The annexation / الإِضافة

Arabic dialects map

The concept of annexation in Arabic is called إِضافة (iḍāfa) in the Arabic language expresses the idea of two nouns (or an adjective and a noun) linked together and immediately following each other. This is similar to an attributive formation, where the main noun comes first and serves as the head constituent while the second noun is the attribute.

Each annexation is composed of a 1st term (المُضاف) “the annexed” which is completed by a 2nd term (المُضاف إِليه) “the annexer”, without the need for a preposition.

Rules concerning the annexation /  أحْكام الإَضافة

  • Regardless of whether the 1st term is definite or indefinite, it never takes the definite article ال /al/ nor does it get ‘nunated’ (التَنْوِين).
  • The 2nd term (the annexer) will always be in the genitive case and may or may not feature ال /al/ or nunation depending on its definite status.
  • When the 2nd (the annexer) is written in definite form, it renders the entire iḍāfa structure definite; however, if its form is indefinite, then the whole iḍāfa becomes indefinite as well.

The first type: the genuine annexation / الإِضافة الحَقِيقِيّة

  1. It corresponds to the genitive construction and is similar to English ‘of …’ or ‘…’s’.
  2. It can express the relation between an item and a material.
قَصْرُ المَلِكِ 
The king’s castle
قَصْرُ مَلِكٍ
A king’s castle
وَزيرُ البَلَدِ
The minister of the country
وَزيرُ بَلَدٍ
A country’s minister
كُرْسيُّ الخَشَبِ
The wooden seat
كُرْسيُّ خَشَبٍ
A wooden seat

The second type: the adjectival annexation / الإِضافة المَجازِيّة

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