Attached Subject Pronouns with Irregular Imperfective Verbs

As explained earlier, the irregular verb الفِعْلُ المُعْتَل in Arabic is the verb that includes a weak letter حَرْفُ عِلَّة (i.e. ا ، و ، ي). It is considered irregular because its root changes while appending attached subject pronouns to it. This change can be leaving a weak letter out or changing it to another weak letter.

In this lesson, we will focus on the imperfective form الفِعْلُ المُضارِع of the irregular verb, particularly how the root of the verb changes when we add pronoun suffixes and prefixes to it? The root of the irregular verbs can include more than one weak letter; however, our focus here is on the verbs that contain only one, such as وَجَدَ ، وصَلَ ، قَالَ ، صَامَ ، جَرَى ، مَشَى.

For further practice and better vocabulary retention, let’s add attached subject pronouns to the verbs you learned in the previous lesson by changing their forms into the imperfective مُضَارِع.

Personal

Pronoun

Attached

Pronoun

Perfective RootImperfective form examples
أنَا أَ

قَالَ

نَامَ

دَعا

وَصَلَ

أَقُوْلُ إِنَّهُ ضَرُوْرِي – I’m saying that it is necessary

أَنَامُ سَاعَةً – I’m sleeping for an hour

أَدْعُو صَدِيْقِي – I’m calling my friend

أَصِلُ مَسَاءً – I’m arriving in the evening

نَحْنُنَـ

وَجَدَ

بَاعَ

وَضَعَ

دَعَا

نَـجِدُ الكَنْز – we find the treasure

نَـبِيْعُ بَيْتَنَا – we’re selling our house

نَـضَعُ الأَسَدَ فِي القَفَص – we’re putting the lion in the cage

نَـدْعُو سَلِيْم – we’re inviting Saleem

أَنْتَ تَـ

ضَاعَ

جَرَى

خَافَ

دَعا

تَـضِيْعُ فِي الغَابَة – you’re lost in the jungle

تَـجْرِي فِي الشَّارِع – you’re running in the street

تَـخَافُ مِنَ الكَلْب – you’re afraid of the dog

هَلْ تَـدْعُو أَحْمَد؟ – are you calling Ahmed?

أَنْتِ تَــيْنَ

كَانَ

مَشَى

وَزَنَ

صَامَ

تَـكُوْنِــيْن فِي البَيْت – you’re at home

تَـمْشِــيْن إِلَى البَيْت – you’re walking home

تَـزِنِــيْن التُّفَّاح – you’re weighing the apples

تَـصُوْمِــيْن رَمَضَان – you’re fasting Ramadhan

أَنْتُم تَــون

طَارَ

رَمَى

سَارَ

غَزَا

تـَطِيْرُون إِلَى سِيَاتِل – you’re flying to Seattle

تَـرْمُــون الأَسْد – you’re shooting the lion

تَـسِيْرُون إِلَى مَكَّة – you’re walking to Mecca

تَــغْزُون العِرَاق – you’re invading Iraq

أَنْتُنَّتَــْنَ

وَعَدَ

خَافَ

جَرَى

فَازَ

تَــعِدْنَــنَا – you’re promising us

تَـخَفْــنَ الظَّلام – you’re scared of the dark

تَـجْرِيْــنَ فِي الحَوْش – you’re running in the yard

هَلْ تَــفُزْنَ؟ – do you win?

هُوَ يَـ

قَالَ

وَثَبَ

صَارَ

مَشَى

يَــقُول إِنَّهُ مَرِيض – he says that he is sick

يَـثِبُ بِسُهُولَة – he jumps easily

يَـصِيْر طَبِيْبًا – he becomes a doctor

يَـمْشِي ثَلاثَة أَمْيَال – he is walking three miles

هِيَ تَـ

قَامَ

دَعَا

كَانَ

بكَى

تَــقُوْم مِنْ النَّوم – she’s waking up

تَـدْعُو صَدِيقَاتِها – she’s inviting her friends

تَـكُونَ جَمِيْلَة – she is beautiful

تَـبْكِي مِنَ الخَوْف – she’s crying of fear

هُميَــون

كَانَ

غَزَا

نَسَى

لَامَ

يَـكُونُــون هُنَا – they are here

يَــغْزُون العِرَاق – they’re invading Iraq

يَـنْسُـون أُخْتَهُم – they forget their sister

يَـلُومُـون سَلِيْم – they’re blaming Saleem

هُنَّيَــنَ

كَانَ

دَارَ  

جَرَى

دَعا

يَـكُـنَّ فِي المَدْرَسَة – they are in the school

يَـدُرْنَ حَوْلَ المَدْرَسَة – they’re walking around the school

يَـجْرِيْــنَ إِلَى النَادِي – they’re running to the club

يَـدْعِيْــنَ سَمِيْرَة – they’re calling Samira

Looking at the verbs in the table above, you can see that most of the roots undergo some change. What triggers this change? Let’s find out.

