Arabic Numbers – learn how to count in Arabic by studying the rules of gender and plurality in Arabic numerals, both Cardinal and Ordinal.

Arabic Numbers

Click here if you’re not interested in the grammar behind actually counting in Arabic and are just looking for some useful number vocab.

How we will approach Arabic Numbers

Consider the following grouping of Arabic numbers and try to become accustomed to this categorization. Notice that there is a lot of division based on putting 1 & 2 into one category, and 3 to 9 in another.

Group

Numbers

A

1, 2

B

3..10

C

11, 12

D

13..19

E

20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90

F

21, 22, 31, 32, 41, 42, 51, 52, 61, 62, 71, 72, 81, 82, 91, 92

G

23..29, 33..39, 43..49, 53..59, 63..69, 73..79, 83..89, 93..99

H

100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900

I

1000 onwards

For each of these groups, we want to consider the following:

  • How do you construct the number – ordinal and cardinal?
  • What is the grammatical gender of the number?
  • What is the grammatical case of the number?
  • What is the grammatical case of the counted word (by counted word we mean, for example, ‘men’ in the phrase ’22 men’)?
  • Is the counted word going to be singular or plural?

Constructing the Arabic Numbers

Below are tables describing how we construct the different Arabic numbers mentioned. Both cardinals (one, two, three) are included, as well as ordinals (first, second, third).

Note that we can make any of the ones place numbers (as well as the word عشر) feminine simply by adding the تاء of femininity (suffix ة). The only exception is that احد has feminine form اِحْدى. Therefore, only the masculine forms have been shown.

The charts below are quite dense. To ease the learning process, familiarize yourself with this chart below which aims to introduce the core vocabulary of Arabic numbers. Most other numbers are simply manipulations of these words.

Arabic Numbers

 

2

1

A

 

 

Use dual

Use singular

Cardinal

 

