FuSHa to Shami 24: Irregular verbs

Counting irregular verbs in any language is a kind of arbitrary process, since ‘irregular’ often means ‘not conjugating according to the most common patterns’ (even though a pattern may exist shared by large numbers of ‘irregular verbs’). In studies on Arabic the term very rarely appears because the tendency is to categorise all verbs which conjugate according to a pattern that appears with multiple verbs as regular. You can do this in colloquial, too, since the vast majority of verbs conjugate in a predictable way according to a pattern shared by all other verbs of a similar shape.

Nonetheless, there are a few strange outliers/rare patterns that you need to know. These include some of the most common verbs, so for one of our ~bonus posts~ here are some handy conjugation tables:

éja ‘to come’

اجى  éja
‘to come’

Active Participle Passive Participle
جاية jaaye, جايين jaayiin N/A
MaSdar Noun of Instance
N/A جيّة jayye
تعال تعالي تعالو ta3aal ta3aali ta3aalu
Present Past
Ana éji béji ايجي بيجي jiit éjiit جيت اجيت
Inte téji btéji تيجي بتيجي jiit éjiit جيت اجيت
Inti téji btéji تيجي بتيجي jiiti éjiiti جيتي اجيتي
Huwwe yéji byéji ييجي بيجي éja اجى
Hiyye téji btéji تيجي بتيجي éjet اجت
Né7na néji mnéji نيجي منيجي jiina éjiina جينا اجينا
Intu téju btéju تيجو بتيجو jiitu éjiitu جيتو اجيتو
Hénnen yéju béju ييجو بيجو éju اجو


éja is the unholy result of the loss of the hamza at the end of جاء. In Jor/Pal, the present tense has a long aa instead of é (baaji etc) and the prefixed form of the past has a short a instead of é- (ajiit etc). There is no difference in meaning between the past forms with prefixes and the ones without them. As should be obvious by now, the forms with the b- prefix are present and the forms without it are subjunctive.

اجى can take a direct object: اجاني ‘it came to me’.

جاية is used for both masculine and feminine in Syrian, although in Jor/Pal the distinction may be maintained (or jaay may be used for both). جاية takes suffixes in a slightly irregular way, attaching them to the form jaayiit- (جاييتك هلق jaayiitak halla2 ‘I’m coming to you now’).

اجى has no regular imperative, instead using the unrelated form ta3aal or its variant ta3a, ta3i, ta3u.

3aTa ‘give’


عطى 3aTa


  Active Participle Passive Participle
عاطي‪ 3aaTi معطي mé3Ti
MaSdar Noun of Instance
عطي‪ 3aTi N/A
عطي عطي عطو

3aTi 3aTi 3aTu

Present Past
Ana a3Ti ba3Ti اعطي بعطي 3aTeet عطيت
Inte ta3Ti bta3Ti تعطي بتعطي 3aTeet عطيت
Inti ta3Ti bta3Ti تعطي بتعطي 3aTeeti عطيتي
Huwwe ya3Ti bya3Ti يعطي بيعطي 3aTa عطى
Hiyye ta3Ti bta3Ti تعطي بتعطي 3aTet عطت
Né7na na3Ti mna3Ti نعطي منعطي 3aTeena عطينا
Intu ta3Tu bta3Tu تعطو بتعطو 3aTeetu عطيتو
Hénnen ya3Tu bya3Tu يعطو بيعطو 3aTu عطو


3aTa conjugates straightforwardly in the past, but has an irregular imperative (3aTi). It also irregularly has /a/ in its present prefixes, a feature it shares with 3émel (‘to do’, otherwise regular) and 3éref (‘to know’, otherwise regular).

akhad ‘to take’

اخد akhad
‘to take’
Active Participle Passive Participle
آخد aakhed مأخود ma2khuud
MaSdar Noun of Instance
اخد akh@d اخدة akhde
خود خدي خدو khood khédi khédu
Present Past
Ana aakhod baakhod آخد باخد akhad@t اخدت
Inte taakhod btaakhod تاخد بتاخد akhad@t اخدت
Inti taakhdi btaakhdi تاخدي بتاخدي akhatti اخدتي
Huwwe yaakhod byaakhod ياخد بياخد akhad اخد
Hiyye taakhod btaakhod تاخد بتاخد akhdet اخدت
Né7na naakhod mnaakhod ناخد مناخد akhadna اخدنا
Intu taakhdu btaakhdu تاخدو بتاخدو akhattu اخدتو
Hénnen yaakhdu byaakhdu ياخدو بياخدو akhadu اخدو


Not strictly irregular, akhad conjugates exactly like akal, the only other hamza-initial form I verb in common use. In its past tense forms it conjugates like a regular fa3al verb. In the present, however, the expected forms *é2khod etc do not exist. Instead the hamza drops and the prefix takes a long aa.

The imperative has a long vowel in the masculine singular (khood) which is shortened and neutralised to é when suffixes are added. This applies both to the person/number suffixes -i/u (khédi khédu) and to pronoun suffixes (khédo ‘take it’).

In Jor/Pal, the prefix vowel is long oo instead (bookhod, btookhod for example), and the participle is irregular, formed with a m standing in for the hamza (maakhed).


la2a ‘find’

لقى la2a
‘to find’

Active Participle Passive Participle
ملاقي mlaa2i N/A
MaSdar Noun of Instance
لاقي لاقي لاقو laa2i laa2i laa2u
Present Past
Ana laa2i blaa2i لاقي بلاقي la2eet لقيت
Inte tlaa2i bétlaa2i تلاقي بتلاقي la2eet لقيت
Inti tlaa2i bétlaa2i تلاقي بتلاقي la2eeti لقيتي
Huwwe ylaa2i bilaa2i يلاقي بلاقي la2a لقى
Hiyye tlaa2i bétlaa2i تلاقي بتلاقي la2et لقت
Né7na nlaa2i ménlaa2i نلاقي منلاقي la2eena لقينا
Intu tlaa2u bétlaa2u تلاقو بتلاقو la2eetu لقيتو
Hénnen ylaa2u bilaa2u يلاقو بلاقو la2u لقو


la2a is basically regular in its conjugation, but its present tense and active participle are formed as if they were form III (faa3al) verbs whilst its past is formed as if it was a form I verb (fa3al).

The passive equivalent of لقى is التقى lta2a ‘be found’.

stanna ‘to wait’

استنى stanna
‘to wait’

Active Participle Passive Participle
مستني méstanni N/A
MaSdar Noun of Instance
استنى استني استنو stanna stanni stannu
Present Past
Ana éstanna béstanna استنى بستنى stanneet استنيت
Inte téstanna btéstanna تسنتى بتستنى stanneet استنيت
Inti téstanni btéstanni تسنتي بتستني stanneeti استنيتي
Huwwe yéstanna byéstanna يستنى بيستنى stanna استنى
Hiyye téstanna btéstanna تسنتى بتستنى stannet استنت
Né7na néstanna mnéstanna نستنى منستنى stanneena استنينا
Intu téstannu btéstannu تستنو بتستنو stanneetu استنيتو
Hénnen yéstannu byéstannu يستنو بيستنو stannu استنو


استنى stanna conjugates relatively straightforwardly but has a strange shape that does not look like any other verb. It can take a direct object (استناني stannaani ‘wait for me’).


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