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A tool to learn the notoriously difficult rules for numbers in Arabic

Numbers in the Arabic language are like solving mathematical equations. But there is good news: a new online tool – which is of great help to learn the rules: arabic.ba

Last updated: February 21, 2022

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.

arabicba numbers
A tool to learn the notoriously difficult rules for numbers in Arabic 21

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!
arabic ba4
screenshot: arabic.ba

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!

arabicba reading 1
screenshot: arabic.ba

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

arabic numbers rules

Other useful tools:

Picture credit: pixabay

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