ثاني

واحِد

Ordinal


10

9

8

7

6

5

4

3

B

عَشَْر

تِسْع

ثَماني

سَبْع

سِتّ

خَمْس

أَرْبَع

ثَلاث

Cardinal

عاشِر

تاسِع

ثامِن

سابِع

سادِس

خامِس

رابِع

ثالِث

Ordinal


19

18

17

16

15

14

13

12

11

C, D

تِسْعَ عَشَرَ

ثَمانِي عَشَرَ

سَبْعَ عَشَرَ

سِتَّ عَشَرَ

خَمْسَ عَشَرَ

أَرْبَعَ عَشَرَ

ثَلاثَ عَشَرَ

اِثْنا عَشَرَ

اَحَدَ عَشَرَ

Cardinal

تاسِع عَشَرَ

ثامِن عَشَرَ

سابِع عَشَرَ

سادِس عَشَرَ

خامِس عَشَرَ

رابِع عَشَرَ

ثالِث عَشَرَ

ثاني عَشَرَ

حادي عَشَرَ

Ordinal


90

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

E

تِسْعونَ

ثَمانونَ

سَبْعونَ

سِتّونَ

خَمْسونَ

أَرْبَعونَ

ثَلاثونَ

عِشْرونَ

Cardinal

Ordinal


23

22

21

F, G

ثلاث وعِشْرونَ

إثنْان وعِشْرونَ

واحِد وعِشْرونَ

Cardinal

ثالِث وعِشْرونَ

ثاني وعِشْرونَ

حادي وعِشْرونَ

Ordinal


900

800

700

600

500

400

300

200

100

H

تِسْعمِائة

ثَمانيمِائة

سَبْعمِائة

سِتّمِائة

خَمْسمِائة

اَرْبَعمِائة

ثَلاثمـِائة

مِائَتانِ

مِائة

Cardinal

تاسِع مِائة

ثامِن مِائة

سابِع مِائة

سادِس مِائة

خامِس مِائة

رابِع مِائة

ثالِث مِائة

Ordinal


100,000

3,000

2,000

1,000

I

مِائة آلاف

ثَلاث آلاف

اَلْفانِ

اَلْف

Cardinal

ثالِث آلاف

Ordinal

Examples

a floor

طابق

1st floor

الطابق الواحد

2 floors

طابقان

2nd floor

الطابق الثاني

5 tests

خمسة امتحانات

5th test

الامتحان الخامس

11 pictures

احدى عشرة صورة

11th picture

الصورة الحادية عشرة

18 arrows

ثمانية عشر سهما

18th arrow

السهم الثامن عشر

60 buckets

ستّون دلوا

60th bucket

الدلو الستون

31 cities

واحدة وثلاثون مدينة

31st city

المدينة الحادية والثلاثون

29 regions

تسع وعشرون منطقة

29th region

المنطقة التاسعة والعشرون

300 soldiers

ثلاثمائة عسكريّ

300th soldier

العسكري الثالث مائة

413 thieves

اربعمائة وثلاثة عشر لصا

413th thief

اللص الرابع مائة والثالث عشر

year 1985

سنة الف وتسعمائة وخمس وثمانين

1,985th year

السنة الالف والتاسعة مائة والخامسة والثمانون

Grammatical Gender of the Arabic Numbers

The table below explains what the gender of a cardinal number will be given the word being counted. The ordinals have not been included because, in most cases, they act as adjectives for the counted word. So they will match in gender. For example, الرجل الثالث and المرأة الثالثة.

To facilitate the understanding of these rules, let’s consider a rule of thumb: Consider the gender of the singular form of the word being counted. When the ones place is 1 or 2, the ones place will match that singular in gender. And when the ones place is a number between 3 and 9, it will mismatch.

Group

Numbers

Gender of Cardinals

Example

A

1, 2

There is no number, the counted word is used either as singular or dual as needed

رئيس، رئيسان
مرأة، مرأتان

B

3..10

Ones place: gender opposite of the counted word

(sing. امتحان) ثلاثة امتحانات
(sing. مباراة)ثلاث مباريات

C

11, 12

Ones place: gender same as the counted word

Tens place: gender same as the counted word

احد عشر بلدا
إحدى عشرة ولاية

D

13..19

Ones place: gender opposite of the counted word

Tens place: gender same as the counted word

أربعة عشر سبيلا
أربع عشرة معجزة

E

20, 30, 40, 50, …

Tens place: always masculine

خمسون صحيفا
خمسون ورقة

F

21, 22, 31, 32, …

Ones place: gender same as the counted word

Tens place: always masculine

اثنان وستون مرابطا
اثنتان وستون زوجة

G

23..29, 33..39, …

Ones place: gender opposite of the counted word

Tens place: always masculine

سبعة وسبعون ركنا
سبع وسبعون صدقة

H

100, 200, 300, …

Hundreds place: always masculine since the word مائة is feminine
The word
مائة is always feminine

ثمانيمائة وخمسة وعشرون بيتا
ثمانيمائة وخمس وعشرون دار

I

1000, 2000, …

Thousands place: always feminine since the word الف is masculine
The word
الف is always masculine

تسعة آلاف جلاّد
تسعة آلاف هرة

Exercise: translate the following phrases into Arabic. The translations of the counted words have been provided. Where you see two words, you must use the underlined plural; the singular is there to help you figure out the gender.

a.       a dog (كلب، كلاب)

b.      7 kittens (هريرة، هريرات)

c.       10 masc. students (طالب، طلاب)

d.      11 mice (فأرة)

e.      12 masc. classmates (زميل)

f.        14 windows (شباك)

g.       18 caravans (قافلة)

h.      32 dates (تمرة)

i.        51 journalists (صحافيون)

j.        96 frogs (ضفدع)

k.       99 nicknames (كنية)

l.        307 stars (نجم، نجوم)

m.    411 telephones (هاتف)

n.      789 beds (سريرة)

o.      1,718 apples (تفّاح)

p.      36,036 peaches (درّاق)


Grammatical Case of the Numbers & the Counted Words

The table below summarizes what grammatical case both the number and the counted word take.

