Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Irregular verbs and an important verb 'Kana'

بِسمِ اللهِ الرَّحمانِ الرَّحِيم

الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على نبينا محمد وآله وصحبه

الدرس الثاني و العشرون

السلام عليكم ورَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وبَركاتُه , The Dua of Yunus (عليه السلام) by which he invoked Allah from within the belly of the whale was

لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ     Al-Anbiya 21:87

I am sure you should know this dua very well.
The Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) said about the Invocation of Yunus
'None who is experiencing difficulty employs it except that Allah would relieve him of his difficulty'. ~ At Tirmidhi ~

I hope you can translate most of the above ayah. except the word “كُنتُ”.    It's based on the verb كَانَ .
كَانَ “To be” in the past tense   

Arabic verb for “was/were” (in other words, “to be” in the past tense) is كَانَ .    
Many sentences do not need the verb 'to be' in the present tense. However, it is required in the past tense.
كَانَ is a little different from the other verbs you have met so far as it seems to have only two root letters. The root is actually كون, but the waw can change into a long or short vowel.

Please memorize the conjugation table for كَانَ , as it is used very frequently.

كَانُوْا   they were
كَانَا  they were
كَانَ    he was
كُنَّ  they were
كَانَتَا   they were
كَانَتْ    she was
كُنْتُمْ   you were
كُنْتُمَا  you 2 were
كُنْتَ you were
you were كُنْتُنّ     
كُنْتُمَا   you 2 were
كُنْتِ  you were

كُنَّا  we were
كُنْتُ  I was

Examples featuring verb كَانَ.

i was sick
كُنْتُ مريضا
you were in library
كُنْتَ في مكتبة
she was close to the house
كانت قريبة من المنزل

كَانَ is very helpful because rendering a verb into the past perfect tense is done by prefixing it with the verb كَانَ.  There is an important point to note. كان, is a verb and it must therefore be conjugated alongside the main verb.

Past Perfect Active
Past Perfect Passive
Past Perfect Active Negative
Past Perfect Passive Negative
كَانَ نَصَرَ
(he had helped)
كَانَ نُصِرَ
(he had been helped)
ما كَانَ نَصَرَ
(he had not helped)
ما كَانَ نُصِرَ
(he had not been helped)
كَانُوْا نَصَرُوْا
(they had helped)
كَانُوْا نُصِرُوْا
(they had been helped)
ما كَانُوْا نَصَرُوْا
(they had not helped)
ما كَانُوْا نُصِرُوْا
(they had not been helped)
كُنْتَ نَصَرْتَ
(you had helped)
كُنْتَ نُصِرْتَ
(you had been helped)
ما كُنْتَ نَصَرْتَ
(you had not helped)
ما كُنْتَ نُصِرْتَ
(you had not been helped)
كُنَّا نَصَرْنَا
(we had helped)
كُنَّا نُصِرْنَا
(we had been helped)
ما كُنَّا نَصَرْنَا
(we had not helped)
ما كُنَّا نُصِرْنَا
(we had not been helped)

Exercise :

Complete the above table for all conjugation combinations. (3rd per, 2nd person, 2st person and masculine and feminine).  Refer this [] for answer. Also it has summarized the usage of verbs very nicely.

Verb كان is also helpful in making sentences with past continuous.

Past Continuous Active
Past Continuous Passive
Past Continuous Active Negative
Past Continuous Passive Negative
كَانَ يَسْمَعُ
(he used to hear)
/ he was writing
كَانَ يُسْمَعُ
(he used to be heard)
ما كَانَ يَسْمَعُ
(he would not hear)
ما كَانَ يُسْمَعُ
(he would not be heard)

Irregular verbs  ( verb with واو or a ياء. as root letter)
Waaw (واو) and yaa’ (ياء) are often called weak letters, and the verbs formed are called weak verbs.  Most irregularities in Arabic verbs are due to “و” or “ياء” being one of the root letters.
The verb  كَانَ is of irregular verb more specifically hollow verb.  Because, the root is actually كون, but the waw can change into a long or short vowel.

The present form for “سَمِعَ” (he heard ) is “يَسْمَعُ” (he hears).
Try to tell the present form of كَانَ  -  ???
يكَانَ ??     No its wrong ..  its يكُونُ .   You can notice that it’s not straightforward to conjugate the irregular verbs. (ie. by just prefixing with “ya” for the verb).  This is because pronunciation is somewhat not pleasing or not correct.  

There are some rules to conjugate the irregular verbs. Most of arabic students get lost or lose interest in arabic by studying these rules.  In my opinion reader can study the rules separately from an arabic expert. But for now knowing few basics weak words in their past tense and present tense should suffice.

Now here is conjugation of present form of كَانَ .  Please memorize it as it will be similar for hollow verbs with (واو) in between. example (قال)
يكون - يكونان - يكونون
تكون - تكونان - يكن
تكون - تكونان - تكونون
تكونين - تكونان - تكن
أكون - نكون

  conjugate the verb (قال) for past tense and present tense.

Some examples of present form of (كَانَ) :
You will be the new student
شَوفَ تكونُ الطالبَ الجديدَ
You want to be the new student.
تُريدُ انْ تَكونَ الطالبَ الجديدَ
The professors will have killed their lazy students.
يكون الاستاذة (قد) قتلوا طلابهم الكسالى

You can see present form of كَانَ can be used in many forms like can be, should be, to be etc.

3 possible category of irregular verbs :

Now we’ll  learn few examples for weak verbs.  For every verb you should know its present , past ,  in both active and passive. and its doer format.

Verb with واو or a ياء as first root letter

present passive
past passive
one who finds
he is found by someone
he was found ~ by someone
he finds
he found
one who puts
he is put by someone
he was put
he is putting
he puts
Example sentences:
We found a bug (flaw) in the program
وَجَدنا علّة في البَرْْنامَج
They arrived in Chicago by airplane.
وصلوا في شيكاغو بالطائرة.
Note: In the present, the first root letter almost always drops out completely.       

Verb with واو or a ياء as second root letter

You have already studied these verbs. (قال  and كان ) . let’s take example of hollow verb with (ياء) as second root letter ,  example from the root بيع:

one who sells
he is sold
he was sold
he sells
he sold

example sentence:

Have you sold your house in new york ?
هل بعتُم بيتكم في نيويورك؟
We visited the museum yesterday.
زُرنا المَتحَف أمس.

Verb with واو or a ياء as third root letter

one who calls
he is called
he was called
he calls
he called
one who comes
he is made to come
he was made to come
he comes
he came

Example sentences:

I forgot my lunch today
نسيت طعام الغداء اليوم
I came to Paris in February
أَتَىتُ  إلى باريس في فبراير

As i have said earlier don’t get confused with the rule for conjugating the weak verbs for now.  Just focus on some vocabulary. and know their past and present tense for active and passive voice.

Important exercise :

  1. Memorise all the verbs in 80 percent quran words book. Link here.  Especially page 20-24 as it contains list of irregular verbs.
  2. Practice whatever verbs you have learned from this site. [].  practice until unit 9.

Translate the arabic below with some tips given after the text. (Note: this snippet is from the book “mastering arabic 2nd edition”).

1 comment:

  1. what a wonderful blog is yours.... thank you very much May Allah almighty bless you