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Nahw – حروف مشبّہ بالفعل – Particles resembling Verbs

June 12, 2007

In this post I will, Insha Allah, try to explain how some ﺣﺮﹸﻭﻑ (particles) in the Arabic Language, namely ﺇﻥﱠ and its sisters, resemble verbs and form a category of their own, in the same way as ﺣﺮﹸﻭﻑﹺ ﺟﺮ (prepositions) do. There are 6 such particles and they are called ﺣﺮﹸﻭﻑ ﻣﹹﺸﺒﹽﻪ ﺑﺎﻟﻔﻌﻞ . They enter upon a ﺟﹹﻤﻠﻪ ﺍﹺﺳﻤﹻﻴﳲﻪ causing the ﻣﹹﺒﺘﺪﺍﺀ to become ﻣﻨﺼﹹﻮﺏ i.e. go into the state of ﻧﺼﺐ . The name of the ﻣﹹﺒﺘﺪﺍﺀ changes to ﺍﹺﺳﻢﹸ ﺇﻥﱠ and the ﺧﺒﺮ becomes خبرُ ﺇﻥﱠ, which goes in state of ﺭﻓﻊ e.g. ﺇﻥﱠ ﺍﻟﻜﹻﺘﺎﺏﹶ ﺟﺪﻳﺪﹲ (Indeed the book is new). There are three reasons why these particles resemble verbs:

  1. Resemblance in rhyming
  2. Resemblance in meaning
  3. Resemblance in the way these particles affect the subject and predicate of a sentence

The table below lists all 6 members of this group:

حرف Meaning
ﺇﻥﱠ Indeed
ﺃﻥﱠ The fact that or that
ﻛﺄﻥﱠ As if
ﻟٰﻜﹻﻦﱠ But or however
ﻟﹷﺌﻼﱠ Perhaps
ﻟﹷﻴﺖﹶ Would that

and the followng table give the corresponding rhyming verbs for these  ﺣﺮﹸﻭﻑ

حرف Rhyming Verb
ﺇﻥﱠ ﻓﹻﺮﱠ
ﺃﻥﱠ ﻓﹷﺮﱠ
ﻛﺄﻥﱠ ﻗﹷﻄﹷﻌﻦﹶ
ﻟٰﻜﹻﻦﱠ ﻗﺎﺗﹻﻠﻨﺎ
ﻟﹷﺌﻼﱠ ﻗﹷﻄﹷﻌﻦﹶ
ﻟﹷﻴﺖﹶ ﻟﹷﻴﺲﹶ

Now we will see how these particles also carry verb-like meanings. As an example take ﺇﻥﱠ , which means indeed . In a sentence indeed can be substituted by the phrase I verify for which the word is ﺣﹷﻘﳲﻘﺖﹸ , showing us that the meaning of verifying is hidden inside ﺇﻥﱠ .The same also goes for ﺃﻥﱠ. Now, ﻛﺄﻥﱠ means as if which means you are likening or comparing one thing to another for which the word is ﺷﹷﺒﳲﻬﺖﹸ . Similarly, ﻟٰﻜﹻﻦﱠ contains the meaning of I rectify which can be seen by the fact that a statement which has to be rectified/corrected must include but e.g. Zaid came but Amr never came. The word for rectification is ﺍﹺﺳﺘﹷﺪﺭﹶﻛﺖﹸ . Moving forward, we see that ﻟﹷﺌﻼﱠ means I hope or I anticipate for which the word is ﺗﹷﺮﹶﺟﳲﻌﺖﹸ . Finally ,ﻟﹷﻴﺖﹶ carries the meaning of wishing and longing for which the word is ﺗﹷﻤﻨﳲﻴﺖﹸ (I wish).

Finally, the way these particles affect parts of a sentence shows us that they can act as governing agents just like verbs do. To see this in more detail note that most verbs are followed by two ﺍﹺﺳﻢ : one of them would be in the state of ﺭﻓﻊ on the basis of ﻓﺎﻋﹻﻞ and the other will be in the state of ﻧﺼﺐ on the basis of ﻣﻔﻌﻮﻝ ﺑﻪ . Now, these 6 particles are also followed by two ﺍﹺﺳﻢ , one of which is in the state of ﻧﺼﺐ based on being the subject of the particle and the other one is in the state of ﺭﻓﻊ based on the predicate. Thus, this is another way these particles act in a similar manner to that of verbs.

One Comment
  1. the middle road permalink

    Assalamu alaikum

    Isn’t perhaps لعل ?

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