Irregular verbs / الأَفْعال غَيْر السالِمة

The conjugation of irregular verbs in Arabic (تَصْرِيف الأَفْعال غَيْر السالِمة)

Amongst the irregular verbs in Arabic, some root words are classified as “healthy” (صَحِيح), and others are labeled as “weak” (مُعْتَلّ) litt. diseased. 

  • Irregular verbs with healthy roots either have:
    • A doubled root, meaning the two last root-letter are merged into one and written with a shadda, like مَدَّ (to extend/spread out).
    • A hamza as the first, second, or third root letter:
أَكَلَ 
to eat
سَأَلَ 
to ask/enquire
قَرَأَ 
to read
  • The weak three-letter roots feature either a و or ي (or both). 

Hamzated roots / الفِعْل المَهْموز

There are three categories of hamzated root verbs:

  • Verbs with a hamza as the 1st root-letter
  • Verbs with a hamza as the 2nd root-letter
  • Verbs with a hamza as the 3rd root-letter

Verbs of this type can prove to be troublesome due to the need for proper hamza support, which is dependent upon vowels and the surrounding environment.

Verbs with a hamza as the 1st root-letter

Augmented forms table

Nouns / أَسْماءVerbs / أَفْعالالوَزْن
Form
المَعْنى
Meaning
المَصْدَر
Verbal noun 
اِسْمُ المَفْعُول
Passive Participle
(recipient)
اِسْمُ الفاعِل
Active Participle (agent)
الأَمْر
Imperative
المُضارِع
Imperfect
(present)
الماضي
Perfect
(past)
أَكْلٌمَأْكُولٌآكِلٌكُلْيَأكُلُأَكَلَIto eat
تَأْكِيدٌمُؤَكَّدٌمُؤَكِّدٌأَكِّدْيُؤَكِّدُأَكَّدَIIto assert
مُؤاخَذةٌمُؤاخَذٌمُؤاخِذٌآخِذْيُؤاخِذُآخَذَIIIto blame
إِيمانٌمُؤْمَنٌمُؤْمِنٌآَمِنْيُؤْمِنُآمَنَIVto believe /  to have faith
تَأَمَُلٌمُتَأَمَّلٌمُتَأَمِّلٌتَأَمَّلْيَتَأَمَّلَتَأَمَّلَVto meditate
تَآمُرٌمُتَآمَرٌمُتَآمِرٌتَآمَرْيَتَآمَرَتَآمَرَVIto conspire
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AVIIN/A
اِتَّخَاذٌمُتَّخَذٌمُتَّخِذٌاِتَّخِذْيَتَّخِذُاِتَّخَذَVIIIto take/ to adopt
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AIXN/A
اِسْتِأْذانٌمُسْتَأْذَنٌمُسْتَأْذِنٌسْتَأْذِنْيَسْتَأْذِنُاِسْتَأْذَنَXto ask permission

Verbs with a hamza as the 2nd root-letter

Augmented forms table

Nouns / أَسْماءVerbs / أَفْعالالوَزْن
Form
المَعْنى
Meaning
المَصْدَر
Verbal noun 
اِسْمُ المَفْعُول
Passive Participle
(recipient)
اِسْمُ الفاعِل
Active Participle
(agent)
الأَمْر
Imperative
المُضارِع
Imperfect
(present)
الماضي
Perfect
(past)
سُؤَالٌمَسْؤُولٌسائِلٌسَل / اِسْأَلْيَسْأَلُسَأَلَIto ask / to inquire
تَرْئِيسٌمُرَئَّسٌمُرَئِّسٌرَئِّسْيُرَئِّسُرَأَّسَIIto appoint as chief or head
مُلاءَمةٌمُلاءَمٌمُلائِمٌلَائِمْيُلائِمُلاءَمَIIIto accommodate
إكْآبٌمُكْأبٌمُكْئِبٌأَكْئِبْيُكْئِبُأَكْأَبَIVto sadden
تَرَؤُّسٌمُتَرأَّسٌمُتَرَئِّسٌتَرَأَّسْيَتَرَأَسُتَرَأَسَVto preside
تَساؤُلٌمُتَساءَلٌ مُتَسائِلٌتَسَاءَلْيَتَسَاءَلُتَساءَلَVIto wonder / to ask oneself
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AVIIN/A
اِبْتِئاسٌمُبْتَأَسٌمُبْتَئِسٌاِبْتَئِسْيَبْتَئِسُاِبْتَأَسَVIIIbe afflicted
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AIXN/A
اِسْتِرْآفٌمُسْتَرْأَفٌمُسْتَرْئِفٌاِسْتَرْئِفْيَسْتَرْئِفُاِسْتَرْأَفَXto beg for mercy

