Swahili has four distinct tenses which express condition. They are formed with:

a. -ki-“if” to denote a simple condition. The word kama is sometimes used to introduce the conditional tense: it may, however, be omitted, as-ki-by itself also expresses condition.

e.g kama ukitaka Mali fanya kazi, or ukitaka Mali, “if you want wealth, work,”

Note the position of ki;it is placed immediately after the subject prefix.This is its permanent position.

Note again that all verbs without exception drop the ku. Even the monosyllabic verbs are not exempted. e.g. ukila chakula bora utakua na nguvu, “if you eat balanced diet you will be strong” Ukija kesho utanikuta hapa, “if you come tomorrow you will find me here”,

b. ki, is also used to connect two actions, the second verb taking the ki

e.g.  Tulimsikia akiimba, we heard her/him singing.

Nilimkuta akisoma, I found him reading.

c. japo, ijapokuwa,”even if” : japo mtoto akilia, usimpe maziwa,”even if the child cries do not give him milk”.

d. nge, ngali: these denote a condition not likely to be fulfilled, e.g. kama ningekuwa na fedha ninge nunua gari, “If I had money I would buy a car, “In spoken language nge and ngali are interchangeable


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