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22,222 men came. This is a tricky sentence because although it looks easy, there are duals and other cool stuff involved.
The entire sentence reads as follows:
.جَاءَ اثْنانِ وَعِشْرُونَ أَلْفًا وَمِئَتانِ وَاثْنانِ وَعِشْرُونَ رَجُلًا
We have two ask ourselves two questions:
- Why do we write اثْنانِ and not اثْنَيْنِ? –> see step 1
- Why do we write رَجُلًا – in the singular form and with the accusative case? –> see step 2
How do you correctly write numbers in Arabic?
It is good to step back for a second and have a look at the number – عدد – in detail. Let us break down the number 22,222 into parts:
- A: tells you how to write the number in Arabic.
- B: tells you the numeric value of the number.
- C: tells you how the number eventually sums up over the process.
These are the important steps:
Step 1: Identify the grammatical function of the number
In the English sentence, the word men would be the subject.
Arabic, however, works differently: the number itself occupies a certain spot and thus has the grammatical function. So in the Arabic sentence, the word men is NOT the subject. It is the number.
Therefore, the number takes the nominative case – marfua/مَرْفُوع – which is the reason why we must use the nominative form of the dual forms. Notice the Aleph: انِ
Step 2: Decide what to do with the “English” subject in Arabic
In our example, we need to deal with the word رَجُل.
The last number in your chain defines its number, form, and case. Since we have the number 20 right before, we have to treat it as a specification/تََمْيِيز in Arabic. Grammatically speaking, in our example, this means we need the singular form in the accusative case/مَنْصُوب.
However, there is still one problem left: How do you know which form you should use for the respective number? It is actually not that difficult. If you want to go over it: I have extensively covered the rules in both of my books, Arabic for Nerds 1 and 2.
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Why can it be difficult to pronounce the number ten? Here is the answer!
A tool to learn the notoriously difficult rules for numbers in Arabic
picture credit: pixabay/geralt
Wouldn’t this be easier if the classical order is followed instead?
Hi Gerald, This is really good. I like the way you simplify things. Numbers in Arabic is very complicated indeed, but you did a great job here.
Since you are very interested in Arabic, I thought you may appreciate this Arabic Arabic dictionary site “https://www.arabicterminology.com”. It has some really great search features that can help you with your research.
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Good luck and please keep blogging about Arabic. Thank you!