“Lā” of absolute negation / لا النافِية للجِنْس

Arabic dialects map


In Arabic, there are different types of “lā” (لا) as a negating particle, two of which are used with a verb in the imperfect tense (مُضارِع) (see dedicated pages). The other type is the lā of absolute negation in Arabic, which is only used to negate the nominal sentence and mark the absolute nonexistence of a being or thing. It puts the noun (the subject) in the accusative case like ‘Inna and its sisters’, but without a definite article (أَداة التَعْرِيف) or nunation (تَنْوِين).

In other words, the word it relates to will end with a single fatḥa (without tanwīn) and will never bear the definite article ال. This is one of the very rare situations where a noun remains defined even though it has neither an article nor an attached complement.

No one is hereلاَ أَحَدَ هُنَا
No country is better than oursلا بَلَدَ أَفْضَلُ مِن بَلَدِنا
I have no knowledge of thatلاَ عِلْمَ لِي بِذَلِكَ

Note: If it is preceded by a preposition, then it will have no grammatical effect and function as an ordinary negating particle. The noun that follows the particle should be in its genitive form due to the preceding preposition.

غادَرْتُ بِلا شَيْءٍ
I left with nothing

Note 2: If the noun is followed by an adjective, the said-adjective of the negated noun will be in the accusative form:

لا فُرْصةَ مُتاحةً لَهُم
They have (absolutely) no opportunity

The difference with regular negation

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