Learn how and when to use the differential Alif or الألِف الفارِقة in Arabic, sometimes called the silent Alif, in a simple and easy way (Recommended for intermediate learners+)
You may have noticed an additional ALif at the end of some words which is not pronounced, such as: كَتَبوا، شَرِبوا، دَرَسوا [katabuu, sharibuu, darasuu] (they ate, they drank, they studied). This Alif is written but never pronounced and is called الألِف الفارِقَة [al-'Alif al-faariqah] or the differential or silent Alif. Although never pronounced, this Alif has some important duties to fulfill.
Firstly, watch this comprehensive lesson about the subject and preidcate in Arabic المُبْتَدأ والخَبر .
We can conlude from the lesson the following:
1- The differential Alif الأِلِف الفارِقَة always comes with a friend: the و “Waaw” letter, just for a “Wow” impression. ;) كَتَبوا، شَرِبوا، دَرَسوا [katabuu, sharibuu, darasuu] (they ate, they drank, they studied).
2- The differential Alif الأِلِف الفارِقَة is always used with a verb conjugated for هُم [hum; they masculine plural] or أنْتُم [Antum; uou masculine plural] pronouns, never a noun! It loves a crowd! So remember: always comes with a "wow" and a "crowd", i.e. the plural pronoun. For example: هُم كَتَبوا [Hum katabuu, they masculine plural wrote], أنْتُم: لا تَكْتُبوا [Antum, laa taktubuu, You plural masculine don't write].