What Does إذ Mean and How Do We Use It?

سَبَب

root: س-ب-ب / noun / plural: أَسْباب / definition: reason, rationale


So many milestones! It’s been two years now since my first post on this blog, where I was pretty much writing for an audience of one (thanks Mum <3).

In this time, I’ve received so many messages from you guys—blog readers and fellow Arabic students—telling me how much you love the content. I had no idea where this little project was heading at the start, but I’m so glad that it’s been useful for so many.

If you’d like to support the blog and help me to continue dedicating my time to creating new content, please consider showing your support here!

Onto the main topic of the post now… إذ.

إذ is a tiny word that made its first (brief) appearance in Small But Useful Arabic Phrases That You Need To Know (Part 3).

Despite coming across it a lot in my reading, I realised I hadn’t actually been using it until recently. (Not really a surprise I guess—I’m about four weeks into my master’s course following an unintentional double gap year…)

So, what does إذ mean?

إذ introduces a clause that provides a reason or justification for what’s in the main clause.

We might see it translated as “since” or “as”. Sometimes, it’s not translated at all.

إذ is usually followed by a verb.


Examples*:

حَقَّقَ الحِزبُ الجُمهوريُّ الحاكِمُ نَصراً ساحِقاً على مُنافِسيهِ إذ حَصَلَ على مُعظَمِ المَقاعِد

the ruling republican party realised an overwhelming victory over its opponents since it obtained most of the seats


وَتَلا الفَتحَ العَسكَريَّ فَتحٌ لُغَويٌّ إذ اِنتَشَرَت العَرَبيّةُ في أَنحائِه

the military conquest was followed by a linguistic conquest; [for/as] Arabic spread in the conquered areas


إذ can also be followed by a noun or pronoun—and when it is, we typically add أنّ too.

(Remember that if we want to follow أنّ with a pronoun, it’ll have to be in the form of an attached pronoun suffix—e.g. أنّه.)


Example*:

وَقَد أَسفَرَت […] عَن مَقتَلِ أَفرادِ طاقِمِ الطائِرةِ الثَّلاثة إذ أنّ الطائِرةَ هَبَطَت على جِسمِها

it led to the death of the three-man crew of the aircraft, as the aeroplane was forced to land on its body


So that’s إذ—a very useful little word for you to start using!

I hope this post was helpful, see you soon.

!مع السلامة


* Examples and translations (with minor adjustments) are from Standard Arabic: An Advanced Course and A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic—both great from grammar/stylistics!



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