מְקוֹמוֹת מְסֻיָּמִים

The Hebrew word for place is מקום , while the word for certain or specific is מסוים when describing something masculine and מסוימת for something feminine.

Now, מקום is a masculine word, so that a certain place is מקום מסוים .

But when speaking about places, מקום suddenly gets an ending that makes it look feminine: מקומות are places, with the characteristically-feminine ות- ending.

Nevertheless, certain places are מקומות מסוימים , where מסוימים has the masculine ים- ending. That’s because an adjective, the word describing the noun or thing, always takes on the true gender of the noun. And how can we know the true gender of the noun? By looking at it in the singular (although מקומות looks feminine, מקום is masculine, and that’s what determines the adjective).

Here’s an example:

יש מקומות מסוימים במתחם שמותר לעשן.

There are certain places on the premises that smoking is allowed.

מסוים comes from the passive פועל verb form.

מקום is also used to refer to God himself – המקום , the One who occupies space (where places are).

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