Verbs with a hamza as the 3rd root-letter

Augmented forms table

Nouns / أَسْماءVerbs / أَفْعالالوَزْن
Form
المَعْنى
Meaning
المَصْدَر
Verbal noun 
اِسْمُ المَفْعُول
Passive Participle
(recipient)
اِسْمُ الفاعِل
Active Participle
(agent)
الأَمْر
Imperative
المُضارِع
Imperfect
(present)
الماضي
Perfect
(past)
قِراءَةٌ / قُرْآنٌمَقْروءٌقارئٌاِقْرَأْيَقْرَأُقَرَأَIto read
تَخْبِئَةٌ مُخَبَّأٌمُخَبِّئٌخَبِّئْيُخَبِّئُخَبَّأَIIto hide (smthing)
مُفاجَأةٌمُفاجأٌمُفاجِئٌفَاجِئْيُفاجِئُفاجَأَIIIto surprise
إِطْفاءٌمُطْفَأٌمُطْفِئٌأَطْفِئْيُطْفِئُأَطْفَأَIVto turn off
تَجَزُّؤٌمُتَجَزَِّأٌمُتَجَزِِّئٌتَجَزَّأْيَتَجَزَّأُتَجَزَّأَVto split 
تَكافُؤٌمُتَكافَأٌ مُتَكافِئٌتَكَافَأْيَتَكافَأُتَكافَأَVIto balance each other
اِنْطِفاءٌمُنْطَفَأٌمُنْطَفِئٌاِنْطَفِئْيَنْطَفِئُاِنْطَفَأَVIIto die out / to be estinguished
اِخْتِباءٌمُخْتَبَأٌمُخْتَبِئٌ اِخْتَبِئْيَخْتَبِئُاِخْتَبَأَVIIIto hide (oneself)
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AIXN/A
اِسْتِهْزاءٌمُسْتَهْزَأٌمُسْتَهْزِئٌاِسْتَهْزِئْيَسْتَهْزِئُاِسْتَهْزَأَXto mock / to ridicule

Doubled roots / الفِعْل المُضاعَف

The two last root letters are the same letter hence, written as one letter with a shadda.

Augmented forms table

Nouns / أَسْماءVerbs / أَفْعالالوَزْن
Form
المَعْنى
Meaning
المَصْدَر
Verbal noun 
اِسْمُ المَفْعُول
Passive Participle
(recipient)
اِسْمُ الفاعِل
Active Participle
(agent)
الأَمْر
Imperative
المُضارِع
Imperfect
(present)
الماضي
Perfect
(past)
مَدٌّمَمْدودٌمادٌّمُدَّيَمُدُّمَدَّIto extend / to spread out
تَشْدِيدٌمُشَدَّدٌمُشَدِّدٌشَدِّدْيُشَدِّدُشَدَّدَIIto emphasize
مُضادَّةٌمُضادٌّمُضادٌّضادِدْيُضادُّضادَّIIIto be opposed to
إِمْلالٌمُمَلٌّمُمِلٌّأَمْلِلْيُمِلُّأَمَلَّIVto bore
تَبَرُّرٌمُتَبَرَّرٌمُتَبَرِّرٌتَبَرَّرْيَتَبَرَّرُتَبَرَّرَVto justify oneself 
تَماسٌّمُتَماسٌّمُتَماسٌّتَماسَسْيَتَماسُّتَماسَّVIto touch one another
اِنْسِدادٌمُنْسَدٌّمُنْسَدٌّاِنْسَدّدْيَنْسَدُّاِنْسَدَّVIIto clog up
اِشْتِدادٌمُشْتَدٌّ مُشْتَدٌّ اِشْتَدِدْيَشْتَدُّاِشْتَدَّVIIIto intensify
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AIXN/A
اِسْتِخْفافٌمُسْتَخَفٌَمُسْتَخِفٌَاِسْتَخْفِفْيَسْتَخِفَُاِسْتَخَفَّXto underestimate / to undervalue 

Weak roots / الفِعْل المُعْتَلّ

The weak three-letter roots feature either a و or ي (or both) in their root.

