Nouns

Indefinite and Definite Nouns

Arabic Grammar - Definite and Indefinite Nouns

Source for above : ARIC Arabic Class Notes – Book 1

Tanveen (Seq # 1)

The tanveen is a symbol that comes on the ending letters of Arabic nouns. Tanveen can be double Dhammah (ــٌ), or double Fatah (ــً) or double Kathrah (ــٍ). Consider a letter ب. Tanveen on this letter can take the form: بٌ (bun), بًــــا  (ban), بٍ  (bin). The extra alif (ا) in case of ban is just a spelling rule. These forms are used depending on the situation, which we will learn in upcoming topics.

Examples:    كِــتَــابٌ, كِــتَــابًــا, كِــتَــابٍ (A book)

Exercises

  • State TRUE or FALSE: The word جِدَارٌ (a wall) ends with tanveen.
  • State TRUE or FALSE: The word كَــنْــزٌ (a treasure) ends with tanveen.
  • State TRUE or FALSE: The word ذِكْــرًا (A story or remembrance) ends with tanveen.

No word for ‘a’ and ‘an’ (Seq # 2)

In the Arabic language, there is no equal word for English words ‘a’ and ‘an’. Then how can we say “any one book” or “a book” ? It has to be said with tanveen. This tanveen has hidden ‘a’ and ‘an’.

Examples:  كِــتَــابٌ  (A book), قَــلَــمٌ  (A pen), يَــتِــيْــمٌ (An orphan)

Exercises

  • State TRUE or FALSE: The word جِــدارٌ means “a wall”.
  • State TRUE or FALSE: The word كَــنْــزٌ means “a treasure”.
  • State TRUE or FALSE: The word كَــلِــمَــةٌ (A word) has hidden ‘a’.

Indefinite Noun and Definite Noun (Seq # 3)

The noun in Arabic is termed as اِســمٌ. The nouns in Arabic can be Indefinite or definite. Indefinite nouns ends with tanveen and does not represent a specific/particular thing. If it is definite noun then the noun is preceded by ال and it represents a specific/particular thing. In English this means “The”. When you put ال then tanveen will be dropped and it will only have single vowel sign (single Pesh, single Zabar or single Zair). Tanveen and ال  cannot co-exist together. See the examples below.

Indefinite Noun Examples:

كِتَابٌ  (A book, It can be any book), قَلَمٌ  (A pen, It can be any pen)

Definite Noun Examples:

الْــ + كِــتَــابٌ = الْــكِــتَــابُ

الْــ + قَــلَــمٌ = الْــقَــلَــمُ

الْــكِــتَــابُ (the book, representing to a particular book), الْــقَــلَــمُ (the pen, representing to a particular pen)

Exercises

  • State TRUE or FALSE: Read the verse Quran (18:34). The indefinite nounثَــمَــرٌ (fruit) present in this verse.
  • State TRUE or FALSE: Read the verse Quran (18:35). The indefinite nounظَــالــِمٌ (an unjust person) present in this verse.
  • State TRUE or FALSE: Read the verse Quran (18:46). The definite noun المَــالُ (The money, The property) present in this verse.
  • State TRUE or FALSE: Read the verse Quran (18:79). The definite noun الــسَّــفِــيْــنَــةُ (The ship) is not present in this verse.
  • State TRUE or FALSE: Read the verse Quran (18:82). The definite noun الْجِــدَارُ (The wall) is present in this verse.

ال   will not be preceded with person names nouns (Seq # 4)

All the person name nouns are definite by default. Let us take a person name, مُــحَــمَّــدٌ. We don’t need to put ال  in front of it. So it is wrong to say اَلْــمُــحَــمَّــدُ . They are also termed as proper name nouns.

Examples:

عُزَيْرٌ , شَاهِدٌ , مُبَشِّرٌ, حَامِدٌ   etc.

Exercises

  • State TRUE or FALSE: شَاهِدٌ is a person name. So it is wrong to say الشَّاهِدُ.
  • State TRUE or FALSE: كَــهْــفٌ (A cave) is not a person name. So it is correct to say اَلْكَــهْــفُ (The cave).
  • State TRUE or FALSE: مَــدِيـْـنَــةٌ (A town) is a person name.

Answers to Exercises

Tanveen (Seq # 1) T, T, T
No word for ‘a’ and ‘an’ (Seq # 2) T, T, T
Indefinite Noun and Definite Noun (Seq # 3) T, T, T, F, T
ال   will not be preceded with person names nouns (Seq # 4) T, T, F

Source for the above : From the notes “Trying to understand the Arabic Language” By Mohammed Aijaz

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