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Hebrew Grammar

If your entire exposure to Hebrew so far has consisted of simply hearing it spoken, then you might assume that it’s extremely different from English. In some ways, that assumption is correct. However, when it comes to Hebrew grammar, there are enough similarities between these two languages to make your life substantially easier when you’re first learning. For example, like English, Hebrew is based on subjects, verbs, and objects. That is, it is what is known as an “SVO” language. Another similarity between Hebrew and English is that they both make use of three simple verb tenses: past, present, and future.

However, there are also ways in which Hebrew grammar differs from that of the English language. After all, they are indeed two different languages. One of those differences has to do with gender. In Hebrew, every noun is assigned a gender, either masculine or feminine. There is no such thing as a neutral gender for nouns in Hebrew. Therefore, you might think it would be difficult to determine the gender of some of these nouns. Fortunately, there is one rule of thumb that can make things easier for you here. If a word ends in - ת or ה-, then its gender is most likely feminine. Otherwise, its gender is most likely masculine.

Another difference between Hebrew grammar and English grammar is that where English grammar uses three articles, one definite and two indefinite, Hebrew only uses one article; a definite one. Indefinite articles are implied, but extra words are not used to express them. Another important fact to point out here is that the same Hebrew definite article is used whether its corresponding noun is masculine or feminine.

Yet another way in which Hebrew grammar is different from English grammar has to do with making nouns plural. In English, you just add “s” or “es” to the end of a noun in order to make it plural. For example, “cat” becomes “cats,” and “box” becomes “boxes.” In Hebrew, the way in which you would pluralize a noun differs, based on whether the noun is masculine or feminine.

• For masculine nouns, you would add –ים to the end of the word.
• For feminine nouns, you would drop the ה- or the - ת and add ות -.

Another rule to remember is that in Hebrew, both second and third person pronouns have different forms depending on their gender.