root: ف-ع-ل / noun / definition: subject (e.g. of a verb)
It’s no coincidence that I included “مِن قِبَلِ” in the very first Small but Useful Arabic Phrases That You Need To Know post. And because this phrase is so helpful, I thought it was worth making a post explaining how and when to use it.
Okay, so our first stop is the Hans Wehr dictionary (you can check out my simple guide to using this dictionary if you’re not familiar with it yet)…
Under the root ق-ب-ل, you’ll find the word “قِبَل”. And within its definitions, you’ll find this:
So the phrase is evidently made up of two components:
- مِن—a preposition, making the following word مجرور (i.e. having a kasra at the end)
- قِبَلِ—a noun meaning “power”/”ability”; this word forms an إضافة (possessive construction) with the word following it
When used together—as you can see from the image above—مِن قِبَلِ means: on the part of, from, or by.
In other words, it’s used to indicate the subject of a clause/sentence.
Note: don’t confuse مِن قِبَلِ with مِن قَبْلُ, which means “previously”/”before”.
The question is: in what context would we actually use this phrase?
The answer: مِن قِبَلِ is most often used when the “doer” of the verb comes later in the sentence.
Let’s look at the following example:
تَمَّ القَبْضُ عَلَيْهِ مِن قِبَلِ الشُّرْطَةِ
he was arrested by the police
The sentence begins with a passive construction, meaning that the subject of the verb is omitted in the first half of the sentence.
So if the writer wanted to clarify who did the “arresting” later in the clause, they would add “من قِبَل” followed by the subject, as you can see above.
Simple concept right? And it’ll come in handy too.
That’s all for this post—but if you haven’t had a chance to read last week’s one yet, do take a look at Two Ways to Say “Not Yet” in Arabic.
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