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Lesson 14b: Negation

Lesson 14, Part A:
  • Intro
  • Dialogue
Lesson 14, Part B:
Negation
This lesson shows you how to negate verbal sentences in the present, past and future. More details and examples are given below but here is a summary of negation:

Negation Summary
Tense Tense Used Particle Used
Present Present لا
laa
Past Jussive لَم
lam
Past Past ما
maa
Future Subjunctive لَن
lan

Negative Present with la
The negative present is formed by simply adding لا (la) before the present tense of a verb:

لا + Present Tense

The negative present is used to state either something that is not happening right now:

I am not drinking water
لا أشرَب ماء

Or a general statement about something that doesn't usually happen:

He does not eat fish
هُوَ لا يَأكُل السَمَك


Negative Past with lam - Formal
There are two ways to form a negative past sentence. The first is more formal. Simply add لَم (lam) before the present jussive (that's right, present not past). We haven't covered the jussive yet but it is conjugated in a very similar way to the regular present tense except that any "n" at the end gets dropped.

لَم + Present Jussive

I did not go to the library
أنا لَم أذهَب إلى المَكتَبة

Negative Past with maa - Colloquial
The second, more colquial way to form a negative past is to add ما (maa) before the past tense:

ما + Past Tense

I did not go to the library
أنا ما ذَهَبتُ إلى المَكتَبة
Negative Future with lan
Simply add لَن (lan) before the present subjunctive. We haven't covered the subjunctive yet but it is conjugated in a very similar way to the regular present tense except that any "n" present at the end gets dropped.

لَن + Present Subjunctive

I will not go to the library
أنا لَن أذهَب إلى المَكتَبة