Classical Arabic

Ism — noun-type word

The Arabic part of speech Ism includes nouns, adjectives, pronouns and adverbs.

many things: * ism — noun * ism ʿalam اسم علم — proper noun * Ṣifah صفة — adjective * اسم فعل أمر — imperative verbal noun * ضمير — personal pronoun * اسم اشارة — demonstrative pronoun * اسم موصول — relative pronoun * ظرف زمان — time adverb * ظرف مكان — location adverb

Nouns come in:

  • 3 cases (nominative, accusative and genitive)
  • 3 states (indefinite, definite and construct)
  • 3 numbers (singular, dual and plural)
  • 2 genders (masculine and feminine)

Noun cases

Arabic has three cases:

  1. Marfūʿ مرفوع — nominative case (-u-)
    • Subject of any sentence: John is happy.
    • Predicate of noun-based sentence: Lisa is a carpenter.

* Singular: -u for definite, -un for indefinite case of rafʿ ?

  1. Manṣūb منصوب — accusative case (-a-)
    • Any object of verb-based sentence: He threw the ball.
    • Adverbs of time:
      al-yawma اليَومَ — today
      laylan لَيلَن — at night
    • After the particle inna?
      inna Muḥammadan rasūlun إنَّ مُحَمَّداً رَسُولٌ — Muḥammad is a messenger.

* Singular: -a for definite, -an for indefinite

  1. Majrūr مجرور or jarr? — genitive case (-i-)
    • Object of preposition: inside the home

All, but not necessarily the first member (the first nomen regens), of an ʼiḍāfa (genitive construction) * Singular: -i for definite, -in for indefinite

Noun states

  1. Maʿrifah — definite (al-)
    al-kitābu الكِتَابُ — the book
  2. Nakirah — indefinite (-n)
    kitābun كِتَابٌ — a book

In the indefinite state, most nouns add -un, -an or -in (according to the three cases). These are called Munṣarif منصرف, three-case noun, triptote.

Some nouns, called two-case nouns or diptotes, al-mamnūʿ min al-ṣarf الممنوع من الصرف, drop the -n in the indefinite state. Also, they merge the accusative and genitive endings into an oblique case, which resembles the accusative case (-a).

Lastly, some nouns are indeclinable. These zero-case nouns never change.

Construct state

Nouns are declined in Arabic based on whether they are definite or


Is bayt (house) triptote?