Arabic Grammar Lesson 1 : Types of words

In the name of Allāh, ar-Raḥmān (the most merciful), ar-Raḥīm (the bestower of mercy).

According to Arabic grammar, speech – meaning words – are three types :

  1. Nouns.
  2. Verbs.
  3. Particles.

الكَلَامُ هو اللَّفظُ المُرَكَّبُ المُفِيدُ بالوَضْع

Speech is defined as:  A structured set of words, conveying meanings, in Arabic.

وأَقسَامُهُ ثَلَاثَةٌ : اِسمٌ ، وفِعلٌ ، وحَرفٌ جاءَ لمَعنَى

It is three types: noun, verb and a particle which is utilised to convey a meaning.


There are three types of ‘words’ in the Arabic language:

  1. اِسمٌ – Noun

This is the name of something, and is not linked to any tense. It can be a physical object, place or person; or something non-physical such as feelings, ideas and emotions.

Nouns have meanings independent of any other word. Examples include:

Masjid مَسجِدٌ
Muhammad مُحَمَّدٌ
Girl بِنتٌ
Year سَنَةٌ
Love مَحَبَّةٌ
Thought فِكرَةٌ
A thing شَيءٌ
Pen قَلَمٌ


  1. فِعلٌ – Verb

This is an action linked to a tense; It has a meaning independent of any other word, however the verb is linked to a person or object doing it. Examples include:

[He] Went ذَهَبَ
[He is] Eating يَأكُلُ
Stand [up]. قُمْ


  1. حَرفٌ – A particle

This is a word or letter which is neither a noun nor a verb. It does not have an independent meaning, rather its meaning is only realised when connected to other words. Examples include:

And… وَ
Then… ثُمَّ
Which…? أَيُّ
From… مِنْ
To… إِلى


Without the particle being connected to other words, the meaning remains unfulfilled. Examples of meaningful sentences include:

الكِتَابُ عَلى المَكتَبِ

The book is on the desk.

ذَهَبَتْ خِدِيجَةُ إِلى الدَّرسِ

Khadijah went to the lesson.

المُسلِمُ فِي المَسجِدِ

The Muslim is in the masjid.

الإِسلَامُ جَمِيلٌ

Islam is beautiful.



  1. What are the three types of Arabic words?
  2. Define each one of the above?
  3. Give two examples of each?
  4. Which type of word:
    1. Is connected to a tense?
    2. Does not have an independent meaning?
  5. Complete the following Arabic phrase:

…الكَلَامُ ثَلَاثَةُ أَقسَامٍ

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2010. He currently resides in Nelson, Lancashire and is the Imam of Masijd Sunnah.


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