Sometimes in Arabic you’ll want to talk about something specific that is near or far from you. In English, we use the words “this”, “that”, “these” and “those” – also known as demonstrative pronouns – to do that. For example, we might say, “This is my sister.” or “That is my house”.
Well, the good news is that Arabic also uses demonstrative pronouns to replace the noun and point out something that is near or far. The difference is, however, that Arabic uses different demonstrative pronouns not only based on the number (singular, dual, or plural) but also the gender (masculine, feminine) of the noun.
In today’s post, we’ll show you those differences so that the next time you have a conversation in Arabic, you’ll be able to talk about this and that (and other demonstrative pronouns). So, let’s get started.
Below is a chart of Arabic demonstrative pronouns and their Arabic equivalents along with the Arabic transliterations.
As mentioned before, demonstrative pronouns in Arabic must agree in gender with the noun it is referring to. In the case of “this” in Arabic, the demonstrative masculine pronoun for something that is close to you is هَذا / haTHaa. For example:
This is Ahmad.
Now, if you’re referring to a female or a noun that is feminine and close to you in Arabic, you would use the demonstrative feminine pronoun ِهَذِه/ haTHihi for “this” as in:
This is a bag.
هَذِهِ المَدينَة جَميلَة
/haTHihi ilmadeenah jameelah/
This city is beautiful.
If you want to talk about more than one thing (plural) that is close to you in Arabic, when referring to the masculine plural noun, you would use the masculine plural demonstrative pronoun
Likewise, when referring to the feminine plural noun, you would use the feminine plural demonstrative pronoun هَؤُلَاءِ /ha’ulaa’i (these).
Here are some examples:
these students (m.)
these students (f.)
هَؤُلَاءِ الشَّبابُ جيدونَ
/ha’ulaa’i ishabaabu jayyidoona/
these guys are good
When it comes to “that” in Arabic, the demonstrative masculine pronoun for something that is far from you is ذَلكَ / THalika. Likewise, for the demonstrative feminine pronoun for something that is far, we use تِلْكَ / tilka.
Here are some examples:
If you want to talk about more than one thing (plural) that is far from you in Arabic, when referring to the masculine, feminine, or dual plural noun, you would use the same plural demonstrative pronoun ?/ ’ula’ika (those). For instance:
’ula ’ika ishabaab
Arabic also uses other demonstrative pronouns besides this, that, these, and those as shown in the table below:
So, that’s your introduction to those things we call demonstrative pronouns, so here we come to the end.
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Watch the full video about Demonstrative Pronouns here