Arabic Online


        اللّغة العربيّة    

Arabic Online


• Welcome!

• Varieties of Arabic

• Alphabet

• Pronunciation

• Words

• Vowels

• Reading out

• Syllables

• Stress

• Rules of Pause

• Writing of Letter 'alif

• Sibawayh's phonology

• Roots

• Nouns

• Irregular Nouns

• Declension

• Noun Gender

• Feminine Markers

• Singular Nouns

• Dual Nouns

• Plural Nouns

• Sound Masculine Plural Nouns

• Sound Feminine Plural Nouns

• Irregular Plural Nouns

• Articles

• Case Inflection

• Case Endings

• The Six Nouns

• Noonation

• Adjectives

• Genitive Construction

• Am/Is/Are Sentences

• Verbs

• Irregular Verbs

• Verb Forms

• Perfective Verbs

• Perfective Conjugation

• Irregular Perfective Conjugation

• Imperfective Verbs

• Imperfective Conjugation

• Irregular Imperfective Conjugation

• Moods

• Subjunctive Mood

• Jussive Mood

• MoodSigns

• Energetic Mood

• Imperative Mood

• Passive Voice

• Passive Perfective Verbs

• Passive Imperfective Verbs

• Passive of Irregular Verbs

• Subject Pronouns

• Object Pronouns

• Demonstratives

• Relative Pronouns

• Sentences

• To Have

• Incomplete Verbs

• Frozen Verbs

• Verb-Like Particles

• Negation

• Present Negative

• Past Negative

• Future Negative

• Negation+Exclusion Style

• Interrogation

• Yes/No Questions

• Interrogative Pronouns

• Polite Request

• Introductory Particles

• Infinitival/Indefinite maa

• Inactive Particles

• Vocative Particles

• Praise & Disparagement

• Derived Nouns

• Verbal Nouns

• Active Participles

• Participle-like Adjectives

• Place-nouns

• Tool-nouns

• Diminutives

• Vocabulary

• Dialects

• Survival Phrases


Add your comments to the Guestbook

View the Guestbook



I have nothing to do with adds that appear on this website. I don't sell books, courses, lessons, or anything.

This website is being transferred to another domain.

© Hani Deek 2005-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this website's content without express and written permission from this website’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Hani Deek with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Negation (continued)

Negation + Exclusion Style


Arabs did not like talking much, and this is why they had the saying:

 خَيْرُ الْكَلامِ مَاْ قَلَّ وَدَلَّ

which means "the best of talking is what would be little and significant."

This is why they liked very much omitting parts of their speech, even if they were important for the structure of sentences. This was common in Arabic, and Arab grammarians called such omitted parts "estimated" parts of speech.

Now here we are going to see an example of this that is very common in Arabic, which is the negation + exclusion emphatic style.


أَنْتَ مَلَكٌ

'ant(a) malak(un)

= you (are) an angel

Translation: you are an angel


This is a normal nominal sentence. To make an emphatic version of this sentence using the negation + exclusion style, we will need to negate the first part (the subject) and exclude the second part (the predicate).

إِنْ أَنْتَ إِلاَّ مَلَكٌ

'in 'ant(a) 'illaa malak(un)

= not you (are) (anything) except an angel

Translation: you are nothing but an angel

= definitely, you are an angel

The omitted word here was "anything" or "anyone." It was colored in purple.


Another example:

تَقُوْلُ الْحَقَّ

taqool(u) ('a)l-haqq(a)

= (you) say the truth

Translation: you are telling the truth


لا تَقُوْلُ إِلاَّ الْحَقَّ

laa taqool(u) 'illaa ('a)l-haqq(a)

= not (you) say (anything) except the truth

Translation: you are telling nothing but the truth

= definitely, you are telling the truth


Another way of understanding this sentence would be:


لا تَقُوْلُ إِلاَّ الْحَقَّ

laa taqool(u) 'illaa ('a)l-haqq(a)

= not (you) will say (anything) except the truth

Translation: you don't say anything but the truth

= you always tell the truth


A more complicated sentence:

لَقَدْ أَبَىْ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَذْهَبَ

laqad 'abaa 'illaa 'an yathhab(a)

= (he) has refused (everything) except that (he) go

Translation: he insisted on going


This is a common formula in formal Arabic. It is similar to what we have been talking about; there is an omitted part, a negation, and a following exception.

Note that infinitival 'an is a subjunctive particle, and the imperfective verb following it must be in the subjunctive mood.

The usual formula is:

  أَبَىْ إِلاَّ (مَصْدَرًا)ه

'abaa 'illaa (infinitive)

Verb signifying rejection + exclusive word + an infinitive

Infinitives in Arabic can be either infinitival phrases like the one in the aforementioned example (with infinitival 'an), or verbal nouns, like:

لَقَدْ أَبَىْ إِلاَّ الذَّهَاْبَ

laqad 'abaa 'illaa ('a)th-thahaab(a)

= (he) has refused (everything) except the going

Translation: he insisted on going


Another common formula: 

إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ إِلاَّ أَحْمَقًاْ

'inna-h(u) lays(a) 'illaa 'ahmaqa(n)

= truthfully him is/exists not (as anything) except (as) a fool

Translation: he is nothing but a fool

Lays(a) is an incomplete verb.  It requires an adverb (accusative case) to complete its meaning instead of a nominative noun predicate.

The usual formula is:

لَيْسَ إِلاَّ ...ه

lays(a) 'illaa (adverb)


An emphatic phrase has evolved from this formula:

إِنَّهُ أَحْمَقٌ لَيْسَ إِلاَّ

'inna-h(u) 'ahmaqu(n) lays(a) 'illaa

= truthfully him (is) fool ..(emphatic phrase)..

Translation: he is nothing but a fool


This two-word-phrase comes at the end of the sentence, but it means nothing and it is just a meaningless alteration of the previous formula.

Original Form Altered Form

إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ إِلاَّ أَحْمَقًاْ

إِنَّهُ أَحْمَقٌ لَيْسَ إِلاَّ


Finally on this subject, the following famous Islamic phrase is also a negation + exclusion styled phrase:

لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ الْلَّهُ

laa 'ilaah(a) 'illaa ('a)l-laah(u)

 = not a god (exists) except God

Translation: there is no god but God



Previous  Next