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A Student Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

A Student Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic by Eckehard Schulz

Primary Use: Reference book and learning tool for Modern Standard Arabic
Format:Tables and explanations
Meant For:Beginner to advanced


Although this book begins with the alphabet and how to construct it, this book is not recommended for those students who are starting from the very beginning. The book is constructed in a strange manner as it notes that Arabic is written from right to left, but assumes readers know what the genitive, nominative, and accusative cases are. Thus it might be a frustrating book to use for those who have minimal knowledge of Arabic.

This book is not divided into chapters but rather lists various grammatical terms in the beginning in the order they are addressed. It includes two indexes of grammatical terms in the back, one in Arabic and one in English, both of them alphabetical.

This is a challenging book to use in many respects. It assumes the reader has a wide knowledge of English grammatical terms, such as periphrasis and prosthetic vowels, and occasionally uses symbols such as > that are not explained anywhere in the text. Occasionally one sees a hand symbol that indicates the reader should see a different topic (such as Infinitives or Feminine Nisba) but it doesn’t always give the corresponding page numbers in the book that one should see. Sometimes it instructs the reader to see a topic that is not listed in either the table of contents or in the index and it is up to the reader to guess where this topic might be located.

This book relies heavily on tables to explain grammatical concepts. Even example sentences illustrating a particular grammatical concept are put into tables. Sometimes these tables are cut off from one page to the next and the reader must flip back and forth to get a good sense of the table, as on pages 59-60. One gets the impression that this book was created on a word processor and then put into book form with little thought as to where the new page breaks would be.

How to Use It

In order to use this book to the fullest extent, one must already know the following:

  1. English grammatical terms
  2. The Arabic script (highly recommended)

This book is best used as a reference and is not recommended for anyone to read cover to cover.

In order to look up a grammatical term or concept, one can read through the seven pages in the front that list the grammatical concepts in the order they appear in the text. The indexes can be also be referenced and terms can be looked up alphabetically in either Arabic or in English. However, this is not a dictionary of terms and one should not expect this book to define any English grammatical term used.


Schulz, Eckehard. A Student Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.