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.
“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.
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