Commands – Forms I and II

Form II

Commands are as much fun to give people in Arabic as they are in other languages. Arabic commands are not quite so simple as they are in English, but they can be mastered easily now that you know how to do the jussive. As I stated in a previous chapter, the word jussive refers to the form of the verb used in a command. It is from the jussive that Arabic commands are derived.

 

Command conjugations exist for أنتن , انتم , أنتِ , أنتَ and أنتما . Therefore you have only five conjugations to learn for the commands for each type of verb. Furthermore, although I will give you all five command conjugations for each kind of verb, the drills will stress the commands for the first three pronouns at the beginning of this paragraph since they are the most commonly used.

 

We will start with the Form II verb يُدَرِّسُ , دَرَّسَ (“to torture”) to illustrate the way commands are done for every Form II verb in the language. As I hove said, the command is derived from the jussive. The jussive for this verb for the pronoun أنتَ is تُدَرِّسْ. If we take off the prefix تُ we are left with دَرَّسَ which is the command for انتَ. For أنتِ (and for the other pronouns) we do exactly the same thing. The jussive for أنتِ is تُدَرِّسي. When we delete the prefix, we are left with دَرِّسي which is the command for the second person feminine singular.

The exact same procedure is followed for the plural commands and for the dual. Here are the commands for the verb يُدَرِّسُ , دَرَّسَ

Command

Pronoun

دَرِّسْ

أنتَ

دَرِّسي

أنتِ

دَرِّسا

أنتما

دَرِّسوا

انتم

دَرِّسْنَ

انتنَّ

Assimilated, hollow and doubled verbs will have their commands formed exactly the same way, so no examples will be treated here. In fact, defective verbs also form their commands the same way. However, defective verbs do look sort of funny so let’s take a closer look a them. Maybe they will look even funnier.

We will use the defective verb يُصلِّي , صَلّى and derive the commands for it. For the second person masculine singular, the jussive is تُصلِّ. We drop the prefix and we have the command صَلِّ. This looks funny. Now look at all the command forms for this verb below.

Command

Pronoun

صَلِّ

أنتَ

صَلّي

أنتِ

صَلّيا

أنتما

صَلّوا

انتم

صَلّينَ

انتنَّ

Remember that commands, like everything else in the language, will be unvocalized. Thus the first command in the chart above can look like the past tense of a Form I doubled verb when there are no vowels. Likewise, the fourth command in the chart above will look just like the past tense conjugation for هم. Another example is the second person masculine singular command for the Form II verb دَرَّسَ also discussed above. The command form and the past tense form look the same when unvoweled. Usually you can tell what is going on from context, but your mind must be aware of all the possible readings of a group of consonants so that you can make sense of texts and use a dictionary correctly. Practice helps a great deal. The more you read, the more quickly you will be able to determine the nature of the words you are using.

 

Form I

Sound Verbs

 

Form I verbs, like all verbs in the language, derive their command forms from the jussive. However, the pattern of the Form I command is different from that of Form II. We will now see why.

 

We will take the verb يُدرسُ , دَرسَ as our model. The jussive of this verb for أنتَ is, as you know, تَدْرُسْ Now we will drop the prefix, just as we did for Form II. We are left with دْرُسْ. For Form II, whatever was left after the dropping of the prefix was the command. Now, however, we have دْرُسْ which begins with two consonants with no vowel in between. As you know, a consonant cluster cannot begin a word in Arabic. Therefore, for all Form I sound verbs we must add a prefix in order to get the command form. If the stem vowel is a dhamma, as is the case here, the prefix is a hamza, seated on an alif, followed by a dhamma. أُ. If the stem vowel is either a fatha or a kasra, the prefix is a hamza with a kasra seated underneath an alif إِ . In our current situation, the imperfect stem vowel is a dhamma, so we add أُ and get أُدْرُسْ The same prefix will be used for all the command forms of this verb. The commands for يُدرسُ , دَرسَ are Below.

 

Command

Pronoun

أُدْرُسْ

أنتَ

أُدْرُسي

أنتِ

أُدْرُسا

أنتما

أُدْرُسوا

انتم

أُدْرُسْنَ

انتنَّ

 

The verbs يَذْهَبُ , ذَهَبَ has a stem vowel of fatha for the imperfect. Therefore, the prefix إِ will be attached for all the command forms of this verb.

Command

Pronoun

إِذْهَبْ

أنتَ

إِذْهَبي

أنتِ

إِذْهَبا

أنتما

إِذْهَبوا

انتم

إِذْهَبْنَ

انتنَّ

 

 

The verb يَرْجِعُ , رَجَعَ has a kasra for the stem vowel in the imperfect. It will thus take the same prefix as the verb above.

