The Resembling Participle

The Resembling Participle


The resembling participle is that noun derived from a gerund which indicates on the root meaning being an attribute. And this attribute is usually perpetual or intrinsic. For example, if we want to translate the word “murdered one”, we would not use the passive participle for “to kill”. That is because death is an attribute, not an action. So we would use this resembling participle (قَتِيْل). An example of an intrinsic attribute is “the all-knowing” when applied to God.

This participle is used to indicate on an attribute for both the active voice as well as the passive. In other words, it is used in place of the active participle as well as the passive. For example, the word قَتِيْل from the example above means “murdered”, but it could theoretically have meant “killer” as well. Below is a list of some examples through which we can see that both active and passive voices are used. Which one is used is dependent on the individual word and a dictionary will have to be consulted, but it is more often the active voice that is intended.

Translation Resembling Participle
injured جَرِيْح
miser/miserly بَخِيْل
strong قَوِيّ
difficult صَعْب

Some points to note about the resembling participle have already been detailed in our discussion on the active participle:

  • it can occupy any grammatical positioning in a sentence
  • the meaning might not always be obvious
  • it can be used as both an adjective and a noun
  • not all gerunds have an associated resembling participle, but many do

Notice, from the chart above, that the word “miser” is a noun and “miserly” is an adjective. This is a clear illustration of the resembling participle’s capacity to function as both.

Moreover, when a given set of root letters happens to have both an active/passive participle as well as a resembling participle, there is typically a difference between the two. Remember, active/passive participles indicate on an action or occurrence, whereas the resembling participle indicates on an attribute. Compare the participles in the following chart to identify whether there is a difference between the two or not.

Meaning Resembling Meaning Active/Passive Root
knower عَلِيْم scholar/scientist عَالِم ع، ل، م
prisoner سَجِيْن prisoner مَسْجُوْن س، ج، ن
embryo جَنِيْن possessed/insane مَجْنُوْن ج، ن، ن


This participle only exists for trilateral roots with no extra letters (see Verb Paradigms). It is constructed by placing the root letters on one of many patterns. The patterns are so many, in fact, that we will only list the most common ones along with some of their most popular plural forms:

Example Some Common Broken Plurals Pattern
كَرِيْم فُعَلاَء، أَفْعِلاء فَعِيْل
صَعْب فِعَال فَعْل
حَسَن ؟ فَعَل
أَحْمَر فُعْل أَفْعَل
تَعْبَان فَُعَالى، فَعْلى فَعْلاَن

Unlike the participles we have seen thus far, these are typically not well-behaved. Their feminine forms are not necessarily regular, most do not use sound pluralisation, and a broken plural may be shared between both the masculine and feminine singulars.

Another point to note is that those resembling participles that indicate on the passive voice do not have a separate form for the singular masculine and singular feminine; the same (masculine) word is used for both. The table below gives some examples of this.

Feminine Masculine Voice Resembling Participle
عَدِيْلة عَدِيْل active عَدِيْل
قَتِيْل passive قَتِيْل
جَرِيْح passive جَرِيْح


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept that my given data and my IP address is sent to a server in the USA only for the purpose of spam prevention through the Akismet program.More information on Akismet and GDPR.