Sound Masculine Plural Nouns
Irregular Perfective Conjugation
Irregular Imperfective Conjugation
Praise & Disparagement
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Pronouns in Arabic الْضَّمَاْئِرُ belong to the category of "nouns." Therefore, everything that applies to nouns will apply to them. Pronouns have genders, numbers, and grammatical case. Pronouns are always definite nouns.
Pronouns in Arabic are four categories:
Separate Subject Pronouns
In Arabic, a mixed group of males and females will be always referred to by plural masculine pronouns or conjugations.
Separate subject pronouns work similarly to the English ones.
= I (am) Ahmad
Translation: I am Ahmad
*Proper names must have noonation, but 'ahmad cannot be noonated because it belongs to the "forbidden to noonation" الْمَمْنُوْعُ مِنَ الْصَّرْفِ words, which cannot be noonated.
= You know
Translation: you know
= We (are) here
Translation: we are here
مَنْ هُمْ ؟
= who (are) they
Translation: who are they?
One important difference from English is that separate subject pronouns can be omitted from sentences in Arabic in many situations. This is because nominal declensions of the verbs make it clear who the subject is (or as in Arabic grammar, those declensions are themselves subject pronouns as we will see shortly).
= (I) want the truth
Translation: I want the truth
مَاْذَاْ سَنَفْعَلُ ؟
= what will (we) do
Translation: what will we do?
Thanks to the many word declensions in Arabic, which often indicate the gender and the number of the subject, separate subject pronouns have really little significance in regard to the syntax of Arabic sentences. This is actually the case for all old-fashioned languages as well, such as Latin for instance.
However, separate subject pronouns are still used a lot in Arabic. They are most often used pleonastically for emphasizing either the subject or the object of a sentence. Sometimes, however, they can be important to clarify the meaning of a sentence, this will be usually when they are used in present tense "be"-sentences.
Separate subject pronouns are called "pronouns of separation" ضَمَاْئِرُ الْفَصْلِwhen they are used without grammatical necessity. This will be the case for separate subject pronouns in most of the time.
Pronouns of separation will be used in the following situations:
1. In present tense "be" sentences
This is a vital usage. If the subject and the predicate of a present tense "be" sentence were both definite words, the meaning of the phrase could be ambiguous.
إِبْرَاْهِيْمُ الْمُدِيْرُ هُنَاْ
'ibraaheem(u) ('a)l-mudeer(u) hunaa
This sentence can mean either one of the following:
(1) Ibrahim, the manager, (is) here
(2) Ibrahim (is) the manager here
This is because the word الْمُدِيْرُ can be either an adjective or a predicate.
So to make a distinction (a separation) between the two, it is usual to add a separate subject pronoun in place of the non-existing "be" in present tense "be"-sentences. That is, between the subject and the predicate.
إِبْرَاْهِيْمُ هُوَ الْمُدِيْرُ هُنَاْ
'ibraaheem(u) huw(a) ('a)l-mudeer(u) hunaa
= Ibrahim he (is) the manager here
Translation: Ibrahim is the manager here
A similar ambiguity can also occur when the subject and the predicate are both indefinite words, but it is very uncommon in Arabic for the subject of a "be"-sentence to be an indefinite word. That is, a sentence of the type "a man is here," for example, will not be virtually used in Arabic. Instead, such sentences will be often expressed via demonstratives, e.g. "there is a man here."
سُعَاْدُ هِيَ أُخْتُ يَاْسَمِيْنَ
su"aad(u) hiy(a) 'ukht(u) yaasameen(a)
= Su'ad she (is) (the) sister (of) Jasmine
Translation: Su'ad is Jasmine's sister
Both سُعَاْدُ andيَاْسَمِيْنَ are "forbidden to Noonation," hence the irregular case-signs. hiy(a) was used to disambiguate from "Su'ad, Jasmine's sister, ..." but clearly it was not a must here because there was nothing after the clause أُخْتُ يَاْسَمِيْنَ . So one can say that the employment of the separation pronoun was optional in this case.
الرَّبَاْطُ هِيَ عَاْصِمَةُ الْمَغْرِبِ
'ar-rabaat(u) hiy(a) "aasima(tu) ('a)l-marrib(i)
= Rabat she (is) (the) capital (of) Morocco
Translation: Rabat is the capital of Morocco
hiy(a) was used to disambiguate from "Rabat, the capital of Morocco, ..."
Again, the use of the separation pronoun was optional here.
2. Between verbs and coordinators
The pronouns of separation are often used between verbs and coordinator conjunctions.
= (he) went with Muhammad
Translation: he went with Muhammad
In this sentence, the verb was not followed by a subject pronoun; so the coordinator wa- = "and" would not have made any sense here. This is why the noun after the coordinator was put in the accusative (nasb) case to indicate that the wa- = "and" in this sentence means "with." This is a general rule.
thahab(a) huw(a) wa-muhammad(un)
= wenthe and Muhammad
Translation: he and Muhammad went
Here, the separate subject pronoun allowed the coordinator wa- to have the meaning of "and," and the noun after the coordinator was in the nominative case again.
However, it is still possible for wa- to mean "with" in this sentence, we have just to change the case, as in the following sentence:
thahab(a) huw(a) wa-muhammada(n)
= wenthe with Muhammad
Translation: he went with Muhammad
So it all depends on the case-sign.
= (you) go with (the) brother (of) you
Translation: go with your brother
أَخَاْ is one of the "Six Nouns," so it takes irregular case-signs.
'ithhaboo 'antum wa-'akhoo-kum
= go you and (the) brother (of) you
Translation: goyou and your brother
'ithhaboo 'antum wa-'akhaa-kum
= go you with (the) brother (of) you
Translation: go with your brother
3. For emphasis
Anywhere other than in the two situations mentioned above, the pronouns of separation can be used; but there they will not be used for disambiguation but rather for emphasizing the subject, or the object.
= (he) was here
Translation: he was here
هُوَ كَاْنَ هُنَاْ
huw(a) kaan(a) hunaa
= he was here
Translation: HE was here
= (they) know the answer
Translation: they know the answer
هُمْ يَعْرِفُوْنَ الْجَوَاْبَ
hum ya"rifoon(a) ('a)l-jawaab(a)
= they know the answer
Translation: THEY know the answer
= (you) get up
Translation: get up
= get up you
Translation: YOU get up!