Simple tense

Past Present Future
I worked I work I will work
Nilifanya kazi Ninafanya kazi Nitafanya kazi

Continuous tense

Past Present Future
I was working I am working I will be working
Nilikuwa (ni)nafanya kazi Ninafanya kazi Nitakuwa (ni)nafanya kazi
Nilikuwa nikifanya kazi Ninafanya kazi Nitakuwa nikifanya kazi

Perfect tense

Past Present Future
I had worked I have worked I will have worked
Nilikuwa nimefanya kazi Nimefanya kazi Nitakuwa nimefanya kazi

NB: perfect continuous tense doesn't translate well to Swahili, since the translations overlap with perfect tense. If you're curious, 'I have been working' translates to 'Nimekuwa nikifanya kazi'

May 13, 2019


Thank you - this is so useful!! Lingots your way.

Would you be able to do this for all the persons as well? I am getting a little confused about the difference between, for example, 'unasoma' and 'wewe husoma'.

June 2, 2019

the tenses infixes are the same regardless of persons.

For the tense infix -na-, it can be used both for present continuous tense, or present habitual tense. The prefix hu- is only used for habitual tense

  • Present continuous tense: Maria anasoma vitabu - Maria is reading books
  • Habitual tense: Maria anasoma vitabu - Maria husoma vitabu - Maria reads books
June 3, 2019
Learn Swahili in just 5 minutes a day. For free.