9/11.3 - Irregular Doubled Verbs

Basics of Irregular Verbs and Nouns

This is a fairly complex and advanced part of the Arabic grammar. Only a few basic rules and explanations will be provided so as to help the reader in understanding why Verbs are sometimes different from their root word.

 The first alphabet in the Arabic alphabet, alif, is a weak alphabet that has two forms, a consonant form or hamzah ء  and a vowel form ا (an extended alif). The vowel form can appear at the middle or the end of words, but never at the beginning.

 This regular hamzah at the beginning of a word is called the "disconnecting hamzah  هَمْزَةُ القَطْعِ ham-za-tul qat-'ee. This is often an original alphabet and it must be pronounced always.

The other type of hamzah which lacks the sign ء is called the "connecting hamzah" هَمْزَةُ الوَصْلِ ham-za-tul was-li.


 Section 11. 1 - Irregular Nouns

 There are three irregular Nouns in Arabic. This happens when a vowel alif shows up at the end of a Noun:

1)     Shortened Noun الاِسْمُ المَقْصُوْرُةُ  al-is-mul maq-soo-ra-tu

2)     Extended Noun الاِسْمُ الْمَمْدُوْدَةُ  al-is-mulmam-doo-da-tu

3)     Defective Noun الْمَنْقُوصُ   الاِسْمُ  al-is-mul-man-qoo-su


1)     Shortened Noun الاِسْمُ المَقْصُوْرُةُ  al-ismul maq-soo-ra-tu


If you see a long vowel alif  ( ا ) at the end of Noun, it is not the original alphabet of the trilateral Noun. It has been substituted for either a و  or a ي. The letter (ا)  substitutes for a waaw (و)  and the form  (ىsubstitutes for a yaa (ي)

Shortened Nouns with more than three alphabets typically end with ى  as in لَيْلٰىٰ Lai-la (female proper name),  يَهْوٰىْ Yahwa (meaning he likes), مُسْتَشْفٰى  mus-tash-faa (meaning hospital – masculine), دُنْيَاْ  Dun-yaa (meaning world - feminine).


Nouns that end with extended alifs are called shortened Nouns because when an extended alif comes last in the word and it does not get full pronunciation, rather it will be shortened a small amount. For example:


Root Alphabets

Root version which is not used

Actual used version


ع ص و

عَصَوٌ  asa-wun

عَصَاْ  'a-saa

A wand

ن د ي

نَدَيٌ  na-da-yun

نَدَىْ   nad-aa



2)     Extended Noun اَلْاِسْمُ الْمَمدُوْدَةُ al-is-mul mam-doo-da-tu


An extended Noun  اَلْاِسْمُ االْمَمْدُوْدَةُ al-is-mul mam-doo-da-tu is a Noun which ends with a long vowel alif (ا) that is followed by a consonant alif ء, as in اْء.


These are called extended words because the presence of the (ء)  hamzah at their ends allows the extended alif ((ا   to be fully pronounced; contrary to the case of shortened Nouns. Some examples:




Water (masculine)



Heaven (feminine)



Supper (masculine)



Desert (feminine)



Friends (plural masculine)


3)     Defective Noun الْمَنْقُوصُ  اَلاِسْمُ     al-ism-ul man-qoos


A defective Noun الْمَنْقُوصُ  اَلاِسْمُ     al-ism-ul man-qoos is a Noun which ends with a long vowel يْ that is the original alphabet and belongs to the root. Proper names cannot be defective Nouns; and defective Nouns are always masculine unless a feminine taa ةwere attached, or they were irregular plurals.











Snakes (plural female)




The last original yaa of a defective Noun should be differentiated from the common attributive يَاُءٌ النِّسْبَتِيُّ  yaa-un nis-ba-ti double yaa that comes also at the end of Nouns.



Section 11.2 – Defective and Irregular Verbs اَلْفْعْلُ الْغَيْرُ الْصَحيْحُ


If a three-alphabeted Verb in Arabic ends with a longvowel alif, that Verb is called a Defective verb اَلْفْعْلُ الْغَيْرُ الْصَّحيْحُ  al-feil-ul ghai-rus sahee-hu. Then, there are two other situations:


If the Verb has doubling of alphabets anywhere, it is called   مُضَعَّفٌ  mu-da-af, an irregular doubled Verb.


If the Verb has any of the weak alphabets (ي or و) then it is called an irregularly behaving weak Verb.


When any of these three situations occur (defective Verb, doubled Verb, or weak Verb).as you will note later, situations are created in the inflections where the Verb is difficult to pronounce and is modified by native speakers for ease of pronouncing the Verb.


