What is taa marbuta?

What is taa marbuta?

What is taa marbuta? taa marbuta is the taa that always occurs at the end of certain nouns and adjectives. If connected to the preceding letter, it is written like this ـة, as in سَاعَة ‘watch’, فَاطِمَة ‘Fatima (name)’, and خَيْمَة ‘tent.’ If it occurs after one of the letters that do not connect to the following letter (i.e. ا, د, ذ, ر, ز,و) , it is written like this ة, as in زَهْرَة ‘flower’ زُبْدَة ‘butter’, فَتَاة ‘a girl.’ In writing, it is often confused with the haa ــه / ه, which is written without the two dots above it. Since the pronunciation of the taa marbuta is the same as the pronunciation of the taa maftuha / mabsuta (i.e. ت) in connected speech, in genitive construction, and when vowelized, it is frequently confused with it in writing.taa marbuta in Arabic(1) Position of the taa marbuta:


The taa marbuta occurs at the end of feminine proper nouns, as in (1); at the end of some feminine singular noun that do not have corresponding masculine form, as in (2); at the end of some broken plurals, as in (3); and at the end of feminine singular adjectives that are derived from the corresponding masculine form (by adding the taa marbuta), as in (4).


The taa marbuta is written in two ways, that is ــة or ة, depending on the letter that precedes it.


The letter that precedes the taa marbuta always has a fatha - فَتْحَة over it as you can see in the list of examples. The only exception is the alif because it cannot be accompanied by any of the short vowels (i.e., fatha, dhamma, kasra). The alif is always saakin - سَاكِن, that is it has a sukuun over it.


The taa marbuta changes to regular taa (i.e. taa maftuha) ـتـ when pronominal suffixes (i.e., attached pronouns) are added to the nouns in which it occurs, as in (5). Compare the list to (2) above.


فَاطِمَة Fatima - عَائِشَة Aisha - خَدِيجَة Khadija
سَامِيَة Samia - جَمِيلَة Jamila - سَارَة Sarah
سَمِيرَة Samira - نَادِيَة Nadia - خَوْلَة Khowla
شَادِيَة Shadia - سُمَيَّة Sumaya - لَطِيفَة Latifa


سَيَّارَة car - وَظِيفَة job - مِنْشَفَة towel
قَهْوَة coffee - طَاوِلَة table - وِسَادَة pillow
مِسْطَرَة ruler - خَرِيطَة map - ثَلَّاجَة fridge
نَافِذَة window - سَاعَة watch - بَطَّارِيَة battery


قُضَاة judges - حُمَاة protectors
غُزَاة invaders - بُغَاة aggressors
أَدْوِيَة medicines - أَنْشِطَة activities


جَمِيلَة beautiful - قَصِيرَة  short - بَطِيْئَة slow
قَبِيحَة ugly - جَدِيدَة new - فِرِيدَة unique - سَخِيْفَة silly
ضَيِّقَة narrow - ذَكِيَّة intelligent - وَاسِعَة spacious


سَيَّارَتِي my car - وَظِيْفَتُكَ your job
مِنْشَفَتُهَا her towel - قَهْوَتُكِ your (f) coffee
وِسَادَتُكِ your pillow - مَسْطَرَتُهُ his ruler
خَرِيْطَتُنَا our map - ثَلَّاجَتُهَا her fridge

(2) Word structure and taa marbuta:


The taa marbuta is added to the end of masculine adjectives and nouns to form the corresponding feminine form of these adjectives / nouns, as in (1). Therefore, the taa marbuta is the nouns and adjectives feminine marker in Arabic.


قَصِير ← قَصِيرَة short ، صَغِير ← صَغِيرَة small
كَرِيم ← كَرِيمَة generous ، كَاتِب ← كَاتِبَة writer
مُدَرِّس ← مُدَرِّسَة teacher ، طَالِب ← طَالِبَة student


The taa marbuta is added to the end of collective nouns to form a singular noun, as in (2). In such cases, the taa marbuta is a suffix for number (i.e., it means one) and for gender (i.e., a feminine marker).


