Arabic the Conjunction


وَنَوْعٌ يُسَمَّى “عَطْفاً”، مِثْلُ: “الشَّرَفَ” وَ”الأَدَبِ” مِنْ “يَبْلُغُ الطَّالِبُ الْمَجْدَ وَالشَّرَفَ بِالْعِلْمِ وَالأَدَبِ“، وَمِثْلُ الْوَاوِ: الْفَاءُ، “ثُمَّ”، “أَوْ”، “أَمْ”، “لَكِنْ”، “لاَ”، “بَلْ”.

A type which is called “عَطْف” (conjunction), like “الشَّرَفَ” and “الأَدَبِ” in:       “يَبْلُغُ الطَّالِبُ الْمَجْدَ وَالشَّرَفَ بِالْعِلْمِ وَالأَدَبِ” (The student attains glory and honor through knowledge and good character). Similar to the الْوَاو (and) are:
¨     the الْفَاء (shortly thereafter, immediately then),
¨     “ثُمَّ” (a while thereafter),
¨     “أَوْ” (or),
¨     “أَمْ” (or),
¨     “لَكِنْ” (but, rather),
¨     “لاَ” (not) and
¨     “بَلْ” (instead, rather, even better)


If a pen and an inkpot broke and you want to express and communicate that event, then instead of stating two sentences, the first of which is “اِنْكَسَرَ الْقَلَمُ” (the pen broke) and the second is “اِنْكَسَرَتِ الدَّوَاةُ” (The inkpot broke) it suffices for you to state the الْفِعْل once and then mention the two الاسْمَانِ (nouns) thereafter separated by a وَاو (meaning “and”), such that we say: “اِنْكَسَرَ الْقَلَمُ وَالدَّوَاةُ (The pen and inkpot broke). That which occurs after the الْوَاو is called “مَعْطُوْف” (conjoined word) and that which is before it is called “مَعْطُوْف عَلَيْهِ” (word to which the الْمَعْطُوْف is conjoined).

It is necessary for the الْمَعْطُوْف to follow that which comes before it in the former’s specific type of الإِعْرَاب . Thus, the word “الدَّوَاةُ” :

  • in this example is مَرْفُوْع due it following the word “الْقَلَمُ” which is مَرْفُوْع as a فَاعِل ,
  • in “كَسَرْتُ الْقَلَمَ وَالدَّوَاةَ (I broke the pen and the inkpot) مَنْصُوْب due to it following “الْقَلَمَ” which is مَنْصُوْب as a مَفْعُوْل بِهِ and
  • in “عَجِبْتُ مِنْ كَسْرِ الْقَلَمِ وَالدَّوَاةِ” (I was surprised at the breaking of the pen and the inkpot) مَجْرُوْر due it following “الْقَلَمِ” which is مَجْرُوْر as a مُضَاف إِلَيْهِ .

You say (for the rest of the conjunctions):

  • “اِنْكَسَرَ الْقَلَمُ فَالدَّوَاةُ (The pen broke and shortly thereafter the inkpot), if you want to express the idea that the breaking of the inkpot was shortly after the breaking of the pen,
  • “اِنْكَسَرَ الْقَلَمُ ثُمَّ الدَّوَاةُ (The pen broke and a while thereafter the inkpot), if you want to express the idea that the breaking of the inkpot was a while after the breaking of the pen,
  • “اِنْكَسَرَ الْقَلَمُ أَوِ الدَّوَاةُ (The pen or the inkpot broke), if that which broke is one of the two but you are doubtful as to which one specifically,
  • “اِنْكَسَرَ الْقَلَمُ لاَ الدَّوَاةُ (The pen broke not the inkpot), if that which broke is the pen only,
  • “أَالْقَلَمُ كَسَرْتَ أَمِ الدَّوَاةَ (Did you break the pen or the inkpot?) if you are asking about which of the two got broken, and
  • “لَمْ يَنْكَسِرِ الْقَلَمُ بَلِ الدَّوَاةُ” أوْ “لَكِنِ الدَّوَاةُ (The pen did not break instead the inkpot or but the inkpot), if that which broke was the inkpot and someone thought it to have been the pen.

Therefore, when a حَرْف (particle) from among the أَحْرُف الْعَطْفِ (particles of conjunction/conjunctions) is mentioned between two اسْمَانِ then the second is declined according to the declension of the first.