. 11
( 23)


pronouns, the definite article, as first term of an √iDaafa, or in a prepositional

.¥É˜J™G Gòg πãe „«b’J ˜ nᦰùdG √òg í‚
najaH-a haadhihi l-sanat-a fii tawqii¬-i mithl-i haadhaa l-ittifaaq-i.
It succeeded this year in signing such an agreement.

.´GÎb™G p„¦’j nô©a GhAÉL
jaa√-uu fajr-a yawm-i l-iqtiraa¬-i.
They came at dawn on the day of balloting.

kÉMÉ‘°U Iô°»Y ájOÉ—G áYÉ°ùdG óMC™G „¦’«dG
n n n n n
al-yawm-a l-√aHad-a l-saa¬at-a l-Haadiyat-a ¬ashrat-a SabaaH-an
today, Sunday, at 11:00 in the morning
Adverbs and adverbial expressions 295

.n≥FÉbO p¿’°†Z ˜ ¬«∏Y ¢†‘¤dG »¤dCG
√ulqiya l-qabD-u ¬alay-hi fii ghuDuun-i daqaa√iq-a.
He was arrested within minutes.

nπ‘¤ŸG nAÉ©HQC™G ¿ÉŸÈdG ≈¦‘e ˜ ó¤©J Ihóf ¤EG
√ilaa nadwat-in tu-¬qad-u fii mabnaa l-barlamaan-i l-√arbi¬aa√-a l-muqbil-a
to a session that will be held in the parliament building next Wednesday

5 Numerical adverbials
For the expression of points in sequence, as in an outline, the ordinal numbers
are used in the accusative indefinite. For example:

√awwal-an k™qhCG
thaaniy-an ˜secondly™ kÉ«fÉK
thaalith-an ˜thirdly™ ÉãdÉK
√awwal-a l-√amr-i ˜at first; the first thing™ pôeC™G n«qhCG

6 Adverbial accusative of speci¬cation (al-tamyiiz µ««ªàdG)
This form of adverbial accusative is used to label, identify, or specify something
previously referred to in the sentence.13 It specifies the nature of what has been
mentioned by answering the question “in what way?” Often an equivalent English
structure might include the terms “as” or “in terms of.”

kábɤKh kÉ°SÉfh kÉ°VQCG –«£dG ó∏‘dG Gòg
haadhaa l-balad-u l-Tayyib-u √arD-an wa-naas-an wa-thaqaafat-an
this good country [in terms of] land, people, and culture

.ÉehQ ¤EG kI’°SCG É¡àµ∏e π¤f
naqal-a malikat-a-haa √asiirat-an √ilaa ruumaa.
He transported its queen to Rome [as] a prisoner.

kÉqjôµ°ùYh kÉqjOÉ°üàbG Üô¨dG ºµ“
taHakkum-u l-gharb-i qtiSaadiyy-an wa-¬askariyy-an
the dominance of the west economically and militarily

.kIAɘc ÌcCG ‘ô¬ ‚dP á©«àfh
wa-natiijat-u dhaalika muHarrik-un √akthar-u kafaa√at-an.
The result of that is a more efficient motor.

See also Chapter 7, section
296 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

6.1 Other uses of tamyiiz
The accusative of specification is also used with the following quantifying

6.1.1 The interrogative quanti¬er kam ºc ˜how much, how many™
The noun following kam ºc is in the accusative singular.

?‚˜°U ˜ É‘dÉW ºc ?”ógÉ°T kɪ∏a ºc
kam Taalib-an fii Saff-i-ka? kam film-an shaahad-tum?
How many students are in your class? How many films did you (˜all™) see?

6.1.2 The counted singular noun after numerals 11-99
For more examples and discussion of this topic, see Chapter 15.14

kÉ‘FÉf ô°»Y á©‘°S øY kÉ°Tôb ¿hô°»Y
¬an sab¬at-a ¬ashar-a naa√ib-an ¬ishruuna qirsh-an
from seventeen representatives twenty piasters

kɪ∏«a Ú°ùªNh á°ùªN øeÌcCG
√akthar-u min xamsat-in wa-xamsiina fiilm-an
more than fifty-five films

6.1.3 The periphrastic comparative
The expression of comparative or superlative quality with the comparative adjec-
tive √akthar allows comparison of qualities that do not fit into the comparative
adjective (√af ¬al ) form.15
.káq«ªgCG ÌcCG ¿’µJ ób .’ãµH kAÉgO ÌcCG ’g
huwa √akthar-u dahaa√-an bi-kathiir-in.
qad ta-kuun-u √akthar-a
He is more shrewd by far.
It might be more important.
(˜greater in terms of importance™)

kGQGô¤à°SG ÌcCG §°ShCG ¥ô°T πLCG øe
min √ajl-i sharq-in √awsaT-a √akthar-a stiqraar-an
for the sake of a more stable Middle East

7 Adverbial accusative of cause or reason (al-maf¬uul li-√ajl-i-hi ¬∏LC™ «’©˜ŸG,
al-maf¬uul la-hu ¬d«’©˜ŸG)
In this adverbial structure, a verbal noun in the indefinite accusative is used to
indicate the motive, reason, or purpose of the mentioned action. If the verbal

See also Chapter 15, sections 1.4, 1.5, 1.6. For an analysis of this function of the accusative and its
treatment in traditional Arabic grammar, see Carter 1972.
See also Chapter 10, section 4.2.3.
Adverbs and adverbial expressions 297

noun has a preposition associated with it, that preposition remains as part of the

√O’¡©`d kGôjó¤J º¡àdÉME™ kGó«¡“
taqdiir-an li-juhuud-i-hi tamhiid-an li-√iHaalat-i-him . . .
in appreciation of his efforts in preparation for their transfer

áe’µ—G ≈∏Y ô£«°S ¦òdG µ©©∏``d ká©«àf
natiijat-an li-l-¬ajz-i lladhii sayTar-a ¬alaa l-Hukuumat-i
as a result of the incapacity that dominated the government

.áehɤŸG «ÉLQ øY kÉã«H §«°»ªàdG áq«∏ªY CGóH
bada√-a ¬amaliyyat-a l-tamshiiT-i baHth-an ¬an rijaal-i l-muqaawamat-i.
It started a combing operation to search for (˜men of™) resistance.

.ácΰ»ŸG ɪ¡à«∏°üŸ áeóN ¤Éb“©dG ôj’£J å«H
buHith-a taTwiir-u l-¬alaaqaat-i xidmat-an li-maSlaHat-i-himaa l-mushtarakat-i.
Development of relations was discussed in order to serve their [two]
shared interest.

8 Adverbs as speech acts
A few Arabic adverbs are used both in speech and in writing to function as
performatives, that is, to accomplish acts such as thanking, welcoming, pardon-
ing, and so forth. A number of these are words and phrases in the indefinite
accusative. These include:

˜thank you™ kGôµ°T
˜pardon; you™re welcome™ ¬afw-an kG’˜Y
√ahl-an wa-sahl-an
˜welcome™ k“¡°Shk“gCG
˜hello™ É‘Môe
Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns refer to persons or entities and stand on their own as substi-
tutes for nouns or noun phrases. This word class fills a wide range of roles in
Arabic and consists of three groups: subject, object, and possessive pronouns. The
first group, subject pronouns, are independent, separate words; the other two
groups both take the form of suffixes.
The personal pronouns show differences in gender (masculine and feminine),
number (singular, dual, plural), and person (first, second, and third). However, the
number of categories of personal pronouns in Arabic is larger than in English (12
as opposed to 8) because it includes both masculine and feminine forms of the
second and third person, and it also includes the dual pronouns.

