• Root Extraction
• Plural Nouns EDITED
• Masculine Plural Nouns EDITED
• Feminine Plural Nouns
• Inactive Particles
• Ablative Particles
• Vocative Particles
• Exclamatory Style
• Praise & Disparagement
• Passive Participles
• Participle-like Adjectives
This site is under development. Help the site by reporting typos, mistakes, broken links, unclear parts, etc. and by sending your comments and suggestions via the feedback gear:
I have nothing to do with the adds that appear on this website (including the add on top which says "Arabic Code." This add is NOT mine). I don't sell books, courses, lessons, or anything. I stopped updating this website years ago. I am sorry about that, but I don't have time to complete it.
All rights reserved to the original author Hāni Deek. You may not copy, distribute, or transmit material from this website without the prior written permission of the original author. Non-authorized use or modification of the materials is a violation of the proprietary rights and is a violation of law that may lead to legal actions against the perpetrator.
This site may not show well with browsers other than Microsoft Internet Explorer (e.g Firefox). If you are having problems with viewing the site, please consider trying another browser. Sorry about that.
Adjectives in Arabic follow the nouns or pronouns they modify in gender, number, grammatical case, and the state of definiteness. They always come after the words they modify. Adjectives in Arabic belong to the "noun" category, and there are several types of nouns that can serve as adjectives. This will be covered later.
A comprehensive example on adjectives matching the modified word:
Adjectives in general behave regularly. They are always feminized by adding one of the three feminine markers to them; and they are always pluralized by adding one of the regular plural endings to them (masculine or feminine). However, there are exceptions to this.
Feminine adjectives always have one of the three feminine markers attached; however, there are a few structures that will not carry any of such markers.
Adjectives that can be used only in reference to females but not males (e.g. pregnant) do not usually have the feminine taa'< attached, even though they modify true feminine nouns and they should have one:
Here, the noun had a feminine marker but the modifying adjective did not.
Other adjectives of this kind:
All of these adjectives lack the feminine taa'<. The other feminine markers (the extended 'alif and the shortened 'alif) cannot be removed from an adjective here as simply as the feminine taa'<, or the adjective will become a senseless word.
If a feminine adjective of this kind ends with either one of the two feminine markers other than the feminine taa'<, it will be kept there because there will not usually be a masculine form of that adjective (one without feminine markers), and we can't just remove the marker because that would be mutilation of the word.
*Note: nouns ending with feminine extended 'alif or feminine shortened 'alif are forbidden to noonation.
Adjectives will not have any feminine markers when they assume one of the following structures:
Those five structures don't take feminine endings when they modify feminine nouns. However, case two is not always followed in the modern language.
Another thing about the structures of case two is that they do not take regular plural endings, as will be mentioned shortly.
However, there are certain adjective structures in Arabic that can not have the regular plural endings when their nouns have it. Instead they are pluralized irregularly.
All of the structures mentioned lastly (the ones that don't carry feminine markers) can not accept masculine plural endings too. However, the structure fa"ool(un) is often pluralized regularly against the rule.
Other structures that do not take regular plural endings are:
۞ 'af"al(u) أَفْعَلُ
Adjectives following this structure are several kinds, they differ from each other by the structure of the feminine form of the adjective. The kind that cannot take regular plural endings is the one whose feminine form is: fa"laa'(u)
This kind belongs to a category called in Arabic "active-participle-like adjectives." It usually refers to a color or to bodily characteristic (e.g. blond, brunette, blind, mute, deaf, lame, etc.).
* 'a"maa is a shortened noun. The root is " M Y.
However, it is rather common for the feminine form of this structure to be pluralized regularly; so the following three plural adjectives, for example, are common:
۞ fa"laan(u) فَعْلانُ
Similarly to the previous one, adjectives following this structure are two kinds that differ by the structure of their feminine forms. The kind that cannot take the regular plural ending is the one whose feminine structure is: fa"laa
This kind is also forbidden to noonation. The other kind has the feminine form fa"laana(tun) and is rarer. There are 13 fa"laan adjectives in Arabic that are feminized as fa"laana(tun) instead of fa"laa. Those are not forbidden to noonation, and they are listed here.
