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Available at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Listed below are a few types of sentences. These are interactive examples: you can select the words to be combined and then when you click the "Show me" button, the sentence written in hieroglyphs will appear.

In each section we've included a brief explanation of some of the grammar involved. Someday, this may grow to be a comprehensive grammar tutorial, but for now, your best bet is to order one of the excellent books currently available on Egyptian grammar.

The Collier and Manley book is great for folks who just want to understand a bit of what they might see in a museum, while James Allen's "Middle Egyptian" is more appropriate for those wanting to study the language in-depth. The Gardiner grammar is most suitable as a reference for the advanced student. But whatever you do, stay away from the books by Budge since they're very dated and now inaccurate.

If you want to quiz yourself by seeing just the hieroglyphs, click the "Quiz me" button. Then click the "Show me" button to see the complete translation.

1. Basic sentence
Who or what does the action:
The action:
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In this type of sentence (a simple statement of fact), the particle iw occurs first in the sentence and establishes the context as "here and now". Next comes the verb, and then the subject. Since Egyptian doesn't make much use of articles, we've just decided to use the in our English translation, but it could just as well be a or an, depending on the context.

2. Subject is pronoun
Who or what does the action:
The action:
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This type of sentence is the same as the first, but has a pronoun for the subject. A suffix pronoun must be used here.

3. Past tense
Who or what does the action:
The action:
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Here, we make the action happen in the past by adding an n to the end of the verb. Some verbs have spelling changes when you do this, but for this example, we've picked ones that don't.

4. Prepositional phrase
Who or what does the action:
The action:
Where the action happens:
 
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This type of sentence extends the ones above by adding a prepositional phrase following the subject. The prepositional phrase is constructed as preposition + object of preposition.

There are different prepositions for to a person and to a place. The correct one is selected automatically.

5. Behold!
Who is being addressed:
Who or what does the action:
The action:
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This sentence uses a different particle, mk, meaning behold!, or look!. The form of the particle changes depending upon who is being spoken to.

6. Dependent pronouns
Who is being addressed:
Who or what:
Where:
 
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This sentence uses mk again, but introduces dependent pronouns. Dependent pronouns are used as the subject with the particle mk in sentences that don't have verbs. (We've added is to make the English flow more naturally.)

7. Direct objects
Who or what does the action:
The action:
The object of the action:
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In this sentence we introduce the direct object--the person or thing the action happens to. This sentence can have two pronouns. The subject, when it's a pronoun, will always be a suffix pronoun. The direct object, when it's a pronoun, will always be a dependent pronoun.

Pronouns usually come before nouns in sentences, and the subject pronoun will come before other pronouns. That's why the word order changes so much when you select various combinations of nouns and pronouns for the subject and direct object.

8. Indirect object
Who or what does the action:
The action:
The object of the action:
Who gets the object:
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Building on the last sentence type, we now add the indirect object--the recipient of the object in this case. In our example, the indirect object follows the preposition n, meaning to or for. And when the indirect object is a pronoun, it will be a suffix pronoun, like the subject.

Remember, pronouns usually come before nouns in sentences, and the subject pronoun will always come before the other pronouns. So in this sentence, if you have three pronouns, the order will be subject pronoun, indirect object pronoun, and then direct object pronoun.

Finally, note that the hieroglyphic form of the preposition to changes depending on the verb selected.

9. Adjectives
Who or what does the action:
The description of the actor:
The action:
The object of the action:
The description of the object:
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Adjectives normally follow the noun they describe. An extra complication is that the adjective must agree with the noun in gender and number. All of these examples are singular so you won't be able to see changes in number agreement here. But when you select woman as the subject or direct object, you will see that the related adjective will have the feminine t ending stuck to it.

10. Ownership
Who or what does the action:
The action:
Owner of the object:
The object of the action:
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You can indicate ownership of something by attaching a suffix pronoun to the thing owned.

11. the X of Mr. Y
Who or what does the action:
The action:
The object of the action:
Owner of the object:
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Another way to indicate ownership of something is to use the genitival adjective (which we translate as of). There are different forms of it depending upon the gender and number of the noun being modified (which in this case is the direct object). Since all of our direct objects in this example are singular, you will only seen changes related to gender.

12. Predicate adjective
Who or what is being described:
The description:
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Although adjectives normally follow the noun they describe, one describing the subject of a non-verbal sentence will be the first element in the sentence. Such a sentence will not begin with a particle as all of the other examples have.

13. M of predication
Who:
The person's occupation:
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To describe a person in a temporary state like a job (not an innate one like being tall), use "the m of predication" which is roughly translated as is as a or is in the capacity of a.

14. Passive
Who or what the action happens to:
The action:
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In a passive sentence, the action happens to the subject rather than the subject doing the action. To construct the present tense passive, add the ending tw to the verb.

15. Passive agent
Who or what the action happens to:
The action:
Who or what does the action:
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To express who does the action in a passive sentence, use the word in, which can mean by.

16. Subordinate clauses
Who or what does the main action:
The main action:
Who or what does the subordinate action:
The subordinate action:
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All of the sentences so far have been main clauses. They can be combined by making one a subordinate clause simply by removing the particle at the beginning of the second sentence and then sticking the two sentences together.

To demonstrate the idea here, we've chosen to connect two of the simplest sentences. In an English translation the two can be connected by a word like although, while, when, or since, depending on the context. For this example, we've chosen to use when in the English translation.