C: The Future

The future in Arabic is very easy. In fact, it is so easy that I am not even going to provide a drill on it. If you cannot understand the future, then run for Congress.


The future particle in Arabic is شَوْفَ It is placed before the imperfect verb. So “I will go to the library in order to study Arabic” is سَوْفَ أذهبُ الى المكتبة لادرس العربية


To negate the future, place لا between سوف and the imperfect verb. Our sentence above is negated like this سَوْف لا أذهبُ الى المكتبة لادرس العربية

Never write anything between سوف and the imperfect verb except لا. For example, if you wish to include the subject in your sentence, place it after the verb or before سوف . For example الطالب سوف يذهب or سوف يذهب الطالب


سَوْفَ can be abbreviated to سَ When the abbreviation is used, it is written as part of the verb. For example سَأذْهَبُ “I will go.” When the abbreviation is used, the sentence cannot be negated. If you need to negate a sentence with سَ change the سَ to سَوْفَ and then add لا.


There is another way to negate the future using the particle لَنْ . When this particle is used, سوف is dropped completely from the sentence. The verb following لَنْ must be written in the subjunctive. The resulting negation is stronger than using سوف لا For example,سوف لا يجتمع شامير مع عرفات means “Shamir will not meet with Arafat.” This sentence means that there was probably a meeting set up which Shamir will not attend or cannot attend. On the other hand لن يجتمع شامير مع عرفات means “Shamir will not (ever) meet with Arafat.” Here the meaning is much stronger and suggests that he will not meet with Arafat under any circumstances.


Note that the future is often used in the passive. Beware of that fact. (سَيُسْتَقْبَلُ “he will be met” for example.)

As I said above, there is no separate drill on the future. However, drills 48-52 will include the future. These drills will review all of the verb business you have covered so far and will include other things from the book as well. Do them now. Then read the last part of this chapter, which deals with the conditionall, and do drill 53. You will then have completed the core of this book. مَبْروك


Then go on to Part III. You can cover Part III in any order that you like. In fact, I hope that by now you have already read at least the sections on using the Hans Wehr dictionary and on how to be a good student of Arabic. Most of the grammar-related material in Part III is largely secondary, and one section rarely presupposes having mastered a previous section. These can be studied at your leisure.



2 responses to “C: The Future”

  1. بوب أوفّر-ويستورت Avatar
    بوب أوفّر-ويستورت

    I just noticed that the future particle is introduced as شَوْفَ, when of course it should be سَوْفَ. Easy typing mistake on an Arabic keyboard.

  2. Ali Avatar

    You made a typo here: you write شَوْفَ as the word which modifies the present to future, when it should be سَوْفَ

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