There are two types of sentences in Arabic:
the nominal and the verbal.
- The nominal sentence is verbless.
- The verbal sentence consists of a verb as a main part.
Both types of sentences may have other parts of speech
such as prepositions, adjectives, or adverbs; but the
main parts remain respectively the nouns for the former
and the verbs for the latter.
Note: there are two different interpretations as
to what a verbal sentence is.
-A sentence is verbal only when it starts with a
-A sentence is verbal when it contains a verb
regardless of where that verb is located in the
sentence. Hence a nominal sentence can
contain a verb if the latter doesn’t occur in the
Accepting that a nominal sentence may contain a verb
(which doesn’t occur in the first position) gives out the
chart below detailing two categories:
A nominal sentence that is verbless and another
containing a verb—not in the first in the sentence
A Verbal sentence that contains a verb necessarily in the
first position in the sentence
Nominal Sentence لـذيـذة الـتـفـاحـة
تـفـاحـة أكـل الـولـد
Verbal Sentence تـفـاحـة الـولـد أكـل
Arabic sentences have a free word order for both the
nominal and verbal sentences.
The regular order for the nominal sentence is Subject +
The regular order for the verbal sentence is
Verb + Subject + Object
-When words change positions in the sentence, the
vowel mark up doesn't change as it is the marker of
the function of the words in the sentence (e.g.
subject vs. object)
- The word order may change depending on what the
writer wants to emphasize.
All the following sentences make sense although
the order of the words is not the same
Nominal Sentences الـتـفـاحـةلـذيـذة
Verbal Sentences أكـلتـفـاحـة الـولـد
الـولـد تـفـاحـة أكـل
أكـل تـفـاحـة الـولـد
تـفـاحـة أكـل الـولـد
الـولـد أكـل تـفـاحـة
أكـل الـولـد تـفـاحـة
The nominal sentence is the equivalent of sentences that use verb “to be” in English. For example when informing about your name, age, work, etc you use nominal sentences. However there is no Arabic word-for-word translation for verb “to be;” it’s simply implicitly. Technically a 30-year-old teacher whose name is Khouloud would say in Arabic “I khouloud,” or “my name Khouloud.” She would also say “I 30,” or “my age 30” as well as say “I teacher.”