Defective Verb مَهمُوْزٌ  mah-mooz-un

 In mah-mooz, a trilateral root مُجَرَّدُ الثُلَاثِيْ mu-jar-ra-dul thu-laa-thi has hamzah (ا) in any of the three locations. These Verbs are called a مَهمُوْزٌ  Mah-mooz. In addition, depending upon the alphabet location based on our فعل  die (first location is Fa ف  location, second location is Ain عlocation and third location is laamل   location.


1) Alif in the beginning is called ءِمَهمُوْزُ الْفَا  (mahmooz-ul-fa)

2) Alif in the middle is called مَهمُوْزُ الْعَيْنِ  (mahmooz-ul-Ain)

3) Alif in the end is called مَهمُوْزُ الَّامِ  (mahmooz-ul-laam)


Rules and Examples for Mahmooz


In general, mahmooz-ul-fa encounters more of the situations where changes have to be made in the Verb. Following Rules apply:


1)     If two hamzahs are next to each other, which can happen in speaker imperfect tense of a mahmooz and the first hamzah has a harakah on it  and the second one is saakin/jazm(ْ) then, second hamzah is forced to change to the alphabet matching the alphabet. for first hamzah harakah (Alif for fathah, yaa for kasrah and waaw for dammah). For example:


-        Let us take the words أَمَرَ/يَأْمُرُ  aa-ma-ra / ya-mu-ru meaning he ordered/he is ordering or he will order. The speaker for يَأْمُرُ  yaa-mu-ru would be اَأْمُرُ. The two hamzahs together according to the rule would be:

اَ+أْمُرُ  = اٰمُرُ  aa-mu-ru


-        Another example would be aa-ka-la/yaa-kuluأَكَلَ/يَأْكُلُ. The speaker (1stperson) inflection for يَأْكُلُ would be اَأْكُلُ. According to the rule, this would be:

اَ+أْكُلُ  = اٰكُلُ  aa-ku-lu


2)     If there is a hamzah which is a saakin/jazm (ْ) and there is another alphabet other than a hamzah and has a harakah on it, then, the saakin/jazm hamzah is converted to an alphabet matching the that harakah. For example,


-        دَعَوَ  da-aa-wa becomes da-aa دَعَاْ

-        رَمَيَ  ra-ma-ya  becomes ra-maa رَمِى


-        رَأْسٌ  ra-a-sun becomes raa-sun رَاسٌ

-        ذَئِبٌ  za-i-bun becomes Zai-bun ذَيْبٌ

-        مُؤْمِنٌ  mu’mi-nun becomes mu’mi-nun مُوْمِنٌ


For mahmooz, this change happens only in the speaker (1st person) inflection.


As mentioned before for a Noun, if you see a long vowel alif (ا) at the end of a Verb, it is not the original alphabet of the trilateral Verb. It has been substituted for either a و or a ي as shown in examples below:


-        دَعَاْ  da-aa was originally دَعَوَ  da-aa-wa meaning call/ask

-        رَمَىْ  ra-maa was originally رَمَيَ  rama-yaa meaning to throw


3)     All Particles ending in vowel alif will also end with the form ا  except for the following four Particles:


إِلٰى         i-laa meaning toward/to

عَلٰى       alaa meaning over/on

بَلٰى        balaa meaning Yes

حَتّٰى       hat-taa meaning Until



Section 11.3 - Irregular Doubled الْمُضَعَّفُ al-muda-'af and Weak Verbs الأَفْعَاْلُ الْمُعَتَّلَةُ al-af-aal-ul mu-'at-ta-la-tu


Irregularly behaving Verbs in Arabic are of two kinds. They are either الْمُضَعَّفُ al-muda-'af Doubled Verbs or الْأفْعَالُ الْمُعَتَّلَةُ al-af-aal-ul mu-'at-ta-la-tu Weak Verbs.

Doubled Verbs are Verbs that end with two identical consonants with no short vowel between them.

Weak Verbs الأَفْعَاْلُ الْمُعْتَلَّةُ al-af-aal-ul mu-at-ta-la-tu are Verbs that have original weak alphabets (ي or و). Or, in other words, Verbs whose roots contain one or more weak alphabets.


1.     Doubled Verbs الْمُضَعَّفُ al-muda-af


If there is duplication of alphabets anywhere in the trilateral root word, this Verb is called a Mu-da’af الْمُضَعَّفُ. Note that this is different from the مُضَافٌ mud-aafun we studied in the idaafi compound الْمُرَكَّبُ الْأِضَافِىْ al-mu-rak-ka-bul idaa-fi. It is not necessary for these repeated alphabets to be part of the original trilateral alphabets.


