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Flashcards in Verbs Deck (6)
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"To Be" Present Tense


For description (with an adjective): NI is most common, but the subject prefix is also used (for class 1, YU is used). For the negative, SI is always used. Ex: Mti ni mrefu OR Mti u mrefu (The tree is tall); Mti si mrefu (The tree is not tall). In some cases, the full form may be used, such as the HU tense (Huwa safi siku zote = It is always clean), or in the negative (Hatuwi tayari = We are not ready).

For expressing the state or condition of the subject, the subject prefix is most common. SI is used in the negative. Ex: Chakula ki tayari (The food is ready); Tu wagonjwa (We are ill).

For identification of a person in 1st and 2nd person, the subject prefix is used. Ni walimu (I am a teacher); M nani? (Who are you?)

Sometimes the "is/are" are omitted entirely, such as after a personal pronoun, demonstrative, or possessive. Ex: Sisi tayari (We [are] ready); Nyumba yako nzuri (Your house [is] nice).


"To Be" non-present tenses


With all tenses except the present, kuwa takes the same forms as other monosyllabic verbs, including retaining the KU in some places.

Huwa tayari (She is usually ready)
Alikuwa mrefu (She was tall)
Hakuwa mrefu (She was not tall)
Atakuwa mrefu (She will become tall)
Hatakuwa mrefu (She will not become tall)
Amekuwa mrefu (She has become tall)
Hajawa mrefu (She has not become tall)
Alikua akawa mrefu (She grew and became tall)


"To Have" present tense

Formed from "Kuwa na", which means literally to be with. In the present tense, -NA is used alone as the verb stem, with just the subject prefix added on.

Mimi nina pesa (I have money)
Mtoto ana kitabu (The child has a book)
Watoto wana vitabu (The children have books)
Chumba kina kabati (The room has a dresser)
Vyumba vina vitanda (The rooms have beds)
Nyumba zina vyumba (The houses have rooms)
Posta ina choo (The post office has a bathroom)

To negate, HA is added in front of the subject prefix, except in first person when NI changes to SI. The "A" in singular third perso is absorbed by HA.

Mimi sina pesa (I don't have money)
Mtoto hana kitabu (The child does not have a book)
Watoto hawana vitabu (The children do not have books)
Chumba hakina kabati (The room does not have a dresser)
Vyumba havina vitanda (The rooms do not have beds)
Nyumba hazina vyumba (The houses do not have rooms)
Posta haina choo (The post office does not have a bathroom).


"To Have" non-present tense

Uses the same conjugations as kuwa, but with the NA added.

Nilikuwa na pesa (I had money)
Chumba kilikuwa na kitanda kimoja (The room had one bed)
Mji ulikiwa na watu wengi (The city had many people)
Hakuwa na homa (He did not have fever)
Sitakuwa na homa (I will not have fever)


"To Be Located" present tense

Uses the subject prefix + -KO, -PO, or -MO to express being in a location. YU is used for Class 1 and all 3rd person singulars.

-KO expresses a general location and is also used in questions when the specific location is unknown.
-PO expresses a specific location.
-MO expresses a location inside of something.

In addition, the -NI location suffix is added to the noun expressing the location and can mean "in," "at," "on," "inside," "to," etc.

Liz yuko wapi? (Where is Liz?)
Kiti kiko wapi? (Where is the chair?i)
Nyumba ziko wapi (Where are the houses?)

Kitabu kimo mfukoni (The book is in the bag.)
Yuko nyumbani (He is at home)
Kitabu kipo mezani (The book is on the table)

To negate, just add HA before the subject prefix.

Mwalimu hayuko nyumbani (The teacher is not at home)
Wanafunzi hawamo darasani (The students are not in the classroom)


"To Be Located" non-present tense

Conjugate kuwa as needed (either positive or negative) and add -KO/-PO/-MO at the end.

Mwalimu alikuwako nyumbani (The teacher was at home)
Mwalimu atakuwako nyumbani (The teacher will be at home)
Wanafunzi walikuwamo darasani (The students were in the classroom)
Kitabu kitakuwapo mezani (The book will be on the table)

Mwalimu hakuwako nyumbani (The teacher was not at home)
Mwalimu hatakuwako nyumbani (The teacher will not be at home)
Wanafunzi hawakuwamo darasani (The students were not in the classroom)
Wanafunzi hawatakuwamo darasani (The students will not be in the classroom)