Process of Reflection - إعراب أسماء و أفعال

Recall from the discussion of the 4 types ofفعل in the previous section, that theماضي (the past tense verb) isمبني in its entirety i.e. no governing agent will ever enter upon it and alter its ending.  Skippingمضارع and leaving it for last, let’s take a look at the remaining two verbs:أمر andنهي .

The 20% of Verbs that are معرب

Recall thatأمر , which is the command verb, like all verbs, will have an active as well as a passive.  Each table will have 14 conjugations.  (Refer to theصرف book)  However, when contemplating the reality of Amr, we see something unique not found in the other types of verbs, namely, the fact that literally speaking commands have to be directed to someone being addressed.  By literal definition,أمر must be second person and in the active voice, such as Sit!  Drink!  Read! Etc...  Does that mean you can’t use anأمر verb in the passive voice or in other than the second person?  Well you can, but it won’t be a literalأمر , it would be a figurative way of speaking.  Take for instance second person passive with the verb ‘to help’ i.e. You must get helped, or third person active, He must help, or third person passive, He must get helped.  Now contrast these three with just Help!  You will see a sharp difference in literal and figurative application of the term ‘command’ upon the various conjugations of theأمر tables.  For this reason, the scholars of Sarf tend to break down the table of 14 into two smaller tables, the first being just the middle six conjugations of the second person, and the other being the remaining 8, a combination of the third person 6 plus numbers 13 and 14.  When they did this, to keep things level, they also broke down the passive table into two similar tables, although the above reasoning does not apply to the passive table.  Now, instead of two big tables of 14 and 14, we have four small tables:

أمر حاضر معروف   (second person active command) e.g.إضرِب , Hit!

أمر حاضر مجهول (second person passive command) e.g. لِتُضرَب , You must get hit.

أمر غاﺋﺐ و متكلّم (third & first person active command) e.g.لِيَضرِب , He must hit

أمر غاﺋﺐ و متكلّم مجهول (third & first person passive command) e.g.لَِيُضرَب , He must get hit.

Keeping in mind the whole above discussion, now look at the four small gardaans of theنهي verb which is the negative command:

نهي حاضر معروف (second person active prohibition) e.g.لا تَضرِب , Don’t hit!

نهي حاضر مجهول (second person passive prohibition) e.g.لا تُضرَب , You must not get hit.

نهي غاﺋﺐ و متكلّم   (third & first person active prohibition) e.g.لا يَضرِب , He must not hit.

نهي غاﺋﺐ و متكلّم مجهول (third & first person passive prohibition) e.g.لا يُضرَب , He must not get hit.

Note the structure of the eight examples:

إضرِب was the first, then we had three that began with ‘لِ ’, followed by four that began with ‘لا ’.

Significant?  From a pureصرف perspective, not really, because verb conjugation, more than anything else, has to do with the designated letters at the end of the verbs which make the conjugations slightly different in how they look and sound, and that’s why we memorize them, with particular attention given to those slight differences.

However, from aنحو point of view, the difference betweenإضرِب and the rest is very profound.  (If you understand this, you’ve understood a lot, insha Allah.)

What the scholars ofنحو did, is they looked at the above 8 examples, noting that all end with a ْ   ‘سكون ’.  Then they saw, seven of them have particles i.e. governing agents in front of them, either ‘لِ ’or ‘لا ’.  From this, they deduced that the sukoon at the end of all exceptإضرِب is a reflection of grammatical state. Therefore, these gardaans are not separate verbs, but rather THE SAMEمضارع (present-tense verb) in the state of ‘جزم ’.  In other wordsلِتُضرَب ,لِيَضرِب ,لِيُضرَب and the fourنهي tables are nothing more thanيَضرِبُ ,يُضرَبُ ,تَضرِبُ andتُضرَبُ with either ‘لِ ’or ‘لا ’ in front of them, both of which are ‘جزم ’ giving particles.

As for ‘إضرِب ’ i.e. the second person, active command, they said this is different for two reasons:

It does not begin with a recognized prefix of the present-tense verb,ي ,ت ,ء , orن .  Therefore, it cannot be incorporated into theمضارع category, as we did to the others.

