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Using Command Tense

Arabic language has three main tenses: Past, Present and Command. In our previous posts on past and present tenses, we learnt how to use those tenses. In this post, we will look at how to form and use the command tense.

Forming Command Tense

We construct the command tense using the past and present tenses. For example, جَلَسَ , means he sat, is a past tense verb. If you want to change it to command tense, you first convert it to a present tense, making it يَجْلِسُ , which means he is sitting. Then you drop the first letter (ي), replace it with an alif (ا) and change the last letter to a sukoon. Therefore it becomes: اِجْلِسْ which becomes a command, meaning sit. This is summaried below:

Forming Command Tense
Forming Command Tense

It’s that simple. Of course there are exceptions. However, it’s important to learn the basic form first. Once you understand the basics, it’s easier to build on it.

Using Command Tense

Now, let’s explore the command tense table. As you know from our post on pronouns, in Arabic we have 14 pronouns. Based on those 14 pronouns we conjugated the verbs in 14 different forms for the past and present tenses. However, for the command tense, the table is much shorter. In fact, it has only 6 conjugations. This is because you can’t really command someone who isn’t present (this eliminates third person pronouns like he, they, she, etc.), nor can you command yourself (I and We). Therefore, the command tense is used only for the second person in the Arabic language (i.e. the person you’re talking to face-to-face).

We use the verb he did (فَعَلَ) as a standard example in Arabic for all the tenses.

Command Tense Table
Command Tense Table

Note: The command tense usually has a sukoon on the last letter, except for female plurals.

Try and practice with some of the verbs you know and see if you can form the command tense. The more you practice, the easier it will get. This completes the three tenses in Arabic language. In a future post, we will explain how the future tense is used in Arabic, which is really simple. In Sha Allah.

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