Appendix:Hebrew parts of speech

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

Hebrew-language appendices

This appendix is about the parts of speech of the Hebrew language.


Main appendix: Hebrew pronouns



Main appendix: Hebrew verbs


This dictionary follows the longstanding tradition of using the following forms as lemmata (citation forms):

  • for common nouns: the singular indefinite form
  • for adjectives: the masculine singular indefinite form
  • for pronouns: the standalone (subject) form
  • for prepositions: the non-pronoun-including form

That is, these are the forms for which full definitions are provided; other forms are described by reference to a lemma, such as "Plural construct form of אישה \ אִשָּׁה(ishá)‎." (for נְשׁוֹת(n'shót)). For instructions on controlling the appearance of such descriptions, see Category:Form-of templates.


Hebrew nouns, adjectives, and personal pronouns all undergo declension (noun-paradigm inflection); and, due to the peculiar way that personal pronouns decline, prepositions do as well.


Each noun and pronoun has a specific gender, either masculine or feminine, and each adjective has two sets of forms, one for modifying masculine nouns and pronouns one for modifying feminine ones.

Nouns referring to humans and certain kinds of animals generally come in pairs, one masculine noun for referring to males and one feminine noun for referring to females.


Hebrew generally has two grammatical numbers, singular (used with a single referent) and plural (used with multiple referents). Additionally, nouns have a dual number, which is a special case of the plural that is used with two referents; but most nouns' dual-number forms are exceedingly rare. Also, while a singular or plural form can be used with a cardinal number (for example, פעם אחת(pá'am akhát) "time-SINGULAR one-FEMININE", i.e. "once"; שלוש פעמים(shalósh p'amím) "three-FEMININE time-PLURAL", i.e. "three times"), a dual form cannot be; it is equivalent to the plural with the cardinal number "two" (so, for example, פעמיים(pa'amáyim) "time-DUAL", i.e. "twice", is exactly synonymous with שתי פעמים(sh'téi p'amím) "time-PLURAL two-FEMININE", i.e. "two times"). One major exception is that for some nouns, mostly nouns referring to various body parts, what is structurally (and was presumably originally) their dual form is used as their ordinary plural form, eliminating the dual–plural distinction in these nouns.

Hebrew adjectives and verbs agree with their subjects, and personal pronouns with their antecedents, in number, but these only distinguish between singular and plural; nouns in the dual form require plural agreement.


Hebrew common nouns have three "states": indefinite, analogous to English a/an plus a noun; definite, analogous to English the plus a noun; and construct, somewhat analogous to English 's plus a following noun, but is followed rather than preceded by its possessor. For example, consider the noun בַּיִת(báyit) "house". Its singular indefinite form בַּיִת(báyit) means "a house"; its singular definite form הַבַּיִת(habáyit) means "the house"; and its singular construct form בֵּית(béit) means "a house of" or "the house of". (Definiteness of a construct noun is often marked on the following noun; for example, בֵּית סֵפֶר(béit), literally "house-CONSTRUCT book-INDEFINITE", means "school", while בֵּית הַסֵּפֶר(béit), literally "house-CONSTRUCT book-DEFINITE" means "the school". This is not always possible, however; בני(b'ní) "son-CONSTRUCT me", i.e. "my son", can mean either "one of my sons" or "my only son".) A definite form is formed very regularly from the corresponding indefinite form by using the clitic הַ-(ha-) "the"; construct forms are less consistent, however, sometimes being identical to the corresponding indefinite forms and other times showing changes in vowels, endings, or both.

Hebrew adjectives also have three states, indefinite, definite, and construct. The construct forms are rare. The definite forms are formed from the corresponding indefinite forms by using the clitic הַ-(ha-) "the"; hence, in Hebrew, "the big house" would be הבית הגדול(habáyit hagadól), literally "house-DEFINITE big-DEFINITE". The definiteness of an adjective can be determined separately from that of the noun it modifies; that is, a semantically definite noun that is not itself marked for definiteness (say, because it is a proper noun, and hence inherently definite) will nonetheless be modified by adjectives in the definite form. The constructness of an adjective is independent of that of the noun it modifies and indicates that the adjective is modified by the following noun, e.g. אֶת־כָּל־נַעֲרָה־בְתוּלָה טוֹבַת מַרְאֶה('et-kol-na'ará-b'tulá továt mar'é, all the fair young virgins, literally all the young virgins good of appearance) (Esther 2:3).


