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Lesson 12b: The Past Tense

Lesson 12, Part A:
  • Intro
  • Dialogue
Lesson 12, Part B:
The Past Tense
The good news is that the Past Tense is simpler that the Present Tense because it uses only suffixes unlike the Present Tense which requires both prefixes and suffixes.

He studied - darasa
دَرَسَ


In this lesson we cover how to conjugate Form 1 Regular Verbs in the past tense. Take a quick look at this reference table for the Past Tense. As you do, look for similarities between the personal pronoun and the verb ending.

Read this chart from Right to Left
Suffix Pronoun
ﺖُ   
tu
أنا
ﺖَ   
ta
أﻧﺖَ  
ﺖِ   
ti
أﻧﺖِ
َ   
a
هُوَ 
َﺖ   
at
هِيَ 
ﻨﺎ   
naa
ﻧَﺤﻦُ
ﺘُﻢ   
tum
أﻧﺘُﻢ
ﺘُﻦَّ   
tunna
أﻧﺘَُّ
ﻮا   
uu
هُم 
ﻦَ   
na
ﻫَُّ

Note: For "hum" the suffix is Waaw and Alif but in this case they are pronounced "uu".

Did you notice the similarities between some of the personal pronouns and the Past Tense verb endings? Here, the verb "to study" is conjugated in the past with theverb endings in redand the similarities with pronouns in green.

Arabic English
أنا  دَرَﺳﺖُ
'anaa darastu
I studied
أﻧﺖَ  دَرَﺳﺖَ
'anta darasta
You studied
(masc)
أﻧﺖِ   دَرَﺳﺖِ
'anti darasti
You studied
(fem)
هُوَ  دَرَسَ
Huwa darasa
He studied
هِيَ  دَرَﺳَﺖ
Hiya darasat
She studied
ﻧَﺤﻦُ  دَرَﺳﻨﺎ
naHnu darasnaa
We studied
أﻧﺘُﻢ  دَرَﺳﺘُﻢ
'antum darastum
You studied
(masc, plural)
أﻧﺘُﻦَّ  دَرَﺳﺘُﻦَّ
'antunna darastunna
You studied
(fem, plural)
هُم  دَرَﺳﻮا
Hum darasuu
They studied
(masc, plural)
 ﻫَُّ دَرَﺳﻦَ
Hunna darasna
They studied
(fem, plural)


Hopefully the similarities with the personal pronouns will help you remember the verb endings.


Now find 15 or 20 minutes to practice writing the above chart for "to study" until you can do it from memory.

Only after you can write the chart from memory, take our Past Tense verbs quiz:

The Past Tense Usage
Now let's take a look at some short dialogues. Read the question and the possible answers. Try to understand the answers, and only use the dictionary if you are really stuck. Then, try to give your own answer to the question. If you have a language or study partner, or if you attend a conversation group, memorize the questions so that you can ask them the next chance you get! Don't forget that for the question, you will pronounce the ت on the end of the verb as 'ti' if you are asking a woman, and 'ta' if you are speaking to a man.

If you do get stuck, Google Translate is a convenient way to look up words or entire phrases.

ماذا عملت اليوم؟
What did you do today?
درستُ اللغة العربية
لعبتُ كرة القدم
جلستُ في المقهى مع صديقي

الى أين ذهبت في هذا الاسبوع؟
Where do you go this week?
ذهبتُ الى مطعم لبناني
ذهبتُ الى بيت صديقي
ذهبتُ الى مدينة بارس