Group

Numbers

Case of Number

Case of Word

Example

A

1, 2

There is no number

Determined by its position in the sentence

رأيت رجليـن

B

3..10

Determined by its position in the sentence

The number and word form اضافة, so it will be genitive

لعب في ثلاثةِ ميادينَ

C

11, 12

 

Both parts are indeclinable; final letters take the فتحة vowel in all cases

The number and word form تميز, so it will be accusative

ثلاثَ عشرةَ عيناً

D

13..19

 

E

20, 30, 40, 50, …

 

Determined by its position in the sentence

خذ ثلاثاً وأربعيـن داراً

F

21, 22, 31, 32, …

 

G

23..29, 33..39, …

 

H

100, 200, 300, …

 

The number’s case is determined by its position

The number and word form اضافة, so it will be genitive

أوقظ ثلاثُمائةِ الفِ نائمٍ

I

1000, 2000, …

 

It is important to note that, when you have a complicated number like 1234, those numbers that form اضافة or تميز will do so with the words that follow them, whether those words are the thing being counted or other numbers.

For example, in “أوقظ ثلاثُمائةِ الفِ نائمٍ”, مائة forms اضافة with الف.

Exercise: correctly inflect the underlined words in the following sentences:

a.       فانفجرت منه اثنتا عشرة عين

b.      أنزل الله مائة الف وأربعة وعشرون الف نبي

Plurality of the Counted Words

The final task is to understand whether the word following the number will be singular or plural. Refer to our dedicated tutorial at Learn Arabic Online on Arabic plurals if you need further help. This is a relatively simple topic summarized in the table below.

Group

Numbers

Plurality of Word

Example

A

1, 2

single or dual

ثعلب، ثعلبان

B

3..10

plural

خمسة ثعالبَ

C

11, 12

 

single

احدَ عشرَ ثعلباً

D

13..19

 

خمسةَ عشرَ ثعلباً

E

20, 30, 40, 50, …

 

خمسون ثعلباً

F

21, 22, 31, 32, …

 

واحد وخمسون ثعلباً

G

23..29, 33..39, …

 

خمسة وخمسون ثعلباً

H

100, 200, 300, …

 

خمسمائةِ ثعلبٍ

I

1000, 2000, …

 

خمسة آلافِ ثعلبٍ

Exercise: correct the following phrases in terms of gender and grammatical case, as necessary:

a.       أحدَ عشرةِ فنادقَ

b.      اثنتا عشرةَ درهماً

c.       تسعةَ عشرةِ كتابٍ

d.      خمسو قضاةٍ

e.      ثلاثةُ مائةٍ وإحدى وتسعين طاولاتٍ

Extend your Knowledge

Numerals

The numerals associated with the Arabic numbers are summarized in the following chart:

Number

Numeral

 

صفر

٠

0

واحد

١

1

اثنان

٢

2

ثلاثة

٣

3

أربعة

٤

4

خمسة

٥

5

ستة

٦

6

سبعة

٧

7

ثمانية

٨

8

تسعة

٩

9

Fractions

In Arabic, we use the word نصف to indicate one half. In order to indicate fractions with a numerator of 1 but denominators larger than 2, we place the cardinal numbers on the فُعُل pattern. The table below makes this clearer.

1/5

1/4

1/3

1/2

خُمُس

رُبُع

ثُلُث

نِصْف

In order to change the numerator, we use the rules of Arabic numbers we’ve just learned, using the denominator as the counted word. In essence, what we are saying is ‘three one-quarters,’ for example. Below are a few examples.

