Just as you would in English or most other languages, sometimes in Arabic you may have to let out a sudden cry or remark to express your surprise, anger, or pain. In English, these are called exclamations. In Arabic, they’re called تَعَجُّب /taʻajjub/.

Both are used pretty much the same and both take an exclamation mark (!) at the end of the exclamation or interjection (مُداخَلَة/mudaakhalah/). 

Nevertheless, there are some things you need to know about using exclamations in Arabic, so today we’re going to take a look at how to express your excitement, exasperation, and surprise in Arabic. 

Yalla! Let’s go! 

How Exclamations Work in Arabic 

There are certain everyday expressions in Arabic that are used by Arabs to express strong feelings of excitement. Much like exclaiming “Oh my God!” in English to express shock or surprise, for example, Arabs use equivalent expressions like سُبحانَ الله /subHaana allaah/ Praise God! or الحَمدُ لِله /alHamdu lillaah/ Thank God!

While there are two ways to make exclamations in Arabic, we’ll be focusing on only one of them in today’s post, and that is the one with three-lettered verbs (فِعْل ثُلاثي).

Exclamation Structure in Arabic

There are some basic components to صيغَة /Seeghah/ or  أُسْلوب التَّعَجُّبusloob ittaʻajjub/ (the exclamation forms in Arabic) that you need when exclaiming something:

  1. مَا (particle maa of taʻajjub).

  2. Wazan أفْعَلَ (afʻala) of fiʻl maadhee thulaathee.

  3. Mafʻool bih (مَفعول بِه) noun (اسم) that is in the accusative case.

So, for instance, let’s say that you want to say "What a beautiful car!" in Arabic.

Just how do you go about doing that?

Well, first, change the جَمُلَ /jamula/ “beautiful” to the wazan (scale) أَفْعَلَ and it becomes أَجْمَلَ /’ajmala/ the “most beautiful”. Next, change the noun to accusative so that it becomes سَيَّارَة /sayyaarah/ “car”.

Finally, add /ma/ “what” to the beginning and you have the complete sentence in Arabic: 

! ما أَجْمَلَ السَّيّارَة 

/maa ’ajmala issayyaarah

“What a beautiful car!”

Let’s try another one. You want to go swimming, but after dipping your toe in the water, you want to tell your friends you think it’s too cold.  How do you exclaim that?

First, change the بَرَدَ /barada/ “cold” to the wazan (scale) أَفْعَلَ and it becomes  أَبْرَد    

/’abrada/ “the coldest”. Next, change the noun ماء /maa’/ “water” to the accusative so that it becomes ماء /maa/“water”.

Finally, add ما /maa/ (in this case meaning “how”) to the beginning and you have the complete sentence in Arabic: 

" مَا أَبْرَدَ هَذَا المَاءَ

/maa ’abrada haTHaa ilmaa’

How cold this water is! 

That’s it!

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Wow! Learning Arabic is really easy!” and we say, “Yep! You’re right!”  

Find out for yourself how easy and fun it is to learn Arabic when you learn it the right way with the Kaleela Arabic language learning app.

Visit us at kaleela.com to find out more!