; An English Guide to Classic Qur'anic Arabic: 9/10.1/10.2 - Incomplete Verbs

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9/10.1/10.2 - Incomplete Verbs



 

Section 10.1 –Incomplete Verbs أَفْعَالُ النَّا قِصَةِ af-aal-un naaqi-sa-ti

 

Incomplete Verbs الأَفْعَاْلُ النَّاْقِصَةُ al-af-aal-unnaaqi-sa-tu or الأَفْعَاْلُ النَّاْسِخَةُal-af-aal-un naasi-qa-tu meaning canceling Verbs are Verbs which give incomplete meaning unless both Actor/Subject Noun فَاعِلٌ fa-i-lun and object Noun مَفْعُوْلٌ maf-oo-lun are specified. This is the reason these are called incomplete Verbs أَفْعَالُ النَّاقِصَةِ. For incomplete Verbs, the Actor/Subject is called Noun of Kana اِسْمُ الْكَانَ is-mul kaana and its object is called the predicate اَلْخَبَرُ al-kha-bar.

 

The most commonly used incomplete Verb is كَانَ kana which is past tense meaning “was”. It also means existed which if used makes it a complete كَانَ.

 

1)For example, if we were to say كَانَ الْولَدُ, with Noun (in Nominative رَفْعٌ raf-un state) only, this would mean “the boy was”. It does not complete the sentence. It requires a predicate اَلْخَبَرُ al-kha-bar. Therefore, this sentence would be complete if we added one in Accusative نَصْبٌ (nas-bun) state as in كَانَ الْولَدُ سَعِيدًا kaa-nal wala-du sayee-danwhich means the boy was happy.

 

2)If in كَانَ الْولَدُ kaan-al wala-du, meaning of كَانَ is taken as “existed”, then the sentence means “the boy existed” which is now a complete sentence. Therefore, depending upon the context of the sentence and/or presence of an Accusative نَصْبٌ (nasb-un) Noun can mean كَانَ kaa-nais a complete Verb. Otherwise, it will be treated as an incomplete Verb.

 

Another example would be كَانَ زَيْدٌ قَائمًا kaa-na Zai-dun qai-manmeaning “Zaid was standing”. Its Nominative رَفْعٌ raf-un is called a Noun of كَانَ kaa-na and its Accusative مَنْصُوْبٌ man-soo-bun is a Predicate اَلْخَبَرُ al-kha-ba-ru of كَانَ kaa-na.

 

Another way to look at it is that, these Verbs enter in a Nominative Sentence اِسْمِيَّةٌ جُمْلَةٌ jum-la-tul is-miyya-tun and give the Nominative رَفْعٌ raf-unstatus to مُسْنَدٌإِلَيْهِ mus-na-dunilaihi that is اَلْمُبْتَدَاءُ al-mub-ta-dau and it is called a Noun of Incomplete Verb, and an Accusative نَصْبٌ nas-bun to اَلْمُسْنَدُ al-mus-na-du which is its Predicate اَلْخَبَرُ.

 

Please note that, as mentioned before, for all rules in Arabic, there are always exceptions. This is because the language evolved first and then rules were deduced from it.

 

Therefore, sometimes Verbs in this category are complete depending upon the meaning of Predicate اَلْخَبَرُ with its Noun of Kana اِسْمُ الْكَانَ ism-ul kaa-na.  For example, كَانَ مَطْرٌ kaa-na mat-run means “there was rain”. And when this happens, كَانَ isfor the meaning of “happened”. It is called complete كَانَ. This is an exception.

 

Note that, the Noun of Kana اِسْمُ الْكَانَ is always in nominative رَفْعٌ raf-unstate and is called the subject Noun. Predicate اَلْخَبَرُ is always in accusative state نَصْبٌ. This is true for all incomplete Verbs and their sisters which are described below.