3/4

3/3

3/2

2/4

2/3

2/2

ثَلاثة أَرْباعٍ

ثَلاثة أَثْلاثٍ

ثَلاثة أنْصافٍ

رُبُعانِ

ثُلُثانِ

نِصْفانِ

Useful Number Vocab

In the rest of this tutorial, we’ll list some useful number vocab. These are Arabic words and Arabic expressions that relate in some way to the Arabic numbers from one until ten and also zero.

One

Arabic

English

آل / يؤول

to return; regress

أَوَّل

first; foremost

(superlative: what you arrive at after doing the most returning)

أولاً

firstly, at the outset

مِن أوائل …

since the beginning / inception of …

في أَوائل …

at the beginning of… (some timeframe)

في أوائل الشهر

during the first ten days of a month

أمسِ الأول

day before yesterday

الأول فالأول

first come first serve

واحد

one

وُحْدانا

individually

وحدانية

singularity, oneness

وحيد

alone; lonely

توحيد

declaring the oneness of God; consolidation; standardization

اتّحاد

unity

متّحدة

united (as in U.N., U.S.A, U.A.E, etc)

يوم الأحد

Sunday

Two

Arabic

English

ثنى / يثني

to bend; among other meanings

اثنان

two (when one thing bends towards another to the point where they become paired)

ثانٍ

second

ثانية ج. ثوانٍ

second (as in time)

ثَنَوِية

dualism

مَثْنى

by twos; two at a time

ثُنائي

dual; binary

ثُنائية

duo (usually musical)

ثانوي

secondary (as in secondary school)

مثنّى

dual

يوم الإثنين

Monday

Three

Arabic

English

ثلاث

three

ثالث

third

ثُلُث

one third

ثُلاث، مَثْلَث

by threes; three at a time

ثُلاثي

tertiary

ثَلاثي

trinary

ثالوث

Trinity

مُثلَّث

triangle

تثليثي

trigonometric

يوم الثُلاثاء

Tuesday

Four

Arabic

English

أربَع

four

رابع

fourth

رُبع

quarter

رَبيع

spring

تربُّع

sitting cross-legged

رُباع

by fours; four at a time

رُباعي

(as an adjective)
quadruple; tetragonal; quartet; quatrain (poetry)

تربيعي

quadratic

مربَّع

square (rectangle = مستطيل); quadrilateral

مربَّعة

quadrant

يوم الأَرْبِعاء

Wednesday

Five

Arabic

English

خمس

five

خامس

fifth

خُمُس

one fifth

خُماسي

(as an adjective)

five-fold; five at a time; quintuple; quintet; pentagonal; pentahedral

مخمَّس

pentagon

يوم الخميس

Thursday

Six

Arabic

English

سِتّ

six

سادس

sixth

سُدُس

one sixth

سُداسي

(as an adjective)

six-fold; six at a time; hex-triple; sextet; hexagonal; hexahedral

مسدَّس

hexagon

Seven

Arabic

English

سَبْعة

seven

سابع

seventh

سُبُع

one seventh

سُباعي

(as an adjective)

seven-fold; seven at a time; sextuple; sextuplet; heptahedral

مسبَّع

heptagon

أُسبوع ج. أسابيع

week

أُسْبوعيّا

weekly

Eight

Arabic

English

ثمانٍ

eight

ثماني

eighth

ثُمُن

one eighth

ثُماني

(as an adjective)

eight-fold; eight at a time; etc

مثمَّن

octagon

Nine

Arabic

English

تِسْعة

nine

تاسع

ninth

تُسُع

one ninth

Ten

Arabic

English

عَشَر

ten

عاشر

tenth

عُشْر

one tenth; one twentieth

عُشري

decimal (as opposed to binary)

عِشار

animals (esp. camels) ten months pregnant

مِعْشار

the tenth part of something

عاشوراء

the tenth of Muharram

Zero

Arabic

English

صفَر / يصفَر

to be vacant/empty

صِفْر

zero

 

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