The past tense in Arabic

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The perfect or the past (Arabic: الماضي) forms the basic form of the verb in Arabic. In Arabic, there is no distinction between perfect, past tense and pluperfect, as in German. There is only one past tense that can be used to talk about past events. We deliver past tense in Arabic!

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1st person
2nd person addressee
(when addressed directly)
3rd person assent
(when talking indirectly about someone)
فَعَلتُماأَنتُمافَعَلاهما (مذكر)المُثَنَّى
فَعَلَتاهما (مؤنث)
The table should be read from right to left, just like the Arabic script is written and read

Caution: Without vocalization, the

2nd person singular feminine (هي), the 1st person singular masculine and feminie (أنتَ و أنتِ) and the 3rd person singular (أنا) in the past tense look the same. Therefore, the context must be well considered to know which pronoun the verb is referring to if it is being omitted, which is allowed in Arabic and is also common because otherwise, it would be like a double information.

Although there is only one tense in Arabic for the past, there are ways of expressing that something happened in the past or in the distant past by putting the verb كان in front of the subject followed by the verb in the indicative. This expresses something that happened in the past for a long time or the construction “used to” as we say in English.

Incidentally, the past is negated with لم + verb in the apocopate. Briefly explained the apocopate is the imperfect tense with the difference that the last letter has a sukun ( ْ ).

That was The past in Arabic. If you liked the article, then you should also read the article about the other tenses, the present tense in Arabic.