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Lesson 40 – الدَّرْسُ الأرْبَعونَ

Indeclension of the Imperative Verb – بِنَاءُ فِعْل الأَمْر

Imperative verb indeclension on the Sukūn- بِنَاءُ فِعْلِ الأَمْرِ عَلَى السُّكُون

  • The original rule about the imperative verb indeclension is the Sukūn سُكُون, i.e. ـْ . You know that the imperative comes with the second person pronouns أَنْتَ (anta; second person masculine singular), أًنْتِ (anti; second person feminine singular);  أَنْتُمَا (antumā; second person dual), أنتُمْ (antum; second person masculine plural) and أَنْتُنَّ (antunna; second person feminine plural). Consider the following examples:

Translation

Transliteration

Sentence

Pronoun

Wake up early, Walid!

yā Walīd-u istaiqiđh mubakkir-an

يا وَلِيدُ، اسْتَيْقِظْ مُبَكِّرًا!

أَنْتَ

Wake up early, Zaynab!

yā Zaynab-u istaiqidh-ī mubakkir-an

يا زَيْنَبُ، اسْتَيْقِظِي مُبَكِّرةً!

أَنْتِ

Wake up early, Khalid and Walid!

yā Khâlid-u wa Walīd-u istaiqidh-ā mubakkir-an

يا خَالِدُ وَوَلِيدُ، اسْتَيْقِظَا مُبَكِّرَيْنِ!

أَنْتُما

Wake up early, students!

yā ŧullāb-u istaiqiđh-ū mubakkir-an

يا طُلابُ اسْتَيْقِظُوا مُبَكِّرِينَ!

أَنْتُمْ

Wake up early, (female) students!

yā ŧâlibāt-u istaiqiđh-na mubakkir-an

يا طَالِبَاتُ اسْتَيْقِظْنَ مُبَكِّرَاتٍ!

أنْتُنَّ

  • The imperative verb that is indeclinable on the Sukūn occurs with the second person masculine singular pronoun أَنْتَ or the second person feminine plural pronoun أَنْتُنَّ, provided that the last letter of the verb should not be a defective letter, such as the following examples:

جَرَى – يَجْرِي

مَشَى - يَمْشِي

دَعا - يَدْعُو

هَدَى - يَهْدِي

Verb

ĵarā

mashā

daξā

hadā

Transliteration

to run

to walk

to invite

to guide

Meaning

  • The imperatives of the above-mentioned verbs are not indeclinable on the Sukūn, and we will learn the sign of their indeclension in part 6 of this lesson In-Shā’-Allâh. Consider the following examples:

Translation

Example

Write your homework and go to school early!

اكتُبْ وَاجِبَكَ واذْهَبْ إلى المدْرَسَةَ مُبَكّرًا.

Go into the house quickly; it seems it is going to rain!

اُدْخُل البَيْتَ بِسُرْعة يَبْدُو أنَّ السَّمَاءَ سَتُمْطِرُ الآنَ.

Eat your [female plural] food at home and do not eat anything in the street!

تَنَاوَلْنَ طَعَامَكُنَّ فِي بَيْتِكُنَّ ولا تَأكُلْنَ شَيْئا مِنَ الشَّارِعِ.

Speak well with your husbands, women!

يا نِساءُ تَكَلَّمْنَ جَيِّدا مَعَ أَزْوَاجِكُنَّ.

Sleep early and wake up early!

نَمْ مُبَكِّرا وَاِسْتَيْقِظْ مُبَكِّرا.

Tell the truth even it is against yourself or your family!

قُل الحَقَّ وَلَو كَانَ عَلَى نَفْسِكَ أوْ أُسْرَتِكَ.

Sell you jewels and help the poor people, sisters!

يَا أَخَوَاتُ بِعْنَ ذَهَبَكُنَّ وَسَاعِدْنَ الفُقَراءَ.

Promise your friends to meet them at the airport.

عِدْ أَصْدِقاءَكَ بَأنْ تُقابِلَهُم فِي المَطَارِ.

Weigh your body from time to time in order to preserve your health!

زِنْ جِسْمَكَ مِنْ حِينٍ لآخَر حَتَّى تُحافِظَ عَلَى صِحَّتِكَ.

Devote your lives to your children, mothers!

يا أُمَّهاتُ هَبْنَ حَيَاتَكُنَّ لأوْلادِكُنَّ.

  • Note that there are three types of verbs in the above-mentioned examples, and the indeclension sign of each is the Sukūn. The first type of these verbs is:

سَاعِدْنَ

اِسْتَيْقِظْ

تَنَاوَلْن

اذْهَبْ

اكتُبْ

Verb

sāξid-na

istaiqiđh

tanāwal-na

Idhhab

uktub

Transliteration

help [feminine plural]

wake up

eat [feminine plural]

Go

write

Meaning

  • All these verbs are indeclinable on the Sukūn. Note that the only change occurs to the verb is the addition of an alif (ا) at the beginning of the three-letter and six-letter verbs:

Six-lettered

Five-lettered

Four-lettered

Three-lettered

Number of verb letters

اِسْتَيْقَظَ

تَنَاوَلَ

سَاعَدَ

دَخَلَ

Past

Wake up

Eat

Help

Enter

Meaning

يَسْتَيْقِظُ

يَتَنَاوَلُ

يُسَاعِدُ

يَدْخُلُ

Present

اِسْتَيْقِظْ

تَنَاوَلْ

سَاعِدْ

اُدْخُلْ

Imperative

  • This above-mentioned initial alif is not pronounced if you connect it with the antecedent word, but if you start with it you either pronounce it with đammah or with Kasrah, depending on the vowel of the third letter after it, i.e. if the third is đammah the alif will be pronounced (u) (e.g. Uktubاُكْتُب ). If the third is signed with fatħah or Kasrah the alif has to be pronounced as (i) (e.g. Ishrabاِشْرَبْ , Iĵlisاِجْلِسْ ).
  • The second type of verbs has a defective letter حَرْف عِلّة in the middle, but the last letter is a sound letter حَرْف صَحِيح, such as قَاْلَ and نَاْمَ. These verbs are indeclinable on the Sukūn, but the middle defective letter is omitted, such as قٌلْ and نَمْ. The reason is that the Sukūn on the last letter is preceded by another Sukūn on the middle defective letter and this is originally unacceptable in Arabic. In this case the defective letter is omitted.
  • The third type of verbs that are indeclinable on the Sukūn is the verbs that begin with a defective letter, such as عِدْ (infinitive وَعَدَ) and زِنْ (infinitive وَزَنَ). This type of verbs is indeclinable on the Sukūn and the first letter is omitted. Consider the following examples:
  • N.B.: As the first defective letter is omitted in the imperative, the initial hamza is mostly omitted (not always) e.g.: أَخَذَ – أَكَلَ – أَمَرَ   these verbs have the imperative forms: خُذْ – كُلْ – مُرْ.
  • These are the cases in which an imperative verb is indeclinable on the Sukūn. There are two conditions to be indeclinable on the Sukūn, as we have learnt: the verb should come with the second person masculine singular أنتَ or the second person feminine plural أَنْتُنَّ and is not ended with a defective letter.
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