Amharic Grammar

Welcome to the 8th lesson about Amharic grammar. We will first learn about prepositions, negation, questions, adverbs, and pronouns including: personal, object and possessive pronouns. To hear the pronunciation, just click on the sound icon.

We will start with prepositions. In general, they are used to link words to other words. For example: I speak Amharic and English the preposition is [and] because it connects both words Amharic and English. The following is a list of the most used prepositions in Amharic.

Prepositions
Amharic
Pronunciation
and
እና
[ʾəna] Audio
above
በላይ
[bälayə] Audio
under
በታች
[bätačə] Audio
before
በፊት
[bäfitə] Audio
after
በኃላ
[bähala] Audio
in front of
ፊት ለፊት
[fitə läfitə] Audio
behind
ከኃላ
[kähala ] Audio
far from
ከርቀት
[kärəqätə] Audio
near
በቅርብ
[bäqərəbə] Audio
in
ውስጥ
[wəsət'ə] Audio
inside
በውስጥ
[bäwəsət'ə] Audio
outside
ውጭ
[wəč'ə] Audio
with
ከ ጋር
[kä garə] Audio
without
ብቻውን
[bəčawənə] Audio
about
ስለ
[səlä ] Audio
between
በመሀል
[bämähälə] Audio
but
ነገር ግን
[nägärə gənə ] Audio
for
[lä] Audio
from
[kä] Audio
to
[lä] Audio

Preposition Grammar Rules

The following examples use prepositions in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Prepositions + Rules
Amharic + Pronunciation
I eat without a knife
[preposition + noun]
ያለ ቢላዋ በላሁ Audio
[yalä bilawa bälahu]
she lives near the church
[verb + preposition]
ቤተ ክርስቲያን አጠገብ ትኖራለች Audio
[betä kərəsətiyanə ʾät'ägäbə tənoraläčə]
he is taller than her
[adjective + preposition]
እሱ ከእሷ ረጅም ነው Audio
[ʾəsu käʾəሷ räǧəmə näwə]
he came with his small dog
[preposition + pronoun]
ከቡችላው ጋር መጣ Audio
[käbučəlawə garə mät'a]
can you come with me?
[preposition + pronoun]
ከእኔ ጋር መምጣት ትችላለህ? Audio
[käʾəne garə mämət'atə təčəlalähə?]

Negation in Amharic

Now let's learn how to make a negative sentence (negation). For example: Saying no, I can't, I don't ... The following examples use negation in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Negation + Rules
Amharic + Pronunciation
I understand you
[affirmative form]
ገብቶኛል Audio
[gäbətoñalə]
I don't understand you
[negation + verb]
አልገባኝም Audio
[ʾäləgäbañəmə]
this is not the correct word
[negation + adjective]
ይህ ትክክለኛ ቃል አይደለም Audio
[yəhə təkəkəläña qalə ʾäyədälämə]
don't leave me
[imperative negation]
አትተወኝ Audio
[ʾätətäwäñə]
no problem
[negation + noun]
ችግር የለውም Audio
[čəgərə yäläwəmə]

Negative Sentences
Amharic + Pronunciation
I don't speak French
[negation + present tense]
ፈረንሳይኛ አልናገርም Audio
[färänəsayəña ʾälənagärəmə]
she didn't visit Germany
[negation + past tense]
ጀርመንን አልጎበኘችም Audio
[ǧärəmänənə ʾäləgobäñäčəmə]
he cannot see us
[negative modal verb]
ሊያየን አይችልም Audio
[liyayänə ʾäyəčələmə]
can't she play chess?
[interrogative negation]
ቼዝ አትጫወትም? Audio
[čezə ʾätəč'awätəmə?]
we will not come late
[negation + future tense]
አንዘገይም Audio
[ʾänəzägäyəmə]

Questions in Amharic

Now let's learn how to ask questions (interrogative). Such as: what, why, can you ...? Here are some common examples:

English
Amharic
Pronunciation
how?
እንዴት?
[ʾənədetə? ] Audio
what?
ምን?
[mənə?] Audio
who?
ማን?
[manə?] Audio
why?
ለምን?
[lämənə?] Audio
where?
የት?
[yätə?] Audio

More of the interrogative form, now in a sentence:

