Egyptian Arabic Grammar


Pronouns

Pronouns are short words that are used to replace nouns in spoken English and Arabic, to make our speech clearer and more concise. In this example, Ahmed is the noun and He is the pronoun:

Ahmed has a dog. He walks with it every day
aacHmad Aand-uh kalb wa huwwa biyitmashshY maAa-uh kul ywm

There are four main groups of pronoun:

  • personal pronouns - I, you, he, etc
  • demonstrative pronouns - this, that
  • indefinite pronouns - somebody, anywhere
  • relative pronouns - who, which, that

Personal pronouns

In English, there are four versions of the personal pronoun (he, him, his, himself): in Egyptian, there is an additional version (to him).

EnglishEgyptianForm
hehuwwahuwwa
هـُوَّ
subject
himuh_uh
ــُه
object
to himluh_luh
ـلـُه
indirect object
hisuh_uh
ــُه
posessive
himselfnafsuhnafs-uh
نـَفسـُه
reflexive

In Egyptian, there are separate forms of you for masculine, feminine and plural, but there is no neuter (it): instead, it is necessary to use the he or she form, depending on the gender of the noun

Subject pronouns

A subject is the noun that appears before the verb- the person or thing that is doing something.

I like to read
aacnaa baaHib aacktib

The subject pronouns are:

EnglishEgyptian
I'anaaacnaa
أناَ
we'ihnaiicHnaa
إحناَ
you(m)'intaiicnta
إنتَ
you(f)'intiiicnti
إنتِ
you(pl)'intuiicntoo
إنتوا
he/it(m)huwwahuwwa
هـُوَّ
she/it(f)hiyahiya
هـِيَ
theyhummahumma
هـُمَّ

Personal pronouns are not needed with verbs, as it is clear from the verb, but it is common to use them, especially for emphasis. They are often used with participles.

Object pronoun suffixes

You can attach an object pronoun (for example me or him) as a suffix to an imperative, verb or participle. to refer to the object.

give me the knife

iicddyny iil-sikkynao

The object suffixes are similar to posessive suffixes on nouns:

English Suffix
me ni_ni
ـنِ
us na_na
ـنَ
You(m) ak_ak
ــَك
You(f) ik_ik
ــِك
You(pl) kum_kum
ـكـُم
Him/it(m)u_u
ـُ
Her/if(f)ha_ha
ـهَ
Them hum_hum
ـهـُم

If there is an I before the last consonant and the suffix starts with a vowel, the -i- is dropped, so...

possessive pronoun suffix

Things that would be expressed using a posessive pronoun (my, your... etc) in English can be handled using a possessive suffix attached to the noun, or using bitaAbitaA بـِتـَع. The latter is used for most imported words.

what (is) your name?

iicsm-ak iicyh?

The posessive pronouns themselves are pretty easy to learn, but when the pronouns are attached to nouns, the vowels do a little dance to make sure that you don't get three consonants in a row. Here are examples for nouns that end with one or two consonants:

Nouns ending in two consonants
English after -C after -CC
SaahibSaaHib
صا َحـِب
kalbkalb
كـَلب
my i_y
ـي
SaahibiSaaHib-y
صا َحـِبي
i_y
ـي
kalbikalb-y
كـَلبي
our na_naa
ـناَ
SaahibnaSaaHib-naa
صا َحـِبناَ
ina_inaa
ــِناَ
kalbinakalb-inaa
كـَلبـِناَ
your(m) ak_ak
ــَك
SaahibakSaaHib-ak
صا َحـِبـَك
ak_ak
ــَك
kalbakkalb-ak
كـَلبـَك
your(f) ik_ik
ــِك
SaahibikSaaHib-ik
صا َحـِبـِك
ik_ik
ــِك
kalbikkalb-ik
كـَلبـِك
your(pl)kum_kum
ـكـُم
SaahibkumSaaHib-kum
صا َحـِبكـُم
ukum_ukum
ــُكـُم
kalbukumkalb-ukum
كـَلبـُكـُم
his/its(m) uh_uh
ــُه
SaahibuhSaaHib-uh
صا َحـِبـُه
uh_uh
ــُه
kalbuhkalb-uh
كـَلبـُه
her/its(f) ha_haa
ـهاَ
SaahibhaSaaHib-haa
صا َحـِبهاَ
aha_ahaa
ــَهاَ
kalbahakalb-ahaa
كـَلبـَهاَ
their hum_hum
ـهـُم
SaahibhumSaaHib-hum
صا َحـِبهـُم
uhum_uhum
ــُهـُم
kalbuhumkalb-uhum
كـَلبـُهـُم

