Arabic Roots: the Different Types

نَوْع root: ن-و-ع / noun / plural: اَنْواع / definition: type I’ve thought about writing a book about Arabic grammar for a long time. Just because I love it so much. I thought that maybe I’d start off with a small one about Arabic verbs, focusing on the forms perhaps, but when I start makingContinue reading “Arabic Roots: the Different Types”

Passive Form I Quadriliteral Verbs

رُباعي root: ر-ب-ع / adjective / definition: quadriliteral Quadriliterals… we meet again. And this time, we’re looking at how to transform form I quadriliteral verbs from active to passive.

The Causative بـ

ذاكِرة root: ذ-ك-ر / noun / definition: memory Ahh, finally, a grammar post! My brain feels at least somewhat refreshed now that I’ve had a week of doing nothing (except what we can call passive learning: watching Lebanese and Iraqi TV series and having الجزيرة on in the background every day while I play solitaireContinue reading “The Causative بـ”

The Case of امّحق: Form VII Assimilation

مُماثَلة root: م-ث-ل / verbal noun of form III / definition: assimilation (phonology) There’s less than three weeks until my study abroad module begins which means I’ll be jetting off very soon for a relaxing break an intensive period of Arabic study in Jordan. It really can’t come soon enough because I’ve forgotten almost allContinue reading “The Case of امّحق: Form VII Assimilation”

The False/Adjective إضافة

إضافة root: ض-ي-ف / verbal noun of form IV / definition: addition, genitive construction So we all know the إضافة, right? It’s a construction where nouns are put together, with certain rules, to indicate possession. Well… Did you know we can actually use adjectives inside إضافة constructions? I know this probably sounds contradictory to everythingContinue reading “The False/Adjective إضافة”

The Meaning of لم يكن لـ

إبْداعي root: ب-د-ع / adjective / definition: creative I was tempted to write another literature-inspired post this week (especially considering I just completed my first piece of creative writing Arabic homework which was so fun to do!), but how long can we go without some good old grammar?! A long while ago, when I wasContinue reading “The Meaning of لم يكن لـ”

“Once Upon a Time” in Arabic

قِصّة root: ق-ص-ص / noun / plural: قِصَص / definition: story Once upon a time… It’s the typical opening of the stories I’m sure most of us used to read when we were younger. But what’s the Arabic equivalent of this phrase? And how does it make sense grammatically?

Diminutives in Arabic

صَغير root: ص-غ-ر / adjective / definition: small A diminutive is a modified word used to express smallness. Think of the English word duckling, derived from duck. In Arabic, the diminutive is referred to as التَّصغير—a verbal noun meaning “to make smaller”. So how can we recognise and form diminutives in Arabic?

Using عدم

عَدَم root: ع-د-م / noun / definition: nonexistence, absence, lack The word عَدَم is a noun meaning “nonexistence”, “absence”, or “lack (of)”. When it’s used in an إضافة with a following noun, it can often be translated as a prefix like non-, un-, or dis-. Let’s look at some examples…

Using مهما

فَصْل دِراسيّ root: ف-ص-ل / noun phrase / definition: academic term, semester It’s officially the final week of term 1 and I’m in that position where, on one hand, I can’t believe a whole term has passed and, on the other hand, I wish I could fast forward past this final wave of deadlines andContinue reading “Using مهما”

What Does مما كان عليه Mean?

حالة root: ح-و-ل / noun / plural: حالات / definition: state, case, condition In the post Treasures in Translation, I used a quote from an article to illustrate a cool translation point—the quote being: وما ينذر بالسوء أن درجة حرارة الأرض أصبحت الآن أعلى مما كانت عليه خلال عصر الهولوسين …and the translation point beingContinue reading “What Does مما كان عليه Mean?”

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 fellowContinue reading “What Does إذ Mean and How Do We Use It?”

How to Form Words with the “Re-” Prefix in Arabic

تَشْكيل root: ش-ك-ل / verbal noun of form II / definition: forming, formation I’ve never been great when it comes to time perception. But I do know that it feels like ages since we last had a grammar post on here (the last was Quadriliteral Active Participles in Arabic, it seems). I can’t stay away fromContinue reading “How to Form Words with the “Re-” Prefix in Arabic”

Quadriliteral Active Participles in Arabic

اِسم فاعِل root: ف-ع-ل / phrase / definition: active participle If you’d asked me a week ago, I’d have told you that I lead a somewhat minimalist life—I hate having *things* cluttering up spaces around me which could very well be left empty. (This is, of course, ignoring my book-filled shelves and surfaces—books are entirelyContinue reading “Quadriliteral Active Participles in Arabic”

The Grammar of Using Arabic Numbers

عَدَد root: ع-د-د / noun / plural: أَعْداد / definition: number I remember learning the grammar for using Arabic numbers at university. It seemed fairly simple as there were essentially three sets of rules: one for the numbers 3-10, one for 11-99, and another for whole hundreds, thousands, etc. But when I looked a littleContinue reading “The Grammar of Using Arabic Numbers”