Command

Pronoun

إِرْجِعْ

أنتَ

إِرْجِعي

أنتِ

إِرْجِعا

أنتما

إِرْجِعوا

انتم

إِرْجِعْنَ

انتنَّ

 

 

These are examples of how all Form I sound verb commands all Form I sound verb commands are generated. Please note that no Form I sound verbs have a prefix beginning with a fatha. Also note that the hamza used in these Form I sound verbs is elidable. So for example, you might come across إجْلسْ وادْرُسْ I which would be pronounced “ijlis wadrus”.

 

Now let’s take a break and review the rules for forming commands for verbs in Forms I and II.

 

1. Take the jussive conjugation for the appropriate pronoun.

2. Delete the prefix for that conjugation.

3. If you now have a word beginning with a consonant and a vowel, you have your conjugation.

4. If you have a word beginning with a consonant and a sukuun you add a prefix based on the stem vowel.

5. If the stem vowel is a dhamma your prefix is أُ .

6. If the stem vowel is a fatha or a kasra your prefix is إِ.

 

The rules above apply to all ten forms with the exception of Form IV and a few other verbs which I’ll treat at the end of this section. In Form IV the prefix is always أَ and the hamza is not elidable. Otherwise all of the rules above apply.

Now let’s see how these rules apply to the other categories of Form I verbs. Hollow Verbs

 

Hollow Verbs

We first go to the jussive to derive the command. Let’s take the verb يَقولُ , قالَ So, rule number one above for أنتَ yields تَقلْ as I am sure you understand and remember. If we drop the prefix (rule two) we get قُلْ. Since we now have a consonant immediately followed by a vowel (rule three) WE NOW HAVE THE COMMAND FORM FOR THIS VERB for the second person masculine singular. For all Form I hollow verbs, we never need to add a prefix once we drop the prefix of the jussive. Before you look at the commands for this verb below, fill in the blank chart below with its commands based on the rules above. Then fill in the rest of the blanks for the verbs يسير , سار and يخاف , خاف. Then look at the chart which follows and see how you did.

 

The Do-It-Yourself Hollow Verb Command Chart

خافَ

سارَ

قالَ

Pronoun

أنتَ

أنتِ

أنتما

انتم

انتنَّ

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Do-It-Yourself Hollow Verb Command Chart – Corrected Version

خافَ

سارَ

قالَ

Pronoun

خَفْ

سِر

قٌلْ

أنتَ

خافي

سيري

قولي

أنتِ

خافا

سيرا

قولا

أنتما

خافوا

سيروا

قولوا

انتم

خَفْنَ

سِرنَ

قٌلْنَ

انتنَّ

You see that for three conjugations the middle radical remains. This is because the middle radical remains for these conjugations in the jussive. So do not think that you shorten the middle radical for these verbs for all command conjugations just because you do so for أنتَ. This is a common mistake which American students make.

 

 

Defective Verbs

If you can generate the jussive for each type of defective verb, you can generate the command. Defective verbs, like sound verbs, require a prefix in the command form. The rules for adding the prefix for defective verbs are the same as they are for sound verbs. Just follow the rules in the list I gave you above.

 

For example, we will begin with the first type of defective verb we studied, using يَشكو , شكا (“to complain”) as our model. The jussive for أنتَ is تَشْكُ When we drop the prefix we have شْكُ Obviously we now have the,same problem for this verb as wq do for Form I sound verbs. Since the stem vowel is a dhamma we add أُ as our prefix which gives us أشْكُ

 

The other two types of defectives, those like يجْري , جرى and يَنْسى , نَسيَ use إِ for the command prefix. Therefore, these two types of verbs use the same prefix as do the remainder of the Form I sound verbs, those whose stem vowel is either a fatha or kasra. (Verbs of the fourth category, such as سعى,يسعى have the same command patters as verbs like يَنسى , نَسيَ) Again, use the blank chart below and follow the rules you have been given and see if you can derive the command conjugations for defective Form I verbs. Remember, first you must know the type of defective the verb is, then you derive the jussive for the appropriate pronoun, then you drop the prefix of the jussive, and then you add the correct command prefix.

