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

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 rather 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 the مَنْصُوب – 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:

exampleas last letter
اِنْتِهاءً, ماءًهَمْزة1
مُصْطَفًى,عَصًاأَلِف مَقْصُورة2
ة – تاء تَأْنِيثة – تاء تَأْنِيث3
مَلْجَأًهَمْزة – أ4


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 مَجْزُومas it is theoretically impossible to have two سُكُون in a row.

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

Question: Final Aleph in Arabic: مَساءًا or مَساءً – What is correct?

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Last updated: Jun 15, 2020 @ 8:32


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