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    The possessive suffix

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Lecture challenge level

       See also: Possession explained, Be careful, Drills

Possession explained

We can only possess nouns and not verbs –

Therefore, the below possessive suffixes can only be attached to nouns!

Possession in Arabic is expressed by adding a suffix to the noun.

ExampleMy shirt is said in just one word  1 amiisi

 Let's do a close up:



     1 قَميصـي


 Possessive endings

ana - i               

ihna - na

inta - ak

intu or intum - kum

inti - ik


huwwa - u

humma - hum

hiyya - ha



 Listen and repeat...
"amis" ends in one consonant so you simply slot in the suffix without thinking about helping vowels! (Had it ended in two consonants you would need a helping vowel).

 Possessive suffixes


2 amiisi  my                 

my shirt


3 amiisak  -  your masc.             

your shirt

See remaining conjugations

Be careful


Add a helping vowel BEFORE the suffix (only if the suffix begins with a consonant) for the following two cases:

CASE #1: If the noun ends in two consonants – add a vowel

You can only guess if it is an a i or u vowel until you get better at the "sounds" of the language.

Frequently, the helping vowel is similar to any prior vowel in the word!

Example: Let’s say we want to add to the word ŝoġl (work) the suffix “ha” (her).

  Note: ŝoġl ENDS in two consonants and ha BEGINS with a consonant.

Rule recall: You can not have three consonants in a row in Arabic.

 Let's do a close up:

شُغْلـُ+ ها      


شغل + ها
10 ŝoġl + ha    


In the above example the helping vowel a is seen in the transliteration.

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  Note: Helping vowels are usually not typed in Arabic text but are pronounced. Don't let this confuse you. You will hear the helping vowel while listening to the audio clip.

  Note: The suffixes “i” (my), “ik” and “ak” (your), and “u” (his) do not need helping vowels.

After all, why would they if they already BEGIN with a vowel!

CASE #2: If the noun ends in a vowel – add another similar vowel before attaching the suffix.

  Example: Let’s say we want to add to the word korsi (meaning “chair”) the suffix “ha” (which means “her”).

Note that
korsi already ENDS in one vowel. So, you need to add ONE MORE VOWEL prior to adding any suffix.

The two vowels now appear in the word like this:

Note written Arabic is different from transliterated Arabic. For written Arabic one long vowel is used instead of two short as seen in the transliteration.

 Let's do a close up:

كرسيُ+ ها كُرْسـيُها  

كُرْسي + ها
11 korsi + ha

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