 

Section 10.2 - Kana and its sisters كَانَ وَأَخْوَاتُهَا

 

There are incomplete Verbs other than كَانَ, and they are called its sisters. There are seventeen types of Incomplete Verbsأَفْعَالُ النَّاقِصَةِ as shown below

 

Table 64 – Incomplete Verbs أَفْعَالُ النَّا قِصَةِ af-aal-un naaqi-sa-ti

 

1

كَانَ

Kaa-na

He was

 2

صَارَ

Saa-ra

To become

3

ظَلَّ

Zal-la

To be or to become in the day time

4

بَاتَ

Baa-ta

To be or to become in the night time

5

أَصْبَحَ

As-ba-ha

To be or to become in the morning time

6

أَضْحَىٰ

Ad-haa

To be or to become at mid morning

7

أَمْسَىٰ

Am-saa

To be or to become in the evening

8

عَادَ

Aa-da

Return

9

آضَ

Aa-da

Happened

10

غَدَا

Gha-daa

To be or Tomorrow

11

رَاحَ

Raa-ha

To go or to go in the evening

12

مَا زَالَ

Maa-zaa-la

To keep on, not to cease, to continue

13

مَا انْفَكَّ

Maa-an-fak-ka

To keep on or to not discontinue

14

مَا بَرِحَ

Maa bari-ha

To continue

15

مَا فَتِئَ

Maa fa-ti-ya

Always, continuously

16

مَادَامَ

Ma-daa-ma

To continue, as long as

17

لَيْسَ

Lai-sa

No, not

 

Out of all the above imperfect Verbs, كَان kana and لَيْسَ laisa are most commonly used and we will be covering them in a bit more detail.

 

Note that same inflections and rules apply for other incomplete Verbs as for normal Verbs. Some of them will have inflections and some do not. This is a more advanced topic and you will learn by reading higher level books and by studying al-Qur’an in-sha-Allah.

 

In Arabic, there are incomplete Verbs that can be managed to make them complete. There are two Verbs in Arabic that are strictly incomplete. They always need a predicate الْخبَرُ al-kha-ba-ru along with its Noun اِسْمٌ is-mun to complete a sentence.

 

There are several Verbs in Arabic that can be both complete and incomplete Verbs. There are also others that can only be incomplete but not complete.

 

An example of a Verb that can be only an incomplete Verb is مَاْ زَاْلَ (maa-za-la) meaning not left or be/remain. For example:

 

 مَاْ زَاْلَ الْوَلَدُ سَعِيْدًا

                       

 (Sayeed) (theboy) (remained)

 

This translates into “the boy remained happy” or “the boy is still happy”.

 

The past tense Verb Zaala زَالَ (imperfect ya-zaa-lu يَزَاْلُ) is never used except combined with a negative Particle; usually it is مَاmaa so it will become مَا زَالَ maa-zaa-la. This Verb means "be still" or "remain". It is an incomplete Verb that is never used without a predicate. In the above example, مَاْ زَاْلَ الْوَلَدُmaa zaa-lalwala-du means “the boy is” which is incomplete.

 

There are two Verbs in Arabic that are strictly incomplete (they always needan Adverb):

 

مَاْ زَاْلَ

Maa-za-la

 (He) is still

لَيْسَ

Lai-sa

 (He) is not

 

Examples of predicates for Imperfect Verbs:

 

Example 1

 

أَصْبَحَ

الثَّلْجُ

مَاْءً

asbaha

ath-thalju

maa-an

entered the morning

the ice

water

 

 

This means ice became water/ice has become water.

 

Example 2

 

سَيُصْبِحُ

الثَّلْجُ

مَاْءً

sa-yus-bi-hu

ath-thal-ju

maa-an

Will enter the morning

became ice

the water

This means ice will become water.

 

Example 3

 

أَمْسَىْ

خَطِيْرًا

الْوَضْعُ

amsaa

kha-tee-ran

al-wad-u

became in the evening

dangerous

the situation

 

This means the situation became dangerous or has become dangerous. 

 

Example 4 

 

هُنَاْكَ

 

مَاْ دَاْمَ

أَذْهَبَ لَنْ

hu-naa-ka

maa-daa-ma

lan az-ha-ba

he is there

as long as

I will not go

 

This means I will not go as long as he is there.

 

Example 5

 

بِحَاْجَتِيْ

مَاْ دُمْتَ

سَأُسَاْعُدُكَ

bi-haa-jati

maa dumta

sa-usaa-udu-ka

you need me

as long as

I will help you

 

                                     

This means I will help you as long as you need me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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