In Arabic, default kind of sentence is called a nominal sentence. It looks something like this:

  • Ahmad is rich
  • The masjid is big
  • I am a Muslim

It has two parts–the mubtada (the subject — eg. Ahmad), and the khabr (the predicate–information about the mubtada — eg. rich, big, a Muslim).

What are the rules of grammar as they apply to the mubtada and the khabr? There are three:

  1. Match: The khabr must match the mubtada in number (eg. singular, plural) and in gender.
  2. Definite: The mubtada cannot be indefinite–it must be definite.
  3. Dumma: The mubtada must take dumma (single dumma, too, because it’s definite) — and, when dissecting complex sentences of any type, this is how you locate the mubtada!