Conjunctions / حُرُوف العَطْف

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Conjunctions in Arabic (حُرُوف العَطْف) belong to the category of particles (حُرُوف) which means they are indeclinable (مَبْنِيّة) and have no direct influence on the noun case of the word following it.

List of conjunctions / قائِمة حُرُوف العَطْف


Conjunctions contexts of use

and: وَ

🢡 Consists of only one letter hence attached to the word following it

  • It can easily join two noun phrases or sentences of the same register, either grammatically or semantically.
He played with his son and his dogلَعِبَ مع اِبْنِهِ وَكَلْبِهِ
He stood up and spokeقامَ وَتَكَلَّمَ
  • As opposed to English, in Arabic when coordinating more than two groups we arrange the coordination between each group rather than leaving it for the end.
رَاَْيْتُ كَريمًا وَسالِمًا وَلَيْلَى وَخَدِيجةَ
I saw Karim, Salim, Layla and Khadija

Note: Typically, when multiple adjectives refer to the same noun in an identification sentence, we do not utilize coordination. Instead, it is more common for them to be juxtaposed.

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرّحْمَنِ الرّحِيم
In the name of God Most Gracious, Most Merciful
  • No matter the negative phrase used, when forming a negative sentence with nor, we must use و followed by لا to convey this meaning.
لَيْسَ قَلِقًا ولا مُرْتَحًا
He’s neither stressed nor relaxed

then: فَـ  

🢡 Consists of only one letter hence attached to the word following it

  • The coordinating conjunction فَـ can bring together two verbs or even sentences, suggesting a period of transition with the alteration of subject matter. It often gets translated by “therefore” and “then”. In many cases, it is comparable to punctuation marks like the comma, point, semicolon, or colon.
He didn’t know the answer so he asked his friendلَمْ يَعْرِفْ الجَوابَ فَسَاَلَ صَدِيقَهُ
The police arrested him, he’s a criminalأَوْقَفَتهُ الشُرْطةُ فَهُوَ مُجْرِمٌ
  • The particle فَـ can indicate a relationship of cause, result or intent. As the imperfect verb has to shift to an accusative case (المُضارِع مَنْصوب), it becomes more subordinated than coordinated.
He conspired against him because he coveted his positionمَكَرَ بِهِ فَطَمَعَ على مَنْصِبِهِ
  • Used to enumerate orders and succession of events.
خَرَجَ حَكِيمٌ فَسالِمٌ
Hakim got out then Salim after him

Afterwards / then: ثُمَّ   

  • Indicates succession with a break in time between the actions.
أَكَلَ ثُمَّ استراح
He ate and rested afterward (He ate then rested)

or: أو / أَم  

These particles are used to mark the alternative “or”.

  • The particle أَو is used to connect two nouns or two sentences
سَأَذْهَبُ إِلى الدُوحَى أَو الرِّياضِ غَدًا
Tomorrow, I’ll go to Doha or Riyad
  • The particle أم conveys the same meaning, but will be employed:
    • In an interrogative sentence introduced by أ
    • In the phrase structure of …سواء… أ…أم (whether it’s…or…).
Are you a singer or a poet?أمُطْرِبٌ أَنْتَ أم شاعِرٌ ؟
{[…] it is the same for them, whether you have warned them, or have not warned them […]} Qur’an [Al-Baqara : 6]{سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَأَنْذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنْذِرْهُمْ لا يُؤْمِنُونَ} 
القُرْآن [البَقَرة : 6 ]

rather: بَل 

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