In Arabic, a verb is not only characterized by what tense (past, present, future) that it is in, but also by what mood it is in.
In Arabic, a verb in the imperfect can be in one of four moods. The moods are:
All verbs in the Perfect tense (past tense) are considered to be in the indicative.
The mood of a verb is indicated by the vowel over the final letter of the verb, as well as some changes to suffixes attached to the verb. The changes are explained under each mood.
This is the most common form of a verb. It is used to mean that something can or does happen. It is used when stating directly the verb happens or is happening. It is also used with the future tense.
Examples of verbs in the indicative are: I eat, I sleep, I read, I go, he goes, he went, I ate, I walked, etc.
The indicative is represented by a dhamma over the final letter of the verb. The dhamma may not be there for every conjugation, as some conjugations require a different vowel. The following chart shows a measure II verb fully conjugated in the indicative. The final vowel dhamma is the best indicator that a verb is in the indicative.
Notice that conjugations that have a suffix ending with a ن do not carry the dhamma. This may seem confusing. However, the indicative is still easily distinguishable from the other moods because, as you will see below, the ن is dropped from the most of the suffixes when conjugating the verb in other moods.
The subjunctive is used when expressing a condition, wish, or desire. It only occurs after certain particles. Rather than trying to fully understand the deepest meanings and uses of the subjunctive, it might be easier for a beginning student of Arabic to simply memorize the particles that require the use of the subjunctive.
The Subjunctive is indicated by changing the final vowel (a dhamma in the indicative) to a fatha. Also, with the exception of the female plural, the ن is dropped from all suffixes. The following table shows a verb fully conjugated in the subjunctive compared with the indicative.
The following table shows a list of most of the particles that require the use of the subjunctive. However, there may be other circumstances which are not listed here that would require the use of the subjunctive. Notice that verbs that come after the particle are placed in the subjunctive, as conjugated in the above chart.
The Jussive is the base form for the imperative. It is used mainly in two circumstances:
The Jussive is formed by placing a sukuun over the final letter in the verb. It is the same as conjugation in the subjunctive, except instead of using a fatha (subjunctive) a sukuun is used (jussive). Look at the chart below to see a fully conjugated verb.
Here are some examples sentences with verbs conjugated in the jussive:
لم أذْهَبْ الى المدرسة اليم - I did not go to school today.
لم يَذْهَبُوا الى المطار بعد - They did not go to the airport yet.
لا تَجْلِبْ اطفالك الى الحفلة - Don't bring your children to the party.
لا تَذْهَبُوا الى السوق اليوم - Don't (you pl.) go to the market today.
الامتحان غداً و لَمّا تَدْرُسِي - The test is tomorrow and you (f.) have not studied yet.
لِنَذْهَبْ - Let's go!
لِنَقْرَأْ - Let's read!
The imperative is the used when giving a command or an order. You use it when telling someone to do something. It is similar in form to the Jussive, but does not have the conjugation prefix like the jussive does.
Eat your food.
Read the book.
The formation of the imperative is discussed in detail for each measure on the measures page.
You can also go directly to the imperative section for each measure below: