The exclamation / التَعَجّب

Arabic dialects map

There are two ways to convey exclamation in Arabic that express astonishment toward a person or an object:

  • The standard exclamation / التَعَجُّب القِياسِي: is the expression of two reference verb patterns conveying exclamation under specific conditions.
  • The oral exclamation / التَعَجُّب السَماعِي: corresponds to all the many other ways of expressing wonder that don’t abide by the same constraints as the ‘standard exclamation’.

The standard exclamation / التَعَجّب القِياسي

The two verbal patterns ما أَفْعَلَ and أَفْعَلْ بِـ

The Arabs use two forms of exclamation in standard use which are:

أَفْعَلْ بِـ
(rarely used)
ما أَفْعَلَ
(most used 🔥)
  • The most common form is constructed from the pattern أَفْعَلَ (considered here as a verb of form IV in the perfect tense which remains fixed as such) preceded by the particle ما and followed by the subject which is a noun (in the accusative case defined by the article) or a suffix pronoun:
ما أَجْمَلَها
How beautiful she/it is!
ما أَجْمَلَ المَدِينةَ
How beautiful this city is!
  • The second form of construction of the exclamation, a little less used, is also constructed from the pattern أَفْعِلْ (considered here as a verb of form IV in the imperative which remains fixed as such) and followed by the preposition بـ fixed to l ‘object representing the cause of astonishment which is a noun (in the genitive case defined by the article) or a suffix pronoun.
أَجْمِلْ بِها
How beautiful she/it is!
أَجْمِلْ بِالمَدِينةِ
How beautiful this city is!

Note: When two verbs of wonder relate to the same noun, they are positioned following the noun and take a suffix pronoun.

ما أَسْرَعَ السَّيّارةَ وما أَطْوَلَ السَيّارةَ ما أَسْرَعَ السَّيّارةَ وما أَطْوَلَها ✔️
How fast and how long this car is!

The conditions

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