GRAMMAR NOTE 1 الماضي ‘The Perfect Tense’
The Perfect Tense may have the following meanings and functions:
- a. It expresses a completed action, an Event, as in a narrative—it answers the question, What happened? What took place? Here are some examples from the Basic Text of Lesson 1 (for other examples look in lessons 6 and 11, which are narratives):
جلس ‘he sat down’
قام الى اهله ‘he (up and) went to his family’
سألوه ‘they asked him’
تمّ الزواج ‘the marriage took place/was performed’
انتظر ساعة ‘he waited for an hour’
خرجت من المطبخ ‘she came out of the kitchen’
This of course includes negative perfects as well, which are mostly expressed with لم, like:
لم يستطعْ ‘He found himself incapable of, he was unable (at that point) to’
If you take all the perfect tense verbs in main clauses out of a narrative and string them together you will have a skeleton of the plot.
Here the English verb and the Arabic verb are in contrast: The English past tense can denote either a single event (“he ate with us yesterday”) or a past custom or condition (“he always ate alone”), whereas the Arabic verb can only denote an event (تغدى معنا البارحة). Compare:
I wrote my parents a letter last Sunday about my new job.
“I wrote” = an event = perfect tense: كتبتُ and
I wrote my parents a letter every Sunday when I was in college.
“I wrote” = customary activity = past imperfect: كنت أكتبُ
b. A perfect may also express an event whose results are still in effect, where English uses the present perfect tense:
هل ركبت جَمَلاً؟ Have you ridden a camel?
لم ارَ في حياتي امرأة بمثل هذا الجمال. I have never in my life seen a woman of such beauty.
لم ازر شيكاغو حتى الآن. I haven’t visited Chicago as of now.
لم تنسَه في حياتها. She hasn’t forgotten him all her life,
This applies in the case of verbs of motion (‘to come, to go’):
جئتُ للحصول على شهادة. I have come to get a degree.
- The perfect is used as optative to express a wish (positive or negative), blessings, prayers, or curses, and is equal to English “would that…”, “may [such-and-such happen]”, as in:
باركَكَ الله ‘(May) God bless you!’
والدي، رحمه الله … My father, God rest his soul …
كفانا الله شرَّه ‘May God protect us from the harm he will bring’.
قاتله الله (lit. May God fight him! Damn him!)
لعنهم الله (lit. May God curse him! Damn him!
In this usage the perfect is negated by لا, as in
لا سمح الله ‘Heaven forbid!’
It is worth mentioning that in more recent Standard Arabic the use of the imperfect with optative meaning, following colloquial usage, shows up more and more in writing.
الله يلعن الشيطان! (lit. May God curse the devil!
الله يُكرمُك! (lit. May God honor you! May God be gracious to you?
- Verbs that make a declaration— effecting changes in the formal or official status of a person or thing, referred to as performative verbs–are usually in the perfect tense, and may be passive. They carry the meaning of “consider it done”.
(In English they are usually first person singular or plural present tense. A minister might say “I pronounce you husband and wife”, at which point the couple is officially married). Here are examples:
فصلناك من اللجنة. we (hereby) fire you from the committee.’
اتّفَقْنا.ا ‘We (herewith) agree.’ ‘Agreed! It’s a deal’
قُبلَت الاستقالةُ. ُ ‘The resignation is (hereby) accepted’.
زوّجتك إيّاها. (said at a Muslim wedding) You are hereby married.
Notice that English often has “hereby” when using such verbs.
Verbal derivatives may also carry performative force, as with انا شاكرٌ لك ‘I am grateful to you, I thank you’ and شكراً ‘thanks’.
For review, note that in Arabic the imperfect tense is the tense used with:
- verbs that make assertions, committing the speaker to a particular stand or belief,:
اعترف بعدالة القضية. ‘I acknowledge the justice of the cause’
- verbs used as directives, causing the hearer to do something:
اتحدّاك ان تعيدَ ذلك ‘I dare you to do that again’
and(iii) verbs of expression, expressing the speaker’s psychological state regarding the issue at hand: اعْتَذِر ‘I apologize’ and اشْكُرُك ‘I thank you.’
- The Perfect also has a present (and future in some cases) meaning with verbs of understanding, knowing, liking, thinking:
أفهمت ما أقوله؟ Do you understand what I say.
نعم فهمت. Yes, I do.
- In subordinate clauses which follow verbs in the perfect, perfect may mean past perfect:
بعد انْ غادرت فكّرت مَلِيّاً في السؤال الذي وجّهته اليّ
After I left, I thought for a long time about the question he had addressed to me.