For nouns ending in a_ao ــَة, the a_ao ــَة is replaced by t_t ـت or it_it ــِت and then the ending is added.

Nouns ending in a_ao ــَة
English after -Cafter -CC
koorakwrao
كور َة
shanTashanTao
شـَنطـَة
my ti_ty
ـتي
koortikwr-ty
كورتي
iti_ity
ــِتي
shanTitishanT-ity
شـَنطـِتي
our itna_itnaa
ــِتناَ
kooritnakwr-itnaa
كور ِتناَ
itna_itnaa
ــِتناَ
shanTitnashanT-itnaa
شـَنطـِتناَ
your(m) tak_tak
ـتـَك
koortakkwr-tak
كورتـَك
itak_itak
ــِتـَك
shanTitakshanT-itak
شـَنطـِتـَك
your(f) tik_tik
ـتـِك
koortikkwr-tik
كورتـِك
itik_itik
ــِتـِك
shanTitikshanT-itik
شـَنطـِتـِك
your(pl)itkum_itkum
ــِتكـُم
kooritkumkwr-itkum
كور ِتكـُم
itkum_itkum
ــِتكـُم
shanTitkumshanT-itkum
شـَنطـِتكـُم
his/its(m) tuh_tuh
ـتـُه
koortuhkwr-tuh
كورتـُه
ituh_ituh
ــِتـُه
shanTituhshanT-ituh
شـَنطـِتـُه
her/its(f) itha_it-haa
ــِتهاَ
koorithakwrit-haa
كور ِتهاَ
itha_it-haa
ــِتهاَ
shanTithashanTit-haa
شـَنطـِتهاَ
their ithum_it-hum
ــِتهـُم
koorithumkwr-it-hum
كور ِتهـُم
ithum_it-hum
ــِتهـُم
shanTithumshanT-it-hum
شـَنطـِتهـُم

Nouns that end in alif a_aa ـاَ are treated almost like feminine nouns, ie the alif is replaced by it_iit ـا ِت and then the ending is added.

Nouns ending in i_y ـي or w_w ـو are listed below.

Note that for most words ending in w_w ـو, for example baltwbaltw بـَلتو, one would normally use bitaAbitaA بـِتـَع rather than a posessive suffix.

Nouns ending in a vowel
English a_aa
ـاَ
i_y
ـي
w_w
ـو
veelavylaa
ڤيلاَ
koorsikwrsy
كورسي
AadwAadw
عـَدو
my ya_ya
ـيَ
veelitivyliit-y
ڤيلا ِتي
koorsyakwrsy-aa
كورسياَ
AadwiAadw-y
عـَدوي
our na_naa
ـناَ
veelitnavyliit-naa
ڤيلا ِتناَ
koorsynakwrsy-naa
كورسيناَ
AadwnaAadw-naa
عـَدوناَ
your(m) k_k
ـك
veelitakvyliit-ak
ڤيلا ِتـَك
koorsykkwrsy-k
كورسيك
AadwkAadw-k
عـَدوك
your(f) ki_ki
ـكِ
veelitikvyliit-ik
ڤيلا ِتـِك
koorsykikwrsy-ky
كورسيكي
AadwikAadw-ik
عـَدو ِك
your(pl)kum_kum
ـكـُم
veelitkumvyliit-kum
ڤيلا ِتكـُم
koorsykumkwrsy-kum
كورسيكـُم
AadwkumAadw-kum
عـَدوكـُم
his/its(m) h_h
ـه
veelituhvyliit-uh
ڤيلا ِتـُه
koorsyhkwrsy-h
كورسيه
AadwhAadw-h
عـَدوه
her/its(f) ha_haa
ـهاَ
veelithavyliit-haa
ڤيلا ِتهاَ
koorsyhakwrsy-haa
كورسيهاَ
AadwhaAadw-haa
عـَدوهاَ
their hum_hum
ـهـُم
veelithumvyliit-hum
ڤيلا ِتهـُم
koorsyhumkwrsy-hum
كورسيهـُم
AadwhumAadw-hum
عـَدوهـُم

