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Lesson 41 – الدَّرْس الحادي والأرْبَعُونَ أدَوَات الاسْتِفْهام (١ من ٣)

The Interrogative (questioning) noun ما /mā/

  • Mā (مَا) is an Interrogative (questioning) noun with a sukūn case-ending.
  • The usage of /mā/ (مَا) is similar to /man/ مَنْ, but the only difference is that it is used to ask about inanimate, singular, dual or plural (masculine and feminine). Study the following examples:

Translation

Answer

Translation

Question

Number/gender

This is an elephant.

هَذا فِيلٌ.

/Hādhā fīlun./

What is this?

مَا هَذا؟

/Mā hādhā?/

Singular masculine

Its price is one thousand dollars.

ثَمَنُهَا أَلْفُ دُولارٍ.

/thamanuhā alf-u dulārin/

What is the price of the car?

مَا ثَمَنُ السَّيَّارَة؟

/Mā thaman-u as-sayyāra-ti?/

This is a plane.

هَذِهِ طَائِرَة.

/Hādhihī ŧā’iratun./

What is this?

مَا هَذِهِ؟

/Mā hādhihī?/

Singular, feminine

These are the two science books.

هَذانِ كِتابا العُلُومِ.

/hādhān-i kitābān-i al-ulūm-i/

What are these two books?

مَا هَذان الكِتابانِ؟

/Mā hādhān-i al-kitābān-i?/

Dual, masculine

These are the two Kuwaiti planes.

هَاتَانِ طَائِرَتا الكُوَيْتِ.

/hātān-i ŧâ’iratā al-kuwayt-i./

What are these two planes?

مَا هَاتَانِ الطَّائِرَتانِ؟

/Mā hātāni aŧ-ŧâ’iratān-i?/

Dual feminine

These are the doors of my new flat.

هَذَهِ أَبْوَابُ شَقَّتِي الجَدِيدَة.

/hādhihi abwābu shaqqati-ya al-ĵadīda./

What are these doors?

ما هَذَهَ الأبْوابُ؟

Mā hādhihi al-abwāb-u?/

Plural masculine

These are the drawing tools.

هَذِهِ أَدوَات الرَّسْمِ.

/hādhihi adawātu ar-rasm-i/

What are these things?

مَا هَذِهِ الأشْيَاءُ؟

/Mā hādhihi al-ashyā-‘u?/

Plural feminine

  • In the last example, we used the demonstrative noun hādhihi before the inanimate plural as any inanimate plural is handled like a feminine singular, as in the following examples:

Translation

Transliteration

Example

These are pens.

Hādhihi aqlām-un

هَذِهِ أَقْلامٌ.

These are doors.

Hādhihi abwāb-un

 

هَذِهِ أَبْوَابٌ.

These are watches.

Hādhihi sāξāt-un

هَذِهِ سَاعَاتٌ.