Interjection in Arabic | Arabic free course

1. The interjection: the vocative


Particles of interjection that are used to call or address someone are vocative particles. they are called – أَدَوَاتُ النَّدَاء and are as follows:

  • يَا – O! (masculine and feminine)
  • يَا أَيُّهَا –  O! (masculine)
  • يَا أَيَّتُهَا –  O! (feminine)
  1. When يَا is followed by a noun in the singular, it will be in the nominative case. This noun will be without nunnation (tanween) and with the article اَلْ.
  2. As we have said earlier, the vocative particle is called حَرْفُ النِّدَاءِ and the one who is called is مُنَادَى.




 يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ أَعْرِضْ عَنْ هَـٰذَا



[The angels said], “O Abraham, give up this [plea] (11:76)


  3. If the مُنَادَى (one who is called) is مُضافٌ (possessed), then it will be in the accusative case like:  


يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لِمَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّـهِ وَأَنتُمْ تَشْهَدُونَ



O People of the Scripture, why do you disbelieve in the verses of Allah while you witness [to their truth]? (3:70)



4. Sometimes the first person singular passive pronoun ى which follows a noun is omitted and replaced by a kasrah or تِ to denote emotional feelings towards the addressed one.




قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ



He said, “O my father, do as you are commanded. (37:102)


  Sometimes the vocative يَا is omitted along with the pronoun like in ر:  


قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي دَعَوْتُ قَوْمِي لَيْلًا وَنَهَارًا



He said, “My Lord, indeed I invited my people [to truth] night and day. (71:5)



5. The vocative – يَا أَيُّهَا is used to form masculine and يَا أَيَّتُهَا for feminine gender. The nouns which follow these vocatives are in the nominative case and preceded by the article ال.




يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ



O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you (2:21)



قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ



Say, “O disbelievers, (109:1)



يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ



[To the righteous it will be said], “O reassured soul, (89:27)



6. To address a gathering أَيُّهَا is used like in the following ayat.




وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّـهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ



And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed. (24:31)


  7. For the purpose of prayer, instead of حَرْفُ النِّدَاء the vocative particle:


  • مَّ is suffixed to Allah like in:


 دَعْوَاهُمْ فِيهَا سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّـهُمَّ وَتَحِيَّتُهُمْ فِيهَا سَلَامٌ



Their call therein will be, “Exalted are You, O Allah,” and their greeting therein will be, “Peace.”  (10:10)


  8. To express feelings of affections, يَا is followed by a verbal noun or a nominal sentence as in the following:  


قَالَ يَا بُشْرَىٰ هَـٰذَا غُلَامٌ



He said, “Good news! Here is a boy.” (12:19)



وَتَوَلَّىٰ عَنْهُمْ وَقَالَ يَا أَسَفَىٰ عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ وَابْيَضَّتْ عَيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْحُزْنِ فَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ



And he turned away from them and said, “Oh, my sorrow over Joseph,” and his eyes became white from grief, for he was [of that] a suppressor. (12:84)


  9. Sometimes حَرْفُ النِّدَاء is omitted. Some examples are listed below.


 يُوسُفُ أَعْرِضْ عَنْ هَـٰذَا



Joseph, ignore this. (12:29)



وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ



But among them is he who says, “Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” (2:201)



رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَإِسْرَافَنَا فِي أَمْرِنَا



“Our Lord, forgive us our sins and the excess [committed] in our affairs (3:147)



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2. The interjection: other particles of interjection



  1. To express grief or anguish towards someone, the particle وَيْلٌ is always followed by لِ in an indirect speech.




وَيْلٌ لِّكُلِّ هُمَزَةٍ لُّمَزَةٍ



Woe to every scorner and mocker (104:1)



وَيْلٌ لِّلْمُطَفِّفِينَ



Woe to those who give less [than due], (83:1)



  In direct speech, لِ is replaced by the pronouns as وَيْلَكَ (woe to you!) and وَيْلَنَا (woe to us!).




