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Some Common Particles in Arabic (2) Posted by on Aug 28, 2018 in Grammar, morphology, Vocabulary

In the previous post, you learned how some Arabic particles are used. This post continues with another set of particles explaining their possible meanings and how they are used. As seen with the first set, the meaning may be determined by the context in which they occur. They are mostly functional words that are not derived from roots (like nouns and verbs). Some of them are an amalgamation of two particles.


مِنْذُ is a functional particle that can be followed by a noun or a verbal sentence. When followed by a noun, it functions as the preposition مِنْ. When followed by a perfective verbal sentence, it functions as an adverb. مُنْذُ could mean ‘since’, ‘for’, or ‘ago’ depending on the context, as illustrated in these examples:

(1) أَدْرُس فِي المَكْتَبَة مُنْذُ الصَّبَاح.     I have been studying in the library since this morning

لَمْ نَقَابِل أَحْمَد مُنْذُ يَوْمَيْن.     We have not met Ahmed for two days

غَادَرَ سَلِيْم اليَمَن مُنْذُ سَنَتَيْن.     Saleem left Yemen two years ago

أَسْكُنُ فِي نُيْويُورْك مِنْذُ عَام 2015.     I live in New York since 2015

(2) مَا خَرَجْتُ مِنْ اليَمَن مُنْذُ بَدَأتِ الحَرَب.     I have not gone outside Yemen since the war erupted

أَدْرُس اللُّغَة الصِّيْنِيَّة مُنْذُ وَصَلْتُ إِلَى شَنْغَهاي.     I am learning Chinese since I arrived in Shanghai

فَهِمْتُ الرِّيَاضِيَّات مُنْذُ جَاءَ هَذَا الأُسْتَاذ.     I understood math since this teacher came


قَطُّ with fatHah on the قَ should not be confused with قِطّ ‘cat’ with kasrah under the قِ. It also should not be confused with قَطَّ ‘cut/break’ with fatHa accompanying the shaddah. قَطُّ means ‘never/not ever / ever (in questions)’, and it is a functional particle that is used as an adverb of time. It is only used with perfective verbs that are preceded by negative particles, such as لَمْ or مَا, and interrogative particles, such as هَلْ, as in these examples:

مَا زُرْتُ اليَمَنَ قَطّ.     I have never visited Yemen

لَمْ أَشْرَب الخَمْر قَطّ.     I have never drunk wine

هَلْ شَرِبْتَ الخَمْر قَطّ؟     have you ever drunk wine?

هَلْ زُارُوا اليَمَن قَطّ؟     have they ever visited Yemen?


كَمَا is composed of two particles كَـ, a preposition that means ‘as, like’, and مَا. The meaning of كَمَا is similar to كـ, and the reason why مَا is added to it is that كَـ is used only with nouns; therefore, to make it usable with sentences, مَا has been added to it, as in the following examples:

كَمَا قَالَ مُحَمَّد الاِمْتِحَان فِعْلًا صَعْب.     As Mohammed said, the exam is indeed difficult

يَجِبْ أَنْ تَعَمْل كَمَا عَمِلَ عَلِي.     You should work like Ali did (work)

اِفْعَل كَمَا أَفْعَل.     Do as I do

سَلْوَى جَمِيْلَة كَمَا جَانِت (جَمِيْلَة).     Salwa is beautiful like Janet (is).

كَمَا could mean ‘also’ if it is follow by a verb that is complemented by a sentence that begins with إِنَّ / أَنَّ as in these examples:

كَمَا قَالَ إِنَّهُ ذَهَبَ إِلَى البَنْك.     He also said that he went to the bank

كَمَا اِعْتَرَفَتْ إِنَّهَا سَرَقَت الفِلُوس.     She also confessed that she stole the money

كَمَا ذَكَرَ الوَزِيْر أَنَّ الاِقْتَصَاد مُنْتَعِش.     The minister also mentioned that the economy was booming


لَقَدْ has the same meaning as قَدْ which was explained in the previous post. As it appears from the particle itself, a لَ has been added to قَدْ. This لَ is for further emphasis. Also, قَدْ has a present perfect meaning, i.e. an action was just completed / done before the time of speaking, while لَقَدْ has a past perfect meaning, i.e. an action was completed before another action in the past and result of completing that action is not pertinent to the time of speaking, as in these examples:

لَقَدْ فَازَت البَرَازِيْل بِكَأس العَالَم عِدَّة مَرَّات.     Brazil had won the world cup many times.

