’i‘rab / syntactic analysis / إعراب

The analyisis of individual segments of a sentence (or a full sentence) in Classical Arabic (CA) and Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).

Example: Al-waladu in ذَهَبَ الوَلَدُ إلى الْبَيْتِ  (dhahaba al-waladu ila al-beiti) ends in an -u because it is the فاعل (subject) of the sentence,

Thus the ’i‘rab of الوَلَدُ  would be  فاعل مرفوع  or to be more precise:

فاعل مرفوع وعلامة رفعة الضمة الظاهرة على آخره (subject in the nominative case with the marker of the nominative case being a visible ḍamma on its last letter)

As for the last vowel in al-beiti it is -i because it stands after a preposition (حَرف الجَر ) and is therefore in the i-case (مجرور) and the ’i‘rab of  الْبَيْتِ would be اسم مجرور or to be more precise:

اسم مجرور وعلامة جره الكسرة الظاهرة على آخره (noun in the i-case with the marker of the i-case being a visible kasra on its last letter)


In general the structure of the ’i‘rab is as followed:

  1. The function of the word in the sentence, for example:

فعل مضارع  (present tense verb),   فعل ماض  (past tense verb), اسم (noun), حرف جر (proposition), نَعْت (adjective), مبتدأ  (subject in a nominal clause), فاعل (subject in a verbal clause), تميز (tamyīz), حرف عطف  (connector), اسم إشارة (demonstrative), مضاف إليه (possessed), مفعول به  (object), اسم موصول  (relative pronoun), etc

Note: If a verb is conjugated the verb is split up into it’s root and the „pronoun“ (the personal ending) as in:

جلسْتُ : فعل ماض مبني على السكون لاتصاله بالتاء المتحركة والتاء المتحركة ضمير متصل مبني على الضم في محل رفع فاعل

If it’s a verb who’s doer appears later on it is described as:

لعبَ سعيدٌ بالكرةِ

لعبَ : فعل ماض مبني على الفتح الظاهر على آخره 


2. The case the word is in

مرفوع (u-case/nominative), مجرور (i-case/genitive), منصوب (a-case/accusative), مجزوم (zero-case) 


3. The sign of the case

which is always phrased like this: وعلامة رفعه / نصبه / جره / جزمه  and then the corresponding diacritic is mentioned like ضمة، فتحة، كسرة، سكون  or تنوين الفتح  etc

If it the last vowel is actually visible one adds: الظاهرة على آخره (visible on it’s last (letter))


There are, however, numerous cases in which the expected grammatical case ending that is required due to its position in the sentence does not appear at the end of a word because of different reasons, like the word ending in an alif maqṣūra or a yā or it being a sound masculine plural, sound feminine plural, diptote, etc. Here are a few example of how to phrase this:

a) مُصْطَفَى  : here the ḍamma doesn’t appear because of the alif maqṣūra, this is phrased like this:

 فاعل مرفوع، وعلامة رفعه الضمة المقدرة على الألف 

b) القَاضِي : here the ḍamma doesn’t appear because of the yā: 

 فاعل مرفوع، وعلامة رفعه الضمة المقدرة على الياء

In some cases the case is not marked by one of the short vowels / diacritics:

c) الْوَلَدَانِ : as the sign of the nominative in the dual is the alif (as opposed to the yā) one says:

 فاعل مرفوع ، وعلامة رفعه الألف لأنه مثنى

d) المدرسونَ : as the sign of the nominative in the masculine sound plural is the wāw (as opposed to the yā) one says:

فاعل مرفوع،وعلامة رفعه الواو لأنه جمع مذكر سالم

e) أَخُوكَ : as the sign of the nominative in the five nouns is the wāw (as opposed to the alif or yā) one says:

 فاعل مرفوع، وعلامة رفعه الواو لأنه من الأسماء الخمسة

 f) if it isn’t in certain case but “frozen” on a certain ending one says: مَبْني على as in الى  or من , etc