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Madinah Arabic Learn Arabic Online
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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 đammah – بِنَاَءُ الْفِعْلِ الْمَاضِي عَلَى الضَّمِّ

  • This is the third case of indeclension of the past verb in which it is indeclinable by a fixed đammah . This occurs when the past verb is suffixed by the plural wāw وَاوُ الْجَمَاعَةِ /wāw al-ĵamaξah/; third person plural masculine suffix wāw /-ū/). Consider the following examples:

The players got out of the playground before the end of the match.

اللاعِبُونَ خَرَجُوا مِنَ الْمَلْعَبِ قَبْلَ نِهَايَةِ الْمُبَارَاةِ.

/Al-lāξibūna kharaĵu-ū min al-malξab qabla nihayat al-mubārāh/

The friends met and went to the cinema.

تَقَابَلَ الأَصْدِقَاءُ، وَذَهَبُوا إِلَى السِّينِمَا.

/Taqābala al-aŝdiqā'u wa dhahabu-ū ila as-sinima/

Then ate dinner at the restaurant.

ثُمَّ تَناوَلُوا الْعَشَاءَ فِي الْمَطْعَمِ.

/Thumma tanāwalu-ū al-ξashā'a fi al-maŧξam/

And then returned to their homes at night.

ثُمَّ عَادُوا إِلَى بُيُوتِهِمْ فِي اللَّيْلِ.

/Thumma ξādu-ū ila buyūtihim fi al-layl/

They were tired and so they slept quickly.

وَكَانُوا مُتْعَبِينَ لِذَلِكَ نَامُوا بِسُرْعَةٍ.

/Wa kānu-ū mutξabīna lizhalika nāmu-ū bisurξah/

  • Considering the previous examples, we find the following verbs:

نَامُوا

/nāmu-ū/

كَانُوا

/kānu-ū/

عَادُوا

/ξādu-ū/

تَنَاوَلُوا

/tanāwalu-ū/

ذَهَبُوا

/dhahabu-ū/

خَرَجُوا

/kharaĵu-ū/

Verb

(they) slept

(they) were

(they) returned

(they) ate

(they) went

(they) got out

Translation

  • All of the above verbs are suffixed by the plural waw; third person plural masculine suffix /-ū/), and that is why the case-ending of each is a đammah , i.e. a đammah  appears on the last letter of each verb before plural waw suffix. So any past verb suffixed by plural waw is indeclinable by a fixed đammah.
  • Note: this rule applies only to the past verb suffixed by plural wāw, but the present verb suffixed by plural waw is declinable, see Lesson 37 "Declension of the Five Verbs". Accordingly, the following present verbs are declinable:

يَنَامُوا

/yanāmu-ū/

يَتَنَاوَلُوا

/yatanāwalu-ū/

يَذْهَبُوا

/yazhhabu-ū/

يَخْرُجُوا

/yakhruĵu-ū/

Verb

(they) sleep

(they) eat

(they) go

(they) go out

Translation