Last updated: June 2, 2021
Applying the correct case endings (and gender) in constructions with numbers in Arabic is tricky even for native speakers. In this article, I will explain the basic rules of numbers in Arabic and will introduce a new tool which is offered on the website arabic.ba
arabic.ba – a tool to train and learn Arabic numbers
You can learn all the rules by hard. But as soon as you come across a number while reading or speaking, Arabic may feel like an oral exam.
The rules for Arabic numbers must become intuitive, their application playful, like learning multiplication tables – where nobody thinks about it anymore. There is only one method for this: practice.
Check out this new website:
a new and great online tool to learn and train numbers.
Why arabic.ba is outstanding
- It uses Taskheel (تَشْكِيلٌ)!
- You get the correct pronunciation of the entire sentence.
- You can change the range according to your level: from 1 to 10, 1 to 19, 1 to 99 up to 1 to 999999999.
- The number and the thing numbered are always shown in red, so they are easily identified within the solution.
- Offline use – you can download and print exercises.
- For experts: The number (written in digits) and the numbered things (shown as a picture) are used in a sentence. You have to figure out all by yourself!
Tip: Practice reading on arabic.ba
The website arabic.ba also offers reading exercises! You find unvowelled texts taken from the book اَلْعَرَبِيَّةُ لِلنَّاشِئِينَ – and can then turn some or all vowels on to practice your understanding of grammar and morphology!
Why are numbers difficult in Arabic?
The grammatical function
Numbers are vague, undefined words (كَلِمةٌ مُبْهَمةٌ). It is the number (عَدَدٌ) that does the job in a sentence and not the actual thing that is counted. That’s not really logical for English speakers.
In Arabic, for example, the number may serve as a direct object (مَفْعُولٌ بِهِ), subject (فاعِل) – and not the word that is counted (مَعْدُودٌ).
The grammatical nature
In Arabic, numbers are nouns (
In Arabic, numbers are nouns (اِسْمٌ). They are triptotes except for the number 8! Therefore, they take case endings.
Watch out: Only when the numerals are used to express abstract numbers, they are treated as diptotes (مَمْنُوعٌ مِن الصَّرْفِ) like proper nouns. An example:
|Six is more than five.||.سِتَّةُ أَكْثَرُ مِن خَمْسَةَ|
The inverted agreement
The system for writing numbers from 3 to 10 is a quite awkward. You have to use the opposite gender of the word to which the number refers (الْعَدَدُ مُخالِفٌ لِلْمَعْدُودِ). This is called inverted agreement.
- The feminine form (مُؤَنَّثٌ) is used when referring to masculine (مُذَكَّرٌ) nouns and vice versa.
- The gender of the number is determined by the gender of the numbered noun in the singular.
|Three men came.||.جاءَ ثَلاثَةُ رِجالٍ|
Note: Numbers from 3 to 10 serve as the first part of a إِضافةٌ; the second part has to be in the plural.
How to write Arabic numbers correctly – the rules
Other useful tools:
- Which Arabic font do you use for Microsoft Word?
- Where can you find Arabic books for free?
- What is the best Arabic keyboard? (and where to buy)
- What is the best Arabic dictionary for Google Chrome?
- What are the sources of sunnah.com and shamela.ws?
Picture credit: pixabay