Demonstrative pronouns are used to make sentences less repetitive by allowing us to replace nouns with shorter words. This helpful guide will will demonstrate and teach you how to use demonstrative pronouns in Arabic.
What Are Demonstrative Pronouns in Arabic?
In Arabic grammar, a demonstrative pronoun are called إسم الإشارة (plural: أَسْمَاءُ الإشَارَة) and pronounced as ism ul-ishara or asma’ul ishara are words like this, these, that and those. They are noun which are used to point to something that has already been mentioned in some form or another.
A demonstrative pronoun is an uncertain word until it is defined by another word. A demonstrative pronoun in Arabic can be masculine or feminine in gender. The number might be singular, dual, or plural. In terms of reference, it refers to a close noun, a far noun, or a noun that is neither close nor distant. All of these details are covered in this page.
Near Distance Arabic Demonstrative Pronouns
- This هَذَا
- These (two) هَذَانِ
- These (all) هَؤُلآءِ
- This هَذِهِ
- These (two) هَاتَان
- These (all) هَؤُلآءِ
Far Distance Arabic Demonstrative Pronouns
- That ذَلِكَ
- Those (two) ذَانِكَ
- Those (all) أُولئِكَ
- That تِلْكَ
- Those (two) تَانِكَ
- Those (all) أُولئِكَ
Masculine Demonstrative Pronouns In Arabic
In Arabic, هَذَا is widely used in spoken and written Arabic. It is used to refer to a person, an animal, or a nearby object.
We use ذَاكَ to refer to a person, an animal, or an object that is fairly far away from us. To represent the distance, كَ is added to the basic masculine singular demonstrative noun (i.e. fairly far).
We use ذَلِكَ to refer to someone or something that is too far away. In this case, denotes that the distance is too far. Example
هَذَا كِتَاب وذَاكَ دَفْتَر وذَلِكَ قَامُوس
- This is a book, and that is a notebook, and that over there is a dictionary.
From the above, it can be deduced that, هَذَا, ذَاكَ, and ذَلِكَ are masculine singular demonstrative pronouns. In the nominative form, they have the dual forms هَذَان and ذَانِك. هَذَيْن and ذِيْنِك are the accusative and genitive forms of the pronouns.
At least in Modern Standard Arabic, the demonstrative noun does not have a dual form.
It is worth mentioning that ذَانِكَ and ذِيْنِكَ are rarely used in Arabic, and they will most likely disappear from Modern Standard Arabic usage.
These هَؤُلاءِ and أوْلَئِكَ are two variants of and in the plural. The first is for people nearby, and the second is for people far away. In contrast to the dual, they have the same forms regardless of their position in the sentence.
Feminine Demonstrative Pronouns In Arabic
In Arabic, the basic feminine singular demonstrative noun is هَذِهِ. It is more widely used in spoken and written Arabic. It is used to refer to a person, animal, or item that is close to us. The form of هَذِه remains the same regardless of where it appears in the sentence.
The dual form of هَذِهِ and تِلْكَ are هَاتَان and تَانِك in the nominative and هَاتَيْن and تَيْنِكَ in the accusative and genitive. The plural form of the feminine demonstrative nouns is the same as that of the masculine.
Examples Of Demonstrative Pronouns In Arabic
Here are examples of Arabic demonstrative pronouns.
This هَذَا Hadha
This is used to refer to the masculine singular that is close and be used to both person or object. Examples
- This is a book هذا كتاب
- This is a yellow pen. هذا قلم أصفر
- This is an engineer. هذا مهندس
These (two) هَذَانِ Hadhani
These (two) are used for (two masculine, living things and non living things) that are close. Examples:
- These two books are useful هَذَانِ الكِتَابَانِ مُفِيدَانِ
- These two books are interesting. هذان الكتابان مُمتعان
- These two students are hardworking. هذان الطالبان مُجتهدان
These (all) هَؤُلآءِ Ha’ulaa’i
It is a plural form in arabic demonstrative pronouns that is common to both genders and that is solely used for humans. Otherwise, the feminine singular هَذِهِ – is enough to refer to the collective of plural non-human nouns and broken plurals. Examples:
- These are hardworking students هؤلاء طلاب مجتهدون
- These are my brothers هؤلاء إخواني
- These are my sisters هؤلاء أخواتي
- These are red pens هذه أقلام حمراء
This هَذِهِ Hadhihi
This is used used to refer to the feminine singular object that is close. Examples:
- This is my bag هذه حقيبتي
- This is a beautiful room هذه غرفة جميلة
- This is Fatima bint Ali هذه فاطمة بنت علي
That ذَلِكَ Dhalika
This is used for masculine singular in far distance. Examples:
- What is that? ما ذلك؟
- That is a boy ذَلِكَ ولد
- Those two men are physicians ذَانِكَ الرَّجُلان طَبِيْبَان
- I work with those two men أَعَمْلُ مَعَ ذَيْنِكَ الرَّجُلَيْن
- Those students are from Japan أُوْلَئِكَ الطُلْاب مِنَ اليَابَان
- I know these engineers أَعْرِفُ هَؤُلاء المُهَنْدِسُون
- I study with those students أَدْرِسُ مَعَ أُوْلَئِكَ الطُّلَّابُ
Non-human Plural Demonstrative Pronouns
All plural non-human nouns, regardless of gender, are referred to using هَذِهِ for close objects and تِلَكَ for far things, as in the following examples:
- These are chairs هَذِهِ كَرَاسِي
- Those are desks تِلْكَ طَاوِلَات
Pointing words in Arabic
Pointing words in Arabic are this, that, here and there. To refer to a place, the demonstrative nouns هُنَا, هُنَاكَ, and هُنَالِكَ are use. هُنَا for a near place, and هُنَاكَ and هُنَالِكَ are for a far place(s). The table below shows the pointing words in Arabic.
Pointing Words In Arabic (Near Distance)
Pointing Words In Arabic (Far Distance)
Pointing Words In Arabic For Places