The five nouns / الأَسْماء الخَمْسة

The Arabic five nouns (الأَسْماء الخَمْسة)

The Arabic five nouns, are particular nouns that see their case vowels (fatḥa, ḍamma and kasra) become, respectively, letters ا and و and ي positioned as 1st term of annexation (مُضاف). This only happens when their 2nd term of annexation (المُضاف إِليه) isn’t the 1st person singular pronoun ي (I/me).

Those are the five nouns:

fatherbrotherFather-in-law (of the wife)mouththe one that possess 
  • In the nominative case (مَرْفُوع) those nouns are going to end with the و
Abu Bakr is braveأَبُو بَكْرٍ شُجاع
The teacher’s brother is youngأَخُو المُعَلِّمِ صَغِيرٌ
Latifa’s father-in-law is in the houseحَمو لَطِيفةَ في البَيْتِ
The mouth of the man is openفو الرَجُلِ مَفْتوحٌ
The man that possess knowledge is wiseالرَجُلُ ذو العِلْمِ حَكِيم
  • In the accusative case (مَنْصُوب) those nouns are going to end with the ا
I saw Abu Bakrرَأَيْتُ أَبا بَكْرٍ
I waited for the teacher’s brotherاِنْتَظَرْتُ أَخِا المُعَلِّمِ
I welcomed Latifa’s father-in-lawرَحَّبْتُ حَما لَطِيفةَ
I opened the lion’s mouthفَتَحْتُ فا الأَسَدِ 
I respect the one that has knowledgeأَحْتَرِمُ ذا العِلْمِ
  • In the genitive case (مَجْرُور) those nouns are going to end with the ي
I talked with Abu Bakrتَكَلَّمْتُ مَعَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ
I play with the teacher’s brotherألْعَبُ مَعَ أَخِي المُعَلِّمِ
The book belongs to Latifa’s father-in-lawالكِتابُ لِحَمِي لَطِيفةَ
The smell is from the lion’s mouthالرائِحةُ من في الأَسَدِ 
I am learning from the one with knowledgeأَتَعَّلَمُ مِنْ ذي العِلْمِ

Note: These rules are not applicable to dual and plural forms of the five nouns.

Note 2: فو is only used as a 1st term of annexation (مُضاف), for other usage we’ll prefer it’s equivalent فُمّ.

Note 3: ذو has only 2 different forms for each the dual and plural forms

الجَمْع (plural)المُثَنّى (dual) المُفْرَد (singular)
ذوو / ذَِوِيذَوا / ذوَيْذو / ذا / ذيالمُذَكَّر 
ذوات ذواتا / ذواتَيْذاتالمُؤَنَّث
The five nouns

Learn about the five nouns in Arabic grammar with examples and explanations. Understand how to identify and use these essential parts of speech in your writing and conversation. Improve your understanding of Arabic grammar with our comprehensive guide to the five nouns.

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