The Subjunctive with لِ

The subjunctive as a concept in grammar refers, in general, to that which is uncertain or related to emotion. Often it is used for things which are sought, desired, or feared, but which are not necessarily realized. In such situation, verbs in many languages reflect the somewhat uncertain nature of what is happening through changes in their conjugations. In many languages, Spanish for example, the subjunctive exists in more than one tense and the conjugations can become rather confusing. In Arabic, however, the subjunctive is only used as a mood of the imperfect tense. As a result, there is only one way to conjugate a verb in the subjunctive in Arabic.

The subjunctive in Arabic occurs in situations. One is after particles such as كَيْ , لِ and لِكَيْ which essentially mean the same thing: “in order to” or after the particle لَنْ which is used to negate the future. The other situation is after the word أنْ , which is used with verbs of desire, emotion, or intention. In this chapter we will deal with the first of the two situations. Regardless of which of the two uses of the subjunctive is being employed, the subjunctive conjugations will be the same.

 

Below are the subjunctive conjugations for the verb يَدْرُسُ , دَرَس

 

Plural

Dual

Singular

نَدْرُسَ

نَحْنَ

تَدْرُسا

أنتُما

أَدْرُسَ

أنا

تَدْرُسوا

أنتُم

يَدْرُسا

هما (m)

تَدْرُسَ

أنتَ

تَدْرُسْنَ

أنتُنَّ

تَدْرُسا

هما (f)

تَدْرُسي

أنتِ

يَدْرُسوا

هم

يَدْرُسَ

هو

يَدْرُسْنَ

هنَّ

تَدْرُسَ

هي

 

As you can see, the differences between the subjunctive conjugations and the present tense conjugations are minimal. For the “big five” (whenever the present tense suffix is a dhamma), the subjunctive suffix is a fatha. For أنتِ we drop the final نَ just as we do for the jussive. Whenever the present tense suffix is ونَ the subjunctive is وا with the alif unpronounced. For the second and third person feminine plurals the conjugations are the same as they are for the present tense and the jussive.

 

A simpler way to look at it is this: All five present tense conjugations which end in a dhamma end instead with a fatha in the subjunctive. For all other conjugations in the subjunctive you use the jussive conjugations.

 

At this point you may wish to know something rather interesting. Outside of the passive voice, there are no more conjugations in Arabic that you will ever have to learn. Yes, we are only through Form II and you will need to learn Forms III through X, but there is nothing new in them. You will see nothing that you have not seen before. They will be a breeze. Yes, there is a thing or two in classical Arabic regarding conjugations, but you will probably never see them unless you read classical texts. If you do wish to read classical texts you can learn the remaining things you need to know by looking at Wright, Cowan, or Haywood/Nahmad. As for the passive voice, it is much simpler than the active and will be treated in the next chapter.

 

You have just seen the subjunctive conjugations for a Form I sound verb. For the sake of completeness, I will now give the conjugations in the subjunctive for the other types of Form I verbs and for Form II verbs. You will see that everything that was said above will apply to the charts below. These are mainly for reference and you can skip them if you wish and go on next part of this section which discusses how لِ is used with the subjunctive.

 

Hollow Verbs

Below are the subjunctive conjugations for the verb يَقولُ , قالَ.

Plural

Dual

Singular

نَقولَ

نَحْنَ

تَقولا

أنتُما

أَقولَ

أنا

تَقولوا

أنتُم

يَقولا

هما (m)

تَقولَ

أنتَ

تَقُلْنَ

أنتُنَّ

تَقولا

هما (f)

تَقولي

أنتِ

يَقولوا

هم

يَقولَ

هو

يَقُلْنَ

هنَّ

تَقولَ

هي

 

Assimilated Verbs

Here are the subjunctive conjugations for the verb يَعِدُ , وَعَدَ (“to promise”).

Plural

Dual

Singular

نَعِدَ

نَحْنَ

تَعِدا

أنتُما

أَعِدَ

أنا

تَعِدوا

أنتُم

يَعِدا

هما (m)

تَعِدَ

أنتَ

تَعِدْنَ

أنتُنَّ

تَعِدا

هما (f)

تَعِدي

أنتِ

يَعِدوا

هم

يَعِدَ

هو

يَعِدْنَ

هنَّ

تَعِدَ

هي

 

Doubled Verbs

 

Below are the subjunctive conjugations for the verb يَرُدُّ , رَدَّ (“to reply”). (The subjunctive conjugations for Form I doubled verbs were also given in Chapter One of Part II.)

