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Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by seitt, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. seitt Senior Member


    Is مضارع the usual word for the imperfect tense (sometimes also called ‘present tense’), please?

    It would seem literally to mean “similar”; how has the meaning developed from “similar” to “present tense”?

    Of course, there is also a problem regarding how a Form III meaning ‘to be similar’ has developed from a Form I meaning ‘to be humble/submissive’, so we have some very interesting extensions of meaning in this root.

    All the best, and many thanks,

  2. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    Because an imperfect verb "resembles" a noun in that it can takes both -u and -a endings and the particle la-.:D From Sibawayhi:

    "Because they [the imperfect verbs] resemble the active participles ... and you attach the laam to them as you do to the nouns, which you don't do to the perfect verbs."

    Let's wait for our grammar big guns to give you a fuller answer.;)
  3. seitt Senior Member

    Thank you so much, a most enlightening answer.
  4. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Yes, that is right, the مضارع is termed such because this form of the verb resembled the noun in terms of the desinential inflection it takes.

    There are two ways you can look at verbs -- صيغة (form), and زمن (time). Each has three categories:

    الماضي (the past; used for past time but also for present and future in certain cases)
    المضارع (the resembling (the noun) form in that the default case is al-raf3, but can be changed to al-naSb or al-jazm depending on other surrounding elements; used for present and future)
    الأمر (the imperative)

    الماضي (the past)
    الحاضر (the present)
    المستقبل (the future)

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