(ii) The perfect tense in a subordinate clause retains its basic meaning of a completed event but the timing will depend on the type of subordinate clause it is in–a relative clause, where it will often refers to past time, or a conditional clause where it probably refers to present time, etc.
This may have been covered in an earlier note, but if so, it bears repeating.
- In conditional sentences the verb in both the conditioning clause and the result clause are mostly in the perfect with mostly a present or future meaning:
- in real, possible conditions with اذا، إن, the verb that follows is in the perfect , while in contrary to fact and hypothetical conditions with لو conditioning clauses may be either both perfect or both jussive, with the perfect having a present or future meaning.
- This is also the case with the perfect in temporal clauses withا اذ meaning ‘when’ and اذا ما ‘whenever’ which have a present or future meaning.
- With the indefinite relative pronouns مَن ‘who, whoever’ ما ‘what, whatever’, where both the main and the subordinate clauses are either perfect or jussive:
الله معك في كلّ ما قابلت من صعوبات May God be with you in all the difficulties you meet.
من شبّ على شيء شاب عليه The way you grow up is the way you grow old.
افعلوا ما شئتم/كما شئنم
d. after adverbs followed by the indefinite particle ما like اينما كُلَّما حيثما مهما متى ما (see lesson 3 Lexical note 2)
في اي وقت شاء The perfect verb شاء ‘is used in this expression in the place of the imperfect to give the verb the character of definiteness by implying that it has already been exercised’. The imperfect may also be used here.
A NOTE ON لم يمضِ ‘(time) did not pass’: The Jussive of Defective Verbs.
Defective verbsالفعل المُعْتَلّ الآخِر/ are probably the trickiest of all to conjugate and nowhere more so than in the jussive mood/المضارع المجزوم
, Here is a brief reminder of how it goes.
First, the jussive mood/الفعل المجزوم of sound verbs is formed by deleting the short vowel ـَ a on any subjunctive form unless it is part of the inflection نَ , the feminine plural ending; to re-phrase it, change فتحة to سكون except on feminine plural forms of the subjunctive. To illustrate first with the sound verb كتب – يكتب ‘to write’ and then with three defective verbs (only the affected forms are given):
Strong Verb: كتب – يكتبُ ‘to write’
Jussive – Subjunctive
لم اكتبْ ‘I did not write’ أنْ اكتبَ – ‘that I write’
لم تكتبْ ‘you did not write’ تكتبَ – أنْ ‘that you write’ لم يكتبْ ‘he did not write’ يكتبَ – أنْ ‘that he write’
لم نكتبْ ‘we did not write’ أنْ نكتبَ – ‘that we write’
Jussive – Subjunctive
لم ادعُ ‘I did not call’ – أنْ ادعوَ ‘that I call’
لم ابقَ ‘I did not stay’ – ان ابقى ‘that I stay’
لم امضِ ‘I did not continue’ – ان امضيَ ‘that I continue’
The jussive of defective verbs is formed by shortening the long vowel of the subjunctive stem: ى aa becomesـَ a, ي ii becomes ـِi and و uu becomes ـ ـُu. This involves dropping a letter in each case, leaving only a vowel sign/حركة. Defective verbs, exemplified here by دعا – يدعو ‘to call’ and مضى – يمضي ‘to continue on’, thus have long vowels in the imperfect indicative and subjunctive but, following this rule, lose the long vowel in the jussive. With a fully-voweled text this is no problem, since the حركات are visible, but most all texts are unvoweled and this can be a problem. Suppose you come across لم يمت in a text–how do you read it? Well, how can you read it? You have to know that يمت could be based on a doubled root, as in لم يمُتَّ ‘he did not spread (s.th.)’, or on a hollow root, لم يمُتْ ‘he did not die’ or a defective root,لم يمْت which doesn’t exist.
When you come across a very short verb form in the imperfect tense in a context that requires or permits the jussive mood, then you proceed through a similar process of elimination.
