Last updated: May 2, 2021
Such words point to a verb and carry its meaning as well as its time and function.
There are some important things to know.
What are the specialties of such words?
- Such a word is not a pure noun (اِسْم) only. Why? Other than nouns, a اِسْم الْفِعْل only conveys a meaning on itself when it is linked to time.
- We also don’t call it a pure verb because it does not carry the signs and markers of a verb, i.e., the usual endings.
- All forms of a اِسْم الْفِعْل are indeclinable (مَبْنِيّ).
- Furthermore, it is not affected by other parts of the sentence. In other words, it does not have a regent (عامِل) and doesn’t have a position in إعراب.
- However, a اِسْم الْفِعْل has governing power of a verb and works as a regent (عامِل). It can govern other words and induces cases – note the cases after such a word.
- Therefore, it can carry a direct object (مَفْعُول بِهِ) in the accusative case (مَنْصُوب). This object, however, can never precede the اِسْم الْفِعْل. It has to be placed after.
In Arabic grammar books, the اِسْم الْفِعْل is classified by the tense/time it relates to. Therefore, we have three types (imperative, past tense, present tense).
I only focus on the imperative here as this is the most common type.
The imperative mode (اِسْم فِعْل أَمْر)
Many exclamations have a certain verbal force are given the equivalent of an imperative.
|Stop! Give up! Let alone!||كُفَّ! or اُكْفُفْ!||مَهْ!|
|Come! Come to prayer! (حَيَّ عَلَى الصَّلاةِ)||أَقْبِلْ! or عَجِّلْ!||حَيَّ!|
|Amen! (to hear/answer a prayer)||(اللَّهُمَّ ) اِسْتَجِبْ!||آمِينَ!|
Muslims say ’Āmīn as well, for example, after having read the first Sura al-Fātiha (سُورة الْفاتِحة).
Some linguists suggested that the آ – the Aleph Madd (أَلِف مَدّ) – is only there in the word آمِينَ to provide the fullness of the sound “a” (فَتْحة). What supports this idea is the fact that there is no word in Arabic following the pattern فَاعِيلٌ.
Many common expressions fit into this category.
They were originally prepositional phrases (الْجَرّ وَالْمَجُرور) or adverbs of place (ظَرْف مَكان) but now have the meaning of an imperative. Grammarians call such expressions a اِسْم فِعْل مَنْقُول (transferred).
|translation||equivalent meaning||اِسْم الْفِعْل|
|There it is for you! (You take this!)||Take it (خُذْها إِلَيْكَ)!||إِلَيْكَها|
|There is my hand for you!||Take my hand (خُذْ يَدِي)!||هاكَ يَدِي|
|Take the book (said to a woman)!||You (f.) take (خُذِي)!||هاكِ الْكِتابَ|
|Seize Karim!||Seize Karim who is in front of!||عَلَيْكَ كَرِيمًا|
|Take him!||Take (خُذْ)!||دُونَكَهُ|
|Get away from me!||Move away (اِبْتَعِدْ)!||إِلَيْكَ عَنِّي|
|You must be honest!||You have to (اِلْزَمْ)!||عَلَيْكَ الصِّدْقَ|
|Move on! Forward!||Move forward (تَقَدَّمْ)!||أَمامَكَ|
|Backward!||Fall behind! (تَأَخَّرْ)||وَراءَكَ|
|Stay in your place!||Stand firm! (اُثْبُتْ)||مكانَكَ|
Notice in the examples the direct objects – the accusative case (مَنْصُوب)!
PS: My Arabic for Nerds 2 will deal with stuff like that extensively.
More stuff about Islam:
- A crash course in the conditional sentence in Arabic: particles and words (2/3)
- A crash course in the conditional sentence in Arabic: the basics (1/3)
- كَتَبُوا – what is the function of the Aleph here?
- What does the vowel on the second root letter of an Arabic verb tell us?
- What does لا سِيَّما mean?
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