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40 Basic Arabic Grammar Terms Posted by on Apr 10, 2018 in Grammar, Language, Vocabulary

When we learn a language as adults, it is like learning any other skill. You need tools and practice. The tools of language are the grammar rules. We need to have sufficient and consistent exposure to these tools to internalize their correct usage. Enough practice and consistent exposure changes our knowledge of these rules from conscious into spontaneous. This post explains 40 basic grammatical terms in Arabic with examples.

Arabic Term Corresponding English Examples Meaning / Usage
اِسْمُ اِسْتِفْهَام interrogative word مَن ، مَا ، مَتَى ، أَيْنَ ، كَيْفَ ، كَمْ ، أَيْ A word used to ask wh-question and is placed at the start of sentences.
اِسْمُ فَاعِل active participle كَاتِب ، مُشَاهِد ، مُسْتَقْبِل A noun used as a subject, object, topic, or predicate.
اِسْم مِفْعُول passive participle مَكْتُوب ، مُشَاهَد ، مُسْتَقْبَل A noun used as subject, object, topic, or predicate.
إِضَافَة genitive construction كَاتِب القِصَّة ، سَيَّارَة الطَّبِيْب ، بَبْتُ خَشَبٍ It is a noun phrase composed of two nouns, the first is indefinite and the second is definite. It can also be composed of two indefinite nouns.

جُمْلَة اِسْمِيَّة

 