Three combinations can occur in this situation. First two, first and last and last 2 alphabets can be the same. We will be only covering one combination when second and third alphabets are the same. This is where the two alphabets are combined to create one alphabet with a shaddah (ّ) on it with certain rules.


Rules and Examples for Mu-da’af الْمُضَعَّفُ


1) If the first alphabet is saakin/jazm and second alphabet has a harakah on it, then the two alphabets will be joined with a shaddah ّ on it with the existing harakah.

2) If the first alphabet is not saakin/jazm, then, 1) its harakah is transferred to its preceding alphabet if it is saakin/jazm or 2) its forcefully made saakin/jazm. After this, the two alphabets will be joined as before.


Table 68 – Muda’af Examples

Root alphabets

Original form

Doubled form



د ع ع







He pushed/drove away

فَذَٰلِكَ الَّذِي يَدُعُّ الْيَتِيمَ

For that is the one who drives away the orphan

م د د





He aided/ extended/Spread

وَهُوَ الَّذِي مَدَّ الْأَرْضَ

And it is He who spread the earth

ع د د





He counted

الَّذِي جَمَعَ مَالًا وَعَدَّدَهُ

Who collects wealth and [continuously] counts it

ض ر ر





He harmed

قُلْ إِنِّي لَا أَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا رَشَدًا

Say, "Indeed, I do not possess for you [the power of] harm or right direction."


ح ض ض






He urged/ encouraged

وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ

And does not encourage the feeding of the poor

ت ب ب





He perished

تَبَّتْ يَدَا أَبِي لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ

May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he.

م ر ر





He passed by

وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا

and when they pass near ill speech, they pass by with dignity

ق ص ص







He narrated

Yusuf - Verse 3 نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ

We relate to you, [O Muhammad], the best of stories

ف ر ر





He ran/escaped

يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ الْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ

On the Day a man will flee from his brother

م س س





He touched

لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ

None touch it except the purified.

أ ح ب ب





He loved

فَلَمَّا أَفَلَ قَالَ لَا أُحِبُّ الْآفِلِينَ

he said, "I like not those that disappear."


1.     Weak Verbs الْأفْعَالُ الْمُعَتَّلَةُ al-af-aal-ul mu-at-tala-tu


Weak Verbs are those in which Trilateral root alphabetshas any of the weak alphabets حُرُوْفُ الْعِلَّةِ hu-roof-ul 'illa-ti which are alphabets (و) and (ي) in any of the three locations. These Verbs are called الْأفْعَالُ الْمُعَتَّلَةُ al-af-'aal-ul mu-'at-tala-tu


Following 4 situations can occur:


a.     مِثَالٌ المُعَتَّلُ al-mu-'at-ta-lul Mith-aal

b.     أَجْوَفٌ المُعَتَّلُ al-mu-'at-ta-lul Ajwaf

c.      نَاقِصٌ المُعَتَّلُ al-mu-'at-ta-lul Naa-qis

d.     لَفِيْفٌ المُعَتَّلُ al-mu-'at-ta-lul Laf-eef-un


a. المُعَتَّلُ الْمِثَالُ  al-mu-'at-a-ta-lul mi-thaa-lu - Rules and Examples


Alphabet (و) or alphabet (ي) are the weak alphabets in Faa location.This Verb is called a المُعَتَّلُ الْمِثَاْلُ al-mu-at-ta-lulmithai-lu.


       i.      If there is a kasrah before a saakin/jazm waaw, then waaw is changed into a yaa. For example, اِوْصَالٌ iv-saa-lun changes to اِيْصَالٌ ee-saa-lun

      ii.     If there is a dammah before a saakin/jazm yaa, then yaa is changed to a waaw. For example, يُيْقِنُ yui-qi-nu changes to يُوْقِنُ yu-qi-nu.


b.     المُعَتَّلُ الْأَجْوَفُ al-mu-'at-ta-lul Ajwaf - Rules and Examples


Alphabet (و) or alphabet (ي) are the weak alphabets in Ain (ع) location. This Verb is called Ajwaf al-mu-'at-ta-lul Ajwaf المُعَتَّلُ الأَجْوَفُ.