Furthermore, it does not have a governing agent before it which could explain away the sukoon at the end of it, meaning no grammatical reflection can be attributed to this last letter sukoon.

For these two reasons, the scholars ofنحو have classified theفعل somewhat different than the scholars ofصرف .  This happens by taking seven of the above eight tables and incorporating them intoمضارع and keepingأمر حاضر معروف as the third distinct type ofفعل .  The breakdown is as follows:

ماضي , the past-tense verb.مبني in its entirety, as mentioned previously.

مضارع , the present and future-tense verb.  Predominantlyمعرب , as will be seen shortly.

أمر حاضر معروف , the second person, active-command verb, alsoمبني in its entirety.

The present-tense verb (مضارع ), like all verbs, also has 14 conjugations.  From the 14, two conjugations, namely the two feminine plurals (number 6 and 12) areمبني i.e. will never change despite the governing agent entering upon them.  The final ‘ن’ at the end of these two conjugations is actually the pronoun, and from it we get the plural feminine meaning.

As for the other 12 conjugations of the present-tense verb, they are allمعرب PROVIDED THAT THEY ARE FREE OF THE ‘ن ’ OF EMPHASIS. These 12 conjugations can be split into two groups:

Those that end in aُ   in the state ofرفع .  This would include 5 conjugations; numbers 1, 4, 7 and the last two, 13 and 14.

Those that end with aُ   in the state ofرفع , the remaining seven conjugations i.e. the four duals, plus numbers 3, 9 and 10.

Types of ن

Before we proceed, it is important to note that in total there are three different types of ‘ن ’!

The first is the ‘ن ’ of feminine plurality. This is actually a pronoun (and not a reflection ofرفع ).  It comes at the end of conjugation numbers 6 and 12 and will never drop.

The second is what they call, the ‘ن إعرابي’.  The function of this ‘ن ’ is to reflect that theمضارع verb is in its default state ofرفع .  The presence of this ‘ن ’ at the end of the seven conjugations mentioned above will indicateرفع .  The pronoun is the letter before the ‘ن ’ i.e. an ‘ا ’ for the four duals, a ‘و ’ for the two masculine plurals, and ‘ي ’ for number ten, the second person singular feminine.  Inنصب andجزم , this ‘ن ’ will drop.

The third and final ‘ن ’ is what we referred to as the ‘ن ’ of emphasis.  This is a special ‘ن ’ which is a particle and is attached to the end of theمضارع .  It comes in both aساكن form as well as aمشدد form.  Its meaning function is twofold.  Firstly it eliminates the present tense and makes the verb specific to the future. Secondly it adds emphasis to the future tense meaning (verily or surely).  All conjugations of the present-tense verb becomeمبني as a result of it.

Now we can clearly see the 20% of verbs which areمعرب and distinguish them from the 80% that areمبني :

ماضي -مبني in its entirety.

أمر حاضر معروف -مبني also.

مضارع with the ‘ن ’ of feminine plurality (6 and 12)-مبني

مضارع with the ‘ن ’ of emphasis (all 14 conjugations)-مبني

مضارع empty of  the above mentioned both ‘ن ’ -معرب

Note that from a total five only one isمعرب and four areمبني . Four from five is 80% and one from five is 20%.

Essential Note on بناء

Thus far we have covered five types ofمبني words.

Allحروف .

**ماضي** .

**أمر حاضر معروف** .

مضارع with the ‘nun’ of feminine plurality.

مضارع with the ‘nun’ of emphasis.

Depending on the reason of ‘بناء ’ (statelessness),مبني words are of two types:

مبني الأصل - words that are trulyمبني   i.e. They never enter grammatical states and therefore have no need for the process of reflection calledأعراب .  The first three from the above five areمبني الأصل .

