Subscribe
Subscribe to receive updates for new Arabic lessons, videos, articles. Updates are sent maximum once weekly, normally once a month.
Madinah Arabic Learn Arabic Online
Learn Arabic Online

Lesson 25 – الدَّرْسُ الْخَامِسُ وَالْعِشْرُونَ

The Declinable and the non-Declinable –الْمُعْرَبُ وَالْمَبْنِيُّ

The declinable and the indeclinable verbs – الأَفْعَالُ الْمُعْرَبَةُ والأَفْعَالُ الْمَبْنِيَّةُ

  • The general rule is that the verb should be indeclinable and the declinable verbs are an exception to the rule.
  • The verbs in Arabic are divided into three types; past, present and imperative.
  • The past and the imperative verbs are always indeclinable. The present verbs are generally declinable except for two situations; when the verb is attached to the /nūn/ of the feminine plural نُونُ النِّسْوَةِ or attached directly to the /nūn/ of confirmation (the emphatic suffix); in these two situations the present verb is indeclinable.
  • Let’s now study each of the three types of verbs:

1-  The past verb الْفِعْلُ الْمَاضِي (will be studied in detail in lesson 39):

  • Originally, the past verb is indeclinable with a fatħah on its end, e.g.: (كَتَبَ he wrote – وَصَلَ he arrived – تَحَدَّثَ he talked). If the past tense verb is ended with a vowel, we consider it indeclinable on a virtual (supposed) fatħah on its end, e.g.: رَمَى he threw, دَعَا he invited.
  • When the past verb is attached to a pronoun, it may be indeclinable on another sign according to the suffixed pronoun as follows:
    • Indeclinable on sukūn when attached to the following pronouns:

a)   The tā’ of the doer تَاءُ الْفَاعِلِ:

b)   The nā of the (first person) doers نَا الْفَاعِلِينَ:

c)   The /nūn/ of the feminine third person plural نُونُ النِّسْوَةِ:

Picture

English

Arabic

Madinaharabic.com lesson image

Have you written the homework, Marwan?

هَلْ كَتَبْتَ الوَاجِبَ يَا مَروانُ؟

/hal katabta al-wāĵiba ya Marawan?/

Madinaharabic.com lesson image

The employees completed the work.

الْمُوظَّفُونَ أَكْمَلُوا الْعَمَلَ.

/Al-muwađhaffūn akmalū al-ξamal/

Madinaharabic.com lesson image

Nurses helped patients much

الْمُمَرِّضَاتُ سَاعَدْنَ الْمَرْضَى كَثِيرًا

/al-mumarriđatu sāξad-na al-marđā kāthīran/

Madinaharabic.com lesson image

The teacher explained the new lesson.

شَرَحَ الْمُدَرِّسُ الدَّرْسَ الْجَدِيدَ.

2-   The imperative verb فِعْلُ الأَمْرِ (will be detailed in lesson 40):

English

Transliteration

Arabic

Oh Muhammad, write your lesson.

Yā Muħammadu uktub darsaka

يَا مُحَمَّدُ اكْتُبْ دَرْسَكَ

Write your lesson, oh Fatimah!

Yā Fāŧimatu uktub-ī darsak-i

يَا فَاطِمَةُ اكْتُبِي دَرْسَكِ.

Write your lesson, oh both of you [two] students!

Yā ŧâlibān-i uktub-ā darsakumā

يَا طَالِبَانِ اكْتُبا دَرْسَكُما

Write your lesson, oh students!

Yā ŧullāb-u uktub-ū darsakum

يَا طُلابُ اكْتُبُوا دَرْسَكُم

3-   The present verb الْفِعلُ الْمُضَارِعُ:

  • As a rule the present verb is declinable. Exceptionally, it is indeclinable in two following situations:
  • Therefore we will learn the declinable present verb first and then its two indeclinable cases:

a-   The declension of the present verb إعْرَابُ الْفِعْلِ الْمُضَارِعِ

(this topic will be detailed in lesson 36)

Notes

Translation

Example

The present verb is not preceded by an accusative or jussive article, so it is regularly in the indicative case signed with đammah on its end.

