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Quranic Grammar - The Particle fa (ف)

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The particle fa (ف) is a connective particle that is usually translated as "and", "then" or "so". The particle is used as a prefix and connects words, phrases and clauses together using different types of syntactic relations. In the Quranic Arabic Corpus, each occurance of the particle fa (ف) is annotated using one of the following 4 tags:

  • a resumption particle (الفاء استئنافية)
  • a coordinating conjunction (الفاء عاطفة)
  • a result particle (الفاء واقعة في جواب الشرط)
  • a supplemental particle (الفاء زائدة)
  • a particle of cause (الفاء سببية)

When used as a conjunction, the particle fa functions syntactically in a similar way to wa ("and").

The Resumption Particle (حرف استئنافية)

This is the most common use of fa (ف). A particle of resumption or recommencement (حرف استئنافية) is used to indicate a sequence of events, and provides a close connection between elements of the sentence. Figure 1 below shows the syntactic dependency graph for verse (69:16) which contains the prefix fa used in this sense at (69:16:3):

 (69:16:5)
wāhiyatun
frail.
 (69:16:4)
yawma-idhin
(is on) that Day
 (69:16:3)
fahiya
so it
 (69:16:2)
l-samāu
the heaven,
 (69:16:1)
wa-inshaqqati
And will split

Fig 1. The prefix fa as a resumption particle in verse (69:16).

The Particle of Cause (حرف سببية)

When used in a resultative sense, the prefix fa (ف) is known as a particle of cause (حرف سببية). If followed by an imperfect verb, this particle will place the verb into the subjunctive mood manṣūb (منصوب):

 (80:4:4)
l-dhik'rā
the reminder?
 (80:4:3)
fatanfaʿahu
so would benefit him
 (80:4:2)
yadhakkaru
be reminded
 (80:4:1)
aw
Or

Fig 2. The prefix fa as a particle of cause in verse (80:4).

See Also

Language Research Group
University of Leeds
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