Arabic Language Blog

The Nominal Sentence: The Predicate (Al-Khabar) Posted by on Nov 24, 2011 in Arabic Language, Grammar, Vocabulary

  • The Predicate الخبر of the nominal sentence refers to the part that completes the meaning of the Subject. It tells us about the subject or gives us information about it.
  •  Now what are the types of the Predicate (Khabar) ?   

Types of the Khabar أنواع الخبر   

The Khabar can be any of the following types:

1) A Singular Predicate خبر مفرد  :

    The Khabar can be a singualr noun which means that it is not a sentence nor a semi-sentence;

                                     e.g. – الكتابُ صديقٌ = The book is a friend.

                                           – النصرُ قريبٌ   = Victory is near.

                                           – الصحةُ نعمةٌ   = Health is a blessing.

                                           – الفريقان متنافسانِ  = The two teams are rivals.

                                           –الأمهاتُ رحيماتٌ   = Mothers are merciful.

(Note that the Predicate here is the same in number and gender as its subject.)

 2) A Sentence (Jomlah) جملة   :

     The Khabar can by itself be a sentence. This sentence of the Khabar has two types:

                 A) Nominal Sentence (Jomlah Ismiyah)جملة اسمية  

                       It is that sentence that starts with a noun and a pronoun that refers back to the first subject (the Mubtada)  

                                      e.g. – الشعرُ أساسُهُ العاطفة  = The essence of poetry is emotion. .

                                            – السيارةُ سعرُها مرتفعٌ = The Price of the car is high.

                 B) Verbal Sentence (Jomlah fi’liyyah) جملة فعلية

                     The predicate can be a Verbal sentence which means that it can be a sentence that starts with a verb and a pronoun that must refer back to the first subject.

                                        e.g. – السعادةُ تنبعُ من الداخلِ = Happiness arises from the inside.

                                              – الولد يلعبُ الكرةَ  = The boy is playing football.   

                                              – الرجلانِ شاركا فى الحرب = The two men participated in the war.

                                              – المصريون يصنعون التاريخ  – The Egyptians are making history.

(Note that the sentence of the predicate must contain a pronoun that must agree with the Mubtada in gender and number)

3) A Phrasal Predicate (Khabar Shib’h Jomlah) خبر شبه جملة   : 

     This kind of predicate is that which contains a preposition or an adverb. 

      This Khabar often comes after the subject.                       

                                  e.g. – الجنةُ تحتَ أقدامِ الأمهاتِ  =Paradise is under mothers’ feet.

                                        – كتابُك فى الحقيبةِ = Your book is in the bag.


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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. Scheich Josef:

    مرحبا يا فيصل

    consider the two sentences

    The animal is a cow. – الحيوان بقرة.

    Tne animal is called a cow. – الحيوان يسمى بقرة.

    Both are nominal sentences with the masculine noun “الحيوان – the animal” as مبتدأ. But the خبر مفرد of the first sentence “بقرة – a cow” is a feminine noun!

    The خبر of the second sentence is a verbal sentence and its pronoun agrees indeed in gender and number with the مبتدأ.

    Thus it seems to me that in case of a خبر مفرد the gender of the predicate may be different fron the gender of the subject.



    • Fisal:

      @Scheich Josef أهلا يوسف
      Thanks for the examples. That is really an interesting point ..!! However, all Arabic grammar books say that the singular predicate must agree with the Mubtada. I think your sentence ” The animal is a cow الحيوان بقرة ” should be “The Cow is an animal البقرةُ حيوان ” and here the predicate is a collective noun that can refer to a masculine or feminine .

  2. Oum Ayoub:

    Jazakoum Allahou khairan for the valuable information

  3. Scheich Josef:

    مرحبا يا فيصل

    thank you for your comments. In my Arabic grammar books (including Wright’s Grammar)I can’t find a rule concerning the gender agreement of the subject noun with the predicate noun in a nominal sentence.

    How would you explain the nominal sentence

    The woman is a man in disguise. – المرأة رجل متنكر

    with the feminine subject noun المرأة and the masculine predicate رجل متنكر according to your rule?



