Swahili Verbs

If you're trying to learn Swahili Verbs which is also called Kiswahili, check our courses about Verbs in the present past and future tense... to help you with your Swahili grammar. Try to concentrate on the lesson and notice the pattern that occurs each time the word changes its place. Also don't forget to check the rest of our other lessons listed on Learn Swahili. Enjoy the rest of the lesson!


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Swahili Verbs

Learning the Swahili Verbs displayed below is vital to the language. Swahili verbs are words that convey action (bring, read, walk, run), or a state of being (exist, stand). In most languages a verb may agree with the person, gender, and/or number of some of its arguments, such as its subject, or object.

Grammar Tips:

-       Present Tense

In Swahili, verbs take the following the prefix –na- to form the present tense:

a-na-enda,( she/he is going), a-na-imba( she/he is singing), a-na-andika( she/he is writing)

The infinitive verbs above are enda (go), imba (sing), andika (write)

-       Past Tense

In Swahili as well as in English the simple past tense (imperfect) is used to describe past events. The perfixes for the past tense verbs is -li-:

For example; a-li-enda,(she/he went), a-li-imba( she/he sang), a-li-andika( she/he wrote)

So just take any regular verb stem and add the prefix –li-

-       Future Tense

To form the future in Swahili it’s very easy, just use the infinitive verb and add prefix –ta-g

For example: a-ta-enda (she/he will go), a-ta-imba (she/he will sing), a-ta-andika (she/he will write)

 In summary tenses in Swahili are determined by the prefix you put before the verb. This prefix normally comes after the prefix that stands for the noun.

The prefixes are:

       Present tense –na-

       Past tense –li-

       Future tense –ta-


Here are some examples:

English VerbsSwahili Verbs
VerbsVerbs
PastZamani
I spokenilisema
I wroteniliandika
I droveniliendesha
I lovednilipenda
I gavenilitoa
I smilednilitabasamu
I tooknilichukua
he spokealiongea
he wrotealiandika
he drovealiendesha
he lovedalipatiana
he gavealitabasamu
he smiledalichukua
he tookakachukua
we spoketuliongea
we wrotetuliandika
we drovetuliendesha
we lovedtulipenda
we gavetulipeana
we smiledtulitabasamu
we tooktulichukua
FutureBaadaye
I will speaknitasema
I will writenitaandika
I will drivenitaendesha
I will lovenitapenda
I will givenitapeana
I will smilenitatabasamu
I will takenitachukua
he will speakatasema
he will writeataandika
he will driveataendesha
he will loveatapenda
he will giveatapeana
he will smileatatabasamu
he will takeatachukua
we will speaktutasemea
we will writetutaandika
we will drivetutaendesha
we will lovetutapenda
we will givetutapeana
we will smiletutatabasamu
we will taketutachukua
PresentSasa
I speaknasema
I writenaandika
I drivenaendesha
I lovenapenda
I givenapeana
I smilenatabasamu
I takenachukua
he speaksanasema
he writesanaandika
he drivesanaendesha
he lovesanapenda
he givesanapeana
he smilesanatabasamu
he takesanachukua
we speaktunasema
we writetunaandika
we drivetunaendesha
we lovetunapenda
we givetunapeana
we smiletunatabasamu
we taketunachukua

Notice the structure of the Verbs in Swahili.

List of Verbs in Swahili

Below is a list of the conjugated Verbs in the present past and future in Swahili placed in a table. Memorizing this table will help you add very useful and important words to your Swahili vocabulary.

English VerbsSwahili Verbs
I can accept thatNaweza kukubali kwamba
she added italiongeza kuwa
we admit ittunakubali
they advised himwalimshauri
I can agree with thatnakubaliana na hayo
she allows itanaruhusu
we announce ittunatangaza
I can apologizenaomba msamaha
she appears todayanaonekana leo
they arranged thatwalipanga hivyo
I can arrive tomorrownitawasili kesho
she can ask himanaweza kumuuliza
she attaches thatyeye huunganisha hiyo
we attack themsisi huwashambulia
they avoid herwamamuepuka
I can bake itnaweza kuipikia
she is like himyeye ni kama yeye
we beat ittuliipiga
they became happywalifurahi
I can begin thatnawesza kuanza
we borrowed moneytulikopa pesa
they breathe airwanapumua hewa
I can bring itnitaileta
I can build thatnaweza kuijenga
she buys foodyeye hununua chakula
we calculate itsisi hufanya hesabu hii
they carry itwao huibeba
they don't cheathawadangayi
she chooses himyeye humchagua
we close itsisi huifunga
he comes hereyeye huja hapa
I can compare thatnaweza kuilinganisha
she competes with meyeye hushindana nami
we complain about itsisi hulalamika juu yake
they continued readingwaliendelea kusoma
he cried about thatalilia juu yake
I can decide nownaweza kuamua sasa
she described it to mealinielezea kuhusu
we disagree about itsisi hatukubaliani
they disappeared quicklywalitoweka haraka
I discovered thatniligundua kwamba
she dislikes thatyeye hapendi
we do itsisi hufanya
they dream about itwao huota juu yake
I earnednimelipwa
he eats a lotyeye anakula sana
we enjoyed thatsisi tulifurahia
they entered herewaliingia hapa
he escaped thataliepuka hiyo
I can explain thatsiwezi kueleza hayo
she feels that tooanahisi hivyo pia
we fled from theresisi tulitoroka toka huko
they will fly tomorrowwataondoka kwa ndege kesho
I can follow younaweza kukufuata
she forgot mealinisahau
we forgive himtumemsamehe
I can give her thatnaweza kumpa hiyo
she goes thereyeye huenda huko
we greeted themtulimsalimu
I hate thatnadharau hiyo
I can hear itNaweza kusikia
she imagine thatyeye hufikiri hivyo
we invited themtuliwakaribisha
I know himMimi namjua
she learned italijifunza
we leave nowtwaondoka sasa
they lied about himwalimsingizia
I can listen to thatnaweza kusikiliza
she lost thatalipoteza
we made it yesterdaytulifaulu jana
they met himwalikutana naye
I misspell thatsiandiki vyema
I always praymimi husali
she prefers thatanapendelea hiyo
we protected themtuliwatunza
they will punish herwatamuadhibu
I can put it therenaweza kuiweka pale
she will read itataisoma
we received thattulipokea hiyo
they refuse to talkwanakataa kuongea
I remember thatnakumbuka hayo
she repeats thatanarudia hiyo
we see ittunaona
they sell ittunaiuza
I sent that yesterdaynilituma hiyo jana
he shaved his beardalimnyoa ndevu
it shrunk quicklyilipungua haraka
we will sing ittutuimamba
they sat therewalikaa hapo
I can speak itnawaza kuisema
she spends moneyanatumia pesa
we suffered from thattuliteseka
they suggest thatsisi tunadokeza kuwa
I surprised himnilimshangaza
she took thatalichukua hiyo
we teach ittunaifunza
they told usWalituambia
she thanked himalimshukuru
I can think about itnitafikiria kuhusu
she threw italiitupa
we understand thattunaelewa hivyo
they want thatwanataka hiyo
I can wear itnaweza kuivaa
she writes thatanaandika hivyo
we talk about ittunajadili kuhusu
they have itwanayo
I watched itniliitazama
I will talk about itnitaongea kuhusu
he bought that yesterdayalinunua hiyo jana
we finished ittuliimaliza

Verbs in the present past and future tense have a very important role in Swahili. Once you're done with the Kiswahili Verbs, you might want to check the rest of our Swahili lessons here: Learn Swahili. Don't forget to bookmark this page.


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