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خرج الكلبان مسرعين

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Rmacaw, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Rmacaw Senior Member

    ملبورن استراليا
    English انجليزية
    عندي كتاب للاطفال اقراه
    فيه جملة تبدا بالكلمات "خرج الكلبان مسرعين
    سؤالي لمذا لا تبدا الجملة ب : خرجا؟

    من الافضل ان تكتب الاجابات بالانجليزية لكي سافهمكم

    شكرا للمساعدة
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  2. AndyRoo Senior Member


    It is because when a verb comes before the subject, it must be in the singular.

    BTW the dual form would be خرجا
  3. Rmacaw Senior Member

    ملبورن استراليا
    English انجليزية
    Thanks Andy, had edited to خرجا just as you posted.

    So it would even be خرج الكلاب؟

    ( by the way was my question grammatical and / or at all natural? )
  4. AndyRoo Senior Member

    You're welcome:)

    Actually it should be خرجت الكلاب because non-human plurals are treated as feminine singular.
  5. Rmacaw Senior Member

    ملبورن استراليا
    English انجليزية
    Ah that's what's tripped me - I had understood خرج المهندسين but not connected the idea to anything other than human plurals.


    Edit: that'd be خرج المهندسون
  6. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    خرج الكلبان
    is fine. In fact it's the most common way; though yours is acceptable too (I think)... it feels odd.
  7. dkarjala Senior Member

    English - America
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  8. AndyRoo Senior Member

    Maybe this is possible (I am not sure), but I certainly think خرجت الكلاب is OK.

    I am looking at Cowan's Modern Literary Arabic and he gives an example متى ترجمت الكتب إلى اللغة العربية؟ - I am pretty sure you will agree that is correct - feminine singular verb at the start of the sentence for the plural كتب .

    Also he says (though it is a slight tangent):

    If the subject is a collective the verb may be either masculine or feminine singular according to whether we think of the collective as a singular (i.e. a group) or as a plural of irrational beings e.g.

    نزل الحمام على السطح or نزلت

    The masculine is, however, preferred by stylists.

    This leads me to believe that if the subject is a plural (as الكلاب is) the feminine should be used.
  9. dkarjala Senior Member

    English - America
    I really appreciate your patient response. This particular question is actually very difficult to answer in terms of references but a cursory statistical glance on the internet proved to me that people gravitate towards feminine verbs in verbal sentences with non-human-plural subjects. e.g. ينبح الكلاب yields about 1/3 of the hits that تنبح الكلاب does.

    This analysis is, of course, different from classical, where either gender works for any non-human nouns and is only preferable with human nouns when they are non separated by intervening words. It is really fascinating to see this development because it is a departure from the logical parallel of frozen singular verbs before their subjects (i.e. يذهب الرجال the verb matches هو even though the referent would be called هم) Which is why, though الكتب would be called هي, I would still expect the verb to match هو, just as one book is still called هو.

    So we can't actually say that "the verb before its subject will be singular" because if we made a chart of singular, dual and plural verb forms for non-human nouns, the masculine singular verb will still match هو. This is where my main confusion lies. Now that being said, I have to admit that because of non-rational agreement in general, I find it a little more instinctive to use the هي forms, and so I guess I shouldn't complain - in fact, I think I've stopped myself using what is apparently the correct form on many occasions!

    Thanks again for responding.
  10. Arabic Guru

    Arabic Guru Senior Member

    The Occupied Holy Land!
    Arabic - العربية
    If we say: خرجا الكلبان مسرعَين this sentence has now 2 subjects ( فاعلان إثنان ) ; the first is "2 dogs" and the second is the pronoun (ا) and this wrong in Arabic.

    But we can say: الكلبان خرجا مسرعين

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