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Arabic case marking with feminine plurals Posted by on Nov 3, 2009 in Grammar

In this post, I explain the use of the case marking system with sound feminine plurals. Sound feminine plural nouns and adjectives end with (ات). They are marked for their case with vowels like singular nouns. However, they have special markings. In the nominative case, i.e. when the noun is used as the subject of a verbal sentence or as a subject or predicate of a nominal sentence, feminine plural nouns and adjectives are marked with (ـُ) if they are definite and (ـٌ) if they are indefinite, e.g.

تعمل المهندساتُ المصرياتُ في نفس الشركة.

“The Egyptian engineers work at the same company.”

المهندساتُ المصرياتُ مجتهداتٌ.

“The Egyptian engineers are hard-working.”

When the noun is used as an object, the case is accusative. Feminine plural nouns and adjectives are marked with (ـِ) if they are definite and (ـٍ) if they are indefinite, e.g.

قابلنا المهندساتِ المصرياتِ.

“We met the Egyptian engineers.”

كلّمتُ طالباتٍ عربياتٍ.

“I talked to Arab students.”

When the noun is used after a preposition or after the first word of an idafa construction, the case is genitive. Feminine plural nouns and adjectives are marked with (ـِ) if they are definite and (ـٍ) if they are indefinite, e.g.

تكلمت مع المهندساتِ المصرياتِ.

“I spoke with the Egyptian engineers.”

شركة المهندساتِ كبيرة.

“The company of the engineers is big.”

The special thing to be noted about feminine plurals is that they take the same marking for accusative and genitive cases, i.e. whether a feminine plural noun or adjective is accusative or genitive, they are marked with (ـِ) if they are definite and (ـٍ) if they are indefinite.

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