5.2 Grammar: Masdar and verb

In this section

  • You will learn about verbal nouns and how they are derived from verbs.
  • You will use different connectors to make meaningful sentences.

Grammar (1)

Masdar (verbal noun/gerund)

المصدر  is a verbal noun that is derived from the same root as the verb to imply the activity or action. It is treated as a noun in that it can be definite or indefinite depending on context. For example, it will be indefinite when it falls as the first part of Idafa. Consider the following sentence pairs:

والدتي تحب شُرْب القهوة في الصباح.

My mother likes drinking coffee in the morning

والدتي تحب أن تشرب قهوة في الصباح.

My mother likes to drink coffee in the morning

أحب مشاهدة التليفزيون في المساء.

I like watching TV in the evening

أحب أن أشاهد التليفزيون في المساء.

I like to watch TV in the evening

بِنتي تريد القراءة في الليل.

My daughter wants reading at night

بِنتي تريد أن تقرأ في الليل.

My daughter wants to read at night

In the previous examples, you can see that the masdar form can equally be expressed b y the structure أن + verb. Note that using the definite article الـ is not necessarily a part of the gerund. It depends on context so you cannot use it in a case which you have an Idafa structure as in number 1 and 2. Otherwise, you must use الـ when you have examples like number 3 above.

Study the following list of verbs and gerunds. Listen and read the forms. 


English Arabic English Arabic
studying الدراسة I study أدرس
writing الكتابة I write أكتب
reading القراءة I read أقرأ
swimming السباحة I swim أسبح
going الذهاب I go أذهب
sleeping النوم I sleep أنام
eating الأكل I eat أكل
drinking الشُرب I drink أشرب
playing اللعِب I play ألعب
dancing الرقص I dance أرقص
working العمل I work أعمل
living السكن I live أسكن
going out الخروج I go out أخرج
entering الدخول I enter أدخل
sitting الجلوس I sit أجلس
obtaining الحصول على I obtain أحصل على
taking picture التصوير I take picture أصوّر
teaching التدريس I teach أُدرّس
smoking التدخين I smoke أُدخّن
watching المشاهدة I watch أشاهد
helping المساعدة I help أساعد
studying المذاكرة I study أذاكر
meeting المقابلة I meet أقابل
traveling السفر I travel أسافر
graduating التخرج I graduate أتخرّج
speaking التكلم / الكلام I speak أتكلّم
listening الاستماع I listen أستمع
testing الامتحان I test أمتحن

Activity (5): Decide whether you should use the verb or the masdar form in each of the following sentences.


Activity (6) : With your classmates. Find someone who: survey your classmates to find out who does or does not do these activities. Use the Masdar form in questions and answers. 

  1. likes watching football or basketball.
  2. enjoys swimming in the winter.
  3. likes traveling in the summer.
  4. likes playing sports? Which sport?
  5. likes reading every day.
  6. likes eating in restaurants? Which restaurant?
  7. likes living in a big city.
  8. wants to obtain the Masters.
  9. likes to work in teaching.
  10. likes dancing? Which dancing?

Grammar (2)

Expressing purpose and result

  • To express the purpose or reason of something you are doing, you can use the letter لـ and connect it with either a verb or a Masdar. Study the following examples:
Using the letter لـ and connecting it with either a verb or a Masdar
نذهب إلى المكتبة لكتابة الواجب.

We go to the library for writing the homework

نذهب إلى المكتبة لنكتب الواجب.

We go to the library to write the homework

أسافر إلى مصر لدراسة اللغة العربية

I travel to Egypt for studying Arabic

أسافر إلى مصر لأدرس اللغة العربية

I travel to Egypt to study Arabic

صاحبتي تعمل في شركة للحصول على فلوس

My friend works in a company for obtaining money

صاحبتي تعمل في شركة لتحصل على فلوس

My friend work in a company to obtain money

  • To express the consequence or result, you can use the connector لذلك  which literally means “for this reason.” It implies the equivalent of the connector “so” in English. It is only followed by a complete sentence as in the following examples:
Using the connector لذلك

ليس عندي فصول يوم السبت ، لذلك لا أذهب إلى الجامعة.

I do not have classes on Saturday, so I do not go to the university.

لا نحب الأكل في المطاعم ، ولذلك نطبخ في البيت.

We do not like eating in restaurants, that’s why we cook at home.

أريد السفر إلى الشرق الأوسط ، لذلك أدرس اللغة العربية.

I want traveling to the middle east, for this reason I study Arabic.

Activity (7) : Decide what connector to use to combine the sentences below. 


Activity (8): Translate each of the following sentences in two ways: once using verb and once using Masdar.


Grammar (3)

Present tense case marking

The default case ending for the present tense is ُ as in يأكلُ – يشربُ – نحبُ  .

This default case changes when the following precede the verb : أن – لن – لـ

Study these sentences and compare the case endings of verbs:

Comparing the case endings of verbs

نحب أن نذهبَ إلى المكتبة كل يوم.

We like to go to the library every day.

نذهبُ إلى المكتبة كل يوم.

We go to the library every day.


لن أسافرَ إلى مصر في الصيف.

I will not travel to Egypt in the summer.

أسافرُ إلى مصر في الصيف.

I travel to Egypt in the summer.


صاحبتي تدرس الكمبيوتر لتعملَ في شركة مايكروسوفت.

My friend studies computer to work in Microsoft company

صاحبتي تعملُ في شركة مايكروسوفت.

My friend work in Microsoft company.



With verb conjugations that end with ــن , you drop it after these connectors. Study the following examples and note what happens to the ending of verbs:

Dropping the ــن after certain connectors

يا سارة! هل تحبين أن تخرجي في الويك إند؟

O Sara! Do you like to go out in the weekend?

يا سارة! هل تخرجين في الويك إند؟

O Sara! Do you go out in the weekend?.


هل أنتم تستطيعون أن تسكنوا في مدينة كبيرة؟

Can you live in a big city?

هل أنتم تسكنون في مدينة كبيرة؟

Do you live in a big city?


أصحابي يريدون أن يلعبوا كرة القدم.

My friends want to play soccer.

أصحابي يلعبون كرة القدم.

My friends play soccer.


What happens here is that the case marking change in these cases is achieved by dropping the final noun in the verb if that verb is preceded by أن- لن -لـ

Activity (9): Choose the appropriate word and structure to complete the following sentences.


Activity (10): Rewrite the following sentences using the verb and make necessary changes.


Key Takeaways

  • You can use a variety of connectors to make a complex sentence.
  • You can flexibly use different word forms to convey similar meanings.


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Elementary Arabic II Copyright © 2021 by Ayman Mohamed and Sadam Issa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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