In Arabic we have different words to negate sentences in the past, present and future. Negating simply means to change the meaning to include “not” eg:
Ahmed likes dogs
Ahmed does not like dogs – this is a negation of the above sentence
Present tense – Laa
the present tense negater is لا. it comes before the verb which you want to negate, which should be in imperfect indicitive (ie the “usual” present tense verb ending in a damma, “laa” had no effect on the verb apart from negating its meaning)
لا يَكْتُبُ المدّرسُ
the teacher is not writing
the teacher is writing
Past tense – Maa and Lam
1.) the easiest past negator to use is ما which should be placed infront of the verb in the perfect (past) tense. This also has no effect on the verb apart from negating meaning.
ما ذَهَبَ الولدُ
the boy did not go
the boy went
It is occasionally also used to negate a present tense sentence, but you should not do this yourself. eg
he is not drinking
2.) the other way of negating past is with لم
this comes infront of an imperfect jussive verb (مجزوم) which is formed by ending the verb with sukoon and if there is any long vowel in the verb it will be removed. if the verb had an “ending” eg in 2nd person feminine, the noon will be removed.
he didnt write
you (female) didnt go
لن is used, this comes before a verb in the subjunctive. This is like the normal imperfect(present) only instead of ending with dhamma on the last letter, it will be fatha. also, when the verb has an “ending” like you female, the noon is removed like in the jussive.
he will not eat
To negate an equational sentence, we must use the verb “laysa” لَيْسَ
although this looks like a past tense verb, we should translate it simply as “is not / are not” and do not give it a past tense meaning when translating.
It should be conjugated as any normal past tense verb. Eg
ليس الولدُ ذكيّاً
lays alwaladu dhakiyyan
the boy is not clever
ليست البنتُ مجتهدةً
laysat al bintu mujtahidatan
the girl is not hard working
Note that the predicate of the equational sentence became accusative case due to this verb. This is the same effect that we learned when using the verb Kaana, so we say that laysa is a sister of Kaana.
Also note this difference in the conjugation :
If there is a sukoon on the seen when conjugating the verb normally… then you must remove the ya.
So we are left with…
i am not lazy
لَسْتِ في البيتِ
lasti fil bayt
you are not in the house
This is because of the rule that we are not allowed two sukoons next to each other, and there is already a sukoon on the ya so that letter is removed.