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.

 

word

explanation

example

إِنْ

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.

مَتى

when

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.

مَنْ

who; for persons

ما

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).

مَهْما

what; which; whatever

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

مَهْما تُقَدِّمُوا مِن خَيْرٍ لِلنَّاسِ تُصْبِحُوا سَعْداءَ.

أيْنَما

where; for places

Wherever you travel you will find friends.

أيْنَما تُسافِرْ تَجِدْ أصْدِقاءَ.

كَيْفَما

how?

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

كَيْفَما تُعامِلْ زُمَلاءَكَ يُعامِلُوكَ.

أَيُّ

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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