; An English Guide to Classic Qur'anic Arabic: 5.6 - Negative Sentence

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5.6 - Negative Sentence



 

Section 5.6 - Negative Sentences - مَا maa, لَيْسَ laisa and لَا laa

 

To create a negative nominative sentence in Arabic, two words are used most commonly. These are مَا(maa). and لَيْسَ (laisa). Ma is a Particle and laisa is called مُشَبَّهَةٌ بِالْفِعْلِ mu-shab-baha-tunbil feili.

 

Whenever these two Particles are used, the al-mub-tada and predicate (الْخَبَرُ) of the nominative sentence are called Noun and predicate of مَا maa and لَيْسَ laisa.

 

We will just provide an example for لَيْسَ laisa and skip the details until later since this is a more complex usage word.

 

Most important rule to remember is that with these two Particles, the predicate of the sentence goes into an accusative state (نَصْبٌ nas-bun).

 

1.     مَا maa is the most commonly used negative Particle in a nominative (جُمْلَةُ الْاِسْمِيَةِ jum-la-tul Ismi-ya-ti) sentence. It means “is not” in most cases. For example, مَا زَيْدٌ قَائِمًا ma zai-dun qai-man meaning Zaid is not standing or مَا هٰذا بَشَرًا maa-haa-za ba-sha-ran meaning This is not a human. Note that predicate is in Accusative نَصْبٌ (nas-bun) in both sentences.

2. لَيْسَ lai-sais a more complex Particle har-funand will be described in more detail in a later section. A simple example would be:

لَيْسَ زَيْدٌ عَالِمًا (laisa Zai-dun Aali-man) meaning Zaid is not a scholar.

 

Note:

 

 لَا laais another commonly used Particle to create a negative sentence but is used mostly with Verbal sentence only (جُملَةُ الْفِعْلِيَةِ jum-la-tul fei-li-ya) unless used in combination with اِلَّا illaaas in لَا اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللهُ la ilaaha illal-lahu meaning there is no deity except Allah. Sometimes it is used by itself in speaking to say “no” and also means “is not” in a sentence.

 

An example of use with Verbal sentence would be لَا اَعْبُدُ (laa aa’bu-du) meaning “I do not worship”.

 

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