An article is a member of a small class of words that identify a noun’s definite or indefinite status.

The English definite article is: the.
In Sindarin the definite articles are i (“the” singular) and in (“the” plural).
Sindarin only has the “definite” article.
i adan >”the man”; in edain > “the men”
i barad > “the tower”; in beraid > “the towers”
i galadh < "the tree"; in gelaidh > “the trees”

The English indefinite articles are: a and an .
The “indefinite” article does not occur in Sindarin. If a noun is not determined by the definite article, the context of the sentence will determine if an indefinite article is “implied” or not used at all.
Example: adan > “a man” or just “man”.

Both ” i ” and its plural form ” in” usually cause mutations to occur in the following word. The mutations will be taught in following lessons, so for now just remember that they do occur. Along with the mutations, you will also learn the Sindarin prepositions that include the article “the” suffixed to them.


A genitival relationship is an instance between two words that signifies possession or association.

There are three different forms of genitival relationships in Sindarin. One deals with proper nouns, one with definite common nouns, and one with indefinite common nouns. The terms proper noun, common noun, definite and indefinite are explained below.

Proper Noun: a noun that is the name of a specific individual, place, or object. It is always capitalized.
Examples: Gandalf, Moria, Argonath

Common Noun: A common noun is a noun that signifies a nonspecific object or being.
Examples: wizard, cave, stone

Definite: A word that refers to a specific thing or person. Proper nouns are always definite. The word “the” before a common noun makes a common noun definite.
Examples: Gandalf, the wizard, Moria, the cave

Indefinite: A word that refers to an unspecified amount of something, or a nonspecific thing. Common nouns are indefinite if they have “a/an” or no word at all in front of them.
Examples: wizard, a wizard, cave, a cave

I. Proper Nouns in a Genitival relationship

When the last word of a genitival phrase is a proper noun, word order usually expresses this relationship.

Examples of: [any noun] + [proper noun]
aran Moria > aran “lord” + Moria = “lord (of) Moria”
ennyn Durin > ennyn “doors” + Durin = “doors (of) Durin”

II. Definite Common Nouns in a Genitival relationship

When a genitival phrase is formed with common nouns, a different approach is taken.

A.) When the last word of a genitival phrase using common nouns is a “definite” singular common noun, the genitival article “en” (meaning: “of the”) is used when combining the two nouns .

Examples of: [common noun] + en + [common singular definite noun]
haudh-en-elleth > haudh “mound” + en “of the” + elleth “elf maid” = “mound of the elf maid”
orthad en-el > orthad “rising” + en “of the” + el “star” = “rising of the star”

Please note that “en” is used only in genitival relationships, and is not used anywhere else. Tolkien occasionally used ” i ” instead of “en“, however, this seems to be less common.

B.) When the last noun is plural, the word “in” (plural: “of the”) is used.

Examples of: [common noun] + in + [common plural definite noun]
aerlinn in edhil > aerlinn “hymn” + in “of the” + edhil “elves” = “hymn of the elves”
narn in edain > narn “tale” + in “of the” + edain “men” = tale of the men

NOTE: There are cases where “en” is used instead of “in” when plural nouns are used. However, this seems to be the exception, not the rule.


The use of the genitival articles “en” (singular “of the”) or “in” (plural “of the”), is determined by the singularity or plurality of the last word in the phrase. It doesn’t matter whether the first word is singular or plural. These articles usually cause mutations in the following word. These mutations will be discussed in later lessons (specifically mixed and nasal mutation).

Tolkien often connected genitival relationships with hyphens (-) between the words to prevent confusion of the mutations of words. He was, however, inconsistent with it.

III. Indefinite Common Nouns in a Genitival relationship

When the last noun in a genitival phrase is indefinite, H. Fauskanger suggests using “juxtaposition” (placing the words next to each other).

Examples of: [common noun] + [indefinite common noun]
coth mellon > coth “enemy” + mellon “friend” = enemy (of a) friend
amon ethir > amon “hill” + ethir “spies” = hill (of) spies


When does one use a genitival relationship?
Why could a writer not just use the Sindarin word … o “of, from” and get the same effect?

Even though you can translate “o” as “of”, it really means “from” as a location word. The key to a genitival relationship is that you are showing possession or relationship. You could just as easily rephrase “Lord of Moria” to be “Moria’s Lord”. If you were to say “Aran o Moria”, it would mean “a lord from Moria” (referring to Moria as a location).