Nominal and Verbal Sentences in Arabic

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

In this blog post, we will briefly discuss another beginners' topic in Arabic grammar, which is nominal and verbal type sentences. Arabic grammar can be quite complicated for new beginners learning the language. And so the aim of this post is not to add to what has been extensively posted online, concerning Arabic grammar, rather to summarize, and break down things for better understanding of Arabic, using brain friendly images and brief descriptions.

One thing to remember is that Arabic grammar is a very deep subject, and although there are general rules, there will always most likely be some exceptions, so don't be surprised if you come across some in the future. The general advise is to start with basics and then expand and branch out, if you wish.

Let's get started! First, you need to know that there are are two types of sentences:

-a meaningful (or useful sentence) (جملة مفيدة Jomla Mofeeda),

-and a prepositional phrase (شبه جملة Shibh Jomla) (composed of a preposition and a noun which changes from a nominative to a genitive case, example: "home"=بيتٌ="bayton"/ nominative/ marked by "tanween" of "damma" or double "damma"/ the sound "un"

---->when a preposition is added: "at home"= ِفي البيت="fee l-bayti/ genitive/ marked with "kasra" at the end/ the sound "e").

A meaningful sentence (جملة مفيدة Jomla Mofeeda) is made up of two words or more, and is "meaningful" or complete in meaning, and divided into categories:

-a nominal sentence (جملة اسميّة Jomla Ismiyya)

-and a verbal sentence (جملة فعليّة Jumla Fi'liyya).

Types of Sentences in Arabic
Types of Sentences in Arabic

Now, let's try and understand what a nominal sentence is:

-Also called a noun or "equational" sentence.

-Typically starts with a noun or pronoun (could also start with a "masdar mo'awwal" مصدر مؤول , which will be explained in a bit.)