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Arabic negating past tense

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  • Arabic negating past tense

    :salams

    Is there a difference in using ما or لم ?
    For example: لم أذهب over ما ذهبت ?
    I.e context, formality, written Vs spoken etc. Or are they basically interchangable?
    ما seems to be more commonly used from my experience but that's in the classroom setting. So don't know.
    Ya Rab! When you give me wealth, do not take away my happiness. When you give me strength, do not take away my intelligence. When you give me victory, do not take away my humility. When you give me humility, do not take away my dignity.

  • #2
    Re: Arabic negating past tense

    :wswrwb:

    I'm not sure, but I think لم is "haven't" and ما is "didn't".

    لم can also be "didn't", but ما is never used as "haven't?

    I could be wrong.

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    • #3
      Re: Arabic negating past tense

      وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

      I think in practice there is almost no difference.
      But some scholars try to find nuances.
      I found this in a book called من قضايا اللغة :
      https://s15.postimg.org/hlfubsqy3/neg.png
      it's something related to what lonelyniqabi explained
      but maybe the opposite; it is common to use ما for haven't.

      Anyway, I think there is no significant difference,
      In these two narrations مَا رَأَيْتُ and لَمْ أَرَ are used with the same meaning:
      https://sunnah.com/bukhari/61/60
      https://sunnah.com/muslim/43/122

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Arabic negating past tense

        Originally posted by -qed- View Post
        :salams

        Is there a difference in using ما or لم ?
        For example: لم أذهب over ما ذهبت ?
        I.e context, formality, written Vs spoken etc. Or are they basically interchangable?
        ما seems to be more commonly used from my experience but that's in the classroom setting. So don't know.
        There's really no differences between the two when using it to negate a past action generally. However there is an intricate difference which is that ما which is followed by a past tense verb usually refers to a more recent proximity of time. E.g. ما أكلت الغداء (I haven't eaten lunch) this is referring to a recent period of time. As for لم it refers to a broader range of time. E.g. لم أسافر إلى مكة في حياتي (I've never travelled to makkah in my life) so لم can also take the meaning of 'never'.

        Wallahu a'lam

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Arabic negating past tense

          :wswrwb:

          I was always of the opinion that لم was slightly more formal and eloquent, and possibly used more in writing.

          But I have had limited exposure to Arabic materials, so take that with a pinch of salt and pepper, and maybe disregard it entirely if someone disproves it :).
          It is narrated on the authority of Jabir that he heard the (Holy Prophet)[:saw:] say: A Muslim is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.
          -Muslim



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          • #6
            Re: Arabic negating past tense

            Originally posted by Deeni Akh View Post
            There's really no differences between the two when using it to negate a past action generally. However there is an intricate difference which is that ما which is followed by a past tense verb usually refers to a more recent proximity of time. E.g. ما أكلت الغداء (I haven't eaten lunch) this is referring to a recent period of time. As for لم it refers to a broader range of time. E.g. لم أسافر إلى مكة في حياتي (I've never travelled to makkah in my life) so لم can also take the meaning of 'never'.

            Wallahu a'lam
            I thought that was the difference between maa and laa when used before f'il mudaare', but makes sense anyway. However, one could ask, what would be the difference of lam and lan, as lan is usually always translated as never (besides the grammatical rules).

            I too was under the impression that lam is more formally used.
            Last edited by Hamnah; 17-04-17, 04:55 PM.
            اذاً لن يضيعنا الله

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Arabic negating past tense

              Originally posted by Hamnah View Post
              I thought that was the difference between maa and laa when used before f'il mudaare', but makes sense anyway. However, one could ask, what would be the difference of lam and lan, as lan is usually always translated as never (besides the grammatical rules).

              I too was under the impression that lam is more formally used.
              Laa is used for negating the present while it can refer to the past and the future. But maa and lam both directly negate the past except a small difference between them as mentioned above.

              Lan is used to negate future actions while lam is for past actions. If I say: لن أذهب that means: "I will never go" while لم أذهب means "I never went".

              Allahul a'lam.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Arabic negating past tense

                Originally posted by Deeni Akh View Post
                Laa is used for negating the present while it can refer to the past and the future. But maa and lam both directly negate the past except a small difference between them as mentioned above.

                Lan is used to negate future actions while lam is for past actions. If I say: لن أذهب that means: "I will never go" while لم أذهب means "I never went".

                Allahul a'lam.
                Yep this is right. lan is for negating future.

                I just wanted to ask if Arabic has a difference between the near future and far future.
                As in I am going to write(something relatively soon the future)
                compared to I will write (further on in the future)

                I use sa and sowfa for both, but I feel like there probably is a distinction?
                i.e in French they use the word go (vais) as an intermediary for the near future followed by the infinitive (equivalent to al masdar)
                Ya Rab! When you give me wealth, do not take away my happiness. When you give me strength, do not take away my intelligence. When you give me victory, do not take away my humility. When you give me humility, do not take away my dignity.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Arabic negating past tense

                  Originally posted by -qed- View Post
                  Yep this is right. lan is for negating future.

