Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 43

Future tense – Eitan letters

Free Hebrew lessons – October 2010 – Training – Day 43


Today we have a long and very important lesson.
If you only have a few minutes, you can just read the summary at the end of the lesson, but if you really want to learn Hebrew, let’s start…

In our previous lesson we talked about Definite and Indefinite articles. I taught you that in Hebrew there is no indefinite article “a,” and I showed you that we use the sound “ha” (which is only one vowel in Hebrew), instead of the word “the.”

Today we will talk about the future…

It would be amazing if we could sit together and guess what the future has in store for us… but, we will leave that for astrologers and concentrate on our Hebrew lessons.   😉  
BTW, here is one of my astrology websites.


Today’s menu: Future tense – Eitan letters

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

Today we will talk about the future tense and we’ll taste a bit about “roots.”

We’re only going to use one verb for our examples today – close.
We learned this verb in lesson 39, and many of you did homework about it.

As you have already seen, in Hebrew we don’t use “am, are” and “is.” So, from now on I won’t need to write: “I am,” “you are,” “he is” etc… I will only use “I, you, he, we” etc. in my tables/examples.

Look at this table and read the following explanation.


English Pronouns Verb Hebrew Pronouns Hebrew Verb Future Tense
I (m) close Ani soger esgor
I (f) close Ani sogeret esgor
You (m) close Ata soger tisgor
You (f) close At sogeret tisgeri
He (m) closes Hu soger isgor
She (f)  closes Hi sogeret tisgor
We (m) close Ana^nu sogrim nisgor
We (f) close Ana^nu sogrot nisgor
You (m) close Atem sogrim tisgeru
You (f) close Aten sogrot tisgorna
They (m) close Hem sogrim isgeru
They (f) close Hen sogrot tisgorna


Now, after you read the verbs in the table above, I will teach you the rules for future tense, step-by-step.

1. In Hebrew every verb has a root.
Most roots consist of 3 consonants.
At this point we won’t discuss word roots in detail, because the concept of word roots is not easy to understand, especially since I can’t show you the root letters in Heblish (meaning, in English letters).  However, one day we will try to learn more about roots.

The only thing I want to say about roots is that the root of the word “close,” (soger) is “s.g.r.”
What do I mean by that?

Look at the verbs above. You can easily find the letters “s,” “g” and “r” in each verb.  This is the root of the verb “soger.”
That’s true for past tense, present tense and future tense.


2. In the future tense, there are four possible prefix letters before the root.
If you learn them, you will be able to conjugate almost every Hebrew verb in the future tense.
The letters are: e, i, t and n, and in Hebrew the name of this group of letters is “Eitan.”
Most of the time we use these 4 prefixes as the Eitan letters.

In the future I will show you some exceptions.

Let’s look again. I capitalized the root’s letters “S,” “G” and “R” and bolded the four special prefix letters.


English Pronouns Verb Hebrew Pronouns Future Tense
I (m) close Ani esgor       eSGoR
I (f) close Ani esgor       eSGoR
You (m) close Ata tisgor      tiSGoR
You (f) close At tisgeri     tiSGeRi
He (m) closes Hu isgor        iSGoR
She (f)  closes Hi tisgor      tiSGoR
We (m) close Ana^nu nisgor     niSGoR
We (f) close Ana^nu nisgor     niSGoR
You (m) close Atem tisgeru    tiSGeRu
You (f) close Aten tisgorna  tiSGoRna
They (m) close Hem isgeru     iSGeRu
They (f) close Hen tisgorna  tiSGoRna


The rule:
In the future tense, there are four possible prefix letters before the root.
1) The letters are: e, i, t or n.
2) This rule is for all future tense Hebrew verbs, in all 7 Hebrew forms.
3) Every verb in the future tense must have one of the “Eitan” letters as the first letter of the word.

Here it is in detail.
Don’t try to remember it, yet. I will give an easy way to remember the rules.

   – For “I” (ani) we add the letter “e” before the root.
   – For “he” (m) (hu) and for
            “they” (m) (hem), we add the letter “i” before the root.

   – For “you” (m) and (f) singular and plural (ata, at, atem, aten) and for
            “she” (hi) and they (f) (hen), we add the letter “t” before the root.

   – For “we” (m) and (f) (ana^nu), we add the letter “n” before the root.

Here it is on a table:

English Pronouns Hebrew Pronouns   Eitan letters   Future Tense Remarks
I (m) Ani   e   esgor  
I (f) Ani   e   esgor  
He (m) Hu   i   isgor  
They (m) Hem   i   isgeru  
You (m) Ata   t   tisgor Only the “t” is one of the “Eitan” letters. The “i” (the second letter) is just a vowel.
You (f) At   t   tisgeri The same
You (m) plural Atem   t   tisgeru The same
You (f) plural Aten   t   tisgorna The same
She (f)  Hi   t   tisgor The same
They (f) Hen   t   tisgorna The same
We (m) Ana^nu   n   nisgor The same; the “i” here is just a vowel.
We (f) Ana^nu   n   nisgor The same


Or simpler:

Person Hebrew Pronouns Eitan letters
First person (singular) Ani e
Third person (masculine) Hu, hem i
Second person + third person (feminine) Ata, at, atem, aten, hi, hen t
First person (plural)  Ana^nu n


Summary (and a simple way to remember):

– For every verb in the future tense in Hebrew, we use one of the “Eitan” prefixes:  e, i, t or n before the root.
– The Eitan prefix letter will be always the first letter of the verb.
– This rule is for ALL 7 forms of verbs in Hebrew – meaning, all Hebrew verbs!

The best way to remember which of the Eitan prefixes to use is:

– First person (singular) – e
– First person (plural) – n

– Third person (masculine) – i

– All the others – t

Simple  😉  

Is your head spinning?  Don’t be discouraged!  If you just keep studying the table and memorize which “Eitan” prefix letter goes with which personal pronoun, you will quickly master the future tense.

Lehitraot in lesson 44, I promise you an easier lesson…

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