

In addition, any place where a hamzat al-waṣl (elidable hamzah) occurs will optionally undergo this transformation. This affects the following forms:

  • The entire imperative of Form I.
  • The entire past and imperative of Form VIII, as well as the verbal noun of Form VIII.

There are the following irregularities:

  • The common verbs ʾakala 'eat', ʾakhadha 'take', ʾamara 'command' have irregular, short imperatives kul, khudh, mur.
  • Form VIII of the common verb ʾakhadha 'take' is ittakhadha 'take on, assume', with irregular assimilation of the hamzah.
  • The common verb saʾala yasʾalu 'ask' has an alternative non-past yasalu with missing hamzah.
Verbs Derived nouns
Active voice Passive voice Active participle Passive participle Verbal noun
Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) Imperative (2nd sg. masc.) Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) sg. masc. nom.
I ʾaʿala yaʾʿulu (ʾāʿulu) uʾʿul, ūʿul ʾuʿila yuʾʿalu (ʾūʿalu) ʾāʿil maʾʿūl- ʾaʿl- etc.
etc.
IV ʾāʿala yuʾʿilu (ʾūʿilu) ʾāʿil ʾūʿil yuʾʿalu (ʾūʿalu) muʾʿil- muʾʿal- ʾīʿāl-
VIII iʾtaʿala, ītaʿala yaʾtaʿilu (ʾātaʿilu) iʾtaʿil, ītaʿil uʾtuʿila, ūtuʿila yuʾtaʿala (ʾūtaʿala) muʾtaʿil- muʾtaʿal- iʾtiʿāl-, ītiʿāl-

Doubly weak verbs[edit]

Doubly weak verbs have two "weak" radicals; a few verbs are also triply weak. Generally, the above rules for weak verbs apply in combination, as long as they do not conflict. The following are cases where two types of weaknesses apply in combination:

  • Verbs with a w in the first radical and a w or y in the third radical. These decline as defective (third-weak) verbs, and also undergo the loss of w in the non-past of Form I, e.g. waqā yaqī 'guard', wafā yafī 'complete, fulfill (a promise)', waliya yalī 'be near, follow'. These verbs have extremely short imperatives qi fi li (feminine qī fī lī, masculine plural qū fū lū, feminine plural iqna ifna ilna), although these are not normally used in Modern Standard Arabic. Similarly, verbs of this sort in Form IV and Form VIII are declined as defective but also have the normal assimilations of w-initial verbs, e.g. Form IV awfā yūfī 'fulfill a vow', Form VIII ittaqā yattaqī 'fear (God)', augmentations of wafā yafī and waqā yaqī, respectively (see above).
  • Verbs with a hamzah in the first radical and a w or y in the third radical. These decline as defective (third-weak) verbs, and also undergo the assimilations associated with the initial hamzah, e.g. the common verb ʾatā yaʾtī 'come' (first singular non-past ʾātī 'I come') and the related Form IV verb ʾātā yuʾtī 'bring' (first singular non-past ʾūtī 'I bring').

The following are examples where weaknesses would conflict, and hence one of the "weak" radicals is treated as strong:

  • Verbs with a w or y in both the second and third radicals. These are fairly common, e.g. rawā yarwī 'recount, transmit'. These decline as regular defective (third-weak) verbs; the second radical is treated as non-weak.
  • Verbs with a w in the first radical and the second and third radicals the same. These verbs do not undergo any assimilations associated with the first radical, e.g. wadda (wadidtu) yawaddu 'to love'.
  • Verbs with a hamza in the first radical and the second and third radicals the same. These verbs do not undergo any assimilations associated with the first radical, e.g. ʾajja yaʾujju 'burn', first singular non-past ʾaʾujju 'I burn', despite the two hamzahs in a row.

The following are cases with special irregularities:

  • Verbs with a w or y in the second radical and a hamzah in the third radical. These are fairly common, e.g. the extremely common verb jāʾa yajīʾu 'come'. The only irregularity is the Form I active participle, e.g. jāʾin 'coming', which is irregularly declined as a defective (third-weak) participle (presumably to avoid a sequence of two hamzahs in a row, as the expected form would be *jāʾiʾ).
  • The extremely common verb raʾā yarā 'see'. The hamzah drops out entirely in the non-past. Similarly in the passive, ruʾiya yurā 'be seen'. The active participle is regular rāʾin and the passive participle is regular marʾīy-. The related Form IV verb arā yūrī 'show' is missing the hamzah throughout. Other augmentations are regular: Form III rāʾā yurāʾī 'dissemble', Form VI tarāʾā yatarāʾā 'look at one another', Form VIII irtaʾā yartaʾī 'think'.
  • The common verb ḥayiya yaḥyā 'live', with an alternative past tense ḥayya. Form IV aḥyā yuḥyī 'resuscitate, revive' is regular. Form X istaḥyā yastaḥyī 'spare alive, feel ashamed' also appears as istaḥayya and istaḥā.

