Posts Tagged 'Hebrew tenses'

Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 36


Free Hebrew lessons – September 2010 – Training – Day 36

Shalom mi-Israel (Hello from Israel),

Wow! It was a good vacation. We were in Berlin, and if you haven’t visited there yet, this is the time to think about it… No, I didn’t get a commission from the iriya (city council) of Berlin…  

In our previous lessons we had a refresher, but before that, in lesson 34, we learned some tenses. We learned that verbs in the present tense singular form remain the same, like: I sit, you sit, he sits –
Ani yoshev, ata yoshev, hu yoshev for masculine, and: I sit, you sit, she sits:  
Ani yoshevet, at yoshevet, hi yoshevet for feminine.

Today we’ll take another step ahead and learn the plural form.

Today’s menu: The present – plural form

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

Remember “Rule number 1”
In the present – there are only 4 inflections for EVERY Hebrew verb:
– Singular for (m)(m) means masculine
– Singular for (f)(f) means feminine
– Plural for (m)
– Plural for (f)

If you remember, when we talked about the singular form, we used the following table.

English subject pronouns Hebrew subject pronouns
I / I am Ani
You / you are (m) Ata
You / you are (f) At
He / he is (m) Hu
She / she is (f)  Hi (remember, the “i” sounds like “ee”)

 * I hope you remember: There is no “it” in Hebrew


Today we will learn the plural form.

English subject pronouns Hebrew subject pronouns
We / We are Ana^nu
You / you are (m) Atem
You / you are (f) Aten
They / they are (m) Hem
They / they are (f)  Hen


Let’s see how to say the last 3 words we learned: sit, write and learn, in the plural form:


   We / we are (m)Ana^nu You / you are (m)Atem They / they are (m)
Sit / sitting yoshvim yoshvim yoshvim
Write / writing kotvim kotvim kotvim
Learn / learning lomdim lomdim lomdim


We, you, they (masculine):
Sit – Ana^nu yoshvim, atem yoshvim, hem yoshvim.
Write – Ana^nu kotvim, atem kotvim, hem kotvim.
Learn – Ana^nu lomdim, atem lomdim, hem lomdim.



  We / we are (f)Ana^nu You / you are (f)
They / they are
Sit / sitting yoshvot yoshvot yoshvot
Write / writing kotvot kotvot kotvot
Learn / learning lomdot lomdot lomdot


We, you, they (feminine):
Sit – Ana^nu yoshvot, aten yoshvot, hen yoshvot.
Write – Ana^nu kotvot, aten kotvot, hen kotvot.
Learn – Ana^nu lomdot, aten lomdot, hen lomdot.

I already said it, but I will say it again – There are two things you must remember:

1. In Hebrew there are no “present simple” and “present progressive” tenses – there is only one form of “present,” and the verb remains the same for the plural persons, depending on the gender.

2. The difference between masculine and feminine in the plural form is the “ot” on the end of the feminine verbs and the “im” for the masculine verbs.
In the present – ot” is the suffix for all feminine plural verbs,  and “im” is the suffix for all masculine plural verbs. Again – I’m talking about the present!


To really “get” this, you must look at the tables above over and over and over… let it soak in and you will find it’s not that confusing.  If you want to talk about “confusing,” let’s talk about learning English.  Ha!… 

Lehitraot in lesson 37 …

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Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 14

Free Hebrew lessons – March 2010 – Training – Day 14:

Shalom le’kulam – Hi everyone,

Day 14 of the Heblish Challenge and we’re going to have an exciting day.

In our previous lessons we talked about “numbers” and the special use of the numbers e^ad and shtaim (one and two).

You might ask yourself why I used e^ad which is masculine, and shtaim which is feminine, when I spoke of the abstract numbers in the above sentence.  (An abstract number is a number that does not count nouns.)

The answer is: solecism (a solecism is a common error).

The rule in Hebrew is – unless we are counting nouns, we use feminine numbers when we are simply counting or calculating, and also for telephone numbers, paragraphs, houses, buses, pages, or section numbers. We can (but we don’t have to) add the word “mispar” (number) before the number, as in “amud mispar shtaim” (page no. two). 

But, as I said before, there is a solecism for the number one, and most Israelis use the masculine number one, e^ad, even when all the other numbers are feminine.


   – One, two, three, four… ten. –  E^ad, shtaim, shalosh, arba, ^amesh, shesh, sheva, shmone, tesha, eser (all feminine numbers since we are simply counting, except for the masculine number one – e^ad)

   – Hey, this is bus number 7… – Hey, ze otobus mispar sheva…

   – Please, open the book to page 9 – Bevakasha, open the sefer to amud tesha.

Today is going to be a cool lesson, because we’re going to talk about the simple tenses in the Hebrew language and play a little game.

Today’s menu: Tenses, some new words (number, page, bus, only, in) and a game

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

We know that English has 7 tenses, such as: Past simple, past progressive, present perfect, future tense, etc…

In the Bible there are only two tenses… yes, only two (ken, rak shnaim,) past and future. There is no (ein) present tense in the Bible!

But modern Hebrew has shlosha (three) tenses: Past, present and future.
For those who asked me, Japanese also has 3 main tenses: past (過去), present (現在) and future (未来).

In lesson 9 we learned how to say “I want, I see” and “I understand” which are in the Present Tense.

   Feminine Masculine
I want Ani rotsa Ani rotse
I see Ani roa Ani roe
I understand Ani mevina Ani mevin


When we speak in the first person past tense, it becomes simpler because there is no gender.

First person – Past tense Past tense
I wanted Ratsiti
I saw Raiti
I understood Hevanti


Let’s learn some more words…

First person – Past tense Past tense
I said Amarti
I took Laka^ti
I was Haiti (please, don’t pronounce it like the name of Haiti!)
I bought Kaniti



   – I wanted one dress but I actually bought two – Ratsiti simla a^at but actually kaniti shtaim… 😉

   – I was in Japan, but now I’m in
Israel – Haiti be‘Yapan, but now ani be’Israel.*

   – I said (that) I took two dresses but I also wanted a ring, so I bought two dresses and one ring – Amarti that laka^ti shtey smalot, but ratsiti gam tabaat, so kaniti shtey smalot ve’tabaat a^at.

*) Japan – Yapan
   Israel  – You pronounce it “Izrel” and “Izrael”, but we say… Israel (iss-ra-el).

Listen to the pronunciations of the sentences above (27 seconds on YouTube)

And now you have a small crossword-puzzle…

1. Also
4. Where

2. I / I am
3. No

We learned a lot today and I hope you enjoyed the lesson.

Lehitraot in lesson 15…

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