Questions + Rules
Amharic + Pronunciation
where do you live?
[interrogative + verb]
የት ነው የምትኖረው? Audio
[yätə näwə yämətənoräwə?]
does she speak Chinese?
[interrogative verb]
ቻይንኛ ትናገራለች? Audio
[ čayənəña tənagäraläčə?]
how much is this?
[interrogative preposition]
ይህ ዋጋው ምን ያህል ነው? Audio
[yəhə wagawə mənə yahələ näwə?]
can I help you?
[interrogative modal verb]
ምን ልረዳህ? Audio
[mənə lərädahə?]
what is your name?
[interrogative preposition]
ስምህ ማነው? Audio
[səməhə manäwə?]

Adverbs in Amharic

It's time to learn the adverbs in Amharic. But what is an adverb? In general, adverbs modify verbs and adjectives. For example: You speak fast. The adverb is [fast] because it describes the verb and answers the question how do you speak?. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Adverbs
Amharic
Pronunciation
now
አሁን
[ʾähunə] Audio
yesterday
ትናትና
[tənatəna ] Audio
today
ዛሬ
[zare] Audio
tonight
ዛሬ ማታ
[zare mata] Audio
tomorrow
ነገ
[nägä] Audio
soon
በቅርቡ
[bäqərəbu ] Audio
quickly
በፍጥነት
[bäfət'ənätə] Audio
slowly
በቀስታ
[bäqäsəta ] Audio
together
አንድ ላይ
[ʾänədə layə] Audio
very
በጣም
[bät'amə] Audio
almost
የተቀራረበ
[yätäqäraräbä] Audio
always
ሁልጊዜ
[huləgize] Audio
usually
ሁልጊዜ
[huləgize] Audio
sometimes
አንዳንድ ጊዜ
[ʾänədanədə gize] Audio
rarely
አልፎ አልፎ
[ʾäləfo ʾäləfo ] Audio
never
በፍፁም
[bäfəs'umə] Audio

The following examples use the adverbs in different ways and places to demonstrate how it behaves in a sentence.

Adverbs + Rules
Amharic + Pronunciation
do you understand me now?
[pronoun + adverb]
የምልህ ገብቷሃል? Audio
[yämələhə gäbətahalə?]
I need help immediately
[noun + adverb]
እርዳታ አሁኑኑ እፈልጋለሁ Audio
[ʾərədata ʾähununu ʾəfäləgalähu]
she is very intelligent
[adverb + adjective]
በጣም ጎበዝ ነች Audio
[bät'amə gobäzə näčə]
I will always love you
[verb + adverb]
ሁልጊዜም እወድሃለሁ Audio
[huləgizemə ʾəwädəhalähu]
can we learn German together?
[adverb in a question]
ጀርመንኛ አብረን መማር እንችላለን? Audio
[ǧärəmänəña ʾäbəränə mämarə ʾənəčəlalänə?]

Pronouns in Amharic

We're almost done! This time we will learn the pronouns in Amharic. In general, a pronoun can be used instead of a noun. For example instead of saying my teacher speaks 3 languages, you can use the pronoun he, and say he speaks 3 languages. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Personal Pronouns
Amharic
Pronunciation
I
እኔ
[ʾəne] Audio
you
አንተ
[ʾänətä] Audio
he
እሱ
[ʾəsu ] Audio
she
እሷ
[ʾəሷ] Audio
we
እኛ
[ʾəña] Audio
they
እነሱ
[ʾənäsu] Audio

Object Pronouns
Amharic
Pronunciation
me
እኔ
[ʾəne] Audio
you
አንተ
[ʾänətä] Audio
him
እሱ
[ʾəsu ] Audio
her
እሷ
[ʾəሷ] Audio
us
እኛ
[ʾəña] Audio
them
እነሱ
[ʾənäsu] Audio

Possessive Pronouns
Amharic
Pronunciation
my
የእኔ
[yäʾəne] Audio
your
የአንተ
[yäʾänətä] Audio
his
የእሱ
[yäʾəsu ] Audio
her
የእሷ
[yäʾəሷ] Audio
our
የእኛ
[yäʾəña] Audio
their
የእነሱ
[yäʾənäsu] Audio

I think it's better to put the above example in a sentence to better assist you. The following examples use pronouns in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence. We will start with the personal pronouns.