1 Independent personal pronouns (Damaa√ir munfaSila á∏°ü˜¦e ôFɪ°V)
The independent pronouns are also referred to as subject pronouns since they can
serve as the subjects of verbs or of equational sentences and they correspond to
the set of English subject pronouns. They are as follows:1

Singular Dual Plural

ÉfnCG ø«f
First person
˜I™ √anaa ˜we™ naHn-u

nârfnCG ɪoàrfnCG rºoàrfnCG
Second person
Masculine ˜you™ √anta ˜you two™ √antumaa ˜you™ √antum

pârfnCG søoàrfnCG
˜you™ √anti ˜you™ √antunna

There is no neutral pronoun “it,” since there is no neutral gender in Arabic. Everything is referred
to as either masculine or feminine. Note that the third person feminine singular pronoun, in
keeping with the agreement rules of Arabic, is used to refer to nonhuman plurals.

Personal pronouns 299

Singular Dual Plural

n’og ɪog rºog
Third person
Masculine ˜he™ huwa ˜they two™ humaa ˜they™ hum

n»pg søog
˜she™ hiya ˜they™ hunna

The masculine plural pronouns √antum rºàfCG and hum rºg end with sukuun, which
means that they require a helping vowel if they are followed directly by a cluster
of two or more consonants (often the case with a following word that starts with
the definite article). That helping vowel is Damma, based on a principle of vowel
harmony with the previous vowel.

.¿’ª∏°ùªrdG ºg .„ô£°»∏d ¿’YήªrdG oºg
oo o
hum-u l-muslim-uuna. hum-u l-muxtari¬uuna li-l-shaTranj-i.
They are the Muslims. They are the inventors of chess.

1.1 Independent personal pronouns: functions
This form of the pronoun is used in a number of different ways, sometimes as an
essential part of a clause and sometimes as a nonessential part.

1.1.1 To emphasize the subject of a verb
Because Arabic verbs incorporate the subject into their inflections, the independ-
ent personal pronoun is not necessary to mark the subject of a verb phrase.2 How-
ever, the pronoun may be used along with the verb in order to fortify or empha-
size the subject. In the following sentences, the independent pronoun could be
omitted and the sentence would still be grammatically correct; however, the
emphasis on the subject would be reduced.
.“Fɘàe hó‘j ™ ’gh .¦ô«°üdG ¬Éà˜ŸG ’g ¿’µ«°S
wa-hwa laa ya-bduu mutafaa√il-an.3 sa-ya-kuun-u huwa l-miftaah-a l-siHriyy-a.
He does not seem optimistic. It will be the magic key.

.QóbCG ™ ÉfCG .«’«àdG ᣤf »g âfÉc
kaan-at hiya nuqTat-a l-taHawwal-i
√anaa laa √a-qdar-u.
I cannot. It was the turning point.

Arabic is a “pro-drop” language; i.e., it is a language that allows a separate pronominal subject to
be left unexpressed. This feature results in the verb inflectional paradigm distinguishing all per-
sons uniquely. See Chapter 21 on verb inflection, esp. note 1.
When preceded by the conjunctions wa- or fa-, the third person singular pronouns huwa and hiya
may lose their first vowel, thus becoming wa-hwa n’rgnh and wa-hya n»rgnh.
300 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

√u-Haawil-u √anaa √an √u-daafi¬-a ¬an-haa.
I try to defend it.

1.1.2 Subject of an equational sentence
Equational or verbless sentences do not have an overt verb, but they may show a
subject through use of a pronoun. Used in this way, the pronoun is usually the
first element in the sentence.

.§°ShC™G ¥ô°»dG ¿hD’°T ˜ ’‘N ’g
huwa xabiir-un fii shu√uun-i l-sharq-i l-√awsaT-i.
He is an expert in Middle Eastern affairs.

.»à¤jó°U âfCG .á«cP »g
hiya dhakiyyat-un.
√anti Sadiiqat-ii.
You (f.) are my friend. She is intelligent.

.«ÉÛG ‚dP ˜ áX’¶¬ ÉfCG .¿É¤°TÉY ø«f
naHnu ¬aashiq-aani.
√anaa maHZuuZat-un fii dhaalika l-majaal-i.
I am fortunate in that field. We are lovers.

1.1.3 Predicate of equational sentence
Less common is the use of a subject pronoun as the predicate of an equational
sentence; for example,

.’g Gòg .»g âfCG
haadhaa huwa. √anti hiyya.
This is he. You are she.

1.1.4 As a copula
In order to clarify the relationship between the subject and predicate of an equa-
tional sentence, especially when the predicate is a definite noun or noun phrase,
a third person subject pronoun may be inserted between the subject and predi-
cate as a way of linking these two parts of the sentence, and as a substitute for the
verb “to be.” When functioning in this manner, it is said to be a copula.4
.QÉ©°SC™G ’g èYµŸG ó«M’dG A»°»dG .IO’©dG ’g º¡ŸG
al-muhimm-u huwa l-¬awdat-u.
al-shay√-u l-waHiid-u l-muz¬ij-u
huwa l-√as¬aar-u. The important [thing] is to return.
The one disturbing thing is the prices.
As Hurford puts it, “In English, a copula is any form of the verb be used as a ˜link™ or ˜coupling™
between its subject and a following phrase. The link either expresses identity or describes some
property or attribute of the subject (Copula is Latin for link.)” 1994, 51. Because the verb “to be” in
Arabic is not expressed overtly in present tense indicative sentences, an independent pronoun
sometimes serves that purpose. For an excellent analysis of the Arabic pronoun copula, see Eid 1991.
Personal pronouns 301

.»cÎdG ’g º∏°ùŸG .ܵ—G ˜ IóFÉ°ùdG AG’LC™G »g ‚∏J
al-muslim-u huwa l-turkiyy-u. tilka hiya l-√ajwaa√-u l-saa√idat-u fii l-Hizb-i.
The Muslim is the Turk. These are the atmospheres prevailing in the party.

2 Suf¬x personal pronouns (Damaa√ir muttaSila á∏°üàe ôFɪ°V)
There are two sets of suffix pronouns, one set indicates possession (possessive
pronouns) and is suffixed to nouns, and the other set indicates the object of a verb
or object of a preposition (object pronouns).
Although the two sets are different in their distribution and in their meanings,
in form they are almost exactly alike. The only formal difference between them is in
the first person singular pronoun (˜my™ or ˜me™), which when it indicates possession
and is suffixed to a noun, is /-ii/, but when it indicates the object of a verb is -nii »¦`.

2.1 Possessive pronoun suf¬xes
These suffixes are attached to nouns to show possession. They agree with the gender
and number of the possessor (as in English), not the thing possessed (as in French).

Singular Dual Plural

»` ɦ`
First person
˜my™ -ii ˜our™ -naa

n ɪoµ` rºoµ`
Second person
Masculine ˜your™ -ka ˜your™ -kumaa ˜your™ -kum

p søoµ`
˜your™ -ki ˜your™ -kunna

o¬` p¬` ɪp¡o` rºo¡` rºp¡`
Third person
Masculine ˜his™ -hu -hi ˜their™ -humaa -himaa ˜their™ -hum -him

É¡` ø¡` ø¡`
so sp
˜her™ -haa ˜their™ -hunna -hinna

These suffixes are attached at the end of a noun, after the case-marking vowel,
except for the suffix -ii ˜my™ which supercedes any inflectional vowel.5 A noun
with a pronoun suffix is considered definite, the suffix acting like the second
term of an annexation structure to define the noun. When a personal pronoun
suffix is used, the noun cannot have the definite article (it is definite by virtue of

Note that all the pronoun suffixes except -ii start with a consonant; that is why they can follow
directly after a vowel. Since /-ii/ consists of a long vowel only, it cannot follow or combine with
another vowel. Instead, it replaces any short inflectional vowel.
302 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

the suffix) and it does not have nunation (because it is definite rather than
Note that words ending in taa√ marbuuTa and pronounced with a final /-a/ in
pause form shift their spelling to a regular taa√ when they are suffixed with a per-
sonal pronoun, since the taa√ is no longer final.

!ºoµ`à¦jóe áaɶf ≈∏Y G’¶aÉM
HaafiZ-uu ¬alaa naZaafat-i madiinat-i-kum!
Keep your (m. pl.) city clean (˜preserve the cleanliness of your city™)!

p‚`fPEG øY n‚`∏°†a øe
min faDl-i-ka
¬an √¬idhn-i-ki
with your (f.) permission please (˜of your kindness™)
(when requesting something)

n‚`඘¬ ˜ .n‚``J’°U ¤EG »```J’°U º°VCG
fii miHfaZat-i-ka √a-Dumm-u Sawt-ii √ilaa Sawt-i-ka.
in your (m. sg.) wallet I add my voice to yours (your voice).

