verb forms in Hebrew

As well as the binyanim (different stems with altered meaning) Hebrew both finite "tenses" (that is forms where the subject is defined in terms of gender and number - I, you, she, he, we, you, they) and indefinite forms: participles and infinitives (where the subject is not expressed).

There are two finite "tenses":
completed ("perfect") which describes an action (past, present or future) that is viewed as complete and closed: "Teaching began yesterday." "Class will start in ten minutes."
incomplete ("imperfect") verb forms describe actions which are incomplete or continue: "Classes will start on time." "I used to go to school" "He carries heavy loads."
Infinitives and participles are used more widely (and differently) than in English.
infinitives also often function like nouns but describe the action, they are often (paradoxically) translated by "-ing" words in English.
participles are used sometimes to express a "present tense": "He is going." They also act often as nouns for the "person who" does what the verb describes ro'eh and hozeh are both participles from verbs meaning "to see" and both are used as nouns meaning "a seer" or a "prophet".

This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,

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