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Lesson 61 – الدَّرْسُ الواحِدُ والسِّتُّونَ

/lā/ of generic negation - لا النَّافِيَة لِلْجِنْسِ

/lā/ of generic negationلا النَّافية لِلْجِنْسِ

  • In Arabic there is more than one type of /lā/ as a negating particle. We studied till now two types of it. One of them was in lesson 31 where we learnt the particle /lā/ which is used for negating the present verb, and is called the negating /lā/ (لا النَّافية). The second /lā/ is that we studied in lesson 36, and is called /lā/ of the negated imperative (لا النَّاهية), and is used also with the present verb, to give the meaning of prohibition.
  • Before we start learning the third type of /lā/ let’s review the two previous types:



The verb after /lā/

Meaning of /lā/

Type of /lā/



I do not like the guava juice

لا أُحِبُّ عَصِيرَ الجَوَافَةِ

/lā uħibbu ξaŝīra al ĵawāfati/

Present verb conjugated with all persons

/lā/ here has no effect on the verb, so it remains in nominative case (signed originally with /đammah/


Negating /lā/

Muhammad does not wake up early

لا يَسْتَيْقِظُ مُحَمَّدٌ مُبَكِّرًا

/lā yastayqiđhu muħammadun mubakkiran/

Mona does not prefer coffee

مُنَى لا تُفَضِّلُ القَهْوَةَ

/munā lā tufađđilu al qahwata/

Please, don’t write on the desk

أرجوك، لا تكْتُبْ عَلى المَكْتَبِ

/arĵūka, lā taktub ξala al maktabi/

Present verb conjugated with second person (the spoken to)

This /lā/ makes the verb in jussive case (signed originally with the sukūn)


/lā/ of negated imperative

(interdicting /lā/)

Ibrahim, don’t  leave your studies

يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ لا تُهْمِلْ  دُرُوسَكَ

/yā ibrâhimu, lā tuhmil durūsaka/

Boy, don’t chide you parents

يَا غُلامُ لا تَنْهَرْ وَالِدَيْكَ

/yā ghulāmu, lā tanhar wālidayka/

  • After this quick revision, we will study in this lesson the third type of /lā/ which is called /lā/ of generic negation (لا النَّافية للْجِنْسِ), In-Shā’-Allâh (God willing).
  • /lā/ of generic negation, like all types of /lā/, is a negating particle, but it is different from them in the following:
    /lā/ of generic negation is only to negate the nominal sentence, while the other two types of /lā/ negate only the verb. See these comparing examples:


/lā/ of generic negation

The negating /lā/ of the present verb

English meaning

Arabic example

English meaning

Arabic example lesson image

No engineer in the company today

لا مُهَنْدِسَ فِي الشَّرِكَةِ اليَوْمَ

/lā muhandisa fī ash sharikati al yawma/

The engineer does not neglect his work

المُهَنْدِسُ لا يُهْمِلُ فِي عَمَلِهِ

/al muhandisu lā yuhmilu fī ξamalihi/ lesson image

No friend betrays (his friend)

لا صَدِيقَ خَائِنٌ لِصَدِيقِه

/lā ŝadīqa khâ’nun li ŝadīqihi/

The friend does not betray (his friend)

الصَّدِيقُ لا يَخُونُ صَدِيقَهُ

/aŝ ŝadīqu lā yakhūnu ŝadīqahu/

2- The second difference between /lā/ of generic negation and the other two, is that /lā/ of generic negation (لا النَّافية للْجِنْسِ) denies the predicate from the whole genus of the subject. E.g. when we say:

  • This means that there is not absolutely any man at home, so it would be wrong to say: Rather there are two men.
  • The other two types of /lā/ negate a certain action which is in the following verb. E.g.:
  • In this meaning, /lā/ of generic negation is also different from /lā/ which negates the oneness which intervene also in the nominal sentence but without any grammatical effect as follows:

لا رَجُلٌ في البَيْتِ

There is no one man at home

  • In this sentence there is /lā/ of oneness negation. You may notice that the subject is in nominative case (without change) while in the sentence of /lā/ of generic negation the subject is signed with /fatħah/ as follows:
  • In the first sentence (لا رَجُلٌ في البَيْتِ) it is not wrong to say: (Rather there are two men), because /lā/ is not of generic negation, it just denies the predicate from the subject (رَجُلٌ) i.e. one man.
  • While in the second sentence (لا رَجُلَ في البَيْتِ) it would be wrong to say (Rather there are two men), because this /lā/ is of generic negation, so it denies the predicate from the whole genus of the subject (لا رَجُلَ), i.e. no man. Let’s review this meaning in the following table:

/lā/ of oneness negation

/lā/ of generic negation

English meaning

Arabic example

English meaning

Arabic example

There is not one man at home, rather there are two.

لا رَجُلٌ في البَيْتِ بَلْ رَجُلانِ

/lā raĵulun fī al bayti bal raĵulāni/

No man at home


لا رَجُلَ فِي البَيْتِ

/lā/ raĵula fī al bayti/

It is not one farmer who wakes up early, rather all of them are successful

لا فَلاحٌ يَسْتَيْقِظُ مُبَكِّرًا بَل كُلُّ الفَلاحِين

/lā fallāħa yastayqiđhu mubakkiran bal kullu al fallāħina/

No farmer wakes up late

لا فَلاحَ يَسْتَيْقِظُ مُتَأَخِّرًا

/lā fallāħa yastayqiđhu muta’akhiran/

It is not one hardworking who is successful, rather all of them are successful

لا مُجْتَهِدٌ نَاجِحٌ بَلْ كُلُّ المُجْتَهِدِينَ

/lā muĵtahidun nāĵiħun, bal kullu al muĵtahidīna/

No hardworking person is unsuccessful

لا مُجْتَهِدَ فَاشِلٌ

/lā muĵtahida fāshilun/

It not one Dinar which is with me, rather I have one thousand Dinars.

لا دِينَارٌ مَعِي بَلْ أَلْفُ دِينارٍ

/lā dinārun maξī bal alfu dinārin/

No money is with me, I have gold instead.

لا نُقُودَ مَعِي بَلْ مَعِيَ ذَهَبٌ

/lā nuqūda maξī bal maξī dhahabun

  • You may notice in the above mentioned table that the subject after /lā/ of generic negation is signed with /fatħah/, while it is after /lā/ of oneness negation it is normally in the nominative case, i.e. signed with /đammah/.


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