the present continuous
form of the verb for both CASE #1, to express a habitual
occurrence; and, CASE#2 to express an incident over a period of
time in the present.
In Arabic you only use one verb form, the present
continuous, to express both of the above cases. In
English you use two forms: "I run" or/ "I am running"
CASE #1 is used to express "habitual" actions which means the
incident reoccurs frequently in our lives as actions of
An example of a habitual action is " I run to school"
implying a repetitive action which happened in the past, is
happening in the present, and is likely to continue to occur into
It is important to recognize habitual actions, while learning a
language, so as to use the correct form of the verb. Again, in
Arabic it is the "present continuous form" that is required for the
The present continuous form used for the habitual is easily
recognizable because it begins with a "ba" or "bi" sound.
Note: The present continuous verb is derived from the
Infinitives in Arabic (for example "to enter") must be conjugated
with their respective subjects.
Note: In English there is only one infinitive form for a
given verb; however, in Arabic, this is not the case. There is
subject-infinitive agreement in Arabic!
Infinitives are used in both Arabic and English as the "second"
For example: I like
to go to school early. ("to go" = infinitive)
In the above example the infinitive "to go" appears as the second
verb. However, "like" is the first verb.
In other words:
subject + verb + infinitive + the rest of the sentence.
For the above sentence in Arabic, "I like" will use the present
continuous form; and "to go" will use the infinitive form.
Note: The infinitive form is less frequently used as the
first verb to recite past tense stories/events using the powerful
"feel" of the present. Verbs are crazy that way, but it can happen!
For learning purposes we will first conjugate an infinitive and then
transform the infinitive into the present continuous form (by simply
adding a "ba" or "bi").
Confused? Don't be. Take a deep breath and see it in action below.
Let's see in action in MSA/Classical!
He eats =
The subjunctive mood
He went out to eat =
He is going out to eat =
He goes out to eat
هو يَخْرُجُ لِيأكُلَ
The jussive mood
inviting someone: let him eat
someone: eat! =