É¡H’¦L ¤EG É¡dɪ°T øe á«©«‘§dG É¡`JÉ„«H ˜
min shimaal-i-haa √ilaa junuub-i-haa fii bii√aat-i-haa l-Tabii¬iyyat-i
from its north to its south in their natural environments

ɦ∏NO øe «ÉjQ πc √O’¦Lh √Dhɪ∏Y
kull-u riyaal-in min daxl-i-naa ¬ulamaa√-u-hu wa-junuud-u-hu
every riyal of our income its scholars and its soldiers

2.1.1 Vowel shift pronouns
The third person suffix pronouns that include the sequence -hu (-hu, -humaa, -hum,
-hunna) are affected by any front vowel (-i or -ii) or yaa√ that precedes them. Their -u
vowel shifts to /-i/ in vowel harmony with the preceding sound. Other vowels (-a or -u)
do not affect these suffixes:

p¬pJGôqcòe ˜ p¬r«n˜àc ≈∏Y
fii mudhakkiraat-i-hi ¬alaa katif-ay-hi
in his notes/diary on his [two] shoulders

ɪp¡rjnódGh ÉeôcCG ºp¡pJGQÉq«°ùH
√akram-aa waalid-ay-himaa bi-sayyaaraat-i-him
They [two] honored their [two] parents. in their cars
Personal pronouns 303

søp¡pLÉàfEG ≥j’°ùàH ºp¡pH’«L øe
min juyuub-i-him
bi-taswiiq-i √intaaj-i-hinna
by marketing their (f. pl.) production from their pockets

2.1.2 Plural pronoun suf¬x helping vowel
The masculine plural pronoun suffixes, -kum and -hum/-him, end with a sukuun,
which means that they need a helping vowel if followed directly by a cluster of
two or more consonants. That vowel is Damma, based on a principle of vowel har-
mony with the previous vowel. If the third person plural suffix pronoun shifts
from -hum to -him, the helping vowel may be either Damma or kasra.6

.I’NC™G oº`o¡``ne“aCG «hɦàJ á«LQÉÿG º`p¡``pà°SÉ«°S øe
ta-tanaawal-u √aflaam-a-hum-u l-√axiirat-a. min siyaasat-i-him-i l-xaarijiyyat-i
It deals with their latest films. from their foreign policy

q¦ó«∏¤àdG pº`p¡``p`°SÉ‘∏H IòJÉ°SCG
√asaatidhat-un bi-libaas-i-him-i l-taqliidiyy-i
professors with (wearing) their traditional regalia (˜clothes™)

2.1.3 Noun pronoun suf¬x adjective
When a noun plus pronoun suffix is modified by an attributive adjective, that
adjective is definite and carries the definite article because the noun is consid-
ered definite. The adjective also agrees in number, gender, and case with the mod-
ified noun.

.q˜É«°üdG √ô“D’e GC óH »Hô©dG ɦŸÉY ˜
bada√-a mu√tamar-a-hu l-SiHaafiyy-a. fii ¬aalam-i-naa l-¬arabiyy-i
He began his news conference. in our Arab world

ójó·G ¬ª∏«a ˜ I’NC™G áq«ª°SôdG ¬JQÉjR ˜
fii fiilm-i-hi l-jadiid-i fii ziyaarat-i-hi l-rasmiyyat-i
in his new film
on his last official visit

¤hC™G ¬àdhɬ ˜ »∏NGódG ‚‘«L ˜
fii muHaawalat-i-hi l-√uulaa fii jayb-i-ka l-daaxiliyy-i
on his first try in your inside pocket

In this text, the principle of vowel harmony is observed.
304 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

2.1.4 Pronoun suf¬xes on dual and sound masculine plural nouns
Nouns with the dual suffix (-aani/-ayni) or with the sound masculine plural suffix
(-uuna/-iina) drop the nuun when a pronoun suffix is attached:

.âj’°üàdG ¬«‘NÉf øe –∏£«°S
sa-ya-Tlub-u min naaxib-ii-hi l-taSwiit-i.
their two titles It will request its electors to vote.

.ɦ«‘©àª```d CÉ©∏e ¿Éc
bi-yad-ay-haa kaan-a malja√-an li-mut¬ab-ii-naa.
with her two hands It was a refuge for our weary.

¬jQÉ°»à°ùe óMCG ¬jójD’e ¤G’°UCG øe
√aHad-u mustashaar-ii-hi min √aSwaat-i mu√ayyid-ii-hi
one of his advisors from the votes of its supporters ˜MY™: The sound masculine
plural (-uuna or -iina), as noted above, drops the nuun when a suffix pronoun is
attached, leaving a long vowel /-uu/ or /-ii/. Because of restrictions on vowel
combinations, adding the pronoun -ii causes a shift in these endings. They are
shortened and combined into one, with a short vowel kasra (-i) followed by a double
yaa√ with fatHa: -iyya ¦. Note that when (-ii) ˜my™ is suffixed to sound masculine
plural nouns it overrides the case distinction and the plural is reduced to only one

my teachers (nominative and genitive/accusative)

.¿’jô°üe s»ª∏©e .s»ª∏©e „e â‘gP
mu¬allim-iyya miSriyy-uuna. dhahab-tu ma¬a mu¬allim-iyya.
My teachers are Egyptian. I went with my teachers. DUAL SUFFIX PLUS /-ii/: The dual suffix (-aani or -ayni) drops the nuun when
a suffix pronoun is attached, leaving a long vowel -aa or the diphthong -ay. Owing
to restrictions on the combination of two long vowels in Arabic, the long vowel
suffix /-ii/ is shifted to /-ya/ in both cases: nominative -aaya n¦G and genitive/
accusative -ayya ¦.

This is due to incompatibility between the vowels /-uu/ and /-ii/, which do not combine in MSA.
Personal pronouns 305

n¦GódGh s¦nódGh
waalid-aaya waalid-ayya
my [two] parents (nominative) my [two] parents (genitive/accusative)

.¿Éqjô°üe n¦GódGh .s¦nódGh „e â‘gP
waalid-aaya miSriyy-aani. dhahab-tu ma¬a waalid-ayya.
My parents are Egyptian. I went with my parents.

2.1.5 The ¬ve nouns plus /-ii/: √ab, √ax, fuu, Ham, dhuu)
These five nouns are a special subset of semantically primitive nouns that inflect
for case with long vowels instead of short vowels whenever they have pronoun
suffixes or when they are used as the first term of an √iDaafa (see Chapter 5, sec-
tion 10.1.3). Except for dhuu, which does not take pronoun suffixes, when used
with the possessive suffix /-ii/ ˜my,™ all three cases are neutralized into one form,
with omission of the inflectional vowel, e.g.,

my father »HCG

my brother »NCG

my father-in-law Ham-ii ȻM
my mouth s˜
2.2 Object pronoun suf¬xes
Object pronouns are suffixes almost identical in form with the possessive pro-
noun suffixes. They serve as objects of transitive verbs and of prepositions and
therefore are affixed to those word classes.

2.2.1 Pronoun objects of transitive verbs
This set of pronouns is as follows:

Singular Dual Plural

»¦` ɦ`
First person
˜me™ -nii ˜us™ -naa

n ɪoµ` rºoµ`
Second person
Masculine ˜you™ -ka ˜you™ -kumaa ˜you™ -kum

Alternates with the variant word stem for ˜mouth,™ fam, as fam-ii »ªa.
306 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

Singular Dual Plural

p søoµ`
˜you™ -ki ˜you™ -kunna

o¬` p¬` ɪo¡` ɪp¡` rºo¡` rºp¡`
Third person
Masculine ˜him™ -hu -hi ˜them™ -humaa -himaa ˜them™ -hum -him

É¡` ø¡` ø¡`
so sp
˜her™ -haa ˜them™ -hunna -hinna

These suffixes are attached at the end of a verb, after the verb inflection for per-
son, number, gender, tense, and mood. Just as with possessive pronoun suffixes,
the third person suffix pronouns that include the sequence -hu- (-hu, -humaa, -hum,
-hunna) are affected by any front vowel (-i or -ii) or yaa√ that precedes them. Their -u
vowel shifts to -i in vowel harmony with the preceding sound. Other vowels (-a or -u)
do not affect these suffixes.

