Sentence structure in Arabic

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In Arabic there is two kinds of sentence:

Verbal sentence: Verb + Noun+ Object

Non-verbal (noun) sentence: Noun + Noun or Noun + Verbobject

 

What is the Verbal sentence in Arabic?

The verbal sentence is any sentence that have a compete meaning and starts with a verb in its structure.

  • Verbal sentence : Verb + Noun+ Object

Examples of incomplete verbal sentences:

  • ضَرَبَ الرَّجُلُ >>> The man hit.

Explanation:

  • the object (the thing or person that the verb was done to it by the man) is missing. therefore, the listener or the reader would ask (who has been hit by the man?)

Examples of complete verbal sentences:

  • أَكَلَ الطِّفْلُ لَحْمًا >>> The child ate meat
  • نَزَلَ الرَّجُلُ مِنَ القِطَارِ>>> The man got off the train
  • تَطْبُخُ أُمِّيْ أَرُزًّا>>> My mother is cooking some rice
  • أَكَلَ الذِّئْبُ شَاةً>>> The wolf ate sheep
  • اِشْرَبْ كَأْسَ مَاءٍ>>> Drink a glass of water
  • يَتَأَلَّمُ المَرِيْضُ>>> The patient is in pain

All these sentences start with a verb. Therefore, these sentences are verbal sentences.

The verbal sentence is the sentence that has three tense, which are (Past, Present, Imperative).

in this article you find in depth information about these tenses

What is the non-verbal (noun) sentence in Arabic?

The noun sentence as its name refers it starts with a noun and have or do not have a verb within it.

Examples:

السَّمَاءُ صَافِيَةٌ>>> The sky is clear

السَّمَاءُ زَرْقَاءُ>>> The sky is blue

الشَّجَرَةُ خَضْرَاءُ>>> The tree is green

عُمَرُ كَرِيْمٌ>>> Omar is generous

زَيْدٌ طَوِيْلٌ>>> Zaid is tall

القِطَارُ سَرِيْعٌ>>> The train is fast

المَشْيُ مُفِيْدٌ>>> Walking is beneficial

  • All these sentences are complete in meaning and they start with a noun. Therefore, they are non-verbal (noun) sentences.
  • If you have noticed, the diacritical marks on the last letter of either word of the sentence is    “ ُ  ” or  “ ٌُ  ” which correspond to the “حَالَةُ الرَّفْعِ” (Nominative case)
  • All these sentences consist of two nouns the first one is the “مُبْتَدَأْ” and the second one is “خَبَرْ”

(المُبْتَدَأُ): is the noun that a noun sentence starts with

(الخَبَرُ): is the noun that gives information about/on the first noun (المُبْتَدَأُ) of a noun sentence.

In general, both of these two nouns the مُبْتَدَأْ and the خَبَرْshould be in the “حَالَةُ الرَّفْعِ”

  • Note that the noun sentence might have a verb but it does not start with it. For example:

ذَهَبَ عُمَرُ إِلَىْ السُّوْقِ>>> Omar went to the market

The composition of this sentence corresponds to the structure of the verbal sentence because it starts with a verb

The verbal sentence structure:
فِعْلٌ
+ فَاعِلٌ + تَتِمَّةُ الجُمْلَةِ

Verb + Noun + Object

عُمَرُ ذَهَبَ إِلَىْ السُّوْقِ>>>Omar went to the market

The composition of this sentence corresponds to a structure of the non-verbal (noun) sentence because it starts with a noun

The non-verbal (noun) sentence structure:

مُبْتَدَأٌ + فِعْلٌ + تَتِمَّةُ الجُمْلَةِ

Noun + Verb + Object

The complete/useful sentence in Arabic

  • Every sentence that gives a complete meaning is called a complete sentence “جُمْلَة ٌمُفِيْدَةُ”. Also, it is called speech “كَلَامٌ”
  • The complete sentence consists of at least two words and can be made of more than two words.

