Lesson 41 – الدَّرْس الحادي والأرْبَعُونَ

Interrogative (questioning) Articles (1 of 3) – أدَوَات الاسْتِفْهام (١ من ٣)

The Interrogative (questioning):  لِمَاذَا/Limādhā/

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  • Limādhā (لِمَاذَا) is an Arabic interrogative (questioning) noun used to ask about the reason for an action. It is indeclinable with a sukūn case-ending. See the following examples on how questions are formed with limādhā and how we answer them:






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To become fat.

لأِكُونَ سَمينا.

/li-akūna samīnan./

Why do you eat much?

لِمَاذا تَأُكُلُ كَثِيرا؟

/Limādhā ta’kulu kathīran?/

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Because I am very thin.

لأَنَّنِي نَحِيفٌ جِدّا.

/li-annani naħīfun ĵiddan./

And why do you want to become fat?

وِلِماذا تُرِيدُ أنْ تَكُونَ سَمِينا؟

/wa limādhā turīdu an takūna samīnan?/

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To study the Arabic language.

لِيَدْرُسَ اللُّغَةَ العَرَبِيِّةَ.

/li-yadrusa al-lughata al-ξarabiyya-ta./

Why did Sa’id travel to Yemen?

لِمَاذا سَافَرَ سَعِيدٌ إِلَى اليَمَنِ؟

/Limādhā sāfara saξīdun ilā al-Yamani?/

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Because I got up late.

لأنَّنِي اِسْتَيْقَظْتُ مُتَأَخِّراً.

/li-annani istayqađhtu muta’akhir-an./

Why haven’t you gone to school today?

لِمَاذَا لَمْ تَذْهَب اليَوْمَ إلى المَدْرَسَةِ؟

/Limādhā lam tadhhab al-Yawma ilā al-madrasa-ti?/

  • From the examples above, we will note some points as follows:
    • Limādhā (لِمَاذَا) does not affect the verb case-ending. The ending of any verb changes only when the verb is preceded by one of the particles that we studied in the lesson of the declension and indeclension of the present verb. These particles include lam (لَمْ) as in the following example:




Why have not you gone to school?

Limādhā lam tadhhab ilā al-madrasa-ti

لِمَاذَا لَمْ تَذْهَبْ إِلَى المَدْرَسَةِ؟

    • The sign of the verb (تَذْهَبْ) changes from đammah to sukūn because it is preceded by lam (لَمْ).
    • When we ask a question using (limādhā), the answer may start with the particle (لـِ) which means “in order to”. In the answer, this particle is always followed by a present verb with a Fatħah case-ending, as in the following examples:





To study the Arabic language

لأدْرُسَ اللُّغَةَ العَرَبِيَّةَ.

/li-adrusa al-lughata al-ξarabiyya-ta./

Why are you in Egypt?

لِمَاذا أَنْتَ فِي مِصْرَ؟

/Limādhā anta fī miŝra?/

To work in an Arab country.

لِأَعْمَلَ فِي دَوْلَةٍ عَرَبِيَّةٍ.

/li-aξmala fī dawlatin ξarabiyya-tin./

Why do you study Arabic?

لماذا تَدرُسُ العَرَبِيَّةَ؟

/Limādhā tadrusu al-ξarabiyya-ta?/

To wake up early.

لِأَسْتَيْقِظَ مُبَكِّرًا.

/li-astayqiđha mubakiran./

Why do you sleep early?

لَمَاذا تَنَامُ مُبَكِّرا؟

/Limādhā tanāmu mubakiran?/

    • In the examples above, we notice that the verbs in the question (تَدْرُسُ، تَنَامُ) are in the present form with đammah case-ending. In the answer, these verbs are preceded by the particle (لـِ) which is one of the accusative (naŝb) particles. It changed its case-ending from nominative (rafξ) to naŝb, i.e. from đammah to Fatħah in this case, thus becoming:(لأَدْرُسَ، لأَسْتَيْقِظَ).
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