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Grammatical Cases::ʾIʿrab

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Grammatical Cases Case is not shown in standard orthography, with the exception of indefinite accusative nouns ending in any letter but tā’ marbūṭah (ة{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}) or alif followed by hamzah (ء{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}), where the -a(n) "sits" on the letter before an alif added at the end of the word (the alif shows up even in unvowelled texts). Cases, however, are marked in the Qur'an, children's books, and to remove ambiguous situations. If marked, it is shown at the end of the noun. Further information on the types of declensions is discussed in the following section, along with examples. Grammatical case endings are not pronounced in pausa and in less formal forms of Arabic. Note that in vocalised Arabic (where vowel points are written), the case endings may be written even if they are not pronounced. Some Arabic textbooks or children's books skip case endings in vocalised Arabic, thus allowing both types of pronunciation.

Nominative case (al-marfū‘ المرفوع)

  • Subjects of a verbal sentence.
  • Subjects and predicates of an equational (non-verbal) sentence, with some notable exceptions.
  • Certain adverbs retain the nominative marker.
  • The citation form of words is (if noted at all) in the nominative case.

For singular nouns and broken plurals, it is marked as a usually unwritten ضمة{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} ḍammah (-u) for the definite or ḍammah + nunation (-un) for the indefinite. The dual and regular masculine plural are formed by adding ـان{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -an(i) and ـون{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -ūn(a) respectively (just ـا{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -ā and ـو{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -ū in the construct state). The regular feminine plural is formed by adding ـات{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -āt(u) in the definite and ـات{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -āt(un) in the indefinite (same spelling).

Accusative case (al-manṣūb المنصوب)

  • The subject of an equational (non-verbal) sentence, if it is initiated with إن inna, or one of her sisters. These particles are subordinating conjunctions which require that the subject of the subordinate (complement) clause be in the accusative case.
  • The predicate of كان / يكون{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} kāna/yakūnu "be" and its sisters (there are 13 of these verbs<ref>Hasan, 1987, I:545</ref>). Hence, البنت جميلة{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} al-bintu jamīlatun 'the girl is beautiful' but البنت كانت جميلة{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} al-bintu kānat jamīlatan 'the girl was beautiful' (note that "beautiful" is spelled the same way in both cases).
  • Both the subject and the predicate of ظن{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} ẓanna and its sisters in an equational clause.
  • As the complement of verbs of "seeming".
  • The object of a transitive verb
  • Most adverbs.
  • Semi-prepositions.
  • Internal object/cognate accusative structure
  • The accusative of specification (al-tamyīz, التمييز{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}).
  • The accusative of purpose (al-maf‘ūl li-ajlihi, المفعول لأجله{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}).
  • The circumstantial accusative (al-ḥāl, الحال{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}).
  • Objects of (kam, كم{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}) 'how much/how many'.
  • Cardinal and ordinal numbers from 11, and 13-19
  • Counted nouns of numbers 11–99
  • Exclamation of astonishment. i.e.: mā ajmalahā!, !ما أجملها{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} 'Oh, how beautiful she is!'
  • Vocative first term of construct. يا ماهر{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} yā Māhir-i! "Oh, Maher!"
  • Nouns following exceptive particles in non-negative sentences.
  • The noun following the absolute, or categorical, negation لا{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} "No".

For singular nouns and broken plurals, it is marked as a usually unwritten فتحة{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} fatḥah (-a) for the definite or fatḥah + nunation (-an) for the indefinite. For the indefinite accusative, the fatḥah + nunation is added to an ا{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} alif, e.g. ـًا{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, which is added to the ending of all nouns not ending with a alif followed by hamzah or a tā’ marbūṭah. Note that this is the only case (when alif is written), which affects the unvocalised written Arabic (e.g. بيتاً{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} bayt-an). The dual and regular masculine plural are formed by adding ـين{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -ayn(i) and ـين{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -īn(a) respectively (spelled identically!) (ـي{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -ay and -ī in the construct state, again, spelled identically). The regular feminine plural is formed by adding ـات{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -āt(i) in the definite and -āt(in) in the indefinite (spelled identically). Some forms of indefinite accusative are mandatory even for spoken and pausal forms of Arabic, sometimes -an is changed to a simple -a in pausa or spoken Arabic.

Diptotes never take an alif ending in the written Arabic and are never pronounced with the ending "-an".

Genitive case (al-majrūr, المجرور)

  • Objects of prepositions.
  • The second, third, fourth, etc. term of an iḍāfah (إضافة{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} genitive construction).
  • The object of a locative adverb.
  • Elative (comparative/superlative) adjectives behave similarly: أطول ولد{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} "aṭwalu waladin" 'tallest boy'.

For singular nouns and broken plurals, it is marked as a usually unwritten كسرة{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} kasrah (-i) for the definite or kasrah + nunation (-in) for the indefinite. The dual and regular masculine plural are formed by adding ـين{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -ayn(i) and -īn(a) respectively (spelled identically!) (ـي{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -ay and -ī in the construct state, again, spelled identically). The regular feminine plural is formed by adding ـات{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} -āt(i) in the definite and -āt(in) in the indefinite (spelled identically in Arabic).

Note: diptotic nouns receive a fatḥah (-a) in the genitive and are never nunated.
Note: there is no dative case; instead, the preposition لـ{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} "li-" is used.

ʾIʿrab sections
Intro  Etymology  Grammatical Cases  Types of declension  Sentence structure  Verbs  See also  References  External links  

Grammatical Cases
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