Rules of numbers and counted objects / أَحْكام العَدَد والمَعْدُود

Arabic dialects map

(Before studying this part => BEGINNER: Cardinal numbers & INTERMEDIATE: Ordinal numbers)

Cardinal numbers

Understanding Arabic number rules is essential for navigating the elaborate system of cardinal number agreement, which is dictated by three key factors: the gender of the counted nouns, the quantity being expressed, and the specific grammatical declension involved.

  • The number may or may not agree with the gender of the counted object depending on its value. 
  • In contrast to English cardinal numbers, Arabic numerals are nouns (apart from 2 being an adjective and 1 with both forms of a noun and adjective). Following this, the preceding object will not be in the nominative case but take on different ending cases according to its numerical value. Moreover, the object that is quantity beyond two may or may not be plural depending on what number it follows in succession.

The gender agreement of the number / العدد

Counted object
جِنْس العَدَد
Gender of the number
1 – 2same
3 to 10Opposite to the gender of the counted object in its singular form
11 – 12same
13 to 191st part (unit): opposite 2nd part (ten): same
tens 20 to 90Never change according to gender
compound number 21 to 991st part (unit) same 2nd part: never change no matter the gender
Never change according to gender

Unit from 1 to 10, 100 & 1000

  • 1 – 2: the gender of the number corresponds to the counted object 
1 womanأِمْرَأَةٌ واحِدةٌ
2 menرَجُلانِ اِثْنانِ
  • 3 to 10: the number has the opposite gender of the counted object in the singular form
4 menأَرْبَعةُ رَجُلٍ
6 womenسِتُّ اِمْرَأَةٍ
  • 100 to 1000: doesn’t change according to gender
100 menمِئَةُ رَجُلٍ
100 womenمِئَةُ اِمْرَأَةٍ
1000 menأَلْفُ رَجُلٍ
1000 womenأَلْفُ اِمْرَأَةٍ

The compound number from 11 to 19

  • 11 – 12: Both parts of the number agree with the gender of the counted object
11 menأَحَدَ عَشَرَ رَجُلاً
12 womenاِثْنَتَا عَشَرَةَ اِمْرَأَةً

Note: the feminine of اِثْنان is اِثْنَتان

  • 13 to 19: the 1st part of the number is of the opposite gender to the counted object while the 2nd part agrees with the gender of the counted object
14 menأَرْبَعَةَ عَشَرَ رَجُلاً
17 womenسَبْعَ عَشَرَةَ اِمْرأَةً

Tens (20 to 90)

  • Never change according to gender
20 womenعِشْرونَ اِمْرَأةً
50 men خَمْسُونَ رَجُلاً

Compound number constructed with the conjunction wāw 21 to 99

  • The unit agrees with the object while the ten doesn’t change according to the genre
21 menواحِدٌ وَعِشْرونَ رَجُلاً
35 womenخَمْسٌ وَثَلاثُونَ اِمْرَأَةً
68 menثَمانِيةٌ وَسِتُّونَ رَجُلاً
92 womenاِثْنَتانِ وَتِسْعُونَ اِمْرَأَةً

Agreement in number and noun case of the counted object / المَعْدود

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