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  5. "هٰذا قَلَم اَلْأُسْتاذة."

"هٰذا قَلَم اَلْأُسْتاذة."

Translation:This is the professor's pen.

September 5, 2019



When writing in arabic (with arab keyboard, not using a word bank) هذا counts as a wrong word, because there's no little alif above. This should not be a problem, since other words can be written without diacritics. My keyboard doesn't even have that symbol.

  • 1411

Yes many people complained about that. Hopefully the reports will get the contributors to remove this restriction.


Is it possible to have "This pen is the professor's" an accepted answer?

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"The pen..." would be هذا القلم (with the addition of AL to قلم)


Oooook, now! I hadn't seen this question here before making mine. This was just the answer I was looking for. So, just to assure I got it: to write "This pen is the professor's", just as me and JadeWatson wished, we'd have to have two AL in the sentence --> HADHA AL-QALAM AL-USTADHA (sorry, I could't write the abjad with my computer). Right?

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Not exactly, but هذا القلم is due if you want to say (this pen). Just for comparison:

  • This pen is… : هذا القلم….
  • This is (x)'s pen…: هذا قلم الـ….

Forgetting about the genitive case a bit here (i.e. the professor's), I want to focus on the connection between "this" and the pointed item (i.e. pen/qalam in this case). Notice how the item gets defined if I'm pointing to it directly in Arabic هذا القلم (this pen). In English, "this" acts indeed as a definite article to "pen" - In Arabic, however, we add it to the noun in addition to "this/هذا".
In the second sentence, "this" is pointing to a whole genitive compound (of two nouns), namely "the professor's pen". In Genitive compounds in Arabic, the definite article (AL) is added only to the second term: قلم الأستاذ (the professor's pen). Notice how in English, the definite article is indeed added to "professor's" and it is so in Arabic. We would deal with this compound as a single entity or block. Checking where to put the definite article (AL) in the sentence is the key to the structure.
However, notice that 2 nouns following each other cannot be defined with (AL) except in very few instances which are out of the context of the genitive (i.e. the OF-relation). Thus, هذا القلم الأستاذ (háδá al-qalam al-ustaδ) does not really make sense for us.

We can re-structure this sentence if we want to use the first sentence (This pen…) with a little twist: هذا القلم للأستاذ (háδá al-qalamu lil-ustaδ) which translates to this pen is FOR the professor. Notice how we separated pen and professor with for (and that is لِـ) so that the two nouns do not follow each other defined.

Side note: لِـ+الـ = لِلـ (li + al- = lil-). Li- is a preposition in Arabic that means "to" and can be used as "for" (ownership) in some instances like this.


No because you are not using a possessive construction for the relationship between the pen and the professor.


For me, who have English as a SL, it seems perfectly correct to say "This pen is the professor's [pen]". I think that it's an ellipsis.


But, BrailBR, "this pen" would have to have an extra article - hadhaa al qalam. What I would like to know is how you would say, This pen is the professor's. Is that even possible in Arabic?

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You can say that in two ways:

  • هذا قلم الأستاذ: This is the professor's pen. Here we used the genitive properties between قلم and الأستاذ.
  • هذا القلم للأستاذ: This pen is FOR the professor. Here we used a preposition (لـ) which stands for "for" (as well as "to" sometimes) to note that the pen belongs to the professor.


Thank you, TJ. But your first suggestion was Duolingo's original exercise. And there is a difference in meaning between the English "This the professor's pen" and "This pen is the professor's". All things being equal, there's more emphasis on "pen" in the first sentence, and more emphasis on "professor's" in the second one. Is this difference of emphasis reflected in the two Arabic versions? In English, if we say eg "this pen is for the professor", it suggests that the professor may not yet know of the existence of the pen; it may eg have been set on the table for the professor to use in an imminent seminar. But I believe this does not necessarily apply to لِ ? If I understand correctly, لِ is just an alternative way of expressing possession?

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Well, not sure about the emphasis really but it's important to keep in mind that Arabic and English don't operate in the same way. Let's suppose you ask: Whose pen is this? (Arabic: لِمَن هذا القلم؟ or قلمُ مَنْ هذا؟) - Both sentences I've mentioned above can be used as answer. Maybe the emphasis point here falls on "pen" in both sentences in Arabic because هذا (which we call "noun of pointing" in Arabic grammar) is attached to "pen" قلم.

Now, let's say I want to add an *emphatic feel" to my answer, here comes the role of other tools in Arabic, mainly the particle إنَّ (inna). This particle is used on many occasions and in many instances to add emphatic feel on the sentence. I might say here:
- إنه قلم الأستاذ : innahu qalamu al-ustaδ (it is the pen of the professor).

I can re-arrange the sentence and use (inna) in different ways but anyway no need for this right now. My point is, the emphasis in Arabic does not quite match that mechanism as it is in English. Emphasis is done in various ways in Arabic, and it can be by this particle (inna) as I mentioned above, or by adding extra letters to the verbs sometimes.
If you happen to come across Pickthall translation for Quran, typically such sentences that use this particle (inna إنَّ), and others as well, would typically be translated with indeed or verily at the beginning of the verse or at its end. This is just to show how different Arabic-speakers perceive and formulate emphasis. Things of course are different in dialects spoken in every-day life and such (with more inclination somewhat to use vocal stress rather than word order arrangements or particles).
Hope this answers your question.


I think I'm going to have to wait till I know a lot more Arabic before I can make sense of what you've just said. Thanks anyway.

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Good luck. In a nutshell: Changing the order of words in a sentence, in Arabic, does not necessarily emphasize something.

As I said, if you are willing, check Pickthall translation for Quran (quite available on the internet) and preferably with Arabic verses side by side if possible to see how it goes. Check sentences that use Verily and Indeed - those are supposed to be emphatic sentences.


Possessive Professor with an assistant denoting possessions.


Just to reiterate the point being made above, there is a recurring problem with the word هذا being accepted in answers. I have seen it across several quiz questions now.


Are we leaning Engliah of Arabic ???

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