Will you live in Egypt?

هَلْ سَتَسْكُنُ فِي مِصْرَ؟

The present verb is preceded by an accusative article, so it is in the accusative case signed with fatħah on its end.

No, I will not live in Egypt but I just want to visit it.

لا ، لَنْ أَسْكُنَ فِي مِصْرَ وَلَكِنْ أُرِيدُ أَنْ أَزُورَها فَقَطْ

The present verb is preceded by a jussive case, so it is in the jussive case signed with sukūn on its end.

Muhammad has not drunk the milk

لَمْ يَشْرَبْ مُحَمَّدٌ اللَّبَنَ.

The present verb is preceded by a jussive case, so it is in the jussive case signed with sukūn on its end.

Do not stay up long at night.

لا تَسْهَرْ كَثِيرًا.

  • As you notice in the above mentioned examples, there are three cases for the present declinable verb; the indicative (nominative), the accusative, and the jussive case. For each case there is a main sign (vowel ending); the đammah for the indicative, the fatħah for the accusative, and the sukun for the jussive case. These original signs should be replaced by secondary signs if the verb is attached to some pronouns (as detailed in lesson 37 named the five verbs). Consider the secondary signs in the following examples of the so-called five verbs:
  • In the above mentioned table we notice that the five verbs are those that are attached to the pronoun of the plural masculine third person, the plural masculine second person, the dual third person, the dual second person, and the feminine second person. In the indicative case they are signed with the firmness of the final /nūn/, and in the accusative and jussive case they are signed with the elimination of the /nūn/. Again we remind you that this will be repeated with more details and examples in lesson 37 In-Shaa’-Allaah (God willing).

b-   The indelension of the present verb بِنَاءُ الْفِعْلِ الْمُضَارِعِ:

  • We learnt earlier that the present verb is indeclinable in two situations:

1-   The first situation of the indeclinable present verb is when it is attached to the /nūn/ of the feminine plural نُونُ النِّسْوَةِ. In this situation the present verb will be indeclinable on the sukūn regardless ofthe grammatical case or the preceding articles. Consider the following examples:

Jussive case

Accusative case

Arabic verb in the indicative case

لَمْ يَكْتُبْنَ

They (feminine) did not write

لَنْ يَكْتُبْنَ

They (feminine) will not write

يَكْتُبْنَ

They (feminine) write

لَمْ تَكْتُبْنَ

You (feminine plural) did not write

لَنْ تَكْتُبْنَ

You (feminine plural) will not write

تَكْتُبْنَ

You (feminine plural) write

    • In the above mentioned examples, you may notice the equality of the form of the present verb in the three cases. This is because it is indeclinable, i.e. it has a constant ending.

2-   The second situation in which the present verb is indeclinable is that when it is attached directly to the /nūn/ of confirmation (emphatic article) نُونُ التَّوْكِيدِ. In this situation the present verb is indeclinable on fatħah. This will be detailed in lesson 97 In-Shaa’-Allaah (God willing). Consider the following examples:

Jussive case

Accusative case

Arabic verb in the indicative case

لا تَحْسَبَنَّ الأمْرَ سَهْلا.

Do not think that the matter is so easy.

لَنْ أَذْهَبَنَّ مَعَ رِفَاقِ السُّوءِ.

I will never go with bad companions.

سَأَزُورَنَّ صَدِيقِي غَدًا.

I will visit my friend tomorrow (for sure)

  • In the above mentioned examples, you may notice that the present verb is indeclinable with a fatħah (regardless of whether it is in the indicative, accusative or jussive case).
  • To apply this rule on the the present verb, the attachment to the emphatic /nūn/ has to be a direct attachment (i.e. without separation). If there is a separating pronoun in the middle, the verb returns back to its original declension (as detailed in lesson 97).