Perfect Tense

Perfect tense

Formation of the perfect (-it) tense: Only one perfect tense will be considered in this book. This will be termed the perfect (-it) tense. Other perfect tenses will be listed in Appendix I.

The perfect (-it) tense is formed by adding the suffix –it to the root of the verb in the singular and first person plural and the suffix –ito in the second and third persons plural.

AIDUK (ko) — to build                                          AILIP (kl) — to ask

adukit–I have built                                                elipit  — I have asked

idukit — you have built                                        ilipit — you have asked

edukit — he has built                                            ilipit — he has asked

kidukit — we have built                                       killpit — we have asked

idukito(s) — you have built                                 ilipito(s) — you have asked

edukito(s) — they have built                              lipito(s)—they have asked

Verbs ending in –kin, –or (or –ar) and –un form the perfect (-it) tense regularly, but         –kinit is often contracted in speech to –kilt and –unit to –uut:

  1. Abongun — to come back

eboņgunit or eboņguut — he/she has come back

ainakin — to give

iinakinito or linakiito — they have given

The contracted form is colloquial and should not be used in writing.

Uses of the perfect tense (-it)

The essential idea conveyed by the perfect (-it) tense is one of completion; the action has taken place but the exact time is undefined or of no consequence. Thus in the sentence “I have eaten” the implied meaning is that “I am replete and need no more food”. The eating might have taken place a few minutes ago or some hours ago; the exact time is immaterial.

Eg. Ingai edukit esomero lo? — Who built this school?

(The time when the school was built is immaterial; it is still standing.)

Ingai eanyunit ekalamuka? — Who has seen my pencil?

(Time is again immaterial. The pen is still missing.)  The perfect (-it) tense can have an apparent present meaning when it expresses action which has already started and is still going on.

Eg.      Aibo ejai etelepat? — Where is the boy?

            Ebunit — He is on his way

(Implying that the boy has already started to come. The present tense ebuni would imply that he was about to come only.)

The perfect (-it) tense can also be used to express customary or habitual action which has started and still continues. (There is also a habitual tense ; see Chapter XIII below.)

Eg. Enapitos Ateker imukulen. — Ateker are wearing leather.

The perfect (-it) tense is used to express a present idea resulting from a completed action. The sentences “The jar is full” or “The man is drunk” convey a present meaning but result from a completed action. The jar is full because it has been filled. The man is inebriated because he has drunk.

Eg.      Aibar — to acquire riches

Ebarit — he is rich (because he has acquired riches)

Adakit — to carry

Edakit aberu ikoku —  The woman is carrying a child.

(An object must have been lifted up before it can be carried.)

This use results in the formation of a new verb which may have its own infinitive.

Eg.                  adakit — to carry

alosit—to go

anapit—to be dressed


Aicorakin (ki) — to command, to tell

Acamun (ko) — to agree, to consent

Ainarakin (ki) — to help

Ayaun (ko) — to bring

Emanikor (Imanikoria) — plot, garden

Inyamat (plural only) — food

Akiring (singular only) — meat


  • The boys carried these stones here.
  • He has consented to cultivate the plots.
  • Have you (singular) seen the hens ? No.
  • The women have gone to bring the food.
  • Children are accustomed to beg for food.
  • I have told the soldier to come quickly.
  • Is there any food? Has the dog eaten?
  • Have you (plural) brought the milk?
  • The girl has helped look after the things.
  • We have obeyed (have listened).