Conjugating Regular Fulfulde Verbs

Infinitive verbs in Fulfulde generally (though not always) have one of two endings: -ude or -aade (though these endings change when using verb extensions). When conjugating either type of verb, the infinitive ending (ude or aade) is dropped and a different ending is added instead, which indicates the verb tense. Ude and aade verbs follow their own conjugation patterns, which do not (usually) change based on subject, but based on whether the verb is affirmative or negative. In general, the short forms of pronouns are used with conjugated verbs, with the large exception of the present (progressive) requiring the use of a long pronoun. Verb conjugations which take the long pronoun are noted with a * in the chart below.

Ude verbs

Tense Verb ending Example in Fulfulde Translation Infinitive
Present (positive)* -a Eɓe ngolla ley ngesa. They are working in the field. gollude (ngoll- due to plural subject)
Present (negative) -ataa A ɲaamataa ɲeebe. You are not eating beans. ɲaamude
Imperative (positive) -u (singular)
-e (plural)

Cooden maaro!


(Let’s) buy rice!



Imperative (negative) Patti + positive imperative Patti soodu jaba! Do not buy onions! Soodude
Past /perfect -ii Mi yarii kosam. I drank milk. yarude
Past / perfect  (negative) -aay Mo defaay hannde. He did not cook today. defude
Stative* (positive) -i Mido waawi yahde luumo. I am able to go to the market. waawude
Stative* (negative) -aay or -aali Naange wuulaay tafon. (The sun) is not hot yet. wulude
Future (positive) -an Demoowo aawan awdi lewru darotoondu. The farmer will sow seeds next month. aawude
Future (negative) -ataa A doomata faa lewru watta. He will not wait until the new moon. doomude

Aade Verbs

Tense Verb ending Example in Fulfulde Translation Infinitive
Present (positive)* -o Hamadoun leeylo law. Hamadoun goes to bed early. leelaade
Present (negative) -ataako or -otaako Mi ekkitaaki hallude Bambarakore. I am not learning to speak Bambara. ekkitaade
Imperative (positive) – a (sing)
– ee (plural)


(Sing) Stand up!

(Plural) Stand up!

Imperative (negative) Patti + positive imperative Patti ɗaana! Do not sleep! ɗaanaade
Past /perfect -ike A reenike? Are you protected? (Common question during greeting) reenaade
Past / perfect  (negative) -aaki Mi tilaakii. I am not finished. tilaade
Future (positive) -oto A sifoto kam. You will explain it to me. sifaade
Future (negative) -ataako or -otaako Mi suɓataako pade tiiɗi sanne. I will not choose expensive shoes. suɓaade

It should be noted that, generally, -ude verbs are considered active voice verbs, whereas -aade verbs tend to be middle voice.

Conjugating in the Passive Voice

Both -ude and -aade verbs use -eede as the infinitive ending in the passive voice, with the new ending (eede) replacing the regular (ude or aade) ending.

Regular verb Translation Passive  Translation
hokkude to give hokkeede to be given
lootaade to wash, bathe looteede to be washed (by someone)

Passive perfect

The passive perfect (past tense/ completed action)  is formed using the short pronoun and replacing the ending with -aama.

Example Translation
ɓe ndokkaama kaalisi keŋen They were given money yesterday
So yimɓe waraama ana haani hokkeede yaraawo. If people arrived, they should have been given a drink.

Passive imperfect

The passive imperfect (ongoing/ future/ uncertain/ incomplete action) is formed using the short pronoun and replacing the ending with -ete.  Note that the passive voice takes on a different meaning in the imperfect.

Example Translation
So a hokkikam biki, mi winndete. If you give me a pencil, I will write.
So benndi njaaƳiike mi hollete nagge ma. If the benndi (milk herd) return in the afternoon from the bush, I will show you your cow.


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