As we have seen in the introductory article the פָּעַל is the “basic” verb pattern in Hebrew. However , this does not mean that the פָּעַל is simple. In order to cover the main regularities and irregularities of this pattern, I have decided to split the explanations for פָּעַל in two articles to enhance clarity.
The most common form of פָּעַל
- The infinitive: the most common form of the פָּעַל infinitive is
Please notice the ו between the second and the third letter of the root. This is the main characteristic of verbs in the פָּעַל pattern.
- The present: the present tense in Hebrew has only 4 distinguishable conjugations (feminine and masculine; singular and plural):
example: לִכְתּוֹב – to write
Please notice that the ו that is present in the infinitive is also present in the conjugations of the present tense.
- The masculine singular has the ו between the first and the second letter of the root and no suffix
- The feminine singular, besides the ו , has a ת as a suffix
- The masculine plural has the ending ים
- The feminine plural has the ending ות
These endings/suffixes are the same for all the בִּנְיָנִים
- the past:
- Notice that the past doesn’t have the ו and it uses only suffixes.
- In print, the “you” feminine and masculine singular are the same without נִקּוּד, but are said differently.
- The future:
* the feminine forms for אתן and הן are rarely used in the modern language, thus what is commonly used are the masculine forms for אתם and הם .
- In the future, in most cases the prefix ת will indicate the second person
- the suffix ו indicates the plural for אתם/אתן and הן /הם
- the prefix י indicates 3rd person
- the form for אתה and היא is the same, both in print and spoke
- The future is used as the imperative in most cases
- The imperative: although the imperative may not be widely used , in more formal situations and in the written language it is still the preferred form.
- Such as the present, there are only four conjugations in the imperative:
- Like in the future tense the form for feminine plural is rarely used , instead the masculine plural is the preferred one.
The irregular group לִפְעִוֹת
The most common irregularity of the verb פָּעַל is the form where the LAST letter of the root is a ה but because of its usual mute sound when making the infinitive the ה is replaced by ת.
לַעֲשׂוֹת – to do
לִקְנוֹת – to buy
לִשְׁתּוֹת – to drink
we will use the verb לַעֲשׂוֹת for the demonstration of the patterns
- The present
- In the verbs of this group the feminine and masculine forms are the same without nikkud, but said differently.
- It’s important to notice that in the plural forms the ה as the 3rd letter of the root disappears and you simply put the endings after the 2nd letter of the root.
- The past
- Only in the 3rd person masculine singular does the ה of the root appear.
- In the 3rd person singular feminine there is the addition of ת before the common ending for the past
- in most cases, there is a י before the endings of the past
- The future:
- Unlike the past, in almost all persons of the future tense the ה of the root appears. The exceptions are the 2nd and 3rd persons in the plural (since the feminine plural forms of these persons are usually replaced by the masculine forms).
- The imperative:
- The 3rd letter of the root only appears in the singular masculine. (the ה in the feminine plural is part of the suffix.
We’ve covered most of the verbs that may appear in the פָּעַל form, but some more irregular verbs will be covered in the next article about this בִּנְיָן. See you!