Quartz Hill School of Theology

Lesson 6: Segholate Nouns; Personal Pronouns; Nominal Sentences


Masculine Segholate Nouns
Group A

Translation    Singular    Plural
evening, sunset      עֶרֶבעֲרָבִים
book, scrollסֵפֶרסְפָרִים

Group B

Translation    Singular    Plural
youth, boy, child     נַעַרנְעָרִים
wadi, riverנַחַל נְחָלִים
bud, flowerפֶּרַח פְּרָחִים


Translation    Singular    Plural
soul, lifeנֶפֶשׁנְפָשׁוֹת
land, earthאֶרֶץאֲרָצוֹת

Subject Forms of the Personal Pronouns

Singular     Plural
I - אֲנִי / אָנֹכִי we - אֲנַחְנוּ
you (m.) - אַתָּה     you (m.) - אַתֶּם
you (f.) - אַתְּ you (f.) - אַתֵּנָה / אַתֵּן
he (m.) - הוּא they (m.) - הֵמָּה / הֵם
she (f.) - הִיא they (f.) - הֵנָּה / הֵן

Segholate Nouns

Several two-syllable nouns, both masculine and feminine, behave differently than the majority of Hebrew nouns. In these nouns called segholate, the first syllable gets the accent and the second syllable takes the vowel seghol. Nouns that match this form are listed above in Group A.

The Group B list are also referred to as segholate, even though the vowel seghol does not appear in the second syllable. Why? When the second or third consonant of what would otherwise be a segholate noun is a gutteral letter, then the second syllable takes a pattah instead of a seghol.

Taking a pattah is a peculiarity of gutterals. Most of the time, they will take a pattah rather than any other vowel.

Personal Pronouns

Some technical terminology needs to be explained, here. Pronouns will be referred to as either first person, second person, or third person. What does that mean?

1 First person refers to me or us.
2 Second person refers to you.
3 Third person refers to he, she, or they.

In addition, the pronouns can further be specified as being either singular (as in I) or plural (as in we). Additionally, we can speak of the gender of the pronouns. If the gender is unspecified, it is said to be "common." Hense, yni)j can be described as the "First person singular common" pronoun, abbreviated "1st c.s.". )w%h is the "Third person masculine singular" pronoun (abbreviated 3rd m.s.)

One of the big differences between English and Hebrew in pronouns surrounds the word "you". In modern English, using the word "you" does not make clear whether one or many people is intended, nor does it give any information about the gender of the person or persons involved. Hebrew, on the other hand, is very specific in its usage, having four forms of the word "you": one for masculine singular, one for feminine singular, one for masculine plural, and one for feminine plural.

The closest modern English comes to a plural "you" is the southernism "you all", but this is still not considered normative or standard in English.

It should also be noted that masculine plural is used for a mixed gender group. Even if there are ninety-nine women and only one man in the group, the masculine plural is used. The feminine plural is used only when the group is exclusively female.

Nominal Sentences

Hebrew lacks the equivalent of English is, am, or are, thus, to express the equivalent of "Moses is a man" in Hebrew, the two nouns are simply stuck together as "Moses man". Though we might think this is "Tarzan speak", it is perfectly normal in Hebrew and quite understandable. Such sentences are called "nominal sentences" since they have no verbs in them at all, a situation that simply isn't possible in English.

Keep in mind that the only possible translations of these nominal sentences in English is to supply the verb "to be" in between the two nouns, since in English (unlike in Hebrew) we need that added gramatical marker.

In Biblical Hebrew Step-by-Step (see pp. 61-62) Mansoor refers to this form as the "present tense", but that is not strictly correct, since ancient Hebrew did not really have a tense system. It is thus preferable (and more accurate) to refer to this form as a "nominal sentence" rather than as the "present tense".


Translation    Hebrew
Moses is a man מֹשֶׁה אִישׁ
I am the mother אֲנִי הָאֵם
You are the father      אַתָּה הָאָב
We are old אֲנַחְנוּ זְקֵנִים
You are the man אַתָּה הָאִישׁ
the king is old הַמֶּלֶךְ זָקֵן

Notice the difference in form between

הַמֶּלֶךְ זָקֵן

which means, "the king is old":


הַמֶּלֶךְ הַזָקֵ

which means, "the old king".


Please read pages 59-68 in Biblical Hebrew Step-by-Step.


1. Memorize the vocabulary.

2. Do the Exercises on pages 63-64, and page 68.

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