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In Arabic, we indicate that there is only one of something by using the singular form of the noun. Similarly, we indicate that there is two of something by using the dual form. The chart below gives a simple example.

(Male) Student
One Student
Two Students
ط، ل، ب on the pattern فاعِل

Now plurality is where the discussion become more interesting. There are two major forms of plural nouns: the sound and the broken. The sound can be further divided into the sound masculine plural and the sound feminine plural. Below is a summary of the Arabic terms that describe these categories.


جمع التكسير
The broken plural; a word that is pluralized by changing the noun’s structure
جمع المذكَّر السالم
The sound masculine plural
جمع المؤنَّث السالم
The sound feminine plural


What is this Tutorial About?

Particles in the Arabic language do not have gender. Verbs do, but their gender is based on that of their subjects, and their subjects are, of course, nouns. So, in reality, nouns are the only part of speech that have any gender in Arabic.

The grammatical gender of nouns is one of two: a noun may be masculine or it may be feminine, and there is no neutral option. Moreover, masculinity is the default grammatical gender and a word does not have to have anything special in order to reflect this. Femininity, on the other hand, is not default and a noun would have to have something special to reflect this gender. Therefore, this tutorial discusses grammatical femininity in Arabic nouns.
Inflecting for Femininity

The Object of Vocation Definitions

vocation; summoning
the object of a vocation

Vocation is the act of summoning an entity, as in “Hey, Zaid” or “O God.” The object of vocation, the thing being summoned, is always definite because, in order to summon an entity, that entity must be well defined. In the examples, ‘Zaid’ and ‘God’ are definite. Notice that the object of vocation may already be definite; however, if it is not, it will become definite. There are instances, granted, where one may call out at random as in “يا رجلا، خذ يبدي” (O someone, help! Grab my hand.) In such cases, the object of vocation will not be definite.

How to Use Vocation in Arabic

The particles used to summon are divided based on whether the entity being summoned is distant or near. And they are as follows.

يا، أيْ، آ، هيا

Proper Nouns Definitions

proper noun; name

A proper noun is one which is specifically coined or designated to refer to a particular entity. Names of people, names of places, names of concepts such as theories are all examples of proper nouns. This, in Arabic, is known as علم from the base letters ع، ل، م (to know) because the علم is the علامة (or sign) of an entity by which we refer to it.

All proper nouns are definite.

Secondary Notes

Many names are fully declinable (such as حسنٌ), others have restricted declension (such as فاطمةُ), and certain names are completely indeclinable (such as سيبويهِ). Further discussion on علم is actually quite irrelevant and most rules regarding this type of noun are self-evident.

Personal Pronouns

ضمير ج. ضمائر
personal pronoun
مضمر ج. ـات

Demonstrative Pronouns Definitions

اسم الإشارة
demonstrative pronoun

A demonstrative pronoun is a noun (اسم) which is used to point to something that has already been mentioned in some form or another. The pointing is either near (“this”), medial, or distant (“that”). For example:

هذا كتاب مبين
This is a clear book


كلما رُزقوا منها ... قالوا هذا الذي رُزقنا من قبل
Whenever they are to be given sustenance therein,
they shall say, “this (i.e. this sustenance) is what we have been given prior.”

The demonstrative pronoun itself is definite.

The Demonstrative Pronouns and Their Meanings

The demonstrative pronouns are as follows. The purpose of displaying these is not for the reader to memorize them; they are simply presented here for reference and the ones that are popularly used are discussed further down.

ذا، ذاءِ، ذائِهِ، ذاؤُهُ، آلِكَ
ذي، تي، ذِهْ، ذِهِ، تِهْ، تِهِ، تا، ذاتُ

Relative Pronouns Definitions

الاسم الموصول
a relative pronoun
صلة الموصول
a relative clause

Recall that nouns, phrases, and sentences are indefinite by default. There are certain groups of nouns, however, that are definite; these are personal pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, proper nouns, and the word “Allah”. But this is a very exclusive list.

