The Basic Present Verbal Sentence

The Basic Present Verbal Sentence in Arabic

Similar to the basic past verbal sentence, the basic present verbal sentence in Arabic الْجُمْلَةُ الْفِعْلِيَّةُ الْبَسِيطَةُ is composed of a verb فِعْل, a subject فَاعِل, and an object مَفْعُول, which can be optional, depending on the type of the verb. It always starts with the verb. The verb can be intransitive لَازِم or transitive مُتَعَدِّي. The Intransitive verb does not require an object, while the transitive verb requires an object. Therefore, the basic present verbal sentence in Arabic has the following patterns: (1) verb (present/imperfective form) + subject and (2) verb (present/imperfective form) + subject + object. These two patterns may be followed adverbial phrases of place, time, or manner.

The Basic Present Verbal Sentence in Arabic

So, the focus of this lesson is the present verbal sentence in Arabic, which begins with the present or imperfective form of the verb الْفِعْلُ الْمُضَارِعُ. 

(1) The Intransitive Verb الْفِعْلُ اللَّازِمُ:

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

(a) In (1), (2), (3), (4), (7), and (10), the subject الْفَاعِل is not overt/explicitظَاهِر. It is covert/implicit مُسْتَتِر, and it can be deduced from the prefix on the verb. In (1) أَ is for the pronoun أَنَا, so the covert/implicit subject is أَنَا 'I'. In (2), نُـ is for the pronoun نَحْنُ, so the covert subject is نَحْنُ 'we'. In (3), تَـ is for the pronoun هِيَ, so the cover subject is هِيَ 'she'. In (4) and (7), يـ is for the pronoun هُوَ, so covert subject is هُوَ 'he'. In (10), تَـ is for the pronoun أَنْتَ, so the covert subject is أَنْتَ 'you'. 

The تَـ in (3) and (10) are the same. Figuring out whether it is for هِيَ or أَنْتَ can be inferred from the context.  

(b) In (5), (6), (8), (9), and (11), the subject الْفَاعِلُ is an overt connected pronoun. ون in (5) and (8) is for masculine plural, namely for the 2nd person in (5) (indicated by the prefix تَـ) and for the 3rd person in (8) (indicated by the prefix يَـ). ينَ in (6) is for the 2nd person feminine singular. نَ  in (9) and (11) is for feminine plural, namely for the 3rd person in (9) (indicated by the prefix يَـ) and  for the 2nd person in (11) (indicated by the prefix تَـ).  

(c) Both covert and overt subjects in these sentences refer to nouns/pronouns that are mentioned/stated in previous contexts. In يَصُومُ كُلَّ خَمِيسٍ, for example, the covert subject هُوَ refers to a male person (Ali, Salah, Sam, ...) that is mentioned before by the speaker/writer. 

(1)  أَتَمَشَّى كُلَّ مَسَاءٍ. I stroll every evening

(2)  نُسَافِرُ بِالطَّائِرَةِ. we travel by plane

(3)  تَنَامُ عَلَى الْأَرِيكَةِ. she sleeps on the sofa

(4)  يَجْلِسُ هُنَا. he sits here

(5)  تَحْضُرُونَ الْآنَ. you (m, pl) come in now

(6)  تَرْقُصِينَ جَيِّدًا. you (f, s) dance well

(7)  يَصُومُ كُلَّ خَمِيسٍ. he fasts every Thursday

(8)  يَخْرُجُونَ فِي الصَّبَاحِ. they go out in the morning

(9)  يَذْهَبْنَ إِلَى المَدْرَسَةِ. they (f) go to school

(10)  تَصِيحُ بِخَوْفٍ. you (m, s) scream with fear

(11) تَذْهَبْنَ إِلَى السُّوقِ. you (f, pl) go to the market

Two-word Sentences (verb + subject  + [adverbial])

(a) In these sentences, the subject الفَاعِل, which follows the verb (in orange), is an overt/explicit noun اِسْمٌ ظَاهِرٌ. It can be any type of noun: a singular noun, a plural noun, a proper noun, or a common noun.

(b) The verb الْفِعْلُ form is always singular even with plural subjects because it precedes the subject الفَاعِل. If the subject is put before the verb, the sentence is no longer a verbal sentences. It becomes a nominal sentence, for it starts with a noun. In this case the verb agreement changes. Sentence (3), for example, becomes الْأَوْلَادُ يَلْعَبُونَ. The verb shows an agreement with preceding noun in number, that is the plural suffix ون. This ون is the subject of the verb, and it refers to the noun before it (i.e., الْأَوْلَادُ). This will be explained further in another lesson. 

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

(d) The subject may be followed by an adverbial phrase as in sentences (5) to (10). 

(1)  يَجْلِسُ الرَّجُلُ. the man sits

(2)  يَقْفِزُ اللَّاعِبُ. the player jumps

(3)  يَلْعَبُ الْأَوْلَادُ. the boys play

(4)  يَسْعِلُ أَحْمَدُ. Ahmed coughs

(5)  يَجْرِي سَامُ فِي الْحَدِيقَةِ. Sam runs in the garden 

(6)  يُسَافِرُ عَلِيٌّ كُلَّ أُسْبُوعٍ. Ali travels every week

(7)  تَرْقُصُ سَارَةُ جَيِّدًا. Sarah dances well

(8)  تَنَامُ فَاطِمَةُ عَلَى الْأَرِيكَةِ. Fatima sleeps on the sofa

(9)  تَصُومُ جَدَّتِي كُلَّ خَمِيسٍ. My grandmother fasts every Thursday

(10)  تَذْهَبُ الْبَنَاتُ إِلَى الْمَدْرَسَةِ. the girls go to school

(2) The Transitive Verb الفِعْل المُتَعَدِّي:

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

(a) In these sentences, the verb الفِعْل, the subject الْفَاعِلُ (in orange), and the object الْمَفْعُولُ (in green) are combined in one word. In sentences (3), (6), (7), (9), and (10), the subject and the object are connected pronouns. 