Examples of complete sentences:  the structure into the brackets corresponds to the Arabic sentence

السَّمَاءُ صَافِيَةٌ>>> The sky is clear>>>(two nouns)

السَّمَاءُ زَرْقَاءُ>>> The sky is blue>>> (two nouns)

الشَّجَرَةُ خَضْرَاءُ>>> The tree is green>>> (two nouns)

عُمَرُ كَرِيْمٌ>>> Omar is generous>>> (two nouns)

زَيْدٌ طَوِيْلٌ>>> Zain is tall>>> (two nouns)

القِطَارُ سَرِيْعٌ>>> The train is fast>>> (two nouns)

المَشْيُ مُفِيْدٌ>>> Walking is beneficial>>> (two nouns)

أَكَلْنَا سَمَكًا>>>We ate fish>>> (Verb + pronoun + object) 

كَتَبَ الطَّالِبُ وَاجِبَهُ>>>The student wrote his homework>>> (Verb + Subject + Object)

تَعِيْشُ عَائِلَتِيْ فِيْ مِصْرَ>>>My family live in Egypt>>> (Verb+ Subject + Object)

يَشْرَبُ الطِّفْلُ حَلِيْبًا>>>The child is drinking milk>>> (Verb+ Subject + Object)

أَجِبْ عَنِ الأَسْئِلَةِ>>>Answer the questions>>> (Verb + Object)

اِغْسِلْ يَدَيْكَ>>>Wash your hands>>> (Verb + Object)

  • We use complete sentences like these to communicate with other people. It’s
    obvious that a person cannot communicate with others using a single word.
  • A person needs at least two words to speak and be understood.
  • Even in the Imperative Form, which can be seen as a single word that gives a useful meaning.
    It actually consists of two words one that is real and spoken such as “Answer” and the second one is unspoken, but the listener understand that it is “You”.
    So, the listener understand the command “Answer” as “You, answer”

Let’s dissect two examples:

  • السَّمَاءُ صَافِيَةٌ>>> The sky is clear.

If the speaker said “The sky”. This cannot be called a complete or useful sentence as the listener would ask: “The sky is what?”

Then you would respond: “is clear”. This combination “The sky is clear” would make a complete sentence that gives the listener a useful and complete meaning.

  • كَتَبَ الطَّالِبُ وَاجِبَهُ>>>The student wrote his homework

If the speaker said “The student”. This cannot be called a complete or useful sentence as the listener would ask: “The student is what?”

Then if you responded: “The student Wrote”. This combination would not make a complete sentence that gives the listener a useful and complete meaning. That’s because the listener would further ask:What did the student write”?

Here, you would say “He wrote his homework”. Finally, this combination “The student wrote his homework” would give the listener a complete and useful sentence.

In conclusion:

A complete sentence gives a complete and useful meaning to the listener and it is made up of two or more words. In Arabic it is called either “جُمْلَة ٌمُفِيْدَةُ” (Useful sentence), or “كَلَامٌ” (Speech).

Exercises:

Read these examples and count how many words each on constitutes:

قَبَّلَتِ الأُمُّ طِفْلَهَا >>> The mother kissed her (male) child

الأَسَدُ مُتَوَحِّشٌ>>> The lion is wild

كَسَرَ الوَلَدُ قَدَمَهُ>>>The child broke his leg

ذَهَبَتِ الطِّفْلَةُ إِلَىْ مَدْرَسَتِهَا>>>The (female) child went to her school

The solution is:

The first one is (3 words), the second is (2 words), the thirds is (3words), and the final one is  (4 words)

Make these three incomplete sentences useful and complete using the following words:            ذَهَبَ (went), تُشْرِقُ  (rises), المَطَرُ (the rain):

الطَّالِبُ إِلَىْ الجَامِعَةِ………>>> The student ………. to the university.

الشَّمْسُ مِنَ الشَّرْقِ…………  >>> The sun …….. from the east.

اِنْهَمَرَ ……. بِغَزَارَةٍ >>> …….. rained in torrents.