used to refer to the protracted nature of an action or action at a definite moment in the past or in the future.

Has this interpretation when the verb that follows is modulated by markers like '-ki-' or '-na'.


assumes the meaning of potentiallity and possibility at some point in the past, present, or future.

the full verb that follows is infinitive.


implies ability or opportunity for a subject to accomplish a particular thing or, on the contrary, suffers a stroke of misfortune by the occurance of the action denoted by the main verb.

verb stem that follows can either be infinitive or not.


used to refer to an action that will take place at an implied time in the near or distant future

verb stem that follows is likely infinitive.


suggests the meaning of assurance that a desire or purpose will definitely or most probably be fulfilled.

  • Can be followed by bare verb stem or ku + verb stem.
  • Mgonjwa ataka kunywa maji (the patient wants to drink water)
  • Mwizi yule ataka toroka (that thief wants to escape)


  1. when used with me- li- tense, it assumes the meaning of an action being carried out at the time indicated in the context (concurrent actions).
  • Hamida amekwenda kuleta chakula (Hamida has gone to get food.)
  1. When used with or without a subject prefix and with the relative po, the verb indicates something like "should it happen", "if by chance"
  • Wendapo hutakuja shuleni kesho, mwalimu wako atahamaki (and if it happens that you do not come to school tomorrow, your teacher will get angry)
  1. When followed by -ka- or -me- the word huenda means "perhaps", "Pmaybe"
  • Huenda mvua ikayesha leo. (it may rain today)


refers to a state of existing or action completed before the point in thime indicated in the context.

  • simba amekwish kuuliwa (the lion is already killed)
  • Walimu wamekwisha fika mkutaoni (the teachers have already arrived in the meeting)