How to properly use the Subject and the Verb in an Arabic Sentence
So far you’ve learned so many Arabic vocabulary words that you don’t know what to do with them. Well, in this article, Kaleela is going to show you exactly what to do with them by teaching you how to organize and structure your vocabulary into basic sentences in Arabic. Let’s get started!
There are primarily three types of sentence structures in Arabic: the basic, the compound, and the clausal. The basic has two parts and can be either verbal or nominal. Our focus for this lesson will be on the verbal sentence structure which begins with a verb followed by the subject. Let’s look at it in further detail.
A fully conjugable verb always starts the verbal sentence and can be perfective (past), imperfective (present), or imperative (command). Only قَدّ qadd (maybe, already), مَا maa (not), لا laa (not), and لِـ li- (why not or shall we) and other similar particles can precede the verb. Here are some examples:
|خرجت الفتاة||kharajat alfataah||The girl went out.|
|قَدّ خَرَجَتْ ماري .||qadd kharajat Maary.||Mary already went out.|
|لِنَذْهَبْ إِلَى السِّيْنَمَا.||linathhab ilaa assinamaa.||Let’s go to the cinema.|
These sentences express an action and are therefore known as action sentences. Thus, the verb should be put at the beginning because the action is represented by the verb.
For a verbal sentence to be complete, it has to be composed of two vital parts: the verb and the subject. The verb by itself does not represent a complete meaning. However, you may come across a sentence composed of one word, such as اُكْتُبْ uktub (Write!), but in this case the subject (You) is implied.
The other parts of the sentence are called complements and can be an object, a prepositional phrase, an adverb, and so on.
The subject of the verb can be a noun or a pronoun. Here are some examples:
Noun as subject
الوَلَدُ رَقَدَ raqada alwaladu (The boy slept.)
البِنْت تَرْقُصُ tarqusu albint (The girl dances.)
يَجْرِي الرِّجَال yajree arrijaal (The men run.)
جَرَت النِّسَاء jarat annisaa’ (The women ran.)
Pronoun as subject
رَقَدَ. raqada (He slept.)
نَرْقُص. narqus (We dance.)
جَرِيْـنَا. jaraynaa (We ran.)
يَجْريـنَ. Yajreena They (f) run.)
The subject can also be singular, dual or plural, as well as masculine or feminine:
رَقَدَ الوَلَدُ / الوَلَدَان / الأَوْلَاد. raqada alwaladu / alwaladaan / al’awlaad (The boy/Two boys/Boys slept.)
Regarding gender in Arabic, the verb must agree with the subject in Arabic grammar. In other words, if the subject is feminine, the verb must be in agreement using the appropriate markers. Some examples include:
البِنْتَان جَلَسَـتْ jalasat albintaan (The two girls sat.)
المُدَرِّسَات خَرَجَـتْ kharajat almudarrisaat (The teachers (f) went out.)
البَنَات تــقْفِز taqfiz albanaat (The girls jump.)
As to number, if the subject is a noun, the verb remains singular in form regardless as to whether the subject is dual, plural, or compound. If the subject is a pronoun, the agreement is reflected on the verb through the respective pronominal suffixes, as shown in the above examples.
So there you have the basic sentence structure in Arabic and now you should be able to put all of that vocabulary to good use.
If you are interest in learning more about Arabic grammar or anything else having to do with Arabic language or Arab culture, please check out our other posts at kaleela.com. And be sure to keep an eye out for the Kaleela Arabic language learning app, launching soon!