Egyptian Arabic Grammar


Verbs

A verb tells you what is happening- for example, reading, walking etc. In Egyptian, the general meaning of a word is defined by the consonants, and several related words may contain this set of letters. For example, the letters ktb are used to make the words write, type, book, writer, written, writing, office and desk. The exact meaning is affected by the vowels, prefixes and suffixes (extra bits at the beginning and the end). Here are some of the ways the exact meaning can change for verbs:

  • tense - when something happens (past, present, future)
  • case - who is doing it (I, you, he, etc)
  • mode - must, could etc
  • pronouns - who is doing it, who is having it done to them
  • negation - say something is NOT happening

Most of the examples in this chapter use the verb katabkatab كـَتـَب, which means write: about 30% of verbs follow this pattern.

The web site www.lisaanmasry.com and the apps that you can download from the web site all provide full details for the majority of verbs.

Pronouns

There are three main types of pronouns that can be used with verbs:

  • subject - I, we, you, he, she, it, they
  • object - me, us, you, him, her, it, them
  • indirect object - to me, to us, to you, to him, to her, to it, to them

In Egyptian, the subject pronoun is a separate word before the verb: the object and indirect object pronouns are attached to the end of the verb. Here are a some examples:

PronounEnglishArabic
SubjectI know Ahmed'ana Aaarif 'ahmadaacnaa Aaarif aacHmad
أنا َ عا َر ِف أحمـَد
Subject, objectI know him'ana Aaarifuhaacnaa Aaarif-uh
أنا َ عا َر ِفـُه
ObjectAhmed saw her yesterday'ahmad shaafha 'imbaarihaacHmad shaaf-haa iicmbaariH
أحمـَد شا َفها َ إمبا َر ِح
ObjectSarah knows himsaara Aaarifahsaarao Aaarifah
سا َر َة عا َر ِف َه
Object, Indirectgive it to me!iddyhwliiiddy-hw-ly
ا ِدّيهولي

Subject pronoun

The subject pronoun appears before the verb or participle.

English Arabic
I 'anaaacnaa
أناَ
we 'ihnaiicHnaa
إحناَ
you(m) 'intaiicnta
إنتَ
you(f) 'intiiicnti
إنتِ
you(pl) 'intuiicntoo
إنتوا
he/it(m) huwwahuwwa
هـُوَّ
she/it(f) hiyahiya
هـِيَ
they hummahumma
هـُمَّ

Object pronoun

You can attach an object pronoun (for example me or him) to the end of an imperative, verb or participle. See pronouns for more information.

Ahmed envies me

aacHmad biyiHsad-ny

English Suffix
me ni_ny
ـني
us na_naa
ـناَ
you(m) ak_ak
ــَك
you(f) ik_ik
ــِك
you(pl) kum_kum
ـكـُم
him/it(m) uh_uh
ــُه
her/it(f) ha_haa
ـهاَ
them hum_hum
ـهـُم

If there is an i_i_ ــِ before the last consonant and the suffix starts with a vowel, the i_i_ ــِ is dropped. If the verb requires a preposition (to, from etc) the object goes on the preposition.

Here are some examples:

English Egyptian
show me! warryniwarry-ny
و َرّيني
nobody helped us mahaddish saaAidnamaHaddish saaAid-naa
مـَحـَدّ ِش سا َعـِدنا َ
I saw you(m) 'ana shuftakaacnaa shuftak
أنا َ شـُفت َك
I love you(f) 'ana bahibbikaacnaa baHibbik
أنا َ بـَحـِبّ ِك
I know him 'ana Aaarifuhaacnaa Aaarif-uh
أنا َ عا َر ِف ُه
I told them 'ana 'ultilhumaacnaa qultil-hum
أنا َ قـُلتـِلهـُم

Indirect object

Some verbs require two objects- for example:

give it(f) to me

iiddy-haa-ly

It is the direct object and to me is the indirect object. The indirect object suffixes are as follows:

English Suffix
to me li_ly
ـلي
to us lina_linaa
ـلـِناَ
to you(m) lak_lak
ـلـَك
to you(f) lik_lik
ـلـِك
to you(pl)luku_luku
ـلـُكُ
to him/it(m) lu_lu
ـلُ
to her/it(f) laha_lahaa
ـلـَهاَ
to them luhum_luhum
ـلـُهـُم

