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Hebrew Verbs

Once you've mastered some basic Hebrew vocabulary, the Hebrew Aleph Bet, and you know how to read Hebrew, it's time take the next step and learn Hebrew verbs. If you are studying Hebrew verbs, you have already reached an advanced level of Hebrew grammar, so congratulations! As you learn Hebrew verbs you will learn all about Hebrew verb conjugation, Hebrew verb roots or shorashim, Hebrew verb constructions or binyanim, how Hebrew verbs agree in person, gender, and number with their subjects, and more. You will learn the present, past, and future tenses of Hebrew verbs, Hebrew infinitives, and how to speak Hebrew using imperative and reflexive forms of speech. With an understanding of Hebrew verb basics and with practice, you'll soon be able to conduct an impressive Hebrew conversation and impress your friends with your mastery of Hebrew language skills!

Hebrew Verb Agreement

When you learn how to speak Hebrew, you'll discover that Hebrew verbs agree in person, number, and gender with the person speaking. What does this mean?

To agree in person means Hebrew verbs are conjugated in first person (I/we) second person (you), or third person (he/she/it/they).

To agree in number means Hebrew verbs have a singular and plural form, depending on the subject/s referenced (i.e., I write, we write, she wrote, they wrote).

To agree in gender means Hebrew verbs indicate the sex of the subject referred to, such that the masculine and feminine forms of the exact same sentence look different. For example, a boy says: Ani o'hev la'shir (I like to sing); a girl says: Ani o'hevet la'shir (I like to sing).

Hebrew Roots (Shoroshim)

All Hebrew verbs (and many nouns) derive from a 3-consonant (and rarely 4) shoresh or root, which is not a word itself but which forms the basis for a number of Hebrew verbs and words that share the same root. For example, the three Hebrew consonants lamed-mem-dalet form the shoresh for the Hebrew Lilmod, "to learn." From the root we get the Hebrew verbs Lomed, (learns), Lamad (learned), Lamdu (they learned), Lamadeti (I learned), Elmad (I will learn), Yilmedu (they will learn), and more, as well the Hebrew words and nouns Lemida (learning), Talmid (student), Melumad (scholar), Melamed (teacher)

The Advantage of Hebrew Shorashim

The good news about knowing the Hebrew shoresh is that once you know the root of a Hebrew verb, it's generally not hard to figure out how to conjugate that verb in the past, present, and future tenses. For example, from the root Resh-Shin-Mem (which sounds like R-SH-M), meaning "to write down" we get the following Hebrew verbs and words: Rasham (he wrote down), Roshem (he is writing down), Ershom (I'll write down), Mirsham (prescription), Reshima (list), and more.

Hebrew Binyanim

From the shoresh, seven Hebrew verb patterns or Hebrew verb constructions – binyanim – are formed. These binyanim indicate the voice of the verb, as follows:

  1. Pa'al (or Binyan Kal): simple action, active voice (Lamad/He learned); Note that Pa'al forms the basis for almost all the other verb forms
  2. Nif'al: The passive form of Pa'al; simple action, passive voice (Nilmad/It was learned)
  3. Pi'el: Intensive action, active voice (Diber/He spoke)
  4. Pu'al: The passive form of Pi'el; intensive action, passive voice; (Dubar/It was spoken about)
  5. Hif'il: The causative form of the verb; causal action, active voice (Hifsik/He stopped)
  6. Huf'al: The passive form of Hif'il; causal action, passive voice (Hufsakr/it was stopped)
  7. Hitpa'el: The reflexive form of a verb; intensive action, reflexive voice (Hitkadem/He moved forward)

Hebrew Verb Charts

One of the best tools for learning Hebrew verbs is a Hebrew verb chart, which is a detailed grid the depicts how to conjugate Hebrew verbs according to each of the seven binyanim, as well as the infinitive, singular, plural, masculine, feminine, past, present, future, perfect, imperfect, and imperative forms of a Hebrew verb.

Hebrew Verb Resources

Fortunately, there are many easy-to-find sources for learning Hebrew verbs, including books, CDs, software, websites, and more. Here are a few Hebrew verb resources to get you started:




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