Arabic Language Blog

The Verbal Sentence (Part 7) : The Passive Verb Gender Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in Arabic Language, Grammar, Vocabulary

     Ahlan, Arabic fans! I know Arabic grammar is giving you some headache especially about the gender of (passive) verbs that must agree in number and gender with the subject or the deputy agent in passive sentences. Such headache does exist in all languages and Arabic is no exception. In the process of learning a language, one should be aware of the words he uses and the functions of these words. This is important to achieve the level of proficiency one aspires for.

     In my grammar posts series, I have started to explain the verbal sentence that – I confess – needs much effort from the side of the learner. Let’s sum up what we have learnt so far:

1-      Introduction to the Verbal Sentence

2-      The Verbal Sentence: The Subject (Part 1)

3-      The Verbal Sentence: The Subject (Part 2)

4-      The Verbal Sentence (Part 3): The Subject-Verb Agreement in Number

5-      The Verbal Sentence (Part 4): The Subject-Verb Agreement in Gender

6-      The Verbal Sentence (Part 5): The Passive Subject

7-      The Verbal Sentence (Part 6): The Passive Verb Form

       The last thing we talked about was the passive verb form. Today, we are going to talk about the passive verb gender and mainly when to use the feminine form. Generally speaking, we can say that the rule of using a feminine passive verb form with the deputy agent is the same as using the feminine form with the subject in the normal verbal sentence. You can revise the link number (5) above about the subject-verb agreement in gender to remember how to turn a verb into the feminine form.

The Verbal Sentence

    Now, let’s look at the rules of using a feminine passive verb with the deputy agent:

     1) If the passive subject (deputy agent) of the passive verb is a visible noun and a real feminine, then the verb should be feminine. Here the passive verb and its passive subject (deputy agent) must not be separated by word.

           Ex.عــُــرِفــَــتْ زَيــْــنــَــبُ بــِــتــَــفــَــوُّقــِــهــَــا فـى الــكــيــمــْــيــَــاء(past tense passive)

                    = Zainab was known by her proficiency in chemistry.

–  تــُــعــْــرَفُ عــَــائــِــشــَــةُ بــِــالــذَكــَــاءِ  (present tense passive)

= Aisha is known by her intelligence.

    In the first example above, the passive verb عــُــرِفــَــتْ is in the past tense and it has the Feminine Taa suffix because its deputy agent زَيــْــنــَــبُ  is a real feminine and a visible noun. In the second example, the passive verb تــُــعــْــرَفُ is in the present tense as it starts with a Taa Mutahirrikah (with a fat’ha prefix on the Taa). The deputy agent of this passive verb is the real feminine noun عــَــائــِــشــَــةُ  .

     2) If the passive subject (the deputy agent) of the passive verb is an invisible pronoun that refers to a real or unreal feminine, then the passive verb should be feminine.

           Ex.الـمـَــرأةُ حــُــرِّرَتْ (هـِـي) مـِــن قــُــيــُــود الــمــَــاضــِى   (past tense passive) 

= The woman was freed from the restrictions of the past.

                     ( ســَــفــِــيــنــَــةُ الــفــَــضــَــاءِ أُطــْــلــِــقــَــتْ (هــِــىَ  (past tense passive)

                   = The spaceship was launched.

     Now, if you look at the first example, you will notice that the passive verb حــُــرِّرَتْ  (was freed) is in the past tense and ends in the Feminine Sa’kinah Taa that has a Su’koun on it. What is the passive subject (deputy agent) of this verb? It is the invisible pronoun هـِـيَ (she) that refers back to the real feminine noun المرأة (The woman), so the invisible pronoun هـِـيَ (she) is the deputy agent of the passive verb.

    In the second example, we have the passive verb أُطــْــلــِــقــَــتْ  (was launched) in the past and ending with the same Feminine Taa. What is different here is that the invisible pronoun هـِـيَ (she) refers back to the unreal feminine noun  ســَــفــِــيــنــَــةُ (ship).


  •     You may also need to revise these posts.

Arabic Nouns

Arabic Pronouns

Arabic Verbs

Nouns Number

Nouns Gender

Ornament Colour B06

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Peace  ســَـــلام /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.