There are two kinds of sentences in Arabic, those with a verb and those without a verb. For the first few lessons we will deal with those sentences which have no verb. These sentences have the fancy name “equational sentences” but do not be put off by the terminology.
Equational sentences are sentences which would have the verb “to be” conjugated in the present tense if they were in English. For example, “I am Jim” would be “I Jim” in Arabic. Equational sentences can become quite complex; an entire paragraph may consist of a number of equational sentences or of one long equational sentence. Alas, the American student all too often never masters even this basic element of the language. Over the next few chapters we will learn to use equational sentences of increasing complexity. It will be easy.
In this lesson we will limit ourselves to very basic vocabulary in the examples and in the drills. All of the vocabulary items should already be very familiar if you have studied Arabic before.
Look at the Arabic sentences below.
|I am Samiir||
|You are Muhammad||
|She is Samiira||
Each of these sentences contains a subject that is a pronoun. Each of these sentences also contains a predicate (something that tells us about the subject) which is a proper name. The meanings of the sentences should be obvious if you have had Arabic before. If you have not, you now have examples of the most basic equational sentences.
The subject of an equational sentence does not have to be a pronoun. It can be any noun or proper noun. We could have sentences such as:
|Muhammad is a student.||
Here Muhammad is the subject and “student” is the predicate. Thus the predicate can also be any kind of a noun. In fact, the predicate can also be an adjective. For example:
|Muhammad is a tall||
Here the predicate ” طويل ” is an adjective.