; An English Guide to Classic Qur'anic Arabic: 8.1 – Active Voice Imperfect Verb

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8.1 – Active Voice Imperfect Verb



Section 8.1 – Active Voice Imperfect Verb الْفِعْلُ المُضَارِعُ الْمَعْرُوْفُ al-feil-ul mu-daa-ri-ul maa’roof

 

As mentioned earlier, the English language has three types of Verbs, past, present, and future, and their subcategories such as present continuous.

In the Arabic language, there are only two types of Verbs, past tense فِعْلُ الْمَاضِيْ (feil-ul maa-di) and imperfect tense فِعْلُ الْمُضَارِعِ(feil-ul mu-daa-ri-ee).  Feil-ul Mu-daa-ri-yeecovers both present and future tenses. Usually, حَرْفٌ (harf-un) Particles are used to imply present and future tenses, and also the context of the sentence makes it apparent if present or future is implied.

Four different alphabets are used in the beginning to change a past tense to an imperfect tense. These are (ي yaa) (ت taa) (ا alif) and (ن noon). For example:

 

فَعَلَ (fa-aa-la) meaning he did becomes يَفْعَلُ (yaf-aa-lu) meaning he does or will do, تَفْعَلُ meaning she does/you do or will do (taf-aa-lu) أَفْعَلُ(af-alu) I do or will do and نَفْعَلُ(naf-aa-lou) we do or will do.

 

As in past tense, each imperfect Verb is different for male/female, single/plural/dual, and absent/present/speaker. It also has 14 inflections as in the past tense.

 

Following table 42 shows all the inflections for the imperfect tense.

 

Table 42 يَفَعَلُ(Yaf-alu) Inflections

 

 

 

 

single

 

dual

 

plural

Absent

3rd

person

Male

1

يَفْعَلُ

 

Yaf-

alu

 

He did

6

يَفْعَلَانِ

 

Yaf-alaa-

ni

 

They

both

(males)

do

or will do

10

يَفْعَلُوْنَ

 

Yaf-aloo-

na

 

They all (males)

do or

will do

Female

2

تَفْعَلُ

 

Taf-

Alu

 

she

 did

 

7

تَفْعَلَانِ

 

Taf-alaa-

ni

 

 

they

(both) females

do or

will do

11

يَفْعَلْنَ

 

Yaf-al-

na

 

They (all females)

Do or will

do

Present

2nd

 person

Male

3

تَفْعَلُ

 

Taf-

alu

 

 

you (male) did

8

تَفْعَلَانِ

 

Taf-alaa-

ni

 

You (two

males)

do or

will do

12

تَفْعَلْوْنَ

 

Taf-aloo-

na

 

You (all males)

do or

will do

female

14

تَفْعَلِينَ

 

Taf-

alee-

na

 

you

(female)

 did

 

 

9

تَفْعَلَانِ

 

Taf-alaa-

ni

 

You

(both females)

do or

will do

 

13

تَفْعَلْنَ

 

Taf-al-na

 

You (all females)

do or

will do

Speaker

1st

person

Male/

female

4

أَفْعَلُ

 

Af-alu

 

I (male/female)

did

 

5

نَفْعَلُ

 

Naf-a-lu

 

 

We all do (dual,

plural, male, female)

 

 

 

As before, please note the numbers given in bold for each of the inflections. This numbering system is different from that used in the past tense. This was used by Sheikh Aamir Sohail and I thought this is an easier way to memorize.

 

The reason for this way of memorizing is that these inflections have been divided into 3 groups.

1)     The first group ends with (لُ lu).

2)     The second group ends with (انِ aa-ni)

3)     The third group with (نَ naa).

 

This is useful when you need to create an imperfect tense with light خَفِيْفٌ Khafeef emphasis or ثَقِيْلٌ strong akhaf emphasis. In a later section, this topic will be discussed when we deal with an order Verb called فِعْلُ الأَمَرِfeil-ulama-ree. Ultimately, it does not matter in which order you memorize these inflections, so long as you do.