.Ée’‚ ºogÈà©f
.n‘ôµ°TCG .É¡JóLh
na-¬tabir-u-hum nujuum-an. wajad-tu-haa!
I thank you. We consider them stars. I found it!
! É¡«eó®à°ùJ ™
i-¬dhir-nii. laa ta-staxdim-ii-hi!
He chose me. Forgive me/excuse me. Don™t (f. sg.) use it!

.ɪocóYÉ°SCG ¿CG ójQCG
intaZar-naa-hu. √u-riid-u √an u-saa¬id-a-kumaa
We have waited for it. I want to help you two. Whenever a pronoun suffix is
attached to the second person masculine plural form of a past tense verb (ending
in -tum), a long helping vowel -uu is inserted between the verb suffix and the
pronoun object suffix.

?á°SQóŸG ˜ √’`ªàª∏©J Ée Gòg πg ! Éf’ªàcôJ
hal haadhaa maa ta¬allam-tum-uu-hu fii l-madrasat-i? tarak-tum-uu-naa!
Is this what you (pl.) learned (˜it™) in school? You (pl.) left us! Because of the pronoun object attaching directly to the
verb, and the verb-initial word order in Arabic sentences, sometimes the object of
a verb in Arabic comes before the mention of the subject.
Personal pronouns 307

.„¦ÉY πc íFÉ°S øjj“e áK“K √Qhµj
ya-zuur-u-hu thalaathat-u malaayiin-i saa√iH-in kull-a ¬aam-in.
Three million tourists visit it every year.

.’µ°ù«f’«dG ¬¦∏YCG .n‚¤jó°U ÉgòNCG
√a¬lan-a-hu l-yuuniiskuu. √axadh-a-haa Sadiiq-u-ka.
UNESCO announced it. Your friend took it. WORD If both subject and object are in pronoun form, the
verb, its subject and object can create one word which constitutes a complete
predication or sentence by itself:

(1) Past tense:
.ºgɦ∏‘¤à°SG .Ég’©¦bCG .¬à©ª°S .√ɦ‘‘MCG
istaqbal-naa-hum. sami¬-tu-hu.
√aqna¬-uu-haa. √aHbab-naa-hu.
We met them. They persuaded her. I heard it. We loved him.

(2) Present tense:
.É¡∏ª«j .¬f’°Só¤j
ya-Hmil-u-haa yu-qaddis-uuna-hu.
He is carrying it. They venerate it. NOTE ABOUT WORD STRESS: Because suffix pronouns are attached to the
ends of words, and because word stress is calculated by syllables from the end of
a word, the suffixing of a personal pronoun lengthens a word and may cause a
shift in stress when the words are spoken or pronounced out loud. (See stress
rules in Chapter 2, section 7.) For example (stressed syllable is boldface):

Pause form Full form pronoun suffix

policy their policy
á°SÉ«°S º¡à°SÉ«°S
siyaasa siyaasat-u-hum
problem her problem
á∏µ°»e É¡à∏µ°»e
mushkila mushkilat-u-haa
world our world
¬aalam ¬aalam-u-naa
conference his conference
ô“D’e √ô“D’e
mu√tamar mu√tamar-u-hu
we waited we waited for him
Éfô¶àfG √Éfô¶àfG
intaZar-naa intaZar-naa-hu
308 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

2.2.2 Object pronoun carrier: ÉqjEG √iyyaa-
Rarely, in MSA, a pronoun object of a verb will occur and not be attached to the
verb. This may happen if the verb is one that takes a double object (direct and indi-
rect) and both of the objects are pronouns, or it may occur as a stylistic choice. For
these cases, there is a word that acts as a pronoun-carrier, √iyyaa-, and object pro-
nouns can be attached to it.9 VERB THAT TAKES DOUBLE ACCUSATIVE:

.»¤jó°U πgCG ÉgÉjEG ÊGógCG .√ÉjEG »¦«£YCG
√ahdaa-nii √iyyaa-haa √ahl-u Sadiiq-ii. √a¬Tii-nii √iyyaa-hu.
My friend™s family presented it to me Give (f.) it [to] me (˜give me it™).
(˜sent-me it™). In the following example, the writer could have said
˜taHaddath-a ma¬-a-hu,™ but he chose a more classical turn of phrase, using the expres-
sion wa-√iyaa-hu instead. In this case, wa- is a connector which takes the accusa-
tive case (waaw al-ma¬iyya) on a following noun, signifying concomitance
or accompaniment.10 Since a pronoun object is needed here, wa- is followed by

.™’£e √ÉjEGh §qó“
taHaddath-a wa-√iyyaa-hu muTawwil-an.
He talked with him for a long time.

2.3 Pronoun objects of prepositions and semi-prepositions
Prepositions may take pronoun objects. The form of the object pronouns of prepo-
sitions is almost exactly identical to the pronoun objects of verbs.11
As objects of prepositions, the suffix pronouns attach directly onto the prepo-
sition itself. Sometimes a spelling change is required, however.
This subset of pronouns is as follows:

See Wright 1967, I:103“104 for more on the use of √iyyaa-. Note also that in Classical Arabic it was
possible to have both direct and indirect objects as suffixes on the verb. Lecomte states (1968, 106):
“La langue ancienne, surtout po©tique, admettait l™agglutination des pronoms dans l™ordre des
personnes 1 2 3: √a¬Tay-tu-ka-hu je te l™ai donn©; depuis l™©poque classique, le second pronom s™af-
fixe toujours à une particule-outil √iyyaa-.”
For more on waaw al-ma¬iyya see Baalbaki 1986 and Wright 1967, II:83“84.
Note, however that the prepositions Hattaa, ka-, and mundh-u do not take pronoun objects.
Personal pronouns 309

Singular Dual Plural

Ê »` ɦ`
First person
˜me™ -nii -ii ˜us™ -naa

n ɪoµ` rºoµ`
Second person
Masculine ˜you™ -ka ˜you two™ -kumaa ˜you™ -kum

p søoµ`
˜you™ -ki ˜you™ -kunna

o¬` p¬` ɪo¡` ɪp¡ rºo¡` rºp¡`
Third person
Masculine ˜him™ -hu -hi ˜[the two of ] them™ ˜them™ -hum -him
-humaa -himaa

É¡` ø¡` ø¡`
so sp
˜her™ -haa ˜them™ -hunna -hinna

2.3.1 One-letter prepositions: bi and li-: bi- + PRONOUN SUFFIX: Pronoun suffixes with bi- ˜with, at, to, in™ are
regular, except for the third person “vowel-shift” pronouns (see 2.1.1), which are
affected by the kasra of bi- and shift their -u vowel to -i:
.‚H “gCG ºp¡pH ɦà¤K p¬pH ¢SCÉH ™
√ahl-an bi-ka. thiqat-u-naa bi-him laa ba√s-a bi-hi
Welcome to you. our confidence in them not bad
(˜there is no harm in it™) li- ”> la- PLUS PRONOUN SUFFIX: The preposition li- ˜to, for™ shifts its vowel
to -a whenever it has a pronoun suffix, except for the long vowel suffix -ii ˜me,™
which supercedes any short vowel:
.ºoµnd É„«¦g
.ɦnd ±ô°»dG .¢UÉN ô©°S n‚nd
al-sharaf-u la-naa la-ka si¬r-un xaaSS-un. hanii√-an la-kum.
The honor is ours (˜to us™). For you, a special price. Congratulations to you (pl.).