And while we are at it, remember that with hollow verbs الفعل الأجْوّف/verb forms with no suffixes shorten the long vowel in the jussive as in
Jussive – Nominative
لم اقُلْ ‘I did not l’ أقولُ‘I say’
لم أكَدْ ‘no sooner had I …’ أكادُ ‘I almost …’
لم أنَمْ أنامُ ‘I sleep’
لم أسِرْ أسيرُ ‘I walk’
افعال تأخذ مفعولين أصلهما مبتدأ وخبر 2.. ‘Verbs with two Objects in a relationship of subject and predicate
In lesson 4 we discussed a class of verbs with two Object Complements: Causatives of transitive verbs with one object, and Verbs with the specific meaning of giving. In this lesson we will discuss another class of verbs with two Object Complements, verbs whose two object complements stand to one another in a relationship of subject and predicate. These are also of two kinds:
1. Verbs whose two objects are nouns that bear to each other a true equational relationship (i.e. one where the first equals and “is” the second). These include (i) verbs like لقّـّب ‘name, surname (or nickname)’, دعا ‘name’, سمّى ‘name, call’, whose second object may alternately take the preposition ب and (ii) verbs like عيّن ‘appoint’, اختار ‘choose, select’, اتّخذ ‘single out, adopt, take s.o. for’, انتخب ‘elect’, whose second object may alternately take the preposition ك ‘as’.
Here the order is always first object followed by second, and only the first may be pronominalized and only the first can become the subject of the passive verb. Here are examples:
سَمّوْا ابنَتـَهم الكبرى فاطمة َ/سَمّوْها بفاطمة They called their eldest daughter/her Fatima.
سُمِّيَت فاطمة َ/ بفاطمة She was called Fatima.
لُقـِّب( بـ)أمير البحار He was surnamed ‘the admiral’.
انتخبوا رئيس حزب اليمين رئيساً للوزراء/ They elected the head of the party of the right prime minister.
انتخبوه رئيساً للوزراء/اُنْتُخِب رئيساً للوزراء They elected him prime minister/He was elected prime minister.
عُيـِّنت ثاتشر سفيرة ً/كسفيرةً لبلادها في غانا Thatcher was appointed her country’s embassador to Ghana.
2. Verbs that take aمصدر مؤوّل ‘noun clause with أنّ ’ as their object but can also occur without أنّ , where the subject after أنّ serves as first object المفعول الأوّل, and the predicate as second object المفعول الثاني . The first object is always a noun (or pronoun) and is in the accusative, and the second can be a noun, adjective, or participle, in which case it takes the accusative marker, a prepositional phrase, or a verb (in both الماضي and المضارع المرفوع) . Such verbs as ظنّ ‘think’, رأى ‘see, perceive, deem’ , عرف ‘know/recognize s.o./s.th. to be, حسِب ‘reckon, consider, deem, assume’, اعتبر ‘consider’, زعم ‘regard, take s.o. for or to be, claim’, تصوّر ‘imagine’ , خال ‘imagine, consider, deem s.o. to be’, وجد ‘ find s.o. or s.th. to be’, mean mostly knowing, having or leaning towards an opinion, considering, believing, and are known as افعال القلوب ‘verbs of the heart’ (heart here refers to the mind and the intellect and not to emotions or feelings).
ظننتُ الحبَّ قائماً بينهما I thought love existed between them.
حسِبتُ العلم كنزاً لا يفنى I reckoned knowledge to be a lasting treasure.
وجدناه أهلا للاحترام والثناء We found him to be worthy of respect and praise.
Here again the order is always first object followed by the second, and only the first may be pronominalized and become the subject of the passive verb.
Here again, it is important to have the following comments in mind as we consider, study, and try to retain and use these verbs.
اعتقدها قاسية القلب* I believe her to be (lit.her) hard hearted.
On the other hand, we also have a verb of this same semantic class, عدّ ‘consider, regard, think’ which is not normally used with .أنّSo we have:
عددتموه واحداً من أقرب الأصدقاء. You considered him one of your closest friends.
*عددتم انّه واحدا من أقرب الأصدقاء
b. Some of the verbs of this subclass may have different meanings in different contexts. Thus, the verbs رأى and وجد with أنّ refer to mental activities and are acts of the mind, such as deeming and finding ‘s.o. or s.th to be …’, respectively ; without أنّ they may may have the meaning of افعال القلوب , but it may refer to the organs of sense as افعال الحَسّ ‘verbs of the sense’, and mean ‘see with the eyes’, or ‘come across, hit upon’, respectively. In the latter case, the second complement after the first object is not a second object but a حال. The line of demarcation is much clearer in the case of the verb سَمِع , which is preponderantly a verb of the heart with أنّ ‘learn, be told’ but a verb of sense ‘hear (with the ears)’, without أنّ. With other verbs it is more difficult sometimes to tell a second object from a حال . Much depends on the context and whether the second construction lends itself to such an interpretation; it is a second object for sure, when it is clear that the first object is or is taken to be the second. Thus,
ظننتُه صديقاً لى/يعرف العربية/قد ترك وظيفته I thought him to be a friend of mine/him to be one who knows Arabic/he had left his job.
