Lesson 59 – الدَّرْسُ التَّاسِعُ وَالْخَمْسُونَ

/kāna/ and its sisters - كـانَ وَأَخَوَاتُـهـا

Introduction - مُقَدِّمَةٌ

  • This is lesson fifty nine of our free Arabic language course. This Arabic course with images and audios will help you learn Arabic.
  • In this lesson we will learn a new kind of Arabic words called annullers verbs (الأفْعَال النَّاسِخَة /al afξfāl an nāsikhah/), In-Shā’-Allâh (God willing). They are called annullers from annulment which means shifting and suppressing, because they change the declension of the Arabic nominal sentence when they precede it.
  • The annuller verbs in Arabic are divided in three categories. We will study the first of them in this lesson In-Shā’-Allâh (God willing). The first category of the annuller verbs is a group called (/kāna/ and its sisters).
  • In this lesson we will learn what kāna is, what its sisters are, and how many they are. We will know that there are many verbs that have the same function of /kāna/ and affect the nominal sentence by the same way. The following table shows some examples of those verbs:



English meaning

Annuller verb



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The weather was cold.

كان الجَوُّ بارِدًا أَمْسِ

/kāna al ĵawwu bāridan/

Was (to be)



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The child remained asleep

ظَلَّ الطِّفْلُ نَائِمًا

/đhalla aŧ ŧiflu nā’iman/

Remained in existence



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The man stayed the night sad.

باتَ الرَّجُلُ حَزِينًا

/bāta ar raĵulu ħazīnan/

Stayed the night



  • We will also learn the grammatical function of /kāna/ and its sisters. We will know that they only intervene in the nominal sentence, and they affect the grammatical declension of the subject and the predicate. The following table shows us some examples of this change:


The sentence after /kāna/

The sentence before /kāna/





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Muhammad was generous.

كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ كَرِيمًا

/kāna muħammadun karīman/

Muhammad is generous

مُحَمَّدٌ كَرِيمٌ

/muħammadun karīmun/

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The weather was hot.

كَانَ الجَوُّ حارًّا

/kāna al ĵawwu ħārran/

The weather is hot.

الجَوُّ حَارٌ

/al ĵawwu ħārrun/

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The child stayed the night happy

بَاتَ الطِّفْلُ سَعِيدًا

/bāta aŧ ŧiflu saξīdan/

The child is happy

الطِّفْلُ سَعِيدٌ

/aŧ ŧiflu saξīdun/