Arabic Language Blog

Weak Verbs: The Agwaf (Hollow) Verb الفعل الأجوف Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Arabic Language, Grammar, Vocabulary

  • We have said before that a weak/sick verb is that which has one or two sick letters in its base (root).
  • The letters that make a verb sick/weak are: Waw (و ), Alif (ا ) and Yaa (ى ).
  • The position of the sick letter in the root verb determines the type of the weak verb.
  • Today, we will look at the second type of weak verbs; the Agwaf Verb الفعل الأجوف .


      An Agwaf (Hollow) أجوف Verb is that whose second (middle) letter is sick in its root form.

  • Most Agwaf verbs have an Alif (ا ) as its second or middle letter.
  • The origin of the middle Alif is mostly a Waw (و ) or a Yaa (ى ) that is turned into an Alif.
  • There are a few verbs in which the Waw or Yaa are not turned into an Alif.
  • To know the origin of the Alif, get the noun from the verb.

             Examples: – باعَ = to sell (v.) ► بَيْعْ = selling (n.)      ► بَيَعَ (original verb)

                               – صامَ = to fast (v.) ► صَوْمْ = fasting (n.)   ► صَوَمَ (original verb)

The table below shows the different tense forms of this  type of verbs;










  Three Fold


(Hollow)  Verbs




Yaa as origin of the



To say قالَ يَقُولُ/ يَقُلْ قُلْ قَوْلٌ
To fast صَامَ يَصُومُ / يَصُمْ صُمْ  صَوْمٌ
To sleep نامَ يَنامُ / يَنَمْ نَمْ نَوْمٌ
To fear خَافَ يَخافُ / يَخَفْ خَفْ خَوْفٌ
To rise / get up   قَامَ يَقُومُ / يَقُمْ قُمْ قَوْمٌ
To drive / lead قَادَ يَقُودُ / يَقـُـدْ قـُـدْ قَوْدٌ
To return عَادَ يَعُودُ / يَعُدْ عُدْ عَوْدٌ
To die مَاتَ يَمُوتُ / يَمُتْ مُتْ مَوْتٌ
To blame لامَ يَلُومُ / يَلُمْ لُمْ لَوْمٌ
To be كانَ يَكونُ / يَكُنْ كُنْ كَوْنٌ
To visit زَارَ يَزورُ / يَزُرْ زُرْ زَوْرٌ / زِيارة
To sell بَاعَ يَبيعُ / يَبِعْ بـِـعْ بَيْعٌ
To walk سَارَ يَسِـيرُ / يَسِرْ سِرْ سَيْرٌ
To find fault عَابَ يَعِيبُ / يَعِبْ عِبْ عَيْبٌ
To obtain نـَالَ يـَـنالُ / يَنـلْ نـَـلْ نـَـيْلٌ
To lean مالَ يَمِـيلُ / يَمِلْ مِلْ مَيْلٌ
To flow / pour /run سَالَ يَسِـيلُ / يَسِلْ سِلْ سَـيـْـلٌ
To sew /weave حَاكَ يَحِـيكُ / يَحِكْ حِكْ حَيْكٌ
To sew    خَـاطَ   يَخِـيطُ / يَخِطْ خِطْ خَيْطٌ
 Other Agwaf verbs With the Alif unchanged To try حاوَلَ يُحاوِلْ حاوِلْ مُحاولة
To infringe / violate خَالفَ يُخَالِفْ خَالِفْ مُخالَفَة
To resist قَاوَمَ يُقاوِمْ قَاوِمْ مُقاوَمة
To support / validate بَايَعَ يُبايِعْ بَايِعْ   مُبايَعة
To swap / barter قايَضَ يُقايِضُ قـَـايِضْ مُقايَضة
To exchange بَادَلَ يُبادِلُ بَادِلْ مُبادَلَة

(Note 1: The rules of gender and number we studied earlier apply to these verb tenses.)

(Note 2 : The sick letter in threefold Agwaf /Hollow verbs is deleted in Imperative and Present Majzoom verb forms ending in a Sukkoon.)

(Note 3: The Alif is also deleted if the Agwaf threefold verb is attached to the Taa of the subject, the Naa of the subject and the Noon of the Feminine Plural.)


Next time, we will continue looking at Weak/Sick Defective Verbs.  

Check us back soon

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.


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