مبني مشابه - words that areمبني   due to a secondary reason such as resemblance to the first category, meaning they do enter grammatical states and hence need the reflection thatأعراب provides. However, owing to some external reason, their last letters remain constant despite the many governing agents that enter upon them. مضارع with the ‘ن ’ of feminine plurality isمبني   because the final ‘‘ن ’ at the end of these two conjugations RESEMBLES the ‘ن ’ ofفَعَلنَ i.e. conjugation number 6 of the past-tense table, whereas the emphatic tables areمبني   in their entirety due to the ‘ن ’ of emphasis being a particle and particles do not give way to last letter change.

The 20% of أسماء that are مبن

ي

From the perspective ofأعراب andبناء , the ‘إسم ’ is classified into two categories:

أسم مُتَمَكِّن :أسماء that do not resembleمبني الأصل and are thereforeمعرب . This category comprises of the vast majority ofأسماء (about 80%), divided into 16 types to be discussed at a later time.  Grammatical state in them will be reflected on the last letter as mentioned previously.  This reflection can be via ‘حركات ’ i.e. short vowels;ضمّة ,فتحة andكسرة , and also by means of letters such as long vowels (ا , و and ى).  It may be explicit or assumed.  For the most part, there will be a full separate reflection for each grammatical state.  Occasionally, there will be just two reflections for all three of the statesأسماء enter.  From this we see thatرفع does not necessarily meanضمّة , nor doesنصب orجر meanفتحة andكسرةرفع ,نصب andجر are the states andضمّة ,فتحة andكسرة are just one method of their reflection.  There may be others.  In human beings happiness is usually reflected by smiles, but it doesn’t have to be like that.  Sometimes it’s through tears.  In animals happiness is reflected by tail-wagging for instance ….  In total forمعرب أسماء (the 16 types ofأسم مُتَمَكِّن ), there are nine methods of reflection.  These will be covered in detail once we are done explaining theمبني nouns, insha Allah.

أسم غير مُتَمَكِّن :أسماء that do resembleمبني الأصل and are thereforeمبنيمبني nouns are 8 types.  Under each are just a fewأسماء .  Together they account for less then 20% ofأسماء .

The eight categories are listed below.

ضما ﺋﺮ orمضمرات    : Personal Pronouns.

الأسماء الموصولة       : Relative Pronouns.

الأسماء الإشارة           : Demonstrative Pronouns.

أسماء الأفعاال            : Nouns in the meaning of verbs!

أسماء الضُروف           :أسماء   which indicate on time or place (type of Adverb).

أسماء الأصوات          : Words which are used to refer to sounds or noises.

مركَّب بناء      : A small group of words which were originally phrases, namely the numbers from eleven to nineteen.

كِنايات          : Words that refer to vagueness in speech or number etc. (Like ‘so many’ in English.)

Personal Pronouns - ضماﺋﺮ

Pronouns in Arabic are much more than what we have in English.  To fully understand all the groupings of Arabic Pronouns, contrasting them with their English counter-parts will be helpful.  In English, primarily we have three groups of pronouns: nominative, accusative and genitive. They are listed below:

Nominative: he, she, they, you, I and we

Accusative: him, her, them, you, me and us

Genitive: his, her, their, your, my and our

Note that in the plural third person (they), gender is irrelevant, meaning the same pronoun is used for feminine and masculine, while in the second person both gender AND plurality are not considered. Likewise, the singular feminine third person (her) is used twice in accusative as well as genitive.  So basically the total number of pronouns in English is only 18 and after dropping the ones which are used twice 16.

In Arabic, the total number is very high at 84: six groupings, each of which has a full 14 pronouns.  To understand the significance of the number 14 here, recall what we mentioned when explaining the conjugation tables.  Six groupings is because in addition to the three groupings mentioned above Arabic also has governing agents.  If a pronoun is said to be inرفع due to being subject for instance, there must be something to cause theرفع preceding the pronoun, which in this case would be the verb.  Thus the verb inنحو is called the ‘عامل ’ (governing agent).  This will happen in all three of the statesأسماء enter into;رفع ,نصب andجر .  Now the pronoun may be attached (مُتَّصل ) to the agent and both written as ONE WORD, or the agent could be a separate word and the pronoun written by itself (مُنفَصل ).  In each case the pronoun will look different.  Forجر there is noمُنفَصل , because the agents ofجر are just two, namely prepositions andمضاف , which puts theمضاف إليه in the state ofجر .  Both agents REQUIRE that the pronoun after them be attached.  This leaves us with a total of five groups.  Then because theمجرور one can have only two agents, it is mentioned twice, thus making the number of groupings six (with 14 under each):

مرفوع متّصل   : Nominative pronoun attached to its agent e.g. theت ُ inضَرَبتُ (I hit).

