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plural

How do you build the plural of adjectives in Egyptian Arabic?

Adjectives in Egyptian Arabic can be tricky. Sometimes you need to form the plural. An overview of the most common plural patterns of Egyptian adjectives.

Last updated: July 18, 2021

Previously we had looked at the basics of forming and using adjectives in Egyptian Arabic. We only focused on the singular form. Now, it is time to move on and check the plural.

Forming plurals is not so easy in Egyptian Arabic because you don’t hear them so often. But if you know two patterns, you can actually form the plurals of the most common adjectives.

The pattern fu3aal: فُعال

This pattern is pretty common and is used for many very basic adjectives.

Some examples.

SingularPlural
bigكِبِيرkibeerكُبارkubaar
tallطَوِيلTaweelطَوالTuwaal
manyكِتِيرkiteerكُتارkutaar
cheapرِخِيصri5eeSرُخاصru5aaS
farبِعِيدbe3eedبُعادbu3aad
newجِدِيدgideedجُدادgudaad
oldقَدِيم‘adeemقُدام‘udaam
niceلَطِيفlaTeefلُطافluTaaf
lightخَفِيف5afeefخُفاف5ufaaf
heavyتِقِيلti’eelتُقالtu’aal

The ending “-een”: ين

Adjectives for human beings

That’s logic. You use a corrupted form of the standard plural ending of masculine sound plurals. It is always “-een” in Egyptian Arabic – no matter if the plural targets male or female human beings.

Some examples.

SingularPlural
goodكوَيِّيkwayyesكوَيِّسِينkwayyiseen
badوِحِشwi7ishوِحْشِينwi7sheen
quietهادِيhaadiهادِيِنhadyeen
sweetحِلُو7ilwحِلْوِين7ilween
terrificهايِلhaayilهايِلِينhayleen

What we have check so far are adjectives that are mainly used for human beings – thus, the usual ending for human plurals does make sense, of course. But that is not the end of the story! Sometimes, the ending ين is used for non-human nouns!

Adjectives for non-human (inanimate) nouns

Let’s go directly to the examples as it is quite obvious what we are dealing here.

SingularPlural
dryناشِفnaashefناشِفِينnashfeen
expensiveغالِي3’aaliغالِييِن3’alyeen
coldبارِدbaaredبارْدِينbardeen

Picture credit: Gerd Altmann from pixabay

Any thoughts or ideas about this? Leave a reply!

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