(b) In sentences (1), (2), (4), (5), (8), (11), and (12), the subjects of the verbs are covert/implicit مُسْتَتر. They can be inferred from the prefix on the verb, as explained earlier. The objects in these sentences are connected pronouns (in green).

(c) In (1), (4), and (5), the covert subject الْفَاعُلُ الْمُسْتَتِرُ 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 الْفَاعِلُ الْمُسْتَتِرُ does not refer to a noun preceding the verb. In (2) and (8), it refers to the the first person singular (i.e., أَنَا). In (11), it refers to the second person masculine singular (i.e., أَنْتَ). In (12) it refers to the fist person plural (i.e., نَحْنُ). This is indicated by the prefixes أَ, نَـ, and تَـ. 

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

(f) In sentences (8) to (12), the object الْمَفْعُول is followed by an adverbial phrase. 

(1)  تَضْرِبُهُ. she hits him

(2)  أَسْمَعُهَا. I hear her

(3)  يَضْرِبُونَهُ. they (m, pl) hit him

(4)  يُقَابِلُنَا. he meets us

(5)  تُسَاعِدُنَا. she helps us

(6)  تُشَجِّعُونَهُم. you (m, pl) encourage them (m, pl)

(7)  تَزُورُونَنَا. – you (m, pl) visit us

(8)  أَدْعُوكَ إِلَى العَشَاء. I invite you (m, s) to dinner

(9)  تَشْكُرُونَهُ دَائِمًا. you (m, pl) always thank him

(10)  يَتَكَلَّمْنَهَا بِطَلَاقَةٍ. they (f, pl) speak it fluently

(11)  تَكْتُبُهَا بِسُرْعَة you (m, s) write it fast

(12)  نَسْمَعُكُنَّ جَيِّدًا. we hear you(f, pl) well

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

(a) In these sentences, the subject الْفَاعِل (in orange) and the object الْمَفْعُول (in orange) are separate nouns, hence three-word sentence (verb + subject + object). 

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

(c) In all these sentences, the subject الْفَاعِل is an overt noun. It is never a separate pronoun. So, sentences like يَشْرَبُ هُوَ الْمَاءَ, تُنَظِّفُ هِي الْبَيْتَ, يُشَاهِدُ هُمُ الْمُبَارَاةَ, and تَضْرِب أَنْتَ الوَلَد are impossible in Arabic.

(d) In the sentences (6) to (11), the object الْمَفْعُول is followed by an adverbial phrase. 

(e) The present/imperfective forms of the verbs, in all the sentences in this lesson, correspond to the present simple and/or the present continuous in English, hence: 

يَشْرَبُ الطِّفْلُ الحَلِيْبَ. = the boy drinks milk OR the boy is drinking milk.

تَكْتُبُهَا بِسُرْعَة = she writes it fast OR she is writing it fast. 

تَنَامُ فَاطِمَةُ عَلَى الْأَرِيكَةِ = Fatima sleeps on the sofa OR Fatima is sleeping on the sofa. 

يَجْلِسُ هُنَا = he sits here OR he is sitting here.

(1)  يَشْرَبُ الطِّفْلُ الْحَلِيْبَ. the child drinks the milk

(2)  تُنَظِّفُ الْأُمُّ الْبَيْتَ. the mother cleans the house

(3)  يُشَاهِدُ اللَّاعِبُونَ المُبَارَاةَ. the players watch the match

(4)  يَدْرُسُ خَالِدٌ الرِّيَاضِيَّاتِ. Khalid studies math

(5)  تُعَالِجُ الْمُمَرِّضَاتُ الْمَرْضَى. the nurses treat the patients

(6)  يَضْرِبُ عَلِيٌّ أُخْتَهُ بَالعَصَا. Ali hits his sister with a stick

(7)  يَتَنَاوَلُ الْمُدَرِّسُونَ الْغَدَاءَ فِي مَطْعَمٍ. the teachers have lunch in a restaurant

(8)  يَشْرَبُ الطُّلَّابُ قَهْوَةً بَعْدَ الْمُحَاضَرَةِ. the students drink coffee after the lecture

(9)  تُشَاهِدُ الْأُسْرَةُ فِلْمًا عِنِ الْيَمَنِ. the family watches a film about Yemen

(10)  يَكْتُبُ سَامِي رِسَالَةً إِلَى صَدِيقِهِ. Sami writes a letter to his friend

(11)  يَتَكَلَّمُ نَاصِرٌ الْأَسْبَانِيَّةَ بِطَلَاقَة. Nasser speaks Spanish fluently

Saidu Muhammad
Assalamu alaikum Masha Allah ,lessens are very helpful Thanks But one confusion in last eg:,means that transitive verb three word sentences you using verb mularee(present/future) but you translated in English everything past. Please help my doubts
    Thank for the comment Saidu and for drawing our attention to the verbs forms. It has been fixed.
Bishi Misbau
An excellent performance

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