Personal Pronouns
Amharic + Pronunciation
I am your friend
[1st pronoun + verb]
የአንተ ጓደኛ ነኝ Audio
[ yäʾänətä gädäña näñə]
you speak very fast
[2nd pronoun + adverb]
በጣም በፍጥነት ትናገራለህ Audio
[bät'amə bäfət'ənätə tənagäralähə]
he has three dogs
[3rd pronoun + verb]
ሶስት ውሾች አሉት Audio
[ sosətə wəšočə ʾälutə]
she can speak German
[3rd pronoun + verb]
ጀርመንኛ መናገር ትችላለች Audio
[ǧärəmänəña mänagärə təčəlaläčə]
we will not come late
[1st plural pronoun]
አንዘገይም Audio
[ʾänəzägäyəmə]
they bought milk and bread
[3rd plural pronoun]
እነሱ ወተት እና ዳቦ ገዙ Audio
[ʾənäsu wätätə ʾəna dabo gäzu]

The object pronoun is used as a target by a verb, and usually come after that verb. For example: I gave him my book. The object pronoun here is him. Here are more examples:

Object Pronouns
Amharic + Pronunciation
can you tell me your name?
[1st object pronoun]
ስምህን ልትነግረኝ ትችላለህ? Audio
[səməhənə lətənägəräñə təčəlalähə?]
I will give you money
[2nd object pronoun]
ገንዘብ እሰጥሃለሁ Audio
[ gänəzäbə ʾəsät'əhalähu]
she wrote him a letter
[3rd object pronoun]
ደብዳቤ ጻፈችለት Audio
[däbədabe s'afäčəlätə]
they visited her yesterday
[3rd object pronoun]
ትናትና ጐበኟት Audio
[tənatəna guebäኟtə]
can she help us?
[1st pl. object pronoun]
ልትረዳን ትችላለች? Audio
[lətərädanə təčəlaläčə?]
he gave them food
[3rd pl. object pronoun]
ምግብ ሰጣቸው Audio
[məgəbə sät'ačäwə]

Possessive Pronouns
Amharic + Pronunciation
my name is Maya
[1st possessive pronoun]
ስሜ ማያ ነው Audio
[ səme maya näwə]
your brother lives here
[2nd possessive pronoun]
ወንድምህ እዚህ ይኖራል Audio
[wänədəməhə ʾəzihə yənoralə]
her mother cooks for us
[3rd possessive pronoun]
እናቷ ለእኛ ታበስላለች Audio
[ʾənata läʾəña tabäsəlaläčə]
his hobby is reading books
[3rd possessive pronoun]
የትርፍ ጊዜ ሥራው መጽሐፍ ማንበብ ነው Audio
[yätərəfə gize sərawə mäs'əhäfə manəbäbə näwə]
our dream is to visit Paris
[1st pl. possessive pronoun]
ህልማችን ፓሪስን መጐብኘት ነው Audio
[hələmačənə parisənə mäguebəñätə näwə]
their house is not far
[3rd pl. possessive pronoun]
ቤታቸው ሩቅ አይደለም Audio
[betačäwə ruqə ʾäyədälämə]

One more thing you need to know is the demonstrative pronouns. They're very easy to learn.

Demonstrative Pronouns
Amharic
Pronunciation
this is my house
ይኽ የእኔ ቤት ነው
[yəhə yäʾəne betə näwə] Audio
that restaurant is far
ያ ምግብ ቤት ሩቅ ነው
[ya məgəbə betə ruqə näwə] Audio
these apples are delicious
እነዚህ ፖሞች ጣፋጭ ናቸው
[ʾənäzihə pomočə t'afač'ə načäwə] Audio
those stars are shiny
እነዚያ ኮከቦች አንፀባራቂ ናቸው
[ʾənäziya kokäbočə ʾänəs'äbaraqi načäwə] Audio

I hope you learned a lot about the Amharic grammar in this lesson. If you have any question about this lesson please contact me here. The next lesson is below, have fun!

Amharic Phrases   Amharic Phrases

Amharic Vocabulary   Amharic Vocabulary



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Inspirational Quote: First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Epictetus