The verbal sentence / الجُمْلة الفِعْلِيّة

The verbal sentence in Arabic (الجُمْلة الفِعْلِيّة)

The verbal sentence in Arabic (الجُمْلة الاِسْميّة) is composed of a verb and its subject (either explicitly mentioned as a noun or implicit as a pronoun) as the two essential components. Direct objects, indirect objects, and direct/indirect circumstantial complements may be added to this essential couplet for further clarification.

The subject in a verbal sentence is the nominative case (مَرْفُوع), while direct complements (not preceded by prepositions) are in the accusative case (مَنْصوب), while any complements introduced by a preposition is ought to take on the genitive form (مَجْرور).

To sum this up:

Verbal sentence (Verb=>Subject=>Object/complement)
:الجُمْلة الفِعْلية
1. The verb١. الفِعْل
2. The subject (nominative case)( ُ  ) ٢. الفاعِل = مرفوع     
3. The object/complement (accusative case)( َ  ) ٣. المَفْعول = مَنْصوب 


Samira took the bus(رَكِبَتْ (فِعْل)  سَميرةُ (فاعِل)  الباصَ (مَفْعُول بِه
She took the bus(رَكِبَتْ (فِعْل+فاعِل)  الباصَ (مَفْعُول بِهِ

The Verb / الفِعْل

The verb is conjugated in one of the three tenses in Arabic:

The Arabic language does not feature tenses which are precise reflections of the primary English verb tenses. Hence, the terms ‘perfect’ and ‘imperfect tense’ do not accurately apply. For better understanding, however, we will continue referring to them as such for reference purposes. More details on the conjugation page.

Note: In the 3rd person when the plural subject is explicitly mentioned after the verb, the verb is conjugated in the singular form.

The woman is laughingتَضْحَكُ المَرْأَةُ
The women are laughing تَضْحَكُ النِساءُ
The man is working يَعْمَلُ الرَجُلُ
The men are workingيَعْمَلُ الرِجال

Note 2: Transitive verbs are referred to as مُتَعَدٍّ, and intransitive ones as لازِِم. While transitive verbs can take an object in the accusative case, intransitive verbs cannot (some may accept an accusative predicative complement). The nature of a verb – whether it is transitive or intransitive – depends on its underlying meaning and construction.

Examples of intransitive verbs:

He grievedحَزِنَ
He grew upكَبُرَ

The subject / الفاعِل

The subject can be either a noun or a pronoun:

  • The subject is explicitly mentioned as a noun.
  • The subject is alternatively implicitly mentioned as a pronoun conveyed in the verb conjugation through the past tense suffix or muḍāriʿprefix.
She took the bus(رَكِبَتْ (فِعْل+فاعِل)  الباصَ (مَفْعُول بِهِ

The pronoun “she” is here included in the conjugation of the verb “to take”

Note: To emphasize the subject or statement, a personal pronoun often precedes the verb to eliminate any ambiguity to put stress on the statement or subject. 

هُوَ قامَ بِالعَمَلِ
He is the one that did the work

The complement / المَفْعول

There’s five official complements ( مفاعيل ) in Arabic which are:

  • The accusative object / المَفْعُول بِهِ
  • The adverbial object / المَفْعُول فِيهِ
  • The causative object / المَفْعُول لأَجْلِهِ  
  • The concomitant object / المَفْعول مَعَهُ
  • The absolute object / المَفْعُول المُطْلَق
⚠️ The absolute object will be treated under the Intermediate section along with other additional complements.

The accusative object / المَفْعول به

After using a transitive verb, you’ll usually come across an object complement; it will be in the accusative case (مَنْصُوب) if this is not preceded by any preposition, while when there’s one present, the object should take on the genitive case.

He opened the doorفَتَحَ البابَ
He ate an appleأَكَلَ تُفاحةً
He heard a soundسَمِعَ صَوْتًا
He looked at his carنَظَرَ إِلى سيّارتِهِ

Note: It is worth noting that the direct complement of a verb in English may be an indirect complement in Arabic and vice versa.

He risked his lifeخاطَرَ بِحَياتِهِ 
He talked to himكَلَّمَهُ

The adverbial object / المَفْعول فيه

The Arabic adverbial object is originally an adverb of time or place (in the accusative case) indicating when or where the action took place. It is important to note that not only proper adverbs, as previously seen, are considered adverbial objects (مَفْعول فِيه), but in Arabic, any word indicating a place or a time also falls under that category.

He ate at the restaurantأَكَلَ في المَطْعَمِ
He sat between the two boysجَلَسَ بَيْنَ الوَلَدَيْنِ
The plane took off before he arrivedأَقْلْعَتِ الطائِرةُ قَبْلَ وُصُولِهِ
He left the house during the eveningغادَرَ البَيْتَ في المَساءِ

The causative object / المَفْعول لأجله  

The causative object is a verbal noun (مَصْدَر) in the accusative case (مَنْصُوب) that can be found after the direct object or preceded by the preposition لِ. This component of speech explains why an action has been taken and serves as justification for its occurrence.

{ And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. } Qur’an [al-ʾIsrāʾ : 31] { وَلا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلاقٍ }
القُرْآن [الإسراء: 31]
He worked hard to succeed at the examاِجْتَهَدَ لِلنَجاحِ فِي الاِمْتِحانِ
He fled from the lion for fear of his ferocityهَرَبَ مِنْ الأَسَدِ خَوْفًا مِنْ شَراستِهِ

The concomitant object / المَفْعول مَعَهُ

The concomitant object is an optional noun in the accusative case (مَنْصُوب) that comes after the particle و /wāw/ of concomitance (واو المَعِيّة), which implies affiliated with the action of the verb. The (و /wāw/) of concomitance (واو المَعِيّة) is meant to highlight the companionship between an object and a verb’s action.

Karim walked along with the riverمَشى كَريمٌ وَالنَهْرَ
Fawzia came in company of Khadijaجاءَتْ فَوْزيّةُ وَخَديجةَ
We went out during the eveningخَرَجْنا وَالمَساءَ
The sun came out with the heatظَهَرَتِ الشَمْسُ والحَرارةَ

The negation / النَفي

Negation is generally expressed in Arabic through particles which differ according to the tense the negation is expressed in. It can have a direct influence on verb conjugation. In this section, we’ll start with seeing the negation (النَفي) in the imperfect indicative tense (المُضارِع المَرْفُوع). 

Negation particle used with the tense following itTense in which the negation is expressed
لا + المُضارع المَجْزومImperfect tense
لَمْ + المُضارِع المَجْزومPerfect tense
لَنْ + المُضارِع المَنْصوبFuture tense
لا + المُضارِع المَجْزومImperative

Negation in the imperfect indicative tense

Negation in the imperfect indicative tense is simply indicated by the particle لا put before the verb in the imperfect indicative tense.

لا + فِعْل مُضارِع مَرْفُوع

لا يَعْرِفُ الجَوابَ
He doesn’t know the answer

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Verbal sentence

The verbal sentence

Improve your Arabic skills with our expert guide to the verbal sentence. From verb conjugation to sentence structure, we cover it all in this comprehensive resource.

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