The subjunctive and jussive moods / المُضارِع المَنْصُوب والمُضارِع المَجْزُوم

Arabic dialects map

The subjunctive and jussive in Arabic are important grammatical structures. Both moods are formed by modifying the endings of the verb, and they have specific rules for their use in different contexts. In this lesson, we will explore the subjunctive and jussive moods in Arabic, their formation, usage, and examples to help you master these important grammatical structures.

Subjunctive mood

The imperfect subjunctive mood / المُضارِع المَنْصوب

In the subjunctive mood, we use the imperfect indicative and modify the verb endings by:

  • replacing the final ḍamma ( ُ ) with a fatḥa ( َ )
  • dropping the نَ for personal endings having it as their final syllable 🢡 pronouns أَنْتِ أَنْتُم هُمْ أَنْتُما هُما
  • No modification for the feminine plural
مُثَنّى (dual)جمع (plural)مُفْرَد (singular)المُضارِع المَنْصُوب 
Imperfect subjunctive
نَحْنُ نَفْعَلَأنا أفَعَلَالمُتَكَلِّم
1st person

أَنْتُما تَفْعَلا
أَنْتُمْ تَفْعَلُواأَنْتَ تَفْعَلَالمُذَكَّر
2nd person 
أَنْتُنَّ تَفْعَلْنَأََنْتِ تَفْعَلِيالمُؤَنَّث
هُما يَفْعَلاهُمْ يَفْعَلُواهُوَ يَفْعَلَالمُذَكَّر
3rd person
هُما تَفْعَلاهُنَّ يَفْعَلْنَهِيَ تَفْعَلَالمُؤَنَّث

The subjunctive particles / حُرُوف النَصْب

The imperfect subjunctive mood is introduced by subjunctive particles (حُرُوف النَصْب) which are divided into two categories:

  • Subordinate clause particles 
  • Future tense negation particle

Subordinate clauses 

The imperfect subjunctive mood is predominantly employed in subordinate clauses following the accompanying subjunctive particles, signaling an action that is either externally triggered or internally induced. The list of these subjunctive particles includes:

in order to / to
then / in that case
that / to
to, so that, in order to 
so that
so that, in order to
He asked for water to drinkطَلَبَ الماءَ لِيَشْرَبَ
Then you fight with courageإِذَنْ تُقاتِلَ بِشَجاعةٍ
You have to learn how to driveيَجِبُ أَنْ تَتَعَلَّمَ السِياقةَ
They (two) sat to restجَلَسَا كَيْ يَسْتَرِيحا
Come with her, so that she’ll show you somethingتَعالَ مَعها فَتُرِيَكَ شَيْئًا
We smile so that you don’t see our angerنبْتَسِمُ حتّى لا ترى غَضَبَنا

Note: Prepositions ‘after’ بَعْدَ and ‘before’ قَبْلَ can be followed by the subjunctive particle أَنْ, leading to a verb in the subjunctive mood. 

I took a breakfast before leaving my houseأَفْطَرْتُ قَبْلَ أَنْ أَخْرُجَ مِنْ بَيْتي
They (usually) fall asleep after watching TVيَنامُون بَعْدَ أَنْ يُشاهِدوا التِلفاز

Note 2: There is also a negative form for particles أَنْ / كَيْ / حَتّى 

حَتّى لا
in order not to
in order not to
in order not to
that not, not to
They (feminine) ask her not to do thatطَلَبْنَ مِنْها أَلاّ تَفْعَلَ كَذا
I was careful so nobody would rob meحَذَرْتُ لِئَلاّ يَسْرَِقَنِي أَحَدٌ
He kicked him out so he wouldn’t come backطَرَدَهُ كَيلا يَعُودَ
she kissed her son so that he would not cryقَبَّلَتْ اِبْنَها حَتّى لا يَبْكِي

Note 3: In much the same way as an English infinitive, a verbal noun (مَصْدَر) can replace a subjunctive mood in any subordinate clause and be used as verb.

I like to restأُحِبُ الاِسْتِراحةَ
He hates walking in the woodsيَكْرَهُ المَشْي فِي الغابةِ

Future tense negation particle / لَنْ

To express negation in the future tense we use the subjunctive particle لَنْ with a verb in the imperfect subjunctive mood.

Future tense negation = لَنْ + المُضارِع المَنْصوب

I won’t lieلَنْ أَكْذِبَ
You (plural) won’t come with meلَنْ تَذْهَبُوا مَعِي

Jussive mood

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