Verb Form IV أفعل

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by إبن آدم, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. إبن آدم New Member

    Hello all. I have been a long time lurker on these boards and decided to register I have so many questions of my own. I am currently studying Arabic at university and I am in my second year. Due to studying another subject alongside Arabic, it isn't as good as it should be.

    Anyway, I am having difficultly in understanding the fourth verb form أفعل. For example, if I had the verb كمل, it means 'he completed'. By adding تُ to the end, it becomes 'I completed'. My prefixing an أ to the root letters, one gets أكمل. This is where I start to get a bit lost. What is the difference between saying أكمل and كملتُ or even ُأكملت?
  2. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Welcome to the forum :)

    Until someone more knowledgable comes, here's a start:
    First, you need to be precise when comparing related or non-related words. The subject of أكمل is (he), while that of كملتُ and أكملتُ is (I).
    So, let's compare between kamultu and akmaltu:
    كملتُ (though this isn't really something one would say) means: I became complete
    أكملتُ means: I completed.

    Another verb:
    وَضَح الأمرُ it became clear
    أوضحَ الرجلُ الأمرَ the man made it clear

    And another:
    خَرَجْتُ I went out
    أخرجتُ القطةَ I sent the cat ou

    Here's a previous thread about verb forms. Check it and search the forum, I'm sure you'll find more useful information around.
  3. dkarjala Senior Member

    English - America
    اهلا وسهلا يا ابن آدم!

    Arabic, like all Semitic languages, is composed mainly of three-letter roots with semantic connotations. The basic form of the verb in the past tense consists of just those three root letters and specific vowel patterns and means "he did x" whatever x is.

    In the German tradition we call this "Form I". The meaning of this form determines the relationship of all the other forms (most of the time). To create the other forms, we add additional letters to the three-letter root before adding suffixes/prefixes. For Form IV, we add a hamza to the beginning of the root (though it only shows up in the past tense). Form IV has a couple uses but it is mainly a causative stem, meaning "to cause Form I". It raises the valency of the verb (sort of makes the subject involve more people/things in the action). So if Form I means "he arrived" (one person did something), Form IV will mean "he caused someone to arrive", (i.e. "he brought/gave a ride to so). Now there are two actors in the action, and the subject of the verb is causing yet another subject to do what Form I meant. Let's also work with the verb labisa 'he put on' and albasa 'he caused someone to put on/he dressed someone'.

    وصل 'he arrived'
    آوصل 'he brought (someone somewhere)'

    لبس 'he put on (an article of clothing)'
    ألبس 'he dressed (someone else)'

    You may still be lost, because you mentioned not understanding how the affixes are affecting the meaning. I'll try to help.

    All the verbs I just gave you are in the past. In the past tense, the front part of the verb doesn't change; you add endings for different people. Let's take the verb "put on" and "dress" and put them in the past in a couple forms:

    لبسَ 'he put on'
    لبستُ 'I put on'
    لبستَ 'you put on'

    Now in Form IV:

    ألبسَ 'he dressed (someone)'
    ألبستُ 'I dressed (someone)'
    ألبستَ 'you dressed (someone)'

    So the أ at the front of this PAST tense verb is adding the meaning of 'cause/make' to the basic meaning of Form I.

    Don't confuse this with the أ that goes in the front of the PRESENT tense to mean "I do...". For example, let's look at the present tense of these verbs:

    يَلبَسُ 'he puts on'
    ألبَسُ 'I put on'
    تَلبَسُ 'you put on'

    يُلبِسُ 'he dresses _'
    أُلبِسُ 'I dress _'
    تُلبِسُ 'you dress _'

    Note that in the present tense of Form IV, the hamza is lost- this is a historical development that happened in many languages. It is still different from Form I, because the vowel pattern is u-i instead of a-a.

    OK. Let me know if that isn't what you needed! :)
  4. إبن آدم New Member

    Apologies for my belated reply!

    Thank you cherine for the reply. You gave a good explanation leaving me with very few questions. those that I did have were answered in dkarjala's reply (bar one)!

    And another thank you to dkarjala. This too was a big help and very succinct. So, if we were to take my example, أكملتُ, this would mean I caused (something/someone) to be complete? Furthermore, what do we do if the verb already starts with أ such as أقسم? Finally, what would the meaning of أُقْسِمُ impart?
  5. dkarjala Senior Member

    English - America

    Yes, in other words, it means "I finished/completed ...".

    I have no idea what you mean but I will guess. There is no such thing as "already starting with" - each letter has a reason that you should be aware of. The root letters of the verb are قسم , which would look like the past tense of form I. If you have أقسم it is either 1) the past tense of form IV or 2) the present tense for انا of form I or form IV (can't tell without vowels).

    Now that I've said that, can you be more specific?

    This is the present tense of form IV meaning "I swear". The meanings in actual usage are not always predictable. Here it is probably related to one of the senses of form one (to allot > to foreordain) meaning something like "to cause something to be a matter of destiny" i.e., to swear is to promise to fulfill a certain fate on your part.
  6. إبن آدم New Member

    Okay, but bear with me! My Arabic teacher told me that the root verb is َأقسم, so this would be 'he swore an oath', and dropping the أ and replacing it with ي for the present tense. So, in order to use this verb in form IV past tense, one would need to add أ at the beginning, making the verb أأقسم ultimately becoming آقسم. However, this returns no results when I search for it. I hope that clarifies the issue somewhat?
  7. dkarjala Senior Member

    English - America
    It's already in form IV! Form I is قسم.

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