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What is a masdar mu’awwal in Arabic?

In Arabic, you often use an “interpreted infinitive”, a masdar muawwal المصدر المؤول. This is formed by an أن plus verb in mansub mood.

Last updated: July 18, 2021

Let’s start with a question:

أُريدُ أَنْ أذْهَبَ and أُريدُ الذَّهابَ – Does it mean the same?

Yes, both sentences mean the same: I want to go.

The word ذِهابٌ is the مَصْدَر of ذَهَبَ.

You can build the الْمَصْدَر الْمُؤَوَّل by using the particles أَنْ or ما. They are a so called حَرْف مَصْدَرِيّ. Let us have a look at it:

أَنْ يَذْهَبَ=ذَهابٌ
الْمَصْدَر الْمُؤَوَّل=الْمَصْدَر الصَّرِيح
going; go= going; go

Watch out: The verb in the sentence above has a فَتْحة at the end as it is preceded by أَنْ.

Therefore, the verb has to be مَنْصُوب.


Did you know? There are many other masdar-forms in Arabic. You can denote the number of times an action is done or express certain actions.


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Picture credit: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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