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Posts tagged ‘grammar’

“I will un/dis-” in Arabic

This thought woke me up tonight. How do you express the following structure in Arabic:

“I will un-verb”. Or, “I will dis-verb”


I will unfollow you on twitter if you don’t stop using profanity.

I will dislike you on facebook if you continue to support X.

The structure of negating a verb in the future is apparently absent in Arabic. Rather, another verb which conveys the opposite of the negated verb is used. For example:

“I will untie this knot” is translated “sawfa afukku hathihi al3uqda” (i.e. I will ‘loosen’ this knot).

Another alternative is something along the lines of “verb+continuous” structure.  So instead of “I will unfollow you” one could rather literally convey “I will ‘stop’ following you”: “sawfa atawaqqaf 3an mutaba3atik“.

I don’t even think the “I will un/dis-” has a counterpart in Egyptian colloquial.