Past tense refers to actions that have already happened.
Continue reading to learn more about how to write Igbo verbs in the past tense. Remember to keep in mind Igbo vowel harmony and pronoun rules when creating your sentences.
Past Tense Igbo Verbs
There are various ways to make verbs past tense in Igbo.
For most Igbo verbs, you have to remove the “i/ị” infinitive marker from the beginning of the root stem and adding an r + the last verb in the verb root stem. The most common suffixes for past tense Igbo verbs include: -ra, -re, -ri, -rị , -ro, -rọ, -ru, and -rụ.
Some past tense Igbo verb examples:
ịbịa [ị + bịa] – to come | Past tense: bịara – came
ịhụ [i + hụ ] – to see | Past tense: hụrụ – saw
ide – [i + de] – to write | Past tense: dere – wrote
Note: Though this is the general way to make verbs in Igbo past tense, not all Igbo verbs follow this pattern for their past tense form. (I will add more information about this once I learn more about it.) Also, your dialect may conjugate Igbo verbs in a different way for past tense. Please consult someone from your village!
Vowel Harmony Group A Example:
Let’s go over how to conjugate the Igbo verb ịmụ (“to study”) in past tense. (Remember to remove the “ị” at the beginning of the verb and add “rụ” at the end.)
A mụrụ m / M mụrụ – I studied
Ị mụrụ – You studied
Ọ mụrụ – He/She/It studied
Anyi mụrụ – We studied
Ụnụ mụrụ – You (all) studied
Ha mụrụ – They studied
Vowel Harmony Group E Example:
Let’s go over how to conjugate the Igbo verb ime (“to do”) in past tense. (Remember to remove the “i” at the beginning of the verb and add to the end “re”.)
E mere m / M mere. – I did
I mere – You did
O mere – He/She/It did
Anyi mere– We did
Ụnụ mere– You (all) did
Ha mere– They did