Exclamations in Arabic Grammar (Ta'jjub)

Published: 2018-08-30

Exclamations means to express surprise, strong emotion etc. Naturally, we as student of Arabic grammar would love to know

  • How to express excitement in Arabic
  • What are expression of exasperation in Arabic
  • What is an arabic expression of surprise

May be Arabic expression of OMG (oh my god)

and other similar questions...

Arabic being a vast and diverse language has a concept of Ta'jjub (تعجُّب) to express similar emotions. We can also see the use of التعجب in Quran,

  • أَبْصِرْ بِهِ وَأَسْمِعْ (Quran 18:26) (How Amazingly well He (Allah) Sees and how Amazingly well He (Allah) can Hear !!)

So without further ado lets discuss exclamations in Arabic Grammar and make it super easy (إن شاء الله)

How exclamations in Arabic work?

There are certain expressions in Arabic language which we can use to express emotions of excitement like how beautiful, how amazing etc. These expressions describe strong feelings in Arabic language.

Excited to drill down??

Let's make the concept of التعجب super easy in Arabic language.

First things first, lets understand the word التعجب. It is a مصدر (masdar) from word

تعجَّب يتَعَجَّب تعجبْ التَّعَجُّب
meaning to be amazed or astonished (when we see something amazing or rare)

In Arabic, we can express تعَجُّب in many ways e.g.

  • By saying Subhan Allah سبحان الله
  • By saying Alhamdu lillah الحمد لله

But exclamations in Arabic (تعَجُّب) can also be expressed using certain styles offered by Arabic language. Which we will discuss below

Style of exclamations in Arabic

أسلوب التعجب

There are 2 styles of expressing تعَجُّب or exclamations in Arabic language,

  • ما أفْعَلَ
  • أفْعِل بِه

Exclamations in Arabic

ما أفْعَلَ

The sentence made from above expression is a Nominal Sentence or جملة اسمية. For example to say

  • ما أعظمَ العلمَ (Nothing is greater than knowledge)
    • which is equal to say, شيء عظيم جعل العلمَ عظيماً
  • ما أجمل الليلة (what a beautiful night)
  • Quranic Examples: ما أصبرهم على النار

Irab of ما أعظمَ العلمَ

ما اسم تعجب مبني على السكون في محل رفع مبتدأ

أعظم فعل ماض مبني على الفتح والفاعل ضمير مستتر تقديره هو

العلمَ مفعول به منصوب

أعظمَ العلمَ الجملة الفعلية في محل رفع خبر

أفْعِل بِه

The sentence made from above expression is a Verbal Sentence or جملة فعلية. For example to say

  • أعظِمْ بالعلمِ (Nothing is greater than knowledge)
  • أجمل بالليلة (what a beautiful night)
  • Quranic Example: أسمِع بهم وأبصر

Irab of أعظِمْ بالعلمِ

أعظِم فعل ماض جاء على صيغة الأمر

الباء حرف جر زائد

العلم فاعل مرفوع وعلامة رفعه الضمة المقدرة

Rules of Exclamations in Arabic

شروط فعل التعجب

  1. Arabic Verb should be three lettered i.e فعل ثلاثي
    • For example, we can't make التعجب from استغفر. But we can say, ما أعظمَ استغفارَ المؤمن where استغفارَ is مصدر of استغفر
  2. It has to be مُتَصَرِّف i.e. should have ماض, مضارع etc
    • For example, we can't use ليس Or نعم OR بئس
  3. We can't use verb with negation i.e. it has to be مُثبَت
  4. It has to be capable of comparison i.e. قابِل للمُفاضلة. To understand this lets take an example
    • When we say ما أجمل الليلة we mean there is beauty in this night and there is beauty in other nights but beauty of this night is more
    • But with مات, it doesn't have مفاضلة i.e. there no difference between one death or the another one so it is غيرُ قابل للمفاضلة. But we can say,
    • ما أقسى موتَ زيدِ (How cruel/harsh is death of Zaid)
  5. It can't be a verb which can be used in أفعل فعلاء form. E.g. أبيض بيضاء OR أعمى عمياء. But we can say,
    • ما أشد بياضَ الثوب
    • ما أشد عَمَى الكافر
    • ما أنقى بياض الثوب

That's all folks !!
Thats pretty neat summary of how exclamations in Arabic work.

But like I see you people are utmost sincere and patient.Remember, Allah is with the patient ان الله مع الصابرين (Ref 2:153). I would like to cover two more emotions viz,

  • الإغراء
  • التحذير


الإغراء comes from the word

أغرى يغري أغر الإغراء

meaning to advice or encourage for something or to incite/instigate to do something i.e.

أن أنصحك بشيء جيد لتلزمه أو لتفعله

To express الإغراء we repeat the same word making it منصوب. For example,

  • الصلاةَ الصلاةَ meaning Do not leave Salah OR Take care of Salah
    • We can also say الزم الصلاةَ to express the same meaning.
  • الدراسةَ الدراسةَ meaning Encouragement to study

Irab of الصلاةَ الصلاةَ

الصلاةَ مفعول به منصوب لفعل محذوف تقديره الزم او منصوب على الإغراء


التحذير comes form the word

حذر يحذر التحذير
i.e. to Warn and is opposite to الإغراء

To express التحذير we repeat the same word making it منصوب. For example,

  • اللهَ اللهَ meaning Warning to the anger of Allah
    • We can also say احذروا غضب الله to express the same meaning.
  • الفشلَ الفشلَ meaning Warning of failure

Irab of اللهَ اللهَ

الله مفعول به منصوب لفعل محذوف تقديره اِحذَر او منصوب على التحذير

That's pretty much it people. Now you have a good overview of how to be amazed like an Arab, OR Warn like an Arab or to encourage like an Arab. And if any one asks you why you are making sentences like this, proudly say the phrase
Because Arab said so !!!

haha, Jokes apart. That how exclamations in Arabic Grammar works

Exclamations in Arabic Reference(s)


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