When you’re learning a new language; it’s important to learn what to start with and it’s always the alphabet then the basics.

So, in this article, we will cover all the modern standard Arabic basics, so keep reading to learn the basics.

Modern Standard Arabic Basics

While many spoken dialects exist, MSA serves as the unifying language for written and formal communication throughout the Arab region.

The following are fundamental aspects of Modern Standard Arabic:


Written from right to left.

Comprises 28 letters.

Think of Arabic letters like actors on a stage. Depending on their entrance (beginning), middle act, or final scene (end), they wear different costumes (shapes) to fit their role in the word.

The letters include: أ ب ت ث ج ح خ د ذ ر ز س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ك ل م ن ه و ي

Basic Phrases:

Hello: مرحبا (marhaba)

Goodbye: وداعاً (Wada’an) or إلى اللقاء (Ila al-liqaa’)

Thank you: شكراً (Shukran)

Yes: نعم (Na’am)

No: لا (La)

Please: من فضلك (Min fadlik)


1: واحد (Waahid)

2: اثنان (Ethnaan)

3: ثلاثة (Thalatha)

4: أربعة (Arba’a)

5: خمسة (Khamsa)

6: ستة (seta)

7: سبعة (saba’a)

8: ثمانية (tamania)

9: تسعة (tesa’a)

10: عشرة (ashra)

Common Greetings:

Good morning: صباح الخير (Sabah al-khayr)

Good evening: مساء الخير (Masa’ al-khayr)

Common Questions:

What is your name?: ما اسمك؟ (Ma ismuka/ismuki?)

Where are you from?: من أين أنت؟ (Min ayna anta/anti?)

How are you?: كيف حالك؟ (Kayfa halak/halik?)

Basic Grammar:

Arabic follows a “root and pattern” system for vocabulary, just like other Semitic languages. It also has separate noun genders (boy/girl words) and a complex verb conjugation system that considers the person (one/many), their gender, and who they’re talking to (you/me/them).

Formal vs. Informal:

The level of respect you want to convey in Arabic impacts how you choose pronouns and conjugate verbs, reflecting a complex system of formality.

Resources for Learning:

Learning any language takes time and dedication so, it’s normal if you struggle at first and you should go easy on yourself to learn properly.

You should stick to practice and you can also learn more about the culture of the language you’re learning, so you can have a background of the language.

And hey, speaking Arabic might just earn you some cool points among your friends.

Is Modern Standard Arabic Easy to Learn?

Here are key considerations:

  1. Alphabet and Script: Arabic employs a script distinct from the Latin script used in English, presenting an initial challenge for learners as they acquaint themselves with a new writing system.
  2. Grammar Complexity: Arabic grammar features its own rules and structures, distinct from English. Aspects like verb conjugation, noun gender, and case markings may pose initial challenges for learners.
  3. Root-Based System: Arabic words often stem from roots, and grasping this system is essential for vocabulary development. Although systematic, some learners may initially find it intricate.
  4. Dialects: While MSA serves as the formal standard, spoken Arabic dialects can significantly differ. Communicating with native speakers in a specific region may necessitate learning a particular dialect.
  5. Cultural and Social Nuances: Arabic is closely intertwined with Arab culture, making an understanding of cultural subtleties a crucial aspect of language acquisition.

In spite of these challenges, many individuals effectively achieve proficiency in Arabic with the support of abundant resources like language courses, textbooks, online platforms, and language exchange opportunities. 

Consistency, commitment, immersion: the language success formula.

While factors like prior language experiences can influence learning, ultimately, individual differences in motivation, commitment, and chosen learning methods play a larger role in shaping the perceived difficulty of mastering MSA.

Is Modern Standard Arabic the Same as Quranic Arabic?

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Quranic Arabic share significant similarities, both being rooted in Classical Arabic. Nonetheless, they exhibit distinct characteristics:

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA):

Step into the formal side of Arabic! MSA is the language of official pronouncements, captivating stories, and educational journeys throughout the Arab region.

It constitutes a modernized adaptation of Classical Arabic, tailored to meet contemporary linguistic needs.

MSA is utilized in newspapers, textbooks, formal speeches, and various written or formal contexts.

Don’t be fooled by the formal face of MSA! For everyday laughs and chats, Arabic speakers switch to their local dialects, just like people around the world use slang and regional accents.

Quranic Arabic:

Quranic Arabic: a unique voice within the Arabic world, distinct from both past and present.

Dedicated study is required for a more profound understanding due to its distinctive grammatical features, stylistic preferences, and nuanced vocabulary.


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