Levantine Arabic/Negation

Yes and no edit

Default meaning Reply to a negative question
أيوه 'aywa
إيه 'ē (N) / آه 'ā (S)
نعم naʕam (formal)
yes no (agreement)
لأ la' no yes (contradiction)
مبلا mbala -

Negation of verbs edit

Verbs are negated with the particle ما (ma) preceding the verb and the optional suffix ـش‎ (-š).

Examples Commonly used in Notes
mā + verb ما كتب ma katab (“he didn't write”)
ما بعرف ma baʕref (“I don't know”)
the whole Levant - the particle ma is stressed
ma + verb + -š ما كتبش ma katab-š
ما بعرفش ma baʕref-š
Jordan, Palestine - ma is unstressed, the stress of the verb is shifting
- same form as in Egyptian Arabic
verb + -š بعرفش baʕref-š Palestine - ma is unstressed, the stress of the verb is shifting
- only used with non-past forms (present, subjunctive)

Imperative edit

In order to negate the imperative, the subjunctive form is used.

Verb form Example
Positive Imperative نسى nsā (North)
إنسى 'insa (South)
Negated Subjunctive ما تنسى ma tinsa
ما تنساش ma tinsā-š / تنساش tinsā
لا تنسى la tinsa (formal)

Pseudo verbs edit

Pseudo verbs like بدّ (bidd-, “want”) and عند (ʕind-, “to have”) are negated with the partile ما (ma) as well, but usally without the suffix ـش‎ (-š).

ما بدّي يّاه ma biddi yyā (“I don't want it”)

Negation of nouns, adjectives etc. edit

Nouns, adjectives, adverbs and partiples are negated with the preceding particle مش (miš, in the South sometimes pronounced “muš”) or مو (mu, only in Syria).

As modal verbs like لازم (lāzem, “must”) and ممكن (mumken, “may”) are technically adverbs, they are negated the same way as well.

While particles preceding verbs like عم (ʕam, progressive marker) and رح (raḥ, future marker) are usually negated like verbs (see above), they can be negated with مش (miš/muš) as well.