Re: word order: there's (not) a dog in the garden
I believe the reason it seems wrong is that generally, a mubtada in a simple equational sentence is supposed to be definite. So كلب في الحديقة would not be appropriate (I'm sure you would agree that that also sounds wrong, or at least odd), but you could say الكلب في الحديقة. If, however your subject is indefinite, or you want to have an indefinite subject in an equational sentence, then you must switch the two elements; that is, you must front (تقدم) the khabar and delay (تؤخر) the mubtada. So, then you say في الحديقة كلب.
ليس, being one of the أخوات كان, is a deficient verb (فعل ناقص), and as such is merely added to an equational sentence. All the normal word order rules of equational sentences still apply. So when you have a simple equational sentence with reversed elements such as في الحديقة كلب, you will retain the same when word order when adding a deficient verb -- ليس في الحديقة كلب.
Last edited by Josh_; 15th April 2011 at 5:08 AM.
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