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Lesson 39 – الدَّرْسُ التَّاسِعُ وَالثَّلاثُونَ

Indeclension of the Past Verb – بِنَاءُ الْفِعْلِ الْمَاضِي

Indeclension of the past verb by a fixed sukūn –بِنَاءُ الْفِعْلِ الْمَاضِي عَلَى السُّكُونِ

  • This is the second case of the indeclension of the past verb by a fixed sukūn. This takes place when:
    1. The past verb is suffixed by the first person singular pronoun ـتُ /-tu/, such as ذَهَبْتُ /dhahab-tu/, تَرَكْتُ /tarak-tu/ and سَافَرْتُ /sāfar-tu/, [examples 1 and 2 below]
    2. The past verb is suffixed by the second person plural نَا /-na/, such as سَافَرْنَا /sāfar-na/, [example 3 below]
    3. The past verb is suffixed by the second person singular ـتَ /-ta/, such as كَتَبْتَ /katab-ta/, and the second person plural  ـتُمْ/-tum/, such as كَتَبْـتُمْ (katab-tum), [examples 4, 5 and 6 below]
    4. The past verb is suffixed by the second person singular feminine pronoun ـتِ /-ti/, such as قَرَأْتِ /qara'-ti/, and the second person plural feminine pronoun ـتُنَّ /-tunna/, such as قَرَأْتُنَّ /qara'-tunna/ and مَلأْتُنَّ /mala'-tunna/, [examples 7, 8, 9 and 10 below]
    5. The past verb is suffixed by the regular third person plural feminine pronoun ـنَ /-na/, such as سَاعَدْنَ /sāξad-na/ and اِعْـتَنَـيْنَ /ξitanay-na/, [examples 11 and 12 below].
  • Consider the following examples in which past verbs are indeclinable by a fixed sukūn:




No. lesson image

I traveled to Mecca last year.

سَافَرْتُ إِلَى مَكَّةَ الْعَامَ الْمَاضِي.

/sāfar-tu ila Makka al-ξāma al-māđī/

1 lesson image

I left my work and moved to another.

تَرَكْتُ عَمَلِي، وَذَهَبْتُ إِلَى عَمَلٍ آخَرَ.

/tarak-tu ξamalī wa dhahab-tu ila ξamalin ākhar/

2 lesson image

We traveled to Pakistan a month ago.

سَافَرْنَا إِلَى بَاكِسْتَانَ قَبْلَ شَهْرٍ.

/sāfar-na ila Pakistan qabla shahrin/

3 lesson image

Have you written the lesson, Hazem?

هَلْ كَتَبْتَ الدَّرْسَ يَا حَازِمُ؟

/hal katab-ta ad-darsa ya Hazim?/

4 lesson image

Have you written the homework, students?

هَلْ كَتَبْتُمُ الْوَاجِبَ يَا طُلابُ؟

/hal katab-tum al-waĵiba ya ŧullabu?/

5 lesson image

You (plural) spoke eloquently in the meeting.

أَنْتُمْ تَكَلَّمْتُمْ كَلامًا جَمِيلًا فِي الاجْتِمَاعِ.

/antum takallam-tum kalāman ĵamīlan fi al-iĵtimāξ/

6 lesson image

Have you read the news today, Layla?

هَلْ قَرَأْتِ الأَخْبَارَ الْيَوْمَ يَا لَيْلَى؟

/hal qara'-ti al-akhbāra al-yawma ya Layla?/

7 lesson image

You worked much today, Khadiĵa.

أَنْتِ عَمِلْتِ الْيَوْمَ كَثِيرًا يَا خَدِيجَةُ.

/anti ξamil-ti al-yawma khathīran ya Khadiĵa/

8 lesson image

Have you read the news today, sisters?

هَلْ قَرَأْتُنَّ الأَخْبَارَ الْيَوْمَ يَا أَخَوَاتِي؟

/hal qara'-tunna al-akhbāra al-yawma ya akhawātī?/

9 lesson image

You have filled your husbands' lives with happiness.

أَنْتُنَّ مَلأْتُنَّ حَيَاةَ أَزْوَاجِكُنَّ سَعَادَةً.

/antunna mala'-tunna ħayata azwaĵikunna saξādatan/

10 lesson image

Nurses helped patients much.

الْمُمَرِّضَاتُ سَاعَدْنَ الْمَرْضَى كَثِيرًا.

/al-mumarriđatu sāξad-na al-marđā kāthīran/

11 lesson image

They (fem. plural) took care of the patients' health.

وَهُنَّ اِعْتَنَيْنَ بِصِحَّةِ الْمَرْضَى.

/wa hunna iξtanay-na bisiħħati al-marđā/


  • We notice that all the above verbs in the previous table are indeclinable by a fixed sukūn.
  • Consider the following table in which the verb كَتَبَ (kataba; to write) is suffixed by the first, second and third person pronouns:



الضَّمِيرُ الْمُتَّصِلُ

Suffixed pronoun

الضَّمِيرُ الْمُنْفَصِلُ

separate pronoun






ana (i)






anta (you; second person singular masculine)






anti (you; second person singular feminine)






antuma (you; second person dual neutral)






antunna (you; second person plural feminine)






antum (you; second person plural masculine)





huwa (he; third person singular masculine)





hiya (she; third person singular feminine)





huma (they; third person dual neutral)






hunna (they; third person plural feminine)





hum (they; third person plural masculine)






naħnu (we; first person plural neutral)

  • From the table above, we notice the following:
    • The vowel of all the above past verbs changed from fatħah  to sukūn, such as كَتَبَ /kataba/ to كَتَبْ /katab-/ except for four words.
    • The first two verbs of them are كَتَبَ /kataba/ and كَتَبَتْ /kataba-t/ because the two verbs are not suffixed by pronouns and the /-t/ in the second is the feminine suffix ta'.
    • The second two verbs of which are كَتَبَا /kataba-ā/ and كَتَبُوا /katabu-ū/ because the pronouns in them end with long sukūn and that is why they are not indeclinable by a fixed sukūn.
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