Six Ways to Say “Can” or “to be Able to” in Arabic


root: ق-د-ر / noun / plural: قُدُرات / definition: ability, capability

For the vast majority of us, this past year has swirled into a nebulous stretch of time—a calendar that’s run away with itself and plunged into senselessness.

One of the only things punctuating my weeks has been writing these posts (the Wehr Wednesdays posts, in particular, prevent the days of the week from slipping towards the arbitrary).

That being said, in the midst of uncontrollable events, there are still things within our power. And speaking of what we can do, here’s six different ways to say “to be able to” or “can” in Arabic!

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Quadriliteral Arabic Verb Forms


root: و-ز-ن / noun / plural: أَوْزان / definition: form, pattern

We’ve come across some Arabic words from quadriliteral roots before on this blog—that is, roots comprising four letters. And I even went into a little depth about a quadriliteral verb form in Wehr Wednesdays #23.

But “a little depth” doesn’t really do it for me when it comes to Arabic grammar.

So, in this post, we’re going to explore the various forms in which verbs with four-letter roots occur.

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Root Exploration: م-و-ه


root: ب-س-ط / adjective / definition: simple

What can we get from the root of a word as simple as “water”? In Arabic, quite a lot!

Here we are, with the second post in the Root Exploration series, and this time we’re taking a look at the root م-و-ه.

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How to Say “Such” in Arabic


root: ك-ي-ف / interrogative / definition: how

One thing I’ve noticed about myself since starting this blog is that I can never definitively plan out the order of my posts—I post what I feel like writing that day (well, night, usually), whether I noted down the topic months ago or just thought of the idea.

This post’s topic happens to be one I wrote down many months ago, when I came across a construction that I don’t remember seeing before.

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Four Particles That Mean “So That”


root: ح-ر-ف / noun / plural: حُروف / definition: letter, (grammatical) particle

It’s never too soon for another synonyms post, so this week we’re taking a look at four different particles we can use to express purpose—they can all be translated as “so that” or “in order to“.

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Arabic Observations: the Abstract Noun of a Question?


root: ء-ن-ث / verbal noun of form II / definition: feminisation

You might know that, in order to create an abstract noun in Arabic, you can simply feminise a regular noun with the typical ـِيّة ending.

Examples include:

  • إنسانِيّة – humanity (derived from إنسان, human)
  • اِشتِراكِيّة – socialism (derived from اِشتِراك, participation)
  • لاشَيئِيّة – nothingness (derived from لاشَيء, nothing)
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Arabic Headline Analysis #5


root: ن-ق-ل / noun / plural: نِقابات / definition: syndicate, union

It’s been a while since the last instalment in the Arabic Headline Analysis series, so we’re back today with another headline from the Project Syndicate website to analyse. (Take a look at this post to find out why this news website is great for language learners!)

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Three Ways to Say “One of” in Arabic


root: و-ح-د / active participle of form I / definition: one

Do you know the different ways to say “one of” in Arabic? It seems quite a simple thing, but I remember that I didn’t actually learn these three ways until my third year of university.

And if you haven’t learnt them yet, keep reading!

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Reference: A List of Abbreviations in the Hans Wehr Dictionary


root: خ-ص-ر / noun / plural: اِختِصارات / definition: abbreviation

So, admittedly, this may not be the most interesting post you’ll read on this blog. But anything that helps with understanding the Hans Wehr dictionary—and, by extension, Arabic—is worth posting, in my opinion.

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Arabic Observations: Same Root Letters, Different Sequence


root: ر-ت-ب / verbal noun of form II / plural: تَرْتيبات / definition: order, sequence

I just couldn’t resist another post in the Arabic Observations series this week! (But an in-demand post about the Hans Wehr dictionary is coming soon! Can you guess what it might be?)

For this post, we’re taking things down to the root again and looking at words with the same root letters in a different sequence. Could there be any connection between the meanings of these words?

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