Arabic uses negative particles to express negation. There is also ليسَ which is a verb meaning ‘to not be’ which expresses negation.
1. The verb لَيْسَ
- It is one of the sisters of كان as we have seen, and therefore gives the nominative case to the subject and accusative to the predicate.
- It is inflected only in it’s past tense form.
|Second person (m)
|Third person (m)
ليس الدَّرسُ صَعبًا The lesson is not difficult
لستُ عَالِمًا I am not a scholar
ليسَتْ مِصرِيّةً She is not Egyptian
أَلَيسَ كَذلك؟ Is it not so?
2.Laa لا: ‘No; not; there is no’
هَل أنت جائِعٌ؟
لا. لستُ جائِعًا
Are you hungry? No. I am not hungry.
لا أفهم ماذا تقول
I don’t understand what you are saying
3. Lam لَمْ – for negating past tense verbs
لَمْ نَذهبْ للوليمةِ
We did not go for the feast
لَمْ أَنَمْ جَيِّدًا البارحةَ
I did not sleep well yesterday
لَمْ يقُلْ أَحَدٌ هذا
No one has said this!
As you may have noticed the verb after lam is always in the jussive mood (jazm), as it is one of the particles of jazm.
4. Maa ما
ما is usually used to negate past tense verbs.
ما ذَهَبَ He did not go
ما رأيتُهم I did not see them
ما كَلَّمَتْهُ He did not speak to him
It is also used with nouns taking the meaning of ليس (to not be). Here it also follows the case rules of ليس giving raf’ to the subject and nasb to the predicate.
ما هذا بشرا
This is not a man [Quran,12:31]
ما هن أمهاتهم
They are not their mothers [Quran, 2:58]
5.Lan لَنْ – for future tense verbs
The following verb takes nasb.
لن أنساك أبدا
I will never forget you
He will never learn
لن أَخُونَ أحدا
I will never betray anyone