Lesson 65 – الدَّرْسُ الْخَامِسُ والسِّتُّونَ

The pro agent - نَـائِــب الفَاعِــل

Nouns suitable to replace the agent and to be a pro agent – الأشياء التي تنوب عن الفاعِل في الجملة

  • We learnt earlier that the Arabic sentence contains dispensable and indispensable parts. The dispensable parts are not essential parts, but it gives an important additional meaning to the sentence, while the indispensable parts are the main parts that cannot be removed or cancelled from the sentence. The indispensable parts are the subject and the predicate of the nominal sentence, and the verb and the agent (or the pro agent) in the verbal sentence.
  • We learnt in this lesson that the pro agent of the passive sentence is formed originally from the object of the active sentence, i.e. it is made out of one dispensable part. The object is not the only dispensable part which can be changed into the pro agent.  In this part we will learn the other dispensable parts that can play the role of the pro agent in the passive voice sentence.
  • The following table shows some examples of the dispensable parts of the verbal sentence and their types:

Its type

Dispensable part






The teacher gathered his students

جَمَعَ الأُسْتَاذُ طُلابَهُ

/ĵamaξa al ustādhu ŧullabahu/

Prepositional phrase

عَلَى الكُرْسِيِّ

Muhammad sat down on the chair

جَلَسَ مُحَمَّدٌ عَلَى الكُرْسِيِّ

/ĵalasa muħammadun ξalā al kursiyyi/

Adverb of time

لَيْلَةَ الجُمُعَةَ

I stayed awake at the Friday’s night

سَهِرْتُ لَيْلَةَ الجُمُعَةَ

/sahirtu laylata al ĵumuξati/

  • In the above mentioned table there are three examples of the dispensable parts falling in the verbal sentence in addition to the essential parts (the verb and the doer).
  • If the above mentioned sentences are changed into passive voice, each of these dispensable parts will be able to be a pro agent. Let’s see each of these dispensable parts separately, and how they form the pro agent:

1-               The object:

In the example shown above:

جَمَعَ الأُسْتَاذُ طُلابَهُ

The teacher gathered his students

  • The noun (طُلابَهُ) is an object, which can be a pro agent after the passive verb as follows:

جُمِـعَ  الطُّـلابُ

The students were gathered

  • The following table shows more examples of the pro agent which is formed of an object:

Pro agent





Fasting was prescribed on you

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُم الصِّيامُ

/kutiba ξalaikum aŝ ŝiyāmu/


The company is transferred to Egypt

نُقِلَتِ الشَّرِكَةُ إلى مِصْرَ

/nuqilat ash sharikatu ilā miŝra/


The prophets were sent for the guidance of people

بُعِثَ الأنْبِياءُ لِهِدايَةِ النَّاسِ

/buξitha al anbiyā’u lihidāyati an nāsi/

  • In the above mentioned examples the pro agent was an object in the active voice sentence as follows:
  • We also notice that each of the objects in the three sentences was in the accusative case, and when the sentence is changed into passive, and the doer is omitted, the object becomes pro agent in the nominative case.

2-               The prepositional phrase:

  • The preposition (حرف الجر) and the noun falling after it are a dispensable part of the sentence. The prepositional structure form the pro agent in the passive voice sentence, if there is no an object, i.e. when the verb is intransitive (we learnt the transitive and intransitive verbs in lesson 33).
  • In the example shown above:
  • If the verb is changed into passive, the prepositional phrase replaces the doer and becomes a pro agent:
  • The prepositional phrase is in place of nominative noun, because it is a pro agent.
  • In the following table there are more examples for the prepositional phrase as a pro agent:

The pro agent

Passive voice

English meaning

Active voice

على الأَرْضِ

سُجِدَ على الأَرْضِ

/suĵida ξalā al arđi/

The man prostrated on the ground

سَجَدَ الرَّجُلُ عَلَى الأرْضِ

/saĵada ar raĵulu ξalā al arđi/


ذُهِبَ بِفاطِمَةَ

/dhuhiba bi fāŧimata ilā annādī/

Ali went with Fatima

ذَهَبَ عَلِيٌ بِفاطِمَةَ

/dhahaba ξaliyyun bifāŧimata/

فِي الماءِ

سُقِطَ فِي الماءِ

/suqiŧa fī al mā’i/

The money fell in the water

سَقَطَ المالُ فِي الماءِ

/saqaŧa al mālu fī al mā’i/

  • In the above mentioned examples we notice that the prepositional phrase is in a place of nominative noun, because it is a pro agent after a passive verb.

3-               The adverb:

  • We will study the adverbs later in lesson (69) In-Shā’-Allâh (God willing). We will learn in that lesson that the adverbs in Arabic are divided into two types:
    a- Adverb of time.
    b- Adverb of place.
  • In this part we will learn that the adverb is able to replace the doer in the passive voice sentence under one condition; that the adverb must be specified by a following noun, e.g.:




سُهِرَتْ لَيْلَةُ الجُمُعَةِ

I stayed awake Friday’s night

سَهِرْتُ لَيْلَةَ الجُمُعَةِ

/sahirtu laylata al ĵumuξati/


  • In this example the adverb (لَيْلَةَ) is in the accusative case when the sentence is in active voice, and it is (لَيْلَةُ) in the nominative case in the passive sentence because it is a pro agent.
  • You may also notice that the adverb is specified with the following noun (الجُمُعَةِ). It is not absolute adverb.
  • Consider the following examples:

Pro agent

Passive voice

Active voice




عُمِلَ يَوْمٌ طَوِيلٌ فِي الشَّرِكَةِ

/ξumila yawmun ŧawīlun fī ash sharikati/

I worked for a long day in the company

عَمِلْتُ يَوْمًا طَوِيلاً فِي الشَّرِكَةِ

/ξamiltu yawman ŧawīlan fī ash sharikati/


صِيمَ شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ

/ŝīma shahru ramađân/

The people fasted Ramadan

صَامَ النَّاسُ شَهْرَ رَمَضَانَ

/ŝâma an nāsu shahra ramađâna/


اِنْتُظِرَ وَقْتٌ طَوِيلٌ

/intuđhira waqtun ŧawīlun/

I waited for a long time

اِنْتَظَرْتُ وَقْتًا طَوِيلاً

/intađhartu waqtan ŧawīlan/

  • You may notice in the above mentioned examples that the adverb is not an absolute adverb; instead it is specified by an adjective or an annexed noun.


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