    • Fisal:

      @Scheich Josef أهلا يا يوسف
      The thing is that the predicate is a “judgement’ of the Mubtada so that the meaning of both is complete. Let’s see your example. المرأة رجل = The woman is a man. Now, is this judgement true? I don’t think so. But how could that be explained as a nominal sentence? It is so simple. the predicate here is a verbal sentence (the verb is assumed or understood and deleted and its subject is the word رجل ) . So, المرأة رجل متنكر = The woman turned to be a man. = اتضح أن المرأة رجل متنكر = the woman turned to be a man in disguise.
      I hope it is clear now.

  4. non:

    thank you very much for your effort, I found the lessons very useful

  5. Jona Saurey:

    This is the best site for anybody who desires to find out about this subject. You notice so much its nearly onerous to argue with you (not that I truly would want…HaHa). You undoubtedly put a brand new spin on a subject thats been wrote about for years. Nice stuff, simply nice!

    • Fisal:

      @Jona Saurey Hi Jona,
      Thanks so much for your nice words and don’t worry about arguing. We are all here to help and to learn from each other.

  6. Zoubir Dendane:

    Salam to all of you,
    You know Fisal, when I was a pupil, I learned that a nominal sentence is the one that STARTS with a noun, even if it has a verb within. Thus, I’m confused about what a Subject-Predicate sentence is! which is verbless, as in العلم نور. My point is that a nominal sentence contains a verb, as in الطفل يبكي حزنا.
    Thanks for your comments.

    • Fisal:

      @Zoubir Dendane Salam Zoubir,
      Your point is clear, brother and what you have learnt is absolutely correct. However, The nominal sentence doesn’t necessarily need to have a visible verb e.g. العلمُ نور. If it does, then this is only one type of predicate. Simply, there are more than one type of predicate for a nominal sentence. The verb in the nominal sentence is not the whole predicate. Rather, it is just a part of the predicate. This predicate starting with a verb is called a Verbal Sentence Khabar (predicate). This verbal sentence khabar can’t stand by itself as a meaningful sentence. because – if we take your example – we would ask: Who is crying in sadness? من يبكى حزنا؟ . The answer would be الطفلُ يبكى حزناً. To sum up, the predicate defines the Mubtada or tells us more about it.
      Best regards,

  7. test2:

    Actually when someone doesn’t understand then its up to other visitors that they will help, so here it occurs.

    • Fisal:

      @test2 Actually, we are all learning together and helping each other 🙂

  8. Nadene Weisiger:

    Everyone loves what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and reporting! Keep up the good works guys I’ve added you guys to our blogroll.

  9. Parvathy:

    Very nice for students ….thx a lot

  10. Parvathy:

    Great job!

    • Fisal:

      @Parvathy Thanks Paravathy. You are very welcome 🙂

  11. Mohamed:

    يلعبُ الكرةَ is not a verbal sentence to begin with, it is a verb- Object phrase and it is a predicate, where the subject is الولد

    • Fisal:

      @Mohamed Ahlan, Mohamed. The subject is a hidden pronoun (هــو). It is understood from context.
      Thanks for passing by 🙂

  12. Mohamed:

    Are you saying that it is a verbal sentence??

  13. Mohamed:

    Or are you saying that it’s a verbal sentence since the subject pronoun is implicit?
    Please help clarify
    Thank you so much

    • Fisal:

      @Mohamed Mohamed, الولد is the Ism (Mubtadaa) because is starts the Nominal sentence. OK. But where is its predicate? Simply, the predicate is the whole sentence that follows. Yes, It happened here in this example that the predicate is the whole Verbal sentence. This Verbal sentence tells us more about the Mubtadaa, so it is its predicate even though the verb has an implicit subject that refers back to the Mubtadaa. This is one of the Predicate cases. The Predicate Can be a Verbal Sentence. Yes, exactly 🙂

  14. ♥ Arabic:

    Thank you FAISAL you have helped a lot I would be happy if you say “thank you”

  15. Abdellah:

    Very nice !