Hebrew Nouns

In the same way as in English, also in Hebrew, nouns are names for things, place or people. Hebrew Nouns have three main characteristics: Number, Gender, case and Person.

  • Gender - Gender refers to the sex of the object being referred to. Hebrew Nouns have a gender, either masculine or feminine. For example, a house is referred to as masculine (BAYIT – בית), while a mirror is referred to as feminine. There is no systematic rule regarding characterizing objects as masculine or feminine. Nevertheless, Hebrew nouns which end with ת (-t) or ה (-a) tend to be feminine nouns, while Hebrew nouns ending with other letters tend to be masculine nouns. In dictionaries, you will notice that nouns are marked with the letter ז or נ to specify the noun's gender.
  • Number - This attribute indicates whether the noun is plural – whether the noun refers to one or more objects. Hebrew Nouns can be referred to as single nouns, plural nouns or dual nouns. A common form a plural reference for masculine objects is the suffix – ים (-im). When referring to feminine objects, usually the end vowel is dropped and instead, the suffix –ות is added. For example: The plural term fro beds: מיטה – מיטות – (MITA – MITOT). There are exceptions to these rules. For example, there are masculine objects which take feminine plural endings and vice versa, such as; place- מקום-מקומות (MAKOM-MEKOMOT), word- MILA-MILIM (מילה-מילים). There is a dual plural ending, yet it is used rarely. The dual suffix is –ayim. A few examples are body parts: hands and legs (YAD-YADAYIM, REGEL-RAGLAYIM).
  • Case - This attribute indicates the noun's grammatical function in the sentence. Hebrew Nouns can be the subject of sentences (the table is wide), it be part of a possessive relationship with another object (Asher's computer is grey) or the object (Asher ran home).

Hebrew Nouns are usually related to verbs. With the application of the prefix, "ה-", which means the, one can inflict or refer to a specific object.

Creating a question with Hebrew Nouns

In order to create a correct question in Hebrew, usually, all you have to do is change the intonation of the sentence. As opposed to English, there is no need for the structure of "is he…?", "are you….?" etc.

For example:

English Phonetic Hebrew
You are a teacher. ATA MOREH אתה מורה.
Are you a teacher? ATA MOREH? אתה מורה?

Exercise

Translate the following nouns:

  • Dogs
  • Lions
  • Hands
  • Tables

After learning the basics on letters, number, and Hebrew Nouns, you have a sufficient knowledge of basic Hebrew in order to begin enriching your vocabulary. In the same way as in learning any other language, the best way to learn and advance is to enrich your vocabulary, mostly by reading. I recommend obligating yourself to learning 10 Hebrew words each day and in addition reading one Hebrew article a day. This habit will advance your Hebrew fluency faster than you can imagine.

We invite you to improve your Hebrew through our on-line beginner's course.