.GOôW ‹ G’∏°SQCG
.o¬nd ≈¦©e ™
laa ma¬naa la-hu. √arsal-uu l-ii Tard-an.
It is meaningless (˜there is no meaning to it™). They sent [to] me a package.

.«É°üJG ¦CG ºo¡nd øµj „
lam ya-kun la-hum √ayy-u ittiSaal-in.
They did not have any contact (˜there was not to them any contact™).
310 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

2.3.2 Two-letter prepositions: ¬i, min, ¬an ¬i + PRONOUN SUFFIX: The preposition fii ˜in, at, into,™ because it ends in
a long vowel -ii, undergoes a slight change when suffixed with the first person
object pronoun -ii; the two long vowels merge into each other and become a yaa√
with a shadda on it, followed by the short vowel fatHa: fiyya s˜. In writing it is
sometimes hard to tell the difference between fii and fiyya, but there is often a
marked shadda added to the yaa√ when fiyya is intended.
Otherwise, pronouns simply follow the long -ii, with the “vowel shift pronouns”
changing their -u vowel to -i:

.á«∏‘L ¢ùª°T p¬«a
.s˜ ¿µ—G ÜGPCG
√adhaab-a l-huzn-a fiyya. fii-hi shams-un jabaliyyat-un.
It dissolved the sorrow in me. There™s a mountain sun there (˜in it™). min + PRONOUN SUFFIX: The preposition min ˜of; from; than™ is fairly
regular in its shape when pronoun suffixes are attached, except that when
suffixed with the pronoun -ii ˜me,™ the nuun in min doubles, so that instead of
*min-ii, the phrase ˜from me™ or ˜than me™ becomes min-nii.

»q¦e ø°ùMCG ºo¡¦e ¿h’ãc
√aHsan-u min-nii kathiir-uuna min-hum
better than I many of them

.o¬¦e á«dhD’°ùe ÌcCG »g É¡r¦pe ¿Éà¦KEG
hiya √akthar-u mas√uuliyyat-an min-hu. ithnataani min-haa
She is more responsible than he is. two of them ¬an + Like min, the preposition ¬an ˜away from; from;
about; of ™ maintains its shape when pronoun suffixes are attached, except that
when suffixed with the pronoun -ii ˜me,™ the nuun in ¬an doubles, so that instead
of *¬an-ii, the phrase ˜from me™ or ˜away from me™ becomes ¬an-nii.

?»q¦Y ºàdCÉ°S πg o¬r¦Y ¿“YE™G
hal sa√al-tum ¬an-nii? al-√i¬laan-u ¬an-hu.
Did you (pl.) ask about me? the announcing of it

ºo¡r¦Y «É¤o«°S Éeh π«b Ée
maa qiil-a wa-maa sa-yu-qaal-u ¬an-hum
what has been said and what will be said about them
Personal pronouns 311

2.3.3 Defective three-letter prepositions: √ilaa, ¬alaa and semi-preposition ladaa
These three words are put in one category because they all have a final √alif maq-
Suura, and all of them shift this √alif to a yaa√ preceded by fatHa whenever they
receive pronoun suffixes. Thus the attachable stem for √ilaa is √ilay-; for ¬alaa it is
¬alay- and for ladaa, laday-.
The shift to yaa√ has an effect on certain pronoun suffixes. The “vowel-shift”
pronouns change their -u vowel to -i, and the first person singular suffix -ii ˜me™
merges with the yaa√ of the preposition stem, creating a double yaa√, which is fol-
lowed by fatHa. A model paradigm using ¬alaa is presented here. ¬alaa + PRONOUN SUFFIX

Singular Dual Plural

s»∏Y ɦ«∏Y
First person
¬alay-ya ¬alay-naa

Second person
‚«∏Y ɪµ«∏Y rºoµ«∏Y
¬alay -kumaa
¬alay-ka ¬alay-kum

‚«∏Y søoµ«∏Y
¬alay-ki ¬alay-kunna

Third person
¬«∏Y ɪp¡«∏Y rºp¡«∏Y
¬alay -himaa
¬alay-hi ¬alay-him

É¡«∏Y søp¡«∏Y
¬alay-haa ¬alay-hinna

q»∏Y ¿Éc .ºµ«∏Y „¦“°ùdG
kaan-a ¬alay-ya al-salaam-u ¬alay-kum.
it was [incumbent] on me Peace [be] upon you.

.¿B™G ¬«∏Y »g ɇ π°†aCG ´É°VhC™G âfÉc
kaan-at-i l-√awDaa¬-u √afDal-a mimmaa hiya ¬alay-hi l-√aan-a.
The conditions were better than what they are (˜on it™) now. √ilaa + PRONOUN SUFFIX
.É¡«dEG ô¶¦j .¬«dEG ¥Éà°TCG ÉfCG
ya-nZur-u √ilay-haa. √anaa √a-shtaaq-u √ilay-hi.
He looks at her. I miss him (˜I yearn for him™).
312 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic ladaa + PRONOUN SUFFIX
.q¦ód π‘¤à°ùe ™ .᫪°SôdG ¤Gó¦à°ùŸG p¬jód
laa mustaqbal-a laday-ya. laday-hi l-mustanadaat-u l-rasmiyyat-u.
I have no future (˜there is no future He has the official documents.
for me™).

2.3.4 Semi-prepositions + pronoun suf¬xes
The locative adverbs or semi-prepositions may also take pronoun suffixes.

.o√sóp°V ¤GOɤàf™G øe á∏ªMQÉKCG
√athaar-a Hamlat-an min-a l-intiqaadaat-i Didd-a-hu.
It aroused a campaign of criticisms against him.

É¡nbr’nah ¢VQC™G ≈∏Y .á∏µ°»e ¦ór¦pY
¬alaa l-√arD-i wa-fawq-a-haa ¬ind-ii mushkilat-un.
on the earth and over it I have (˜at-me™) a problem.

3 Re¬‚exive expressions with nafs plus pronouns
Reflexive expressions in Arabic often use the noun nafs ˜self; same™ plus a pronoun
suffix, the pronoun referring back to the subject of the verb.

.o¬°ù˜f Oó©j
yu-jaddid-u nafs-a-hu.
It renews itself.

.»ŸÉ©dG i’à°ùŸG ≈∏Y ºo¡n°ùo˜rfnCG G’°Vô˜j ¿CG ¿’©«£à°ùj
ya-staTii¬-uuna √an ya-friD-uu √anfus-a-hum ¬alaa l-mustawaa l-¬aalamiyy-i.
They can impose themselves on the world level.

4 Independent possessive pronoun: dhuu + noun
This pronoun refers to the possessor or owner of something and is used for express-
ing descriptive concepts where English would use the word “of ” plus a noun, such
as “of importance” “of means.” It is also used for descriptive terms such as “bald-
headed” or “two-humped” when describing creatures in terms of their distinctive
features. It is used chiefly in conjunction with a noun, as first term of an √iDaafa
with that noun. Occasionally it is followed by a pronoun suffix. The masculine
form, dhuu, is inflected as one of the “five nouns” whose final vowel is also their
inflectional vowel.12 The feminine form, dhaat, inflects separately. Both paradigms
are presented here.13

See Chapter 7, section 5.4.1.c.
There are several variants of this pronoun, but only the most commonly used forms in contempo-
rary Arabic are presented here. See Wright 1967, I:265“66 for greater detail on the Classical Arabic
forms of this pronoun.
Personal pronouns 313

hP dhuu
˜possessor of ™ (masculine)

Singular Dual Plural

hP GhnP hhnP
dhuu dhawaa dhawuu

¦P ¦nhP
n ¦hnP
dhii dhaway dhawii

GP ¦nhP
n ¦hnP
dhaa dhaway dhawii

¤GP dhaat
˜possessor of ™ (feminine)

Singular Dual Plural

dhaat-u dhawaataa dhawaat-u

p¤GP r»nJGhP r»nJGP p¤GhP
dhaat-i dhawaatay dhawaat-i

n¤GP r»nJGhP r»nJGP p¤GhP
dhaat-a dhawaatay dhawaat-i

4.1 Masculine
¢†«HC™G ¢SCGôdG hP ô°ù¦dG Ohó™G πNódG ¦hòd
al-nasr-u dhuu l-ra√s-i l-√abyaD-i li-dhawii l-daxl-i l-maHduud-i
the bald-headed eagle (˜white-headed™) for those [people] of limited incomes
Úeɦ°ùdG hP πª·G .¬jhP øY Gó«©H ôaÉ°S
al-jamal-u dhuu l-sanaam-ayni saafar-a ba¬iid-an ¬an dhawii-hi.
the two-humped camel He traveled far from his kin (˜those
of his™).

