The dual in Arabic

Berlin Translate

The dual, also dualis, is, next to the well-known singular and plural, another subcategory of the counting form of numerus. It is a binary number that can be used to describe elements. In German, the dualis is included in the plural, but Arabic is one of the few languages that has the dual. We deliver The dual in Arabic!

The dual in Arabic

The dual is one of the most important peculiarities of the dialectic of the Arabic language. It expresses a certain quality that differs from the plural.

The formation of the dual in Arabic

The dual in Arabic is categoruzed by a suffix ending that can have two appearances, namely in the nominative -انِ and in the genetive and accusative -ينِ. The books are in the nominative case الكتابَانِ and if they occur in the accusative case they are الكتابينِ.

Associated adjectives and demonstrative pronouns also get the dual ending,

Example: These two young sisters are with us today. هاتان الشقيقتان الصغيرتان في السن معنا هنا اليوم

The use of the dual in Arabic

Most often, the dual is used for elements that occur in pairs, such as body parts that exist twice.

Examples: We are husband and wife/ a married couple. نحن زوجان

However, the dual is also used for elements, i. e. objects that just happen to be two.

Example: I bought two apples. اشتريت تفاحتان

Plural instead of dual

In modern standard arabic the dual is also often replaced by the plural, such as when addressing two people directly or indirectly like in most arabic dialects.

Example: Ali and Muhammad, come with me! علي ومحمد تعالوا معي

In classical Arabic, however, the imperative verb would clearly indicate that it is not just about several people, but about two people.

Example: Ali and Muhammad, come with me! علي ومحمد تعالا معي

In addition, the conjugated verbs also indicate whether the two elements are male or female, be it in the plural or, as here, in the dual, e. H. the dual is differentiated according to gender.


The dual nun (ن) is dropped, as is the plural nun in genitive conjunctions. It is visible again at the last member of the genetive conjunction.

Example: The author’s two new books are now available. كتابا المؤلف الجديدات متاحان الآن

Incidentally, there is also the dual in Arabic numbers.


two hundred مئتان \ مئتين

two thousand ألفان \ ألفين

two million مليونان \ مليونين

That was The Dual in Arabic. If you liked the article, then feel free to read the article about The past in Arabic here.