So, even if a noun does not fall into one of these categories, it can still be rendered definite using certain mechanisms such as becoming the object of vocation or become مضاف to something that it definite. But, again, these mechanisms are very specific and one may wish to render a noun definite without resorting to one of these structures.



A word is considered definite when it refers to something specific in the world, and indefinite when it does not. For example, “a car” or “cars” do not refer to anything specific in the world and thus both examples are indefinite. Conversely, “my car” or “my cars” both refer to actual objects in the world and thus both examples are definite.

Lesson 10 - Months

يناير yanayar January
فبراير fabrayar February
مارس mars March
ابريل abril April
مايو mayu May
يونيو yunyu June
يوليو yulyu July
أغسطس aghostos August
سبتمبر september September
أكتوبر october October
نوفمبر november November
ديسمبر december December

Lesson 9 - Clothes

يرتدى yartadi wear
يلبس yalbis put on
يخلع yakhla- take off
الملابس almalabis clothes
شورت short trousers
قميص qamis shirt
تى شيرت t-shirt t-shirt
فستان fustan dress
جورب gawrab pair of socks
حذاء hidha- pair of shoes
قميص مصبوب qamis masbub sweatshirt
جاكت jacket jacket
الجيبة aljiba skirt
البدلة albidla suit

Lesson 8 - Animals

طائر ta-ir bird
سمكة samaka fish
كلب kalb dog
قطة qitta cat
حصان hisan horse
بقرة baqara cow
الفيل alfil elephant
النمر an-nimr tiger
الثعبان ath-thuaban snake
الدجاجة addagaga chicken
الخنزير alkhinzir pig
البطة albatta duck
الجاموس algamus buffalo
الفأر alfaar mouse

Lesson 7 - Food (II)

القهوة alqahwa coffee
البطاطس الفرنسية المقلية albatatis alfaransiya almaqliya french-fries
السجق assuguq sausage
الكيك alcake cake
الجبن algubn cheese
التفاحة attuffaha apple
البرتقالة alburtuqala orange
الموزة almuza banana
السكر assukkar sugar
الملح almil-h salt
الفلفل afilfil pepper

Lesson 6 - Numbers (>10)

احد عشر ehda ashar eleven
اثنا عشر ethna ashar twelve
ثلاثة عشر thalatha ashar thirteen
أربعة عشر arba-a ashar fourteen
خمسة عشر khamsa ashar fifteen
ستة عشر sitta ashar sixteen
عشرين ishrin twenty
ثلاثين thalathin thirty
اثنين و عشرين ethnein wa ishrin twenty-two
ثلاثة و عشرين thalatha wa ishrin twenty-three
اثنين و ثلاثين ethnein wa thalathin thirty-two
ثلاثة و ثلاثين thalatha wa thalathin thirty-three
ثمانية و سبعين thamanya wa saba-ein seventy-eight
سبعة وثمانين sab-a wa thamanin eighty-seven

Lesson 5 - Family

الصديق assadiq friend
الابن al-ibn son
الابنه al-ibna daughter
الزوجة azzawga wife
الزوج azzawg husband
الأم al-umm mother
الأب al-abb father
الجدة algadda grandma
الجد algadd grandpa
الأخ الأكبر al-akh al-akbar older brother
الأخت الأصغر al-ukht al-asghar younger sister
الأخ الأصغر al-akh al-asghar younger brother
الأخت الأكبر al-ukht al-akbar older sister

Lesson 4 - Colors

أبيض abyad white
أسود aswad black
أحمر ahmar red
أصفر asfar yellow
أخضر akhdar green
أزرق azraq blue
بنى bunni brown
برتقالى burtuqali orange
رمادى ramadi grey
بمبى bambi pink
بنفسجى banafsagi purple

Lesson 3 - Numbers (1-10)

واحد wahed one
اثنين ethnein two
ثلاثة thalatha three
أربعة arba-a four
خمسة khamsa five
ستة sitta six
سبعة sab-a seven
ثمانية thamanya eight
تسعة tis-a nine
عشرة ashara ten

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