فعل = “to do”

Today’s word is فَعَلَ (faʿala, “to do”), and while it’s not a word you’re likely to encounter much in everyday speech, it is incredibly important if you want to study Arabic, because it serves as the instructional case by which grammatical forms are taught. So, for example, when you learn how to form the active participle of a form I verb, you learn the general form as فاعِل (fāʿil, “the doer”) before you start forming particular active participles from particular verbs.

Example:

“She did something.” = فَعَلَتْ شيءً (faʿalat shayʾan)

Here we see the accusative indefinite form again, with the “fathatan” over the ending of the object (shayʾ, “thing”; the meaning of “something” or “a thing” is given by the indefinite marker), and we also see the third person singular feminine past tense form of the verb, adding a ت or “-t” to the end of the third person masculine singular past tense.

So with that as preface, here are the 10 forms of the Arabic verb with the additional meanings imparted by each form.

Form I فَعَلَ faʿala, “to do” root meaning
Form II فَعَّلَ faʿʿala, “to cause (someone) to do” intensive or causative
Form III فاعَلَ fāʿala, “to do with (someone) associative; doing with someone
Form IV أفْعَلَ afʿala, “to make (someone) do” causative (but more intense than form II causative)
Form V تَفَعَّلَ tafaʿʿala, “to cause (myself) to do” reflexive of form II
Form VI تَفاعَلَ tafāʿala, “to do together” reflexive of form III
Form VII اِنْفَعَلَ infaʿala, “to be done” reflexive or passive of form I
Form VIII اِفْتَعَلَ iftaʿala, “to do myself” reflexive of form I or special case
Form IX اِفْعَلَّ ifʿalla, “to become” rarely found, usually in the case of colors (“to become [color]”)
Form X اِسْتَفْعَلَ istafʿala, “to consider it done” or “to seek to have it done” considerative or requestive of form I

There are five additional forms that are virtually never encountered in modern Arabic and are hardly ever encountered even in classical/historical Arabic texts. We will ignore them.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “فعل = “to do”

  1. Pingback: جمع = “to gather” | Arabic Word a Day
  2. Pingback: Please and thank you (and sorry), part II: you’re sorry, so sorry | Arabic Word a Day

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s