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.