الفِعْل المَبْني للمَجْهول في الماضي
Arabic passive voice in the past tense

Verbs in Arabic are either active or passive; the active verb is the normal verb that we use usually, example: كَتَبَ (wrote) While the passive verb is the one in which the subject is dropped, example: كُتِبَ (was written) and here you’re going to learn about the passive verbs in the past tense and how to form them correctly.

The passive sentence

A passive sentence means leaving out the subject الفاعِل, for several reasons, among them:

  • Either because it’s not important, for example:

The news of the price increase was published yesterday. نُشِر خَبَرُ زيادة الأسعار أمس.
  • Or because it’s already known and no need to repeat it, for example:

The employee was fired from his position. فُصِلَ المُوَظَّفُ مِن مَنْصِبِه.
  • Also, it could be because it’s unknown, for example:

My car was stolen. سُرِقَتْ سَيّارتي.

How to form a passive verb in Arabic?

By changing the active verb into passive, this makes the object of the sentence المَفْعول بِه the grammatical subject of the verb but we name it: نائِب الفاعِل which is translated literally as: vice subject or substitute of subject.

Check the underlined words in the previous examples.

  • Steps to form the passive verb in the past:

1. If the past verb consists of three letters ثُلاثي and is weighed as فَعَلَ, put a dammah ( ُ ) on the first letter which is the faa and a kasrah on the prelast letter which is the ‘ain, it becomes: فُعِلَ
Let’s see examples:

Passive verb Active verb
was written كُتِبَ كَتَبَ wrote
was drunk شُرِبَ شَرِبَ drank
was said قِيلَ قَالَ said
was sold بِيعَ باع sold
was thrown رُمِيَ رَمَى threw
2. If the past verb consists of more than three letters, and begins with Hamzat wasl,its first and third letters must be assigned Dummah, and the pre-last letter must be assigned Kasrah, examples:
was extracted اُسْتُخْرِجَ اِسْتَخْرَجَ extracted
was inquired اُسْتُعْلِمَ اِسْتَعْلَمَ inquire
3. If the past verb consists of more than three letters and begins with a Taa that’s not a part of its root, then put Dummah on the first and second letter and a Kasrah on the pre-last letter, examples:
was learned تُعُلِّمَ تَعَلَّمَ learned
was given away تُصُدِّقَ تَصَدَّقَ give away (charity)
4. If the past verb has an Alif that is not a part of the root as a second letter, this Alif must be changed into Waaw to go along with the previous Dummah. Examples:
was shared شُورِكَ شَارَكَ shared
was watched شُوهِدَ شاهَدَ watched
More examples
The weekly article was written. كُتِبَت المَقالة الأسبوعية.
This play was watched by a lot of people. شوهِدَت هَذِهِ المَسْرَحِيَّة مِن قِبل العديد من الناس.
Finally, the truth was said. أخيرًا، قِيلَت الحقيقة.
Was this dress used before? هَل اُسْتُخْدِمَ هذا الثَّوْب من قَبل؟
Arabic vocabulary

Arabic Vocabulary

Learn new Arabic words each week with a selection of vocabulary divided by topic: colors, body parts, means of transport and much more...

Learning Arabic you will be able to travel to all the places where it is spoken

Learn Arabic for Free

A great collection of exclusive free resources for you to study Arabic online on your own, or complement your classes with our teachers.

FREE ONLINE ARABIC TEST

Find out your level of Arabic with the personal advice of a native teacher with this level test developed by Ahlan World. Register in 1 minute to take the test, and find out which course is most appropriate for you.

SEE ARABIC CLASS PACKAGES BY COUNTRY

Arabic Language Newsletter

Arabic language resources, news and more on your email... for FREE!