If-clauses – When do you need the مَجْزُوم-mood?

If-clauses can cause you a headache in most languages. The fact that Arabic has – strictly speaking – only two tenses doesn’t make it easier. However, the mood of the verb can tell you more about the probability of a situation.

In this newsletter, we will have a look at sentences that have a verb in the so called مَجْزُوم-mood. It all depends on the initial word of a conditional sentence if the verb after it has to be مَجْزُوم. Words that put a verb into the مَجْزُوم-mood are called: أَدَوات جازِمة

Notice that مَجْزُوم basically means that the verb ends in a سُكُون – which also means that you have to watch out for weak letters as they might be elided.






if; used for time or place

If you put an effort in your work, you’ll succeed in your live.

إِنْ تَجْتَهِدْ فِي عَمَلِكَ تَنْجَحْ فِي حَياتِكَ.



If/when you come to Egypt, you will find beautiful weather.

مَتى تأتِ إِلَى مِصْرَ تَجِدْ جَوَّها جَمِيلاً.

Notice that the weak letter in أتى/ يَأتي is elided.


who; for persons


who; whoever; which – for animals, trees; non-human things

Whoever travels a lot will see dif­ferent people.

مَنْ يُسافِرْ كَثيرًا يَرَ شُعُوبًا مُخْتَلِفةً.

The weak letter in رَأَى/ يَرَى is elided. A remark: رَأَى is one of the very few pretty irregular verbs. You cannot conjugate it by using the common rules. The same is true for its IV-form أَفْعَلَ, which looks like أَرَى in its basic form (past tense).


what; which; whatever

What you do for the good of the people will make you happy.

مَهْما تُقَدِّمُوا مِن خَيْرٍ لِلنَّاسِ تُصْبِحُوا سَعْداءَ.


where; for places

Wherever you travel you will find friends.

أيْنَما تُسافِرْ تَجِدْ أصْدِقاءَ.



The way you treat friends the way they will treat you.

كَيْفَما تُعامِلْ زُمَلاءَكَ يُعامِلُوكَ.


every; whoever. For people; places; time;

Notice that there has to be a noun (اِسْم) after أَيُّ and never a verb; you have to treat it like a إِضافة

Every worker who works dili­gently will find the fruits of his work.

أَيُّ عامِلٍ يَعْمَلْ بِجِدٍّ يَلْقَ ثَمَرَةَ عَمَلِهِ.

Notice that the weak letter in لَقِيَ/ يَلْقَى is elided.

You will find more information about the specialities and meanings of  the مَجْزُوم-mood in the book Arabic for Nerds. Are there if-clauses in which you don’t use the مَجْزُوم-mood? Yes, there are! We will check them out in another blog entry.


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