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English Grammar for Students of Arabic

English Grammar for Students of Arabic by Ernest N. McCarus

Primary Use: Study guide and reference
Format:48 chapters each divided into two parts:
  1. Grammatical meaning in English
  2. Grammatical meaning in Arabic (written in English)
Meant For:Very beginner to advanced


This book is specifically meant for those students who struggle with Arabic grammar largely because they don’t have a clear grasp of English grammatical terminology. This book can be an invaluable guide for anyone studying Arabic who has a question about basic English grammar.

While it may seem a little too elementary on the surface (i.e. Chapter 2: What is a Noun?), this book can be incredibly helpful for students at all levels of both Arabic and English, as a noun in English is not necessarily the same thing as a noun in Arabic. Every chapter has a part on what the grammatical term means in English and what the corresponding grammatical term means in Arabic, all explained in English. It does not, however, give the grammatical term in Arabic, i.e. اسم means ‘noun.’ Rather, it states that “Arabic nouns are the name of a person, animal, place, thing, event or idea” (p 12) but also explains how there is no capitalization in Arabic to distinguish between a proper name and a regular noun.

This book includes no Arabic script except in the beginning, where it describes the transliteration system used. Elsewhere it relies entirely on transliteration of Arabic words.

This book teaches the basics of English grammar and is not used to teach some of the more complicated parts of English grammar. Nor does it explain various Latin terminologies sometimes employed in older grammars, such as ‘Nomina Verbi.’ However, the simple vocabulary used makes the book extremely easy to read and to use and learn from. It also includes a section on study tips for learning Arabic.

The book is divided into the following chapters:

    Chapter 1: What’s in a Word?
    Chapter 2: What is a Noun?
    Chapter 3: What is Meant by Gender?
    Chapter 4: What is Meant by Number?
    Chapter 5: What is Meant by Case?
    Chapter 6: What is an Article?
    Chapter 7: What is the Possessive?
    Chapter 8: What is a Subject?
    Chapter 9: What is a Predicate Word?
    Chapter 10: What are Objects?
    Chapter 11: What is an Adjective?
    Chapter 12: What is a Descriptive Adjective?
    Chapter 13: What is Meant by Comparison of Adjectives?
    Chapter 14: What is a Possessive Adjective?
    Chapter 15: What is an Interrogative Adjective?
    Chapter 16: What is a Demonstrative Adjective?
    Chapter 17: What is a Pronoun?
    Chapter 18: What is a Subject Pronoun?
    Chapter 19: What is an Object Pronoun?
    Chapter 20: What is an Interrogative Pronoun?
    Chapter 21: What is a Possessive Pronoun?
    Chapter 22: What is a Reflexive Pronoun?
    Chapter 23: What is a Demonstrative Pronoun?
    Chapter 24: What is a Relative Pronoun?
    Chapter 25: What is a Verb?
    Chapter 26: What are the Principal Parts of a Verb?
    Chapter 27: What is a Verb Conjugation?
    Chapter 28: What are Infinitives and Gerunds?
    Chapter 29: What is a Participle?
    Chapter 30: What is an Auxiliary Verb?
    Chapter 31: What is a Meant by Tense? [it really says this]
    Chapter 32: What is the Present Tense?
    Chapter 33: What is the Past Tense?
    Chapter 34: What is the Future Tense?
    Chapter 35: What are the Perfect Tenses?
    Chapter 36: What are the Progressive Tenses?
    Chapter 37: What is Meant by Active and Passive Voice?
    Chapter 38: What is Meant by Mood?
    Chapter 39: What is the Subjunctive Mood?
    Chapter 40: What is the Imperative Mood?
    Chapter 41: What is a Preposition?
    Chapter 42: What is an Adverb?
    Chapter 43: What is a Conjunction?
    Chapter 44: What are Phrases, Clauses, and Sentences?
    Chapter 45: What are Conditional Sentences?
    Chapter 46: What are Affirmative, Negative, Declarative, and Interrogative Sentences?
    Chapter 47: What is Meant by Direct and Indirect Statements?
    Chapter 48: What is Meant by Direct and Indirect Questions?

How to Use It

This book can be used by the very beginner who doesn’t know any Arabic at all, as transliteration is used throughout the book. It can be read through or it can be used as a reference.

If used as a reference, the table of contents can be looked through to address a question regarding a general topic of grammar. The index can also be used as a more specific guide to a particular question. The index also includes the occasional transliterated Arabic word such as kan-a.


McCarus, Ernest N. English Grammar for Students of Arabic. Ann Arbor: The Olivia and Hill Press, 2007.