Last updated: May 2, 2021
The adjective in Egyptian Arabic has some special features. We already had a look at the basic singular and plural forms. In this last part of the series about the adjective, I will examine some peculiarities of the comparative and superlative forms.
“more tired”: the comparative of long adjectives
If you want to say bigger in Egyptian Arabic, you use the standard pattern that is also used in Modern Standard Arabic: أَفْعَل. So, we eventually get أَكْبَر.
This formula works perfectly for short adjectives that are derived from I-form verbs (not augmented).
But what should we do if we have adjectives that are quite long regarding the number of letters? We use the additional word أَكْتَر and put it after the adjective. This helping construction works very well for most adjectives and is often used instead of the regular comparative.
|more tired||تَعْبان أَكْتَر|
|more tired than you||تَعْبان أَكْتَر مِنَّك|
How do you build the superlative in Egyptian Arabic?
That is tricky! In Egyptian Arabic, you have three options.
waa7id and wa7da
You often just use a helping construction with the word waahid (واحِد) or wahda (واحِدة) which are placed after the comparative!
|the (fem. ) best one||أَحْسَن واحِدة||a7san wahda|
|This (fem.) is the nicest one I have.||دِي أَجْمَل واحِدة عَنْدِي||da agmal wa7da 3andy.|
|This (masc.) is the cheapest one.||دَه أَرْخَص واحِد||da ar5aS waa7id.|
Standard solution: genitive construction
This is the standard solution that is also used in Modern Standard Arabic. Use the comparative form and add the noun. It is nothing but a إِضافة-construction.
|This is the biggest book.||دَه أَكْبَر كِتاب||da akbar kitaab|
Complex solution: comparative plus pronoun
Here, you have to listen closely. Otherwise, you may misunderstand it. Instead of a إِضافة, you use a different word order and add a possessive pronoun to the comparative form. Usually this is the plural pronoun hum (هُم). Sounds complicated? Let’s see.
|This is the biggest book.||الكِتاب ده أَكْبَرهم||elkitaab da akbarhum.|