عِنَب grapes ← عِنَبَة one grape
بِطِّيخ watermelon ← بِطِّيخَة one watermelon
مَوْز banana ← مَوْزَة one banana
جَزَر carrot ← جَزَرَة one carrot


Certain nouns in Arabic do not have a masculine form. With these nouns, the taa marbuta is part of the word (i.e., not a suffix), as in (3). Still, it is a feminine marker.


بَقَرَة cow - شَجَرَة tree - سَلَّة basket
قَرْيَة village - غُرْفَة room - سُمْعَة fame


Sometime, the taa marbuta can indicate that the noun in which it occurs is a broken plural, the plural that does not follow the diacritical patterns of the singular, as in (4).


قَاضِي (قَاضٍ) judge ← قُضَاة judges
عَبْقَرِي genius ← عَبَاقِرَة geniuses
غَازِي (غَازٍ) invader ← غُزَاة invaders


Many feminine proper nouns in Arabic end in taa marbuta, as in (5).


فَاطِمَة - سَعَادَة - شَرِيْفَة - فَوْزِيَّة - عَائِدَة - غَادَة - نُوْرَة - مُنِيْرَة - جَمِيْلَة - خَوْلَة - سَمِيْرَة - فَائِزَة - لَطِيفَة - وَرْدَة - عَبْلَة - صَفِيَّة - سُمَيَّة

(3) Pronunciation of taa marbuta as haa

The taa marbuta ـة / ة is pronounced as haa ـه / ه when we pause on it, that is when there’s no short vowel (haraka - حَرَكَة: fatha, kasra, or dhamma) or tanween above it.  A letter without haraka over it is called saakin - سَاكِن, that is it has a sukuun (  ْ  ) above it. Therefore, when the taa marbuta is saakin(a), it is pronounced as haa. This does not affect the meaning, however.


Note: the الْ ‘the’ at the beginning of some of the words in the list is the definite article.

سَارَة ← سَارَه

سَمِيرَة ← سَمِيرَه

نَادِيَة ← نَادِيَه


الْوِسَادَة  ← الْوِسَادَه

مِسْطَرَة ← مِسْطَرَه

الْخَرِيطَة ← الْخَرِيطَه

غُزَاة ← غُزَاه


فَرِيدَة ← فَرِيْدَه

سَخِيفَة ← سَخِيفَه

الضَّيِّقَة ← الضَّيِّقَه

فَاطِمَة ← فَاطِمَه

عَائِشَة ← عَائِشَه

خَدِيجَة ← خَدِيجَه


سَيَّارَة ← سَيَّارَه

الْوَظِيفَة ← الْوَظِيفَه

مِنْشَفَة ← مِنْشَفَه

الْقُضَاة ← الْقُضَاه


جَمِيلَة ← جَمِيلَه

الْقَصِيرَة ← الْقَصِيرَه

بَطِيئَة ← بَطِيئَه

On the other hand, the haa ـه / ه is always pronounced as haa regardless of whether it has a haraka over it or not.

مِيَاهٍ ← مِيَاه waters

فِقْهًا ← فِقْه jurisprudence

عَنْهُ ← عَنْه about him

وَجْهٌ ← وَجْه face

كِتَابِهِ ← كِتَابِه his book

سَفِيْهًا ← سَفِيْه fool/foolish

(4) Pronunciation of taa marbuta as taa maftuha


سَيَّارَة مُحَمَّد Mohammed’s car - وَظِيْفَة سَارَة Sarah’s job

خَرِيْطَة الْيَمَن Yemen's map - طَاوِلَة عَلِي Ali's table

نَافِذَة سَلِيم Salim's window - سَاحَة الْبَيْت the house yard

خَيْمَة الرَّجُل the man's tent - غُرْفَة النَّوْم the bedroom

سَاعَة أخِي my brother's watch -  كُوْفِيَّة سَام Sam's hat

زَوْجَة الرَّجُل the man's wife - خَالَة أُمِّي my mum's aunt


These two-word phrases are called genitive construction (إِضَافَة - idafa). Both words must be nouns. The first noun is indefinite (نَكِرَة – nakira), and the second nous is definite (مَعْرِفَة – ma‘rifa). In such phrases, the taa marbuta must be pronounced as ت taa maftuha (not haa), regardless of whether it is vowelized or not. Therefore, it is incorrect to pronounce the taa marbuta in these phrases as haa. If this happens, meaning is significantly affected.