 

Plural

Dual

Singular

نَرُدَّ

نَحْنَ

تَرُدّا

أنتُما

أَرُدَّ

أنا

تَرُدّوا

أنتُم

يَرُدّا

هما (m)

تَرُدَّ

أنتَ

تَرْدُدْنَ

أنتُنَّ

تَرُدّا

هما (f)

تَرُدّي

أنتِ

يَرُدّوا

هم

يَرُدَ

هو

يَرُدُدْنَ

هنَّ

تَرُدَّ

هي

 

 

Defective Verbs

 

Okay, now we come to the defectives. Typically, they are just a bit more difficult than the other verbs. We will start with the first type of defective that we treated in Chapter One using يَبْدو , بَدا (“to appear”) as our model.   (Do not confuse this verb with يَبْدَأ , بَدَأَ “to begin.”) The chart is below.

Plural

Dual

Singular

نَبْدُوَ

نَحْنَ

تَبْدُوا

أنتُما

أَبْدُوَ

أنا

تَبْدوا

أنتُم

يَبْدُوا

هما (m)

تَبْدُوَ

أنتَ

تَبْدونَ

أنتُنَّ

تَبْدُوا

هما (f)

تَبْدي

أنتِ

يَبْدوا

هم

يَبْدُوَ

هو

يَبْدونَ

هنَّ

تَبْدُوَ

هي

 

You will recall that for the present tense conjugations which normally end in a dhamma with sound verbs (our “big five”), we get only a waaw with verbs of this kind. That is because the theoretical conjugations end in dhamma-waaw-dhamma, which is always rendered as a waaw pronounced as a long vowel. In the subjunctive those same conjugations become dhamma-waaw-fatha which is a permissible sequence so the fatha remains. All of the other conjugations in the subjunctive, as with all verbs, are the same as the jussive conjugations. Cynics might also want to note that since most texts are unvowelled the fatha will not appear anyway. These cynics may have noted similar instances with regard to many verb conjugations.

 

Now we come to the second type of Form I defective represented here by the illustrious verb قضى, يقضي (“to decide”, “to rule”).

Plural

Dual

Singular

نَقْضِيَ

نَحْنَ

تَقْضِيا

أنتُما

أَقْضِيَ

أنا

تَقْضوا

أنتُم

يَقْضِيا

هما (m)

تَقْضِيَ

أنتَ

تَقْضينَ

أنتُنَّ

تَقْضِيا

هما (f)

تَقْضيَ

أنتِ

يَقْضوا

هم

يَقْضِيَ

هو

يَقْضينَ

هنَّ

تَقْضِيَ

هي

This verb is also regular in the subjunctive. In the present tense, you will recall, the combination of kasra-yaa’-dhamma becomes simply a yaa’ pronounced as a long vowel because the sequence is not permissible. Again, as in the case of the first type of defective, the subjunctive sequence is permissible and is used. For all other conjugations the subjunctive is the same as the jussive. Cynics take note. The subjunctive fathas will not usually appear anyway.

Now we come to the third class of Form I defectives represented by the honorable يَنْسى , نَسِيَ  Look at this.

Plural

Dual

Singular

ننْسى

نَحْنَ

تَنْسَيا

أنتُما

أنْسى

أنا

تَنْسَوْا

أنتُم

يَنْسَيا

هما (m)

تَنْسى

أنتَ

تَنْسَيْنَ

أنتُنَّ

تَنْسَيا

هما (f)

تَنْسىْ

أنتِ

يَنْسَوْا

هم

يَنْسى

هو

يَنْسَيْنَ

هنَّ

تَنْسى

هي

 

In the present tense, as we saw in the last chapter, the “big five” conjugations for this type of verb end in an alif maqsuura, instead of a waaw or a yaa’ as we see with the other two types of defectives. In the subjunctive, this third class of defectives still ends in just an alif maqsuura. No fatha is added. So the present tense and the subjunctive are the same for the big five conjugations. There is no reason to add a fatha to a word which already ends with an alif maqsuura, which is itself equal to two fathas. For all of the other conjugations, the subjunctive and the jussive are the same – just as is the case for the other two types of defectives and for all verbs in the language.

