Arabic Language Blog

Nouns الاسم /Al-Ism/ : Number العدد /Al-Adad/ Posted by on Mar 12, 2011 in Arabic Language, Culture, Grammar, Vocabulary

* Arabic Nouns fall into Three main categories concerning their Number:

(1) Singular مفرد /Mofrad/        (2) Dual  مثنى /Mothanna/          (3) Plural جمع /Gam’/

(1) The Singular Noun الاسم المفرد /Al-Ism Al-Mofrad/

 It is the Noun that refers to only ONE person or thing.


         – Mohammad محمد               – Mona منى                      – man رجل /rajul/

         – boy ولد /walad/                 – giraffe زرافة /zarafah/             – bird طائر /ta’er/       

        – book كتاب /kitaab/            – pen قلم /qalam/                       – paper ورقة /waraqah/

      – school مدرسة /madrasah      – hospital مستشفى /mostashfa/    – college كلية /koliyah/

 (2) The Dual Noun الاسم المثنى /Al-Ism Al-Mothanna/

It is the Noun that refers to Two persons or things, speaking about Both of them together.

* How it is formed:

  •  Rule : Add the letters (Alif + Noon) ـان  or ( Ya’a + Noon) ين  to the end of the singular.


–  Two Mohammads محمدان /Mohammadaan/    or    محمدين /Mohammadayn/ 

–  Two men رجلان /rajulaan/       or       رجلين /rajulayn/

–   Two boys ولدان /waladaan/      or       ولدين /waladayn/  

–   Two books كتابان /kitabaan/     or      كتابين /kitabayn/

(Note: determining which dual suffix to apply to a noun depends mainly on the Case of that noun)

 (3) The plural Noun الاسم الجمع /Al-Ism Al-gam’/

It is the Noun that refers to Three or More persons or things speaking about them as a whole.

There are three types of the plural;

(1)  The Masculine Sound (Regular) Plural جمع المذكر السالم /Gam’ Al-Mozakkar Al-Salim/

* How it is formed:

  • Rule: Add the letters (Waw + Noon) ون or (Ya’a + Noon) to the end of the Masculine Singular.


                       – Mohammad محمد       >>>>>>>      Mohammadoon محمدون

                      – He Teacher مدرس      >>>>>>>      Teachers مدرسون or مدرسين

                     – He Engineer مهندس   >>>>>>>      Engineers مهندسون or مهندسين

                     – He Player لاعب          >>>>>>>      Players لاعبون or لاعبين

                     – He Killer قاتل             >>>>>>>      Killers قاتلون  or قاتلين

                    – He Singer مطرب        >>>>>>>       Singers مطربون or مطربين

(Note: determining which plural suffix to apply to a noun depends mainly on the Case of that noun)

(2) The Feminine Sound (Regular) Plural Nouns جمع المؤنث السالم /Gam’ Al-Mo’annath Al-Salim/

* How it is formed: 

  •  Rule: Add the letters (Alif + Ta’a) ا ت to the end of the Feminine Singular.

                Examples:   – Fatimah فاطمة               >>>>>>>       Fatimaat فاطمات

                                           – She Teacher مدرسة      >>>>>>>       Teachers مدرسات

                                          – She Engineer مهندسة    >>>>>>>       Engineers مهندسات

                                          – She Player لاعبة           >>>>>>>        Players لاعبات

                                          – She Killer قاتل             >>>>>>>         Killers قاتلات

                                          – She Singer مطربة        >>>>>>>>        Singers مطربات

                                          – She writer                  >>>>>>>>       Writers كاتبات

                                          – She Student طالبة        >>>>>>>>       Students طالبات

( Note: Here you drop the “closed Ta’a” and add the “Alif + open Ta’a”)

(3) The Broken (Irregular) Plural جمع التكسير /Gam’ Al-Takseer/

* How it is formed:

  • It has No Rule and , so it can’t be predicted and has to be memorized by its various forms.
  • You can compare lots of odd plurals to those you are already familiar with.
  • It applies to most Nouns; either Feminine or Masculine.
  • It often changes the form of its singular.
  • A Noun can have more than one form of plural.

Examples:         – Heart قلب                  >>>>>>>        Hearts قلوب

                                 – Pillar عمود               >>>>>>>         Pillars أعمدة

                                 – Eye عين                    >>>>>>>        Eyes أعين/عيون 

                                 – Sea بحر                     >>>>>>>        Seas بحار / بحور  

                                 – Book كتاب                >>>>>>>         Books كتب

                                 – Picture صورة           >>>>>>>        Pictures صور 

                                 – He Student طالب     >>>>>>>         Students طلاب / طلبة

                                 – Captive أسير            >>>>>>>        Captives أسرى

                                 – He Friend صديق      >>>>>>>         Friends أصدقاء   

                                 – Desert صحراء           >>>>>>>         Deserts صحارى

                                 – Message رسالة         >>>>>>>          Messages رسائل / رسالات

                                 – House منزل              >>>>>>>          Houses منازل   

                                 – Mosque مسجد         >>>>>>>          Mosques مساجد

                                 – Church كنيسة          >>>>>>>          Churches كنائس 

                                 – School مدرسة           >>>>>>>          Schools مدارس


Note (1): Both types of regular plurals don’t usually change the form of the singular; they just add to it.

Note (2): Studying the Measures of the Plurals and Noun Cases will come later.

Note (3): Some Nouns can have regular and irregular plural forms.    

Bored of Grammar !? OK.

 Next time, we will read and article about Modern Egypt.

 Check us back soon


Peace سلام   /Salam/

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About the Author: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.


  1. Juan:


  2. Alex:

    Thanks! This really helped me study for a test!

  3. Fisal:

    You are very welcome, Juan and Alex.

  4. Mannsaut:

    I really love your lecture. May Allah bless you.

  5. Fisal:

    Thanks Mannsaut.

  6. Aziza:

    I couldn’t take anything from this article without a lot of research on other sites! It would have been better to clearly explain the declination of nouns, rather than to throw them at the learner hodge-podge. One should begin by pointing out that there are different cases, and giving one or two examples in English and Arabic of what “case” means Then, you should have pointed out that your article attempts to provide a partial description of declination in the nominative case, and that your transliteration is is in Egyptian Arabic, so if the learner is not learning Egyptian Arabic, to pronounce the ج as the g in ‘gender’, not the g in ‘goose’.
    A chart of the endings for the gender (الجنس), number (العدد), case, if case is necessary in normal or professional writing.
    Secondly, the Arabic script should be in very large print – at least 1.5 or 2 times the font size of the English font, and it should included diacritics (الحَرَكَت). Otherwise, it is very hard to read or learn.
    Lastly, the transliteration appears to be in the Egyptian dialect, which is confusing for learners, except those who only need to communicate with Egyptians.

  7. Noorullah:

    please tell me the difference between

    رجلان او رجلین

    • Fisal:

      @Noorullah Ahlan, Noorullah
      Both words are the dual number of (two men). Just the case is different.

  8. firuz:

    thanks so much it really helped for my study

    • Fisal:

      @firuz Welcome, firuz