The particle “qad” / قَد

Arabic dialects map

Particle قد qad in Arabic is a particle that is only used with verbs in the perfect and imperfect tense. The verb cannot be put in the future or in the negative form even though its use in the negative tense is a widespread error today.

The particle expresses 4 main values depending on the tense of the verb and the context in which it will be used:

  • Fulfillment of the action / التحقيق
  • Temporal proximity / التقريب
  • The expectation / التوقع
  • The small probability / التقليل

It is worth mentioning that very often the context will determine the value of قد as the same sentence with قد in two different contexts can have two different translations.

Perfect tense / الماضي

Fulfillment of the action / التحقيق

Express the idea of an action that has indeed occurred and been fulfilled. 

  • It can sometimes be translated by “already” or “indeed” depending on the context.
{The believers have (indeed) succeed} Qur’an [Al-Mu’minūn : 1] قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ} القُرْآن [المؤمِنون : ١]}
We already saw that yesterdayقد رَأَيْنا ذَلِكَ البارِحة
  • It can express the idea of an event that occurred as expected (التَوَقُّع). It can be translated in English by “effectively”, “surely” or “indeed”.
The teacher [effectively] cameقَدْ جاءَ الأُسْتاذُ
We (indeed) returned back home at four o’clockقَدْ رَجَعْنا إِلى البَيْتِ فِي الساعةِ الرابِعةِ
  • قد can also be translated by the English present perfect tense ((have + verb (ed)).
She has left the placeقد تَرَكَتْ المَكانَ
You have brought up your children in religionقَد رَبَّيتَ أَوْلادَكَ في الدِّينِ

Note: we can find قد preceded by the emphatic lām لَ when used in the perfect tense to reinforce this meaning.

وَلَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ…} القُرْآن [البَقَرة : ٩٩]}
{And We have certainly relieved to you verses [which are] clear proofs…} Qur’an [Al-Baqara : 99]

Temporal proximity / التقريب

Particle قد can also express the idea of something that just happened or very shortly in the past, often translated by “just”.

Prayer time has just arrivedقَدْ قامَتْ الصَلاةُ
We just arrived homeقَدْ وَصَلْنا إِلى البَيْتِ

Note: we can find قد preceded by the empathic lām لَ when used in the perfect tense to reinforce this meaning.

لَقَد أَكَلْتُ وَجْبَتي
I just ate my meal

Imperfect tense / المُضارِع

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