Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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Impersonal Verb
(2,192 words)

1. Introduction

According to a classic definition, “An impersonal verb is a verb that occurs only in third person singular forms, has no specified agent, and has a dummy subject or no subject” (glossary.sil.org/term/impersonal-verb). The notion of ‘impersonal verb’ seems to have been unknown to Arab grammarians, who assumed that all verbs have either a ‘real’ subject (fāʿil) or a ‘substitute for the subject’ (nāʾib fāʿil). Blachère (1975:266) highlights this ambiguity as f…

Cite this page
Alain Girod, “Impersonal Verb”, in: Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard, Rudolf de Jong. Consulted online on 14 August 2022 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1570-6699_eall_EALL_COM_vol2_0044>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004177024, 20090831

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