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Madinah Arabic Learn Arabic Online
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Lesson 66 – الدَّرْسُ السَّادِسُ والسِّتُّونَ

The direct object - الْمَـفْـعُـول بِـه

The order of the direct object in the verbal sentence –تَرْتِيب المفعول به في الجملة

  • The original order of the verbal sentence is as follows:

الفِعْل + الفاعِل + المفْعول بِهِ

The verb + the agent + the direct object

  • So the original place of the direct object is after the agent (the doer) as in the following examples:

The object

The doer

The verb

Example

English

Arabic

الدَّرْسَ

الطَّالِبُ

حَضَرَ

The student attended the lesson

حَضَرَ الطَّالِبُ الدَّرْسَ

/ħađara aŧ ŧâlibu ad darsa/

العِشَاءَ

عَلِيٌّ

صَلَّى

Ali made the prayer of evening

صَلَّى عَلِيٌّ العِشَاءَ

/ŝallā ξaliyyun al ξishā’a/

  • The direct object can be facultatively placed before the doer, on condition that the meaning of the object does not confuse with the doer.
  • Let’s see firstly the possible advance of the object, and then we will see the cases in which it is not allowed to place the object before the doer:
    Allowed situation:

The object

The doer

The verb

Example

English

Arabic

الدَّرْسَ

الطَّالِبُ

حَضَرَ

Attended the lesson, the student

حَضَرَ الدَّرْسَ الطَّالِبُ

/ħađara ad darsa aŧ ŧâlibu/

العِشَاءَ

عَلِيٌّ

صَلَّى

Made the prayer of evening, Ali

صَلَّى العِشَاءَ عَلِيٌّ

/ŝallā alξishā’a ξaliyyun

  • In these examples the meaning is clear, because the object is signed with the /fatħah/ on its last letter, while the doer is signed with /đammah/.
    Not allowed situation:

The object

The doer

The verb

Example

English

Arabic

مُوسَى

عِيسَى

سَاعَدَ

Muses helped Jesus

سَاعَدَ عِيسَى مُوسَى

/sāξada ξīsā mūsā/

سُعْدَى

هُدَى

زارَتْ

Huda visited Sueda

زارَتْ هُدَى سُعْدَى

/zārat hudā suξdā/

  • In these examples each of the doer and the object ends with a long vowel, so there is no evident grammatical sign, and we cannot distinguish the doer or the object if the order is changed.
  • There are three cases in which the object is obligatorily advanced as follows:

1-   When the direct object is a pronoun  attached to the verb as in the following examples:

The object

The doer

Example

English

Arabic

ـي=أَنا

صَدِيقِي

My friend helped me

ساعَدَنِي صَدِيقِي

/sāξadanī ŝadīqī/

نا =نَحْنُ

الأُسْتَاذُ

the professor drove us out of the lecture

أَخْرَجَنَا الأُسْتَاذُ مِنَ الْمُحَاضَرَةِ

/akhraĵanā al ustādhu min al muħāđarati /

  • In the above mentioned examples it is obligatory to place the object before the doer because the object is an attached pronoun, and it cannot be isolated.

2-   When the object is an evident noun, and the doer is connected to a pronoun referring the object as follows:

The object

The doer

Example

Arabic

Arabic

البِنْتَ

أبُوها

Taught the girl, her father

عَلَّمَ البِنْتَ أَبُوها

/ξallama al binta abūha/

البَيْتَ

صَاحِبُهُ

Built the house, his owner

بَنَى البَيْتَ صَاحِبُهُ

/banā al bayta ŝâħibahu/

الشَّرِكَةَ

مُدِيرُها

Sold the company, its manager

باعَ الشَّرِكَةَ مُدِيرُها

/bāξa ash sharikata mudīruhā/

  • In the above mentioned examples the doer is respectively as follow: (from right to left)
  • Each of these doers is connected to an attached pronoun which refers to the direct object. It is well known in Arabic that the pronoun must refer to a preceding noun (not to a following noun), so the direct object has to be obligatorily advanced.

3-   When the doer is bracketed between (ما......إلا) or by (إنَّما). The bracketed noun in Arabic has to be placed after the non-bracketed noun, so the direct object is obligatorily advanced. Consider the following examples:

The direct object

The bracketed doer

Example

English

Arabic

الدَّرْسَ

طَالِبٌ

Only one student understood the lesson

ما فَهِمَ الدَّرْسَ إلا طَالِبٌ

/mā fahima ad darsa illa ŧâlibun/

مِصْرَ

خَالِدٌ

Only Khalid travelled to Egypt

إِنَّما سَافَرَ مِصْرَ خَالِدٌ

/inmā sāfara miŝra khâlidun/

الحِسابَ

أَنَا

Only I who paid the bill

ما دَفَعَ الحِسابَ إلا أنا

/mā dafaξa al ħisāba illā anā/

·         In the above mentioned examples the doer is bracketed, so the object must be advanced. By the same way, if the direct object is bracketed it has to be placed after the doer. Compare the following two examples:

The doer is bracketed

The direct object is bracketed

ما فَهِمَ الدَّرْسَ إلا طَالِبٌ

ما فَهِمَ الطَّالِبُ إِلا دَرْسًا

Only one student understood the lesson

The student understood only one lesson

·         In the sentence on the right the direct object is bracketed, so the doer is obligatory advanced. In the sentence on the left the doer is bracketed, so the direct object is obligatory advanced.