A Lesson on Arabic Pronouns

By OptiLingo • 5 minute read

Learn Arabic Pronouns Easily

You need to know how to use pronouns in Arabic to reach fluency. These little words are some of the most common vocabularies in the language. Luckily, using pronouns is really straightforward in Arabic. Here are all the forms and versions of the subject, object, and possessive pronouns in both standard and Egyptian Arabic. Use this guide to speak Arabic fluently.

What Are Pronouns?

Pronouns are the words you use to replace the name of the person or object in the sentence. In English, subject pronouns are “I”, “you”, “he”, “she”, “it”, “we”, “you”, and “they”. Words like “me”, “him”, and “her” are object pronouns. You’re definitely familiar with these in English. And now you can master them in two forms of Arabic as well.

How Many Pronouns Are There in the Arabic Language?

Arabic has 12 personal pronouns. But their setup is a little bit different than in English. In English, you have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person pronouns. These are “I”, “you”, “he”, “she”, and “it” in singular. Then there are the plural pronouns: “we”, “you”, “they”.

In Arabic, you have singular, dual, and plural pronouns in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person. The dual pronouns are used when there are only two people you’re talking about. If it’s three or more, you have to use plural Arabic pronouns. This only exists in Modern Standard Arabic, but not in Egyptian Arabic.

There are fewer pronouns in Egyptian Arabic because this dialect doesn’t have dual subject pronouns. They also don’t have different gendered pronouns in the plural form.

Does Arabic Have Genders?

Yes, Arabic has genders. The nouns in Arabic grammar are either masculine or feminine. And even the pronouns have genders. While in English, the plural “you” and “they” isn’t affected by gender, in Arabic it is. Depending on whether the people you’re talking about are women or men, you use the appropriate pronoun. (Although dual personal pronouns in Modern Standard Arabic don’t have genders).

Arabic pronouns have genders too

Arabic Subject Pronouns – ضمائر الفاعل (Damaa’ir al-faa3il)

It’s worth noting that subject pronouns are often dropped in everyday speech. The verb conjugation lets you know who the subject is, so using the subject pronouns in those cases is only a matter of emphasis. But, in verbless sentences, you need to use pronouns to let your audience know who you’re talking about.

Subject pronouns in standard and Egyptian Arabic

  English Standard Arabic Egyptian Arabic
Singular I أنا (ana)
you (masc.) انتَ (anta) انت (inta)
you (fem.) انتِ (anti) انتى (inti)
he هو (howwa)
she هي (heyya)
Dual we نحن (naHnu)  
you أنتما (antuma)  
they هما (humaa)  
Plural we نحن (naHnu) احنا (eHna)
you (masc.) أنتم (antum) انتو (intu)
you (fem.) أنتن (antunna)
they (masc.) هم (homa) هم (homa)
they (fem.) هن (hunna)
  • أنا أتحدث العربية (‘ana ‘atahadath alearabia) – I speak Arabic.
  • انت لطيف (‘ant latif) – You’re kind.

Arabic Object Pronouns – ضمائر المفعول به (Damaa’ir al-maf3uul bihi)

Object pronouns are the words you use when the action of the sentence affects someone or something directly. In English, these are words like “me”, “you”, “us”, “him”, “her”, and “them”. But, in Arabic, object pronouns are suffixes. This means that these pronouns are attached to the verb. Here’s an example:

  • كلمني (kalmuni) – Call me!

Object pronouns in standard and Egyptian Arabic

  English Standard Arabic Egyptian Arabic
Singular me ـني (-ni)
you (masc.) ـكَ (-ka) ـك (-ak)
you (fem.) ـكِ (-ki) ـك (-ik)
him ـه (-u)
her ـها (-ha)
Dual us ـنا (-na)  
you ـكما (-kuma)  
them ـهما (-huma)  
Plural us ـنا (-na)
you (masc.) ـكم (-kum) ـكو \ـكم (-ku/-kum)
you (fem.) ـكن (-kunna)
them (masc.) ـهم (-hum) ـهم (-hom)
them (fem.) ـهن (-hunna)

Learn Arabic possessive pronouns

Arabic Possessive Pronouns

These pronouns show ownership. In English, these are “my”, “you”, “his”, “her”, “our”, “your”, and “their”. Just like object pronouns, Arabic possessive pronouns are also suffixes. But, instead of attaching to the verb, they attach to the noun that is owned. There are also differences in gender in the 2nd person Arabic possessive pronouns. Here are some examples of this kind of pronoun in Egyptian Arabic:

  • كلبي (klbi) – my dog
  • كلبك (kalbak) – your dog
  • كلبه (klbah) – his dog
  • كلبها (kalabaha) – her dog

Possessive pronouns in standard and Egyptian Arabic:

English Standard Arabic Egyptian Arabic
Singular my
ـي (-i)
your (masc.) ـكَ (-ka) ـك (-ak)
your (fem.) ـكِ (-ki) ـك (-ik)
his
ـه (-u)
her
ـها (-ha)
Dual our ـنا (-na)
your ـكما (-kuma)
their ـهما (-huma)
Plural our
ـنا (-na)
your (masc.) ـكم (-kum) ـكو\ـكم (-ku/-kum)
your (fem.) ـكن (-kunna)
their (masc.) ـهم (-hum) ـهم (-hom)
their (fem.) ـهن (-hunna)

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