Verbs: Composite, Compound, and Modal

Composite and compound verbs:

For either compound verbs (single verb made up of two roots) or composite verbs (two words which function as a single verb), only the Basic Verb [link] is conjugated. Any suffixes, prefixes, or other words are added after the non-basic verb.


Basic verb: كردن

Infinitive verb:

Conjugated verb:


‘to do’


‘he does’

Compound verb:


‘to run away’


‘he runs away’

Composite verb:

ئیش كردن

‘to work’

ئیش ئەكات

‘he works’

Composite or compound verbs are transitive or intransitive depending on whether or not the Basic Verb is transitive.

گەیشتن ‘to arrive’ (intransitive; does not request a direct or indirect object)
تێگەیشتن ‘to understand’ (transitive; does request a direct or indirect object)
من لە تۆ تێئەگەم ‘I understand you’

Exercise: Find the Basic Verb in these compound and composite verbs. The answers are under theسۆرانی كوردی tab for this page.

چاك كردنەوە ‘to repair’
لێدان ‘to beat’ ‘to hit’
هەلگرتن ‘to pick up’
فێربوون ‘to learn’

Exercise: Each of the following verbs are composite or compound verbs in Kurdish. Find the Kurdish verb and distinguish the Basic Verb of each. The answers are under the سۆرانی كوردی tab for this page.

'to sing' گۆرانی ووتن
'to answer' وەڵام دانەوە
'to tell' پێ ووتن
‘to clean’ پاك كردنەوە
‘to finish’ تەواو بوون
‘to ask’ داوا كردن/پرسیار كردن
'to watch’ سەیر كردن
‘to use’ بەكار هێنان
‘to sit’ دانیشتن

Modal verbs

When a modal verb is used with another verb, the second verb takes the prefix ب- instead of ئە- . Both verbs conjugate normally. Therefore,

Verbs that contain modal verbs are made up of:

1) A normally conjugated modal verb

2) The prefix ب-

3) A normally conjugated verb


من ئەتوانم ببینم ‘I can see’
ئەوان ئەتوانن بنوون ‘They can sleep’
ئێمە ئەتوانین برۆین ‘We can go’

*Study Byki flashcard set “Word List 7”

Modal verb: part of a verb that show likelihood, ability, permission, and obligation. E.g. ‘can,’ ‘must,’ need,’ ‘shall’