Summary of vowels[edit]

The vowels for the various forms are summarized in this table:

Active voice Passive voice Active participle Passive participle Verbal noun
Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.) Past (3rd sg. masc.) Present (3rd sg. masc.)
Before first root consonant (if vowel is present) a in Forms IV–VI. In Forms VII–XII one has i when the hamzah is not elided. a except in Forms II–IV, where it is u. u u, and a after the t of Forms V and VI u u except in Form I, where it is a. a in Forms II, V, and VI. In Forms VII–XII one has i when the hamzah is not elided.
Just before 2nd root consonant a, ā, or none a, ā, or none u, ū, or none a, ā, or none a, ā, or none a, ā, or none i, a, ā, or none
Just before third root consonant a Form I a, i, or u. a in Forms V, VI, and IX, i in others. i a i except in Form IX, where it is a. a except in Form I, where it is ū. ī in Form II, u in Forms V and VI, ā elsewhere
After final root consonant, 3rd person sg. indicative a u a u n/a n/a n/a

See also Wiktionary's appendix on Arabic verb forms.

Verbs in colloquial Arabic[edit]

The Classical Arabic system of verbs is largely unchanged in the colloquial spoken varieties of Arabic. The same derivational system of augmentations exists, including triliteral Forms I through X and quadriliteral Forms I and II, constructed largely in the same fashion (the rare triliteral Forms XI through XV and quadriliteral Forms III and IV have vanished). The same system of weaknesses (strong, defective/third-weak, hollow/second-weak, assimilated/first-weak, doubled) also exists, again constructed largely in the same fashion. Within a given verb, two stems (past and non-past) still exist along with the same two systems of affixes (suffixing past-tense forms and prefixing/suffixing non-past forms).

The largest changes are within a given paradigm, with a significant reduction in the number of forms. The following is an example of a regular verb paradigm in Egyptian Arabic.

Example of a regular Form I verb in Egyptian Arabic, kátab/yíktib "write"
Tense/Mood Past Present Subjunctive Present Indicative Future Imperative
Singular
1st katáb-t كتبت á-ktib أكتب bá-ktib بكتب ḥá-ktib حكتب
2nd masc. katáb-t كتبت tí-ktib تكتب bi-tí-ktib بتكتب ḥa-tí-ktib حتكتب í-ktib اكتب
fem. katáb-ti كتبت ti-ktíb-i تكتبي bi-ti-ktíb-i بتكتبي ḥa-ti-ktíb-i حتكتبي i-ktíb-i اكتبي
3rd masc. kátab كتب yí-ktib يكتب bi-yí-ktib بيكتب ḥa-yí-ktib حيكتب
fem. kátab-it كتبت tí-ktib تكتب bi-tí-ktib بتكتب ḥa-tí-ktib حتكتب
Plural
1st katáb-na كتبنا ní-ktib نكتب bi-ní-ktib بنكتب ḥá-ní-ktib حنكتب
2nd katáb-tu كتبتوا ti-ktíb-u تكتبوا bi-ti-ktíb-u بتكتبوا ḥa-ti-ktíb-u حتكتبوا i-ktíb-u اكتبوا
3rd kátab-u كتبوا yi-ktíb-u يكتبوا bi-yi-ktíb-u بيكتبوا ḥa-yi-ktíb-u حيكتبوا

This paradigm shows clearly the reduction in the number of forms:

  • The thirteen person/number/gender combinations of Classical Arabic have been reduced to eight, through the loss of dual and feminine-plural forms. (Some varieties still have feminine-plural forms, generally marked with the suffix -an, leading to a total of ten forms. This occurs, for example, in Iraqi Arabic and in many of the varieties of the Arabian peninsula.)
  • The system of suffix-marked mood distinctions has been lost, other than the imperative. Egyptian Arabic and many other "urban" varieties (e.g. Moroccan Arabic, Levantine Arabic) have non-past endings -i -u inherited from the original subjunctive forms, but some varieties (e.g. Iraqi Arabic) have -īn -ūn endings inherited from the original indicative. Most varieties have also gained new moods, and a new future tense, marked through the use of prefixes (most often with an unmarked subjunctive vs. an indicative marked with a prefix, e.g. Egyptian bi-, Levantine b-, Moroccan ta-/ka-). Various particles are used for the future (e.g. Egyptian ḥa-, Levantine raḥ-, Moroccan ɣa(di)-), derived from reduced forms of various verbs.
  • The internal passive is lost almost everywhere. Instead, the original reflexive/mediopassive augmentations (e.g. Forms V, VI, VII) serve as both reflexive and passive. The passive of Forms II and III is generally constructed with a reflex of Forms V and VI, using a prefix it- derived from the Classical prefix ta-. The passive of Form I uses either a prefix in- (from Form VII) or it- (modeled after Forms V and VI). The other forms often have no passive.

In addition, Form IV is lost entirely in most varieties, except for a few "classicizing" verbs (i.e. verbs borrowed from Modern Standard Arabic).

See varieties of Arabic for more information on grammar differences in the spoken varieties.

References[edit]

  1. ^ When a verb in Arabic ends with a vowel, the vowel is replaced with the corresponding short vocal when converted into imperative.
  2. ^ Possibly, اعماي iʿmāya is contracted from اعميي *iʿmayaya using the same process that produces hollow verbs. A dictionary of modern written Arabic (Hans Wehr, J. Milton Cowan) also lists a supposed Form IX defective verb ارعوى irʿawā 'desist (from sin), repent, see the light'; however, this has both an unexpected form and meaning, so it is unclear whether the classification as Form IX is accurate.