Tenses

In both english and Egyptian, a verb has different tenses to indicate when something happens- in the past, now or in the future. The usage of each tense will be explained in more details later. Here are some examples using katabkatab كـَتـَب:

Form Example Meaning No of
cases
perfect katabkatab
كـَتـَب
he wrote 8 (i/we/you, etc)
simple imperfect yiktibyiktib
يـِكتـِب
used with modals - eg he must write
and kaankaan كا َن - he used to write
8 (i/we/you, etc)
bi-imperfect biyiktibbiyiktib
بـِيـِكتـِب
he is writing
he writes
he knows how to write used with kaankaan كا َن
conditionals: if I had a pen, I would write
8 (i/we/you, etc)
ha-imperfect hayiktibhayiktib
هـَيـِكتـِب
he will write
used with kaankaan كا َن
8 (i/we/you, etc)
active participle kaatabkaatab
كا َتـَب
(he is) writing 3 (m/f/pl)
passive participle maktoobmaktwb
مـَكتوب
(it is) written 3 (m/f/pl)
imperative iktibiiktib
ا ِكتـِب
write! 3 (m/f/pl)
polite request miktibmiktib
مـِكتـِب
will you please write
verbal noun kitaabakitaabao
كـِتا َبـَة
(the box is covered with) writing2 (s/pl)
place maktabmaktab
مـَكتـَب
writing place (desk or office)2 (s/pl)

Case

The two main tenses of a verb are the perfect and the simple imperfect: the bi-and ha- imperfect just have prefixes added to the simple imperfect. The usage of these tenses will be explained in more detail the section on time. Here is the he case of each tense:

TenseEnglish Egyptian
perfecthe wrote huwwa katabhuwwa katab
هـُوّ َ كـَتـَب
simple imperfecthe must write huwwa laazim yiktibhuwwa laazim yiktib
هـُوّ َ لا َز ِم يـِكتـِب
bi-imperfecthe writes huwwa biyiktibhuwwa biyiktib
هـُوّ َ بـِيـِكتـِب
ha-imperfecthe will write huwwa hayiktibhuwwa hayiktib
هـُوّ َ هـَيـِكتـِب

There are eight possible cases for each tense, corresponding to the eight pronoun forms (I/we/you/he, etc). Remember that the three imperfect forms are very similar.

Perfect

Here is an example of the perfect, which is used for things that occurred in the past.

Perfect
English Pronoun Verb
I wrote 'anaaacnaa
أناَ
katabtkatabt
كـَتـَبت
we wrote 'ihnaiicHnaa
إحناَ
katabnakatabnaa
كـَتـَبنا َ
you(m) wrote 'intaiicnta
إنتَ
katabtkatabt
كـَتـَبت
you(f) wrote 'intiiicnti
إنتِ
katabtikatabty
كـَتـَبتي
you(pl) wrote 'intuiicntoo
إنتوا
katabtukatabtoo
كـَتـَبتو ا
he/it(m) wrote huwwahuwwa
هـُوَّ
katabkatab
كـَتـَب
she/it(f) wrote hiyahiya
هـِيَ
katabitkatabit
كـَتـَب ِت
they wrote hummahummaa
هـُمّاَ
katabukataboo
كـَتـَبو ا

Simple imperfect

The imperfect has no meaning on its own: it is used in five ways:

  • with kaankaan كا َن for things that happened in the past
  • with 'iza kaaniicdhaa kaan إذا َ كا َن for conditionals
  • with modals- must, could, should etc and modal verbs- like, going to.
  • with bi-prefix for things happening now
  • with ha-prefix for things that will happen

Here is an example with laazim, which means must.

