Helpful Hints – Lesson 12 – Verbs

Helpful Hints – Lesson 12 – Verbs
Here's a "Five-Minute Rundown" of this chapter:
Hebrew verbs and English verbs have several things in common:
1. They are the way in which we talk about things that happen ("The girl kicked the
ball.") and the usual way we talk about things that exist and how they exist ("The
ball is in the goal." "The balls are bouncy.")
2. They, in general, "agree" with their subject in person and number ("You are the
goalie today." "I am on the bench." "We are soccer players." "Our team is the
3. There are verbs that obey the usual rules for formation ("I walk"; "He walks"; "I
walked"; "I shall walk") and there are verbs that do not obey the usual rules for
formation ("I am"; "He is"; "I was"; "I will be").
Hebrew verbs and English verbs also have major differences:
1. Whereas English verbs are "marked" for tense (i.e., there is something in the verb
form itself that lets you know when it occurs: I walk. I walked. I shall walk.),
Hebrew verbs are not marked for tense. You cannot tell—just by looking at a verb
form without context—when the action occurs.
2. Hebrew verbs, unlike English verbs, are marked for "causation". You can look at a
Hebrew verb form and tell if the subject of a sentence is "causing" something to
happen to something else. Causation in Hebrew generally consists in:
a. Causing things to be certain ways, and
b. Causing things to do certain things.
3. Hebrew verbs, unlike English verbs, agree with their subjects—not only in person
and number—but also in gender. The Hebrew verb in the two sentences "The boy
loved" and "The girl loved" would look different because the genders of the two
subjects are different.
4. Hebrew verbs, unlike English verbs, disobey the usual rules for formation only
because they have certain consonants that make up their three-consonant root. You
will not have to memorize long lists of "irregular verbs" as in English. You will
simply have to keep in mind 10 different ways in which verbs in Hebrew can "break
the rules". Verbs that obey the rules are called "Stong Verbs"; verbs that have certain
consonants in their roots that tend to do irregular things are called "Weak Verbs".
We will be studying weak verbs mostly in the Spring term.
The most important thing in the chapter is the paradigm on the bottom of page 83, as well as
the paradigms in the middle of page 85. These two sets of three paradigms are actually the same
paradigm. This is the basic verbal paradigm and it is called Qal Perfect (
- meaning, in
Hebrew, "Light" or "Easy"). You need to know this paradigm backwards, forwards, and insideoutside! You need to learn this paradigm in the order of persons, numbers, and genders in the
paradigm. As well, you also need to know each verbal form individually.
In memorizing the paradigm, please keep the order the same. In Hebrew, we start with the
third masculine singular form ("he ____ed") and work from there. DO NOT MEMORIZE
THESE IN ANOTHER ORDER! Do not rearrange the forms to conform to English grammars,
with first person singular ("I _____ed"). This will mess you up later.
In memorizing the forms independently, consult the "Verb Cards" window on the class
website. There you will find a document that will allow you to print off the various forms of the
strong verb lv;m' "he ruled" on labels (Avery 5160), along with translations. You may put the
verb form on one side of a 3"x5" card and the translation on the other for quick and "easy"
review of the various forms. You will also find the Qal Perfect paradigm with "placeholders"
(ÙÙÙ) for the three consonants of any strong root. Please be able to recognize and translate
the various forms both with lv;m' and with the placeholders.