۞ 'af"al(u) أَفْعَلُ
We talked above about 'af"al(u) adjectives that refer to colors and to bodily characteristics. This same structure is also the comparative structure in Arabic. However, when it is being a comparative structure it will have a different feminine form from the one mentioned above. The feminine of the comparative 'af"al(u) is: fu"laa
Nevertheless, fu"laa is NOT a comparative structure but is a superlative structure, even though it is the feminine of comparative 'af"al(u). The comparative structure in Arabic is only one, 'af"al(u), and it is used for both masculine and feminine, and singular and plural nouns. More details will be added in the section about comparison.
The important point here is that comparative adjectives in Arabic do not follow their nouns neither in gender nor in number.
N.B. all 'af"al(u) structures are forbidden to noonation except for ones whose feminine form is 'af"ala(tun). Those are rare and are not comparatives (e.g. أَرْمَلٌ ، أَرْبَعٌ).
Other Irregular Plural Adjectives
Other than the exceptions mentioned above, irregular plural structures were not supposed to be used to form adjectives in proper Classical Arabic. However, this has always been widely ignored, and irregular plural adjectives are used in many other kinds of adjectives.
Anyway, there is one main case, other than the ones mentioned above, in which it is considered O.K. nowadays to use an irregular plural adjective; that case is if the irregular plural adjective were of the following structure:
The singular of this structure is a passive participle noun. The plural is forbidden to noonation. When possible, this structure can be used instead of regular plurals, but it is not better than them.
Adjectives Modifying Irregular Plural Nouns
We mentioned before that the gender of an irregular plural noun will not always match the gender of its singular word.
We also mentioned that irregular plurals that refer to objects or animals are always treated as if they were singular words.
Knowing these facts, it should be clear how the adjectives were used in the following examples:
More examples; first vocabulary is given and phrases will be constructed below:
*مَوَاْقِفُ and مَعَاْرِكُ are both "forbidden to noonation" مَمْنُوْعٌ مِنَ الْصَّرْفِ structures.
Adjectives that modify a single noun can be multiple.
رجُلٌ طَوِيْلٌ نَحِيْلٌ
rajul(un) taweel(un) naheel(un)
= a man a tall a thin
Translation: a thin tall man
فَتَاْتَاْنِ طَيِّبَتَاْنِ جَمِيْلَتَاْنِ ذَكِيَّتَاْنِ
fataataan(i) tayyibataan(i) jameelataan(i) thakiyyataan(i)
= two young girls good beautiful smart
Translation: two good, smart, beautiful young girls
It is also possible to use coordinators between the different adjectives, but they must be placed between all the adjectives not only before the last one.
فَتَاْتَاْنِ طَيِّبَتَاْنِ وَجَمِيْلَتَاْنِ وَذَكِيَّتَاْنِ
fataataan(i) tayyibataan(i) wa-jameelataan(i) wa-thakiyyataan(i)
= two young girls good and beautiful and smart
Translation: two good, smart, beautiful young girls
Adjectives as Nouns
Adjectives in Arabic are nouns. This is not only an issue of how we categorize them; adjectives can function as real nouns in Arabic sentences.
= this (is) a clever (sing. masc.)
Translation: this is a clever man
This sentence was not complete in English standards because it lacked a noun, but in Arabic it is a full perfect sentence. This is because an adjective in Arabic has a nominal nature in and of itself, and it will not necessarily require another noun to complete its meaning.
= this (is) a clever (sing. fem.)
Translation: this is a clever woman
أَغْنِيَاْءٌ قَدِمُوْا إِلَىْ الْبَلْدَةِ
'arniyaa'(un) qadimoo 'ilaa ('a)l-balda(ti)
= rich (plu. masc.) came to the town
Translation: rich people came to town
Can you translate those phrases to Arabic by using the following Arabic words?