Arabic Language Blog

The Noun الاسم : Definite المعرفة & Indefinite النكرة Posted by on Mar 18, 2011 in Arabic Language, Culture, Grammar, Vocabulary

  • Arabic nouns are either definite or indefinite.

 The Indefinite Noun الاسم النكرة

It is the noun which refers to a common and non-specific noun;(person, animal, thing …etc.). It can be given to any member under that category of nouns. So, when you say an indefinite noun, you really don’t mean someone or something definite.


                      – a girl       بنت    = any girl                          – girls    بنات    = any girls

                      – a boy     ولد      = any boy                         – boys    أولاد    = any boys

                      – a student طالب    = any student             – students   طلاب  = any students

                      – a man      رجل     = any man                     – men رجال     = any men

                      – a tree   شجرة      = any tree                      – trees أشجار   = any trees

                      – an apple   تفاحة   = any apple                 – apples  تفاحات  = any apples

                      – a bird    طائر        = any bird                    – birds  طيور  = any birds

                     – a street   شارع     = any street                 – streets  شوارع  = any streets

                     – a job    وظيفة         = any job                       – jobs  وظائف   = any jobs

                     – a town   مدينة       = any town                     – towns  مدن  = any towns

                     – a country   دولة   = any country              – countries  دول  = any towns

          Sentences:   – I am looking for a job. أنا أبحث عن وظيفة.

                                      – There are lots of jobs in the paper.  توجد وظائف كثيرة فى الجريدة 

                     Here,  the nouns  وظيفة  and وظائف are indefinite; not specifying what job or jobs.

The Definite Noun الاسم المعرفة

       It is the noun that refers to a specific noun; (person, animal, thing …. etc.). So, when you say that definite noun, you really mean someone or something definite, you have that specific noun in your mind.


                          – Mohammad   محمد    – Mona  منى           – Suzan   سوزان     – John   جون

                         – the girl   البنت             – the girls البنات     – the boy   الولد       – the boys الأولاد 

                                – the student      الطالب                      – the man          الرجل

                                – the tree             الشجرة                     – the apple       التفاحة

                                – the bird              الطائر                     – the street      الشارع  

                                – the job              الوظيفة                     – the town          المدينة

                               – the country        الدولة 

             Sentence: I don’t like the job I am doing now. لا أحب الوظيفة التي أقوم بها الآن.

                        Here, I mean a definite job, it is in my mind.

  • In English Grammar, a noun can be definite by adding the definite article (the) before it.
  • In Arabic Grammar, there are SEVEN types of definite nouns.

Types of Definite Nouns أنواع المعارف    

1-  The Proper Noun اسم العلم 

2-  The Definite Noun with (AL ..)   ( الاسم المعرف بـ  (الـ 

3-  The Pronoun الضمير

4-  The Relative Nouns  الأسماء الموصولة

5-  The Demonstrative Nouns أسماء الإشارة

6-  The Indefinite Noun added before a definite noun from the above. المضاف إلى معرفة

7-  The Noun Addressed by (Yaa)   ( الاسم المنادى بـ  ( يا   


Next time, we will continue looking at Definite Nouns in more detail

Check us back soon

Peace سلام   /Salam/

Tags: ,
Keep learning Arabic with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

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:

    Thank you,

    It promises to be a very interesting post. Just to check I got it right, the type number 6 is related to the first name in an “Idafa” or is something else?


    • Fisal:

      @Juan You are very welcome Juan,
      Yes, number 6 is exactly the first noun in the Idafa phrase.

  2. Abubakar:

    Kind of very interesting for a beginner like me n is my pleasure for been part, Alhmdullah.

    • Fisal:

      @Abubakar You are very welcome 🙂

  3. Mogamat Fasieg Adams:

    What is an ismul thaurf

  4. Habiba:

    Jazakallah khair brother. Really found it helpful in my studies. May Allah swt reward you.

    • Fisal:

      @Habiba You are welcome, Habiba.

  5. Azam:

    Thanks it is very useful for the beginners
    May Allah bless you

  6. Mhando Bendera:


  7. nuha:

    really helpful with my homework for madrasah MashAllah, may Allah reward you, and bless you and your family

  8. Arshad:

    Can you kindly explain in which category a personal name falls, i.e. definite or indefinite noun. Such as my name “Arshad” is a definite or indefinite noun.
    Many thanks