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Verb Tenses and Statements in the Negative

Simple tense

Past Present Future
I worked I work I will work
Nilifanya kazi Ninafanya kazi Nitafanya kazi
I did not work I do not work I will not work
Sikufanya kazi Sifanyi kazi/Huwa sifanyi kazi (habitual) Sitafanya kazi
You worked You work You will work
Ulifanya kazi Unafanya kazi Utafanya kazi
You did not work You do not work You will not work
Hukufanya kazi Hufanyi kazi/Huwa hufanyi kazi (habitual) Hutafanya kazi
She worked She works She will work
Alifanya kazi Anafanya kazi/Huwa anafanya kazi (habitual) Atafanya kazi
She did not work She does not work She will not work
Hakufanya kazi Hafanyi kazi/Huwa hafanyi kazi (habitual) Hatafanya kazi

Continuous tense

Past Present Future
I was working I am working I will be working
Nilikuwa nikifanya kazi Ninafanya kazi Nitakuwa nikifanya kazi
I was not working I am not working I will not be working
Sikuwa nikifanya kazi Sifanyi kazi Sitakuwa nikifanya kazi
You were working You are working You will be working
Ulikuwa ukifanya kazi Unafanya kazi Utakuwa ukifanya kazi
You were not working You are not working You will not be working
Hukuwa ukifanya kazi Hufanyi kazi Hutakuwa ukifanya kazi
She was working She is working She will be working
Alikuwa akifanya kazi Anafanya kazi Atakuwa akifanya kazi
She was not working She is not working She will not be working
Hakuwa akifanya kazi Hafanyi kazi Hatakuwa akifanya kazi

Perfect tense (immediate past/future from time of reference)

Past Present Future
I had worked I have worked I will have worked
Nilikuwa nimefanya kazi Nimefanya kazi Nitakuwa nimefanya kazi
I had not worked I have not worked I will not have worked
Sikuwa nimefanya kazi Sijafanya kazi Sitakuwa nimefanya kazi
You had worked You have worked You will have worked
Ulikuwa umefanya kazi Umefanya kazi Utakuwa umefanya kazi
You had not worked You have not worked You will not have worked
Hukuwa umefanya kazi Hujafanya kazi Hutakuwa umefanya kazi
She had worked She has worked She will have worked
Alikuwa amefanya kazi Amefanya kazi Atakuwa amefanya kazi
She had not worked She has not worked She will not have worked
Hakuwa amefanya kazi Hajafanya kazi Hatakuwa amefanya 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'; 'I have not been working' translates to 'Sijakuwa nikifanya kazi', and the prefixes of the other persons are the same as in the table above

From the course, challenge yourself to come up with the plural equivalents of the sentences in the table above! Every correct attempt gets a lingot :)

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'.


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


Asante! I have bookmarked that page. x


I'm a little confuse, this is very difficult for me to follow 'cause I'm a very beginner with swahili. By now I only focus on present simple. The you plural form of the verb is "mnafanya kazi" or "unafanya kazi"? I think the first one and then "hamfanyi kazi" is the negative.... And with they is the negative form "hawafanyi kazi" or "haifanyi kazi"? Thanks for the super beautiful tabels you are sharing!


these are all in the singular. Yes, the plural is 'mnafanya kazi' and they in the negative is 'hawafanyi kazi'


I recently came across this sentence: Waziri alisema kuwa niulize swali lingiine kwa sababu alikuwa hajafanya hesabu yake. Here the negation marker is in the second verb of 'he hadn't done' Are these constructions interchangeable?


yup, you can negate either the auxiliary verb or the main verb

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