Expressing Similarity in Arabic with Like or As Posted by aziza on Sep 1, 2009 in Grammar
Following my previous post about comparison, I received a question about how to express similarity in Arabic, and Niji contributed the answer. In this post, I explain more about similarity in Arabic.
There are 2 particles that we can use to express similarity, i.e. (كـ) and (مثل). Both of them mean ‘like’ or ‘as’, and they are used to establish a relationship of similarity between 2 things or people, e.g.
أنت بطئ كالسلحفاة.
“You are slow like a turtle.”
القطار سريع كالريح.
“The train is fast like wind.”
أحمد طبيب مثل والده.
“Ahmed is a physician like his father.”
والدتي صبورة وأنا مثلها.
“My mother is patient, and I am like her.”
Both (كـ) and (مثل) are used in the same way to express similarity between two nouns, and they are in most of the cases interchangeable. The main difference between them is that we can use (مثل) followed by a pronoun or a noun, but (كـ) can only be followed by a noun. For example, only (مثل) can be used in the sentence below.
أنا طالب مثله.
“I am a student like him.”
To negate these statements, i.e. to express ‘not like’, we use (ليس), for example:
محمد ليس طويلاً مثل والده.
“Mohammed is a not tall like his father.”
لست طالبة مثلك.
“I am not a student like you.”
Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.