4.2 Feminine
The feminine singular possessive pronoun (dhaat) is of frequent occurrence
because of its use with nonhuman plurals.14
Note that this instance of dhaat is not the same as the demonstrative use of dhaat (e.g., dhaat-a
yawm-in ˜one day™) (see Chapter 13, section 4.2) or the substantive dhaat used to express “self” or
“same” (e.g., madH-u l-dhaat-i ˜self-praise™) (see Chapter 9, section 5.1.2).
314 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

.᪫b ¤GP É¡fCÉH ¤ÉKOÉ™G ∞°Uh
waSaf-a l-muHaadathaat-i bi-√anna-haa dhaat-u qiimat-in.
He described the talks as worthwhile (˜of worth™).

´’°V’ŸÉH áb“Y ¤GP QOÉ°üe
maSaadir-u dhaat-u ¬alaaqat-in bi-l-mawDuu¬-i
sources that have a relationship with the subject

.᫪gCG ¤GP ¿’µà°S èFÉà¦dG ¿EG «Éb
qaal-a √ inna l-nataa√ij-a sa-ta-kuun-u dhaat-a √ahammiyyat-in.
He said that the results will be of importance.
Demonstrative pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns (√asmaa√ al-√ishaara IQÉ°TE™G Aɪ°SCG) are determiners used
with nouns or instead of nouns to show either distance from or proximity to the
speaker, like “this” and “that” in English. English has four demonstrative
pronouns: “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those.” Arabic has a richer variety of
demonstratives. In fact, Classical Arabic has a complex system of sets and subsets
of demonstratives,1 but in Modern Standard Arabic, the most commonly used
ones are described as follows.

1 Demonstrative of proximity: ˜this; these™ Gòg haadhaa
The demonstrative pronoun meaning ˜this™ or ˜these™ shows differences in gender
and number, as well as inflection for case in the dual:

Masculine Feminine

Singular Gòg p√pòg
haadhaa haadhihi
Dual p¿Gòg p¿ÉJÉg
Nominative haadh-aani haat-aani

Genitive/accusative pøjòg pÚJÉg
haadh-ayni haat-ayni

Plural pA™D’g pA™D’`g
haa√ulaa√i haa√ulaa√i

Note that the plural demonstrative has no gender distinction and is used only
when referring to human beings. For referring to nonhuman plurals, the femi-
nine singular demonstrative is used.

More extensive paradigms of demonstrative variants are provided in Wright 1967, I:264-70; Haywood
and Nahmad 1962, 80-81; Thatcher 1942, 53-55; Blachère and Gaudefroy-Demombynes 1975, 200“203.

316 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

2 Demonstrative of distance: ˜that; those™ ‚dP dhaalika
The demonstrative of distance “that” and “those” inflects for gender and number
but is rarely used in the dual in MSA. These forms of the demonstrative are invari-
able and do not inflect for case.

Masculine Feminine

Singular n‚r∏pJ
dhaalika tilka

Plural ‚p„dhCG
√uulaa√ika √uulaa√ika

3 Functions of demonstratives
The demonstrative pronouns can be used independently, in phrases, or in clauses.

3.1 Independent use
A demonstrative can stand by itself as a noun substitute:

.‚dP ˜ í‚ ‚dP ºZQ ≈∏Y
najaH-a fii dhaalika. ¬alaa raghm-i dhaalika
He succeeded in that. despite that

.¬∏c ‚dP øY §óM .»˜µj ™ Gòg øµd
Haddath-a ¬an dhaalika kull-i-hi. laakinn-a haadhaa laa ya-kfii.
He spoke about all that. But this is not enough.

Gòg ≈¦©e .á«∏ªY IÈN øY Gòg «’bCG
ma¬naa haadhaa √a-quul-u haadhaa ¬an xibrat-in ¬amaliyyat-in.
the meaning of this I say this from practical experience.

3.2 Demonstrative phrases
In a demonstrative phrase, the demonstrative pronoun forms a syntactic unit
with a definite noun in order to convey the concept of particular proximity or
distance. These pronouns are considered determiners of nouns (in some ways like
the definite article).
In Arabic, the demonstrative phrase consists of a demonstrative pronoun
definite article noun, as follows:

haadhaa l- lawn-u haadhaa l-lawn-u ¿’∏dG Gòg
˜this-the-color™ this color
Demonstrative pronouns 317

haadhihi l ziyaarat-u haadhihi l-ziyaarat-u IQÉjµdG √òg
˜this-the-visit™ this visit

haa√ulaa√i l naas-u haa√ulaa√i l-naas-u ¢SɦdG A™D’g
˜these the people™ these people

Unlike English, then, the demonstrative phrase includes the definite article
with the noun. If there is a modifying adjective, it follows the noun and agrees
with it in gender, number, case and definiteness.

.ÉeɪàgG ÜÉàµdG Gòg QÉKCG á∏MôŸG √òg ˜
√athaar-a haadhaa l-kitaab-u htimaam-an. fii haadhihi l-marHalat-i
This book aroused interest. at this stage

Oó°üdG Gòg ˜ ≥WɦŸG √òg øe
fii haadhaa l-Sadad-i min haadhihi l-manaaTiq-i
in this connection from these regions

¤ÉHÉ®àf™G √òg ˜ ±Gô°TC™G A™D’g
fii haadhihi l-intixaabaat-i haa√ulaa√i l-√ashraaf-u
in these elections these distinguished people

AGQR’dG n‚p„dhCG ¤EG ¬L’e ó¤f ¿’dhD’°ùŸG A™D’g
haa√ulaa√ i l-mas√uul-uuna
naqd-un muwajjah-un √ilaa √uulaa√ika
l-wuzaraa√-i these officials
a criticism directed toward those ministers

3.3 Demonstrative with second term of √iDaafa
The bond between the demonstrative pronoun and its noun is so tight that a
demonstrative phrase is allowed to be used as the second term of an √iDaafa.2

¤GQó±G √òg ᪫b ¤É°Sh’˜dG ‚∏J ’eóJ
qiimat-u haadhihi l-muxaddiraat-i tadmiir-u tilka l-fiiruusaat-i
the value of these drugs the destruction of those viruses

3.4 Demonstrative with ¬rst term of √iDaafa
If a demonstrative is needed for the first term of an √iDaafa, it must follow the
whole √iDaafa. It cannot attach itself to the first term of the √iDaafa because it
must be followed by a noun with the definite article, whereas the first term of

Normally, an √iDaafa cannot be interrupted by any word between the two nouns joined in the
annexation structure.
318 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

an √iDaafa is stripped of the definite article and defined through the second

√òg ô¶¦dG á¡Lh √òg O’ª·G á∏Môe
wujhat-u l-naZar-i haadhihi marHalat-u l-jumuud-i haadhihi
this point of view this stage of solidity

3.5 Demonstrative with possessed noun
A noun made definite by means of a suffixed possessive pronoun cannot be pre-
ceded by a demonstrative pronoun because in order to precede the noun, the
demonstrative must be followed by the definite article. Since a noun with a pos-
sessive pronoun cannot have the definite article (it is definite by virtue of the suf-
fix), the demonstrative follows:

Gòg ¬HÉàc ˜ √òg ¤hC™G »àHô’
fii kitaab-i-hi haadhaa tajribat-ii l-√uulaa haadhihi
in this book of his this first experience of mine

√òg É¡JGQ’°»¦e ˜ √òg áãjó—G ¤ÉaÉ°»àc™G ᫪gCG
fii manshuuraat-i-haa haadhihi √ahammiyyat-u l-iktishaafaat-i l-Hadiithat-i
in these publications of hers
the importance of these new discoveries

3.6 Demonstratives with proper names
Proper names are considered definite even though many of them do not have a
definite article. When referring to someone™s name with a demonstrative, it fol-
lows the name:

.Gòg ódÉN ¤EG ¤ô°TCG â¦c
kun-tu √ashar-tu √ilaa xaalid-in haadhaa.
I had referred to this ˜Khalid.™

3.7 Demonstrative clauses
In a demonstrative clause, the demonstrative pronoun serves as the subject of the
clause, followed by a complement or predicate. There is therefore a syntactic
boundary between the demonstrative and the rest of the clause.

