The active-passive-reflexive “ simple ” form:
Okay, so maybe simple sounds a little silly after all those other descriptions of this unique verb form. But the point is that it doesn’t fit neatly into any of the active-passive-reflexive categories; it functions as one or the other, depending on the root.
To recognize a נפעל word, look for the following:
In the past and present tenses, a נ always precedes the verb root, such as in הִיא נִכְנֶסֶת הַבָּיְתָה ( she is entering the house/she is walking in the door).
In the present tense, there is an ee-ah vowel rhyming pattern.
In the future tense, there is an ee-ah-eh vowel rhyming pattern, as in הִתְפַּעֵל. However, unlike התפעל, there is no ת or ד sound in the first syllable.
Also in the future tense, the first letter of the root bears a דגש (dot of emphasis), except when the letter becomes difficult to pronounce by native speakers.
Witness these patterns as you review the chart below, which lays out all the possibilities of the verb לְהִכָּנֵס (to speak) in past, present, future and imperative (command) tenses:
ציווי – imperative
עתיד – future
הווה – present
עבר – past
As in any spoken language, things that are difficult for native speakers to pronounce get altered. So there will be roots that don’t fit into the neat table of נפעל above.