Simple Imperfect
English Pronoun modal Verb
I must write 'anaaacnaa
أناَ
laazimlaazim
لا َز ِم
'aktibaacktib
أكتـِب
we must write 'ihnaiicHnaa
إحناَ
laazimlaazim
لا َز ِم
niktibniktib
نـِكتـِب
you(m) must write 'intaiicnta
إنتَ
laazimlaazim
لا َز ِم
tiktibtiktib
تـِكتـِب
you(f) must write 'intiiicnti
إنتِ
laazimlaazim
لا َز ِم
tiktibitiktiby
تـِكتـِبي
you(pl)must write 'intuiicntoo
إنتوا
laazimlaazim
لا َز ِم
tiktibutiktiboo
تـِكتـِبو ا
he/it(m)must write huwwahuwwa
هـُوَّ
laazimlaazim
لا َز ِم
yiktibyiktib
يـِكتـِب
she/it(f)must write hiyahiya
هـِيَ
laazimlaazim
لا َز ِم
tiktibtiktib
تـِكتـِب
they must write hummahummaa
هـُمّاَ
laazimlaazim
لا َز ِم
yiktibuyiktiboo
يـِكتـِبو ا

The english words must and might and the equivalent Egyptian words laazimlaazim لا َز ِم and yimkinyimkin يـِمكـِن are also proper modals- are proper modals, they are the same for all cases. Later on, you will see how to use participles and verbs as modals, and you will see that they do change to match the case.

bi-imperfect

For the majority of verbs, the bi-imperfect is used to describe things happening now, and for habitual actions. See active participles for the exceptions

It is the same as the simple imperfect, with a bibi_ بـِ in front. Note that the vowels in the the beginning of the imperfect may change in some verbs when the prefix is added.

bi-imperfect
English Pronoun verb
I write 'anaaacnaa
أناَ
baktibbaktib
بـَكتـِب
we write 'ihnaiicHnaa
إحناَ
biniktibbiniktib
بـِنـِكتـِب
you(m) write 'intaiicnta
إنتَ
bitiktibbitiktib
بـِتـِكتـِب
you(f) write 'intiiicnti
إنتِ
bitiktibibitiktiby
بـِتـِكتـِبي
you(pl) write 'intuiicntoo
إنتوا
bitiktibubitiktiboo
بـِتـِكتـِبو ا
he/it(m) writes huwwahuwwa
هـُوَّ
biyiktibbiyiktib
بـِيـِكتـِب
she/it(f) writes hiyahiya
هـِيَ
bitiktibbitiktib
بـِتـِكتـِب
they write hummahummaa
هـُمّاَ
biyiktibubiyiktiboo
بـِيـِكتـِبو ا

ha-imperfect

The ha-imperfect is used for things that will happen at some time in the future.

It is the same as the simple imperfect, with haha_ هـَ in front. Egyptian spelling is somewhat whimsical: some people use haHa_ حـَ instead. Note that the vowels in the the beginning of the imperfect may change in some verbs when the prefix is added.

ha-imperfect
English Pronoun Verb
I will write 'anaaacnaa
أناَ
haktibhaktib
هـَكتـِب
we will write 'ihnaiicHnaa
إحناَ
haniktibhaniktib
هـَنـِكتـِب
you(m) will write 'intaiicnta
إنتَ
hatiktibhatiktib
هـَتـِكتـِب
you(f) will write 'intiiicnti
إنتِ
hatiktibihatiktiby
هـَتـِكتـِبي
you(pl) will write 'intuiicntoo
إنتوا
hatiktibuhatiktiboo
هـَتـِكتـِبو ا
he/it(m) will write huwwahuwwa
هـُوَّ
hayiktibhayiktib
هـَيـِكتـِب
she/it(f) will write hiyahiya
هـِيَ
hatiktibhatiktib
هـَتـِكتـِب
they will write hummahummaa
هـُمّاَ
hayiktibuhayiktiboo
هـَيـِكتـِبو ا

is/was/will be

As mentioned earlier, there is no word for is in Egyptian. There are, however, words for was - kaankaan كا َن and will be - haykoonhaykwn هـَيكون.

kaan

kaankaan كا َن can be used on its own to talk about some situation in the past, or it can be used with the imperfect and bi-imperfect to move the meaning of the verb into the past and also for conditionals, and with the ha-imperfect to indicate something that almost or nearly happened.

