Arabic Grammar – Preliminary Matters: Point 5 – الإِعْرَاب (Inflection)
and الْبنَاء (The Fixed Construction)
When words are arranged in a sentence, you will find among them words which change at the end due to their different roles in the sentence, and because of the different types of governors which precede them or the governing factors that affect them. You will also find among words in a sentence, words which do not change at the end because of the different types of governors which precede them or the governing factors that affect them. The first type of word mentioned above is said to be مُـعْرَب (inflectional) and the second type is مَـبْنِيًا (non-inflectional). Changing the end of a word because of the different types of governors or governing factors is called إِعْـرَاب (inflection), while not changing the end of a word because of the different types of governors or governing factors is called بنَاء (fixed construction).
الإِعْـرَاب (Inflection) is a marked change which a governor causes to occur at the end of the word, and so the in of the word can be in the case of rafʿ, naṣb, jarr or jazm, depending on the purpose for the governor.
الْـبنَاء (The Fixed Construction) requires that the end of a word remains in one unchanged condition even when the governors that precede it are different.
الْـمُعْرَب (The Inflected Word) and الْـمَبْنِي (The Word Fixed in its Construction)
الْـمُعْرَب (The Inflected Word) is the word which is changed at its end because of the different types of governors that precede it or the governing factors that affect it, like:
الأََسْمَاءُ وَالأَرْضُ وَيَكْتُبُ
الْـمُعْرَب is also the present tense verb which does not have نون التوكيد or نون السوة and الْـمُعْرَب is also most nouns except for a few.
الْـمَبْنِي (The Word Fixed in its Construction) is the word that is required to remain in a fixed condition, in spite of the different governors that precede it, like when you say:
هَذَهِ، أَيْنَ، مِنْ، كَتَبَ، أُكْتُبْ
الْـمَبْنِيَّاتُ (Words Fixed in their Construction) include all الْـحُـرُوف (the particles), الْـفِعْلُ الْـمَاضِـي (the past tense verb), فِـعْلُ الأَمْـرِ (the command tense verb) without exception. الْفِعْلُ الـمُضَارِعُ إِذَا اتَّصِلتْ بِهِ (the present tense verb when) نُونُ النِسْوَةِ (the nuun used for emphasis) or نُـونُ النِسْوَةِ (the nuun of the feminine plural doer pronoun), and some nouns. They originate as particles, verbs fixed in their construction and inflective nouns.
The Kinds of الْبَنَاء (Fixed Construction)
الْـمَبْنِي is either a word that is required to carry sukuun at its end, like when you say: أُكْـتُبْ and لَـمْ or ḍammah like when you say: حَـيْثُ and كَـتَبُوا or fatḥah like when you say: كَـتَبَ and أَيْـنَ or kasrah like when you say: هَـؤُلاَءِ and kasrah on the baa in the prepositional phrase بِـسْمِ الله. At time the previously mentioned are expressed by saying: مَـبْنِي عَـلَى السّكون (fixed in construct on the sukuun) or مَبْنِي عَلَى ضَمَّة (fixed in construct on the ḍammah) or مَبْنِي عَلَى (fixed in construct on the fatḥah) or مَبْنِي عَلَى (fixed in construct on the kasrah). Therefore is based on four signs: sukuun, ḍammah, fatḥah, and kasrah.
Knowing which vowel the nouns and particles are constructed upon is according to generally accepted usage and sound transmission. Words fixed in their construction include: the word which is construct on the ḍammah, the word which is construct on the fatḥah and the word which is construct on the kasrah, but there are no known general rules for the construction of words on these vowels.
The Kinds of الإعْرَابُ (Inflection for Words)
There are four Kinds of الإعْـرَابُ (inflection for words): rafʿ, naṣb, jarr and jasm.
The inflected verb is changed at its end by the case of rafʿ, naṣb and jasm like when you say: يَكْتُبُ ، لَنْ يَكْتُبَ ، لمْ يَكْتُبْ .
The inflected noun is changed at its end by the case of rafʿ, naṣb and jarr like when you say: وَاشْتَغلعتُ بِالعِلْمِ النَّافِعِ ، رَأَيْتُ الْعِلْمَ نَافِعًا ، العِلْمُ نَافِعٌ. From this we can see that the cases of rafʿ and naṣb are used in both inflected verbs and nouns, while the case of jasm is used with the inflected verb exclusively, and he case of jarr is used with the inflected nouns exclusively.
