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Lesson 80 – الدَّرْسُ الثَّمانون

The followers(3) The substitute - التَّــوَابِع(٣)الْـبَـدَل

Types of Substitute – البَدَلُ وأَنْوَاعُه

  • In the structure which contains a substitute, there are two essential parts:
  • The substituted for (المُبْدَل مِنْهُ), which is the followed noun. The substituted for comes originally first, and it is declined according to its position in the sentence, i.e. it can be a doer, a subject, a genitive noun etc.
  • The substitute, which is originally meant by the followed noun, and comes –originally- after it without any particle. The substitute follows the declension case of the substituted for.   
  • There are four types of substitute as follows:
  • The concordant substitute (البَدَلُ الْمُطابِقُ): (also called whole for the whole (الكُلُّ من الكُلِّ)
  • This type has the whole meaning of the substituted for, i.e. the substitute is identical with the substituted for.
  • Consider the following examples:

·         In the above mentioned examples you may notice that the follower (the second noun) is originally meant in the sentence. It is respectively (طارِقٌالطَّالِبُ - أبا بكرٍ - عَلِيٍّ), and each of these is a substitute of the first noun which is respectively (الأستاذُهَذاالصِّدِّيقَ - الإِمامِ). This is the concordant substitute because the substitute is identical with the followed noun.

1-    The partial substitute البَدَلُ الجُزْئيُّ (also called part of the whole البَعْضُ مِنْ الكُلِّ).

  • The substitute in this type refers to a part of the substituted for. This means that the speaker wants to change the meaning that he mentioned first to a part of it for rhetorical reason. Compare the two following examples; one with this type of substitute, and the other without substitution (please read from right to left):




Half of the students attended

حَضَرَ نِصْفُ الطُّلاَّبِ

Without substitution

The students attended, i.e. half of them

حَضَرَ الطُّلابُ نِصْفُهُم

With partial substitution

  • The speaker in the second sentence gives the same meaning of the first one, and wants to give us the impression that the half of the students makes the function (noise, work etc.) of the whole of them.
  • Therefore this type is not commonly used in spoken standard Arabic, rather it is common in literary texts (Qur’an, poetry, etc.), and it is studied by scholars to understand and analyze literary texts.
  • More examples:


Substitution structure



Substituted for


Arabic lesson image



I fasted the day, i.e. half of it.

صُمْتُ الْيَوْمَ نِصْفَهُ lesson image



I ate the bread, i.e. a third of it.

أَكَلْتُ الرَّغِيفَ ثُلُثَهُ lesson image

ثلاثَ ساعاتٍ


I prayed the night, i.e. three hours of it.

قُمْتُ اللَّيْلَ ثَلاثَ ساعاتٍ

·         As you notice, the words (نِصْفَهُثُلُثَهُ - ثلاثَ ساعاتٍ) are respectively substitutes of the words (الْيَوْمَالرَّغِيفَ - اللَّيْلَ). You may also notice that the substitutes in these examples follow the declension of the followed nouns.

2-            Inclusive substitute (بَـدَلُ الاِشْتِمالِ):

In this type the meaning of the substitute is included in the substituted for. The difference between this type and the previous type is that in this type the part is an indivisible part, and the substituted for cannot be divided into separate parts as in the partial substitution type. Consider the following examples:

  • You may notice in the following examples that the substitute is included in the substituted for; rather it is the main part in it, and the substituted for cannot be divided or separated into different parts as in the partial substitution type.

3-            Different substitute بَدَلُ التَّبَايُنِ:

  • In this type the speaker says something wrong, and then he remembers and says the correct word that he would have to say in the beginning. Therefore the substitute is neither a part of the substituted for, nor a whole of it, rather it is completely different from it. Consider the following example:



Muhammad came, I mean Ali

حَضَرَ محمدٌ، عَلِيٌّ

  • This type is not found in the written language, because the writer removes the mistake when he notices it.
  • Therefore this type is not commonly used in the normal speech, and some grammarians refuse to make it a part of the lesson tackling the substitution, because the grammar is only to be made for the correct language not for its mistakes.


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