مرفوع منفصل             : Nominative pronoun separate from its agent.هُو َ which means ‘he’.

منصوب متّصل            : Accusative pronoun attached to its agent e.g. theﻪُ inرَأيتُهُ (I saw ‘him’)

منصوب منفصل          : Accusative pronoun separate from its agent e.g.إيّاكَ (you alone).

مجرور متّصل withحرف جر    : Genitive pronoun attached to preposition e.g. theﻪُ inلَهُ (for him).

مجرور متّصل withمضاف       : Genitive pronoun attached toمضاف e.g. theهُ inدارُهُ (his house).

All of these 84 pronouns areمبني due to their dependency upon nouns.  In order to be used in speech, third person pronouns need to be preceded by nouns and so forth.  Dependency is a characteristic of particles: one of the threeمبني الأصل .

The following is a full table of all theضَماﺋﺮ discussed in this section:

**مجرور متّصِل**

**منصوب**

**مرفوع**

**صيغة**

بِمضاف

بِحرف جر

منفصل

متّصِل

مُنفَصِل

متّصِل

مضارع

ماض

ي

دارُ

هُ

لَ

هُ

إيّا

هُ

هُ

هُوَ

يَضرِبُ (هو )

ضَرَبَ (هو )

واحد مذكر غاﺋﺐ

دارُ

هُما

لَ

هُما

إيّا

هُما

هُما

هُما

يَضرِبا نِ

ضَرَبا

تثنية مذكر غاﺋﺐ

دارُ

هُم

لَ

هُم

إيّا

هُم

هُم

هُم

يَضرِبُو نَ

ضَرَبُو ا

جمع مذكر غاﺋﺐ

دارُ

ها

لَ

ها

إيّا

ها

ها

هِيَ

تَضرِبُ (هي )

ضَرَبَتْ (هي )

واحد مؤنث غاﺋﺐ

دارُ

هُما

لَ

هُما

إيّا

هُما

هُما

هُما

تَضرِبا نِ

ضَرَبَتا

تثنية مؤنث غاﺋﺐ

دارُ

هُنَّ

لَ

هُنَّ

إيّا

هُنَّ

هُنَّ

هُنَّ

يَضرِبنَ

ضَرَبْنَ

جمع مؤنث غاﺋﺐ

دارُ

كَ

لَ

كَ

إيّا

كَ

كَ

أنتَ

تَضرِبُ (هو )

ضَرَبْتَ

واحد مذكر حاضر

دارُ

كُما

لَ

كُما

إيّا

كُما

كُما

أنتُما

تَضرِبا نِ

ضَرَبْتُما

تثنية مذكر حاضر

دارُ

كُم

لَ

كُم

إيّا

كُم

كُم

أنتُم

تَضرِبُو نَ

ضَرَبْتُمْ

جمع مذكر حاضر

دارُ

كِ

لَ

كِ

إيّا

كِ

كِ

أنتِ

تَضرِﺑِﻴ ﻦَ

ضَرَبْتِ

واحد مؤنث حاضر

دارُ

كُما

لَ

كُما

إيّا

كُما

كُما

أنتُما

تَضرِبا نِ

ضَرَبْتُما

تثنية مؤنث حاضر

دارُ

كُنَّ

لَ

كُنَّ

إيّا

كُنَّ

كُنَّ

أنتُنَّ

تَضرِبنَ

ضَرَبْتُنَّ

جمع مؤنث حاضر

دارِيَ

لِ

ي

إيّايَ

ي

أ

نا

أضرِبُ (أنا )

ضَرَبْتُ

واحد متكلم

دارُ

نا

لَ

نا

إيّا

نا

نا

نَحنُ

نَضرِبُ (نحن )

