1.2 Grammar: Present tense intro and Nisbah adjectives

In this section

You will learn some grammar concepts that you can integrate in the theme of self-introduction and family presentation.

  • You will first learn about the present tense conjugation with singular pronouns and practice some activities on it.
  • Second, you will be introduced to Nisbah Adjectives in Arabic, which is basically used to indicate nationality or affiliation of persons or things.
  • You will finally test your knowledge of these in self-check modules.


Grammar (1)

Present tense verbs with singular pronouns

Learn about the conjugation of the verb “to study”


Go through these flashcards for more verbs:



Test yourself

Activity (5): Click on all the conjugations that match the pronouns


Grammar (2)

Nisbah and nationality adjectives

Grammar notes

Nisbah Adjective is an adjective indicating the person’s place of origin, tribal affiliation, or ancestry, used at the end of the name and occasionally ending in the suffixي/ية.
For example, a man from Amman عمّان can be referred to as .عمّانيّ. What we have done is we have added the suffix يّّ (the letter ي with a shadda) to the name of the city. We follow the same process for countries. So a man from ليبيا is
– and one from لبنان is لبنانيّ. These words can be made feminine by adding the ة. So a woman from مصر is مصريّة. Some Arabic place names come with the definite article as part of their names. For example الجزائر, العراق and السودان. If you want to convert these names of countries into نسبة adjectives, you need to drop the definite article ال and add the suffix يّ . For example, the نسبة adjective for العراق is عراقي (masculine (m)) and
(feminine (f)). If you want to say someone is “the Iraqi” you would reattach the definite article and say that he is العراقيّ or she is العراقيّة. Some words end in an alif as in, for example, فرنسا. When this happens, just drop the alif and then add the nisba suffix يّ to become فرنسيّ(m) or فرنسية(f). Some other words end in aة as in, for example, جامعة. You then need to drop the ة to make it نسبة adjective. So to say “a university student” in Arabic would then be rendered as طالب جامعيّ.

Learn some nationality adjectives in masculine and feminine forms :


Drill (6): Choose the correct nationality adjective in each of the following sentences


Key Takeaways

  • You are now able to systematically use the present tense with singular pronouns.
  • You can talk about your nationalities and languages and know how to form these in masculine and feminine.



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Elementary Arabic II Copyright © 2021 by Ayman Mohamed and Sadam Issa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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