لَقَد شَاهَدتُ هَذَا الفِيْلم.     I had already seen this film.

لَقْد زُرْتُ إنِدْونِيْسِيا قَبْلَ أَنْ أَزُورَ مَالِيْزِيَا.     I had already visited Indonesia before I visited Malaysia.


عِنْدَ is a functional particle that has three meanings and uses: 1) an adverb of place ظَرْفُ مَكَان that means ‘near / close to, with’, 2) an adverb of time ظَرْفُ زَمَان that means ‘at (a time)’, and 3) an adverb that indicates possession المِلْكِيَّة, and it means ‘have / has, for’. With all three uses, it is always followed by a noun or a pronoun. The following examples illustrates:

أَنَا عِنْد جُوْن.     I am at John’s (at John’s house).

نُصَلِّي المَغْرِب عِنْدَ غُرْوب الشَّمْس.     We pray Maghreb at sunset

اِجْلِس عِنْد البَابَ.     Sit at / near the door

سَنَبْدَأ عِنْدَ سَمَاع الصَّفَّارَة.     We will start at / when hearing whistle

عِنْدِي أَخْ وأُخْتَان.     I have a brother and two sisters

الصَّلاةُ عِنْدِي أَهَمُّ مِنْ اللَّعِب.     The prayer for me is more important than playing

كِتَابَك عِنْدَ عَلِي.     Your book is with Ali

عِنْدَه فُلُوس كَثِيْرَة.     He has a lot of money


لَدَى is similar to عِنْدَ. It is a functional particle that is used for the most part as adverb of place that means ‘near / close to’. It can be used as adverb that indicates possession, i.e. meaning ‘have / has’. It is rarely used as an adverb of time that means ‘at / when’. Its usage is more formal than عِنْدَ. Also, it is must be followed by a noun or a pronoun. That is, it is never followed by a sentence. When followed by a pronoun, the alif ى changes to yaa’ ي. The following examples illustrate:

لَدَيَّ (لَدَى + ي) سَيَّارَتَان.     I have two cars

قَابَلْتُهُ لَدَى البَاب.     I ran into him at the door

هَلْ لَدَيْكَ قَلَم زَائِد؟     Do you have an extra pen?

لَدَى عَلِي بَيْتَان.     Ali has two houses

مَاذَا لَدَيْه / لَدَيْهَا / لَدَيْكَ / لَدَيْهُم / لَدَيْنَا؟     what (does /do) he /she / you / they/ we have?

لَدَيْه / لَدَيْهَا / لَدَيْكَ / لَدَيْهُم / لَدَيْنَا مَعْلُوَمَات مُهِمَّة.     He / she/ you / they / we (have / has) important information


عَدَا is a functional particle that is used to express exception. It has the same meaning as إِلّا ‘except’, as explained in the previous post. It must be followed by a noun (or a pronoun). Parsing-wise, this noun can be assigned a genitive case (and عَدَا is considered as a preposition) or an accusative case (and عَدَا is considered a perfective verb), as in these examples:

هَرَبَ الأَعْدَاء عَدَا وَاحِدٍ / وَاحِدًا.     The enemies fled except one

سَافَرَت الأُسْرَة عَداي.     The family travelled except me

نَامَ الأَوْلاد عَدَا مُحَمَّدًا / مَحَمَّدٍ.     The boys slept except Mohammed

عَدَا is sometimes preceded by مَا; however, the resulting phrase مَا عَدَا has the same meaning. Lexically, it is no longer a preposition, that is, it is only a verb, and hence, the noun that follows must always be accusative.

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About the Author: Ibnulyemen اِبْنُ اليَمَن

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.


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