Compare this sentence with:
عرفته قاضياً عادلاً I knew him to be a fair judge or
I knew him as (at a time when he was) a fair judge.
رأيتهم لا يعرفون للحريّة معنىً I perceived them to be people who did not know the meaning of freedom.
c. As you know several of these verbs can do without a second object:
علمت القضيّة I got to know the problem.
d. With some of these verbs, the first object and the subject of the verb may be identical, but only if both are 1s., in which case the first object has the meaning ‘myself’:
رأيتُني أتخبّط. I saw me (myself) wandering about, lost.
e. Once again here, what we said about these verbs and their government applies to their derivatives: مصدر ‘verbal nouns’ and اسم الفاعل واسم المفعول ‘active and passive participles’, (wherever these have not taken on the meaning and usage of nouns, of course.
انا مُصرّ على اعتبار أخيك قائداً مثاليّا. I insist on considering your brother a model leader.
لم أقل شيئاً مُعتبرا السكوتَ أفضلَ من الكلام. I said nothing, considering silence better than talking.
f. In the passive, it is the whole clause with أنّ or the first object, i.e.when the verb is used without أنّ , that becomes the subject of the passive verb.
وُجِدتم أهلا للاحترام والثناء. You were found him worthy of respect and praise.
عُرِف قاضياً عادلاً. He was known to be a fair judge or
He was known as (when he was) a fair judge.
g. Finally these verbs with two objects are to be distinguished from verbs that take two accusatives, but their two complements do not stand to each other in any of the relationships we described here or in lesson 4. Such verbs, like زاد ‘add to, increase’, take an object and a complement in the accusative that answers the question ‘with respect to what, in terms of what’ (called تَمْييز in Arabic, to be discussed in lesson 7). Here is the example we find in this lesson:
ممّا زادها (مدينة بغداد) جمالا ً حدائقها. What has added to its beauty …(lit. what has increased it in beauty)
Once again, an earlier statement with respect to differences in the meaning and usage of various verbs bears repeating: only the use of a dictionary, careful study, practice, patient learning, frequent use and extensive exposure can teach the learner of a foreign language, any foreign language, and help him or her retain these details.
3.The Passive Participle/الاسم المفعول. In the previous lesson we discussed active participles; it would be well now to have a glance at passive participles, first the forms and then their usages.
Form I verbs are the most basic forms of verbs in Arabic, and the derived verb conjugations are built on them. For example, Form I verb وضُحَ ‘to be clear’ can be put into the causative Form II verb وضّح to mean “to cause to be clear, make clear, clarify, explain’. Form I active participles have their own private shapes different from those of the derived Forms. The Form I active participle pattern is فاعِلٌ and its variants, as you know, and the passive pattern is مَفْعولً, as in فاعل ‘making’ and مفعول ‘made’ from فعل – يفعل ‘to do, make’.
The rule for forming all the derived verb participles goes like this, illustrated by Form II قدّم ‘to present; to offer’, Form VI تناوَل ‘to reach for and take’ and VIII انتخب ‘to elect’:
0: Imperfect indicative: يقدِّم يتناوَل ينتخِب 1. Select the imperfect stem: -قدِّم -تناوَل نتخِب –
2. Prefix مُ-: مُقدِّم متناوَل منتخِب
3. Change the stem vowel where necessary
for the active to i: مُقدِمٌ’presenting’ متناوِل ‘taking up’ منتخِب ‘electing’
for the passive to a: مُقدَم ‘presented’ متناوَل ‘taken up’ منتخَب ‘elected’
The meaning of the passive participle is “having undergone )the action of the verb(” or “having been put into or assumed (the state or quality denoted by the verb)”; the technical term for this meaning is patient, one who has suffered or undergone the action of the verb. Thus the underlying meaning of مقدَّم is ‘having been presented’, of متناوَل is ‘having been taken’, and of منتخَب is ‘having been elected’.