.»£b Gòg .q„¦Ég ±“àNG Gògh
haadhaa qiTT-ii. wa-haadhaa xtilaaf-un haamm-un.
This [is] my cat. (˜And™) this [is] an important difference.

.≥Fɤ—G ¢†bɦj ¦CGQ Gòg
haadhaa ra√y-un yu-naaqiD-u l-Haqaa√iq-a.
This [is] an opinion that contradicts the facts.
Demonstrative pronouns 319

Most often, the predicate of a sentence or clause with a demonstrative as the
subject is indefinite, or a definite noun with a pronoun suffix.
A noun with a definite article may serve as the predicate of an equational sen-
tence, but if preceded by a demonstrative pronoun, there normally needs to be a
copula or pronoun of separation between the demonstrative and the definite
noun to show that there is a syntactic boundary between them, and that they do
not form a phrase (see below).

3.8 Demonstrative clause with pronoun of separation (copula)
Here the predicate of the equational sentence is a noun with a definite article. In
order to show clearly that there is a separation between a demonstrative pro-
noun subject and the definite noun, a personal pronoun is inserted at the
boundary between subject and predicate to act as a copula or substitute for a
verb of being.

.ÜÉàµdG ’g Gòg .ájGó‘dG ᣤf »g ‚∏J
haadhaa huwa l-kitaab-u. tilka hiya nuqTat-u l-bidaayat-i.
This is the book. That is the starting point.

.ܵ—G ˜ IóFÉ°ùdG AG’LC™G »g ‚∏J .QɵaC™G »g ‚∏J
tilka hiya l-√ajwaa√-u l-saa√idat-u fii l-Hizb-i. tilka hiya l-√afkaar-u
Those are the atmospheres prevailing Those are the ideas.
in the party.

3.8.1 Omission of copula
Occasionally, the copula pronoun or pronoun of separation is omitted in the
demonstrative clause, and the separation has to be deduced from the context.

.¢ù«FôdG É¡«a π‘¤à°ùj »àdG ¤hC™G IôŸG √òg
haadhihi l-marrat-u l-√uulaa llatii ya-staqabil-u fii-haa l-ra√iis-a.
This is the first time that he met the president.

.¬àjôb É¡«a QOÉZ »àdG ¤hC™G IôŸG ‚∏J âfÉc
kaan-at tilka l-marrat-a l-√uulaa llatii ghaadar-a fii-haa qaryat-a-hu.
This was the first time he had left his village.

4 Other demonstratives

4.1 dhaaka ‘GP
The demonstrative dhaaka is a variant of dhalika and sometimes may be used to
contrast with it.
320 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

4.1.1 As an independent word

¥“¨f™G ‘GPh –°ü©àdG ‚dPh ᫦«a’°»dG ‚∏J
tilka l-shuufiiniyyat-u wa-dhaalika l-ta¬aSSub-u wa-dhaaka l-√inghilaaq-u
that chauvinism, that tribalism, and that obscurity
.¢ùeC™ÉH ‘GP ¿Éc
kaan-a dhaaka bi-l-√ams-i.
That was yesterday.

4.1.2 As a suf¬x
As a suffix on an accusative noun denoting ˜time when™:

.‘Gòe’j §ó—G ≈¡àfG .‘Gòe’j G’Kó“h
intahaa l-Hadath-u yawm-a-dhaaka. wa-taHaddath-uu yawm-a-dhaaka.
The event ended that day. They spoke that day.

.„¦Éªàg™G øe GQÉ«J ‘GòfBG ¬HÉàc ≥∏WCGh
wa-√aTlaq-a kitaab-u-hu √aan-a-dhaaka tayyaar-an min-a l-ihtimaam-i.
His book evoked a current of interest at that time.
.’‘µdG §ó—G ¿Éc ‘GòরS ɵjôeCG ±É°»àcG
iktishaaf-u √amriikaa sanat-a-dhaaka kaan-a l-Hadath-a l-kabiir-a.
The discovery of America that year was the great event.

4.2 Demonstrative dhaat-a ¤GP
This demonstrative indicates an indefinite distance in time or space and is used as
the first term of an √iDaafa with an indefinite noun:
áKQGh É¡fCG „¦’j ¤GP ±ô©J ¿CG π‘b
qabl-a √an ta-¬rif-a dhaat-a yawm-in √ann-a-haa waarithat-un
before she found out one day that she was an heiress

4.3 Use of haa Ég ˜this™
The word haa is sometimes used as a shortened form of haadhaa. It implies an
immediate perception, something like English “behold.”

.ºµàdhO »g Ég
haa hiya dawlat-u-kum.
This is your country/ Here is your country.

4.4 Locative demonstrative pronouns: hunaa ɦg, hunaaka ‘ɦg and hunaalika ‚dɦg
˜here™, ˜there™ and ˜(over) there™
These words are considered both adverbs and locative demonstrative pronouns,
since they denote a place close to, distant from, or very distant from the speaker.
Demonstrative pronouns 321

They are used widely in both written and spoken Arabic. Some examples are
found in Chapter 11 on adverbs. Here are some others:

4.4.1 Locative hunaa ɦg ˜here™

á¦jóŸG ˜ ɦg ?ɦg øe ¬Éà˜ŸG ¤óNCG πg
hunaa fii l-madiiindat-i hal √axadh-ta l-miftaaH-a min hunaa?
here, in the city Did you take the key from here?

.ɦg GóMCG ó‚ ¿CG π««à°ùe
mustaHiil-un √an na-jid-a √aHad-an hunaa.
[It is] impossible to find (˜that we find™) anyone here.

4.4.2 Locative hunaaka ‘ɦg ˜there™

.‘ɦg IôFÉ£dG
al-Taa√irat-u hunaaka.
The plane is [over] there.

.≥FÉbO ¢ùªN ó©H ‘ɦg ¿’cCG ¿CG óH ™
laa budd-a √an √a-kuun-a hunaaka ba¬d-a xams-i daqaa√iq-a.
I have to be there in five minutes.

4.4.3 Existential hunaaka ‘ɦg and hunaalika ‚dɦg: ˜there is, there are™
To convey the idea of existence Arabic uses the pronoun/adverb hunaaka ˜there™
paralleling the English use of “there is, there are.” Occasionally the variant hunaa-
lika is also used.

.ºgCG ¤Éj’dhCG ‘ɦ¡a .Q’°ü¤dG “ãe ‚dɦg
fa-hunaaka √awwalawiyyaat-un √ahamm-u. hunaalika mathal-an-i l-quSuur-u.
There [are] more important priorities. There [are], for example, castles.

.áµ∏ª∏d §óM ɪY IóY ¤ÉjGhQ ‘ɦ¡a
fa-hunaaka riwaayaat-un ¬iddat-un ¬ammaa Hadath-a li-l-malikat-i.
There [are] several stories about what happened to the queen.
Relative pronouns and relative clauses

Relative pronouns relate an element in a subordinate relative clause (in Arabic,
al-Sila á∏°üdG) to a noun or noun phrase in the main clause of a sentence. The Arabic
relative pronoun (al-ism al-mawSuul «’°U’ŸGº°S™G) may be definite or indefinite.
MSA uses nine forms of definite relative pronoun. Only the dual form of the defi-
nite relative pronoun shows difference in case. All, however, are marked for num-
ber and gender.
Relative clauses in Arabic are either definite or indefinite; definite clauses are
introduced by a relative pronoun; indefinite relative clauses do not include a
relative pronoun.

