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Arabic Conditionals Using If Posted by on Dec 3, 2009 in Grammar

Conditional sentences are made up of 2 parts or 2 sentences, one of them contains a particle for condition (أداة الشرط), and this sentence is called (جملة الشرط). The other one provides the outcome of the condition, and it is called (جواب الشرط).

The most common type of conditional in English involves ‘if’. There are 3 words in Arabic which mean if, i.e. إنْ – إذا – لَو.

إنْ and إذا aresimilar and sometimes are interchangeable. The main difference is that إنْ expresses more certainty. The sentence containing the conditional particle is in most of the cases in the past tense, although the present can also be used. Consider the following examples:

إنْ / إذا سافَرتُ إلى أَمريكا فسَأَزور عَالم ديزني.

“If I travel to America, I will visit Disney World.”

إنْ / إذا سافَرتُ إلى أَمريكا فسَأَزور عَالم ديزني.

“If I travel to America, I will visit Disney World.”

إنْ / إذا سافَرتُ إلى أمريكا فأنوي أنْ أَزورَ عالم ديزني.

“If I travel to America, I intend to visit Disney World.”

إنْ / إذا سافَرتُ إلى أمريكا فيَجِب أن أزور عالم ديزني.

“If I travel to America, I must visit Disney World.”

إنْ / إذا لم أسافِر إلى أمريكا فلن أزور عالم ديزني.

“If I do not travel to America, I will not visit Disney World.”

The present tense can be used in the condition sentence to make statements more factual and certain. This is used to give advice, e.g.

إنْ تُذاكِر تَنْجَح.

“If you study, you will succeed.”

لَو is used in hypothetical statements. Both parts of the condition are in the past tense, and the outcome of the condition usually begins with (ل)

لو كُنتُ في أمريكا لزُرْت عالم ديزني.

“If I were in America, I would visit Disney World.”

لو كُنتُ غَنياً لساعَدتُ الكَثيرَ من الفُقَراء.

“If I were rich, I would help many poor people.”

لو لم أَدْرُس اللغة العربية لما استَطَعت العَيش في مصر.

“If I did not learn Arabic, I would not be able to live in Egypt.”

لولا أُمّي لما نَجَحتُ في حَياتي.

“If not for my mother, I would not succeed in my life.”

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  1. أحمد:

    جزاك الله كل خير على هذا العمل ،أتكلم لهجة عربية ولكن أريد أن أتعلم وأحسن عربيته المعاصرة ،وصفحتك مفيدة جداً لذلك ..
    يعطيك العافية يا عزيزة

  2. Juan:

    Thank you Aziza, very useful post, as usual.

    I have a request, if you let me.

    I have had difficult translating sentences which contain “There is/are …” and more in particular in the negative form “There is/are not …”
    or “there must be a ….”

    If you could make a short post on this topic, it would be useful for some of us.

    Thank you.

  3. Aziza:

    Ahlan Juan,
    My latest post is about your question. I hope you find it useful!

  4. Aziza:

    مرحبا يا أحمد
    شكرا على التعليق اللطيف

  5. adam:

    كلام رائع

  6. Aziza:

    شكرا آدم
    مع تحياتي

  7. kifaru:

    Your blog is great and god will reward you for you good work.

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