Arabic is the language of the Qur'aan and Hadith. Arabic is the language of Islaam. If you truly want to appreciate the message of Islaam, you need to learn the language. This section has small daily doses of Arabic Grammar Notes. You can visit the Arabic Resource page for insights on books and how to learn Arabic.
Subject and Object in Arabic
The subject of a verbal sentence is in the nominative case [marfoo].
The object is in the accusative case [manSoob].
Thus, word order is not necessary in Arabic. By looking at the case of a word, one can identify the subject and the object of the sentence. The verb of the sentence is formed on specific paradigms.
Once a person knows the subject, object, and verb of a sentence, the meaning of the sentence becomes clear.
[February 24, 2016]
Nominative and Accusative case in Arabic
Words in Arabic have cases. They may show their case or the case may be hidden; the reader has to determine the case. If a word shows its case by means of if its vowel signs, then a word in the nominative case can be determined by looking at the vowel on the last letter of the word.
A word in the nominative case has dammah on the last letter.
A word in the accusative case has fatha on the last letter.
A kasrah under the last letter of a word signifies that the word is in the genitive case.
[February 25, 2016]
Transitive and non Transitive Verbs in Arabic
A transitive verb is one which takes an object. A non transitive verb is one which does not take an object. Qatala [قتل] means [He] killed. It takes an object. The object is the noun upon which the action of the verb takes place. Qatala is, thus, a transitive verb.
Naama [نام] means [He] slept. It does not take an object. A complete sentence is formed with only the Verb and its subject. It is a non transitive verb.
[February 26, 2016]
Genitive Case in Arabic
When a word follows a preposition, in Arabic, it takes on the genitive [majroor] case. This means that if the word shows its case by means of changes in its vowles, it will have kasrah under the last letter.
[February 28, 2016]
Nominative, Accusative, and Genitive Cases in Action
قتل الولد الكلب بالسيف
Qatala Al-Walad[u] Al-Kalb[a] bi Al-Saif[i]
Al-Walad means the boy. It is the subject of the sentence. Therefore, it is in the nominative case. It will have dammah on the last letter.
Al-Kalb[a] means the dog. It is the object of the sentence. It is in the accusative case. It has fatha on the last letter.
bi means with and is the preposition.
Al-Saif[i] means the sword. It follows the preposition bi. It is in the genitive case. It has kasrah under the last letter.
Qatala is the verb of the sentence which means to have killed. In the absence of a subject, it would mean He killed. But since the subject is present, it takes the place of He.
The complete sentence reads, The boy killed the dog with the sword.
[February 28, 2016]
Jussive for Hollow Verbs in Arabic
A long vowel cannot be followed by an unvocalized consonant according to the phonetic laws of Arabic.
Consider the hollow verb
For the Jussive you need to drop the u on the last letter of this verb. This would result in
We have a long vowel [uu] followed by an unvocalized consonant [m].
This is not allowed.
To void this, the long vowel is shortened and we have
Similar is the case with the second person singular feminine verb. In the Jussive it would be:
Since we again have a long vowel [uu] followed by an unvocalized consonant [m], we have to shorten it to
The first person singular and plural also experience the same changes and become
All hollow verbs, which have a waw or yaa as the second radical, behave as shown above.
Take, for example, the verb
In the Jussive we would have
We have a long vowel [ii] followed by an unvocalized consonant [r]. To avoid this we shorten it to
Whenever you end up with a long vowel followed by a consonant in hollow verbs you will have to shorten the verb as shown above.
[March 10, 2016]
The past tense [maadi] of kaana is used with the present tense [mudaari'] of another verb to indicate the continuous past tense. When trying to translate, or understand, such a construction you can use the word "was" in English and the present tense of the second verb in English as in:
- was listening
- was denying
- was lying