Past Continuous Tense

The use of the past continuous in Darija

Kan tay stands for was verb+ing, hence the past continuous tense, and also stands for used to.

The positive form of the past continuous tense

Examples

Kunt tan9ra wa7ed lktab fach 3aye6ti lia.
I was reading a book when you called me.

Kan ghadi lmedrasa dik sa3a.
He was going to school then.

Kunt tanbghi tarikh bezzaf.
I used to love history so much.

The Form

  • Ana kunt tan+VR
  • Nta kunti tat+VR
  • Nti kunti ta+VR+i
  • Howa kan tay+VR
  • Hia tat+VR
  • 7na kunna tan+VR+u
  • Ntuma Kentu tat+VR+u
  • Huma kanu tay+VR+u

Verb kteb (to write)

  • Ana kunt tankteb
  • Nta kunti tatkteb
  • Nti kunti tatketbi
  • Howa kan taykteb
  • Hia kanet tatkteb
  • 7na kunna tanketbu
  • Ntuma kentu tatketbtu
  • Huma kanu tayketbu

Explanation

For first person singular, we add kunt tan- to the beginning of the verb.
For the second person singular masculine, we add kunti  tat- to the beginning of the verb.
For the second person singular feminine, we add kunti tat- to the beginning of the verb, change the position of -e- and put it after the first consonant/letter, and -i to the end of the verb.
For the third person singular masculine, we add kan tay- to the beginning of the verb.
For the third person singular feminine, we add kanet tat- to the beginning of the verb.

For the first person plural, we add kunna tan- to the beginning of the verb and -u to the end of the verb.
For the second person plural, we add kentu tat- to the beginning of the verb and -u to the end of the verb.
For the third person plural, we add kanu tay- to the beginning of the verb and -u to the end of the verb.

The negative form of the past continuous tense

Examples

Ma kuntsh tandir shi 7aja fash 3aye6ti lia.
I wasn’ doing anything when you called me.

Ma kansh taytfarrej ftelfaza melli dkhaltu.
He wasn’t watching T.V when you came in.

Ma kansh taybghi  yemshi lmedrasa melli kan mazal sghir.
He didn’t use to like going to school when he was still a kid.

The Form

  • Ana ma kuntsh tan+VR
  • Nta ma kuntish tat+VR
  • Nti ma kuntish ta+VR+i
  • Howa ma kansh tay+VR
  • Hia ma kanetsh tat+VR
  • 7na ma kunnash tan+VR+u
  • Ntuma ma Kentush tat+VR+u
  • Huma ma kanush tay+VR+u

Verb kteb (to write)

  • Ana ma kuntsh tankteb
  • Nta ma kuntish tatkteb
  • Nti ma kuntish tatketbi
  • Howa ma kansh taykteb
  • Hia ma kanetsh tatkteb
  • 7na ma kunnash tanketbu
  • Ntuma ma kentush tatketbtu
  • Huma ma kanush tayketbu

We add ma before kunt or kanet and the suffix -sh to to its end.

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