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Lesson 4 الدَّرْسُ الرَّابِعُ

The Interrogation - الاسْتِفْهَامُ

  • In this part of lesson 4 we will learn about the formation of the interrogative (questioning) expressions, In-Shā’-Allâh (God-Willing).
  • We know that "Interrogative expression” is the term used to refer to a group of words which are used to ask a question (e.g. Where is the book? What is on the book? Is the key on the book? Who is on the rock? etc are all interrogative expressions and the words which are used to ask a question are called the “Interrogative Articles" which we cover below:
  • Take a look of the following examples of interrogative expressions:

Picture

Translation

Transliteration

Arabic

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Where is the key?

/Ainal miftāħu?/

أَيْنَ الْمِفْتَاحُ؟

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What is on the book?

/Mādhā ξalal kitābi?/

مَاذَا عَلَىٰ الْكِتَابِ؟

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Is a key on the book?

/A miftāħun ξalal kitābi?/

أَمِفتاحٌ على الْكِتابِ؟

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Who is in the kitchen?

/Man fil maŧbakhi?/

مَنْ فِي الْمَطْبَخِ؟

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What is on the rock?

/Mādhā ξalal ħaĵari?/

مَاذَا عَلَىٰ الْحَجَرِ؟

  • The following are the rules governed for the use of the interrogative articles (i.e. words used for asking questions such as where?, what? etc.):
  • When an interrogative article comes before a noun, it will take the nominative case - i.e. the last letter will be changed to a /đammah/ (if it is not already a /đammah/).

Case

Rule

Arabic

Interrogative Article proceeding a definite noun

The definite noun will take one /đammah/ on its ending letter

أيْنَ الْكِتَابُ؟

Interrogative Article proceeding a noun without definite Article

The noun without the definite article will take two /đammahs/ on its ending letter

أَيَاسِرٌ فِي الْمَطْبَخِ؟

Interrogative Article preceding a preposition

The preposition will not take the nominative case when preceded by interrogative article - see below for the reasons for this.

مَاذَا عَلَى الصَّخْرِ؟

  • A definite noun preceded by an interrogative article will take one /đammah/ and the indefinite noun will take two /đammahs/).
  • However when a preposition is preceded by an interrogative article, it will not take the nominative case and its last letter will remain with the same ending sound. This is because the preposition is indeclinable meaning it does not change its ending - this is an important principle - we will learn in Arabic that some rules take precedence (priority over other rules).
  • Please take a careful look to the ending vowels of the nouns in both the interrogative (questioning) sentences and the answering expressions in the text below.  

Please click on the words to hear speech, i.e. how the words should be pronounced.

Picture

Translation

Arabic

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Where is Muhammad?

Muhammad is in the room.

أَيْنَ مُحَمَّدٌ؟

مُحَمَّدٌ فِي الْغُرْفَةِ.

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And where is Yasir?

Yasir is in the wash room.

وَأَيْنَ يَاسِرٌ؟

يَاسِرٌ فِي الحَمَّامِ.

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Where is Aminah?

Aminah is in the kitchen.

وَأَيْنَ آمِنةُ؟

آمِنَةُ فِي الْمَطْبَخِ.

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Where is the book?

The book is on the desk.

أَيْنَ الْكِتَابُ؟

الْكِتَابُ عَلَىٰ الْمَكْتَبِ.

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And where is the watch?

The watch is on the bed.

وَأَيْنَ السَّاعَةُ؟

السَّاعَةُ عَلَىٰ السَّرِيرِ.

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Is Muhammad in the wash room?

No, but in the room.

أَمُحَمَّدٌ فِي الْحَمَّامِ؟

لا، بَلْ فِي الْغُرْفَةِ.

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Who is in the Kitchen?

Aminah is in the kitchen.

مَنْ فِي الْمَطْبَخِ؟

آمِنَةُ فِي الْمَطْبَخِ.

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What is on the bed?

The watch is on the bed.

مَاذَا عَلَىٰ السَّرِيرِ؟

السَّاعَةُ عَلَىٰ السَّرِيرِ.

  • In the next part of the lesson we will have multiple questions /In-Shā'-Allâh/ (God-Willing) to test your understanding of the principles we have learnt so far.