This genitival adjective can be used to express the indirect genitive. In this case, it indicates that the noun preceding it, with which it agrees in gender and number, is possessed by the noun which follows it.
In Late Egyptian the functional contrasts of characterization versus specification that distinguished the indirect and direct genitive disappeared, and outside a restricted set of particular words the indirect genitive with nj largely supplanted the direct genitive without it.
From Middle Egyptian, this feminine singular form was generally used for the plural. In Late Egyptian, the masculine singular form was used with all nouns.
In Late Egyptian nj is usually not inflected by gender and number but invariably appears as nj. Sometimes the writings of the former feminine and plural forms are used interchangeably with the masculine singular without distinction. The exception is in more formal texts, where the old distinctions and inflections are sometimes still used.
(Middle Egyptian)not; negates a nominal sentence, an adjectival sentence of possession, or the rheme of an emphatic clause (used with js; see Usage Notes below)
(Middle Egyptian)not; negates most verbal predicates besides infinitival, imperative, and subjunctive forms; forms the negation of the perfect, perfect passive, terminative, perfective, imperfective, prospective, and prospective passive.
When used alone, nj negates the individual word or verbal predicate following it.
When negating (nonverbal) nominal sentences, adjectival sentences of possession (which start with the genitival adjective n(j)
), and rhemes of emphatic clauses, this particle is typically followed by the first element of the negated clause and then the negative particle js. In Middle Egyptian it cannot negate adjectival sentences which do not indicate possession, nor adverbial sentences, which are instead negated by nn. It also cannot negate verbal sentences that are not emphatic, so the presence of a verb between nj and js always indicates an emphatic clause.
nj combines with a number of other words to form negative particles with more specialised meanings, for which see the next section.