                  I just wanted to ask if Arabic has a difference between the near future and far future.
                  As in I am going to write(something relatively soon the future)
                  compared to I will write (further on in the future)

                  I use sa and sowfa for both, but I feel like there probably is a distinction?
                  i.e in French they use the word go (vais) as an intermediary for the near future followed by the infinitive (equivalent to al masdar)
                  Yes there is a slight difference in the implications of س and سوف. In the Arabic language there is a basic rule which is كل زيادة في المبني (حروف) تؤدي الى زيادة في المعنى (Every addition that is added to rigid/unchangeable words (such as particles) leads to an increase in meaning). In this case the و and ف that is added to the س to make سوف adds a length in time so س by itself refers to the near future and سوف can imply the more distant future. This is the slight difference in meaning as you touched upon above.

                  There is another minor difference in the grammatical tolerance of both particles which is displayed by the particle, اللام الإبتداء (The startingل ). This particle is used to add emphasis to a sentence and can have the meaning of 'indeed'. The ل is added before the word/particle and is accepted by سوف but not س. E.g. و لسوف يعطيك ربك فترضى (surah Duha). While the س never accepts any ل before it.

                  Wallahu a'lam.
                  Last edited by Deeni Akh; 18-04-17, 04:28 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Arabic negating past tense

                    Originally posted by Deeni Akh View Post
                    Yes there is a slight difference in the implications of س and سوف. In the Arabic language there is a basic rule which is كل زيادة في المبني (حروف) تؤدي الى زيادة في المعنى (Every addition that is added to rigid/unchangeable words (such as particles) leads to an increase in meaning). In this case the و and ف that is added to the س to make سوف adds a length in time so س by itself refers to the near future and سوف can imply the more distant future. This is the slight difference in meaning as you touched upon above.

                    There is another minor difference in the grammatical tolerance of both particles which is displayed by the particle, اللام الإبتداء (The startingل ). This particle is used to add emphasis to a sentence and can have the meaning of 'indeed'. The ل is added before the word/particle and is accepted by سوف but not س. E.g. و لسوف يعطيك ربك فترضى (surah Duha). While the س never accepts any ل before it.

                    Wallahu a'lam.
                    :jkk:

                    So the laam in this case isn't the one that means in order to/for that reason? like for للحصول ? (in order to obtain)

                    so لسوف يصلي will mean indeed he will pray instead of 'for he will pray' ? Or will it vary depend on context
                    Ya Rab! When you give me wealth, do not take away my happiness. When you give me strength, do not take away my intelligence. When you give me victory, do not take away my humility. When you give me humility, do not take away my dignity.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Arabic negating past tense

                      Originally posted by -qed- View Post
                      :jkk:

                      So the laam in this case isn't the one that means in order to/for that reason? like for للحصول ? (in order to obtain)

                      so لسوف يصلي will mean indeed he will pray instead of 'for he will pray' ? Or will it vary depend on context
                      لام الإبتداء is different to لام التعليل/السببية . The former enters only in the beginning of a sentence and not in the middle while the laam for reasoning is usually situated in the middle of a sentence. The second difference is that the laam of ibtidaa' has a fathah while the laam of reasoning has a kasrah.

                      Your second sentence is correct. Laam of reasoning doesn't join سوف, only laam of ibtidaa' is allowed to be attached to it.

                      Wallahu a'lam

                      :brf:

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Arabic negating past tense

                        Originally posted by -qed- View Post
                        :salams

                        Is there a difference in using ما or لم ?
                        For example: لم أذهب over ما ذهبت ?
                        I.e context, formality, written Vs spoken etc. Or are they basically interchangable?
                        ما seems to be more commonly used from my experience but that's in the classroom setting. So don't know.
                        Wasalam,

                        In terms of the Quranic application then there is a subtle difference.

                        ما is used for complete negation e.g. وما مسنا من لغوب.
                        I.e. we were never affected by tiredness.

                        As for لم then the negation is slightly weaker, e.g. ولم يمسسني شبر ولم أك بفيا
                        So hear it means that although it was possible for men to touch her, it didnt happen.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Arabic negating past tense

                          Originally posted by studentofknowledge View Post
                          Wasalam,

                          In terms of the Quranic application then there is a subtle difference.

                          ما is used for complete negation e.g. وما مسنا من لغوب.
                          I.e. we were never affected by tiredness.

                          As for لم then the negation is slightly weaker, e.g. ولم يمسسني شبر ولم أك بفيا
                          So hear it means that although it was possible for men to touch her, it didnt happen.
                          Interesting... :jkk:

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Arabic negating past tense

                            Originally posted by Deeni Akh View Post
                            Interesting... :jkk:
                            BarakAllahu Feek,

                            Just realised the typos lol:

                            Here*

                            بشر*

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