Arabic Present Tense

Verb=kataba=to write, masc=m, feminine=f
English Pronouns Arabic Pronouns Perfect Imperfect
I anaa katabtu 'aktubu
Thou (m) anta katabta taktubu
Thou (f) anti katabti taktubiyna
He huwa kataba yaktubu
She hiya katabat taktubu
We nahnu katabnaa naktubu
You (m) antum katabtum taktubuuna
You (f) antunna katabtunna taktubna
You two (m,f) antumaa katabtumaa taktubaani
They two (m) humaa katabaa yaktubaani
They two (f) humaa katabataa taktubaani
They (m) hum katabuu yaktubuuna
They (f) hunna katabna yaktubna

Click here to see more verb conjugations

Arabic Present Tense and the example verb "kataba"

We are already familiar with the root form of the verb "akala" from the previous chapter which presented the perfect tense. We will use our experince of building the forms of the perfect tense while building the forms of the present tense. Remember now the three root letters a,k,l of the "akala". In the perfect tense we throw out the last "a" from the "akala" in order to get "akal" and attach suffixes to the "akal". The present tense is similar but little more complicated. The present tense is formed by adding suffixes as well as prefixes to the "akal". Before we can add prefixes and suffixes, we have to derive the "stem" from the root verb. This is done by making "sakeen" of the first and the last letter of the root. The first root letter becomes "sakeen" by throwing its "haraka." Moreover, the second and third root letters are read according to the information contained in the dictionaries. There are many rules as to how the second and the third letters would be read but this is beyond the scope of our teaching here. We look at the dictionary and see that the present tense of "kataba" is written as "yaktubu". Therefore, from this we know that the second and third letters are read with a "Damma" As we pointed out earlier the first letter becomes "sakeen" which means that it will not have any "haraka", e.g. fatha,kasra or Damma and so the "kataba" will be converted to "ktub". Now, our stem for the present tense will be "ktub" and we will add the below shown prefixes to the "ktub".

The prefixes are the following:
I = -a
thou (masc) = -ta
thou (fem) = -ta
he = -ya
she = -ta
we = -na
you (masc) = -ta
you (fem) = -ta
they (masc) = -ya
they (fem) = -ya

Let's add these prefixes to the "ktub".

Suffix Present
Haraka of
anaa 'a+ ktub = 'aktub +u
'aktubu No
anta ta+ ktub = taktub +u
taktubu No
anti ta+ ktub = taktub +iyna
taktubiyna Yes
huwa ya+ ktub = yaktub +u
yaktubu No
hiya ta+ ktub = taktub +u
taktubu No
nahnu na+ ktub = naktub +u
naktubu No
antum ta+ ktub = taktub +uuna
taktubuuna Yes
antunna ta+ ktub = taktub +na
taktubna Yes
hum ya+ ktub = yaktub +uuna
yaktubuuna Yes
hunna ya+ ktub = yaktub +na
yaktubna Yes

Surely you can figure out the forms for the "dual" or "plural two persons" from the table and the discussion above.

Let's note again that the pronouns are not used in the sentences. We write them here in order to show the correspondances. The prefixes and the suffixes indicate the pronouns already. So, there is no need to say the pronoun again. For example, when we say, "yaktubuuna" that is a complete sentence and it means, "They are writing". I am sure you start to feel the power of the Arabic language. Just one word presents a complete thought process and a complete sentence. Amazing! Isn't it?

Courtesy of: