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When do you have to use إِنَّ in Arabic?

The particle إِنَّ is often misused. In fact, there are not many situations when you have to use it. An overview.

Last updated: 1 year ago

There are at least nine important situations. إِنَّ is translated as verily; indeed; certainly; that – or is even left untranslated. It all depends on the context. إِنَّ basically conveys and is thus often called an emphatic particle.

This little device gives even native speakers a hard time. But it is not that difficult. In this article, we'll take a brief look at the most important situations.

To start a nominal sentence

إنّ is used at the beginning of a (جُمْلةٌ اِسْمِيّةٌ). It works as an amplifier.

Certainly (indeed), work is im­portant for people..إِنَّ الْعَمَلَ ضَرُورِيٌّ لِلإِنْسانِ

After a quotation

My professor said: “Indeed, the prices in this shop are high.”قالَ أُسْتاذِي:إِنَّ الأَسْعارَ فِي هٰذا الْمَحَلِّ مُرْتَفِعةٌ

Good to know: almost always use إِنَّ after يَقُولُ – قالَ (R2=و)!

I say firmly that…أَقُولُ جازِمًا إِنَّ

After a particle of inauguration

After أَلا, a so-called intensifying interjection or particle of inauguration (حَرْفُ اِسْتِفْتاحٍ). The expression أَلا can be rendered as oh yes, in­deed, truly, verily. It literally means: is it not.

Oh yes, everything is ephemeral (lasting for a short time; not permanent)!أَلا إِنَّ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ زائِلٌ

After the Arabic word for “not at all”; “no way”

After the word كَلَّا which denotes not at all; on the con­trary; by no means! Certainly not! Never! No!

No! He has been stubbornly hostile to Our revelation. (Sura 74:16)كَلَّا إِنَّهُ كَانَ لِآيَاتِنَا عَنِيدًا

After the Arabic word إذ

After the particle إِذْ. In such constructions, إِذْ usually means when (note: it is not the word when which is used in questions).

Don't associate with him because he is not trustworthy.لا تُعاشِرْهُ إِذْ إِنَّهُ غَيْرُ أَمينٍ

After the Arabic words حيث and حتى

After حَيْثُ and حَتَّى

  • حَيْثُ means where (not used for questions!) and is used as an of place (ظَرْفُ مَكانٍ). In some situations, it may also denote since, as, due to the fact that; in that…
  • حَتَّى in such constructions denotes so that (and not: un­til); in such a way that.
Fire, since (as, because) it is hot, heats water.النَّارُ مِنْ حَيْثُ إِنَّهَا حَارَّةٌ تُسَخِّنُ الْمآءَ

To start a حال

إِنّ can start a sentence used as a circumstantial description (حالٌ)

I said goodbye to my colleague while he was leaving.وَدَّعْتُ زَمِيلِي وَإِنَّهُ مُنْصَرِفٌ

To start a relative clause

I met those who master five lan­guages.قابَلْتُ مَنْ إِنَّهُمْ يُجِيدُونَ خَمْسَ لُغاتٍ

In an oath

To start the sentence after an (جَوابُ الْقَسَمِ)

I swear that the temperature has reached fifty below zero.وَﷲِ إِنَّ دَرَجةَ الْحَرارةِ وَصَلَتْ إِلَى خَمْسِينَ تَحْتَ الصِّفْرِ

Please let me know if you know any other difficult constructions with إِنَّ. I am happy to share and discuss it here.

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