I'd like to know a strategy to deal with this lexical issue of the Arabic language. What strategy should I follow to memorize the right pattern correctly?

  • 1
    Welcome to Language Learning Stack Exchange. Could you expand your question a bit to explain what makes learning the pattern challenging?
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 11:21
  • As for the origins (مصادر) of verbs, I am not sure what you really mean. Is it the derivation of conjugated forms from the origins or the other way around?
    – user27495
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 11:54

3 Answers 3


As included in their definition, "broken plurals" in arabic are irregular. As a consequence, no single rule can allow you to master them. What's more, they sometimes differ so much from the singular that the word is difficult to recognize if you only know its singular form.

As frustrating as it may seem, I think the only way to memorize these plurals is to hear them several, respectively many times. The strategy I would recommend is to consistently look up the plural of new words you learn, and ask yourself what the plural of words you already know is. It reminds me of German, where I think it is important to always learn the gender of nouns. Once you get used to this discipline, you knowledge of plurals should improve a lot.

  • what about مَصادِرُ?
    – GJC
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 22:36

you can use these rules to get the verbal nouns, they tell you how to get it depending on the number of letters in your verb and the vowels on some of those letters.

مصادر الأفعال الثلاثية وغير الثلاثية والخماسية والسداسية

I wouldn't bother to learn the rules by heart. If I were you, I'll use an example for each one to remember them. And this one is for plurals: الجمع وأنواعه.

  • 1
    Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I am not able to read fluently enough, let alone without تشكيل. Therefore, I'd appreciate it so much if somebody could offer an English translation. Thanks.
    – GJC
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 7:31

The infinitive, abstract noun or verbal noun (اسم الفعل or مصدر) of a form-I verb is not necessarily predictable. Many such verbs have multiple valid infinitives, and there are many cases in Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon where he notes the authorities differed on whether a given word was a true infinitive or a common substantive.

That said, there are some general rules that often hold true.

For transitive verbs of the measure فَعَلَ (fa‘ala) or فَعِلَ (fa‘ila), the infinitive is typically of the measure فَعْلٌ (fa‘lun).

For intransitive verbs of the measure فَعَلَ (fa‘ala), the infinitive is typically of the measure فُعُولٌ (fu‘oolun).

For intransitive verbs of the measure فَعِلَ (fa‘ila), the infinitive is typically of the measure فَعَلٌ (fa‘alun).

For verbs of the measure فَعُلَ (fa‘ula), the infinitive is typically of the measure فَعَالَةٌ (fa‘aalatun) or فُعُولَةٌ (fu‘oolatun).

And these are the five most common measures of the infinitive.

See Wright's Grammar of the Arabic Language, Vol. I, pp. 110-115, which contain the above information along with a more detailed analysis.

  • what do you mean by measures?
    – GJC
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 19:33
  • The Arabic term is وَزْنٌ (pl. أَوْزَانٌ). I mean patterns, where the ف stands for the first root letter, the ع for the second and the ل for the third. So, for example, the infinitive of قَتَلَ is قَتْلٌ and the infinitive of جَلَسَ is جُلُوسٌ.
    – rzl62
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 22:10

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