The passive participles of verb-preposition idioms retain the preposition to specify the meaning of the phrase; the structure is illustrated by the following phrase based on وَثِقَ – يَثِقُ بِ ‘to trust, have confidence in’:
دراسةٌ موثوقٌ بها ‘a trustworthy/reliable study’
Here the past participle itself is invariable–it is always masculine singular, while the pronoun object of the preposition is what agrees with the modified noun. Here are two more examples:
القوانين المعمول بها ‘the laws on the basis of which (governments) have been operating’
علمه وجهده غير مرغوبٍ فيهما في وطنه الام’his education and efforts are not favored in his mother country’
A secondary meaning of the passive is potentiality of action; for example, مأكول can mean either ‘(having been) eaten’ or ‘edible’ and مقبول can mean ‘accepted’ or ‘acceptable’. This feature is found in the verb as well, where the passive can have potential meaning, as in شيء لا يُصَدَّقُ ‘something unbelievable (“not to be believed”)’ and لم يحدثْ شيءٌ يُذْكَرُ ‘Nothing remarkable happened.’
Finally, some passive participles develop fixed meanings and become nouns, taking the plural patterns that nouns rather than adjectives take, like مكتوب ‘message, note’ (“that which has been written”) with its plural مكاتيبُ and مفهومٌ – مفاهيمُ ‘notion-s, concept-s’. The word معلوم is interesting: as a passive participle it means “known”; as a noun it means “fee; duty, tax” (Tunisia), and with the feminine suffix, معلومة, it means ‘a known or given fact, a piece of information’ with the regular plural معلومات meaning ‘knowledge, information; data’.
Derived passive participles may also mean noun of place, like مخيَّم ‘camping ground, camp’ from خيَّم ‘to pitch tent, encamp’ and مُستشفىً ‘hospital’ from استشفى ‘to seek a cure’. In this usage the derived passive participles differ from basic Form I verbs, which have the special pattern مفعلة/مَفعَل (or مفغِل with most verbs whose imperfect stem vowel in ـِ i). The plural of all of these patterns is مَفاعِلُ.
مكتبٌ – مكاتِبُ ‘office-s’ from كتب – يكتُب ‘to write’
مدرسةٌ – مدارسُ ‘school-s’ from درس – يدرُس ‘to study’
مجلِسٌ – مجالسُ ‘seat; session; council’ from جَلَسَ – يجلِس ‘to sit down’
مقهىً – مقاهٍ from the root of the noun قهْوة
Lexical Note 1 جعل
This verb has several meanings and connotations, some of which will be given below. In this connection, we should keep several things in mind as we progress in the mastery of the language. As you must surely have already realized, words assume a number of meanings other than the one that occurs in a particular text. The English translation (or the Arabic synonym) that is given in the new word section very often applies to the particular context in which it occurs in that lesson and that English word may itself carry a whole lot of other meanings that do not apply to the Arabic word in that lesson. Beginning with lesson 11, no English translation is provided, except in cases where an Arabic synonym is not within your vocabulary at this point in time; that gets you one step further in the acquisition of Arabic, which is to rely on your previous knowledge and the context. But even here, the Arabic synonym that is given may not provide the full range of meanings that the new word has. Here again to acquire that we need to rely more and more on the context, dictionaries and other useful instruments of learning. To help in that endeavor, beginning with lesson 16, the meanings of certain new words are not given at all and you are to figure them from the context. Once again, please remember that different meanings, nuances etc. are expressed through particular syntactic structures as. in the case of جعل as a verb of beginning, and as pointed out in the grammatical note in this lesson on verbs with two objects, through the use of different prepositions, and even, in many cases, the very same word or construction in a different context. Best wishes as you seek to reach the Superior level in Arabic and beyond.
The verb جعل has several meanings. Here are the most common:
1. to begin an event or an action, i.e. as one of افعال الشروع ‘verb of beginning’. As explained in Lesson 4 Grammar Note 2, two conditions apply: it can only be in الماضي , and it must be followed alone or with its subject by a verb in المضارع with an identical pronoun subject.
حين رآني جعل يعاتبني. When he saw him he began to reproach me.
2. to induce/cause someone to do or act, when followed by an object and a verb in المضارع with the same subject as that object:
جعلهم يقرأون بصوت عالٍ. He made them read with a loud.voice.
جعلوهنّ يلبَسن غطاءً على رؤوسهنّ They made them wear a cover over their heads.
3. to set or make a rule, a principle, or establish a new fact as in وضع ، خصّص:
اجعل لكلّ شيءٍ وقتاً. Set a time for everything.
جعل الدستور لكلّ ولاية مجلساً خاصّاً The constitution set up a special chamber for every state.
جعل بغداد عاصمةً للدولة. He made Baghdad the capital of the state.
4. to turn s.th. into, transform
جعل الطين ابريقاً He made a jar out of clay.
5. to appoint to an office
. جعلوه رئيساً لحكومتهم They made him head of their government.
