Sarf – Variations of the Past Tense
Until now we have seen how to conjugate verbs using the simple past tense e.g. he ate, he helped, he did etc. Now we will see how we can couple some words to the past tense verb and make it either present perfect e.g. he has helped or past perfect e.g. he had helped.
Sticking the word قد in front of a past tense verb makes it present perfect. Thus, قد denotes actions which have just been completed e.g. he has helped, he has done, he has read etc. Note that قد is a حرف (i.e. a particle) so it does not change its form with the changing form of the verb. As an example, نَصَرَ means he helped and قد نَصَرَ means he has helped. The significance of this will become clear when we deal with the next section about making past perfect tense. One more thing to note is that you cannot attach a ما in front of قد to negate it: this construction is not allowed in Arabic.
If we add کان in front of a past tense verb the verb becomes past perfect. Thus, کان denotes actions which have been completed in distant past. However, کان is a verb, just like فَعَلَ , so it will also change its form when coupled with the past tense verb. The following table shows how this is done:
|كان نَصَرَ||He had helped|
|كانا نَصَرا||They (2 males) had helped|
|كانوا نَصَروا||They (many males) had helped|
|كانَتْ نَصَرَتْ||She had helped|
|كانَتا نَصَرَتا||They (2 females) had helped|
|كُنَّ نَصَرْنَ||They (many females) had helped|
|كُنتَ نَصَرْتَ||You (1 male)had helped|
|كُنتُما نَصَرْتُما||You (2 males) had helped|
|كُنتُم نَصَرْتُم||You (many males) had helped|
|كُنتِ نَصَرْتِ||You (1 female) had helped|
|كُنتُما نَصَرْتُما||You (2 females) had helped|
|كُنتُنَّ نَصَرْتُنَّ||You (many females) had helped|
|كُنتُ نَصَرْتُ||I had helped|
|كُنّا نَصَرْنا||We had helped|
The negation of this conjugation is constructed simply by adding a ما in front of it. Also, the passive voice for this conjugation is constructed the same way as before: dhamma on the first letter, kasraon the second last letter.