 

 

Form II Verbs

For the sake of completeness, below are the conjugations for a Form II sound verb and a Form II defective verb. Remember that Form II defectives are the only verbs in Form II which should be thought of as a separate category from sound verbs. Furthermore, there is only one kind of defective conjugation in Form II. Form II defectives, always, always, conjugate like Form I defectives of type two such as يجْري , جرى and يَقضي , قَضى That means in both tenses and all moods. That means that they NOW AND FOREVER WILL CONJUGATE IN EVERY INSTANCE JUST LIKE THE VERB قضي ,يقضي and the verb يجري , جرى in terms of the prefixes and suffixes used in the conjugations.

Here are the subjunctive conjugations for يُدَرَّسُ , دَرَّسَ

Plural

Dual

Singular

نُدَرِّسَ

نَحْنَ

تُدَرِّسا

أنتُما

أُدَرِّسَ

أنا

تُدَرِّسوا

أنتُم

يُدَرِّسا

هما (m)

تُدَرِّسَ

أنتَ

تُدَرِّسْنَ

أنتُنَّ

تُدَرِّسا

هما (f)

تُدَرِّسي

أنتِ

يُدَرِّسوا

هم

يُدَرِّسَ

هو

يَدَرِّسْنَ

هنَّ

تُدَرِّسَ

هي

 

 

Here are the subjunctive conjugations for the verb يُسَمّي , سَمّى

Plural

Dual

Singular

نُسَمِّيَ

نَحْنَ

تُسَمِّيا

أنتُما

أُسَمِّيَ

أنا

تُسَمِّوا

أنتُم

يُسَمِّيا

هما (m)

تُسَمِّيَ

أنتَ

تُسَمِّينَ

أنتُنَّ

تُسَمِّيا

هما (f)

تُسَمِّيَ

أنتِ

يُسَمِّوا

هم

يُسَمِّيَ

هو

يُسَمّينَ

هنَّ

تُسَمِّيَ

هي

The Particle لِ

Now that we know how to produce the subjunctive, we will learn something about how to use it. As I said before, essentially there are two situations in which the subjunctive is used. One situation is with verbs of desire, emotion, or intention. Again, that situation will be treated later. The other case is after certain particles or words, many of which mean “in order to.” The most common such particle is لِ. This particle is attached to the verb which is then conjugated in the subjunctive.

 

For example, let’s say “He went to the library in order to study the beautiful Arabic language.” In Arabic we would have ذهب الي المكتبة لِيَدْرُسَ اللغة العربية الجميلة

 

You can see that we have written لِ as part of the verb يَدْرُسَ which is put into the subjunctive. That is all there is to it. The sentence could also be translated as “He went to the library to study the beautiful Arabic language.” The use of “in order to” or “to” is one of style in English.

There are other particles which have the same meaning as لِ. The most common are لِكَيْ , كَيْ and حَتّى The last of the three, حَتّى can also mean “until.” You will have to tell from the context.

 

Examine the sentences below.

1. We traveled to Lebanon to study peace.

١. سافرنا الى لبنان لندرسَ السلام.

2. They went to Lebanon to visit their friends.

٢. ذهبوا الى لبنان كي يزوروا اصدقاءهم.

3. You (f.s.) are studying to obtain a degree.

٣. تدرسين لكي تَحصلي على شهادة.

4. Samiira went to Tunis to teach English.

٤. ذهبت سميرة الى تونس حتى تُدَرِّسَ الانكليزية.

5. We are waiting here until the teacher comes.

٥.ننتظِرُ هنا حتى يَحْضُرَ المدرس.

Note that in the last two sentences the meaning of حتى comes from the context.

لِ is negated with لِئَلا (pronounced “li’ala”) and كَي and لِكَي are negated with كَيلا and لِكَيلا respectively. حتّى is negated with حتى لا For example:

 

1.  She studied Arabic, an easy language, in order  not to study Spanish, a difficult language.

١. درست العربية، وهي لغة سهلة، لكيلا تدرس الاسبانية، وهي لغة صعبة.

2. He did not say anything about Syrian politics in  order not to die.

٢. لم يقل شيئا عن السياسة السورية لئلا يموتَ.

 


 Another particle لَنْ is used with the subjunctive in order to negate for future meaning. When لن is used to negate the future, the meaning is very strong as in “I will not go (at all, or ever) to that place.” The future is discussed in Chapter Seven of Part II and examples with لن are provided there.

That does it for the subjunctive for this chapter. Read Part D on verbal nouns and then do the drills which follow.

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