سَيَّارَةٌ ، السَّيَّارَةُ  - خَرِيطَةٍ ، الْخَرِيطَةِ - سَاعَةً ، السَّاعَةَ
شَنْطَةٍ ، الشَّنْطَةِ - شَاشَةٌ ، الشَّاشَةُ - عُلْبَةٍ ، الْعُلْبَةِ


If the taa marbuta is vowelized (i.e. it has a diacritical mark or tanween marks over it), it must be pronounced like the taa maftuha ت, not haa.


السَّيَّارَةُ الْجَدِيدَةُ the new car

كَتَبَتِ الطَّالِبَةُ الْوَاجِبَ the student (f) wrote the HW

أَكْلَ الْوَلَدُ التُّفَّاحَةَ الْحَمْرَاءَ. the boy ate the red apple


السَّيَّارَةُ الْجَدِيْدَةُ ⇐ السَّيَّارَتُلْجَدِيْدَةُ

كَتَبَتِ الطَّالِبَةُ الْوَاجِبَ ⇐ كَتَبَتِطَّالِبَتُلْوَاجِبَ

أَكلَ الْوَلَدُ التُّفَّاحَةَ الحَمْرَاءَ ⇐ أَكَلَلْوَلَدُتُّفَّاحَتَلْحَمْرَاء


In connected speech, the taa marbuta must be vowelized to be pronounced as taa maftuha ت. In fact, it is the short vowel over it that makes connected speech possible, as in (4). In (4), spoken words are connected, alif, and alif and laam (with sun letters) are assimilated. Therefore, the whole phrase / sentence seem like one word (when spoken). If diacritics are not added over it, it is pronounced as haa. Speech, as a result, becomes broken. That is, there will be a slight pause after each word when saying a sentence that expresses meaning.


دَرَسَتْ she studies - أَكَلْتُ I ate

مَاتَ he died - بَيْت house

وَقْت time - سُكُوْت silence

سَافَرَتْ إِلَى اليَمَن she travelled to Yemen


On the other hand, the taa maftuha is always pronounced as taa ت regardless of whether it has diacritical marks or tanween marks over it. Also, both in isolated words and in connected speech, it is always pronounced as taa ت. A pause on it does not affect its pronunciation.

Beenish Erum
thank you, it is very helpful. kindly put the pronunciation part first, it will make the reading easier.
Mohd Azam
A very useful and informative lesson,detailing all relevant points on the subject letter elucidly. Thanks for making the lesson enjoyable. May Allah grace your efforts with desired success.
Shazia Fatima
[email protected] Jazakallah
Rasheed Talib
One may say I am being “over the top” for saying this. But idc, this is by far the best explanation of Taa Marbuta I have seen yet - And it is ALL explained in such a subtle, concise, and brilliant way - It is even better than any YouTube video that tries to demonstrate it live, (which is saying a lot).…. Now, this how you do it (the author of this exact page must be a teacher)…….Literally EVERYTHING you need to know about taa marbuta and even when that taa marbuta becomes the pronounced “taa” (ت) as it seems and the difference of that part is what often confuses new learners and even reverts the most. — Because the biggest issue for people is when is it pronounced as ه? and when is it pronounced as ت? (For instance, the Qur’an is the best example of this, as many come from the Qur’an trying to learn the language and this aspect often stumps them , because outside varied Tajweed situations, essentially taa marbuta is always taa marftuha - So a descriptive and easy to follow article like this [hence the Qur’an using it to “connect”] would help someone in a SECOND to finally make sense of taa marbuta all together.) Nevertheless, it goes behind this one major issue, rather this author gave any student a scenario in every situation of where to expect it; from why is it there to begin with; to why would a Taa Marbuta be in “x” spot; when does it change its pronunciation and why does it change it’s pronunciation as a whole; and more — But its the simplicity of it coupled with literally all of the needed details that adds to it’s excellence and makes this FINALLY a page where Taa Marbuta is explained in a way where you wont only find your answer here, but you will leave the page understanding the subject all together. بارك فيكم
Thanks. Very helpful for Non-Arabic speaking persons.

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