Not only is the present progressive tense one of the most commonly used Dhivehi verb forms, but it is also quite simple. So this lesson should be very useful for all of you Dhivehi learners as you will finally be able to start using verbs in sentences.

Let’s get straight into it.

What is the Present Progressive?

This is the tense that an action that is happening “right now” i.e. the action is progressing at the present moment. In English, this is the “am/are/is [verb]-ing” form. All of the following sentences have the verbs in the present progressive tense:

  • I am eating.
  • She is playing with me.
  • We are going to the park.
  • They are hiding from us.

Simple, right?

Present Progressive VS Gerund

I’ve made this distinction before, but I’ll say it again because it’s very important. Even though the present progressive and gerund forms of English verbs look the same, they have different functions. The gerund is the noun form of the verbs and acts like a noun. Gerunds can be translated to “the act of [verb]ing”. Consider the following:

  • I am eating.
  • Eating healthy food is important.

The first “eating” is a verb. The second “eating” is a noun.

Forming the Present Progressive

The Dhivehi present progressive is formed by taking the infinitive form of the verb and changing the final ން to ނީ. For example:

Infinitive Present Progressive
ކުރަން To do ކުރަނީ Doing
ހަދަން To make ހަދަނީ Making
ބަލަން To look ބަލަނީ Looking
ފަށަން To start ފަށަނީ Starting
އަންނަން To come އަންނަނީ Coming
ބުނަން To say ބުނަނީ Saying
ނަގަން To take ނަގަނީ Taking
ކިޔަން To read ކިޔަނީ Reading

I told you it’s simple. The only other thing you need to remember is that if the vowel before ނީ is long, it must be changed to the short form of that vowel. For example:

Infinitive Present Progressive
ދާން To go ދަނީ Going
ވާން To be/become/happen ވަނީ Being/Becoming/ Happening
ދޭން To give ދެނީ Giving
ބޯން To drink ބޮނީ Drinking
ކާން To eat ކަނީ Eating

The short vowel rule is important, because there is a verb form with the long vowel, and you don’t want to confuse the two.

Sentences

It’s pretty easy to make sentences with this verb form. Word order is usually subject-object-verb. Any adjectives go before the noun they qualify (this includes demonstratives). Here are some examples:

  • އަހަރެން ދަނީ – I am going.
  • ކުޑަ ކުއްޖާ ފޮތެއް ކިޔަނީ – The small child is reading a book.
  • އަހަރެމެން ފަތަނީ މޫދުގައި – We are swimming in the sea.

The last sentence can be used to show the flexibility of word order in Dhivehi:

  • އަހަރެމެން މޫދުގައި ފަތަނީ – We are swimming in the sea
  • މޫދުގައި އަހަރެމެން ފަތަނީ – We are swimming in the sea (or, It is in the sea that we are swimming)

The first word usually gets the emphasis in the meaning. If you’re in doubt about the word order, stick to subject-object-verb.

Dhivehi is a null subject language, meaning that you can drop the subject of a sentence and still have it make sense. You would usually know the subject from the context, but you could also use this feature of the language to be intentionally ambiguous. For example:

  • މިއަދު އެރަށަށް ދަނީ – Today, I/you/he/she/it/we/they going to that island.
  • ބަތް ކަނީ – I/you/he/she/it/we/they eating rice.
  • މޫދުގައި ފަތަނީ – I/you/he/she/it/we/they swimming in the sea.

More Complex Sentences

You can combine infinitives and the present progressive to make more complex sentences, the same way you do it in English:

  • މިއަދު އަހަރެމެން ދަނީ މަންމަމެން ގެއަށް ސައި ބޯން – Today we are going to Mum’s house to have tea*.
  •  އެމީހުންގެ ރައްޓެހިން އަންނަނީ ބިރުވެރި ފިލްމެއް ބަލަން – Their friends are coming to watch a scary movie.
  • މިހާރު ހިނގަން ފަށަނީ – Now she is starting to walk

Try to make your own sentences using the structures shown here. You can be flexible with word order but don’t worry about that too much for now; that will all be explained in a future lesson.

*”Having tea” (or literally “drinking tea”) refers to a meal Maldivians usually have in the evening. In that sense it’s a lot like the English concept of “tea”, which is a meal typically involving more than just tea. Indeed, in the Maldives it is possible to “drink tea” without actually drinking any tea.

More Verbs

Add these to your vocabulary. Try to change them into their infinitive and present progressive forms. And if you’re really good, try to make some sentences out of them.

Gerund
އެހުން Ask
އަޑުއެހުން Listen
ޖެހުން Hit
ދުއްވުން Drive
ކޮށުން Cut
ކެއްކުން Cook
ވެއްދުން Bring in
ފިލުން Hide
ފުރުން Leave/Depart
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