Arabic adverbs are referred to as (ظُروف) which directly translates to “vessel” or “container,” indicating the span of time and/or location in which a verb’s action is carried out. They are nouns that are generally declined in the accusative case and, when followed by nouns, serve as 1st term of annexation (مُضاف) while the noun following them is 2nd term (مُضاف إِليه). They are usually divided into two categories (even though other adverbs exist like adverbs of manner, degree, reason, restriction, etc.):
- Adverbs of place / ظُروف المَكان
- Adverbs of time / ظُروف الزَمان
Note: Adverbs can be preceded by a preposition such as مِنْ/ لِـ/ بِـ then adopt the genitive case structure (مَجْرور).
Note 2: Several adverbs can act as adverbs of time and place at the same time.
Note 3: Certain adverbs can be found in the definite nominative case (مَرفوع مَعْرِفة) without complement, either preceded or not by the preposition مِنْ. This applies to these following adverbs when they are to be found at the end of a sentence with nothing following them.
Ahead أَمامَ Behind وَراءَ Over فَوْقَ Below تَحْتَ After بَعْدَ Before قَبْلَ
He doesn’t know yet لا يَعْرِفُ بَعْدُ I’ve seen him before رَأَيْتُهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ
Adverbs of place / ظُروف المَكان
There are several adverbs of place (ظُروف المَكان) which can be divided into two categories: declinable (مُعْرَب) and indeclinable (مَبْنِيّ). Declinable adverbs of place will take the ḍamma, fatḥa, or kasra depending on their position in the sentence. On the other hand, undeclinable adverbs of place have only one ending and remain the same regardless of their positions they are not subjects to noun cases (الإعْراب).
Declinable adverbs of place / ظُروف المَكان المُعْرَبة
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of declinable adverbs of place (ظُروف المَكان المُعْرَبة):
|In middle of||وَسْطَ|
Indeclinable adverbs of place / ظُروف المَكان المَبْنِيّة
Adverbs of time / ظُروف الزَمان
There are several adverbs of time (ظُروف الزَمان) which can be divided into two categories: declinable (مُعْرَب) and undeclinable (مَبْنِيّ). Declinable adverbs of time will take the ḍamma, fatḥa, or kasra depending on their position in the sentence. On the other hand, undeclinable adverbs of place have only one ending and remain the same regardless of their positions they are not subjects to noun cases (الإعْراب).
Some declinable adverbs of time / ظُروف الزَمان المُعْرَبة
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of declinable adverbs of time (ظُروف الزَمان المُعْرَبة):
|when/at the time of||حِينَ|
|when/at the time of||حال|
|Right at the moment of||فَوْرَ|
Indeclinable adverbs of time / ظُروف الزَمان المَبْنِيّة
|Never (used for past events)||قَطُّ|
|When (used for past events)||لَمّا|
|Since/from||مُذْ / مُنْذُ|
Adverbs conveying the concept of possession
While Arabic lacks a verb equivalent to the English ‘to have’, the same notion of ownership or possession can be communicated in a nominal sentence (جُمْلة اِسْمية) by following the noun expressing the owner with either the adverbs عِنْدَ or لَدى (or even preposition لِ and adverb مَعَ). The owned material is then expressed as part of the nominative case, forming a nominal predicate. They are usually followed by a noun or a pronoun.
|لَدى + اسم / ضمير|
|عِنْدَ + اسم / ضمير|
|You have mental strength||لَدَيْكَ قُوّةٌ عَقْلِيّةٌ|
|Samir has a nice car||عِنْدَ سَمِيرٍ سَيّارةٌ جَمِيلةٌ|
Note: when used with a pronoun لَدى becomes لَدَيْـ
Adverbs of time and place
Learn about the various adverbs used to describe time and place in Arabic with our comprehensive guide. Perfect for Arabic language learners and enthusiasts.
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