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Sarf – More variations of المُضارع

March 21, 2007

Here we go! We are now back dealing with المُضارع . In this post we will deal with some more variations of the future tense. In a previous post I had explained how المُضارع , which encompasses both present and future tense in Arabic, can be limited to future tense only. However, recall that at that time we had done this by negating the verb. In this post, Insha Allah, I will show how to do the same without negating the verb i.e. how to say he will help, she will help etc. Secondly, I will also talk about the imperative for المُضارع i.e. how to say verily he will help, verily you will help etc.

Simple Future Tense: This is built by simply adding a س or سَوفَ in front of each conjugation of المُضارع verb; this will restrict the tense to future. Thus,ﻳﹷﻔﻌﹷﻞﹸ becomesﺳﹷﻴﻔﻌﹷﻞﹸ( or سَوفَ ﻳﹷﻔﻌﹷﻞﹸ ) and so on. That’s it! There is nothing more to building a simple future tense verb in Arabic, so we will move onto our next variation.

Emphatic Future Tense: This one is not going to be as easy as the three-liner above. 🙂 To build the emphatic for المُضارع not only do we have add a ل in front of it (with a fatha), but the endings of the verb change as well. More specifically, a ن is added at the end of the verb. It is interesting to note that this ن can be in a مُشدّد (i.e. with a shadda on it) form or in the ساکِن (i.e. with a sukun on it) form. The former is called ن ثقيلة and the latter is called ن خفيفة , literally meaning heavy nun and light nun, respectively. In terms of meaning the two endings do not differ, except in their tone. Thus one may be picked up over the other to satisfy complex poetry rules or when giving sermons. Meaning wise, there is no difference between the two conjugations, be they are formed from ن ثقيلة or ن خفيفة . Let us now see how these conjugations are formed:

  1. The five singulars will have there ending dhamma changed to a fatha and the final ن , either مُشدّد or ساکِن ,will added. Thus,ﻳﹷﻔﻌﹷﻞﹸ becomes لَيَفْعَلَنَّ. Please see table below for full listing of conjugations. Also note that there is a fatha on ل (just before the final ن ثقيلة . The reason for this will become obvious as I explain the conjugation change for the two plural masculines (see bullet #3 below)
  2. The four duals, which already have a ن at the end, will have this ن dropped so that we do not end up having three ن when we attach a ن ثقيلة or ن خفيفة to the end of the conjugations. Moreover, the final ن will have a kasra on it
  3. The two masculine plurals ( يَفْعَلُوْنَ and تَفْعَلُوْنَ ) and the second person feminine singular ( تَفْعَلِيْنَ ) will have their و and ی dropped and either ن ثقيلة or ن خفيفة will be added with a kasra on it. Now imagine what would have happened had we not changed the dhamma on ﻳﹷﻔﻌﹷﻞﹸ to a fatha when forming the emphatic conjugation: the final form then would have been لَيَفْعَلُنَّ . But this is also the form which we get when we transform the third person masculine plural to the emphatic conjugation! Therefore, to avoid confusion, the dhamma on the third person masculine singular ﻳﹷﻔﻌﹷﻞﹸ is changed to a fatha when forming the future emphatic. Conversely, the dhamma on the two masculine plurals which remains there in the emphatic conjugation is an indication of the dropped و . Similarly, the kasra on the second person feminine singular future emphatic form is an indication of the dropped ی
  4. Nothing will drop from the two plural feminines. However, to ease pronunciation, an الِف is inserted between the original final ن and the emphatic-forming ن ثقيلة or ن خفيفة
Verily he will do لَيَفْعَلَنَّ
Verily they (2 males) will do لَيَفْعَلاَنِّ
Verily they (group of males) will do لَيَفْعَلُنَّ
Verily she will do لَتَفْعَلَنَّ
Verily they (2 females) will do لَتَفْعَلاَنِّ
Verily they (group of females) will do لَيَفْعَلْنَانِّ
Verily You (male) will do لَتَفْعَلَنَّ
Verily you (2 males) will do لَتَفْعَلاَنِّ
Verily you (group of males) will do لَتَفْعَلُنَّ
Verily you (females) will do لَتَفْعَلِنَّ
Verily you (2 females) will do لَتَفْعَلاَنِّ
Verily you (group of females) will do لَتَفْعَلْنَانِّ
Verily I will do لأَفْعَلَنَّ
Verily we will do لَنَفْعَلَنَّ


  1. An example of ن خفيفة conjugation is:لَيَفعَلَنْ
  2. There are 6 less conjugation in the خفيفة tables than there are in the ثقيلة tables. This is because the ن خفيفة is not attached to those conjugations which end in an الِف (the four duals and the two feminine plurals). Thus, rules 2 and 4 do not apply to the خفيفة tables
  1. I have to applaud you on your effort and determination to teach us arabic, mashaAllah, thank you. I’m proud of myself today because I wrote a post on my blog in arabic. Well, it wasn’t all in arabic, but hey, the title was. I think that’s a good start, right? ehehe. Barak Allah feek!

  2. Masha Allah Sister! May Allah provide you with more of what is best in the Hereafter and this world. I am just doing my bit to spread the knowledge of which I myself am a student. Please remember me in your prayers!

  3. Jazak Allah Kul kheyr for your duaa and may Allah grant you success in your studies, you are of course in my duaas:)

  4. al-Salaamu ‘alaykum,

    Jazakum Allaahu khayran, you’re doing an excellent job al-Hamdulillaah akhi. May Allaah put tawfeeq in your efforts and reward you for them. Ameen.

  5. Mashallah I have to agree with UniqueMuslimah…may Allah reward you for your work! You are doing an excellent job breaking everything down for us. You are very thorough and I am sure I and others are very appreciative of that. Keep up the great work!

  6. Jazak Allah Sheryza,
    I am just doing my bit here; trying to convey whatever knowledge I am getting out from my course.
    Ameen to your prayers and may Allah provide you with what is best in the Hereafter and in this world!

  7. Alterazi permalink

    I’d like to thakn you for your well analysis of Arabic grammar. I found what you wrote very useful and I’d like to cite you in one of my M.A. research papers. So please send me your name and title of this research on my e-mail:
    thanks again..

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