Our Arabic grammar lesson for today is all about pronouns. As you already know, pronouns are used to replace nouns in the English language. The same applies to Arabic. In this lesson, we are going to go over all three types of Arabic pronouns: personal, possessive, and demonstrative pronouns.
|أنا||/ana/||Singular||Me in Arabic|
|أنتَ||/anta/||Singular||You in Arabic (male)|
|أنتِ||/anti/||Singular||You in Arabic (female)|
|هو||/huwa/||Singular||Him in Arabic (male)|
|هي||/hiya/||Singular||Her in Arabic (female)|
|نحن||/nahnu/||Plural||We in Arabic|
|أنتم||/antom/||Plural||You in Arabic (male)|
|أنتنَّ||/antenna/||Plural||You in Arabic (female)|
|هم||/hom/||Plural||Them in Arabic (male)|
|هنَّ||/honna/||Plural||Them in Arabic (female)|
As you can see from the table, there are ten personal pronouns in Arabic. Let’s take a look at this sentence:
أنا في البيت /ana fi al bait/
Meaning: I am in the house.
This is an example that uses an Arabic preposition with pronouns. The preposition /fi/ في is used to state that this person is “in” in the house. The same can be applied to the rest of the pronouns. Let’s apply we in Arabic.
نحن في البيت /nahnu fi al bait/
Meaning: We are in the house.
Here’s another example of the pronoun they:
هنَّ في البيت /honna fi al bait/
They (female) are in the house.
Possessive pronouns are different than personal pronouns in that they are not a separate word, and instead turn into suffixes. The suffix indicates whom it is referring to. The following table demonstrates this using the word كتاب /kitab/ meaning “book”.
|ي||Singular||My in Arabic||كتابي||/kitabi/|
|كَ||Singular||Your in Arabic (male)||كابكَ||/kitabika/|
|كِ||Singular||Your in Arabic (female)||كتابكِ||/kitabiki/|
|هَ||Singular||His in Arabic||كتابه||/kitabihi/|
|ها||Singular||Her in Arabic||كتباها||/kitabiha/|
|نا||Dual||Our in Arabic||كتابنا||/kitabina/|
|كما||Dual||Your in Arabic||كتابكما||/kitabikuma/|
|هما||Dual||Their in Arabic||كتابهما||/kitabihima/|
|نا||Plural||Our in Arabic||كتابنا||/kitabina/|
|كم||Plural||Your in Arabic (male)||كتابكم||/kitabikom/|
|كن||Plural||Your in Arabic (female)||كتابكن||/kitabikonna/|
|هم||Plural||Their in Arabic (male)||كتابهم||/kitabihim/|
|هن||Plural||Their in Arabic (female)||كتابهن||/kitabihinna/|
You’ll notice that the feminine possessive in Arabic, especially with the plural is obviously different. For example, the pronoun her in Arabic adds an extra alif to the male version.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
أريد كتابي /oredo kitabi/
I want my book.
She wants her book
They want their book
Fun fact: possessive pronouns in Levantine Arabic are almost exactly the same as they in formal Arabic!
These pronouns are called أسماء الإشارة /asma’ al ishara/. Similar to possessive pronouns, they are categorized into singular, dual, and plural, as well as female or male. Let’s take a look at the table below that demonstrates all of this.
|هذا||Singular||This in Arabic (male)||/hatha/|
|هذه||Singular||This in Arabic (female)||/hathihi/|
|هذان||Dual||Both in Arabic (male)||/hathan/|
|هاتان||Dual||Both in Arabic (female)||/hatan/|
|هؤلاء||Plural||These in Arabic||/ha’ola’/|
In English, they are the equivalence to the words “this” and “that.” There is one more categorized for demonstrative pronouns which is human and non-human.
Human means that it refers to a human.
This is a teacher (female).
This is a teacher (male).
As you can see, there can be human (male) and human (female). The same applies to the dual and plural.
Note the following table on human and non-human forms.
|هذا||Human (male)||هذا ولد||/hatha walad/||This is a boy|
|هذان||هذان ولدان||/hathan waladan/||Both are boys|
|هؤلاء||هؤلاء أولاد||/ha’ola’ awlad/||These are boys|
|هذه||Human (female)||هذه بنت||/hithi bint/||This is a girl|
|هاتان||هاتان بنتان||/hatan bintan/||Both are girls|
|هؤلاء||هؤلاء بنات||/ha’ola’ banat/||These are girls|
|هذا||Non-Human (male)||هذا قلم||/hatha qalam/||This is a pen|
|هذان||هذان قلمان||/hathan qalaman/||Both are pens|
|هذه||هذه أقلام||/hathihi aqlam/||These are pens|
|هذه||Non-Human (female)||هذه طاولة||/hathihi tawela/||This is a table|
|هاتان||هاتان طاولتان||/hatan tawelatan/||Both are tables|
|هذه||هذه طاولات||/hathihi tawelat/||These are tables|
Arabic grammar is simple when you take it step by step.
There is one more sub-type of demonstrative pronouns that refer to places. They are divided into the distance they refer to: near or far.
|هنا||Here in Arabic||Near||/hona/||هنا بيتي||Here is my house||/hona baiti/|
|هناك||There in Arabic||Far||/honak/||هناك صديقي||There is my friend||/honak sadeeki/|
|هنالك||There in Arabic||Far||/honalik/||هنالك أوراقي||There are my papers||/honalik awraqi/|
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