አማርኛ (Amharic) Present/Future Tense

Ready for some great news — in Amharic, the present and future tense are the SAME! As a language-learner, that’s a real treat! For native English speakers, who differentiate between “now” and “later,” it also brings up some interesting philosophical questions about time, but we’ll leave that for another day.

Present/Future Conjugations (Positive)

To form the present/future tense, you add the following prefixes/suffixes onto the verb root. There are some exceptions (and you’ll notice that the conjugations for አንቺ/anči involve a letter changing… this is called palatalization, and will be another post entirely), but overall, this is how verbs are conjugated.

እኔ/ïne/I
እ_____አለሁ ï_____alähu
example: እሄዳለሁ/ïhedalähu

እኛ/ïña/we
እን_____አለን ïn_____alän
example: እንሄዳለን/ïnhedalän
አንተ/antä/you
ት_____አለህ tï_____aläh
example: ትሄዳለህ/tïhedaläh
አንቺ/anči/you
ት_____አለሽ tï_____aläš
example: ትሄጃለሽ/tïhejalaš
እናንተ/ïnantä/ya’ll
ት_____አላችሁ tï_____alačhu
example: ትሄዳላችሁ/tïhedalačhu
እሱ/ïsu/he
ይ_____አል yï_____al
example: ይሄዳል/yïhedal
እሷ/ïswa/she
ት_____አለች tï_____aläč
example: ትሄዳለች/tïhedaläč
እነሱ/ïnäsu/they
ይ_____አሉ yï_____alu
example: ይሄዳል/yïhedalu
Exercise: Fill in the blanks in the following table.
ENGLISHINFINITIVEROOTÏNE/እኔ: POSITIVE
to replace
ተካ täka
to believeማመን mamän

to bother
ረበሸ räbäšä
to win

አሸነፋለሁ ašänäfalähu
to donate
አባርከ abarkä
to fail/fall

እወደቃለሁ ïwädäk’alähu
to supportመድገፍ mädgäf

to introduceማስተዋወቅ mastäwawäk’

Exercise: Translate the following sentences in Amharic.
to runመሮጥ/märot’I run.እሮጣለሁ/ïrot’alähu
to eat
Every day, I eat injera.
to sleep
I sleep from four o’clock until twelve o’clock.
to write
After class, I will write lesson plans for tomorrow.
to hate
She hates vegetables.
to work
Peace Corps agriculture volunteers work with farmers.
to study
I will study Amharic.
to send
I send letters to my family in America.
to boil
I boil coffee in my jabana.
to fear
He is afraid of (fears) dogs.
to clean
I clean my house twice a week.
to pay
Peace Corps pays my rent.
to play
We play volleyball at the primary school.
to visit
My neighbours will visit their families for Easter.
to stay
I will stay here for two years.
to close
At night, I always close my window.
to help
After work tomorrow, I will help my friend make keneto.
to ask
I will ask my director next week.
to live
Most of my students live in rented rooms.

Present/Future Conjugations (Negative)

Similarly to the positive version, the negative version is formed with prefixes and suffixes added to the verb root, as shown on the table below. Again, there are exceptions and irregularities, but this is the general pattern (using ሄድ, he went, as the verb root).

እኔ/ïne/I አል_____ም
al_____m
example: አልሄድም/alhedm

እኛ/ïña/we
አን_____ም an_____m
example: አንሄድም/anhedm
አንተ/antä/you
አት_____ም at_____m
example: አትሄድም/athedm
አንቺ/anči/you
አት____ም at_____m
example: አትሄጅም/athejm
እናንተ/ïnantä/ya’ll
አት_____ኡም at_____um
example: አትሄድም/athedum
እሱ/ïsu/he
አይ_____ም ay_____m
example: አይሄድም/ayhedm
እሷ/ïswa/she
አት_____ም at_____m
example: አትሄድም/athedm
እነሱ/ïnäsu/they
አይ_____ኡም ay_____um
example: አይሄድም/ayhedum
Exercise: Fill in the blanks in the following table.
ENGLISHINFINITIVEROOTÏNE/እኔ: NEGATIVE
to sleepመተኛት mätäñat

to fail
ወደቀ wädäk’ä
to pay

አልከፈልም alkäfälm
to clean
አጸዳ as’äda
to laughመሳቅ mäsak’

to change

አልቀየርም alk’äyärm
to plan
አቀደ ak’ädä
to start

አልጀመርም aljämärm
Exercise: Translate the following sentences into Amharic.
to runመሮጥ/märot’I don’t run.አልሮጥም/alrot’m
to smoke
I don’t smoke cigarettes.
to be late
We won’t be late.
to pass
She will not pass ninth grade.
to listen
The students don’t listen to their teacher.
to marry
He is mean, so she won’t marry him.
to laugh
He is very sad. He doesn’t laugh.
to like
I don’t like long bus rides.
to sing
I don’t sing because my voice is not beautiful.
to give permission
The director won’t give permission for the project.
to break
Can I borrow your phone? I won’t break it.
to come
She isn’t coming.
to want
We don’t want to go to the meeting.
to open
People don’t open their windows on the bus.
to eat
I don’t eat meat.
to fast
I’m not fasting because I’m sick.
to arrive
I won’t arrive before six o’clock.

Bonus Exercises

Exercise: Change the following verbs from positive to negative (keep the same pronoun).
እኔእሮጠላሁ ïne ïrot’alahu እኔአልሮጥም ïne alrot’m
እሷ ታጠናለች ïswa tat’änaläč
እኛ እንተኛላን ïña ïntäñalan
እኔ አጨሳላሁ ïne ač’äsalahu
እናንተ ተድረጋላችሁ ïnantä tädrägalačhu
እሱ ያሳውዋል ïsu yasawk’al
እኛ እናደናላን ïña ïnadänalan
እኔ አውቃላሁ ïne awk’alahu
አንቺ ታመጫለሽ anči tamäč’aläš
እነሱ ያዳመጣሉ ïnäsu yadamät’alu
Exercise: Change the following verbs from negative to positive (keep the same pronoun).
አንተአትሀድም anta athedmአንተትሀደለህ anta tïhedäläh
እኔ አልጠጣም ïne alt’ät’am
እሱ አያውቅም ïsu ayawk’m
እሷ አትችልም ïswa atčïlm
እኛ አንሰራም ïña ansäram
እነሱ አያረፈዱም ïnäsu ayaräfädum 
እሷ አታሳመረም ïswa atasamäräm
አንቺ አትጋገርም anči atgagärm
አንተ አታፅዳም antä atas’dam
እናንተ አትመጡም ïnantä atmät’um

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