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Hebrew Time #20: Introduction to "Binyanim"

Hello everyone!

שלום לכולם

Welcome to Hebrew Time #20!(We are doing this for almost 5 months now!) For those of us who are joining now – Hebrew Time is a series of weekly posts about the Hebrew language, Israel, and the Jewish people.

You can see the previous post here.

This evening we celebrate the holiday Shavuot. You can read about it here.

Today’s topic is going to be a very interesting topic: Binyanim! You probably ask yourselves: “What is Binyanim?” .

For the reason that Binyanim is considered to be a very complicated topic that most of the Hebrew grammar is based on, we are going to teach them in parts.

So here is our schedule for Binyanim:


2.Pa’al construction (פָּעַל).

3.Pi’el construction (פִּעֵל).

4.Hif’il construction (הִפְעִיל).

5.Hitpa’el construction (הִתְפַּעֵל).

6.Nif’al construction (נִפְעַל).

7.Pu’al construction (פֻּעַל).

8.Huf’al construction (הֻפְעַל).

Today we are going have a general look over the Binyanim.

Introduction to Binyanim

Binyanim(Hebrew for “Buildings”) are the basic constructions of verbs in Hebrew.

Every verb in Hebrew has a construction(“Binyan”) and a stem.

Let’s have an example in order to understand this idea better.

We will use the stem “א - כ - ל.” for this example:

Each stem in Hebrew consists of 3 or 4 letters(mostly 3 letters).

So, in this stem, our letters are -> א , כ
and ל.

We can add this stem to each of the 7 Binyanim(construction). How do we add the stem into the construction?

If you’ve noticed, every construction have the combination of 3 letters: פ ,ע and ל.

Exactly like in math, we simply replace these 3 letters with the 3 stem letters(we won’t speak about 4 letters stems today).

Instead of the letter “פ” -> we put the first stem letter.

Instead of the letter “ע” -> we put the second stem letter.

Instead of the letter “ל” -> we put the third stem letter.

Let’s put the stem א - כ - ל in a few Binyanim:

פָּעַל (Pa’al) = אָּכַל (Achal - (he) ate).

הִפְעִיל (Hif’il) = האֶכִיל (He’echil - (he) fed).

נִפְעַל (Nif’al) = נאֶכַל (Ne’echal = (he) was eaten).

הֻפְעַל (Huf’al) = הֻאָכַל (Huachal = (he) was fed).

This are the examples of the possible verbs you can make from the stem (א - כ - ל).

You might have noticed a few things here:

1.We didn’t show all BInyanim - That’s because we can’t put all stems in all the Binyanim simply because the verbs they create together aren’t exist in Hebrew.

2.The niqqud in the basic constructions and the verbs remained almost the same for each verbs - that is another advantage of Binyanim.

3.All the verbs are in past tense - Yes! the constructions’ basic form is in the past tense.

Each construction has it’s own meaning, let’s take a look at the general meanings of the constructions(We will learn about all the meanings of each construction in further lessons):

  • Pa’al construction (פָּעַל) - Active.

  • Pi’el construction (פִּעֵל) - Active.

  • Hif’il construction (הִפְעִיל) - Active.

  • Hitpa’el construction (הִתְפַּעֵל) - Reflexive .

  • Nif’al construction (נִפְעַל) - Passive of Pa’al.

  • Pu’al construction (פֻּעַל) - Passive of Pi’el.

  • Huf’al construction (הֻפְעַל) - Passive of Hif’il.

Note: Each construction can conjugate into all 3 time tenses(Past, Present and Future).

This is our introduction to Binyanim!

We can't finish without telling you:


*See you later!

That was Hebrew Time #20, thanks for joining us! Hooray!

Be up-to-date with our progress on the Hebrew for English speakers course by checking up our incubator page here!

Join our facebook group here!

Thanks MaeMcA for helping me write this post!

That's it!

עד שבוע הבא!

Until next week!

May 23, 2015



Wait, are all the buildings always in past tense? I don't understand. And how do you know if a verb fits into one building but not in the other?



I can't figure out what causes the changes in the nikkuds in the roots when applying the binyanim construction on them.

In this example: הִפְעִיל (Hif’il) = האֶכִיל (He’echil - (he) fed).

The Fey has a Shva but the Aleph gets a Kamats. The Hey lost its Chireq.

I'm trying to understand what rules apply.


It's really hard to find the next post in the series. In addition to the link to the previous post already in there, would you mind adding a link to the next going forward?


just a small remainder there are 4 times in Hebrew. the 4th is "command" ציווי


Correct, but we don't want to include the imperative in this series of Binyanim.

Thanks for the correction anyway!


חודה רבה!! So helpful!


When do you know if you put a Mem before the verb in present tense?

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