جعلها وزيرة للخارجية. He made her Secretary of State.
6. to think, deem, believe, maintain s.o./s.th. to be …
جعل من الحبّة قُبّة. He deemed a granule a dome (he exaggerated)
جعلوا العجل الهاً لهم. They made the calf their god.
7. to put, get s.o. / s.th. into a specific state or condition
الدموقراطية تجعلنا مطمئنّين على حقوقنا واموالنا Democracy makes us feel secure as to our rights and property.
2. تتابع اوتسلسل الأحداث sequence of events
The following construction occurs in this lesson:
لم يمضِ … حتـّى… ‘It was not long before…; no sooner had he …until…’
There are a number of expressions in Arabic that convey this same or similar idea of ‘It was not long before…; no sooner had he …until…’ ‘no sooner … than’ ‘it was not long before …
’ .They are of high frequency occurrence and you are very likely to come across them in your readings, especially in news reports and narratives. Here are the most common:
- ما كاد/لم يكَد/لا يكاد + فاعل + فعل (مضارع)+فاعل حتّى …
Here the two subjects in the main clause are identical.
ما كدتُ أ ُغلِقُ الباب حتّى سمعنا صريخاً مُدْوِياً. I hardly closed the door when we heard a loud scream.
2. ما إنْ + فعل ماضي/مضارع حتّي …
ما إنْ أَغلق الباب حتّى سمعنا صريخًا مُدْوِياً . He hardly closed the door when we heard a loud scream.
ما إن تبلغ الطائرة المطار حتّى يشعر المسافرون بالطمأنينة
No sooner does the plane reach the airport than the passenger’s heart is filled with serenity.
3. ما لَبِثَ/لم يلْبَثْ + فاعل1 + أنْ + فعل ماضي +فاعل1 . . .
Here again the two subjects are identical.
… غير أنّ خوفي لم يلبث ان اختفى . However, it wasn’t long before (lit. it did not tarry long (until)) my fear disappeared.
ماضي ؛ 4 + ما هو/هي إلاّ انْ:
ما هي إلاّ أنْ تركوا بلادهم وهاجروا It was not long until they left their country and migrated.
ما هو إلاّ انْ + فعل ماضي حتى ..
ما هو إلّا انْ سمع زوجته حتّى اخذ يبكي No sooner had he heard his wife than he …
ما هو/هي إلاّ + ظرف زمان حتّى..
ما هو/هي إلاّ يوم/ثوان/ٍساعات حتّى أدرك القضيّة كلَّها
It was not long (lit. a day/a/few seconds/hours before he understood the whole story.
إلاّ أنّ3 ‘however, albeit, but’
We discussed إلاّ in lesson 1 (see Lesson 1 Lexical Note 3) as an exceptive اسـْتـِثـْناء to a previous negative main clause. إلاّ, in addition, followed by a clause with أنّ , occurs mainly after an affirmative sentence, or a whole preceding discourse with the adversative اسـْتـِدْراك meaning of ‘but’, ‘however’, ‘whereas’. Thus,
لم يغادر احد مكانه على الطائرة خوفاً من ذلك الراكب. إلاّ انّي فقدت صبري واتّجهت نحوه قائلاً…
No one on that plane left his place out of fear of that passenger. However, I lost my patience and headed towards him saying …
سمـّاها “دارالسلام”. إلاّ انّ اسم بغداد غلب عليها
He named it “Dar Al-Salaam”, but the name “Baghdad” prevailed (lit.overcame it).
4. حرف الجرّ “الكاف ” ‘The preposition كَ ’.
This preposition, like other prepositions, may be followed by a noun phrase, the relative pronoun ما , and the subordinators أنّ و أنْ , and in certain fixed lexical items. Like one- letter prepositions, such as ل or ب , it is prefixed to the word that follows it, and like the preposition حتّى , it cannot be followed by a pronoun suffix.
1. كَ followed by a noun phrase is used to mean:
a. ‘similar to, like, such as’ i.e. with the meaning of مثل:
وجهها كالبدر= مثلُ البدر Her face is (beautiful) like a full moon.
الحياة كالبرق (مثلَ البرق) تمضي بسرعة Life like lightning passes quickly.
لموضوع معيّن كالأدب to a particulr topic, such as literature.
b. ‘as’, ‘in the capacity of’:
ذهب لزياة القدس كسفير لبلاده He went to visit Jerusalem as his country’s ambassador.
جاهد كبطل ومات كشهيد He fought as a hero and died as a martyr.
c. ‘as … as …’ in a simile:
فهو كالموت قويّ For it is as strong as death.
