Shaddai

Learn Hebrew

Audio Tanakh

Hebrew for Christians
BS''D
5.10  Unit Five Summary

Unit Five Summary -

The Least you should know...

After studying Unit Five, you should have mastered the following material:

General Properties of adjectives
An adjective is a word used to “modify” or “qualify” the meaning of a noun (or pronoun). Adjectives have the following properties:

  1. Gender (masculine or feminine)
  2. Number (singular, plural, or dual)
  3. Definiteness

The lexical form is the spelling of the word as it appears in a dictionary. Be advised that the lexical form of an adjective is always the masculine singular spelling.
 

Adjective Inflections
Since adjectives must agree with the noun they modify in gender and number, every adjective can take four possible forms: two for masculine nouns (singular and plural), and two for feminine nouns (singular and plural). These forms are changed by means of adding endings to the stem of the word, much in the same manner as endings are attached to nouns.

The table below shows the most common adjective endings (called inflectional endings):



As explained in Unit 5.2, there are some changes that occur in the spelling of the Hebrew adjective when these endings are added.


Attribute Usage

Adjectives that directly modify a noun are called “attributive” because they attribute a certain characteristic to a noun. Attributive adjectives have the following properties:

  1. They follow the noun they modify
  2. They agree with the noun they modify in:
    • Gender (masc / fem)
    • Number (sing / pl)
    • Definiteness (if the noun is definite, the adjective must be, too)

      Example:
      Attribute Adjective Example
      “A big house”

Additional examples are provided in Unit 5.3.


Predicate Usage
In Hebrew, predicate adjectives can appear before or after the noun and agree in gender and number -- but not definiteness. Predicate adjectives use the word “is” with the adjective to form the predicate of a complete clause (subject+verb).

Predicate adjectives have the following properties:

  1. They appear before or after the noun they modify
  2. They agree with the noun they modify in:
    • Gender (masc / fem)
    • Number (sing / pl)
    • but not in definiteness

      Example:

      “The man is old.”

Additional examples are provided in Unit 5.4.


Substantive Usage
An adjective can stand alone and function as a noun. When it does so, it may function as the subject or object of a verb, and it always appears with the definite article. When you encounter a definite adjective that does not seem to modify a noun within a sentence, it may be a substantive adjective. Translate the adjective with an implied “one” (for singular forms) or “ones” for plural forms.

      Example:

      “He is the good one.”

Additional examples are provided in Unit 5.5.


Comparative Usage
Adjectives may be used to make comparative statements. In Hebrew, comparisons are formed by adding the preposition (min) to the word that functions as the object of the comparison.

      Example:

      “The house is bigger than the tent.”

Tip: When min is used this way, think of it as meaning “than” regarding the word that follows it. “The house is big(ger) than the tent.”

Additional examples are provided in Unit 5.6.


Demonstrative Adjectives
In Hebrew, demonstrative adjectives (“this-these” / “that-those”) function in much the same way as they do in English. Moreover, they follow the same basic usage rules for adjectives that you have already learned. The basic inflections are as follows:




Attribute Usage
When a demonstrative adjective is used to directly modify a noun, it is said to be used attributively (follows the noun and agrees in gender, number, and definiteness). A noun with an attributive adjective is said to comprise an adjective phrase (for example, this man, where the adjective this modifies the noun man and the two words comprise a phrase).

      Example:

      “This man”


Predicate Usage (demonstrative pronouns)
When a demonstrative adjective functions predicatively, it is actually behaving substantively as a pronoun (which we call a demonstrative pronoun). Predicate demonstratives may either appear before or after the noun and agree in gender, number, but not definiteness).

      Example:

      “This is the man.”

Additional examples of both attributive and predicate usage of demonstrative adjectives are provided in Unit 5.7


Adjectives in Word Pairs
As you learned in Unit 4.8, nouns in a construct relationship are never separated but always stand as a distinct grammatical unit. Therefore, if either of the nouns is modified by an adjective, the adjective is placed after the pair in order to keep the nouns together.

      Example:

      “The great house of Israel”

Additional examples are provided in Unit 5.8.


Hebrew participles
Hebrew participles are “verbal adjectives,” meaning that they function like adjectives though they are constructed from verbs. Participles use the same endings you have learned for nouns and adjectives, so learning their inflections is easy.

Active Participles
Like adjectives, participles must agree with the noun they modify in gender and number. Forms are changed by means of adding endings to the stem of the word, in the same manner as endings are attached to nouns.

The basic pattern for the active participle is as follows:




Passive Participles
The Qal passive participle occurs much less frequently than the active participle. It’s basic pattern is as follows:



Examples for both active and passive participles are provided in Unit 5.9.

<< Return

 

Hebrew for Christians
Copyright © John J. Parsons
All rights reserved.

email