بَيْتًا or بَيْتاً? – Where do you add the two lines (تَنْوِين) at the end?

Some readers have asked me about the correct writing of the تَنْوِين at the end of a word. I wrote about that in my book and discussed it in one of my previous newsletters. I don’t mind dealing with the topic again. So… What is correct: بَيْتًا or بَيْتاً ?

Let’s have a look at the writing of the تَنْوِين if you have to deal with an indefinite اِسْم in the مَنْصُوب – case.

You will usually encounter both versions – like in the headline of our newsletter: on top of the Aleph (بَيْتاً) or before the Aleph (بَيْتًا) – in books, in subtitles in movies, in calligraphies. But what is correct? This is a debating topic especially as you find both variations in calligraphies. Most grammarians argue that the تَنْوِين should be written on the last letter before the Aleph.

The reason is simple: The Aleph is a so called حَرْف ساكِن and therefore can’t take any vowel!

There is only one exception: If a word ends with a ل it will be لا in مَنْصُوب. So don’t put the تَنْوِين before the last letter as the تَنْوِين would separate the Aleph from the ل. Instead, write the تَنْوِين on top of the Aleph – resulting in لاً

For example: the word كَسُول lazy

wrong

كَسُولًا

correct

كَسُولاً

But watch out: This is not the case for the ى which is also pro­nounced as an Aleph. For example the word for meaning

wrong

معنىً

correct

معنًى

Remember that there are four situations in which you don’t add an Aleph after the last letter in theمَنْصُوب – case. Therefore, the تنْوِين will be on the last letter – except when the last letter is already a “long Aleph” like in nr. 2 in the following examples:

اِنْتِهاءً, ماءً

هَمْزة as last letter

1

مُصْطَفًى,عَصًا

أَلِف مَقْصُورة

2

مَكْتَبةً

ة تاء تَأْنِيث

3

مَلْجَأً

هَمْزة – أ

4

 

An excursus:

However, there is a theoretical discussion going on claiming that the Aleph is not a “silent letter” (حَرْف ساكِن) but rather a “long vowel”, a so called حَرْف مَدّ

To remind you: The latter (حَرْف مَدّ) explains the rule why the “long vowel” in a verb has to be elided, if the verb is مَجْزُوم – as it is theoretically impossible to have two سُكُون in a row.

Here is an example:

لَمْ يَقُلْ is correct and works, but لَمْ يَقُوْلْ doesn’t work whereas theoretically, يَقُوْلُ does. If you are interested in these theoretical discussions, try to search for this term: اِلْتِقاء ساكِنَيْنِ

 

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