9 Most Important Grammar Rules in the Arabic Language

9 Most Important Grammar Rules in the Arabic Language

Grammar could be the least favorite part of learning a language. And with the Arabic language reputation of being difficult to learn, the process can be tricky and intimidating .

However, if you get the main rules of Arabic grammar, it can be your key to understanding the nature of this language and gradually grasping it and actually enjoying it. So, here are some grammar rules to remember in the Arabic language.

1. The definite article of the Arabic language is (ال) pronounced (al). It’s the equivalent of “The” in the English language. Unlike other languages, the Arabic definite article is the same for singular nouns, plural,dual, masculine or feminine. Examples:

The man الرَّجُل
The woman المَرْأة
The engineers المُهَنْدِسون
The two girls البِنْتان
The two boys الوَلَدان
The book الكِتاب

2. The words’ endings can help you to identify its gender.

Most of the feminine words have three specific endings which can help you to identify them easily.

Table طاوِلة ة 1
Laila “name” لَيْلَى ى 2
Sky سَماء اء 3

  • Keep in mind that there are feminine words that don’t end with these letters and there are masculine words that end with them but they’re fewer.

3. Dual in arabic is so easy

Beside singular and plural, the Arabic language has a dual form. You create it by adding “ان” or “يْن” to the masculine singular word and “تان” or “تَيْن” to the feminine singular word. Actually, the “ت” is added in the place of the “ة”. Examples:

One man \ Two men رَجُلان \ رَجُلَيْن
One woman \ Two women امْرأتان \ امْرأتَيْن

4. Subject pronouns are optional

Since the verb is already conjugated with a definite pronoun so, it’s clear and understandable which person we’re referring to. Examples:

(we) went to the park. ذهبنا إلى الحديقة. (نحن)
Do you (feminine) study arabic? هل تدرسينَ اللغة العربية؟ (أنتِ)
(they) will travel tomorrow. سيسافرون غدًا. (هُم)

5. Great News! There are no silent letters in Arabic, which means that you pronounce the letters as they are in the word, for example the word دَرْسٌ you pronounce all the three letters of the word.

Note: despite not having any silent letters in Arabic, the “ل ” in the definite article “ ال ” is sometimes not pronounced, in this case we call it “lam shamsiyyah” and when it’s normally pronounced we call it “ lam qamariyyah”. Depending on which letter comes after the definite article you can know whether or not you should pronounce the “ل”.

Letters after “لام قمرية” Letters after “لام شمسية”
أ، ب، ج، ح، خ، ع، غ، ف، ق، ك، م، هـ، و، ي ت، ث، د، ذ، ر، ز، س، ش، ص، ض، ط، ظ، ل، ن

Examples:

  • The “ل” in the word “المَدْرسة” is pronounced , while the one in the word “الدَّرْس” is not .
More examples:

The boy The sky The sun الطِّفْل السَّماء الشَّمْس اللام الشمسية
The door The newspaper The book الباب الجريدة الكتاب اللام القمرية

  • Also, there is an “ا” called “ألِف الوصل” that’s pronounced when you begin the the word with it and skipped when it’s in the middle of the sentence.
    Example:

My exam is tomorrow. اِمْتِحاني غدًا.
My exam was easy. كانَ امْتِحاني سهلًا.

6. The future tense doesn’t have different conjugations.

Instead, we use the same conjugations of the present adding just one letter “س” or one word “سَوْفَ” to the beginning of the verb. Examples:

I will travel next month. سَأسافر الشَّهْر القادِم.
We will meet after the exams. سَوْفَ نتقابل بعد الامتحانات.

7. The verb at the beginning of the sentence is always singular regardless of the number or gender of the subject in the case of a verbal sentence.

The boy helped his father. Singular subject ساعَدَ الولدُ أباه.
The two boys helped their father. Masculine dual ساعَدَ الولدان أباهما.
The two girls helped their father. Feminine dual ساعَدَت البنتان أباهُما.
The boys helped their father. Masculine plural ساعدَ الأولادُ أباهُم.
The girls helped their father. Feminine plural ساعدت البنات أباهُنَّ.

8. Verb to be does not appear at all in the present time frame in the Arabic language.

English sentences that are expressed using “verb to be” are often translated into nominal sentences in Arabic, e.g. “I am a student” is translated into (أنا طالب); and “she is young” is translated into (هي صغيرة). When talking about the past or the future, verb to be must appears in the sentence, e.g. “I was a student” is translated into (كنت طالبًا); and “she was young” is translated into (كانت صغيرة).

9. Arabic words are connected

In Arabic there’s a system called “roots”, the Arabic root refers to a three or four consonant base-word which represents a core meaning or concept. Most roots in Arabic are made up of three consonants. A large number of words can be derived from each root, which makes it much easier for learners to memorize and conclude words.

Examples:

ك - ت - ب
He wrote كَتَبَ
He writes يَكْتُبُ
Write!  اُكْتُب
Writer  كَاتِب
Written  مَكْتوب
Writing  كِتابة
Office\ desk مَكْتَب
Library مَكْتَبة

Finally, mastering Arabic grammar is absolutely doable and it really pays off. Don’t forget to check more grammar lessons here and take a look at Ahlan’s online classes.

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