ضَرَبْنَا

جمع متكلم

Table Error! No text of specified style in document. -B - Personal Pronouns

Relative Pronouns - الأسماء الموصولة

In order to fully understand what relative pronouns are, one needs to be informed about theموصوف- صفة phrase which in Arabic grammar is the noun-adjective phrase, an expression of usually twoأسماء in which the secondإسم describes the first.

e.g. رَجُلٌ كَرِيمٌ (a noble man), or

الرَّجُلُ الكَرِيمُ (the noble man)

From the aspects in which theموصوف andصفة have to correspond, is beingمعرفه orنكره (definite or indefinite).  In most cases both words areأسماء and correspondence is fairly simple.  Adding ‘ال’ to both words will make it ‘the noble man’ whereas keeping both words empty will leave it ‘a noble man’.  However, occasionally the need arises to describe a noun using a whole sentence.  Take for instance the phrase ‘a man who I met yesterday’.  ‘I met yesterday’ is a full sentence.  It was used in the above example to describe the indefinite noun ‘a man’.

The scholars ofنحو have attached a value to the informative sentence (جملة خبرية ) and have told us it’s ‘نكره ’.  Therefore, if the above example were to be rendered into Arabic it would read as follows:رَجُلٌ لَقِيتُهُ أمسِ .  No extra word is needed between the noun being described i.e. theموصوفرَجُلٌ ’ and the sentenceلَقِيتُهُ أمسِ , for they are bothنكره and correspondence is complete.  On the other hand, were theموصوف to beمعرفه , we would have had a problem of matching the two.  To convey the meaning ‘the man who I met yesterday’, merely adding an ‘ال’ to theموصوف would not suffice.  We would be left with aمعرف موصوف (الرَّجُلُ ) and aنكره صفة (theجملة خبرية ). The only way this meaning could be validly conveyed is if somehow that value attached to theجملة خبرية could be transformed into aمعرفه value.  This is where theمَوصول comes into play….

الأسماء الموصولة or Relative Pronouns are like which, what, that, or who in English, not the question which, what etc. but the pronouns ‘which’ come between nouns and the sentences ‘that’ describe them.  Read that again!  “pronouns ‘which’ come between nouns” and “the sentences ‘that’ describe them”.  In English these pronouns MUST be brought in every such structure.  In Arabic they are brought ONLY when theموصوف isمعرفه .  If it isنكره , there will be no need for aمَوصول , in which case the grammatical structure itself will join the sentence to the noun being described.

This is the primary purpose why we have these words in the language.  If the noun being described is of a very general meaning such as man, woman, thing etc, often the noun is not mentioned.  Theمَوصول itself will convey the entire meaning, such as in the following sentence:

جاء الّذي علَّمَكَ في المسجدِ (The person who taught you in the masjid came).

In this sentence theمَوصولالّذي ’ not only means ‘who’ but actually ‘the person who’.

The sentence which follows theمَوصول i.e. the describingجملة خبرية is calledصِله . Together with theمَوصول , both parts becomeصفة for the preceding noun, or if the noun is of a general nature and implicit as mentioned above, theمَوصول andصِله together will directly become part of the greater sentence.  Within theصِله there MUST be a third person pronoun referring back to theمَوصول .  This pronoun will always correspond to theمَوصول in gender and plurality.  In the above example the implicit pronounهو hidden in the verbعَلَّم َ is referring toالّذي theمَوصول .

Besidesالّذي and its dual, plural, and feminine variations, the following relative pronouns are in use:

مَنْ - the person who…

ما - the thing that….  Bothمَنْ andما have no duals our plurals.  The same word is essentially used for all gender and plurality.  ‘مَنْ ’ is for human beings while ‘ما ’ is for non-humans.

أيٌّ , أيَّةٌ -which….  Bothموصولان will always beمضاف to theأسماء after them.  The second word of the possessive phrase may be singular or plural e.g. أيُّ كِتابٍ (which book) and,    أيُّ الكُتُبِ (which of the books).  Both meanings are almost identical.  Just two ways of saying the same thing. أيٌّ andأيَّةٌ are bothمعرب and there grammatical state will be subject to the governing agent before them similar to normal إسمs.