Father and brother 'abbaacbb أبّ and brother 'aKKaacKK أخّ become 'abwaacbw_ أبوـ and brother 'aKwaacKw_ أخوـ when a possessive pronoun is added.

English father
aacbb
brother
aacKK
my 'abwyaaacbwyaa
أبوياَ
'aKwyaaacKwyaa
أخوياَ
our 'aboonaaacbwnaa
أبوناَ
'aKoonaaacKwnaa
أخوناَ
your(m) 'abookaacbwk
أبوك
'aKookaacKwk
أخوك
your(f) 'abookiaacbwky
أبوكي
'aKookiaacKwky
أخوكي
your(pl)'abookumaacbwkum
أبوكـُم
'aKookumaacKwkum
أخوكـُم
his/its(m) 'aboohaacbwh
أبوه
'aKoohaacKwh
أخوه
her/its(f) 'aboohaaacbwhaa
أبوهاَ
'aKoohaaacKwhaa
أخوهاَ
their 'aboohumaacbwhum
أبوهـُم
'aKoohumaacKwhum
أخوهـُم

reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, himself)

Reflexive pronouns can be used after a noun or a verb.

EnglishEgyptian
I can look after myselfhaaKud baali min nafsihaaKud baaly min nafs-y
ها َخـُد با َلي مـِن نـَفسي
The man himselfilraagil nafsuhiil-raagil nafs-uh
ا ِلرا َجـِل نـَفسـُه
He did it by himselfhuwwa Aaamalha binafsuhhuwwa Aaamal-ha bi-nafs-uh
هـُوّ َ عا َمـَله َ بـِنـَفسـُه

Demonstrative pronouns

These are the words that you use when you want to point at something.

EnglishEgyptian
this (man)dahdah
د َه
this (woman, thing)didy
دي
those (men)dooldwl
دول
those (women,things)deehdyh
ديه

If you want to use one of these with a noun, to indicate which one, (for example, this book), you should use a Demonstrative adjective. Fortunately, in both English an Egyptian, the demonstrative pronouns are the same as the demonstrative adjectives. Note that, when using demonstrative adjectives in Egyptian, the noun retains its iliil_ ا ِلـ prefix.

demonstrativeEnglishEgyptian
pronounhow much is thisbikaam dahbi-kaam dah
بـِكا َم د َه
pronounhow much is this bookbikaam ilkitaab dahbi-kaam iil-kitaab dah
بـِكا َم ا ِلكـِتا َب د َه

Indefinite pronouns

These are words like anybody, something etc. In Egyptian, these are made up of two words, but they are used in exactly the same way as in English.

EnglishEgyptian
somebodyhaddHadd
حـَدّ
anybody'ai haddaacy Hadd
أي حـَدّ
nobodywala haddwalaa Hadd
و َلا َ حـَدّ
somethinghaagaHaagao
حا َجـَة
anything'ai haagaaacy Haagao
أي حا َجـَة
nothingwala haagawalaa Haagao
و َلا َ حا َجـَة
somewheremakaanmakaan
مـَكا َن
anywhere'ai makaanaacy makaan
أي مـَكا َن
nowherewala makaanwalaa makaan
و َلا َ مـَكا َن

Relative pronoun

The relative pronoun illiiilly ا ِلّي is used to represent that, who and which

the left turn that is coming (ie the next left)
iil-yimyn iilly gayy
the man who lives here
iil-raagil iilly saakin hinaa

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