السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Alright, so we’ve gone into the different kinds of words one will find in Arabic and signs that tell us which kind a word is. Now we’re going to talk about something called “grammatical status” (إِعرَاب). Remember how back in the signs of the اسم, we said that we’d cover grammatical status in a “later segment”? Well, this is that segment 🙂
The word إعراب means to make something show and to clarify it. In Arabic grammar, it’s defined as (explanation to follow):
الإعرابُ هُوَ : تَغْيِيْرُ أَوَاخِرِ الْكلِمِ لاِخْتِلاَفِ الْعَوَامِلِ الْداخِلَة عَلَيهَا لَفْظاً أَوْ تَقْدِيراً
It is changing of the endings of words due to the differences in influences that enter them, whether it happens explicitly or implicitly
“Changing of the endings of words” doesn’t mean changing the actual ending of the word itself (e.g.. the last letter), because the actual ending itself won’t change. What we’re changing here is the condition of the ending of words, which means that words transition from one state to another, regardless of whether that happens explicitly or implicitly. This transition happens due to switching between different influences, such as:
- one that might force a word to be in رَفْع due to the word being the doer of an action
- one that demands that a word be in نَصْب due to the word being any other detail of an action
- and so on
Before we go further, three possible states for an اسم:
- رَفع (raf’), which usually shows as a ضَمَّة (dhammah) at the end of the word
- نَصب (nasb), which usually shows as a فَتْحَة (fathah) at the end of the word
- جَرّ (jarr), also called خَفْض (khafdh), which usually shows as a كسرة (kasrah) at the end of the word. NOTE: If you see the word ًجَر, it means exactly the same as خَفض. The two are interchangeable words for the same concept.
Like the اسم, a present tense verb (فِعل مُضارِع) can also have three possible states:
- Raf’, as explained above
- Nasb, as explained above
- جزم (jazm), which usually shows as سكون (sukoon) at the end of the word
When I say “usually”, it’s because some kinds of words show their status differently. This will all come later إن شاء الله. All you need to focus on for now is the concept of words moving between grammatical states.
Let’s look at some examples:
حَضَرَ مُحَمّدٌ (Muhammad was present). The word محمدٌ is in the grammatical state of raf’ because it is affected by an influence that demands it to be in raf’ (based on the fact that it’s the doer of an action). The influence here is the verb حَضَرَ.
Tip: If you see an اسم (noun) in raf’ coming after a فعل (verb), it’s the doer of that verb. This will come again when we cover the scenarios in which an اسم will be in raf’.
رَأيْتُ مُحَمَّداً (I saw Muhammad). The word مُحَمّد has changed to the state of nasb, because the influencing factor is now one that demands that the word be in nasb. The influence is the verb رَأيْتُ, and محمداً is the direct object of that verb (i.e. It answers the question, “What did I see?”)
Tip: Besides the doer, any other اسم/noun associated with a verb will be in nasb
مَرَرْتُ بِمُحَمَّدٍ (I passed by Muhammad). The condition of the ending has changed to jarr due to an influence that forces it to be in the status of jarr. The influence here is the letter ب, which is one of the particles of خفض that we discussed earlier.
Tip: Anytime you see one of the particles of خَفْض, the word after it must be in the state of jarr.
If you think about the three preceding examples, you’ll see that the ending of the word مُحمد, which is the letter د, did not change. What changed instead was the condition of the د. In the first example, it had a dhammah because the word was in raf’, in the second it had a fathah because the word was in nasb, and in the final example, the د had a kasrah on it because the word was in jarr.
This transitioning between states is what we mean when we talk about إعراب (grammatical status), and these vowel markings (the dhammah, the fathah and the kasrah) are the signs of these states.
Just like the اسم, the present tense verb (فِعل مُضارِع) can also switch between states. Consider the following sentences with the verb يُسافِرُ (“he travels”):
- يُسافِرُ إبراهِيمُ (“Ibrahim travels”) – يُسافِرُ is in raf’ because there is nothing that would demand it to be in nasb or jazm. A dhammah at the end tells us that it is in raf’
- ُلَنْ يُسافِرَ إبراهيم (“Ibrahim will not travel”) – يُسافِرَ has switched to the nasb state due to the presence of the negative حَرْف (or particle) لَنْ. That’s why the ending vowel is now a fathah.
- لَن is part of a family of حرف’s that demands a verb to be in nasb. That family will be discussed later.
- ُلَمْ يُسافِرْ إبراهِيم (“Ibrahim has not traveled”) – Now we see that يُسافِرْ has switched to jazm due to the presence of the negative particle لَمْ. That’s why the ending vowel is now a sukoon
- لَمْ is part of a family of حرف’s that demands that a verb be in jazm. That family will be discussed later.
Can you tell why the word إبراهِيم ends with dhammah in all three examples? (Hint: see the tip after the first example I gave for the اسم).
Okay, it’s time for our favorite part of the segment: Quran Time! Let’s take a look at 11:72-81 and see how this actually plays out:
- All of the highlighted words are showing their status using either a dhammah (to show raf’), a fathah (to show nasb) or a kasrah (to show jarr) at the end.
- Other nouns and present tense verbs are there, but they are showing their status differently. We’ll get into those later.
At this point, things are likely to be whirring in your mind. What are the “unusual” ways that words show their status? What makes which word go into which status? YES. All of that is coming later إن شاء الله. I know it’s a lot of “later”‘s but giving you tomorrow’s stuff today might mean you never get today’s stuff. Right now, it’s just words showing their status and the way they usually show it. Next up is words that don’t show it so obviously and why they don’t.
- What is إعراب?
- What does “changes in the endings of words” really refer to?
- In which status is each of the highlighted words in the image above?
Until next time, السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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