وجهها أبيض كالثلج Her face is as white as snow.
كَ is also used in the following lexical items:
a.ا كهذ and the other forms of the demonstrative to mean ‘like this one/these’
لن اتزوّج فتاة كهذه I will never marry a girl like this one.
b.كذلك ‘too, also’,
جئت متاخّرا وجاءت متأخّرةً كذلك I came late, and she came late also.
c. كذا which occurs
as كذا ‘such and such a thing’ when following a noun or ‘such and such a number’ when preceding a noun,
سيحضر في يوم كذا وشهر كذا He will be arriving on such and such a day and such and such a month.
سيأخذ كذا يوم ويتناول كذا موضوع It will take such and such number of days and will deal with such and such number of topics.
as كذا وكذا ‘such and such (unspecified content)’,
قالت عنّي كذا وكذا She said such and such about me.
as هكذا ‘this way, in this manner, like this, and such’,
لا اسمح لك ان تستعمل اسمي هكذا I won’t allow you to use my name in this way.
ظلّ يعذ ّبني هكذا حتى الصباح He went on tormenting me this way until morning.
Here كَ is followed by الاسم الموصول ما ‘the indefinite pronoun ما ’ and whatever can occur as its صلة (see Lesson 2 GRAM 4) to mean ‘just as, in the same way as, same as’.
It thus may be followed by:
a. a sentence, which can be جملة فعلية with the verb in الماضي or المضارع or جملة اسمية , to mean ‘as’
لست الآن كما كنت من قبل I am no longer as I used to be.
هي في رَيَعان الشباب كما يقولون She is in the prime of youth, as they say.
يتشاجران كما هي الحال كل َّ يوم The two of them quarrel as the case is every day.
The verb in the main sentence is often repeated after كما :
يعاملني كما يعامل عدوّاً له He treats me as he treats an enemy.
to compare between two sentences, the second sentence being introduced by words such as كذلك or فإنّ :
كما يدافع الانسان عن اطفاله كذلك يثور الدُبّ(= فإنّ الدبّ يثور) ليحميَ صِغارَه
Just as man defends his children, so the bear flares up to protect his little ones.
A variant of this usage is the use of كما أنّ :
كما أنّ الانسان يدافع عن اطفاله كذلك يثور الدُبّ (= فإنّ الدبّ يثور) ليحميَ صِغارَه
b. a prepositional phrase:
جلسنا سويّا ً كما في الماضي We sat together as in former days.
كما في الصورة as in the picture
c. a pronoun:
عليك أن تقبله كما هو You must accept him as he is.
d. a noun clause with أنّ ‘as also, just as’
هو رجل فاضل كما أنّه ابٌ حنون مثاليّ He is an honorable man, and also a tender, ideal father.
كما أنّ may occur at the beginning of a sentence juxtaposed to a previous sentence with the meaning ‘in addition, just as/in like manner, at the same time’ …
كما أننا يجب ان نميّز بين أجنبي وأجنبيّ … In like manner we must differentiate between one kind of alien and another.
e. the conditional particle لو ‘if’, followed by a verb in الماضي or a noun clause with أنّ to mean ‘as though, as if’
تصرّف كما لو أصيب برصاصة He behaved as if he had been hit by a bullet.
يبدو كما لو أنّي أراه الآن It seems as if I were seeing him now.
3. كأنّ ‘it is/was as if, as though …’is naturally followed by a noun phrase
أسرعت الى الخروج كأنّها على موعد هام She rushed out as though she had an important appointment
It is often preceded by واو الحال and/or followed by ما with the same meaning ‘as though, it is as if’.
وكأنّه لا يعرف اين هو يبدو He seems as if he does not know where he is.
4. كَأنّما ‘as if’ is followed by جملة فعلية او جملة اسمية :
اكتشف شيئاً جديداً كأنّما as if he has discovered something new.
اسرعت …الى الخروج كأنّما هي على موعد هام She rushed out as though she had an important appointment.
The ما neutralizes the effect of أنّ on the noun that follows it which is مرفوع وليس منصوباً .