The ‘ال ’ which is attached to the active and passive participles (إسم فاعل andإسم مفعول ) is also considered to beمَوصول and in the meaning ofالّذي .  Hence,الضارِبُ would meanالّذي ضَرَبَ (one who hits).  Likewise,المَضروبُ is akin toالّذي ضُرِبَ (one who is hit).  In other words the ‘ال ’ at the beginning of both literally means ‘one who’.

ذُو in the dialect of the clan ofبَن طَي - also in the meaning ofالّذي according to this particular tribe of Arabs e.g.جاﺋﲎ ذُو ضَرَبَكَ (the man who hit you came to me).

Except forأيٌّ ,أيَّةٌ , and the duals ofالّذي andالّتي , allمَوصول areمبني due to there dependency upon theصله . You will never encounter aمَوصول except with itsصله .  As mentioned repeatedly, dependency is a characteristic ofحرف : one from theمبني الأصل .

Demonstrative Pronouns -   الأسماء الإشارة

Descriptive Pronouns (this/that) are devices used to refer or point towards nouns.  While the pronoun in Arabic is calledإسم إشاره , the noun is known asمُشارٌ إليه .  In the phraseذٰلِكَ الكِتابُ (that book),ذٰلِكَ is theإسم إشاره andالكِتابُ is theمُشارٌ إليه .  The pronoun coupled with the noun will always be a phrase.  However, there are instances when the noun being referred to is of a very general nature such as thing, man, or woman, in which case the pronoun itself will convey both meanings i.e.هٰذا can mean ‘this thing’ or ‘this person’ as apposed to just ‘this’.  When this happens the following word will be the remaining part of the sentence (the predicate).  In order to determine whether the following word is connected toهٰذا and forming the second part of the descriptive phrase or whetherهٰذا is independent of a separate ‘مُشارٌ إليه and conveying the entire meaning itself as mentioned above, one will need to look at the next word.  If it begins with an ‘ال ’, the two words will become a descriptive phrase (this book), otherwise a full sentence.  When theمُشارٌ إليه can not take ‘ال ’ do to beingمضاف and a descriptive phrase is intended, such as ‘this book of his’, in order to avoid confusion with theإسميّه sentence, theإسم إشاره will be brought after the possessive phrase.  Consider the following three ways of using this device:

1.هٰذا الكِتابُ : this book

2. هٰذا كِتابٌ : This is a book.

3.كِتابُهُ هٰذا : this book of his

Verbal Nouns - أسماء الأفعال

These are a group of words in the language which are very few in number.  They have the meanings of verbs, meaning that their meanings are linked to time.  They have tenses.  However, besides the tense, they have no other characteristic of verbs such as conjugation tables and suffixes.  They do not fall under any recognized pattern of verb.  They come in two types; a group that has a past tense meaning e.g.هَيهاتَ (became distant), and a group consisting of words that have command-verb meanings e.g.رُوَيدَ (give respite), the first being identical toبَعُدَ (a past-tense verb), and the second to ‘أمهِل ’ (a second person active command verb).

Although these words do have the meanings ofأفعال due to the absence of all other characteristics of recognized verbs, they were not categorized as such.  The other two parts of speech also do not apply, but because there number is so less in the Arabic language, the scholars of grammar did not see it appropriate to give them a separate category and call them the fourth part of speech.  Instead they said these areمبني أسماء which contain the meaning of verbs, treating this tense as a ‘resemblance’ to verb, hence theirمبني nature.  Recall both ماضي andأمر حاضر areمبني الأصل .

Adverbs of Time or Place - أسماء الضروف

Words Denoting Sounds or Noises - أسماء الأصوات

These are essentially sounds rendered into words e.g.أُح أُح , a coughing sound.  They are allمبني due to sounds not having true grammatical positioning, in terms of being subject, object etc.

Numbers 11-19 - مركّب بناء

Words denoting vagueness - كنايات