A: Forms IX and X

Form IX verbs are extremely rare and are used only in reference to colors and to physical and mental defects. The complete conjugations are in the charts at the end of this book. The Form IX pattern is إفْعَلَّ (the hamza on the prefix is elidable just as in Forms VII and VIII). A commonly used Form IX is إحْمَرَّ which means “to turn red” and “to blush.” The present tense conjugation is يَحْمَرَّ (the stem vowel becomes a kasra whenever the suffix begins with a consonant or a sukuun, just as with other doubled verbs you have seen in Forms VII and VIII).


The same pattern works for other colors as well. Thus أسود becomes إسْوَدَّ and أصفر becomes إصْفَرَّ .

On the other hand, Form X verbs are extremely common and occur in all types (i.e. hollow, defective, impossible, doubled, etc.) We will examine them carefully here. After you have covered Form X you will only need to study the quadriliteral verbs and you will have covered all you need to know about the verb system. In fact, if all you get out of this book is a mastery of the verb system, you will still have gained a great deal.


خَدَمَ is a Form I verb meaning “to serve.” إستَخْدَمَ is a Form X verb meaning “to use” or “to employ.” The Form X is derived by prefixing إسْت (the hamza is elidable, in case you were wondering) to the three letters which comprise the Form I verb.The prefix tends to affect the meaning of the verb in two basic ways. First, it can refer to the seeking or putting to use of the meaning of the Form I. Thus, the Form X of خدم refers to the seeking of the service of something or to putting something into service. Another example is عاد which means “to return.” إستعاد means “to get back” or “to reclaim.” That is, the Form X refers to the seeking of what the Form I means. Along the same lines is the Form X إسْتَخرَجَ “to extract” from خَرَجَ “to exit.”

A second way the prefix can influence the meaning is that it denotes the deeming of something to have the qualities implied by the three letters of the root. For example, نَكَرَ means “to disavow.” The Form X إستنكر means “to disapprove.” هَجُنَ means “to be faulty,” while إسْتَهجَنَ means “to condemn” or “to reject.” حَقَّ means “to be true” or even “to be suitable or appropriate.” إسْتَحَقَّ means “to be worthy” and “to merit.”


While all Form X verbs will not fit easily into the two categories above, most of them fit in reasonably well. As with the other forms, the patterns can be used to help predict meaning and to lessen reliance on the dictionary, but you cannot always rely on the general tendencies toward meaning associated with any given form. Sometimes you will have to pick up the dictionary.

Sound Form X verbs conjugate exactly like their Form VIII counterparts in the imperfect. The prefix vowel is always a fatha and the stem vowel is always a kasra. Thus, in the imperfect the verb إسْتَخْدَمَ is يَسْتَخْدِمُ . Note also the sukuun over the س of the prefix in both tenses.


The command conjugations and the jussive conjugations should all be obvious by now. Try to generate some of these and then check the charts at the end of the book.

The verbal noun is إستخْدام The active participle is مُستَخْدِم and the passive participle is مُستَخْدَم.

Form X verbs also occur,in,the passive and conjugate just as they do in Form VIII. In the past tense, our model verb becomes أُستُخدِم and in the imperfect it is يُسْتَخْدَمُ The complete conjugations are in the charts.



Hollow Verbs

Form X hollow verbs behave (with rare exceptions, to be noted below) just like Form IV hollow verbs with respect to their conjugations in both tenses. In the past tense, the alif is shortened to a fatha. In the present tense, the alif becomes a yaa’ which is in turn shortened to a kasra when necessary. For example,إستعاد (“to reclaim”) will have its alif shortened to a fatha whenever any Form IV hollow verb would. Thus “I reclaimed” is إستعدتُ The reasons for the shortening should be clear by now.


In the imperfect indicative,the alif becomes a yaa’, just as is the case in Form IV.”He reclaims” is يَسْتَعيدُ . The yaa’ shortens to a kasra whenever shortening is required. Thus, “He did not reclaim” is لم يَسْتَعِدْ


The verbal noun is very similar to that for Form IV in that it ends in ة also. The verbal noun for our model verb is إستعادة .

The active participle is مُسْتَعيد and the passive participle is مُستعاد

The passive pattern is أُستُعيدَ in the past tense and يُستَعادُ in the imperfect indicative.

Before I show you a couple of exceptions to Form X hollow verb conjugations, let’s review derived hollow verbs for a minute. Experience tells me that students get confused easily by these verbs but that a simple classification scheme can usually remove the difficulties.

Hollow verbs pose conjugation problems in Forms I, IV, VII, VIII, and X. Form I hollow verbs are in a class by themselves. You should review them separately by going over the material in Chapter One of Part II. For now we will look at only the four derived forms which pose problems.


In the past tense, the four derived forms all, all, all ALL, ALL, ALL have the alif shortened to a LITTLE TINY ITTY BITTY FATHA whenever shortening is required.

