<< Previous

Lesson 2c: Adjectives


This lesson assumes you are already familiar with or are learning the Arabic script. If not, check out our free Arabic Alphabet Textbook.


Lesson 2, Part A:
  • Intro
  • Dialogue
Lesson 2, Part B:
  • Personal Pronouns
  • Gender
Lesson 2, Part C:
Adjectives
Here are some basic adjectives. Familiarize yourself with them, take the quiz and then learn more about how to use them.

Basic Adjectives
ArabicEnglish
كَبير
kabiir
big
صَغير
Saghiir
small
جَميل
jamiil
beautiful
قَبيح
qabiiH
ugly
جَديد
jadiid
new
قَديم
qadiim
old

(click)

Adjectives

Adjectives must agree with the noun that they are describing. This means that if the noun is masculine, the adjective must be masculine and if the noun is feminine, the adjective must be feminine. Generally an adjective can be made feminine by adding a taa' marbuuTa at the end.

Adjectives must agree with four aspects of the noun they describe:
Gender: Described in this lesson.
Number: Introduced in the next lesson. Singular, Dual or Plural.
Definiteness: Introduced two lessons later. "A dog" versus "The dog".
Mood: Introduced later. Don't worry about it for now.


Here are a couple examples using beautiful with both masculine and feminine:
She/It is beautiful
hiya jamiila
هِيَ جَميلة


He/It is beautiful
huwa jamiil
هُوَ جَميل
Once again note how َهُو and َهِي can be used to refer to either a person or an inanimate object.

Nisbah Adjectives
One common type of adjective is the Nisbah adjective which is made by adding a specific ending to a noun. One use of the Nisbah is to transform a country name into an adjective of nationality in the same way that adding "ian" to Brazil, Canada and Boston gives you Brazilian, Canadian and Bostonian.

Masculine- ii Feminine- iiya
يّ يّة

This is a very common pattern and is not limited to nationalities but can also be used to turn the noun History تاريخ (taariikh) into the adjective Historical تاريخيّ (taariikhii) and the noun Islam إسلام (islaam) into the adjective Islamic إسلاميّ (islaamii).

Formation Rules:
1) If the root noun ends in taa' marbuuTa, remove the taa' marbuuTa before adding the Nisbah ending
2) If the root noun ends in alif, remove the alif before adding the Nisbah ending


Countries and Nationalities
ArabicEnglish
لُبنان
lubnaan
Lebanon


لُبنانِيّ
lubnaaniyy (masc.)

لُبنانِيّة
lubnaaniyya (fem.)
Lebanese
مِصر
miSr
Egypt


مِصرِيّ
miSriyy (masc.)

مِصرِيّة
miSriyya (fem.)
Egyptian
سورِيا
suuriyaa
Syria


سورِيّ
suuriyy (masc.)

سورِيّة
suuriyya (fem.)
Syrian
امريكا
amriikaa
America


امريكيّ
amriikiyy

امريكيّة
amriikiyya
American
إنجِلتَرا
injiltaraa
England


إنجِليزِيّ
injiliiziyy (masc.)

إنجِليزِيّة
injiliiziyya (fem.)
English
كَنَدا
kanadaa
Canada


كَنَدِيّ
kanadiyy (masc.)

كَنَدِيّة
kanadiyya (fem.)
Canadian
فَرَنسا
faransaa
France


فَرَنسِيّ
faransiyy (masc.)

فَرَنسِية
faransiyya (fem.)
French
المانيا
almaanyaa
Germany
المانِيّ
almaaniyy (masc.)

المانِيّة
almaaniyya (fem.)
German
(click)

Countries and Nationalities