kaan
EnglishPronounVerb
I was aanaaanaa
ا َناَ
kuntkunt
كـُنت
we were ihnaiiHnaa
ا ِحناَ
kunnakunnaa
كـُنّاَ
you(m) were 'intaiicnta
إنتَ
kuntkunt
كـُنت
you(f) were 'intiiicnti
إنتِ
kuntikunty
كـُنتي
you(pl) were 'intuiicntoo
إنتوا
kuntukuntoo
كـُنتوا
he/it(m) was huwahuwa
هـُوَ
kaankaan
كا َن
she/it(f) was hiyahiya
هـِيَ
kaanitkaanit
كا َنـِت
they were hummahummaa
هـُمّاَ
kanukaanoo
كا َنوا

Here are some examples:

English Egyptian
he was here kaan hinakaan hinaa
كا َن هـِناَ
I was too tired kunt taAbaan 'awikunt taAbaan qawy
كـُنت تـَعبا َن قـَوي
the party was good ilhafla kaanit kuwayisaiil-Haflao kaanit kuwayisao
ا ِلحـَفلـَة كا َنـِت كـُو َيـِسـَة
prepositionthere was water, but it's finished kaan fi mayaah wa KilSitkaan fy mayaah wa KilSit
كا َن في مـَيا َه و َ خـِلصـِت
prepositionwe had a house kaan Aandina biytkaan Aandinaa biyt
كا َن عـَند ِنا َ بـِيت
bi-imperfecthe was smoking a cigarette kaan biyishrab seegaarakaan biyishrab sygaarao
كا َن بـِيـِشر َب سيجا َر َة
bi-imperfecthe used to smoke cigarettes kaan biyishrab sigaayarkaan biyishrab sigaayar
كا َن بـِيـِشر َب سـِجا َيـَر
ha-imperfectI almost ran him over kunt hadoosuhkunt hadws-uh
كـُنت هـَدوسـُه

Note that, for prepositional sentences, kaankaan كا َن does not change with the subject of the sentence - it is always kaankaan كا َن - it was.

haykwn

haykoonhaykwn هـَيكون simply means will be. Here are some examples:

haykwn
EnglishPronounverb
I will be aanaaanaa
ا َناَ
hakoonhakwn
هـَكون
we will be ihnaiiHnaa
ا ِحناَ
hankoonhankwn
هـَنكون
you(m) will be 'intaiicnta
إنتَ
hatkoonhatkwn
هـَتكون
you(f) will be 'intiiicnti
إنتِ
hatkoonihatkwny
هـَتكوني
you(pl) will be 'intuiicntoo
إنتوا
hatkoonuhatkwnoo
هـَتكونوا
he/it(m) will be huwahuwa
هـُوَ
haykoonhaykwn
هـَيكون
she/it will be(f) hiyahiya
هـِيَ
hatkoonhatkwn
هـَتكون
they will be hummahummaa
هـُمّاَ
haykoonuhaykwnoo
هـَيكونوا

Here are some examples:

English Egyptian
the party will be good ilhafla hatkoon kuwayisaiil-Haflao hatkwn kuwayisao
ا ِلحـَفلـَة هـَتكون كـُو َيـِسـَة
there will be a lot of wind tomorrow haykoon fi hawa' kiteer bukrahaykwn fy hawaaC kityr bukrao
هـَيكون في هـَوا َء كـِتير بـُكر َة
I will be free at five 'ana hakoon faaDi ilsaaAa Kamsaaacnaa hakwn faaDy iil-saaAao Kamsao
أنا َ هـَكون فا َضي ا ِلسا َعـَة خـَمسـَة

Note that, for prepositional sentences, haykoonhaykwn هـَيكون does not change with the subject of the sentence - it is always haykoonhaykwn هـَيكون - it will be.

Time

Here is a summary of ways to express when something happens:

Construction Example Meaning
perfect katabkatab
كـَتـَب
he wrote
kaankaan كا َن + imperfect kaan yiktibkaan yiktib
كا َن يـِكتـِب
he was writing
he used to write
kaankaan كا َن + bi-imperfect kaan biyiktibkaan biyiktib
كا َن بـِيـِكتـِب
bi-imperfect biyiktibbiyiktib
بـِيـِكتـِب
he is writing
he writes
he can write
ha-imperfect hayiktibhayiktib
هـَيـِكتـِب
he will write
kaankaan كا َن + ha-imperfect kaan hayiktibkaan hayiktib
كا َن هـَيـِكتـِب
he intended to write
kaan haymootkaan haymwt
كا َن هـَيموت
he almost died
raayihraayiH را َيـِح + imperfect raayih yiktibraayiH yiktib
را َيـِح يـِكتـِب
he is going to write
hayroohHayrwH حـَيروح + imperfect hayrooh yiktibhayrwH yiktib
هـَيروح يـِكتـِب

Participles

In both English and Egyptian, a participle is derived from a verb, but is used like an adjective. There are two types of participle- active and passive. In English, participles are usually formed by adding an ending to the infinitive - _ing for an active participle and _ed for a passive participle.

