الناس لطيفة

lgjudge

New Member
English
Hi! Is it possible to say الناس لطيفة if you want to say "The people are nice."? I would have expected الناس لطفاء, but an Arab told me both are correct. I was really surprised!
 
  • normordm

    Senior Member
    Arabic - Sudanese
    It is possible to say الناس لطيفة. Though I think الناس لطفاء is technically more correct.
     

    wriight

    Senior Member
    English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
    Is it really acceptable in 'proper' MSA/high-register Arabic? Many (most?) dialects can use both singular-feminine and normal-plural agreement for both sentient and non-sentient things, but if I heard الناس لطيفة in MSA I might assume dialect influence. I know that fus7a is at least strict about non-sentient things being treated as feminine singular for the purposes of agreement, but I'll admit I've never thought much about crossing the other way.
     

    lgjudge

    New Member
    English
    It is possible to say الناس لطيفة. Though I think الناس لطفاء is technically more correct.
    The Arab who told me this was a professor of MSA, so I would assume that الناس لطيفة is correct in MSA too.
     

    Pussykat

    New Member
    English-USA
    If the plural noun is inanimate, the adjective will be singular feminine. However, that is not the case here, so الناس لطيفة is wrong. You have to say الناس لطيفون or الناس لطفاء. However, الكتب كبيرة is correct, for the noun is inanimate. You could even say الكتب كبيرات, but that is far less common.
     

    analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    If the plural noun is inanimate, the adjective will be singular feminine. However, that is not the case here, so الناس لطيفة is wrong. You have to say الناس لطيفون or الناس لطفاء. However, الكتب كبيرة is correct, for the noun is inanimate. You could even say الكتب كبيرات, but that is far less common.
    That's not quite right. Although this is the rule generally followed in non-literary MSA, the prescriptive rules in fuSHa are a lot more complicated and will sometimes be followed even in the most basic kind of writing (you can find for example references to القبعات البيض on the internet in fuSHa sources). ناس is one of the words which is quite frequently treated as feminine singular.
     
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