In the imperfect, keep together in your mind Forms IV and X on the one hand, and Forms VII and VIII together on the other. Forms IV and X convert the alif into a yaa’ in the present. When the yaa’ needs to be shortened it becomes a kasra.

Forms VII and VIII keep the alif in the present tense. When the alif needs to be shortened, it is shortened to a fatha.


ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND THE SPELLING AMBIGUITIES THAT TAKE PLACE WHENEVER THE SHORTENING IS DONE. If you neglect these ambiguities, you will always have a hard time with the language.


Now I want to bring up a couple of exceptions that occur in hollow verbs in Form X. The Form X verb إسْتجابَ means “to respond.” It conjugates just like our model verb إستعادَ in every single way. The root of the verb has a waaw as the middle radical. With a few Form X hollow verbs, the middle radical can sometimes be kept. In this case, there is also the verb إسْتَجْوبَ which means “to interrogate.” In the present tense the verb is يَسْتَجْوِبُ Whenever a Form X keeps the waaw, the verb will conjugate just like a sound verb. The waaw will never disappear, never. It even remains in the verbal noun, إِسْتِجواب, and in the participles مُسْتَجْوِب and مُسْتَجْوَب


There are only a very few Form X hollow verbs which will keep the waaw. Most of them, unlike إستجاب will not also have a Form X conjugation which uses an alif in the past tense and a yaa’ in the present tense. Thus إِسْتَحْوَذَ exists only as إستحوذ and does not have a regular Form X hollow manifestation of إستحاذ When such manifestations exist, they will have different meanings.



Assimilated Verbs

Form X assimilated verbs are regular in their conjugations. The verb إِسْتَوطَنَ means “to settle.” In the present tense it is يَسْتَوْطِنُ Note that the waaw remains and acts as a regular consonant.

The verbal noun for this verb is إسْتيطان Note that in the Form X verbal noun, the waaw changes into a yaa’ just as is the case in Form IV (أوضح becomes إيضاح, for example).

The active participle is مُستَوطِن and the passive participle is مُستَوطَن



Doubled Verbs

Doubled verbs in Form X work just as their counterparts do in Form IV (what a surprise). Thus the stem vowel in the imperfect is always a kasra, just as in Form IV. إسْتَغَلَّ means “to exploit.” In the present tense it is يَسْتَغِلُّ So for doubled verbs, like hollow verbs, you should group Forms IV and X together, and group Forms VII and VIII together.

In Form X, the rules for breaking up the doubled radical are exactly the same as they are for all doubled verbs. Thus “I exploited” is إِسْتَغْلَلْتُ and “they (feminine) exploit” is يَسْتَغْلِلْنَ

When the jussive is used, you have the usual options. You can either use the subjunctive, or you can use the actual jussive. So “He did not exploit” is either لم يَسْتَغِلَّ or لم يَسْتَغْلِلْ. The former, as usual, is more common than the latter.

The verb noun is إستِغلال The active participle is مُسْتَغِلّ The passive participle is مُسْتَغَلّ



Defective Verbs

Form X defective verbs are just like defective verbs in Forms II, III, IV, VII, and VIII. Or, to put it more simply, Form X defective verbs conjugate in both tenses just like the Form I verb إسْتَلْقى , يَبْني , بنى is a Form X defective verb meaning “to he down.” “I lay down” is إِسْتَلْقَيْتُ (“I lay down,” is past tense in English. If you do not know this, you probably have not taught English as a foreign language). “He lies down,” is يَسْتلقي The same principles of shortening apply here as with all other defective verbs. So, “He did not lie down,” is لم يَسْتَلْقِ .

The verbal noun is أِستلْقاء . The active participle is مُسْتلْقٍ and the passive participle is مُسْتلْقي

You have now completed the ten forms of the triliteral Arabic verb. Practice the conjugations of the various forms and the subcategories of each form. Make sure you can do the passive voice as well. All of the material presented so far in this book must become second nature to you if you ever want to have any success in this language. This does not mean that you have to automatically know where every fatha and kasra has to be placed. But you do need to get to the point where the verb business is not intimidating you and you can produce it correctly at least eighty percent of the time. The best way for you to make this material become second nature is for you is to practice. Write out the conjugations, think about the conjugations, review the drills you have done so far. Reread sections of this book. Do not feel you are an idiot if you do not remember everything you have read up until now. Review. Review. Review.


Additionally, read new material. Listen to Arabic. Speak Arabic. Read the section in this book (in Part III) entitled “How To Be A Good Arabic Student.” And know this: If you master even just the material so far presented in this text, you will have made a great stride toward becoming proficient in this language in terms of reading. If you do not master the material presented so far in this text, you will never be able to do anything in Arabic. If you do not have the will to learn the material, which is fine, as one’s individual worth should not be based on whether one wants to be good at any one particular thing, then forget about it and go do something else. I just hope that I will not one day see you on Ted Koppel’s Nightline in the role of “The Middle East Expert” who is illiterate and unable to communicate in the language of the people on which the expert is supposedly so knowledgeable.



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