• Search

  • « | Home | »

    The Nominal Sentence

    By ArabicTree | April 26, 2008

    In Arabic, the easiest type of sentence to understand is the nominal sentence (or the noun sentence). The nominal sentence tells you about a thing. It has two parts–the mubtada (the subject), and the khabr (information about the subject).

    The mubtada and khabr have only a few simple rules:

    1. They must match in gender
    2. They must match in number.
    3. The mubtada must be definite
    4. The mubtada must be marfoo’

    Let’s run through some simple examples.

    1. المَسجِدُ كَبِيرٌ

      Al-masjidu qabiyrun: the masjid is close. The mubtada is al-masjid, which is definite (because it has alif-lam), and the khabr is kabiyrun. Both are singular and masculine.

    2. عَائشَةُ جَالِسَةٌ

      ‘Aishatu jaalisatun: ‘Aisha is sitting. The mubtada is ‘Aisha (which is feminine, singular, and definite–it’s a name), and the khabr is jaalisatun (which is singular and feminine).

    3. الطُلابُ جُدُدٌ

      At-tullaabu jududun: the students are new. At-Tullaab is the mubtada, and it’s masculine, definite (with alif-lam), and plural; jududun is masculine and plural.

    Nominal sentences are really as easy as that! But you can make them much more complex if you throw in prepositions, possessive case, or if the khabr becomes a full, stand-alone verbal sentence. (And that the khabr doesn’t have to be marfoo’–which it isn’t in this example):

    الإمَامُ فِي المَسجِدِ

    Al-Imaamu fiy al-masjidi: The imam is in the masjid. Here, the mubtada is the imam, and the khabr is “fiy al-masjidi,” a preposition and a majruwr noun.

    And that’s nominal sentences in a nutshell.

    Topics: Beginner, Grammar | 5 Comments »

    5 Responses to “The Nominal Sentence”

    1. Hameed Says:
      June 1st, 2008 at 2:06 am

      Hi there,

      Your examples are simple and illustrative in a nice manner, however, you’ve made some minor errors in your translation and transliteration:

      example 1: the khabr isn’t qariybun (قريب) but kabirun (كبير).

      example 2: the khabr jaalisatun doesn’t mean ‘standing’ but ‘sitting’.

      thx for bringing this website, very useful so plz keep up the good work :o)

    2. ArabicTree Says:
      June 1st, 2008 at 10:29 am

      Thanks, I’m not sure how those errors always slip in there :) it’s fixed!

    3. Hameed Says:
      June 1st, 2008 at 11:38 am

      as salamu alaykum,

      no problemo brother, we all make minor errors :)

    4. ayaz Says:
      October 16th, 2010 at 8:59 am

      i teach arabic in a small city of india and i just want to thank u on behalf of all my high school students.

    5. Karar Says:
      December 7th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

      Very good I liked it.