nominal sentence الطَّالِبُ مُجْتَهِدٌ ؛ النَّاسُ فِي الشَّارِعِ. A sentence that starts with a noun, and it has two parts: the topic and the predicate.
جُمْلَة فِعْلِيَّة verbal sentence يَكْتُبُ الطَّالِبُ الدَّرْسَ ؛ جَلَسَتِ البِنْتُ. A sentence that starts with a verb, and it has two (or three) parts: verb, subject, (object), but subject and verb are essential.
حَرْفُ اِسْتِفْهَام interrogative particle: do/does/did/is/ …? أَ ، هَل: أَكَـَبْتَ الوَاجِب؟ ؛ هَلَ عَلِي في البَيْت؟ It is used to ask a yes-no question and is placed at the start of sentences.
حَرْفُ جَرّ preposition فِي ، مِنْ ، إِلَى ، عَن ، عَلَى ، بـ ، كـ ، لـ It a word that follows nouns or verbs and is followed by nouns.
حَرْفُ عَطْف coordinating conjunction و ، أَو ، بَل ، أم ، لَكِن ، ثُمَّ ، حَتى It a connecting word that connects equal words, phrases, or sentences.
حَرْفُ نَفِي negative particle لا ، لَم ، مَا ، لَن It is a word that negates verbal or nominal sentences.
خَبَر predicate (nominal sentence) الطَّالِبْ مُجْتَهِد. It is the second part of the nominal sentence, and must be indefinite.
سُكُوْن absence of short vowel on letters                  ْ It is a diacritical mark that indicates unvowelled letters, and is used for jussive case, primarily with verbs.
شِبْهُ جُمْلَة semi-sentence فِي البَيْت، بَالقَلَم ، فَوْقَ الطَّاوِلَة It is a preposition or an adverb of place + noun.
ضَمَّة short vowel /u/                ُ It is diacritical mark that indicates a short vowel /u/ and is used for nominative case.
ضَمِيْر pronoun أَنَا ، نَحْنُ ، هُوَ ، هِيَ ، هُمَا ، هُمْ ، هُنَّ، أَنْتَ ، أَنْتِ ، أَنْتُمَا أَنْتُم It is a word that replaces a noun or nouns.
ظَرْفُ زَمَان adverb of time صَبَاحًا ، مَسَاءً  ، عَصْرًا It is a word that indicates time.
ظَرْفُ مَكَان adverb of place تَحْتَ ، فَوْقَ ، أَمَامَ ، بَيْنَ It is a that indicates place.
فَاعِل subject of verb يَشْرَبُ الوَلَدُ المَاء. It is a noun that indicates the doer of the action and gets the nominative case.
فَتْحَة short vowel /a/                َ It is a diacritical mark that indicates a short vowel /a/ and is used for accusative case.
فْعْل أَمْر imperative verb اُكْتُبْ ، اِسْمَعُوا ، اِجْلِسِي It is a verb used to give orders and gets the jussive case (sukuun), and is drive from the present form of the verb.
فِعْل ثُلاثِي three-consonant verb نَزَلَ ، خَرَجَ ، وَجَد It is a verb that is composed of three essential letters.
فِعْل خُمَاسي five-consonant verb اِنْكَسَرَ ، تَكَلَّمَ ، اِسْتَمَعَ It is a verb that is composed five letters, three essential and two additional.
فِعْل رُبَاعِي four-consonant verb شَاهَدَ ، كَلَّمَ ، غَرْبَلَ It is a verb that is composed of four letters, three essential and one additional.
فِعْل سُدَاسِي six-consonant verb اِسْتَعْلَمَ ، اِسْتَغْفَرَ It is a verb that is composed of six letters, three essential and three additional.
فِعْل لَازِم intransitive verb ضَحِكَ ، دَخَلَ ، وَقَفَ It is a verb that doesn’t require an object.
فِعْل مَاضٍ perfective / past verb فَتَحَ ، قَاتَلَ ، تَخَرَّجَ It is a verb that expresses past actions.
فِعْل مُتَعَدِّي transitive verb كَتَبَ ، نَظَّفَ ، تَسَلَّمَ It is a verb that requires an object or two.
فِعْل مُجَرَّد simple verb كَسَرَ ، نَزَلَ ، فَتَحَ It is a verb that is composed of three essential letters only.
فِعْل مَزِيْد complex verb اِنْكَسَرَ ، أَنْزَلَ ، اِنْفَتَحَ It is a verb that is composed of three essential letters in addition to one, two, or three additional letters.
فِعْل مُضَارِع imperfective / present verb يَفْتَح ، يَدْخُل ، يَقِف It is a verb that expresses present actions.
كَسْرَة short vowel /i/                    ِ It is diacritical mark that indicates a short vowel /i/ and is used for genitive case.
كَلِمَة word بَاب ، مِن ، رَسَمَ A word can be a noun, a verb, or a preposition.
مُبْتَدَأ topic الطَّالِبُ مُجْتَهِد. It is the first part of the nominal sentence, and is usually definite.
مُذَكَّر masculine طَالِب ، مُدَرِّس ، أَسَد ، بَاب It is a noun referring to a male person, animal, or object.
مُضَاف first word of genitive construction كِتَابُ الطَّالِب ، شَجَرَةُ البُنّ It is the first word of genitive construction and is always an indefinite noun.
مُضَاف إِلَيْه second word of genitive construction كِتَابُ الطَّالِب ، شَجَرَةُ البُنّ It is the second part of the genitive construction and is always a definite noun.
مَعْرِفَة definite noun الطَّالِب ، بَيْتُنَا ، المُدَرِّس It is a noun referring to a specific entity. It is defined by prefixing al- or suffixing an attached pronoun to an indefinite noun.
مَفْعُول object of a verb يَشْرَبُ الوَلَدُ المَاء. It is a noun that follows the transitive verb, and it always gets the accusative case.
مُؤْنَّث feminine الطَّالِبَة ، مُدَرِّسَة ، طَبِيْبَة It is a noun referring to a female person, animal or object and is mostly derived from مُذَكَّر by adding ta marbuTah ـة.
نَكِرَة indefinite noun طَالِب ، بَيْت ، مُدَرِّس It is a noun referring to non-specific entity.

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About the Author:Ibnulyemen

Marhaban! I am from Yemen. I am a language teacher. I teach English and Arabic. In this blog, I will be leading you through Arabic language learning in a sequential fashion. I will focus on Modern Standard Arabic. To learn more, you can also visit my website Ibnulyemen Arabic or my facebook page.


Comments:

  1. Kholoud Abusalem:

    Very interesting!