Lesson 31 – الدَّرْسُ الحادِي والثَّلاثُونَ

Verb in the Affirmative and the Negative Formالفِعْلُ المُثْبَتُ وَالْفِعْلُ المَنْفِيُّ

Making the past verb negative

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·         Now we will learn how to make the Arabic past verb negative and the particles used in this regard.

·         We already discussed the negative of the present verb and the particles used to make it negative that is “la, lam and lan”. To make the past verb negative, we use the particle “mā ما  ”.


Negative sentence

Affirmative sentence


مَا أَكَلَ أحْمَدُ كَثِيرًا ومَعَ ذَلِكَ أَصْبَحَ سَمِينًا

Ahmad did not eat much. He, however, became fat.

أَكَلَ أَحْمَدُ كَثِيرًا فَأَصْبَحَ سَمِينًا

Ahmad ate much and consequently became fat.


مَا وَضَعَ عُثْمَان أَمْوَالَهُ فِي مَكَانِها الصَّحِيح

Uthman did not allocate his money for the benefit of the poor

وَضَعَ عُثْمانُ أَمْوَالَهُ فِي خِدْمَةِ الفُقَرَاء

Uthman allocated his money for the benefit of the poor


مَا شَاهَدتُ التَّلْفازَ أمْسِ

I did not watch TV yesterday

شَاهَدْتُ التِّلْفَازَ أَمْسِ لِمُدَّةِ ساعَتَينِ

I watched TV for two hours yesterday


ما سَافَرْتُ إلَى مَكَّةَ مُنْذ ُ خَمْسِ سَنَواتٍ

I have not traveled to Mecca for five years

سَافَرْتُ إلَى مَكَّةَ قَبْلَ خَمْسِ سَنَواتٍ

I traveled to Mecca five years ago

·         From the examples above, we note that:

1-           The past verb indicates one tense only, which is the past tense, unlike the case with the present verb that can be used to indicate the past, present and future depending on the particle used before the verb.

2-           The past verb is made negative through using one particle only, which is “mā ما” which is “mā ما(مَا أَكَلَ  ، مَا وَضَعَ ،  مَا شَاهَدتُ  ، ما سَافَرْتُ ) . This differs from the present verb that has three various particles used in making it negative (Part 2).

3-           The tense verb is indeclinable (Lesson 3). Some past verbs has a fatħah vowel-ending such as ( أَكَلَ  ،  وَضَعَ ). Others have a sukūn vowel-ending such as ( شَاهَدْتُ  ،  سَافَرْتُ ). We will discuss this in detail in Lesson 39 In-Shā’-Allâh (God-willing).

·         The vowel-ending of the past verb does not change when it is preceded by a negation particle, contrary to the case with the present verb when it is preceded by (lan or lam).

Negative sentence:

Affirmative sentence:

مَا أَكَلَ أحْمَدُ

Ahmad did not eat

أَكَلَ أَحْمَدُ

Ahmad ate

مَا وَضَعَ عُثْمَان

Uthman did not allocate

وَضَعَ عُثْمانُ

Uthman allocated

مَا شَاهَدْتُ التَّلْفازَ

I did not watch TV

شَاهَدْتُ التِّلْفَازَ

I watched TV

ما سَافَرْتُ إلى مَكَّةَ

I did not travel to Mecca

سَافَرْتُ إلَى مَكَّةَ

I travelled to Mecca