This verb is also irregular in the present tense. In other tenses it is regular and identical with the verb kuwa treated above.

Kuwako means “to be in a place “.It is used to indicate that a thing or person is in a certain place, as contrasted to being in a certain state eg “I am a teacher “and “I am at school “are not the same in Swahili: to be a teacher is a quality status. While to be at school is not inherent in me as a quality; I am still a teacher even when I sleep at night in my bed.

This distinction of being as a status and being in a place is necessary in the present tense. In all other tenses the same form of the verb to be is used to mean to be as a status and to be in a place.

The following examples will illustrate this;

Compare: Tatu ni mwalimu, Tatu is a teacher;

and.          Tatu yuko shuleni, Tatu is at school.

again.        Tatu alikuwa mtoto, Tatu was a child.

and.            Tatu alikuwa shuleni, Tatu was at school.

So, too.       Tatu atakuwa mama, Tatu will be a mother

and.            Tatu atakua nyumbani, Tatu will be at home.

Present tense

Niko, I am (in a place) e.g, niko hapa, I am here.

Uko, you are (in a place) uko wapi? where are you?

Yuko, he/she is (in a place) yuko huko, he is there.

Tuko, we are (in a place) tuko, we are here.

Mko, you are (in a place) mko ndani? are you inside?

Wako, they are (in a place) wako huko, they are there

Perfect Tense

Nimekuwa (ko), I have been (in a place)

Umekuwa (ko), he/she has been (in a place)

Amekuwa (ko), he/she has been (in a place)

Tumekuwa (ko), we have been (in a place)

Wamekuwa (ko), They have been (in a place)

Past Tense

Nilikuwa (ko), I was (there)

Ulikuwa (ko), you were (there)

Alikuwa (ko), he/she was ( there)

Tulikuwa (ko), we were (there)

Mlikuwa (ko), you were (there)

Walikuwa (ko),They were (there)

Future Tense

Nitakuwa (ko), I will be (there)

Utakuwa (ko), you will be(there)

Atakuwa (ko), he/she will be (there)

Tutakuwa (ko), we will be (there)

Mtakuwa (ko), you will be(there)

Watakuwa (ko), They will be(there)


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