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Sarf – المُضارِع – The Present and Future Tense

February 27, 2007

مُضارِع is the tense in Arabic which conveys the meaning of both present (simple and continuous) and future tenses. The context and situation of the usage will determine which of the above three are meant to be conveyed. It is what is called the Imperfect tense in English i.e. the action is either going on or is still to start.

Unlike the ماضی , the مُضارِع is peculiar in its nature because it is characterized by the presence of one of the 4 letters, namely اء ، ت ، ی ، ن (hamza, taa, ya’a, nun) at the start of a word . Thus a مُضارِع verb will have one of these 4 letters as a prefix. Plus, unlike the ماضی, the endings of مُضارِع verbs do not follow a set pattern but are rather based on loose groupings. Mentioned below are the prefix and suffix rules for the 14 conjugations:

Prefix Rules:

  1. Conjugation 1,2,3, and 6 will have ی as prefix
  2. Conjugations 4,5,7,8,9,10,11,12 will have ت as a prefix
  3. Conjugation 13 will have اء as a prefix
  4. Conjugation 14 will have ن as a prefix

Suffix Rules:

  1. 5 conjugations will have no suffix at all i.e. the last letter of the word will be the base letter of the verb. These are conjugations 1,4,7, 13, and 14
  2. 9 conjugations are further subdivided into 4 groups:
    • The 4 duals ( 3rd person Dual Masculine/Feminine, 2nd person Dual Masculine/Feminine) will have an ending consisting of an الِف followed by a ن with a kasra e.g. تفعلانِ . .These are conjugations 2,5,8, and 11
    • The 2 Masculine Plural Conjugations, number 3 and 9, will end in ُونَ i.e. و preceded by a dhamma and succeeded by a ن with a fatha e.g. يَفْعَلُوْنَ
    • The 2 Feminine Plural Conjugations, number 6 and 12, will end with a sukun on the laam position of the verb followed by a ن with a fatha
    • The 2nd person Singular Feminine, conjugation number 10, has the suffix يْنَ i.e. a yaa saakin plus a ن with a fathae.g.تَفْعَلِيْنَ

The Table below lists all these

    يَفْعَلُ He does
    یَفعَلانِ They (Dual, Male) do
    يَفعَلونَ They (Plural, Male) do
    تَفْعَلُ She does
    تفْعَلانِ They (Dual, Female) do
    يَفعَلنَ They (Plural, Female) do
    تَفْعَلُ You (Singular, Male) do
    تفْعَلانِ You (Dual, Male) do
    تَفعَلونَ You (Plural, Male) do
    تَفعَلينَ You (Singular, Female) do
    تفْعَلانِ You (Dual, Female) do
    تَفعَلنَ You (Plural, Female) do
    أَفْعَلُ I do
    نَفْعَلُ We do

    The passive voice for the مُضارِع is constructed by:

  1. Putting a fatha on the second last letter (if not already a fatha)
  2. Adding a dhamma to the prefix
  3. Thus, يََنصُرُ becomes يَُنصَرُ (he is helped, he is being helped, or he will be helped).

    Adding لا in front of both active and passive voice of the مُضارِع will negate it

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