Lesson 73 – الدَّرْسُ الثَّالِثُ والسَّبْعونَ

The exclusion (1of3) - الاِسْـتِـثْـنَـاء (١مِن٣)

The types and the articles of the exclusion – أَنْوَاعُ الاِسْتِثْنَاءِ وأَدَوَاتُهُ

  • We are still in lesson seventy three of our free Arabic language course. This Arabic course with images and audios will help you learn Arabic.
  • We learnt in the introduction of this lesson that the Arabic exclusion means to exclude the noun placed after /illā/ or one of its sisters, from the rule of the words placed before.
  • From this definition we notice that the Arabic exclusion structure consists of three parts as follows:

The excluded


The article


The included

المُستثنى منه

Components of the exclusion





حَضَرَ الطُّلابُ

/ħađara aŧ ŧullābu/



One student


The students attended


  • The above mentioned table shows the three main components of the exclusion structure which are: the included, the article, and the excluded.
  • Types of exclusion:
  • There are many types of exclusion depending on the excluded and the included nouns. Consider firstly the following examples:

Type of exclusion





Linked complete affirmative

The students succeed except for the lazy

يَنْجَحُ الطُّلاَّبُ إِلَّا الكَسْلانَ

/unĵaħu aŧ ŧullābu illā al kaslāna/

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The friends agreed except for one

اِتَّفَقَ الأَصْدِقاءُ غَيْرَ صَدِيقٍ

/ittafaqa al aŝdiqâ’u ghaira ŝadīqin/

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The students were absent except for one

غابَ الطُّلابُ سِوَى طالِبٍ

/ghâba aŧ ŧullābu siwa ŧâlibin/

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The public  attended except for the women

حَضَرَ الجَمَاهِيرُ ماخلا النِّسَاءَ

/ħađara al ĵamāhīru mā khalā an nisā’a/

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I planted the fruits except the pomegranate

زَرَعْتُ الفواكِهَ ما عَدَا الرُّمانَ

/zaraξtu al fawākiha mā ξadā ar rummāna/

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The friends were addicted to drink wine except for Khalid

أَدْمَنَ الأَصْدِقاءُ الْخَمْرَ حاشَا خالِدٍ

/admana al aŝdiqâ’u al khamra ħāshā khâlidin/

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The students attended except Khalid

حَضَرَ الطُّلاَّبُ لَيْسَ خالِدًا

/ħađara aŧ ŧullābu laysa khâlidan/

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The people came except Khalid

جاءَ النَّاسُ لايَكُونُ خالِدًا

/ĵā’a annāsu lā yakūnu khâlidan/

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Linked complete negative

None of the students failed except the lazy student

ما رَسَبَ مِنَ الطُّلاَّبِ إِلَّا الكَسْلانَ

/mā rasaba min aŧ ŧullābi illā al kaslāna/

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Detached complete affirmative

The passengers arrived except (without) their luggage

وَصَلَ الْمُسَافِرُونَ إِلَّا حَقائِبَهُم

/waŝala al musāfirūna illā ħaqâibahum/

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Emptied negative

None has the right to be worshipped but Allah

لا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ

/lā ilāha illā Allâhu/

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None is died but one soldier

ما ماتَ إِلَّا جُنْدِيٌّ

/mā māta illā Gundiyyun/

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Nobody attended except my teacher

ما حَضَرَ غَيْرُ أُستاذِي

/mā ħađara ghayru ustādhī/

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From the above mentioned examples we notice that the types of the exclusion structure are as follows:

1-            The linked exclusion (الاستثناء الْمتصل): in this type the included and the excluded are of the same genus. This type is divided into the following categories:

a-    The linked complete affirmative exclusion (الاستثناء التام المثبت): in this category the included is mentioned in the sentence (so it is complete exclusion) and the sentence is free of negation (so the exclusion is affirmative). This is as in the examples from 1 to 8 mentioned above. If the exclusion article is /illā/ the excluded in this category is always in the accusative case (as in the first example), and if the exclusion article is another article the declension is different as it will be detailed later in the following lessons.

b-    The linked complete negative exclusion (الاستثناء التام المَنْفِي): in this category the included and the excluded are of the same genus (so the exclusion is linked) and the included is mentioned (so the exclusion is complete) and the sentence is negated (so the exclusion is negative). This is as in the example number 9 in the above mentioned table. The excluded in this category has two possibilities of declension:

-          Either to be in the accusative case because of the declension.

-          Or to follow the declension case of the included (as a substitute of it)

  • Therefore you may notice that the excluded (الكَسْلانَ) in the example number 9 can be signed by /fatħah/ (for the accusative case of the excluded) or /kasrah/ (for the genitive case of the substitute of the included)

2-            The detached exclusion (الاستثناء المنفصل): in this type the included and the excluded are not of the same genus. This is as the example number 10 shown above (وَصَلَ الْمُسَافِرُونَ إِلَّا حَقائِبَهُم) the excluded (luggage) is not a part of the included (the passengers). The excluded in this type is obligatorily accusative.

3-            The emptied negative exclusion (الاستثناء الناقص المنفي): in this type the included is not mentioned in the sentence. This type is always negative, i.e. there is no emptied affirmative exclusion. The excluded in this type is as follows:

-          If the exclusion article is /illā/ the excluded has to be declined according to its normal position in the sentence (as if there is no declension article).

-          If the declension article is not /illā/ the declension will be different as detailed later in the following two lessons.

  • The exclusion articles (/illā/ and its sisters):
  • There are many exclusion articles. The most commonly used of them is /illā/. The following table shows all of the exclusion articles:

Excluding article



English meaning















Verbs or prepositions





لا يَكُونُ

/lā yakūnu/

Deficient verbs



  • As you notice, all the excluding articles mean except. There is a small rhetorical difference between them but it is not to be studied here in the grammar.
  • It is also noticeable that not all the articles of exclusion are particles. /illā/ is a particle, /ghayr/ and /siwā/ are nouns, /khalā/, /ξadā/, and /ħāshā/ can be verbs or prepositions, while /laysa/ and /lā yakūnu/ are deficient verbs.
  • The most of the exclusion articles have another meaning and are used for another grammatical function, but in order to be an exclusion article they have to mean except.