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Arabic Sentences (continued)

Nominal Sentences


Pronoun Subjects

Sentences which start with subject pronouns are nominal sentences. When there is a verb after the subject pronoun, the pronoun can be kept or omitted. Third person subject pronouns will always have an emphatic function if they were kept before the verb, the other pronouns (1st & 2nd person) can and cannot have an emphatic function depending on the intonation.


Subject - Verb

أَنَاْ أَعْرِفُ

'anaa 'a"rif(u)

= I know

Translation: I know

In this sentence, the pronoun (a 1st person pronoun) is not emphatic unless the intonation stressed it.


Verb - Hiding Subject



= know (I)

Translation: I know

The second sentence is a verbal sentence because the subject (a hiding pronoun after the verb) does not precede the verb.


Subject - Predicate

أَنَاْ جَاْهِزٌ

'anaa jaahiz(un)

= I (am) ready

Translation: I am ready



Subject - Verb - Adverb

أَنَاْ كُنْتُ جَاْهِزًا

'anaa kunt(u) jaahiza(n)

= I was ready

Translation: I was ready



Verb - Attached Subject - Adverb

كُنْتُ جَاْهِزًا

kunt(u) jaahiza(n)

= was (I) ready

Translation: I was ready



Subject - Verb - Adverb

أَنَاْ سَأَكُوْنُ جَاْهِزًا

'anaa sa-'akoon(u) jaahiza(n)

= I will be ready

Translation: I will be ready



Verb - Hiding Pronoun - Adverb

سَأَكُوْنُ جَاْهِزًا

sa-'akoon(u) jaahiza(n)

= will be (I) ready

Translation: I will be ready



Subject - Verb - Object

أَنْتَ تَتَحَدَّثُ الْعَرَبِيَّةَ !0

'ant(a) tatahaddath(u) ('a)l-"arabiyya(ta)

= you speak the Arabic

Translation: you speak Arabic!



Subject - Verb - Object

أَنْتُمْ لا تُصَدِّقُوْنَنِيْ

'antum laa tusaddiqoona-nee

 = you not believe me

Translation: you don't believe me



Subject - Verb - Object

هُوَ فَعَلَ هَذَاْ

huwa fa"al(a) haathaa

= he did this

Translation: HE did this

*Third person pronoun: always emphatic.


Subject - Verb - Object

هُمَاْ قَاْلَتَاْ هَذَاْ

humaa qaalataa haathaa

= they (dual fem.) said this

Translation: THEY said this



Subject - Predicate

هُمْ هُنَاْكَ

hum hunaak(a)

= they (plu. masc.) (are) there

Translation: they are THERE

Here, even though the pronoun is a 3rd person pronoun the stress came on the predicate because this is a be-sentence without a verb, so the stress falls on the predicate. We mentioned this earlier.


Nominal sentences can begin with other types of nouns.


Example, a demonstrative:

هَذَاْ يَوْمٌ جَمِيْلٌ

haathaa yawm(un) jameel(un)


= this (is) a day a beautiful

Translation: this is a nice day


A relative pronoun:

مَنْ زَرَعَ حَصَدَ

man zara"(a) hasad(a)

 = who planted harvested

Translation: he who plants harvests

or: he who planted harvested

*Note that perfective verbs in Arabic can be used as subjunctive verbs, which is somewhat similar to English.



مَتَىْ مَاَْ أَتَيْتَ تَجِدُنِيْ

mataa-maa 'atayt(a) tajidu-nee

= whenever (you) came (you) will find me

Translation: whenever you come you will find me




A summary for nominal sentences:


The Subject The Verb The Stress
A noun Any verb except "be" in present tense On the subject
A demonstrative
A pronoun 1st & 2nd person: changeable
3rd person: on the subject
A noun "Be" in present tense

(not apparent)

On the predicate
A demonstrative
A pronoun




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