Quadriliteral Arabic Verb Forms


root: و-ز-ن / noun / plural: أَوْزان / definition: form, pattern

We’ve come across some Arabic words from quadriliteral roots before on this blog—that is, roots comprising four letters. And I even went into a little depth about a quadriliteral verb form in Wehr Wednesdays #23.

But “a little depth” doesn’t really do it for me when it comes to Arabic grammar.

So, in this post, we’re going to explore the various forms in which verbs with four-letter roots occur.

For guidance, I’m using one of my favourite grammar books: A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic.

Ryding mentions in her book that, for the quadriliteral roots, some grammarians label form III as form IV and vice versa.

But we’ll stick to how she categorises them, seeing as that’s the way the forms are used in the Hans Wehr dictionary too.

To model these forms, we’ll use ف-ع-ل-ل to represent the four root letters.

Quadriliteral Verb Forms

(Click on the image to enlarge!)


  • The verbal nouns of form I quadrilateral verbs—much like those of triliteral (three-root-letter) verbs—vary. So you have to learn them for each verb you come across.
  • If the last two root letters were actually the same—like they are in the model root—the verbal noun of form IV would technically be اِفْعِلّال. However, I split the adjacent لْ and لَ to demonstrate what it would look like if the final two root letters were different, to avoid any confusion. Take a look at the IV example below to see what I mean.


Form I

root letters: ع-ر-ق-ل

Form II

root letters: د-ه-و-ر

Form III

root letters: ب-ر-ش-ق

Form IV

root letters: ض-م-ح-ل

(This is the verb from Wehr Wednesdays #23!)

What other quadriliteral verbs do you know? And can you work out what form they are?

If you want to read more about four-letter roots, take a look at these two posts which are centred around a particular type quadriliteral root—reduplicated ones.

That’s all for this week, don’t forget to share this blog with all your fellow Arabic learners!

!مع السلامة

Follow The Arabic Pages on Instagram and Twitter, and find out how you can support this blog!

If you’d like to receive email notifications whenever a new post is published on The Arabic Pages, enter your email below and click “Subscribe”:

Join 602 other followers

21 thoughts on “Quadriliteral Arabic Verb Forms

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: