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المفعول المطلق، المفعول فيه، المفعول له، المفعول معه

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Mahaodeh, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    What would they be considered in English, objects or adverbs? According to Wikipedia, there is something called a 'cognate object' which, according to the example given, seems to be a مفعول مطلق; but the small article says that the verb is specifically an intransitive one while you don't need that in Arabic (i.e., the verb can be transitive or intransitive - ex. نمت نومًا وضربته ضربًا).

    Also, what about the others, what would they be? I'm no expert in this so I'm just wondering what they should be considered.
  2. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    My first instinct is to say anything that is called مفعول should properly be considered an 'object.' But I'm not sure. Can you give an example of مفعول فيه، مفعول له ، مفعول معه? I don't know what those mean.

    المفعول المطلق like ضربته ضربًا is called the "cognate object" or the "cognate accusative" in English, that I can confirm. The only thing that means is that the object is from the same root as the verb itself (thus the word "cognate"). The side note about it usually being intransitive in the Wiki articles is because this is how it normally appears in English (such as "die a painful death"). However in Arabic, this type of structure is much more common. Anyway, "cognate accusative/object" is the normal translation of المفعول المطلق in Western treatments of Arabic grammar.

    Edit: So I was reading this thread and our well-respected mudīra Cherine nicely defines these terms, so I think I understand.

    مفعول فيه is the time or place where an action takes place. I would call these time or place adverbs respectively, depending on its being ظرف مكان or ظرف زمان.

    مفعول معه is defined in that other thread as something that happens along with another action. Cherine there gave the example of استيقظت وطلوعَ الفجر. This is not really a structure that literally occurs in English, so I don't know what to call it other than مفعول معه. However, in translation I'd say "I woke up at dawn" so perhaps it should be considered an adverb?

    In Arabic is طلوع الفجر considered as describing استيقظت ? Or are they just perceived as simultaneous? If it is describing the main verb then it is an adverbial expression. If not then, still, I don't know what to call it.

    If مفعول له is the same as مفعول لأجله, I might just call this "cause". There is a term "causal case" which the refers to a noun for which an action is done. This is not adverbial because it does not describe the nature of the action.

    Mostly in the latter two I have a problem using "adverb" to describe the grammar. However مفعول فيه is surely adverbial.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  3. ajami Senior Member


    I will try to brief you the answers.

    مفعول مطلق: The verbal noun of the same verb which is being used in the sentence or of its synonym which comes usually at the end to tell about the verb (action).

    a)To intensify the action that was done = adverb.

    ضربت ضرباً (I beat him as the beating should be done ).

    جلست جلوساً (I sat properly/the way the action of sitting should be done.

    جلست قعوداً (again, I sat, the way action of sitting should be done, but here the verbal noun is of its synonym).

    b)How the action was done = adverb.

    ضربت الولد ضرباً شديداً (the verb/action of beating was severe).
    It could be used without its verbal noun and its adjective could represent it e.g., ضربت الولد شديداً (here the verbal noun darban is implied).

    c)How many times the action was done.

    ضربت الولد ضربةً I beat the boy once (this darbatan is called as masdar marrah= they add TA merboota at the end of a regular verbal noun to mention that the action was done one time )

    ضربت الولد ضربتين I beat the boy twice (2 beatings).

    ضربت الولد ثلاث مرات I beat the boy 3 beatings and so on.

    i3raab is a very imporatant thing in Arabic language. You observe this absolute object maf3ool mutlaq has to be mansoob.

    مفعول معه: Again the action/verb is being done with some other incidence or something e.g., خرجت من البيت وأذان الفجر - I went out of the house with call of fajr (the time of going out of the house was done with that).

    سرت و الشارع - I walked along with the road (I and road didn't walk) so it is not necessary for another action to be there, as in this instance.

    سلمت عليه و أخاه - I greeted him along with his brother (if you will translate it as I greeted him and his brother then it should be أخيه ).

    Abscence of its equivalent in English is only term-wise.

