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Verbs in Action: Back to the Future? Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in binyanim, Learning Hebrew, Vocabulary

Conjugating a pa’al verb into the future tense is going to take a little bit of learning to do here. I’m going to focus on the root ס-ג-ר, which gives the idea of closing and show you how it’s done. Ready?

In the future tense, there are four prefix letters before the root. They are: אֶ, יִ, תִ or נִ. All seven binyan have these prefixes in the future tense. Here is a chart showing the form of the future tense to let you see how it looks. Don’t let it scare you yet, I’ll break it down after this.

Singular
I will close (m)   אֶסְגוֹר אֲנִי
I will close (f)   אֶסְגוֹר אֲנִי
   
You will close (m)   תִסְגוֹר אַתָּה
You will close (f)   תִסְגְרִי אַתְּ
   
He will close (m)   יִסְגוֹר הוּא
She will close (f)   תִסְגוֹר הִיא
   
Plural
We will close (m)   נִסְגוֹר אֲנַחְנוּ
We will close (f)   נִסְגוֹר אֲנַחְנוּ
     
You will close (m)   תִסְגְרוּ אַתֶּם
You will close (f)   תִסְגְרוּ אַתֶּן
   
They will close (m)   יִסְגְרוּ הֵם
They will close (f)   יִסְגְרוּ הֵן

Let’s break it down some more

If you were able to catch it, did you see how the prefixes are distributed among the different forms of ס-ג-ר? In this chart I’ll put the prefixes into a separate column so you can see and compare:

Singular
English Stem Vowels Prefix Hebrew
I (m) ְ / וֹ אֶ אֶסְגוֹר אֲנִי
I (f) ְ / וֹ אֶ אֶסְגוֹר אֲנִי
     
You (m) ְ / וֹ תִ תִסְגוֹר אַתָּה
You (f) ְ / ְ / ִי תִ תִסְגְרִי אַתְּ
     
He (m) ְ / וֹ יִ יִסְגוֹר הוּא
She (f) ְ / וֹ תִ תִסְגוֹר הִיא
     
Plural
We (m) ְ / וֹ נִ נִסְגוֹר אֲנַחְנוּ
We (f) ְ / וֹ נִ נִסְגוֹר אֲנַחְנוּ
       
You (m) ְ / ְ / וּ תִ תִסְגְרוּ אַתֶּם
You (f) ְ / ְ / וּ תִ תִסְגְרוּ אַתֶּן
     
They (m) ְ / ְ / וּ יִ יִסְגְרוּ הֵם
They (f) ְ / ְ / וּ יִ יִסְגְרוּ הֵן

Summary

For every verb in the future tense in Hebrew, we attach one of the following prefixes to the root: אֶ, תִ, יִ, נִ. They are always the first letter of the verb no matter how many other suffixes or vowel changes are made. These rules to all Hebrew verbs in all forms of binyanim.

The charts above are great for printing out as a reference. But how to remember them when you don’t have the chart to look at? Luckily, there’s a way to do so:

  • For אֲנִי we add אֶ to the root.
  • For הוּא and הֵם, we add יִ to the root.
  • For אֲנַחְנוּ, we add נִ to the root.
  • For the rest of them (אַתָּה, אַתְּ, הִיא, אַתֶּם, אַתֶּן, הֵן), we add תִ to the root.

Check Yourself

Just as in the previous article, I’m giving you a word, along with the Hebrew verb root. See if you can change them into the future form.

Guard – שׁ-מ-ר
Write – כ-ת-ב
Finish – ג-מ-ר
Close – ס-ג-ר
Trust – ב-ט-ח
Learn / Study – ל-מ-ד
Send – שׁ-ל-ח
Remember – ז-כ-ר

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About the Author: Sean Young

Learning languages since 1978 and studying over 50 (achieving fluency in 10). Sean L. Young loves giving tips, advice and the secrets you need to learn a language successfully no matter what language you're learning. Currently studying Hindi and blogging his progress right here at Transparent Language - https://blogs.transparent.com/language-news.


Comments:

  1. ALF:

    Hi Sean,

    Thank you for a great post.

    Is it possible there is a mistake in the last sentence of the summary? “For the rest of them (אַתָּה, אַתְּ, הִיא, אַתֶּם, אַתֶּן, הֵן), we add תִ to the root.”

    For אַתֶּן, as shown earlier in the post, there doesn’t seem to be a Tav in the conjugation.

  2. Bob MacDonald:

    Nice clear posts on the binyanim thanks. I’ve been reading in Hebrew since 2006, a little faster today than 9 years ago – but still plenty slow. I am reading Tanach. I know – difficult and presumptuous of me. I have just discovered how easily my home-grown computer-assisted algorithms can make mistakes in parsing or interpreting a word in the Bible – so I need to learn to parse (finally). Like a 15-year old in English I am finally being forced to learn some grammar. My next exercise will be to compare these verbs – one I-guttural, two hollow, one I-Yod. יסר, סור, אסר, סיר – hope I succeed. Have you ever noted any connections in ‘meaning’ between verses that share two of their three root letters?