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The Equational Sentence in Arabic Grammar

The Equational Sentence in Arabic Grammar


Even if you’re just beginning to study the Arabic language, you may have noticed that there are some sentences that do not contain verbs. Because they have no verbs, these are sometimes called Noun sentences, but in Arabic grammar, they are known as Equational Sentences because they are equivalent or “‘equal to” to sentences in English containing the verb “to be”. Thus, Equational Sentences are sentences which would have the verb “to be” conjugated in the present tense if they were in English. For example, “I am Fatima” would be “I Fatima” in Arabic.

In Arabic, an Equational sentence can make up an entire paragraph, which makes them seem complex and difficult for native English students who want to learn Arabic language skills to comprehend. So, with that in mind, we will try to make it as easy as possible and limit ourselves to only the basic Arabic vocabulary in the examples.
Look at the sentences below. Each of these sentences contains a subject that is a pronoun. Each of these sentences also contains a predicate (something that tells us about the subject) which is the proper name.

Predicate Subject
يوسف     إسمي    (أنا)
Yousef is My name I
Predicate Subject
سوسن     اسمها   هي  
Sawsan is Her name She
Predicate Subject
محمد     إسمه هو  
Mohammad is His name He


As none of these sentences contain a verb in Arabic, simply imagine there is an equals (=) sign in the place where the verb would normally go in English, separating the noun from the predicate and, “Voila!”, you now have an idea of what a basic equational sentence looks like. Study these carefully as you will see them mentioned again in an upcoming article on class in Arabic grammar.

Predicate Subject
يوسف   = إسمي    (أنا)
Yousef is My name I
Predicate Subject
سوسن   = اسمها   هي  
Sawsan is Her name She
Predicate Subject
محمد   = اسمه   هو  
Mohammad is His name He

As you can see, the formula for constructing an equational sentence in Arabic looks like this:

Predicate   =   Subject  



Incidentally, the subject of an equational sentence does not have to be Arabic pronouns. It can be any noun or proper noun as well. We could have sentences such as:
خالد طالب Khalid talab  (Khalid is a student.)
Here “Khalid” is the subject and “student” is the predicate. Thus, the predicate can also be any kind of a noun.
Additionally, the predicate can also be an adjective. For example:
ليث طويل القامة Layth tawil alqama (Laith is tall.)
Here the predicate القامة is an adjective.

As you can see, learning equational sentences really isn’t that difficult at all now that we’ve simplified it for you.
We hope that Kaleel.com always makes your online Arabic learning simple. If you have any questions about what you learned today, or about any subject we have posted about so far, drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you. Until next time, ma salama!