Grammar Note 2
Demonstratives - أسماء الاشارة
(To read after the explanation in AK page 77)
Here are five things to remember about demonstratives at this stage.
- It is important to remember that the demonstratives in Arabic are considered definite.
- Therefore if a demonstrative is followed by an indefinite noun, a complete sentence جملة اسميّة is created. The demonstrative here is المبتدأ or subject of the sentence while the indefinite noun that follows it is الخبر or predicate. As we saw in Chapter 2, الخبر tends to be indefinite.
This structure (demonstrative + indefinite noun) means “this is a...” as in:
This is a car.
If the demonstrative is followed by a noun that is defined with الـ, both words will be part of a phrase not a sentence.
The phrase that the demonstrative + definite with الـ creates means “this....” as in:
هذه السيّارة ...
This phrase may act as مبتدأ and will therefore need خبر to create a complete sentence as in example (a) below, or may occur in another position in the sentence as in example (b).
(a) This car is beautiful.
هذه السيّارة جميلة.
(b) I love this car.
أنا أحبّ هذه السيّارة.
- If you wish to say “This is the car/book,” you MUST insert a pronoun, هو or هي, that agrees with the demonstrative in gender, in between the demonstrative and the definite noun that follows it: هذا هو الـ... or هذه هي الـ...
This is the car.
هذه هي السيّارة.
This is the book.
هذا هو الكتاب.
The insertion of the pronoun allows the creation of a grammatically correct sentence that would not have been possible because الكتاب / السيّارة is definite and therefore cannot normally function as a خبر or predicate.
- If the demonstrative is followed by a noun that is definite because it is in an إضافة or has a pronoun suffix attached (NOT definite because of الـ ), a sentence is created. The pronoun هو or هي is NO LONGER required but is often inserted for emphasis. The fact that this definite noun is qualified in some way through الإضافة allows it to function as خبر.
This is my mother.
هذه والدتي. Or
This is my mother.
هذه هي والدتي.
In this lesson, you will only work with هَذا and هَذِهِ. In Chapter 6, you will learn how to say "that," (ذَلِكَ ) for the masculine singular and (تِلْكَ ) for the feminine singular. As you will learn later, Arabic has a few more demonstratives differentiated by gender and/or number.
Demonstratives أسماء الاشارة