The Basic Present Verbal Sentence

The Basic Present Verbal Sentence

As explained in the previous lesson, the basic past verbal sentence الجُمْلَةُ الفِعْلِيَّة is composed of a verb فِعْل, a subject فَاعِل, and an object مَفْعُول, which may be optional. It always starts with a verb. The verb can be intransitive لَازِم (i.e. does not require an object) or transitive مُتَعَدِّي (i.e. requires an object).

The Basic Present Verbal Sentence

In this lesson, we look at the sentences that begin with an imperfective (present) verb الَفِعْلُ المُضَارِع. Like the perfective, if the verb is intransitive لَازِم, the structure will be: verb + subject (فِعْل + فَاعِل). And if it is transitive مُتَعَدِّي, the structure will be: verb + subject + object (فِعْل + فَاعِل + مَفْعُول).

(1) Intransitive Verb الفِعْل اللَّازِم:

One-word Sentences (verb + subject + adverbial)

a)      In these sentences, the subject الفَاعِل refers to the 1st and 2nd person. With the 1st person singular and plural (i.e. أَنَا and نَحْنُ) and the 2nd person masculine singular (i.e. أَنْتَ), the subject must be covert مُسْتَتِر وُجُوْبًا because these persons cannot be replaced by nouns or pronouns. For example, you cannot say أَتَمَشَّى أَنَا كُلَّ مَسَاء* or نُسَافِر نَحْنُ بِالطَّائِرَة*.

b)      In (5) and (6), the subject الفَاعِل is an overt attached pronoun, that is the ون (called وَاو الجَمَاَعة) in (5) and ين (called يَاء المُخَاطَبَة) in (6).

c)       If the subject الفَاعِل is covert مُسْتَتِر and refers to a third person, the verb الفِعْل must be preceded by a noun to which the covert pronoun refers. In this case, the sentence is no longer verbal; it is nominal because it starts with a noun, as in (9) and (10)

(1) أَتَمَشَّى كُلَّ مَسَاء  – I go for a stroll every evening

(2) نُسَافِر بِالطَّائِرَةwe travel by plane

(3)   هَل تَتَغَدَّي السَّاعَة الوَاحِدَة؟do you (m, s) have lunch at 1.00?

(4) نَجْلِسُ فِي غُرْفَة الجُلُوس – we sit in the living room

(5) تَحْضُرُون دَائِمًا فِي الوَقْت المُنَاسِب – you (m, pl) always come in time

(6) تَرْقُصِيْنَ جِيْدًا – you (f, s) dance well

(7) نَصُوْم كُلَّ خَمِيْس – we fast every Thursday

(8) أَنَام مُنْتَصَف اللَّيْل – I sleep at midnight

(9)   أَحْمَد يَذْهَب إِلَى المَدْرَسَة – Ahmed goes to school.

(10) سَارَة تَصِيْح – Sarah is screaming

Two-word Sentences (subject + verb + adverbial)

a) In these sentences, the subject الفَاعِل is an overt noun.

b) The verb الفِعْل is singular even with plural subjects because it precedes the subject الفَاعِل.

c) With masculine subjects, the verb الفِعْل starts with يـ, as in (1), (2), (4), (5), (8), and (9). With feminine subjects, it starts with تـ, as in (3), (6), (7) and (10).

(1) يَجْلِسُ الرَّجُل عَلَى الأَرْض – the man sits / is sitting on the floor

(2) يَقْفِزُ اللَّاعِبُون – the players jump / are jumping.

(3) تَصِيْحُ الأُم عَلَى أَوْلَادِهَا – the mother screams / is screaming at her children

(4) يَزْأر الأَسَد عِنْد الفَجْر ­– the lion roars at dawn.

(5) يُصَفِّق الأَمْرِيْكِيُون لِتَرَمْب – Americans give / are giving Trump a big hand.

(6) تَبْكِي البَنَات – the girls cry / are crying

(7) تَفُوز اللَّاعِبَات فِي كُلِّ مُبَارَاة – the female players win in every match.

