Arabic The Qualifying or Attributive Adjective


نَوْعٌ يُسَمَّى “نَعْتاً”، مِثْلُ: “عَاقِلٌ” وَ”جَاهِلٌ” مِنْ “عَدُوٌّ عَاقِلٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ صَدِيْقٍ جَاهِلٍ”

A type which is called “نَعْت” (Qualifying or Attributive Adjective), like “عَاقِلٌ” and “جَاهِلٍ” in: “عَدُوٌّ عَاقِلٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ صَدِيْقٍ جَاهِلٍ (An intelligent foe is better than an ignorant friend).


If you found a bag in the street and you hear someone saying: “ضَاعَ لِيْ كِيْسٌ” (A bag of mine got lost), then it is not valid for you to give him the bag believing it to be his as long as he has not described to you its specific qualities, by saying for example:                                “ضَاعَ لِيْ كِيْسٌ صَغِيْرٌ أَسْوَدُ (A small black bag of mine got lost). The word “صَغِيْرٌ” (and others like it) is called a “نَعْت” or “صِفَة” (qualifying or attributive adjective) and it is necessary that it be مَرْفُوْع due to following the word “كِيْسٌ” which is مَرْفُوْع on account of it being a فَاعِل . Should the first be مَنْصُوْب then the second will be مَنْصُوْب following it (i.e. following the first), like when he says: “فَقَدتُّ كِيْساً صَغِيْراً (I lost a small bag); the word “كِيْساً” is مَنْصُوْب on account of it being a مَفْعُوْل بِهِ and “صَغِيْراً” is a نَعْت qualifying it being مَنْصُوْب (as a result).

Similarly in the case of الْجَرّ , like: “أَسْأَلُ عَنْ كِيْسٍ صَغِيْرٍ (I am asking or enquiring about a small bag); the word “كِيْسٍ” is مَجْرُوْر by means of “عَنْ” and “صَغِيْرٍ” is a نَعْت qualifying it being مَجْرُوْر (as a result).

Similar to “كِيْس صَغِيْر” are:

  • “رَجُلٌ قَصِيْرٌ (a short man),
  • “عَلِيٌّ التَّاجِرُ (Ali, the Merchant),
  • “حَسَنٌ الْكَاتِبُ (Hasan, the Writer),
  • “عَدُوٌّ عَاقِلٌ (intelligent foe),
  • “صَدِيْقٌ جَاهِلٌ (ignorant friend),
  • as well as whatever resembles these examples as regards the الأَسْمَاء which denote the qualities and attributes of that which occurs before them.