1 De¬nite relative pronouns

Masculine Feminine

Singular ¦òsdG »àsdG
alladhii allatii

Dual p¿Gòs∏dG
Nominative alladhaani allataani

Genitive/Accusative ørjnòs∏dG ør«à∏dG
alladhayni allatayni

Plural nøjòsdG »Jq“dG »JG’s∏dG
alladhiina allaatii allawaatii

As can be seen from the above paradigm the definite relative pronouns have a
component that resembles the definite article, /al-/ /`dG/. They refer only to definite
nouns and noun phrases. The initial /al-/ of the relative pronoun starts with
hamzat al-waSl.

Relative pronouns and relative clauses 323

2 De¬nite relative clauses
A relative clause referring back to a definite antecedent uses the definite relative
pronouns. The relative pronoun agrees with its antecedent in number and gender.

2.1 Singular relative pronoun
.IQ’àcódG â∏°SQCG »àdG »g
hiya llatii √arsal-at-i l-duktuur-a.
She is the one who sent the doctor.

.’NC™G Qɪ°ùŸG „°Vh ¦òdG ’gh
wa-huwa lladhii waDa¬-a l-mismaar-a l-√axiir-a.
And he is the one who put [in] the last nail.

á¦jóŸG ˜ º«bCG ¦òdG ójó·G µcôŸG
al-markaz-u l-jadiid-u lladhii √uqiim-a fii l-madiinat-i
the new center which has been established in the city

2.2 Dual relative pronoun
In the dual, the relative pronoun agrees not only in gender and number with its
antecedent, but also in case.

ÚªFÉb ¿™Gµj ™ ¿Gò∏dG ¿ÉLÈdG
al-burj-aani lladhaani laa ya-zaal-aani qaa√im-ayni
the two towers which remain standing

Gó«©°S ÉKóM ¿Gô¶à¦j øjò∏dG ÚLhµ∏`d
li-l-zawj-ayni lladh-ayni ya-ntaZir-aani Hadath-an sa¬iid-an
for the couple who are awaiting a happy event

¢ùeCG ÉJó¤©fG Úà∏dG Úà°ù∏·G ˜
fii l-jalsat-ayni llatayni n¬aqad-ataa √ams-i
in the two sessions that were held yesterday

2.3 Plural relative pronoun
The plural relative pronoun is used only when referring to human beings.

„¦’j πc ¿’∏°üj øjòdG ¬É«°ùdG
al-siyyaaH-u lladhiina ya-Sil-uuna kull-a yawm-in
the tourists who arrive every day

I’¤dÉH A“NE™G ≈∏Y øªZQCG »JG’∏dG I’°ù¦dG
al-niswat-u llawaatii √urghim-na ¬alaa l-√ixlaa√-i bi l-quwwat-i
the women who were compelled to evacuate by force
324 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

3 Inde¬nite relative clauses
A relative clause may refer to an indefinite noun or noun phrase in the main
clause, in which case the relative pronoun is omitted.
The indefinite relative clause follows the main clause without any relative pro-
noun linking them. They are like two independent sentences implicitly linked
because the second refers back to the first.

ÉY’‘°SCG ¥ô¨à°ùJ ≥°»eód IQÉjR ˜
fii ziyaarat-in li-dimashq-a ta-staghriq-u √usbuu¬-an
on a visit to Damascus [which] lasts a week

.¬°SCGQ ó¤a »ª¶Y πµ«g ≈∏Y ¤ÌY
¬athar-at ¬alaa haykal-in ¬aZmiyy-in faqad-a ra√s-a-hu.
She came upon a skeleton [which] had lost its head.

.áYÉ©°»dG ‚∏àÁπLô``c ô¡¶j G’NCGh
wa-√axiir-an ya-Zhur-u ka-rajul-in ya-mtalik-u l-shujaa¬at-a.
Finally, he appears as a man [who] possesses courage.

¬ª°SG øY ∞°»µdG ¢†aQ »¦«£°ù∏a Qó°üe øY
¬an maSdar-in filisTiiniyy-in rafaD-a l-kashf-a ¬an-i sm-i-hi
from a Palestinian source [who] refused to disclose his name

4 Resumptive pronouns in relative clauses
When a relative clause in Arabic refers back to a noun or noun phrase in the main
clause which is the object of a verb or a preposition (e.g., “the book that we read,”
“the house that I lived in”), a pronoun must be inserted in the relative clause to
serve as the object of the verb or preposition, referring back to the object noun in
the main phrase [“the book that we read (it),” al-kitaab-u lladhii qara√-naa-hu
√ÉfCGôb ¦òdG ÜÉàµdG] “the school I studied at (it)” al-madrasat-u llatii daras-tu fii-haa
É¡`«a â°SQO »àdG á°SQóŸG).
This substitute pronoun is called in Arabic the ¬aa√id óFÉY or raaji¬ „LGQ
˜returner™ and in English it is referred to as a resumptive pronoun. It occurs in def-
inite and indefinite relative clauses that contain transitive verbs or prepositions
referring back to an object in the main clause.

4.1 Resumptive pronoun in de¬nite relative clauses
.ɦg √ó°ü¤J ¦òdG ¿ÉµŸG
al-makaan-u lladhii ta-qSid-u-hu hunaa.
The place which you seek (it) is here.
Relative pronouns and relative clauses 325

.¬``¦Y å«‘f ¦òdG πLôdG â«H Gòg
haadhaa bayt-u l-rajul-i lladhii na-bHath-u ¬an-hu.
This is the house of the man whom we are searching for (him).

¿Éà°ùfɨaC™ ¬``àeób ¦òdG ¿ ’©dG
al-¬awn-u lladhii qaddam-at-hu li-√afghaanistaan-a
the aid which it has offered (it) to Afghanistan

.Ég’©¦bCG »àdG ¤ÉW’£±G ≈∏Y G’¶aÉM
HaafaZ-uu ¬alaa l-maxTuuT-aat-i llatii √aqna¬-uu-haa.
They kept the manuscripts which they had authenticated (them).

á«FÉ¡f É¡«a èFÉà¦dG âfÉc »àdG ôFGhódG º¶©e ˜
fii mu¬Zam-i l-dawaa√ir-i llatii kaan-at-i l-nataa√ij-u fii-haa nihaa√iyyat-an
in most of the precincts in which the results were final

±hQÉ°üdG p¬«a §¤°S ¦òdG ¿ÉµŸG ˜
fii l-makaan-i lladhii saqaT-a fii-hi l-Saaruux-u
at the place where the rocket fell (into it)

4.2 Resumptive pronoun in inde¬nite relative clauses
Indefinite relative clauses do not include relative pronouns, but they must
include a resumptive pronoun if the clause refers back to a noun or noun phrase
that is the object of a preposition or a verb.

¢ùeCG √ó¤Y ˜É«°U ô“D’e ˜ «Ébh
wa-qaal-a fii mu√tamar-in SiHaafiyy-in ¬aqad-a-hu √ams-i.
he said in a press conference [which] he held (it) yesterday

. . . Ú‘ µ—G ɪ«YR √ó¤Y ≥∏¨e ´ÉªàLG ˜
fii jtimaa¬-in mughlaq-in ¬aqad-a-hu za¬iim-aa l-Hizb-ayni
in a closed meeting [which] the two leaders of the parties held (it)

5 Inde¬nite or non-speci¬c relative pronouns: maa Ée and man røne
These pronouns refer to non-specified entities.

whoever; he/she who; one who øe
whatever; what; that which Ée GPÉe
maa maadhaa

5.1 Use of man as inde¬nite pronoun
The pronoun man is used to refer to unspecified individuals. It may denote one
person or a group but is usually treated grammatically as masculine singular.
326 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

.É¡LÉà«j øe ¤EG É¡©«‘j . . . «’¤j øe ‘ɦg
ya-bii¬-u-haa √ilaa man ya-Htaaj-u-haa. hunaaka man ya-quul-u . . .
He sells it to whomever needs it. there are those that say . . .


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