TypeEnglish Egyptian/td>
Verb Participle Verb Participle
Active want wanting AiyizAiyiz
عـِيـِز
AaayizAaayiz
عا َيـِز
Active knowknowing AirifAirif
عـِر ِف
AaarifAaarif
عا َر ِف
Active understandunderstanding fihimfihim
فـِهـِم
faahimfaahim
فا َهـِم
Active boilboiling GalaGalY
غـَلى
GalayaanGalayaan
غـَلـَيا َن
Active daydreamdaydreaming sirihsiriH
سـِر ِح
sarhaansarHaan
سـَرحا َن
Passivebindbound gallidgallid
جـَلّـِد
mitgalidmitgalid
مـِتجـَلـِد
Passiveblessblessed baarikbaarik
با َر ِك
mubaarakmubaarak
مـُبا َر َك
Passiveunderstandunderstood fihimfihim
فـِهـِم
mafhoommafhwm
مـَفهوم

As they are adjectives, in Egyptian, there are three forms- masculine, feminine and plural.

English Masculine Feminine Plural
a_ao
ــَة
yn_yn
ـين
wanting AaayizAaayiz
عا َيـِز
AayzaAaeyzao
عا َيز َة
AayzeenAaayzyn
عا َيزين
knowing AaerifAaerif
عا َر ِف
AarfaAaerfao
عا َرفـَة
AarfeenAaerfyn
عا َرفين
understanding faehimfaehim
فا َهـِم
fahmafaehmao
فا َهمـَة
fahmeenfaehmyn
فا َهمين
boiling GalayaanGalayaan
غـَلـَيا َن
GalyaenaGalyaenao
غـَليا َنـَة
GalyaneenGalyaenyn
غـَليا َنين
daydreaming sarhaansarHaan
سـَرحا َن
sarhaanasarHaanao
سـَرحا َنـَة
sarhaneensarHaanyn
سـَرحا َنين
bound mitgalidmitgalid
مـِتجـَلـِد
mitgalidamitgalidao
مـِتجـَلـِد َة
mitgalideenmitgalidyn
مـِتجـَلـِدين
blessed mubaarakmubaarak
مـُبا َر َك
mubaarakamubaarakao
مـُبا َر َكـَة
mubaarakeenmubaarakyn
مـُبا َر َكين
born mawloodmawlwd
مـَولود
mawloodamawlwdao
مـَولود َة
mawloodeenmawlwdyn
مـَولودين
understood mafhoommafhwm
مـَفهوم
mafhoomamafhwmao
مـَفهومـَة
mafhoomeenmafhwmyn
مـَفهومين

Note that, like other adjectives, many participles that end with alif-consonant-kasra-consonant, for example faehimfaehim فا َهـِم, lose the kasra when a feminine or plural ending is attached. Because the alif is then followed by two consonants, it is pronounced as a kasra.

Active Participles

In English, we can describe something happening now by using the present tense or the active participle:

presentI looka single event or habitual action
presentI am lookinga continuous action

In Egyptian, for some verbs, the active participle is the normal way of expressing what somebody is doing right now. For other verbs, the bi-imperfect is used. Generally, participles are used for verbs that relate to a state or continuous actions, but there is no flexibility: you have to use a participle for a particular verb whether the action is continuous or not. The four groups of verbs where the participle is used are:

  • movement: going, coming etc
  • senses: seeing, hearing
  • states of mind: knowing, understanding, angry
  • states of body: sleeping
EnglishVerbActive
Participle
put haTTHaTT
حـَطّ
haTeetHaaTyt
حا َطيت
travel saafirsaafir
سا َفـِر
misaefirmisaefir
مـِسا َفـِر
know AirifAirif
عـِر ِف
AaerifAaerif
عا َر ِف
understand fihimfihim
فـِهـِم
faahimfaahim
فا َهـِم
sleep naamnaam
نا َم
naeyimnaeyim
نا َيـِم
angry ziAilziAil
ز ِعـِل
zaAlaenzaAlaen
ز َعلا َن