Note: Contrary to popular belief, the alif ا is not a weak letter or semi-vowel – making it an impossible candidate as a root letter! When looking at weak-rooted verbs, this character may serve as evidence of weakness and replaces the letters wāw or yāʾ.

قالَ يَقُول
to say
صاحَ يَصِيحُ
to shout

Assimilated (1st-weak) roots / الفِعْل المِثال

The first root letter is either a و or ي, and the و tends to disappear in imperfect tense المُضارِِع (except in the passive form). It may even transform into ي and vice versa. Furthermore, it could merge with ت of form VIII due to assimilation.

Augmented forms table

Nouns / أَسْماءVerbs / أَفْعالالوَزْن
Form
المَعْنى
Meaning
المَصْدَر
Verbal noun 
اِسْمُ المَفْعُول
Passive Participle
(recipient)
اِسْمُ الفاعِل
Active Participle (agent)
الأَمْر
Imperative
المُضارِع
Imperfect
(present)
الماضي
Perfect
(past)
وُجُودٌمَوْجُودٌواجِدٌجِدْيَجِدُوَجَدَIto find
تَوْزِيعٌمُوَزَّعٌمُوَزِّعٌوَزِّعْيُوَزِّعُوَزَّعَIIto distribute
مُوافَقةٌ / وِفاقٌمُوافَقٌمُوافِقٌوافِقْيُوافِقُوافَقَIIIto agree
إِيقادٌمُوقَدٌمُوقِدٌأَوْقِدْيُوقِدُأَوْقَدَIVto ignite
تَوَحَُدٌمُتَوَحَّدٌمُتَوَحِّدٌتَوَحَّدْيَتَوَحَّدَتَوَحَّدَVto isolate oneself
تَواضُعٌمُتَواضَعٌمُتَواضِعٌتَواضَعْيَتَواضَعَتَواضَعَVIto be humble
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AVIIN/A
اِتِصالٌمُتَّصَلٌ مُتَّصِلٌ اِتَّصِلْيَتَّصِلُاِتَّصَلَVIIIto call / to contact
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AIXN/A
اِسْتِيقافٌمُسْتَوْقَفٌمُسْتَوْقِفٌاِسْتَوْقِفْيَسْتَوْقِفُاِسْتَوْقَفَXto halt / to cause to stop

Hollow (2nd-weak) roots / الفِعْل الأَجْوَف

The 2nd root letter of these verbs is a semi-consonant (و and ي) which disappears when it is followed by a letter bearing the sukūn (السُكُون). The و and ي are often transformed into an alif ا in perfect tense forms whose last letter of the radical carries a vowel or for certain verbs in imperfect tense (مُضارِع). There are 3 main categories depending on the 2nd root letter of the imperfect tense المُضارِع which are و and ي or ا.

نامَ يَنامُ
to sleep
باعَ يَبِيعُ
to sell
قالَ يَقُول
to say

Augmented forms table

Nouns / أَسْماءVerbs / أَفْعالالوَزْن
Form
المَعْنى
Meaning
المَصْدَر
Verbal noun 
اِسْمُ المَفْعُول
Passive Participle
(recipient)
اِسْمُ الفاعِل
Active Participle
(agent)
الأَمْر
Imperative
المُضارِع
Imperfect
(present)
الماضي
Perfect
(past)
قَوْلٌ
بَيْعٌ
نَوْمٌ
مَقُولٌ
مَبِيعٌ
مَنُومٌ
قائِلٌ
بائِعٌ
نائِمٌ
قُلْ
بِعْ
نَمْ
يَقُولُ
يَبِيعُ
يَنامُ
قالَ
باعَ
نامَ