    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
  4. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    This one is really confusing, I don't know what to call it either but the meaning is very similar to ظرف زمان (well, at least it is in the case of طلوع الفجر :))

    Yes, my mistake, I just forgot the name but I meant مفعول لأجله.

    Anyway, for me, this one seems closer to an adverb: ex.
    جئت طوعًا = I came voluntarily; isn't that an adverb or am I mistaken?


    OK, how about a حال, is it an adverb? It generally describes a a noun (subject or object) when the verb takes place so it's not describing the verb, is it?

    Is it more accurate to say that there is no real adverb in Arabic but in some cases the structure resembles an adverb? Or is there something that always acts like an adverb?
  5. ajami Senior Member


    NO, it does not.

    It is more accurate to say that there is no real equivalent to حال in English term-wise.

    The equivalent of the adverb is covered by the absolute object (المفعول المطلق), and the noun, for place and time (المفعول فيه).

    حال :-Adverbs in English denote how, where and when the action was done - which is covered by المفعول المطلق and المفعول فيه, while حال in Arabic language comes to mention the state of the subject or of an object or of both at the time of the action. Adjectives modify the noun and adverbs modify the verb, so حال is excluded from the adverb list. Would gerund in a way partly play a part as a حال? Like جاء زيدٌ مبتسماً - Zayd came smiling. Nevertheless, حال manifests in various ways which could be from simple gerund to whole جملة to ظرف and جار مجرور. It modifies the noun - not as a regular adjective, but only during the action/verb.

    طوعاً-:جئت طوعًا is the verbal noun of طاع/يطوع. It could be: مفعول لاجله I came to volunteer/obey - and it could be HAAL where the translation would be: I came voluntarily/obediently, as HAAL comes in the form of verbal noun too, then, according to the context, it mixes with المفعول المطلق (and sometimes) as well as مفعول لاجله.

    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
  6. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Is this actually مفعول لأجله? Maybe I don't fully understand what مفعول لأجله is. To me, this is تمييز, which is adverbial in this case because it describe the nature of how you came.

    I think some instances of حال can be called adverbs but I'd need to think of some examples.

    I think that Arabic does not have an "adverb" per se. Arabic does not have a morpheme that makes anything into an automatic adverb - like "+ly" in English or "+mente" in Spanish. So that "word" category doesn't exist.

    However, naturally all languages have adverbial constructions. You can analyze this at the level of syntax and grammar. In those cases I think you have to determine case by case whether an Arabic structure like تمييز or حال or مفعول معه is acting adverbially or some other way. 

    In other words, you can't look at any Arabic word out of context and assign it the category of "adverb". However, I can look at the word "quickly" in English and automatically call it "adverb."
  7. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    Thanks Ajami and mizo, you were very helpful.

    Wow, I didn't imagine that my little example would start a little debate :).

    It's definitely not a تمييز. The point of تمييز is to remove ambiguity, which is not present in the sentence جئتُ. However, I'm beginning to doubt myself because it is in fact possible that it is a حال أو مفعول لأجله. It would be a حال if what is meant is the condition by which the subject came, it's a مفعول لأجله if what is meant that what caused the coming is freedom of choice. Had I said جئت طائعةً then it is definitely a 7aal, had I said جئت طاعةً then it would definitely be مفعول لأجله; but what I meant is the opposite of جئت كُرهًا (meaning = I came by force, I did not chose to come). I'm now not sure how to classify it.
  8. Egyptlover

    Egyptlover Senior Member

    Well, it's not a mistake, Maha, Both "مفعول لأجله" and "مفعول له" are correct and are used in Arabic grammar books even though "مفعول لأجله" is more common :)

    ِAbout "جئت طوعاً"; yes, "طوعاً" is "حال" and you can see these links:



    Hope this helps :)
  9. ajami Senior Member


    The HAAL not necessarily comes in the form of الاسم الفاعل أو ... الاسم المفعول masdar as a HAAL is not uncommon in Arabic language for that one has to consider it taqdeeran as alismulfaa3il and alismul maf3ool regarding the case and the context.

  10. Ibn Nacer Senior Member

    French - France

    Hope this helps.

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