The Hebrew binyanim (verb conjugation classes) are named using the sample verb פעל "to do, to act". Verbs in each binyan conjugate similarly, and sometimes a verb’s binyan indicates some aspect of its meaning.
Within each binyan some verbs conjugate slightly differently. Each binyan contains multiple conjugation models, each of which consists of verbs that have exactly the same conjugation pattern. For example, in binyan kal the verb לִכְתּוֹב "to write" has past tense form כָּתַבְתִּי "I wrote", but the verb לִשְׂנוֹא "to hate" has past tense form שָׂנֵאתִי "I hated", so these verbs are in different models even though they are in the same binyan.
Binyan kal (also known as binyan pa’al) is the most common binyan. It does not have any prefix in past or present tenses, and there is no pattern to the meaning of verbs in this binyan.
Verbs in binyan nif’al begin with נ- in the past and present tenses. They often have a passive meaning, e.g. נשבר "broken", נכתב "written", נבדק "checked". However there are some nif’al verbs with active meanings like נכנס "enter", נהנה "enjoy".
Verbs in binyan pi’el can be recognized by the vowel i in the past tense, and having a prefixed מ- in the present tense (דיבר, מדבר). Sometimes pi’el verbs have a causative meaning (e.g. לימד "taught", גידל "grew (something)"). It is also commonly used for verbs with four-letter roots (e.g. לבזבז "to waste") and verbs borrowed from foreign languages (e.g. לפלרטט "to flirt").
Binyan pu’al is the passive counterpart of binyan pi’el. For example, חֻנַּךְ "he was educated" is derived from חִנֵּךְ "he educated".
Verbs in binyan hitpa’el begin with הת- in past tense and מת- in present tense. They often have reflexive meaning; for example, להתגלח "to shave (oneself)", להתנתק "to disconnect (oneself); become disconnected". Sometimes hitpa’el verbs have a reciprocal meaning (something done "to each other"), as seen in verbs like להתכתב "to correspond (by writing with each other)", להתווכח "to argue (with each other)".
Verbs in binyan hif’il have a prefixed ה- in the past tense and מ- in the present tense, and contain the vowel i in all forms (הדליק, מדליק). Hif’il verbs tend to be causatives (e.g. הרטיב "to make wet" from רטוב "wet")
Binyan huf’al is the passive counterpart of binyan hif’il. For example, הֻכְנַס "he was let in" is derived from הִכְנִיס "he let in".