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Introduction to the present tenses transition
When you want to speak Darija, you probably transition from English to Darija; that’s why I came up with this post; to make it easy for English speakers to learn to speak Darija in an easy and smooth way. First, we start with how to transition the present tenses from English to Darija.
The present simple
For more information on the present tense, please visit the present tense page.
When something is generally true
The sun sets in the west.
Sshemsh tatghrub f jiht lgharb.
(The sun sets in the side of the west.)
I live in Tangiers.
Tanskun f tanja.
(I) live in Tangiers.
She plays tennis every morning. › Tatl3ab tennis kulla sba7.
So here, we use the present tense in Darija. Click here to read more about the present tense.
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The present continuous
For things happening at the moment of speaking
For annoying habits
He’s always losing his keys.
Dima taytellef swartu.
(He always loses his keys)
We’re still using the present tense in Darija, even when the present continuous is used in English.
For temporary things that won’t last very long
I’m staying here for a week.
Ghadi neb9a hna shi semana.
(Going to stay here some week)
Notice here we’re using the future tense in Darija. Click here to read more about the future tense in Darija.
For definite future arrangements
She’s meeting her daughter next week.
Ghada tla9a bentha semana jayya.
(Going to meet her daughter next week)
Notice here too we’re using the future tense in Darija.
For temporary habits
She’s eating a lot these days.
wellat tattakul bezzaf had liyam.
(She became eat a lot these days)
Here, we are using the verb “wella” (to become) as an auxiliary verb to refer to new habits.
Use: The verb (wella) in the past tense + main verb in the present.
For situations that are slowly changing
He’s getting better now.
Ghadi u tayt7assen daba.
Going and getting well now.
Here, “ghadi u” (going and) refers to something that’s happening slowly.
Use: ghadi u + main verb in the present tense in Darija.
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The present perfect
I’ve lived here since 2002.
Men 2002 (alfin w juj) w’ana saken hna.
(from 2002 and I am living here)
I’ve known her for 12 years.
12 (Tna3sher 3am) u ana tan3refha.
(12 years and I know her)
So here we use u ana/howa/nta/7na plus the main verb in the present tense in Darija.
I’ve already read that book.
Sba9 li 9rit dak lktab.
(Preceded me read that book)
I’ve been to Agadir before.
Sba9 lia mshit l’Agadir.
(Preceded me went to Agadir)
Here we use the verb sba9 + li (always sba9 li-) “preceded me/him/us” as an auxiliary verb meaning “already done it”.
Use: sba9 li- + main verb in the past tense in Darija.
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The present perfect continuous
I’ve been waiting for you for hours.
3 (tlata) swaye3 u ana tantsenna fik.
(3 hours and I wait for you)
To say how long the action has taken, use time or duration, for example (4 swaye3) + u ana/howa/7na + main verb in the present tense in Darija.
I’ve been working on this since 4AM.
Men 4 (reb3a) d sba7 u ana kheddam 3la hadshi.
(From 4 of the morning and I am working on this)
To say how long the action has taken, use “men” (from or since) + time, for example (men 3 dial sba7) + u ana/howa/7na + main verb in the present tense in Darija.