Lesson 79 – الدَّرْسُ التَّاسِعُ والسَّبْعونَ

The followers (2) The adjective - التَّــوَابِع(٢)العَطْفُ وَحُروفُهُ

The coordinating particles (fa and thumma)– حروف العطف (أَوْ ، أَمْ)

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  • In this part we will learn two more coordinating particles, which are (أوْ) and (أمْ), In-Shaa’-Allaah (God willing).
  • Each of (أوْ) and (أمْ) is used to choose between two possibilities, with the meaning of the English linking word (or). Therefore the meaning of the sentence is to be related to just one of the two words linked by (أوْ) and (أمْ), not to both of them (unlike what happens with the particle (وَ). Consider the following examples:




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I will read a book or a story

سَأَقْرَأُ كِتابًا أَوْ قِصَّةً

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In summer I will help my father or I will travel to my grandfather

فِي الصَّيْفِ أُسَاعِدُ أَبِي أو أُسافِرُ إِلى جِدِّي

  • The difference between the particle (أمْ) and the particle (أنْ) is that (أمْ) is used in the question sentence, and after the (hamzah) of similitude (i.e. the hamzah which makes the two possibilities equal, and comes originally after the noun سَوَاءٌ which means similar, or equal) Consider the following examples:

Reason of using (أمْ)




Are you a student or a teacher?

أَأَنْتَ طالِبٌ أَمْ مُدَرِّسٌ؟


Did you understand, or the lesson was difficult?

هَلْ فَهِمْتَ أَمْ أَنَّ الدَّرْسَ صَعْبٌ؟


Did you listen to the news, or the TV was turned off.

هَلْ سَمِعْتَ الأَخْبَارَ أَمْ كان التِّلْفازُ مُغْلَقًا؟


Did Tarik come or Saeed

أَحَضَرَ طارِقٌ أَمْ سَعِيدٌ؟

After the hamzah of similitude

I do not drink lemon juice, either it is sweet or acidulous

لا أَشْرَبُ اللَّيْمُونَ سواءٌ أَكانَ حُلْوًا أَمْ لاذِعًا

After the hamzah of similitude

Either the shirt is expensive or cheap, I will buy it.

سأشْتَري القَميصَ سواءٌ أكان غالِيا أمْ رخيصًا

After the hamzah of similitude

Either you go to the market or don’t, you will not find apples today

سواءٌ أذَهَبْتَ إلى السوق أمْ لَمْ تذْهَبْ لَنْ تَجِدْ تِفَّاحا الْيومَ

  • If there is neither a question nor a hamzah of similitude, it is obligatory to use (أوْ). Therefore (أوْ) will be used for the most meanings of the English word (or) which links between two possibilities, as follows:


Meaning of (أوْ)



Take the red pen or the green pen

خُذْ الْقَلَمَ الأَحْمَرَ أَوِ الأَخْضَرَ


Travel today or tomorrow

سافِرْ الْيَوْمَ أَوْ غَدًا

Don’t write your name, nor your father’s

لا تَكْتُبْ اِسْمَكَ أوْ اِسْمَ أَبِيكَ


I do not know whether  this is a boy or a girl

لا أَعْرِفُ هَلْ هَذَا وَلَدٌ أَوْ بِنْتٌ


The Arabic word can be a noun, a verb, or a particle

الكلامُ العَرَبِيُّ اِسْمٌ أَوْ فِعْلٌ أَوْ حَرْفٌ


  • As you may notice, each of (أوْ) and (أمْ) can join two nouns, two verbs, or two sentences. In all cases the following word (or words) is supposed to be in the same grammatical case of the preceding word.
  • It is worth mentioning here that in Arabic we have to repeat the coordinating particle if there are more than two coordinated words as in the following examples:



I saw Muhammad, Ahmed, and Ali

رَأيْتُ مُحمَّدًا وَأحمَدَ وَعَليًّا

I will drink a tea, a coffee, or a juice.

سأشرَبُ شايًا أوْ قَهْوةً أوْ عَصيرًا