Arabic Observations: Distance and the Future


root: س-و-ف / noun / plural: مَسافات / definition: distance

Have you ever had those moments when you finally make the connection between two words from the same root? I mean, I knew مَسافة (“distance”) and سَوفَ (the particle indicating future tense) were both from the root س-و-ف, but they’d clearly been floating around in different parts of my brain until recently.

It was just yesterday when I had that “ohhhh!” moment and finally made the connection between them, and I felt as though I was presenting something to my brain that I thought it already knew.

So here’s the connection:

سوف—the future tense indicator—and مسافة—“distance”—come from the same root because the future is something in the distance, or distant. Beautiful.

It’s also interesting to note that there’s a form II verb from the same root—سوّف/يسوّف—meaning “to procrastinate, delay”, which was mentioned in the post Eight Arabic Verbs for “to Postpone”.

Now seeing as I have procrastinated (سوّفتُ) and left finishing off my Arabic short story to the day before the deadline, I better go! But don’t forget to check out the other Arabic Observations posts if you’d love to read some more linguistic musings, and/or take a look at last week’s grammar post about the curious case of امّحق.

And keep an eye out for my posts from Amman as I’m jetting off to Jordan very soon for my study abroad module, إن شاء الله! I’ll be posting on here (of course) as well as creating some exclusive members-only content.

Take care!

!في أمان الله

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