Present tense verbs refer to actions that currently happen.
In particular, present simple verbs refer to actions of habit. (“I eat meat.”)
Present continuous verbs refer to actions that are currently happening and will eventually stop. (“I am eating meat.”)
Continue reading to learn more about how to write Igbo verbs in the present simple and present continuous tense. Remember to keep in mind Igbo vowel harmony and pronoun rules when creating your sentences.
Present Simple Tense
Let’s go over how to conjugate the verb ịbụ (“to be”) in present simple tense. To change an Igbo verb to present simple tense, you usually remove the i or ị infinitive marker and just keep the root stem.
A bụ m / M bụ – I am
Ị bụ – You are
Ọ bụ – He/She/It is
Anyi bụ – We are
Ụnụ bụ – You (all) are
Ha bụ – They are
Present Continuous Tense
“Na” as the Enyemaka Ngwaa (Auxiliary verb)
To create present continuous verbs in Igbo, you must use “na” as an enyemaka ngwaa (auxiliary verb). Just add the “na-” [na + hyphen] in front of the verb and replace the “i/ị” in the root stem with either an “a” or “e” depending on vowel harmony to make it present continuous. When you write a verb in present continuous, do not drop the vowel like n’asu. Dropping the vowel in na is for prepositions. However, when you say the na + verb, you pronounce na as if the vowel was dropped. [So write na-asu, but pronounce it as n’asu.]
Vowel Harmony Group A Example:
Let’s go over how to conjugate the verb ịsụ (“to speak a language”) in present continuous tense. (Remember to add na- in front and replace the “ị” with an “a”.)
Ana m asụ / M na-asu – I am speaking
Ị na-asụ – You are speaking
Ọ na-asụ – He/She/It is speaking
Anyi na-asụ – We are speaking
Ụnụ na-asụ – You (all) are speaking
Ha na-asụ – They are speaking
Vowel Harmony Group E Example:
Let’s go over how to conjugate the verb inye (“to give”) in present continuous tense. (Remember to add na- in front and replace the “i” with an “e”.)
Ana m enye / M na-enye – I am giving
I na-enye – You are giving
O na-enye– He/She/It is giving
Anyi na-enye – We are giving
Ụnụ na-enye – You (all) are giving
Ha na-enye – They are giving
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