Arabic Language Blog

Kana and Sisters (1) Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in Arabic Language, Grammar, Vocabulary

Kana and Sisters (1) كان و أخواتها

  • The Nominal sentence consists of two parts; the subject (Mubtada) and the predicate  (Khabar).
  • Both parts of the nominal sentence are always in the Nominative (Marfo’) Case حالة الرفع .
  • The Nominative Case means that the noun often has a Dammah or a Damm Tanween on its ending.
  • Today, we will learn some special verbs that change the noun case in the nominal sentence.
  • Kana and its sisters are a group of thirteen (13) verbs that come with the nominative sentence.
  • What was Mubtada in the nominative sentence becomes the Noun (Ism اسم) of Kana and its sisters.
  • What was Khabar in the nominative sentence becomes the Khabar of Kana and its sisters.
  • Kana and its sisters are called Incomplete Verbs أفعال ناقصة because they always need a predicate; (Khabar), to complete the meaning.
  • Kana and sisters are also called أفعال ناسخة because they change the Khabar’s case from nominative (Raf’e) حالة الرفع to accusative (Nassb) حالة النصب . So, the predicate of Kana and sisters always has a Fat’ha (or Tanween) on its ending.

  • These verbs are:

كانَ / أصبحَ / أضحى / ظلَّ / أمسى / باتَ / صارَ / ليسَ / ما زالَ / ما برحَ / ما انفكَّ / ما فتئَ / ما دامَ

Ex. – كان الجوُ جميلاً بالأمس  = The weather was beautiful yesterday.

كانَ   : A past verb Mabni on the Fat’h.

الجوُ : Ism of Kana Marfo’ with a dammah.

–  جميلاً : Khabar of kana mansoub with a Fat’ha.

الباء : a preposition.

الأمسِ : Ism Majroor by the Kasrah.


Next time, In Sha’a Allah,  we will learn more and more about these verbs.


Check us back soon

Peace  سلام /Salam/

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About the Author: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.


  1. meryemtaleb:

    good day to you sir, i have a thought that this explanation is very plain and clear, yet i need references

    • Fisal:

      @meryemtaleb Good day back to you, Meryem
      Thanks for your nice comment, yet I don’t understand what kind of references you do need. I guess you are a Moroccan and I suppose you know the Arabic Grammar!! I am a native Egyptian and I am a teacher. if you still insist for reference books, I can give you hundreds about the Arabic Grammar. I do translate the rules into English and I sometimes use my own examples.

  2. khalil:

    Assalamu alikum,kewl post,could u pls tell me or direct me to where i can find the meaning of the other sisters lol

  3. anaaa:

    Assalamu alaykum,

    I’m wondering one thing about fi3lan maadiyan , what is that? and has it anything to do with kana and sisters?

    I got this on my exam –
    يجب أن يكون الطالب المثلي حسن الأخلاق

    Was this yakoono here have the i3rab of kana and sisters?
    And what is حسن here?
    I got so confused because my teacher never mentioned that the rules of kana wa akhawatoho also applied to the present-form… I could choose for -hasan- from “khabr kana mansoob” and “fi3lan maadiyan” and faa3il.. I chose fi3lan maadiyan but now it feels like I did wrong. Can you help me with this question ?


    • Fisal:

      @anaaa Unfotunately Azizah your answer was wrong. The correct choice was that of “khabar kana mansoob”. And yes, it is true that kana and sisters can be used in all tenses with the same effect; they are verbs like all others but they do a certain job !!
      Fisal 🙂

  4. Thameena:

    Assalamu alaykum wrwb Brother Fisal,

    Where could I find your notes on other Grammar topics and rules please.