5. كأنْ ‘such as’ followed by فعل منصوب ‘a verb in he subjunctive’ is used to illustrate or exemplify a preceding statement
كانت تعرف كيف تُسكتها كأنْ ترفع صوتها قائلةً …
She knew how to shut her up by saying …
5. مِمّا ‘a matter which, something that’
The word مِمّا is composed of preposition مِن ‘one of , some of, or (from) among (the things)’ and the indefinite relative pronoun ما ‘that, which’ (see lesson 2 Grammar Note 3). It has two interpretations:
a. The first, which we saw in Lesson 3 Grammar Note 1, means ‘one of, or some of, among the things that …’, comes at the beginning of a sentence and serves as predicate to a subject that follows and that indicates what those things are and has no antecedent. Here is an example of it
مما that occurs in the Basic Text:
مما يزيد بغداد جمالاً حدائقـُها … وبيوتـُها … و… What adds(lit. among the things that add) to B’s beauty is its gardens, its homes, and …
Here is another example:
مما اقلقني وأزعجني أنّه لم يعد الى بيته وانه لم يخبر احداً بسفره وأنّه ترك وراءه زوجة واولاد.
Among the things that worried me and disturbed me are that he did not return home, he did not tell anybody that he was leaving, and he left behind a wife and kids.
b. The other, which also occurs in the Basic Text is one where the indefinite relative pronoun ما ‘which’ refers back mostly to a preceding sentence or to several preceding sentences, sometimes called in grammars of English ‘sentential which’, and translates ‘a thing which …, all of which …’. We have the following example in the Basic Text:
مما جعل الاتصال بالبلاد…ميسراً … ‘a thing (i.e. the fact that Baghdad lies on the river Tigris and …) which facilitates contact with the countries …’.
Here is another example:
رفض ان يصرّح بشيء ممّا أثار غيظ الجميع. He refused to make any statement, which provoked everybody’s anger.
Another construction which conveys this same meaning is the expression الأمر الذي ‘something which (lit. a matter which’), most probably a calque from Western languages:
عملت على المشروع ساعات طويلة، الأمر الذي انهكني وسبّب لي مشاكل كثيرة
‘I worked on the project for long hours, which exhausted me and caused me lots of problems’.
(ii) the other, where مما means ‘one of, or some of, among the things that …’, comes at the beginning of a sentence and serves as predicate to a subject that follows and that indicates what those things are. Here is the other example of مما that also occurs in the Basic Text:
مما يزيد بغداد جمالاً حدائقـُها … وبيوتـُها … و… What adds(lit. among the things that add) to B’s beauty is its gardens, its homes, and …
Here is another example:
مما اقلقني وأزعجني أنّه لم يعد الى بيته وانه لم يخبر احداًبسفره وأنّه ترك وراءه زوجة واولاد
Among the things that worried me and disturbed me are that he did not return home, he did not tell anybody that he was leaving, and he left behind a wife and kid
بل.6 ‘rather, yet, but, even, moreover’
بل is an adversative particle, mostly used with the above meanings. It frequently introduces an affirmative contrast to a preceding negative, but sometimes a negative contrast to an affirmative sentence or parts thereof. Here are some examples (the contrasted elements are underscored),
ذاع اسمها لا بفضل مكتباتها فقط بل لمكانتها في … أيضاً
It became famous not only by virtue of its libraries and …, but also because of its place in …
عاشت اكثر من والديها بل جاوزت التسعين She lived longer than her parents and even exceeded ninety years.
اثّر تأثيراً عظيما غير مقتصر على النواحي الدينية بل شاملاً النواحي الاجتماعية
It had great impact which was not confined to religious considerations, but which also included social aspects.
بل frequently follows sentences having the words فحَسْب ‘not only, no more, that’s all’, and فَقَط ‘just, no more’ to convey the meaning of ‘not only … but also’:
لا اذكر الحادث فقط بل كلَّ تفاصيله. I recall not only the event, but all its details also.
The sentence that follows it is frequently preceded by إنّ
هو ليس مجرّد كلام بل إنّه حقيقة It is not mere words, but it is the truth.
اهتممت بالموضوع بل انّي شعرت بالراحة عند سماعي هذا الكلام.
I was interested in the subject; indeed, I felt at ease upon hearing those words.
بل has no governing function and exerts no effect on the case endings of words that follow it. Like other conjunctions, The noun, adjective, or participle that follows it takes the case of the noun, adjective or participle in the main sentence that is being contrasted, as can be seen in the third example above . Here are other examples:
المشكلة ليست السياسةَ بل المالَ والمصالحَ. The problem is not politics, but rather money and personal interests.
لم يسكت خوفاً من المتكلّم بل احتراماً للحاضرين. He kept quiet not out of fear but out of respect for those present.
الاوضاع صعبة بل متعبة الى ابعد حدّ The circumstance are difficult, indeed exhausting to the extreme.