The adjective rules / قُواعِد النَعْت
The adjective in Arabic is called نَعْت and the noun it qualifies is called مَنْعوت. There are two rules regarding the adjective in Arabic:
- Unlike English, the adjective comes systematically after the noun it qualifies.
- The adjective agrees with the noun it qualifies in all possible respects, namely:
- In gender / الجِنْس
- In number / العَدَد
- In definiteness / التَعْريف
- In grammatical case / الإعْراب
|يَذْهَبُ إِلى الجامِعةِ الكَبِيرةِ|
He goes to the big university
⤷ Gender: The word ‘university’ جامِعة is feminine by nature, the adjective big (كَبير) will have to take the feminine form => كَبيرة.
⤷ Number: ‘The university’ الجامِعةِ is here singular, hence, ‘big’ كَبيرة stays in the singular form.
⤷ Definiteness: ‘The university’ الجامِعةِ is definite, we’ll then have to add the article of definition to big ? الكَبيرة
⤷ Grammatical case: ‘The university’ الجامِعةِ is in the genitive form and ends with a kasra. As a matter of consequence الكَبيرة also ends with the kasra accordingly ? الكَبيرةِ
|هذا قِطٌّ صَغِيرٌ|
This is a small cat
⤷ Gender: The word ‘cat’ قِطٌّ is masculine by nature, and the adjective ‘small’ (صَغِير) stays in the masculine form (صَغِير? (مُذَكَّر
⤷ Number: ‘Cat’ قِطٌّ is here singular, hence, “small” صَغِير stays in the singular form.
⤷ Definiteness: ‘Cat’ قِطّ is indefinite, we won’t add the article of definition to small ? صَغِير
⤷ Grammatical case: ‘Cat’ قِطّ is in the nominative case (مَرْفُوع) and ends with a ḍamma. As a matter of consequence صَغِير also ends with the ḍamma accordingly ? صَغِيرٌ
|الطُلّابُ الناجِحونَ مُجْتَهِدونَ|
The successful students are hard-working
⤷ Gender: The word ‘students’ الطُلّابُ is masculine by nature, the adjective successful ناجِح stays in the masculine form (ناجِح ? (مُذَكَّر
⤷ Number: ‘The students’ الطُلّابُ is here plural , hence, ‘successful’ ناجِح take the plural form (ناجِحُون ? (الجَمْع
⤷ Definiteness: “The students” الطُلّابُ is definite, we’ll then have to add the article of definition to successful ? الناجِحونَ
⤷ Grammatical case: “The students” الطُلّابُ is in the nominative form (مَرْفُوع) and ends with a ḍamma. As a matter of consequence, الناجِحونَ is a regular plural (which we saw in previous lessons) and will end with ون accordingly ? الناجِحونَ
Note: In the latter sentence, “hard-working” مُجْتَهِدونَ is considered the information (الخبر) of the nominal sentence and not as an adjective, as it doesn’t follow the subject “students” طُلّاب in definiteness.
Plurals not endowed with reason / الجُموع الجامِدة
|Beautiful stories||حِكاياتٌ جميلةٌ|
|Fierce lions||أُسُدٌ شَرِسةٌ|
|The United States||الوِلاياتُ المُتَّحِدةُ|
Note: On rare occasions, the adjective which refers to non-personified plurals can stay plural, the aim is generally to insist on the value of the adjective.
A set number of days أَيّامٌ مَعْدُوداتٌ Ever-lasting hours (litt. long hours) ساعاتٌ طِوالٌ
The adjective and the annexation / النَعْت والإِضافة
With the exception of demonstrative adjectives, nothing can separate two annexed terms. As a result, any adjective associated with the first term must be placed behind that of the second one in an annexation.
|ثِيابُ الوَلَدِ الجَديدةُ |
The boy’s new clothes
As the 2nd term can also have an adjective, it is the genre or the noun case which can then allow knowing which of the 2 terms is qualified.
|وَزِيرُ الحُكُومةِ الجَديدَةِ|
The minister of the new government
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