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  5. "لَيْسَ هُناك قَلَم رَخيص في …

"لَيْسَ هُناك قَلَم رَخيص في شَنْطَتي."

Translation:There is no cheap pen in my bag.

August 20, 2019



Pshhh, I buy the best quality of everything!


Can anyone explain why we even need هناك in this sentence? The meaning will be the same without it, won't it?

  • 1374

هناك (There) is used here for pointing out, pretty much as in English. If you remove it here, the negative particle ليس would be negating (i.e. acting upon) the next word which would be قلم (qalam), and thus the meaning would change completely into something like (It is not a cheap pen in my bag)..

<pre> In other settings and places قَلَم رَخيص has been used for the word pencil. Why not here? Please be consistent. </pre>

  • 1374

Pencil: قلم رصاص (qalam raSáS).
Cheap pen: قلم رخيص (qalam rakheeS).


Could you explain where the difference comes from? Why does رصاص apply to pencils, but رخيص to pens?

  • 1374

The two words are not connected. It's just Duolingo and its weird sentences. Pencil in Arabic is typically referred to as قلم رصاص meaning (lead pen). Not sure why, but it might be for the color that it produces which looks like lead and such.
A regular pen with ink, might be called قلم حبر (qalam Hibr) meaning simply (ink pen). Or typically might just say قلم (qalam). The word (qalam) is used for any writing tool in general.

The word رخيص on the other hand is irrelevant. It's just an adjective, meaning cheap, which is used to describe some pen here.

Cheap pen = قلم رخيص
Cheap pencil = قلم رصاص رخيص
Cheap glasses = نظارة رخيصة - for example's sake, and so on.


Props for your explanation.

Just adding that pencils used to be made in part with lead before it was banned for toxicity reasons hence the name in arabic.


And after that, pencils were made with graphite, which was also named "black lead" (though it's not chemically the same as lead, and is non-toxic).


in German, they are called "lead pins", which lead the word for pin "Stift" to include all kind of writing utensils except for fountain pens and the bic thingies. Edit for typos.

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