 

The Do-It-Yourself Defective Verb Command Chart

نَسِيَ ، يَنْسى

يَجْري ، جرى

يَشْكو ، شكا

Pronoun

أنتَ

أنتِ

أنتما

انتم

انتنَّ

 

 

 

The Do-It-Yourself Defective Verb Command Chart – Corrected Version

نَسِيَ ، يَنْسى

يَجْري ، جرى

يَشْكو ، شكا

Pronoun

إِنْسَ

إِجْرِ

أُشْكُ

أنتَ

إِنْسي

إِجْري

أُشْكي

أنتِ

إِنْسَيا

إِجْريا

أُشْكُوا

أنتما

إِنْسوا

إِجْروا

أُشْكوا

انتم

إِنْسَيْنَ

إِجْرينَ

أُشْكونَ

انتنَّ

 

Doubled Verbs

The commands for doubled verbs can either be derived from the jussive of these verbs or they can be derived from the subjunctive. Recall that in the previous chapter I mentioned that usually the actual jussive of these verbs is not used today in MSA. As I said, normally, the subjunctive is used instead. I then gave you the jussive and subjunctive conjugations for a model doubled verb and pointed out two things:

1. For the “big five” conjugations in the subjunctive, a fatha replaces the dhamma of the present tense and the sukuun of the jussive.

2. For all the rest of the conjugations, the subjunctive is the same as the jussive.

Now, let’s look at the pronouns used in deriving command conjugations. Only one of them, أنتَ is a member of the big five. So for أنتَ two different command conjugations are possible, one based on the subjunctive, the other on the jussive. The one based on the subjunctive is more common.

The other four pronouns will each have only one possible outcome since the jussive and subjunctive conjugations for them are the same. Let’s do أنتَ first. We will use the verb يَرُدُّ , رَدَّ as our model verb.

 

In the subjunctive, the conjugation for أنتَ is تَرُدَّ. If we drop the تَ prefix we are left with رُدَّ which begins with a consonant followed by a vowel. So رُدَّ is the command based on the subjunctive.

In the jussive, the conjugation for أنتَ is تَردُدْ When we drop the تَ we get ردُدْ which requires the prefix أ (since it begins with a consonant with a sukuun and has a dhamma as a stem vowel) and gives us أُردُد . As I said above, the jussive-based command conjugation for أنتَ for doubled verbs is rare.

The other four command pronouns are all derived from the jussive. For example, for انتم the jussive gives us تَرُدّوا. We drop the prefix and get رُدّوا which is our command. Below is a chart for the commands for the verb يَرُدُّ , رَدَّ

 

Command

Pronoun

رُدَّ (أرْدُدْ)

أنتَ

رُدّي

أنتِ

رُدّا

أنتما

رُدّوا

انتم

أُرْدُدْنَ

انتنَّ

 

 

Keeping in mind that although for أنتَ you will want to use the subjunctive, the six rules for deriving command conjugations apply to Form I doubled verbs as well as they do to other verbs.

 

Three Oddball Verbs

The verbs أَكَلَ , أَخَذَ and أَمَرَ are slightly irregular because they have a hamza as their first radical. For each of these verbs, when we derive the command by using the jussive, we cut off not only the prefix used with the jussive, but the hamza as well. For example, the jussive for أنتَ of the verb أحذ is تأخذ If we were to take away only the تَ prefix we would have .أخُذْ. We would then have to add a prefix of أُ which would give use two hamza’s in a row. Arabic does not like two hamza’s in a row. Neither do I. In order to avoid this most unpleasant situation, the hamza of the root is removed along with the تَ prefix. This leaves us with خُذْ Since this word begins with a consonant and a vowel it is now the command. (I must admit that I am truly bedazzled by this language.) Here are all of the command conjugations for يَأخُذُ , أَخَذَ

 

Command

Pronoun

خُذْ

أنتَ

خُذي

أنتِ

خُذا

أنتما

خُذوا

انتم

خُذْنَ

انتنَّ

أَكَلَ and أَمَرَ form their commands in the same way. If the command for أَمَرَ is preceded by و or by ف it,will retain the hamza of its root. In other words, the command for this verb for أنتَ is مُرْ just as خُذْ and كل are commands for أنتَ. However, if we add و or ف to مُرْ we we will have وأمُرْ and فأمُرْ This bringing back of the hamza is only done for the verb أَمَرَ and it will not always be done.

 

 

Negative Commands

Negative commaos for all verbs are done by using لا in front of the jussive. Thus لا تدرس means “do not study” and لا تقل means “do not say.” Make sure you use the correct jussive conjugation for the person(s) you are addressing – لا تدرسي – to a woman, for example. Do not ever, not once, not one single time, try to negatea command by putting لا in front of the imperative. Do not write لا إِقْرَأ when you mean to say لا تَقْرَأ. There is no such thing in Arabic as using لا with a positive command.

 

Indirect Commands

Indirect commands are formed with لِ and the jussive.لِندْرُسْ means “let’s study” and لِيدْرُسْ means “let him study.”

2 comments… add one
  • it really helped mee……..!!!!!! thank you

    Reply
  • When he says “We will take the verb يُدرسُ , دَرسَ as our model.” shouldn’t the present tense conjugation have a fatha above the yaa rather than a dhamma?

    Reply

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