If alphabet (و) is in (ع) location, it is called Ajwaf Waawi الْأَجْوَفُ الْوَاويْ al ajwaf-ul waa-wi and if alphabet (ي) is in (ع) location, then it is called ajwaf Yayee جْوَفُ الْيَائيْالْأَ  al-aj-waf-ulyaa-yi. If weak alphabet has a harakah on it and previous alphabet has fathah and post alphabet also has a harakah, then weak alphabet is changed to an alif. For example, قَوَلَ qa-wa-la becomes قَالَ qaa-la and شَىِءَ shai-aa becomes شَاءَ shaa-aa.


          i.     If weak alphabet has a harakah on it and previous alphabet is saakin/jazm and post alphabet also has a harakah, then weak alphabet gives its harakahto the previous alphabet and changes into an alphabet consistent with that harakah. For example, يَقْوُلُ yaq-wu-lu becomes يَقُوْلُ ya-qoo-lu and يَشْىَءُ yash-ya-u becomes يَشَاءُ ya-shaa-u.


      ii.     If weak alphabet has harakah on it, previous alphabet is saakin/jazm or has a harakah on it, and post alphabet is saakin/jazm, then after previous two rules are applied the weak alphabet drops out. For example, قَوَلْنَ qa-wal-na becomes قُلْنَ qul-na and زَيَدْنَ Zaid-na becomes زِدْنَ zid-na.


         iii.Passive Verb in ajwafcomes always on the scale of فِيْلَ fee-la. For example, قُوِلَ qu-wi-la becomes قِيْلَ qee-la meaning it was said. This is the rule where the weak alphabet changes itself to the alphabet conformant with its harakah and passes its harakah to the alphabet before it. Remember that alphabet (و) is conformant with dammah (ُ  ) and (ي) with kasrah (ِ  ).


c.      المُعَتَّلُ النَّاْقِصُ al-mu-'at-ta-lul Naa-qisu

Rules and Examples


Alphabet (و) or alphabet (ي) are the weak alphabets in laam (ل) location. This Verb is called Naqis المُعَتَّلُ النَّاْقِصُ al-mu-at-ta-lul Naa-qisu.


If alphabet (و) is in (ل) location, it is called Ajwaf Waawi النَّاقِصُ الْوَاويْ an-naqis-ul waa-wi and if alphabet (ي) is in (ل) location, then it is called ajwaf Yayee الْيَائيْ النَّاقِصُ an-naa-qis-ul yaa-yi.


Rule 1. If the weak alphabet has a harakah on it and the alphabet before it has a fathah, then the weak alphabet changes into a regular alif (ا) for Naqis Waawi and changes into alif maq-soo-rah (ٰى) for Naqis Yayee. For example, دَعَوَ da-aa-wa becomes دَعَا da-aaand هَدَيَ ha-da-ya becomes هَدٰى ha-daa.


Rule 2. If any weak alphabet from the root and any weak alphabet from the inflection form are next to each other, then the weak alphabet from the root is dropped. After dropping the weak alphabet, if there is a fathah on the alphabet before the remaining weak alphabet, then no change occurs, otherwise the alphabet before changes its harakah to one that is conformant with it. For example:


    1) In يَدْعُوُوْنَ yad-'u-woo-na, (وُ) drops out and يَدْعُوْنَ yad-'oo-na remains.

    2)  The 14th inflection of imperfect Verb for root (د ع و) is تَدْعُوِيْنَ tad-'u-wee-na. In this, وِ drops out and the remaining weak alphabet is يْ. Because of ي harakah on the alphabet before it which is ع is changed to a kasrah. This makes it تَدْعِيْنَ tad-'ee-na.


d.     الْمُعَتَّلُ اللَّفِيْفُ al-mu-at-ta-lul La-fee-fu - Rules and Examples


Alphabet (و) or alphabet (ي) are the weak alphabets and they are in two locations Enfolding Verbs الْمُعَتَّلُ اللَّفِيْفُ:


This Verb is called الْمُعَتَّلُ اللَّفِيْفُ al-mu-at-ta-lul La-fee-fu. If the two weak alphabets are next to each other, it is called a al-mu-'at-tal-ul la-fee-ful maq-roo-nu الْمَقْرُوْنُ الْمُعَتَّلُ اللَّفِيْفُ and if they are separated, the Verb is called a al-mu-at-tal-ul lafeef-ul maf-rooqu الْمُعَتَّلُ اللَّفِيْفُ الْمَفْرُوْقُ.


Since all Lafeef Verbs are a combination of مِثَالٌ mitha-lun and نَاقِصٌ naqis-un, the details will not be given and reader is referred to more advanced books on this topic.