“State” and not motion - the active participle


🔴 Also see: Active participle explained, Active participles in Egyptian colloquial, Compare active participles to verbs, Be careful, m. & f. & plural active participles


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(3.13 min)

Describe in an Unexpected Way.


 What is a participle?

Participles, modify nouns, as adjectives.

Example #1:

growing business

business = noun
= participle (adjective)

Participles "feel like" verbs but are adjectives.

Example #2:
Smiling people

Smiling = present participle -ing
 = past participle -ed

'Smiling' is from the verb "to smile."

'Rented' is from the verb "to rent."

What is an active participle?

An active participle is an adjective which "feels like" a verb

The active participle explained with examples

Active participles and verbs can be used interchangeably OR/ one is preferred over the other.

Usually, MSA/Classical prefers verbs and Egyptian Spoken Arabic prefers active participles.


Often we use active participles thinking they are verbs.

Let's do a close up:

In the Arabic language:

I understood
- Is a verb which refers the past tense.

I understand - Is an active participle (adjective) which refers to the state of realization.  

This module shows how:

1. MSA/Classical usually uses verbs.
2. Egyptian Colloquial usually uses active participles (adjective).

Both the verb and the active particle are close in meaning.


أنا فَهِمْتُ

أنا فِهِمْتْ
 1 Ana fihimt - I understood (verb)



أنا أفْهَمُ

أنا فاهِمْ
 2 Ana faahim - I understand (active participle)

In the above example MSA/Classical uses
أنا فَهِمْتُ (a verb) while Egyptian Colloquial/Spoken prefers أنا فاهِمْ (an active participle) and also uses أنا فِهِمْتْ (a verb).        

  Skip (not really necessary)


Both the verb and the active particle are close in meaning.


The present progressive verb is motion over a period of time while the active particle is "state of being" over a period of time.


A subtle difference.

naayim - asleep active participle
biynaam - sleeping verb

When do you use asleep and sleeping?

End of skip section.



Keep going! You're almost there.

But what do we mean by "motion" versus "state of being"?

"Motion" is moving from point A to point B.

Example, fihimt = I understood (verb)

But, "state of being" is being at point B in a "state" of knowing.

Example: ana faahim= I know (active participle)

This "state" of knowing is a description, an ADJECTIVE, or an active participle.



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