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Lesson 25 – الدَّرْسُ الْخَامِسُ وَالْعِشْرُونَ

The Declinable and the non-Declinable – الْمُعْرَبُ وَالْمَبْنِيُّ  

The indeclinable nouns – الأَسْمَاءُ الْمَبْنِيَّةُ

  • We learnt earlier that the majority of Arabic nouns are declinable and the indeclinable nouns are an exception to the general rule. We also learnt that the indeclinable noun is the noun which has a constant (fixed) ending regardless of its position or grammatical case in the sentence. Following are the types of the indeclinable nouns:
  1. The pronouns الضَّمَائِر:
    • The pronouns are considered nouns in the Arabic grammar, because the words in Arabic are divided into only three categories; nouns, verbs and articles. Therefore the pronouns, the demonstratives and the relatives are subdivisions of nouns.
    • All pronouns (detached or attached) are indeclinable. Therefore each pronoun will remain in its original form irrespective of whether it is in place of nominative, accusative or genitive.
    • We will not study the pronoun divisions in detail right now; this will be detailed in many lessons (lesson 44 to lesson 48). Here we will learn some examples which will help us to understand the rules above. Consider the following examples:


Vowel ending of the pronoun




Arabic lesson image



This is your friend speaking with you

هَذَا صَدِيقُكَ يَتَحَدَّثُ مَعَكَ. lesson image



They are hardworking workers. They indeed work in the field (farm).

هُمْ عُمَّالٌ مُجْتَهِدُونَ، إِنَّهُمْ يَعْمَلُونَ فِي الْحَقْلِ. lesson image

Fatħah (for the attached form) and đammah for the detached form



He is Omar and this is his father whom he likes.

هُوَ عُمَرُ، وَهَذَا أَبُوهُ الَّذِي يُحِبُّهُ. lesson image

Đammah for the detached and long alif for the attached



We study our lessons.

نَحْنُ نُذَاكِرُ دُرُوسَنَا.

  1. The demonstrative pronouns أَسْمَاءُ الإِشَارَةِ:
    • In the above mentioned examples we notice that the demonstrative pronoun (hādhā) falls in different positions (direct object, subject, and Muĵrūr) but it still has the same ending (long vowel ā).
    • More examples:
    • You will notice that /hā’ulā’i/ above is indeclinable on kasrah on its ending regardless it grammatical position (direct object or subject as above).
  1. Relative pronouns الأسماءُ المَوْصُولةُ :



Arabic lesson image

The workers who are in the field are active.

الْعُمَّالُ الَّذِينَ في الْحَقلِ نَشِيطُونَ.

I saw (those) who are in the field.

رَاَيْتُ الَّذِينَ في الْحَقْلِ.

I passed by (those) who are in the field.

مَرَرْتُ بِالَّذِينَ فِي الْحَقْلِ.

    • In the above mentioned examples, the relative noun الَّذِينَ has a constant ending (fatħah) whether it is in place of nominative (in the first example), accusative (in the second example) or genitive (in the third example).
  1. Interrogative (questioning) nouns أَسْمَاءُ الاسْتِفْهَامِ:



Arabic lesson image

Where is Airport street?

أَيْنَ شَارِعُ الْمَطَارِ؟ lesson image

Where are you (both) from?

مِنْ أَيْنَ أَنْتُمَا؟

    • You may notice that the interrogative (questioning) noun أَيْنَ is indeclinable, as it has a constant ending whether it is in the place of nominative (in the first example) or in the place of genitive (in the second example).
  1. Conditional nouns أَسْمَاءُ الشَّرْطِ:



Arabic lesson image

Whenever you feel pain, you visit the doctor.

أَيَّانَ تَشْعُرْ بِالألَم ؛ تَذْهَبْ إلَى الطَّبِيبِ

//ayyāna tashξuru bil-alami, tadhhab ilā aŧ-ŧabīb-i// lesson image

Wherever Muhammad meets his teacher, he greets him.

أَيْنَما يَجِدْ مُحَمَّدٌ أُسْتَاذَهُ ؛ يُسَلِّمْ عَلَيْهِ.

//aynamā yaĵid muhammadun ustādhahu, yusallim ξalayh-i//

    • In the above mentioned examples the conditional nouns are indeclinable.
  1. Verbal nouns أسْماءُ الأفْعالِ :
    • We will learn in lesson 50 that the verbal nouns are the nouns which have the meaning of verbs and forms of nouns (i.e. they are not conjugated as verbs), e.g.: (صَهْ hush), (آه ah, or I feel pain) etc.
    • All the verbal nouns are indeclinable. Consider the following examples:



Arabic lesson image

I suffer from this pain

آهِ مِنْ هَذا الأَلَمِ

/āhi min hādhā al-al'ami/ lesson image

Stop releasing (releasing) malicious rumors.

مَهْ عَنْ إِطْلاقِ الشَّائِعاتِ الخَبيثةِ

/mah ξan iŧlāqi ash-shā’iξāti al-khabīthati/

    • The verbal nouns in the above mentioned examples are indeclinable, i.e. they have their own constant ending regardless their position in the sentence.
  • In addition to the six types of indeclinable nouns mentioned above there are some indeclinable adverbs (e.g. مُنْذُ since), and some allusive nouns that are indeclinable (e.g.: كَيْتَ in such a way).
  • There are also some nouns which are occasionally indeclinable (i.e. they are originally declinable, but they are indeclinable in some situations) as follows:

1-   The single person addressed by the call (lesson 82), e.g. يَا رَجُلُ (oh man).

2-   The composite numbers from eleven to nineteen (except the first part of twelve as it is dual) detailed in lesson 26, e.g.: خَمْسَةَ عَشَرَ (fifteen).

3-   The noun of (lā) of the generic negation when the noun is singular indefinite and not annexed (detailed in lesson 61), e.g.: لا شَكَّ فِي هَذَا (No doubt in this).

  • With this we end the declinable and the indeclinable nouns. After the exercises we will start the declinable and indeclinable verbs.
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