Masculine noun without internal changes[edit]

The word סוּס(sús, horse) does not go through any stem-internal changes:

Basic forms Singular Dual Plural
Definite הַסּוּס(ha-sús, the horse) הַסּוּסַיִם(ha-susáyim, the two horses) הַסּוּסִים(ha-susím, the horses)
Indefinite סוּס(sús, a horse) סוּסַיִם(susáyim, two horses) סוּסִים(susím, horses)
Construct סוּס־(sús-, (the/a) horse of) סוּסֵי־(suséi-, (the/a) horses of)
Singular possessed forms Singular Plural
masculine feminine masculine feminine
1st person סוּסִי(susí, my horse) סוּסֵנוּ(suséinu, our horse)
2nd person סוּסְךָ(sus'khá, thy (m) horse) סוּסֵךְ(susékh, thy (f) horse) סוּסְכֶם(sus'khém, your (m) horse) סוּסְכֶן(sus'khén, your (f) horse)
3rd person סוּסוֹ(susó, his horse) סוּסָהּ(susáh, her horse) סוּסָם(susám, their (m) horse) סוּסָן(susán, their (f) horse)
Plural possessed forms Singular Plural
masculine feminine masculine feminine
1st person סוּסַי(susái, my horses) סוּסֵינוּ(suséinu, our horses)
2nd person סוּסֶיךָ(susékha, thy (m) horses) סוּסַיִךְ(susáyikh, thy (f) horses) סוּסֵיכֶם(suseikhém, your (m) horses) סוּסֵיכֶן(suseikhén, your (f) horses)
3rd person סוּסָיו(susáv, his horses) סוּסֶיהָ(suséha, her horses) סוּסֵיהֶם(suseihém, their (m) horses) סוּסֵיהֶן(suseihén, their (f) horses)

Masculine noun with internal changes[edit]

The word דָּבָר(davár, word/thing) goes through stem-internal changes throughout the declension:

Singular Dual Plural
Definite הַדָּבָר(ha-davár, the word/thing) הַדְּבָרַיִם(ha-d'varáyim, the two words/things) הַדְּבָרִים(ha-d'varím, the words/things)
Indefinite דָּבָר(davár, a word/thing) דְּבָרַיִם(d'varáyim, two words/things) דְּבָרִים(d'varím, words/things)
Construct דְּבַר־(d'vár-, (the/a) word/thing of) דִּבְרֵי־(div'réi-, (the/a) words/things of)
Singular possessed forms Singular Plural
masculine feminine masculine feminine
1st person דְּבָרִי(d'varí, my word/thing) דְּבָרֵנוּ(d'varéinu, our word/thing)
2nd person דְּבָרְךָ(d'var'khá, thy (m) word/thing) דְּבָרֵךְ(d'varékh, thy (f) word/thing) דְּבַרְכֶם(d'var'khém, your (m) word/thing) דְּבַרְכֶן(d'var'khén, your (f) word/thing)
3rd person דְּבָרוֹ(d'varó, his word/thing) דְּבָרָהּ(d'varáh, her word/thing) דְּבָרָם(d'varám, their (m) word/thing) דְּבָרָן(d'varán, their (f) word/thing)
Plural possessed forms Singular Plural
masculine feminine masculine feminine
1st person דְּבָרַי(d'varái, my words/things) דְּבָרֵינוּ(d'varéinu, our words/things)
2nd person דְּבָרֶיךָ(d'varékha, thy (m) words/things) דְּבָרַיִךְ(d'varáyikh, thy (f) words/things) דִּבְרֵיכֶם(div'reikhém, your (m) words/things) דִּבְרֵיכֶן(div'reikhén, your (f) words/things)
3rd person דְּבָרָיו(d'varáv, his words/things) דְּבָרֶיהָ(d'varéha, her words/things) דִּבְרֵיהֶם(div'reihém, their (m) words/things) דִּבְרֵיהֶן(div'reihén, their (f) words/things)

Feminine noun without internal changes[edit]

The word תְּמוּנָה(t'muná, picture) does not go through any stem-internal changes:

