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Lesson 86 – الدَّرْسُ السَّادِسُ والثَّمانون أُسْلُـوبُ التَّفْضِيلِ

The forms of (أفْعَل) of preference–صُور أَفْعَلِ التَّفْضِيلِ

  • We learnt in the introduction that the pattern of preference in Arabic is (أفْعَل). This pattern has many morphologic cases (structures) in the sentence as follows:

1-            To be non-annexing and deprived of the definition article (al):

·         In this case the pattern (أفْعَل) falls without (al) and without being followed by an annexed noun (مُضاف إليه), as in the following examples: 

  • Explain Structure
  • You may notice that the preference noun (أفْعَل) in the structure mentioned above is always in the singular masculine form, whatever the preferred gender or number is. E.g. in example no.2 the preferred is feminine, and in example no.3 it is plural, while the preference noun is still singular masculine.
  • You may also notice that the preposition (مِن) is used to link the preference sentence (i.e. it means “than”).

2-            The preference noun when connected with the definition article (al):

  • We notice from the above mentioned examples that the preference noun which is connected with (al) matches the preferred in gender and number as detailed in the following table:

5

4

3

2

1

Example no.

الطَّالِباتُ

الطُّلاَّبُ

الطَّالِبانِ

الطَّالِبَةُ

الأُسْتاذُ

The preferred

Plural feminine

Plural masculine

Dual masculine

Singular feminine

Singular masculine

Gender and number

المُثْلَيات

الأَمْثَلُونَ

الأمْثَلانِ

الْمُثْلَى

الأَمْثَل

Preference noun

3-            The preference noun when annexing to an indefinite noun:

The preference noun can be an annexing noun, i.e. followed by an annexed noun (مُضاف إليه).

  • The annexed noun can be either definite or indefinite noun. In this point no.3 we study the case when the annexed noun is an indefinite noun, while in the point no.4 we will learn the case when the annexed noun is a definite noun.
  • Consider the following examples:

Picture

Example

English

Arabic

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Muhammad is the best sincere friend to me

مُحَمَّدٌ أَخْلَصُ صَدِيقٍ لِي

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Fatima is the best honest wife to her husband

فاطِمَةُ أَوْفَى زَوْجَةٍ لِزَوْجِها

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You are the best friends in cooperation

أَنْتُما أَكْثَرُ صَدِيقَيْنِ تَعاوُنًا

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You are the two tallest sisters

أَنْتُمَا أَطْوَلُ أُخْتَيْنِ

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You are the best inhabitants in the area

أَنْتُمْ أَفْضَلُ سُكَّان الْمِنْطَقَةِ

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You are the best female students

أَنْتُنَّ أَحْسَنُ طالِباتٍ

  • Explain Structure
  • From the above mentioned table you may notice that the preference noun is followed by an indefinite annexed noun (صديقزَوْجَة - صَدِيقَيْنأُخْتينسكان - طالبات). These nouns are all considered (muđâf ilaihi), so that they are in the genitive case (i.e. signed originally with kasrah on their last letters). The preference noun on the pattern of (أفْعَل) in the above mentioned structures is always an annexing noun (muđâf).
  • In this case (the iđâfah to an indefinite noun) the preference noun is always in the singular masculine form, whatever the gender and number of the preferred noun is, as in the above mentioned examples (أَخْلَصأَوْفَىأَكْثَرأَطْوَلأَفْضَل - أَحْسَن).
  • While the preference noun is always in the singular masculine form, you may notice that the annexed noun in the above mentioned structures matches always the preferred noun in gender and number.

4-            The preference noun when annexing to a definite noun:

  • In this case the preference noun is followed by a definite (muđâf ilaihi).
  • Before studying the examples let’s compare between this case (no.4) and the previous case (no.3) in the following table:

Case no.4

(when the preference noun is annexing to a definite noun)

Case no.3

(when the preference noun is annexing to an indefinite noun)

Aspect of comparison

أَنْتم أَفْضَلُ الرِّجالِ

أَنْتُمْ أَفْضَلُ رِجالٍ

Arabic

Example

 

أَنْتُمْ أَفاضِلُ الرِّجال

 

 

English

You are the best men

Can be (optionally) either in the singular masculine form or matching the preferred noun in gender and number

Always (obligatorily) in the singular masculine form

The form of the preference noun

The number is always plural, while the gender matches the preferred noun

Matches the preferred noun in gender and number

The form of the annexed noun

  • You may notice that in the fourth case it is the first time to conjugate (optionally) the preference noun in gender and number. Consider the following examples:

Example

English

Arabic

You are the best player

أَنْتَ أَفْضَلُ اللاَّعِبِينَ

Khadijah is the best female announcer (reporter)

خَدِيجَةُ أَفْضَلُ الْمُذِيعاتِ

خَدِيجَةُ فُضْلَى الْمُذِيعاتِ

Bassam and majed are the best two players

بَسَّام وَمَاجِدٌ هُما أَفْضَلُ اللاَّعِبِينَ

بَسَّام وَمَاجِدٌ هُما أَفْضَلا اللاَّعِبِينَ

Alia and Shaima are the best female teachers

عَلْيَاء وَشَيْماءُ هُما أَمْهَرُ الْمُدَرِّساتِ

عَلْيَاء وَشَيْماءُ هُما أَمْهَرا الْمُدَرِّساتِ

They are the strongest men

هُم أَقْوَى الرِّجالِ

هُم أَقْوِياءُ الرِّجالِ

They are the most delicate women

هُنَّ أَرَقُّ النِّسَاءِ

هُنَّ أَرَقَّاءُ النِّسَاءِ

  • Explain Structure