Active participles are like adjectives, and have masculine, feminine and plural forms. Here are some examples showing how the participle agrees with the subject

EnglishVerb
I(m) know Ahmed 'ana Aaerif 'ahmadaacnaa Aaerif aacHmad
أنا َ عا َر ِف أحمـَد
I(f) know Ahmed 'ana Aarfa 'ahmadaacnaa Aaerfao aacHmad
أنا َ عا َرفـَة أحمـَد
we know Ahmed ihna Aarfeen 'ahmadiiHnaa Aaerfyn aacHmad
ا ِحنا َ عا َرفين أحمـَد
you(m) know Ahmed 'inta Aaarif 'ahmadiicnta Aaarif aacHmad
إنت َ عا َر ِف أحمـَد
you(f) know Ahmed 'inti Aarfa 'ahmadiicnti Aaerfao aacHmad
إنت ِ عا َرفـَة أحمـَد
you(pl) know Ahmed 'intu Aarfeen 'ahmadiicntoo Aaerfyn aacHmad
إنتو ا عا َرفين أحمـَد
he knows Ahmed huwwa Aaerif 'ahmadhuwwa Aaerif aacHmad
هـُوّ َ عا َر ِف أحمـَد
she knows Ahmed hiya Aarfa 'ahmadhiya Aaerfao aacHmad
هـِي َ عا َرفـَة أحمـَد
they know Ahmed humma Aarfeen 'ahmadhummaa Aaerfyn aacHmad
هـُمّا َ عا َرفين أحمـَد

The participle is also used for an action that took place in the past but whose effect is still in force, for example reserving a room:

ElementEnglishArabic
perfectTabaKt ilAashaTabaKt iil-Aashaa
طـَبـَخت ا ِلعـَشاَ
I cooked dinner (a long time ago)
participle'ana TaabaK Aashaaacnaa TaabaK Aashaa
أنا َ طا َبـَخ عـَشاَ
I cooked dinner (it is reaady now)

Passive Participles

A passive participle describes something that has had something done to it. In English it often ends with -ed, and in Egyptian, it often begins with mama_ مـَ. Passive participles are like adjectives, and have masculine, feminine and plural forms.

EnglishArabicVerb
the food is cooked il'akl maTbooKiil-aackl maTbwK
ا ِلأكل مـَطبوخ
TabaKTabaK
طـَبـَخ
the bowl is broken ilsulTaniya maksooraiil-sulTaniyao makswrao
ا ِلسـُلطـَنـِيـَة مـَكسور َة
kasarkasar
كـَسـَر
the floors are washed il'arDiyaat maGsooleeniil-aacrDiyaat maGswlyn
ا ِلأرضـِيا َت مـَغسولين
GasalGasal
غـَسـَل
I was married kunt mitgawwizkunt mitgawwiz
كـُنت مـِتجـَوّ ِز
'itgawwiziictgawwiz
إتجـَوّ ِز
smoked salami salaami mudaKansalaamy mudaKan
سـَلا َمي مـُد َخـَن
daKKandaKKan
د َخّـَن

modals: possibility, preference etc

You can use a modal together with the simple imperfect to indicate whether something must, may, could happen. Most proper modals are invariable- there is no I/you/he form. Here are some examples:

Modal Example Meaning
laazimlaazim
لا َز ِم
laazim yiktiblaazim yiktib
لا َز ِم يـِكتـِب
he must write
mumkinmumkin
مـُمكـِن
mumkin yiktibmumkin yiktib
مـُمكـِن يـِكتـِب
he could write
mihtaagmiHtaag
مـِحتا َج
mihtaag yiktibmiHtaag yiktib
مـِحتا َج يـِكتـِب
he needs to write
yimkinyimkin
يـِمكـِن
yimkin yiktibyimkin yiktib
يـِمكـِن يـِكتـِب
he might write
ilmafrooDiil-mafrwD
ا ِلمـَفروض
ilmafrooD yiktibiil-mafrwD yiktib
ا ِلمـَفروض يـِكتـِب
he should write
DarooriDarwry
ضـَروري
Daroori yiktibDarwry yiktib
ضـَروري يـِكتـِب
it is essential that he should write
gihgih
جـِه
tigi yiktibtigy yiktib
تـِجي يـِكتـِب
do you want to write

