Kāda and its sisters / كادَ وَأَخَواتُها

Kāda and its sisters / كادَ وَأَخَواتُها

Unlike regular verbs, ‘Kāda and its sisters’ (كاد وَأَخَواتُها) are termed as semi-verbs (أَفْعال ناقِصة) since they do not possess an agent/doer (فاعِل) in their sentence. The verb Kāda (كادَ) originally means ‘to be about to’. 

Similarly to ‘Kāna and its sisters’, ‘Kāda and its sisters’ are used in the perfect tense (الماضي) and also initiate a nominal sentence (جُمْلة اِسْمية) which causes the subject (المبتدأ) to be designated as اسم كادَ (noun of Kāda) while making the information/khabar (الخبر) into خَبَر كادَ (predicate of Kāda).

Kāda and sisters’ predicate (خَبَر كادَ) should be formulated as a verbal sentence, where the verb is in the imperfect tense (المُضارِع). The verb will sometimes be preceded by the subjunctive particle أنْ (equivalent to ‘to’ of English infinitive), consequently making it subjunctive. Despite seeming like it starts with a verb, their sentence structure is actually nominal, with the subject (المُبْتَدأ) being either an implicit pronoun or a noun explicitly following ‘Kāda and its sisters’. Here’s what the sentence with ‘Kāda and its sisters’ looks like.

Sentence with Kāda and its sisters 
خَبَرَ كادَ
(فِعْل مُضارِع…)
اسم كادَ
(اسم أو ضَمِير مستتر) +
كاد وَأَخَواتُها
(فِعْل ماضٍ) + 
The predicate of the nominal sentence called ‘khabar Kāda’
(starting with a verb in the imperfect tense)
The subject of the nominal sentence is called ism Kāda
(either a noun or an implicit pronoun)
Kāda and its sisters
(in the past tense)

Kāda and sisters are divided into three sub-categories of verbs:

  • Verbs of imminence / أَفْعال المُُقارَبة
  • Inchoative verbs / أَفْعال الشُرُوع
  • Verbs of hope / أَفْعال الرَجاء

Verbs of imminence / أَفْعال المُقارَبة

These verbs mean the imminence of the action of the verbal predicate. They express an action that was about to take place but didn’t happen.

The verb of imminence كادَ يَكادَ (= to be about to…, almost, nearly) can be followed by a juxtaposed verb (or preceded by أَنْ)

مِثال في جُمْلة
Example in sentence
أَفْعال المُقارَبة
Verbs of imminence
كادَ الأُسْتاذُ يُعْطِي الجَوابَ
The professor almost gave the answer
كادَ يَكادُ (أَنْ)
to be about to, to almost/nearly do
كِدْتُ أَنْ أَغْضِبَ على ما فَعَلَتْ
I almost got mad at what she did
أَوْشَكَتْ الصَخْرةُ أَنْ تَسْقُطَ = أَوْشَكَتْ الصَخْرةُ على السُقُوط
The rock was on the verge of falling
أَوْشَكَ يُوشِكُ على / أَنْ
To be on the verge of
كَرَبَتْ الطائِرةُ أَنْ تُقْلِعَ
The plane was about to take off
كَرَبَ أَنْ
To be ready to

Inchoative verbs / أَفْعال الشُرُوع

These verbs have the meaning of ‘beginning, getting started’. Contrary to verbs of imminence, inchoative verbs can only be followed by juxtaposed verbs that won’t be preceded by أَنْ.

The main inchoative verbs are: أَخَذَ / جَعَلَ / بدأ

We started playing soccer a year agoبَدَأْنا نُمارِسُ كُرةَ القَدَمِ قَبْلَ سَنَةٍ
The child began to laughجَعَلَ الطِفْلُ يَضْحَكُ
The knight began to draw his sword from its scabbardأَخَذَ الفارِسُ يَسْتِلُّ سَيْفَهُ مِن غِمْدِهِ

Note: used outside this sentence construction, each term retains its own meaning.

In addition to these three verbs, there are a few other verbs that have the same meaning as well as their major meaning. The following are the most common of them:

قامَأَنْشَأَأَقْبَلَشَرَعَطَفِقَ 
to start/ to begin

Verbs of hope / أَفْعال الرَجاء

Verbs of hope are constituted of three verbs expressing a desired probability which are:

اِخْلَوْلَقَ أَنْحَرى أَنْعَسى أَنْ
Maybe/hopefully

Unlike inchoative verbs and verbs of imminence, these ‘incomplete-verbs’ (أَفْعال ناقِصة) remain frozen as in they cannot be conjugated. Furthermore, the following verb will always be a subjunctive verb (المُضارع المَنْصوب) preceded by أَنْ.

Hopefully you are wellعساكَ أَنْ تَكونَ بِخَيْرٍ
Hopefully the sun will show upحَرى الشَمْسُ أَنْ تَبْرُزَ
Maybe they’ll leave after sunsetاِخْلَوْلَقَ أَنْ يُغادِرُوا بَعْدَ المَغْرِبِ

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Kāda and sisters

Kāda and its sisters

Learn about the usage and meaning of the verb "Kāda" and its sisters in Arabic. Explore various examples and exercises to improve your understanding of these verbs in context.

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