Flexibility is not one of the four properties of the اسم. Rather, it is a sub-topic under status. This topic, just like light and heavy, deals with the different forms the status markers can take.
** The discussion of flexibility only pertains to words that have an ENDING SOUND. **
Therefore, for flexibility we are only focused on the following parts of the Muslim Chart:
There are three forms of flexibility. They are:
2)partly-flexible (مَمْنُوْعٌ مِن الصَّرْفِ)
We will discuss partly-flexible last, because it requires the most attention.
FULLY-FLEXIBLE(مُنْصَرِف/مُعْرَب) is the default state for a word. It is the broadest category. A fully-flexible word is a word that can show all three statuses in a normal way according to what we learned in the مسلم chart.
Fully-Flexible Endings are:
(3 Statuses have 3 Unique Endings)
NON-FLEXIBLE (مَبْنِيّ) words are the opposite of fully-flexible words. They can never show their status. This means that they look the same in the رفعstatus, the نصبstatus, and theجرstatus. Words that end in أَلِف مَقْصُوْرَة (ى)or a normal ا (ا) are non-flexible. Words like مُوْسَى, هُدًى and زَكَرِيَّا, for example, are non-flexible. All of the pointer words (الإِشَارةِأَسْماءٌ) in the singular and plural forms as well as all of the أَسْماءٌ موصولهare non-flexible. We will learn about these types of أَسْماءٌin detail later.
For the time being, learn to recognize them and know that they are non-flexible.
Non-Flexible Endings all look the same, there is no way to distinguish them by looking at the word alone:
(3 Statuses have 1 Ending)
PARTLY- FLEXIBLE (مَمْنُوْعٌ مِن الصَّرْفِ) (are words that can only display their status in two ways. A partly-flexible word can only take a ضمة and a فتحة. A partly-flexible word can also never take تنوين. This type of word takes a single ضمة in the رفعform, a single فتحة in the نصب form, and a single فتحة in the جر form.
Partly-Flexible Endings are:
Notice that نصب and جر look the same. We have seen this problem before in ending combinations.
(3 Statuses have 2 Endings)
**Unlike a non-flexible word, there are times when a partly-flexible word can be made fully flexible by showing a كسرةin the جر form. A partly-flexible word can be made fully-flexible in two ways:
1.by adding an ال
2.by making it a مضاف (discussed in a later chapter)
HOW TO INDENTIFY PARTLY FLEXIBLE WORDS
There is no clear marker for partly flexible words. You will become accustomed to identifying partly- flexible words as you are exposed to more vocabulary. However, there are a few categories of partly- flexible words we can familiarize ourselves with to make identification of partly-flexible words easier.
A. NON-ARAB NAMES
Non-Arab names are partly-flexible. Arab names are fully-flexible. There are four Arab prophet’s names mentioned in the Quran. They are: صالِحٌ ,هُوْدٌ , مُحَمَّدٌ, and شُعَيْبٌ. Take a look at the chart below. Take note of the differences between how the partly-flexible names and the fully-flexible names look in each status.
There is one exception to this rule. Three-letter names with a سكونon the middle letter are always fully flexible, even if they are non-Arab names.
B. FEMININE NAMES AND UNIQUELY MASCULINE NAMES
All feminine names are partly-flexible. Masculine names that have no feminine counterpart are also partly flexible. Below are some commonly occurring uniquely masculine names. Memorize them. We will learn the rest as we encounter them.
Again, three-letter names with a سكونon the middle letter are always fully-flexible.
C. PROPER NAMES OF PLACES
Proper names of places are partly-flexible.
Some names of places have an ال. In such cases, the name is fully-flexible.
Names of places that are three letters with a سكونon the middle letter are fully-flexible.
There are certain word patterns that are partly-flexible. We will look at these patterns in our study of Sarf.
Note: In your vocabulary, partly flexible words will be denoted by having a single vowel ending, not a تنوين. For now, as you memorize new vocabulary, make a note of which words are partly-flexible.
Drill 5: Are the following words fully, partly, or non-flexible? Why?