አማርኛ (Amharic): The “Used To” Conjugation

What do I mean by “used to” conjugation? Here are a few examples.

ወደ ትምህርትቤት በባቡር እሄድ ነበር።
wädä tïmhïrtbet bäbabur ïhed näbär.
I used to go to school by train.
በየቀኑ አምስት እንጀራ ይበላ ነበር።
bäyäk’änu amïst ïnjära yïbäla näbär.
He used to eat five injera every day.
የመንግስት ብሮ ውስጥ ትሰራ ነበር።
yämängïst bïro wïst’ tïsära näbär.
She used to work in the government office.

Here’s the general formula for setting up a “used to” sentence:
prefix + verb root (+ suffix) + näbär/ነበር

Check out this table of example conjugations.

PRONOUNFORMULAEXAMPLE (used to go)
ïne/እኔï(verb) näbär/እ(ግስ) ነበርïhed näbär/እሄድ ነበር
antä/አንተ(verb) näbär/ት(ግስ) ነበርtïhed näbär/ትሄድ ነበር
anči/አንቺ(verb)i näbär/ት(ግስ)ኢ ነበርtïheji näbär/ትሄጂ ነበር
ïsu/እሱ(verb) näbär/ይ(ግስ) ነበርyïhed näbär/ይሄድ ነበር
ïswa/እሷ(verb) näbär/ት(ግስ) ነበርtïhed näbär/ትሄድ ነበር
ïña/እኛïn(verb) näbär/እን(ግስ) ነበርïnhed näbär/እንሄድ ነበር
ïnantä/እናንተ(verb)u näbär/ት(ግስ)ኡ ነበርtïhedu näbär/ትሄዱ ነበር
ïnäsu/እነሱ(verb)u näbär/ይ(ግስ)ኡ ነበርyïhedu näbär/ይሄዱ ነበር

BONUS: Oftentimes, you’ll use the “used to” tense in connection with the phrase “when I was.” In Amharic, when I was = ïyalähu.

ተማሪ እያለሁ፣ በየቀኑ አጠና ነበር።
tämari ïyalähu, bäyäk’änu at’äna näbär.
When I was a student, I used to study every day.
አሜሪካ እያለሁ፣ አይብ ዳቦ እበላ ነበር።
amerika ïyalähu, ayb ïbäla näbär.
When I was in America, I used to eat cheese.

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