 

It is highly recommended that you memorize these inflections in this order (1 through 14).  

 

Again, this is the way Sarfis use it. In the Nahvi scheme, sometimes the order is reversed from 3rd person first to 1st person last. It does not matter if you want to memorize these any other way.

 

1) Translations of each of the inflections are given below in Table 43.

 

2) You may have noticed that some inflections have been repeated. These are تَفْعَلُ taf-a-lu for both female third person and male 2ndperson, تَفْعَلَانِ taf-alaa-nifor female 3rd person, male second person, and female second person. The usage and context of the sentence will make it obvious which one it is in a given sentence. For example, مَا ذَا تَفْعَلُ زَيْدٌ maa zataf-alu Zai-dun meaning “what are you doing Zaid” obviously is using male 3rd person, and مَا ذَا تَفْعَلُ فَاطِمَةُ maa zataf-alu faa-ti-ma-tu meaning “What is Fatima doing” is using 3rd person female.

 

3)Also, as for past tense, each entry is a complete sentence by itself. This means that each Verb has an Actor/Subject hidden in it.

4) These Actor/Subject pronouns are given in column 4 with its meaning in column 5. It is very important to understand this.

 

Table 43 – Meaning of Imperfect Verbs using يَفَعَلُ (yaf-a-lu) die

 

Inflection number

Verb

Meaning

the pronoun is hidden

 in the Verb

GROUP 1

1

يَفْعَلُ

 

Yaf-alu

He does or will do

هُوَ

 

Hu-a

He

2

تَفْعَلُ

 

Taf-alu

She does or will do

هِيَ

 

Hee-ya

She

3

تَفْعَلُ

 

Taf-alu

You (male) does or will

do

اَنْتَ

 

an-ta

You (male)

4

أَفْعَلُ

 

Af-alu

I (male/female) does

or will do

اَنَا

 

anaa

I (male/female)

5

نَفْعَلُ

 

Naf-alu

We (male/female/, dual/plural) does or

will do

نَحْنُ

 

Nah-nu

We (male/female, dual/plural)

 

GROUP 2

 

6

يَفْعَلَانِ

 

Yaf-alaa-

ni

They both (males) do or will do

هُمَا

 

Hu-maa

They both (males)

7

تَفْعَلَانِ

 

Taf-alaa-

ni

They both (females)

does or will do

هُمَا

 

Hu-maa

They both (females)

8

تَفْعَلَانِ

 

Taf-alaa-

ni

You both (males) does

or will do

اَنْتُمَا

 

An-tu-maa

You both 

(male)

9

تَفْعَلَانِ

 

Taf-alaa-

ni

You two (females) does

or will do

اَنْتُمَا

 

An-tu-maa

You both (female)

 

GROUP 3

 

10

يَفْعَلُوْنَ

 

Yaf-aloo

-na

They all (males) does or will do

هُم

 

hum

They all 

(males)

11

يَفْعَلْنَ

 

Yaf-al

-na

They all (females) does

or will do

هُنَّ

 

Hun-na

They all (females)

12

تَفْعَلُوْنَ

 

Taf-aloo

-na

You all (males) does or

will do

اَنْتُمْ

 

An-tum

You all (male)

13

تَفْعَلْنَ

 

Taf-al

-na

You all (females) do

or will do

اَنْتُمْ

 

An-tum

You all 

(females)

14

تَفْعَلِيْنَ

 

Taf-a

-lee-na

You (female)

does or

will do

اَنْتِ

 

An-tee

You (female)

 

Similar to the past tense, imperfect tense also comes in three different forms with fathah, kasrah, and dammah on ع alphabet. These are 1) يَفْعَلُ yaf-a-lu, 2) يَفْعِلُ yaf-i-lu, 3) يَفْعُلُ yaf-u-lu

Previous table was for form يَفْعَلُ yaf-u-lu. The following two tables are for the remaining two forms. Meaning is the same for this die but will change if the alphabets are different.

 

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