Inna and its sisters / إِنّ وأَخَواتُها

Arabic dialects map

Inna and its sisters (إِنّ وَأَخَواتُها) are accusative particles that can only be followed by a noun, attached pronouns (ضَمائِر مُتَّصِلة), demonstrative or relative (except ما or مَنْ). Thus, they necessarily introduce a nominal sentence (جُمْلة اِسْميّة).

When preceded by one of these particles:

  • The subject (المُبْتَدأ) changes to an اِسْم (ism), and becomes accusative (مَنْصُوب)
  • The predicate’s nominative case doesn’t change (if it is a noun or adjective).
إِنَّ وأَخَواتُها  (Inna and its sisters)
certainly / does not translate (a matter of style or a simple syntactic device used to highlight the starting term)إنَّ
as ifكَأَنَّ
if onlyلَيْتَ
maybe / perharps (probability sometimes mixed with a wish)لَعَلَّ


The sun is indeed hotإِنَّ الشَمْسَ حارّةٌ
He declared to be the poet of the tribeصَرَّحَ أَنّه شاعِرُ القَبِيلةِ
She slapped me as if her hand was ironصَفَعَتْنِي كَأَنَّ يَدَها حَدِيدٌ
I am a student but I workأَنا طالِبٌ وَلَكِنِّي أَعْمَلُ
If only we were richيا لَيْتَنا كُنا أَغْنياء
Perhaps victory is nearلَعَلَّ النَصْرَ قَريبٌ

Note: The word لَكِنَّ is often preceded by و, while لَيْتَ is usually followed by the vocative particle يـا.

Note 2: إِنَّ can only be used meaning ‘that’ ‘to’ with only two verbs which are قالَ (to say) and أَقْسَمَ (to swear)

He said that the food was deliciousقالَ لي إِنَّ الطَّعامَ لَذِيذٌ
They swore to God that they’re innocentأَقْسَمُوا بِاللهِ إِنَّهُم أبرياءٌ

Note 3: أَنَّ can follow several prepositions (حُرُوف الجَرّ) to give a new meaning.

despiteمَعَ أَنَّ
howeverعَلى أَنَّ / إِلاّ أَنَّ / غَيْرَ أَنَّ
given thatعِلْمًا بِأَنَّ
They (fem.) drink water because they are thirstyيَشْرَبْنَ الماءَ لأَنَّهُنَّ عَطْشاناتُ 
He likes his job even though his salary is lowيُحِبُّ عَمَلَهُ مَعَ أَنَّ راتِبَهُ مُنْخَفِضٌ
He is strong, however, he is not steadfastهُوَ قَويّ إِلا أَنّه ليس صامدًا
Knowing that he is diligent, I think he will succeed, God willing.عِلمًا بأَنّهُ مُجْتَهِدًا أَظُنُّهُ سَيَنْجَحُ إنْ شاءَ الله

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