Verbs that begin with a vowel: (e.g. وصَلَ)
Before adding the pronoun prefix (which indicates the present and the person) to the verb that starts with و, the و is always dropped.

Reason: The pronoun prefix always has fatHah while the second letter of the root verb has kasrah. The diacritical mark on the و is always sukuun. When the sukuun occurs between fatHah and kasrah, the letter that holds it is completely omitted. This rule applied to all three-letter root verbs.

أَصِلُ أنَا
نـصِلُنَحْنُ
تَـصِلُأَنْتَ
تَـصِلِــيْنأَنْتِ
تَـصِلُــونأَنْتُم
تَـصِلْــنَأَنْتُنَّ
يَـصِلهُوَ
تَـصِلُهِيَ
يَـصِلُــونهُم
يَـصِلْــنَهُنَّ
Verbs that have a middle vowel: (e.g. قَالَ, صَارَ, بَاعَ)
With the verb قَالَ, the alif changes to و because of the DHammah over the ق.  In other words, the DHammah does not suit the alif, so it changes to و (which the DHammah suits). The addition of pronoun suffixes and prefixes cause changes only with أَنْتُنَّ and هُنَّ because their corresponding attached pronouns trigger sukuun on the لْ which is preceded with وْ with sukuun. Therefore, the وْ is dropped for the sequence of two sukuuns.

 

With صَارَ and بَاعَ, the alif changes to ـيـْ because of the kasrah below the ـصِـ and ـبِـ, which it suits the ـيـ but not the alif With أَنْتُنَّ and هُنَّ, the alif is completely dropped for the sequence of two sukuuns.

 

There exists another explanation. But for this level, let’s suffice with this.

أَقُول ، أَصِيْر ، أَبِيْع أنَا
نَــقُول ، نَـصِيْر ، نـبِيْع نَحْنُ
تــقُول ، تَـصِيْر ، تَـبِيْعأَنْتَ
تَــقُولِــيْنَ ، تَـصِيْرِيْنَ ، تَـبِيْعِــيْنَأَنْتِ
تــقُولُــون ، تَـصِيْرُون ، تَـبِيْعُـونأَنْتُم
تَــقُلْــنَ ، تَـصِرْنَ ، تَـبْعْــنَأَنْتُنَّ
يَــقُوْل ، يَـصِيْر ، يَـبِيْع هُوَ
تَــقُول ، تَـصِيْر ، تَـبِيْعهِيَ
يَــقُولُــون ، يَـصِيْرُون ، يَـبِيْعُـونهُم
يَــقُلْــنَ ، يَـصِرْنَ ، يَـبِعْــنَهُنَّ
Verbs that end with a vowel: (e.g. جَرَى and دَعَا)
Like with the perfective form, the alif layinah (i.e. ي-shaped without the two dots) in جَرَى changes to a regular ي. With أَنْتِ, أَنْتُم, and هُم, it is dropped for the sequence of two sukuuns.

 

With دَعَا, the alif madd changes to و. With أَنْتِ, أَنْتُم, and هُم, the alif madd is dropped for the sequence of two sukuuns.

أَجْرِي ، أَدْعُوأنَا
نَـجْرِي ، نَـدْعُونَحْنُ
تَـجْرِي ، تَـدْعُوأَنْتَ
تَـجْرِيْنَ ، تَـدْعِــيْنَأَنْتِ
تَـجْرُون ، تَـدْعُــونأَنْتُم
تَـجْرَيْنَ ، تَـدْعُــوْنَأَنْتُنَّ
يَـجْرِي ، يَـدْعُو هُوَ
تَـجْرِي ، تَـدْعُوهِيَ
يَـجْرُون ، يَـدْعُــوْنَهُم
يَـجْرَيْن ، يَـدْعُــونَهُنَّ
Notes:

(1) The subject of the verbs, which do not have overt final attached pronouns in blue, is covert مُسْتَتِر inferred from the pronoun prefix. For example, in نَدعُو and نَجْرِي, the subject is covert understood as نَحْنُ.

(2) The equivalent of the Arabic imperfective form in English is either simple present or present progressive. For example, تَجْرِي فِي الشَّارِع can be translated as ‘you are running in the street’ or ‘you run in the street’.

(3) The pronoun prefixes (i.e. أ, نـيـتَـ) indicate the impefective tense الفِعْل المُضَارِع. Also, they refer to person, that is أ is for the 1st person singular, نَـ is for the 1st person plural, تَـ is for the 2nd person, and يـ is for the third person.

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