There are also some verbs or participles that can be used as modals. Here are some examples:

TypeModal Example Meaning
participleAaawizAaawiz
عا َو ِز
Aaawiz yiktibAaawiz yiktib
عا َو ِز يـِكتـِب
he wants to write
participlenaawinaawy
نا َوي
naawi yiktibnaawy yiktib
نا َوي يـِكتـِب
he intends to write
nounnifsnifs
نـِفس
nifsuh yiktibnifs-uh yiktib
نـِفسـُه يـِكتـِب
he wishes he could write
verb'idir, yi'darqidir, yiqdar
قـِد ِر، يـِقد َر
yi'dar yiktibyiqdar yiktib
يـِقد َر يـِكتـِب
he is able to write
verbAirif, yiArafAirif, yiAraf
عـِر ِف، يـِعر َف
yiAraf yiktibyiAraf yiktib
يـِعر َف يـِكتـِب
he knows how to write
verbhabb, yihibbHabb, yiHibb
حـَبّ، يـِحـِبّ
yihibb yiktibyiHibb yiktib
يـِحـِبّ يـِكتـِب
he likes to write
verblihi', yihla'liHiq, yiHlaq
لـِحـِق، يـِحلـَق
lihi' yiktibliHiq yiktib
لـِحـِق يـِكتـِب
he managed to write
verbraah, yiroohraaH, yirwH
را َح، يـِروح
raah yiktibraaH yiktib
را َح يـِكتـِب
he went to write
verbnisy, yinsanisy, yinsY
نـِسي، يـِنسى
nisi yiktibnisi yiktib
نـِسـِ يـِكتـِب
he forgot to write

Participles must agree with the gender and number, and verbs must be the appropriate case. True modals like laazimlaazim لا َز ِم do not change. Here are some examples.

Type English Arabic
modal I must write 'ana laazim 'aktibaacnaa laazim aacktib
أنا َ لا َز ِم أكتـِب
modal you(m) must write 'inta laazim tiktibiicnta laazim tiktib
إنتـَ لا َز ِم تـِكتـِب
modal he must write huwwa laazim yiktibhuwwa laazim yiktib
هـُوّ َ لا َز ِم يـِكتـِب
modal they must write humma laazim tiktibuhumma laazim tiktiboo
هـُمّـَ لا َز ِم تـِكتـِبو ا
participleI want to write 'ana Aaayiz 'aktibaacnaa Aaayiz aacktib
أنا َ عا َيـِز أكتـِب
participleshe wants to write hiya Aaayiza tiktibhiya Aaayizao tiktib
هـِيـَ عا َيـِز َة تـِكتـِب
participlethey want to write humma Aaayizeen yiktibuhumma Aaayizyn yiktiboo
هـُمّـَ عا َيـِزين يـِكتـِبو ا
verb I like to write aana baahibb 'aktibaancaa baaHibb aacktib
ا َنا َ با َحـِبّ أكتـِب
verb he likes to write huwwa biyihibb yiktibhuwwa biyiHibb yiktib
هـُوّ َ بـِيـِحـِبّ يـِكتـِب
verb she likes to write hiya bitihibb tiktibhiya bitiHibb tiktib
هـِي َ بـِتـِحـِبّ تـِكتـِب
verb they like to write humma biyihibbu yiktibuhumma biyiHibboo yiktiboo
هـُمّ َ بـِيـِحـِبّو ا يـِكتـِبو ا

If the subject of the verb is not the same as the subject of the modal

I want to go (same)
I want him to go (different)

in both english and egpytian you add an object pronoun to the modal: in Egyptian it is attached to the modal, or to any preposition associated with it.