وَيْلَكَ آمِنْ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّـهِ حَقٌّ



 “Woe to you! Believe! Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth.” (46:17)



وَيْكَأَنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الْكَافِرُونَ



Oh, how the disbelievers do not succeed!” (28:82)



أَوْلَىٰ لَكَ فَأَوْلَىٰ



Woe to you, and woe! (75:34)



3. يَا وَيْلَتَى (with feminine ending ة  instead of ى of the first person pronoun) is also used for the same type of expression.



قَالَتْ يَا وَيْلَتَىٰ أَأَلِدُ وَأَنَا عَجُوزٌ 



She said, “Woe to me! Shall I give birth while I am an old woman (11:72)



  4. يَالَيْتَ is used to express a desire or wish after expressing some grief or anguish as in:  


 وَيَقُولُ الْكَافِرُ يَا لَيْتَنِي كُنتُ تُرَابًا



and the disbeliever will say, “Oh, I wish that I were dust!” (78:40)



 قَالَتْ يَا لَيْتَنِي مِتُّ قَبْلَ هَـٰذَا 



he said, “Oh, I wish I had died before this  (19:23)


5. Some other words used for expressing grief are:


يَا حَسْرَةً – حَسْرَةٍ – حَسْرَتَنَا – يَا حَسْرتَا


All these words come from the same root: حَسَرَ




 يَا حَسْرَةً عَلَى الْعِبَادِ



How regretful for the servants. (36:30)



قَالُوا يَا حَسْرَتَنَا عَلَىٰ مَا فَرَّطْنَا فِيهَا 



 they will say, “Oh, [how great is] our regret over what we neglected concerning it,” (6:31)



أَن تَقُولَ نَفْسٌ يَا حَسْرَتَىٰ عَلَىٰ مَا فَرَّطتُ فِي جَنبِ اللَّـهِ وَإِن كُنتُ لَمِنَ السَّاخِرِينَ



Lest a soul should say, “Oh [how great is] my regret over what I neglected in regard to Allah and that I was among the mockers.” (39:56)



6. هَيْهَاتَ is used as بَعُدَ to express the distant or rare possibility of an occurrence.






هَيْهَاتَ هَيْهَاتَ لِمَا تُوعَدُونَ



How far, how far, is that which you are promised. (23:36)



7. إيْ gives the same meaning as نَعَمْ ‘yes’ but is always followed by a promise.






قُلْ إِي وَرَبِّي إِنَّهُ لَحَقٌّ



Say, “Yes, by my Lord. Indeed, it is truth; (10:53)



8. بَلَى – ‘yes / indeed’ answers with a certainty q question of doubt which contains a negative word.




أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ ۛ شَهِدْنَا ۛ



“Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.”  (7:172)



زَعَمَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَن لَّن يُبْعَثُوا ۚ قُلْ بَلَىٰ وَرَبِّي لَتُبْعَثُنَّ



Those who disbelieve have claimed that they will never be resurrected. Say, “Yes, by my Lord, you will surely be resurrected; (64:7)



 9. أَنَّمَا and إِنَّمَا – ‘only’ are words of restriction – حُرُوفُ الحَصْرِ




قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَـٰهُكُمْ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ



Say, “I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. (18:110)



اِيَّا also gives the same meaning. 






إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ 



It is You we worship and You we ask for help. (1:5)


10. When إِنَّهُ and إِنَّهَا are used at the beginning of a sentence, it will mean “indeed” or “as a matter of fact”/ (They do not give the literal meaning of the word i.e indeed he, indeed she).



إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الظَّالِمُونَ 



Indeed, the wrongdoers will not succeed. (6:21)



فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعْمَى الْأَبْصَارُ وَلَـٰكِن تَعْمَ



For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, (22:46)



11. A word of warning is هَا meaning “Ah, be aware“.



هَا أَنتُمْ هَـٰؤُلَاءِ حَاجَجْتُمْ فِيمَا لَكُم بِهِ عِلْمٌ



Here you are – those who have argued about that of which you have [some] knowledge, (3:66)



هَا أَنتُمْ أُولَاءِ تُحِبُّونَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِبُّونَكُمْ



Here you are loving them but they are not loving you (3:119)



You have now completed this Arabic lesson about interjection in Arabic. The next one will be insha’Allah about the adjectives in Arabic.


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