; An English Guide to Classic Qur'anic Arabic: 9/11.0 - 11.1 - Basics of Irregular Nouns & Verbs


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9/11.0 - 11.1 - Basics of Irregular Nouns & Verbs


 This is a fairly complex and advanced part of the Arabic grammar. Only a few basic rules and explanations will be provided so as to help the reader in understanding why Verbs are sometimes different from their root word.

 The first alphabet in the Arabic alphabet, alif, is a weak alphabet that has two forms, a consonant form or hamzah ء and a vowel form ا (an extended alif). The vowel form can appear at the middle or the end of words, but never at the beginning.

 This regular hamzah at the beginning of a word is called the "disconnecting hamzah  هَمْزَةُ القَطْعِ ham-za-tulqat-ee. This is often an original alphabet and it must be pronounced always.

The other type of hamzah which lacks the sign ء is called the "connecting hamzah" هَمْزَةُ الوَصْلِ ham-za-tul was-li.

 Section 11. 1 - Irregular Nouns

 There are three irregular Nouns in Arabic. This happens when a vowel alif shows up at the end of a Noun:

1)     Shortened Noun الاِسْمُ المَقْصُوْرُةُ  al-is-mul maq-soo-ra-tu

2)     Extended Noun الاِسْمُ الْمَمْدُوْدَةُ  al-is-mulmam-doo-da-tu

3)     Defective Noun الْمَنْقُوصُ الاِسْمُ  al-is-mul-man-qoo-su


1)     Shortened Noun الاِسْمُ المَقْصُوْرُةُ  al-ismul maq-soo-ra-tu


If you see a long vowel alif (ا) at the end of Noun, it is not the original alphabet of the trilateral Noun. It has been substituted for either a و or a ي. The form ا substitutes for a waaw و and the form ى substitutes for a yaa ي

Shortened Nouns with more than three alphabets typically end with ى as in لَيْلٰىٰ  Lai-la (female proper name),  يَهْوٰىْ Yahwa (meaning he likes), مُسْتَشْفٰى  mus-tash-faa(meaning hospital – masculine), دُنْيَاْ  Dun-yaa(meaning world, feminine).


Nouns that end with extended alifs are called shortened Nouns because when an extended alif comes last in the word and it does not get full pronunciation, rather it will be shortened a small amount. For example:


Root Alphabets

Root version which is not used

Actual used version


ع ص و

عَصَوٌ  asa-wun

عَصَاْ  a-saa

A wand

ن د ي

نَدَيٌ  na-da-yun

نَدًىْ  nad-an



2)     Extended Noun اَلْاِسْمُ الْمَمدُوْدَةُ al-is-mul mam-doo-da-tu


An extended Noun  اَلْاِسْمُ االْمَمْدُوْدَةُ al-is-mul mam-doo-da-tu is a Noun which ends with a long vowel alif (ا) that is followed by a consonant alif ء, as in اْء.


These are called extended words because the presence of the ( ء ) hamzah at their ends allows the extended alif ( ا ) to be fully pronounced; contrary to the case of shortened Nouns. Some examples:




Water (masculine)



Heaven (feminine)



Supper (masculine)



Desert (feminine)



Friends (plural masculine)


3)     Defective Noun الْمَنْقُوصُ  اَلاِسْمُ     al-ism-ul man-qoos


A defective Noun الْمَنْقُوصُ  اَلاِسْمُ     l-ism-ul man-qoosis a Noun which ends with a long vowel يْ that is the original alphabet and belongs to the root. Proper names cannot be defective Nouns; and defective Nouns are always masculine unless a feminine taa ةwere attached, or they were irregular plurals.











Snakes (plural female)




The last original yaa of a defective Noun should be differentiated from the common attributive يَاُءٌ النِّسْبَتِيُّ  yaa-un nis-ba-tidouble yaa that comes also at the end of Nouns.


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