Today we take on a new challenge and learn a new grammar form to talk about actions currently happening or recently happened. Welcome to the world of the Active Participle!
Ism Faa3il: The Active Participle
In Arabic there is a grammatical form for which we have no equivalent in English. In Arabic it is referred to as “Ism Faa3il‘l” which translates as “noun verb” and in English we call it the “active participle”.
This active participle can be used to express an action currently taking place as well as an action that recently took place.
Depending on the time expression of the words used with the active participle, an action that will soon take place can also be expressed with the active participle. Whereas with the other tenses the word changes for each person or group of people, with the active participle you only need to know masculine singular, feminine singular and plural.
The reason you need to know this is because you won’t fully understand Arabs if you stick within the boundaries of past, present and future tenses.
Active participles have (a) and( een) ends .
Active Participles are negated by mub or maa .
object pronouns can be suffixed to them.
Let me give you some examples.
Jayi Coming (masc.; sing.)
Coming (fem.; sing.)
For example, if you were a male talking to your friend on the phone while you were walking to his house you could say أَنَا جَاي (ana jayy) – I’m coming.
Or you could ask him إِنْتَ جَاي؟ (inta gayy?) – are you coming? Or you could say you will come tomorrow – أَنَا جَاي بُكْرَة (ana gayy bukra).
Are you coming?
اَنَا جَاي بُكْرَة
Ana jayy bukra
I’m coming tomorrow
Now let’s look at the word for “going”:
Going (masc.; sing.)
Going (fem.; sing.)
The same principle works with this active participle. A girl could indicate that she’s going to school now, أنا رايحه المدرسة (ana rayḥa il madrassa) or tomorrow, أنا رايحه المدرسة بكرة (ana rayḥa il madrassa bukra).
اَنَا رَايْحَهْ اِلْمَدْرَسَة
Ana rayḥa il madrasa
I’m going to school (fem.; sing.)
اَنَا رَايْحَهْ اِلْمَدْرَسَة بُكْرَة
Ana rayḥa il madrasa bukra
I’m going to school tomorrow (fem.; sing.)
Let’s try another verb now – to sleep:
Sleeping (masc.; sing.)
Sleeping (fem.; sing.)
A couple not wanting to be woken from sleep could say احنا نايمين (iḥna naymīn) “we are sleeping”. They could also say they were sleeping but now they are not, احنا كنا نايمين (iḥna kunna naymiin) “we were sleeping”.
We are sleeping.
اِحْنَا كُنَّا نَايْمِينْ.
Iḥna kunna naymiin.
We were sleeping.