Say 'no' – negating the past tense equational sentence




Watch videos
 (under 2.03 min each)
Say it didn't happen (Past tense negation).



How do you negate a past tense sentence that is non-verbal?

Negating the past tense verb "to be" is simple.

Place before and after the appropriate conjugation of kaan.

Example: makaansh = it was not


Take a moment to memorize the negation of the verb “to be”…

A note on MSA/Classical: The particle "لم" is used to negate the past tense. 

The helping vowels are underlined in red.

Recall: There cannot be more than two consonants in a row in an Arabic word. Hence, the helping vowel.

Negation of the Equational Sentence

أنا لَم أكُن
أنا ما كُنْتِشْ
  Ana makuntish.

I wasn't 

 نَحْنُ لَمْ نَكُنْ
إحْنا ما كُنّاشْ
Iḥna makunnaash. 

we weren't

 أنْتَ لَمْ تَكُنْ
إنْتَ ما كُنْتِشْ
Inta makuntish.   
you weren't

أنْتُمْ لَمْ تَكونوا
إنْتُم ما كُنْتوشْ
Intum makuntuush. 

you weren't

🔴 See remaining conjugations





Want more? Skip section unless a grammar guru.

Don’t forget before adding the suffix sh to check to see if a helping vowel is needed.

With time you will just drop the vowels naturally as you speak.

Rule: If a word ends in two consonants you will need to add a helping vowel. The helping vowel here is shown in red:


Notice that the stem ends in
nt. Hence, iis added prior to the sh.”

But wait, it can get tricky!

How do we know to add an i... and not a u or a? After all they can all be helping vowels.

You don't.


You don't

This comes with listening. It just sounds right.

Professional language learners do not fret about the small stuff. They pick it up as they go.

Note also that helping vowels are added to words that already end in a vowel.

This means if a word ends in a vowel just add another of the same vowel
prior to the sh.”

Again, the helping vowel here is shown in red: makunnaash.

Notice the word ends in the vowel
a. Hence, a is added prior to the sh.”

Think of helping vowels as "softening" up the word from too many "hard" consonants.

Vowels extend or "s-t-r-e-t-ch" words allowing us to more smoothly take on the suffixes.

End of skip section.


Drill with answers  

  Negate the below past tense sentences…

   Answers below for drill


اَلشّارِعُ كانَ طَويلاً
الشّارِعْ كان ْطَويلْ
Ish shaariç kaan tawiil.
The street was long.


اَلْمَدْرَسَةُ كانَتْ قَديمَةً
اِلْمَدْرَسَةْ كانِتْ  قَديمَةْ
Il madrasa kaanit ‘diima.

The school was old.


سارَةُ كانَتْ مُتْعَبَة
سارَةْ كانِتْ تَعْبانَةْ

Sara kaanit ta
Sara was tired.


اَلطَّعامُ كانَ لَذيذاً
اِلأكْلْ كانْ طِعِمْ

Il ‘akl kaan ti
The food was tasty.

اَلسَّيارةُ كانَتْ حَمْراءَ
اِلْعَرَبِيَّةْ كانِتْ حَمْرَةْ
Il çarabiyya kaanit hamra.
The car was red.


اَلْبابُ كانَ جَديداً
اِلْبابْ كانْ جِـِديدْ
Il baab kaan gidiid.
The door was new.

هِيَ كانْ اِسْمُها سامِيَةً
هِيَّ كانْ اِسْمَها سامْيَةْ
Hiyya kaansmaha Samia.

كانَ يوجَدُ بَقّالٌ بِجانِبِ الْبَيْتِ
كانْ فيهْ بَقّال جَنْبْ الْبيتْ

fiih ba’’aal gamb il beet. There was a grocer next to the house.


هَذا كانَ عَلىَ الطّاوْلَةِ
دا كانْ عَلىَ التَّرابيزَةْ

Da kaan
çala it tarabiiza.
That was on the table.

كانَ عِنْدَهُ خَمْسَةُ أوْلادٍ
كانْ عَنْدُه خَمَسْ أوْلادْ

çandu khamas ‘wlaad.
He had five children.




اَلشّارِعُ كانَ طَويلاً

اِلشّارِعْ كانْ طَويلْ

9 Ish shaariç kaan tawiil.
The street was long.

اَلشّارِعُ لَمْ يَكُنْ طَويلاً

اِلشّارِعْ ما كانْشْ طَويلْ

 10  Ish shaariç makaansh tawiil.

The street was not long.

🔴 See more answers 😊 😊


Keep on going! You're almost there.


End of section. Return to Index.                                                                      


Top   |    Feedback   |    Error?   |     Index   |   Home      


  Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape