Arabic Grammar for Beginners

Arabic grammar (النَّحْوُ الْعرَبِيُّ ) according to Arabic linguists is the principle by which the case endings of words are known. These words as I have previously explained may be any of the اسم، فعل or حرف.

Most Arabic nouns (الاسم) are declinable i.e changes in their functions in the sentence are indicated by their endings. These endings are three: accusative, nominative, and genitive.

As for the verbs, only the mudari’ is declinable while the maadi and the amr do not undergo any change and are therefore mabni. The declinable nouns and the verb i.e (الْفِعْلُ الْمُضَارِع) are referred to as مُعْرَبٌ (mu’rab). The mudari’ has three cases just as the nouns. These verb cases are called moods and they are marfu’ (مَرْفُوعٌ), mansûb (مَنْصُوبٌ) and majzûm (مَجْزُومٌ).

The Arabic nouns in a sentence may function as a subject (فَاعِلٌ) in a verbal sentence or مُبْتَدَأٌ in a nominal sentence. The predicates (خَبَرٌ) in nominal sentences are also nouns. The case ending of these nouns in all these three states is regarded as الرَّفْعُ i.e nominative. A noun with this ending is called مَرْفُوعٌ. The primary sign of this case is the dommah.

Nouns that function as objects (مَفْعُولٌ بِه) in a verbal sentence are in the accusative case (النَّصْبُ) and are said to be مَنْصُوبٌ. An-nasbu is indicated by the fathah.

  • (جَلَسَ سَعْدٌ (فَاعِلٌ) على الأرِيكَة.(جُمْلَةٌ فِعْلِيَُةٌ
    • Sa’dun sat on the sofa.
  • (سَعْدٌ طَالِبٌ مُجْتَهِدٌ (جُمْلَةٌ اِسْمِيَّةٌ
    • Sa’dun is an hardworking student.
  • قَتَلَ الرَّجُلُ الْحيَّةَ (The man killed the snake)

The Signs of Nouns

The Arabic nouns are identified with the following signs:

  1. Acceptance of the definite article (ال التَّعْرِيف) :
    • (مُمَرِِّضٌ : المُمَرِّضُ)
  2. Tanween (التَُنْوِين):
    • طَالِبٌ، طَالِبًا، طَالِبٍ
      1. هَذَا طالِبٌ مُجْتَهِدٌ (This is a hardworking student)
      2. نَصَحَ الْمُعَلِّمُ طالِبًا (The teacher advised a student)
      3. سَلَّمْتُ عَلَى طَالَبٍ ( I greeted a student )
  3. Genitive caseالجَرِّ): The primary sign of this case is the kesro. Nouns in this state are called مَجْرُورٌ and examples are those in the possessive construction and those preceded by prepositions (حُرُوفُ الْجَرِّ):
    • سَيَّارَةُ الْمُدَرِّسِ جَمِيلَةٌ٠ (The teacher’s car is beautiful
    • رَأَيْتُ خَبَّازًا فِي الحَفْلَةِ (I saw a baker at the party).
  4. النِّدَاء: (سَمِيرٌ: يَا سَمِيرُ
Arabic grammar

Here is a lecture that explains 2 types of alif lam while focusing on the meaning of the word “alhamdu” in the second verse of suuratul Faatiha.

Watch the video .

The Signs of Verbs

The Arabic verbs are known with the acceptance of the following:

  1. Taa of the first person singular and the feminine taa(تاء الْمُتَكَلِّم و تَاء التَّأنِيثِ السَّاكِنَة). E.g
    • ذَهَبْتُ (I went)
    • ذَهَبَتْ (she went)
  2. Lam of jaazim (لَمْ الْجَازِمَة). E.g
    • لَمْ يُصَدَّقْ بِلَالٌ التَّقْرِير <- بِلَالٌ يُصَدَّقُ (he believes -> he did not believe the report)
  3. Particles of futurity (السِّين و سَوْفَ)
    • سَأَذْهَبُ إِلَى مَكْتَبِ الْبَرِيدِ غَداً (I will go to the post office tomorrow).

In summary of the Arabic grammar, the primary endings (عَلَامَاتُ الإِعْرَابِ الأَصْلِيَّةُ) of the nouns are the dommah, fathah and kesro and those of the fi’l-l-mudari’ are the dommah, fathah, and sukoon (يُصَدَّقُ، لَنْ يُصَدَّقَ، لَمْ يُصَدَّقْ). The others, secondary endings (علامات الإعراب الْفَرْعِيَّة ) are indicated by the addition, retention, cancellation or change of letter in the appropriate noun or verb.


  • Abdur Rahim, V., 2007. Madinah Arabic Reader Bk 6, New Delhi, India: Goodword Books.
  • Qatar Islamic Cultural Centre. Arabic Learning Books Level 3, Fanar, Qatar.