Singular Dual Plural
Definite הַתְּמוּנָה(ha-t'muná, the picture) הַתְּמוּנָתַיִם(ha-t'munatáyim, the two pictures) הַתְּמוּנוֹת(ha-t'munót, the pictures)
Indefinite תְּמוּנָה(t'muná, a picture) תְּמוּנָתַיִם(t'munatáyim, two pictures) תְּמוּנוֹת(t'munót, pictures)
Construct תְּמוּנַת־(t'munát-, (the/a) picture of) תְּמוּנוֹת־(t'munót-, (the/a) pictures of)
Singular possessed forms Singular Plural
masculine feminine masculine feminine
1st person תְּמוּנָתִי(t'munatí, my picture) תְּמוּנָתֵנוּ(t'munatéinu, our picture)
2nd person תְּמוּנָתְךָ(t'munat'khá, thy (m) picture) תְּמוּנָתֵךְ(t'munatékh, thy (f) picture) תְּמוּנַתְכֶם(t'munat'khém, your (m) picture) תְּמוּנַתְכֶן(t'munat'khén, your (f) picture)
3rd person תְּמוּנָתוֹ(t'munató, his picture) תְּמוּנָתָהּ(t'munatáh, her picture) תְּמוּנָתָם(t'munatám, their (m) picture) תְּמוּנָתָן(t'munatán, their (f) picture)
Plural possessed forms Singular Plural
masculine feminine masculine feminine
1st person תְּמוּנוֹתַי(t'munotái, my pictures) תְּמוּנוֹתֵינוּ(t'munotéinu, our pictures)
2nd person תְּמוּנוֹתֶיךָ(t'munotékha, thy (m) pictures) תְּמוּנוֹתַיִךְ(t'munotáyikh, thy (f) pictures) תְּמוּנוֹתֵיכֶם(t'munoteikhém, your (m) pictures) תְּמוּנוֹתֵיכֶן(t'munoteikhén, your (f) pictures)
3rd person תְּמוּנוֹתָיו(t'munotáv, his pictures) תְּמוּנוֹתֶיהָ(t'munotéha, her pictures) תְּמוּנוֹתֵיהֶם(t'munoteihém, their (m) pictures) תְּמוּנוֹתֵיהֶן(t'munoteihén, their (f) pictures)

Feminine noun with internal changes[edit]

The word שָׂפָה(safá, lip/language) goes through stem-internal changes throughout the declension:

Singular Dual Plural
Definite הַשָּׂפָה(ha-safá, the lip/language) הַשְּׂפָתַיִם(ha-s'fatáyim, the lips) הַשָּׂפוֹת(ha-safót, the languages)
Indefinite שָׂפָה(safá, a lip/language) שְׂפָתַיִם(s'fatáyim, lips) שָׂפוֹת(safót, languages)
Construct שְׂפַת־(s'fát-, (the/a) lip/language of) שִׂפְתֵי־(sif'téi-) שְׂפוֹת־(s'fót-, (the/a) languages of)
Singular possessed forms Singular Plural
masculine feminine masculine feminine
1st person שְׂפָתִי(s'fatí, my lip/language) שְׂפָתֵנוּ(s'fatéinu, our lip/language)
2nd person שְׂפָתְךָ(s'fat'khá, thy (m) lip/language) שְׂפָתֵךְ(s'fatékh, thy (f) lip/language) שְׂפַתְכֶם(s'fat'khém, your (m) lip/language) שְׂפַתְכֶן(s'fat'khén, your (f) lip/language)
3rd person שְׂפָתוֹ(s'fató, his lip/language) שְׂפָתָהּ(s'fatáh, her lip/language) שְׂפָתָם(s'fatám, their (m) lip/language) שְׂפָתָן(s'fatán, their (f) lip/language)
Dual possessed forms Singular Plural
masculine feminine masculine feminine
1st person שְׂפָתַי(s'fatái, my lips) שְׂפָתֵינוּ(s'fatéinu, our lips)
2nd person שְׂפָתֶיךָ(s'fatékha, thy (m) lips) שְׂפָתַיִךְ(s'fatáyikh, thy (f) lips) שִׂפְתֵיכֶם(sif'teikhém, your (m) lips) שִׂפְתֵיכֶן(sif'teikhén, your (f) lips)
3rd person שְׂפָתָיו(s'fatáv, his lips) שְׂפָתֶיהָ(s'fatéha, her lips) שִׂפְתֵיהֶם(sif'teihém, their (m) lips) שִׂפְתֵיהֶן(sif'teihén, their (f) lips)
Plural possessed forms Singular Plural
masculine feminine masculine feminine
1st person שְׂפוֹתַי(s'fotái, my languages) שְׂפוֹתֵינוּ(s'fotéinu, our languages)
2nd person שְׂפוֹתֶיךָ(s'fotékha, thy (m) languages) שְׂפוֹתַיִךְ(s'fotáyikh, thy (f) languages) שְׂפוֹתֵיכֶם(s'foteikhém, your (m) languages) שְׂפוֹתֵיכֶן(s'foteikhén, your (f) languages)
3rd person שְׂפוֹתָיו(s'fotáv, his languages) שְׂפוֹתֶיהָ(s'fotéha, her languages) שְׂפוֹתֵיהֶם(s'foteihém, their (m) languages) שְׂפוֹתֵיהֶן(s'foteihén, their (f) languages)