(8) يَنَامُ سَمِيْر عَلَى الأَرِيْكَة – Samir sleeps / is sleeping on the sofa

(9) يَجْرِي الأَوْلَاد بِسُرْعَة – the boys run / are running fast

(10) تَرْقُص النِسَّاء فِي حَفْلَة الزَّفَاف – the women dance / are dancing in the wedding party

(2) Transitive Verb الفِعْل المُتَعَدِّي:

One-word Sentences (verb + subject + object + [adverbial])

a) In these sentences, the verb الفِعْل, the subject الفَاعِل (in blue), and the object المَفْعُول (in orange) are combined in one word.

b) The subject of the verb with (*) is covert مُسْتَتِر.

c) In (1), (4), and (5), the covert subject فَاعِل مُسْتَتِر refers to a noun that precedes the verb. So, this type of sentences is always embedded in a nominal sentence.

d) In (2), (8), (11), and (12), the covert subject فَاعِل مُسْتَتِر does not refer to a noun preceding the verb. In (2) and (8), it refers to the first person. In (11) and (12), it refers to the second person. This is implied by the prefixes أَ, نَـ, and تَـ.

e) (m, pl) = masculine plural, (m, s) = masculine singular, (f, pl) = feminine plural


(1) تَضِرِبُــهُ* – she beats / is beating him

(2) أَسْمَعُــهَا* – I hear her

(3) يَقْتُلُــونَــهُ – they (m, pl) kill him

(4) يُقَابِلُــنَا* – he meets / is meeting us

(5) تُقَابِلُــنَا* – she meets / is meeting us

(6) تُشَجِّعُـونَــهُم – you (m, pl) encourage / are encouraging them (m, pl)

(7) تَزُوْرُونَا – you visit / are visiting us

(8) أَدْعُوكَ* إِلَى العَشَاء – I invite / am inviting you (m, s) to dinner

(9) تَعِدْونِــي دَائِمًا – you (m, pl) always promise / are promising me

(10) سَيَشْتَرِيْــنَــهَا مِنَ اليَمَن – they (f, pl) will buy it from Yemen

(11) تَكْتُبُــهَا* بِسُرْعَة – you (m, s) write / are writing it fast

(12) نَدْعُوكُم إِلَى العَشَاء – we invite you (m, pl) to dinner.

Three-word Sentences (verb + subject + object + [adverbial])

a) In these sentences, the subject الفَاعِل (in blue) and the object المَفْعُول (in orange) are separate nouns.

b) Since the verb الفِعْل precedes the subject الفَاعِل, it does not agree with it in number. In (3), (5), (7), and (8), the subject is plural, but the form of the for of the verb is singular.

c) The subject الفَاعِل cannot be a separate pronoun. So, sentences like يشْرَب هُوَ المَاء, تُنَظِّف هِي البَيْت, يُشَاهِد هُم المُبَارَاة, and تَضْرِب أَنْتَ الوَلَد are incorrect.

(1) يَشْرَب الطِّفْل الحَلِيْب – the child drank the milk.

(2) تُنَظِّف الأُم البَيْت – the mother clean the house

(3) يُشَاهِد اللَّاعِبُون المُبَارَاةthe players watched the match

(4) يَدْرُس خَالِد الرِّيَاضِيَّات – Khalid studies math

(5) تُعَالِج المُمَرِّضَات المَرْضَى – the nurses treated the patients.

(6) يَضْرِب عَلِي أُخْتَهُ بَالعَصَا – Ali hit his sister with a stick

(7) يَتَنَاوَل المُدَرِّسُون الغَدَاء فِي مَطْعَمthe teacher had lunch in a restaurant

(8) يَشْرَب الطُّلاب قَهْوَة بَعْد المُحَاضَرَة – the students drank coffee after the lecture

(9) تُشَاهِد الأُسَرَة فِلْمًا عَنْ اليَمَن – the family watched a film about Yemen

(10) يَكْتُب سَامِي رِسَالَة إِلَى صَدِيْقِه – Sami wrote a letter to his friend

(11) يَتَكَلَّم نَاصِر الإِسْبَانِيَّة بِطَلَاقَة – Nasser speaks / is speaking Spanish fluently

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