2.2 Vocabulary and Grammar: Masculine and Feminine with Possessives

In this section:

  • You will learn new vocabulary and be able to distinguish between masculine and feminine.
  • You will learn charts on possessive pronouns and practice using them in complete sentences.

Vocabulary (1)

Listen, read, and repeat. Learn new vocabulary and notice how masculine and feminine are expressed in Arabic.

English Transcription Arabic English Transcription Arabic
boy walad ولد student Taalib/Taaliba طالب-طالبة
girl bint بنت teacher Ustaadh/Ustaadha أستاذ-أستاذة
brother akh أخ doctor duktuur/duktuura دكتور -دكتورة
sister ukht أخت neighbor jaar/jaara جار -جارة
house bayt بيت friend SaaHib/SaaHiba صاحب -صاحبة
street sahri' شارع big Kabiir/kabiira كبير-كبيرة
city madiina مدينة small SaGhiir/ SaGhiira صغير -صغيرة
office/desk maktab مكتب new Jadiid/Jadiida جديد -جديدة
library maktaba مكتبة excellent mumtaaz/mumtaaza ممتاز-ممتازة
class faSl فصل good jayyid/jayyida جيد - جيدة
dog kalb كلب beautiful jamiil/jamiila جميل- جميلة
cat qiTTa قطة beloved Habiib/Habiiba حبيب -حبيبة
family usra أسرة this is (m.) haa-tha هذا
universtiy jami'aa جامعة this is (f.) haa-thi-hi هذه
man rajul رجل car sayyara سيارة
woman imra-ah امرأة homework waajib واجب

Vocabulary notes

  • When you start learning vocabulary in Arabic, you become aware of the use of grammatical gender. This means that for human-related nouns, there are two counterparts from the same noun, with the feminine word having an additional ending that you will learn about soon. For example, a male student is “Taalib” and a female student is “Taaliba”. Similarly, “duktoor” and “duktoora” for a “doctor”. Many other human nouns behave in the same way. Adjectives also have the same feature. So “Kabiir” is big (masculine), and “Kabiira” is big (feminine). Adjectives must match nouns in number and gender.
  • Other nouns which are not human are either intrinsically masculine or feminine. For example “a book” is masculine and “a car” is feminine.

Activity (5): With your classmates, practice asking questions about the pictures below using the following expressions. In answering the questions, use a suitable adjective as well. Record your sentences below.

Who is this? (m.) Man-haa-tha? من هذا؟ What is this? (m.) Maa haa-tha ماهذا؟
Who is this? (f.) Man-haa-thi-hi من هذه؟ What is this? (f.) Maa haa-thi-hi

ما هذه؟

black book woman doctorred wolkwagon car



female teacher     student at school    dog




cat  library  classroom



Grammar (1)

Possessive pronouns 

  • The possessive structure in Arabic is formed by adding suffixes to the noun.
  • Learn the following nouns and their possessive forms.

Activity (8): With your classmates, practice creating complete sentences that relate to the picture prompts. Record your sentences below.

michigan state university tower    smiling techer    house


girl holding a cat    classroom  red car


Key Takeaways

  • You know how to form your nominal sentences in Arabic.


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Elementary Arabic I Copyright © 2022 by Sadam Issa and Ayman Mohamed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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