The Signs for the الإعْرَابُ (Inflection for Words)
The Sign of الإعْـرَابُ is either a vowel, a letter or the dropping of a vowel or letter.
There are three vowels of inflection: ḍammah, fatḥah, and kasrah.
There are four letters of inflection: alif, nuun, waaw and yaa.
The dropping as a sign of inflection is either the dropping of a a weak letter at the end of the present tense verb or the dropping of the letter nuun from the end of the present tense verb.
The Signs of الرَّفْع (The Case of Rafʿ)
الرَّفْـع (The case of rafʿ) has four signs: ḍammah, waaw, alif, and nuun. Ḍammah is the main or primary sign. The example of the use of these signs for the case of rafʿ is as follows: يُحَبُّ الصَّادِقُ and أَفْـلَحَ الْـمُؤْمِنُونَ and لِيُننْفِقْ ذُو سَـعة مِـنْ سَـعتِهِ and التِلْمِذَانِ الْـمُـجْتَهِدَان and تَنْطِقُونَ بِالصِّدْقِ.
The Signs of النَّصْب (The Case of Naṣb)
النَّصْب (The case of naṣb) has five signs: fat-ḥah, alif, yaa, kasrah and the dropping of nuun. Fat-ḥah is the main or primary sign. The example of the use of these signs for the case of naṣb is as follows: جَانِبُ الشَّرِّ فَتَسْلَمََ أَعْطِ ذَا الْـحَقِّ حَقُّهُ and يُحِبُّ الله الْـمُتَقِيـنَ and كَانَ أَبُو عُبَيْدَة عَامِر بِن الـجَرَّاح وَخَالِد بن وَلِيد فَائدِيـنَ عَظِمِيـنَ and أُكْرِمُ الْفيَاتِ الْـمُجْتَهِدَاتِ and لَنْ تَنَالُوا (تَـنَالُـونَ) الْـبِرَّ حَـتَّى تُـنْفَقُوا (تُـنْفَقُوانَ) مِـمَّا تُـحِبُّونَ. In the last example, the nuun is dropped when the present tense verb is precede by the particle of naṣb.
The Signs of الـجَرّ (The Case of Jarr)
الـجَـرّ (The case of jarr) has three signs: kasrah, yaa and fat-ḥah. Kasrah is the main or primary sign. The example of the use of these signs for the case of jarr is as follows: تَـمَسَّكْ بِالفَضَائِلَ and أَطِعْ أَمْرَ أَبِيكَ and الْـمَرْءُ بِأَصْغَريْهِ: قَلْبُهُ ولِسَانُهُ and تَقَرَّبْ مَنَ الصَّادِقِيـنَ and وَانْأَ عَنَ الكَادِبِيـنَ and لَيْسَ فَاعِلُ الْـخَيْرِ بِأَفْضَلِ مِنَ السَّاعِي فِهِ.
The Signs of الـجَزْم (The Case of Jazm)
الـجَـزْم (The case of jazm) has three signs: sukuun, the dropping of a a weak letter at the end of the present tense verb, and the dropping of nuun. Sukuun is the main or primary sign. The example of the use of these signs for the case of jazm is as follows: مَنْ يَفْعَلْ خَيْرًًا يَجِدْ خَيْرًا and مَنْ يَزَرَعْ شَرًّا يَجْنِ شَرًّا and أَفْعَلْ الْـخَيْرَ تَلْقَ (تَلْقَــي) الْـخَيْرَ (In the preceding example, the alif maqṣuurah has been dropped when the present tense verb is in the case of jazm, because it is a weak letter), لاَ تَـدْعُ (تَـدْعُـو) إِلاَّ اللهَ (In this preceding example, the waaw has been dropped when the present tense verb is in the case of jazm, because it is a weak letter), قَـالُـوا خَـيْرًا تَغْنَمُوا (تَغْنَمُونَ) واسْكُتُوا (اسْكُتُونَ) عَنْ شَرِّ تَسْلَمُوا (تَسْلَمُونَ)ا. In the last three examples, the nuun has been dropped because the present tense verb is in the case of jazm.