שְׁתֵּי מְדִינוֹת לִשְׁנֵי עַמִּים The other day, I introduced the Hebrew term that means, in English, for a change. I mentioned that the root of that word is שׁ.נ.ה (sh.n.h) and that its core concept is repetition, but I think it’s also important to point out that the word for two is related as well: something repeated is done for at least the second time.So while we’re on the subject of two, here are the ways to say it in Hebrew:
שתים refers to two people or objects that are grammatically feminine.
כַּמָּה נָשִׁים יֵשׁ פֹּה? שתים. How many women are here? Two. (Women can only be female). Wait, there’s more… In Modern Hebrew, שנים and שתים are used where two is used as a noun, such as in an answer to a question.
But far more commonly in speech, we use two as an adjective. In that case, Hebrew uses a different form, meaning literally, two of…
The two forms are:
שְׁתֵּי מְדִינוֹת לִשְׁנֵי עַמִּים two states for two nations We use the feminine שתי in the phrase שתי מדינות, since the word for state -מְדִינָה- is a feminine noun. We use the masculine שני in the phrase לשני עמים, since the word for people – עַם- is a masculine noun.
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About the Author: Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.
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