Three Arabic Verbs for “to Show”


root: ث-ل-ث / noun / definition: Tuesday

Tuesday feels a little sleepy this week but I have no time to nap. My weekend was spent packing up the things I had left in my university flat which involved an eight-hour round trip (actually, nine with the traffic on the way back) and no progress on my dissertation. But I was glad to be leaving.

I had a little taste of excitement yesterday though during one of my regular evening walks with my mum: we mostly speed-walked (and, at times, ran) through a thunderstorm and downpour, with me laughing most of the way, where our umbrellas did nothing to prevent us getting drenched from head to toe. Sometimes you just need a bit of lightning in your life, right?

In today’s synonyms post, I wanted to cover three Arabic verbs meaning “to show“, which is one of those simple words I always have to think twice about before translating, despite having used, heard, and read these three verbs many times.

So here they are:

أَظهَرَ / يُظهِرُ

أظهر is the form IV verb from the root ظ-ه-ر. Not to be confused with the form I ظَهَرَ / يَظهَرُ (something I’ve done a few times) which means “to appear, emerge”.

عَرَضَ / يَعرِضُ

The second synonym, عَرَضَ, is a form I verb. Not to be confused with its form IV counterpart, أَعرَضَ / يُعرِضُ (something I’ve done more than occasionally—and I think in one of my oral exams too) which means “to give something up” or “to avoid” and is followed by عن.

عَرَضَ is followed by the preposition على when you’re referring to showing something to someone.

بَيَّنَ / يُبَيِّنُ

Finally, we have a form II verb which I thankfully don’t get confused about—but that I do always forget about as a synonym of the other two—بيّن, from the root ب-ي-ن.

As much as I started this blog to help other Arabic students, I find that writing these little posts about things I keep forgetting really helps me too—and I find that many people struggle with the exact same things.

Do you have any “simple” Arabic words that you always get mixed up? Let me know in the comments below and maybe there’ll be a post about them soon!

!إلى اللقاء

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