Non-Human Plural Agreement in Arabic: A Guide for Copy Editors
When it comes to copy editing in Arabic, one of the most important aspects to consider is proper grammar usage, including subject-verb agreement. In Arabic, like many other languages, the verb must agree with the subject in terms of gender and number. However, when it comes to non-human plural subjects, things can get a little tricky.
In Arabic, there are two types of plurals: broken and sound. Broken plurals are irregular and often involve changes to the word`s root letters, while sound plurals follow a regular pattern of adding suffixes. For example, the broken plural of „book“ is „kutub,“ while the sound plural is „kitabat.“
When it comes to non-human plural subjects, the verb must agree with the gender of the subject (masculine or feminine) and whether it is a sound or broken plural. Here are some general rules to follow:
1. Sound Plurals
For sound plurals, the verb must agree with the gender of the subject. If the subject is masculine, use the masculine form of the verb; if the subject is feminine, use the feminine form.
– المصابيح تضيء في الغرفة. (Al-masabeeh tudee`u fil ghorfa.) – The lamps light up in the room. (masabeeh is a sound masculine plural subject)
– السيارات تسير على الطريق. (Al-sayaaraat taseer ala al-tareeq.) – The cars are driving on the road. (sayaaraat is a sound feminine plural subject)
2. Broken Plurals
For broken plurals, the verb must agree with the gender and number of the subject. If the subject is masculine and dual, use the dual masculine form of the verb; if the subject is masculine and plural, use the masculine plural form of the verb. The same goes for feminine subjects.
– الأشجار تتحرك بسبب الرياح. (Al-ashjaar tataharak besebab al-riyah.) – The trees are moving because of the wind. (ashjaar is a broken feminine plural subject)
– الكلاب تنبح في الليل. (Al-kilaab tanbah fil layl.) – The dogs bark at night. (kilaab is a broken masculine plural subject)
It`s important to note that in Arabic, non-human plurals are treated as singular entities. Therefore, the verb will always be in the singular form for non-human singular subjects and in the plural form for non-human plural subjects.
In conclusion, proper subject-verb agreement is essential in Arabic copy editing, especially when it comes to non-human plurals. By following these general rules, you can ensure that your copy is grammatically correct and effectively communicates your message to your audience.