Arabic Language Blog

Verb Tense: (3) The Imperative الأمر Posted by on Apr 27, 2011 in Arabic Language, Grammar, Vocabulary

  • We spoke earlier about the past and present tenses. Today, we are going to discuss the imperatives and learn how to get them from regular verbs.
  • The imperative refers to a request or command, so its meaning refers mainly to the future.
  • The imperative is derived from the present tense.
  • It ends in a sukkoon unless it is attached to other person suffixes.
  • Imperative forms are used only with the second person.       
  • Imperative verbs must agree with its subject, so the shape of the verbs looks as follows:


Examples of Imperative Verbs with different roots 









takes out

<<<<< Present Verb

Second Person

(You = أنتَ )





Verb with a sukkon

Second Person

(You = أنتِ )

اُكْتُبِى زَلْزِلِى تَعَلَّمِى اِسْتَخْرِجِى

Verb + Yaa of the person addressed with a Kasra

Second Person

(You = أنتما )

اُكتُبَا   زَلْزِلا تَعَلَّمَا اِسْتَخْرِجَا

Verb + Dual Alif

Second Person

(You = أنتُم )

اُكتُبُوا   زَلْزِلُوا   تَعَلَّمُوا   اِسْتَخْرِجُوا  

Verb + Waw of the

M. Plural

Second Person (You = أنتُنَّ ) اُكتُبْنْ   زَلزِلْنْ   تَعَلَّمْنْ   اِسْتَخْرِجْنْ  

Verb + Noon of  

F. Plural

(Note1 : To get the Imperative from the Threefold present verb that has a Damma on its second letter, we add a Mazeed Hamza (Alif) with a Damma at the beginning of the verb; e.g. يخرج >>> اُخرج and يكتُبْ >>> اُكتُبْ …. etc.)

(Note 2 : A Mazeed Hamza (Alif) with a Kasra is added at the beginning of other Threefold verbs or other verbs starting with this Mazeed Alif; e.g. يشرب (to drink) >>> اِشرَبْ and يجلس >>> اِجلِسْ and يَنطلِق (to set off) >>> اِنْطَلِق and يستخرج >>> اِستخرِجْ )    

(Note 3:  The Sukkoon at the end of the verb changes to the same short vowel that agrees with the suffixes attached to the imperative verb, so اُكتُبِى has a Kasra under the Baa because the Kasra agrees with the ending Yaa and اُكتُبَا has a Fatha to go with the Dual Alif and اُكتُبُوا has a Damma to go with the Waw ….etc.)

(Note 4 : We can get imperatives for first and third persons by using the particles ” لـِ ” and ” فَلـْ ” added to the beginning of the Present Tense Verb ; e.g. أذهبُ >>> لأذهبْ / فَلأذهبْ = “Let me go. / or / I will go.” And نذهبْ >>> لِنَذْهبْ = “Let’s go. / or / We will go.” And يذهبوا >>> لِيَذهبُوا = “Let them go. / or / They will go.” But be careful that the verb is still in the present tense and the Laam is called the Laam of Command لام الأمر .)

(Note 5: Healthy and Unhealthy Imperative Verb Forms will be discussed later.)


Next time, we will continue looking at Verb Health.

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Peace سلام   / Salam/

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About the Author: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.


  1. Abdulhakim Muhammad:

    السلام عليكم و رحمة الله
    مفيد جدا
    بارك الله فيكم

  2. Jody Gosch:

    can you define “ASHADATU” into English for me?

  3. Sarah Garden:

    I have a question about whether to use the imperitive after لا when telling someone not to do something. Does e.g. this phrase “لا تنقر اشتري” – “laa tanquri ishtaree” … mean “do not click buy” or should it be laa followed by the imperitive for click and also the imperitive for buy?

    • Fisal:

      @Sarah Garden Hi Sarah. Actually the Arabic imperative consists of “laa + present tense”. This is called “Nahy” and is equal to “Don’t + inf.” In your example, the Nahy is “laa tanquri” and “ishtaree” is just the word on the box. You could say it directly “laa tashtaree” = Don’t buy in whivh case the verb buy tashtaree is in the present too exactly like “don’t click” = “laa tanquree” 🙂