Saying “May” or “Might” in Arabic

مُصْطَلَح

root: ص-ل-ح / noun / plural: مُصْطَلَحات / definition: term (e.g. linguistic or technical)


If you’re studying Arabic, you’ll know that there is usually a plethora of corresponding Arabic terms for each English word—and you’ll also know that a lot of those Arabic words can carry a variety of different meanings based on the immediate context…

But, today, we’re just going to focus on one use of a single Arabic word: how to use قَد to express the meaning of “might”/”may”.


You might have learnt fairly early on that قَد + past tense in Arabic = “already” (or, just generally, it emphasises the past tense).

But when قَد is followed by present tense, it carries the meaning of “may” or “might”.

For example:

قد تُؤَدّي هذه القرارات إلى أزمة سياسية كبيرة

“These decisions may lead to a big political crisis”

and

قَد يَكون مِنَ الصَّعب قِياس مُستَوَياته مِن خِلال التَجارِب العِلميّة

“It might be difficult to measure its levels through scientific experiments”

and

أمّا النازِحون فَقَد يُواجِهون مَشاكِل نَفسيّة مُتنوِّعة تتعلَّق بِنُزوحِهِم

“As for those who have been displaced, they may face various psychological problems associated with their displacement”

Simple as that!

Hope that was useful, إلى اللقاء!


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