I
– to say
– to sell
– to sleep
تَخْوِيفٌمُخَوَّفٌمُخَوِّفٌخَوِّفْيُخَوِّفُخَوَّفَIIto scare
مُقاوَمةٌمُقاوَمٌمُقاوِمٌقاوِمْيُقاوِمُقاوَمَIIIto battle against
إِرادةٌمُرادٌمُرِيدٌأَرِدْيُرِيدُأَرادَIVto want
تَعَوُّدٌمُتَعَوَّدٌمُتَعَوِّدٌتَعَوَّدْيَتَعَوَّدُتَعَوَّدَVto get used to
تَشاوُرٌمُتَشاوَرٌمُتَشاوِرٌتَشاوَرْيَتَشاوَرُتَشاوَرَVIto consult
اِنْقِيادٌمُنْقادٌمُنْقادٌاِنْقَدْيَنْقادُاِنْقادَVIIto yield / to follow
اِخْتِيارٌمُخْتارٌ مُخْتارٌاِخْتَرْيَخْتارُاِخْتارَVIIIto chose
اِسْوِدادٌN/AمُسْوَدٌّاِسْوَدَّيَسْوَدُّاِسْوَدَّIXto blacken
اِسْتِطاعةٌمُسْتَطاعٌمُسْتَطِيعٌاِسْتَطِعْيَسْتَطِيعُاِسْتَطاعَXto be able / capable of

Defective (3rd-weak) roots / الفِعْل الناقِص

The last root letter of these verbs is usually a semi-consonant (ي or و) that may be altered or disappear when certain suffixes are added, particularly in the jussive mood (المَجْزُوم). Furthermore, the vowel of the second letter of the root often varies depending on what follows it.

There are 3 main categories depending on the last root letter of the imperfect tense المُضارِع which are و and ي or ا.

رَضِيَ يَرْضى
to be satisfied
بَكَى يَبْكِي
to cry
دَعا يَدْعو
to invite / to invoke

Augmented forms table

Nouns / أَسْماءVerbs / أَفْعالالوَزْن
Form
المَعْنى
Meaning
المَصْدَر
Verbal noun 
اِسْمُ المَفْعُول
Passive Participle (recipient)
اِسْمُ الفاعِل
Active Participle (agent)
الأَمْر
Imperative
المُضارِع
Imperfect
(present)
الماضي
Perfect
(past)
دَعْوةٌ / دُعاءٌ
بُكاءٌ
رِضا / رِضْوانٌ
مَدْعُوٌّ
مَبْكيٌّ
مَرْضِيٌّ / مَرْضُوٌّ
داعٍ
باكٍ
راضٍ
اُدْعُ
اِبْكِ
اِرْضَ
يَدْعُو
يَبْكِي
يَرْضى
دَعا
بَكى
رَضِيَ


I
– to invite / to invoke
– to cry
– to be satisfied
تَرْبِيةٌمُرَبًّىمُرَبٍّرَبِّيُرَبِّيرَبَّىIIto raise
لِقاء / مُلاقاةٌمُلاقًىمُلاقٍلاقِيُلاقِيلاقَىIIIto meet
إِعْطاءٌمُعْطًىمُعْطٍأَعْطِيُعْطِيأَعْطَىIVto give
تَلَقٍّمُتَلَقًّىمُتَلَقٍّتَلَقَّيَتَلَقَّىتَلَقَّىVto receive
تَعالٍمُتَعالًىمُتَعالٍتَعالَيَتَعالىتَعالىVIto come / to elevate
اِنْقِضاءٌمُنْقَضًىمُنْقَضٍاِنْقَضِيَنْقَضِياِنْقَضىVIIto expire / to be done
اِنْتِهاءٌمُنْتَهًى مُنْتَهٍاِنْتَهِيَنْتَهِياِنْتَهىVIIIto end / to be over
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AIXN/A
اِسْتِدْعاءٌمُسْتَدْعًىمُسْتَدْعٍاِسْتَدْعِيَسْتَدْعِياِسْتَدْعىXto summon

Enfolding (doubly weak) roots / الفِعْل اللَفِيف

Several verbs have a double weak root, either 1st & 3rd weak roots or 2nd & 3rd weak roots. The conjugation of verbs formed from these roots will generally follow the rules of both categories.

→ assimilated and defective: وَفَى (to fulfill)

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Irregular verbs

The conjugation of irregular verbs

Discover the intricacies of conjugating irregular verbs in Arabic with our comprehensive guide. Learn how to conjugate these verbs and improve your understanding of Arabic grammar today.

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