English Arabic
she wants me to write hiya Aaayizani 'aktibhiya Aaayiza-ny aacktib
هـِي َ عا َيـِز َني أكتـِب
she wants to write hiya Aaayiza tiktibhiya Aaayizao tiktib
هـِي َ عا َيـِز َة تـِكتـِب
she wants him to writehiya Aaayizah yiktibhiya Aaayizah yiktib
هـِي َ عا َيـِز َه يـِكتـِب
he wants her to write huwwa Aaayizha tiktibhuwwa Aaayizhaa tiktib
هـُوّ َ عا َيـِزها َ تـِكتـِب
she likes him to write bitihibbuh yiktibbitiHibbuh yiktib
بـِتـِحـِبّ ُه يـِكتـِب
he likes her to write biyihibbha tiktibbiyiHibbhaa tiktib
بـِيـِحـِبّها َ تـِكتـِب
I let him writeKalitw yiktibKalitw yiktib
خـَلـِتو يـِكتـِب
I asked him to write Talabt minnuh yiktibTalabt minnuh yiktib
طـَلـَبت مـِنّ ُه يـِكتـِب

Imperatives

When you want to tell somebody to do something, you use an imperative. In Egyptian, there are three forms- masculine, feminine and plural. Here are some examples.

English VerbMasculine Feminine Plural
Imperfect i_y
ـي
u_oo
ـوا
look! yibuSSyibuSS
يـِبـُصّ
buSSbuSS
بـُصّ
buSSibuSSy
بـُصّي
buSSubuSSoo
بـُصّوا
go! yiroohyirwH
يـِروح
ruwhruwH
ر ُوح
ruwhiruwHy
ر ُوحي
ruwhuruwHoo
ر ُوحوا
come! yiygiyiygy
يـِيجي

irregular
taAaalataAaala
تـَعا َلَ
taAaalitaAaaly
تـَعا َلي
taAalutaAaaloo
تـَعا َلوا
eat! yaakulyaakul
يا َكـُل
kulkul
كـُل
kulikuly
كـُلي
kulukuloo
كـُلوا
shut up! yuskutyuskut
يـُسكـُت
'iskutiicskut
إسكـُت
'iskutiiicskuty
إسكـُتي
'iskutuiicskutoo
إسكـُتوا
calm down! yihdayihdY
يـِهدى
'ihdaiichdY
إهدى
'ihdiiichdy
إهدي
'ihduiichdoo
إهدوا
walk!
(go away)
yimshiyimshy
يـِمشي
'imshiiicmshy
إمشي
'imshiiicmshy
إمشي
'imshuiicmshoo
إمشوا

Polite requests

When you want to ask somebody politely to do something, in the same way as you might say "Why don't you..." in English, you can put the prefix mimi_ مـِ before the perfect.

Why don't you entertain me?
mi-sally-ny

Verbal nouns

It is sometimes useful to make a noun from a verb. Here are some examples:

EnglishArabicVerb
wash your hands before eating iGsil ieedyk 'abl il'akliiGsil iiydy-k qabl iil-aackl
ا ِغسـِل ا ِيديك قـَبل ا ِلأكل
kalkal
كـَل
I have a reservation Aandi hagzAand-y Hagz
عـَندي حـَجز
haagizHaagiz
حا َجـِز
This game is for four players illiaAba dih li'arbAa laAeebaiil-liaAbao dih li-aacrbAa laaAybaa
ا ِلّـِـَعبـَة د ِه لـِأربع َ لا َعيباَ
liAibliAib
لـِعـِب

Negation of verbs

You can say that something is not happening using the word mishmish مـِش. It can appear before a verb, or wrapped around it. Here are some examples:

EnglishEgyptian
he is not herehuwwa mish hinahuwwa mish hinaa
هـُوّ َ مـِش هـِناَ
he was not herehuwwa makansh hinahuwwa makaansh hinaa
هـُوّ َ مـَكا َنش هـِناَ
I have not travelled outside egyptmasafirtish barra maSrmasafirtish barraa maSr
مـَسـَفـِرت ِش بـَرّا َ مـَصر
I do not know'ana mish Aaarifaacnaa mish Aaarif
أنا َ مـِش عا َر ِف
he was not able to comema'dirsh yigimaqdirsh yigy
مـَقد ِرش يـِجي
he will not comemish hayigimish hayigy
مـِش هـَيـِجي
don't go!matimsheeshmatimshysh
مـَتـِمشيش

See Negation for more details.


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