We present ARETA, an automatic error type annotation system for Modern Standard Arabic. We design ARETA to address Arabic’s morphological richness and orthographic ambiguity. We base our error taxonomy on the Arabic Learner Corpus (ALC) Error Tagset with some modifications. ARETA achieves a performance of 85.8% (micro average F1 score) on a manually annotated blind test portion of ALC. We also demonstrate ARETA’s usability by applying it to a number of submissions from the QALB 2014 shared task for Arabic grammatical error correction. The resulting analyses give helpful insights on the strengths and weaknesses of different submissions, which is more useful than the opaque M2 scoring metrics used in the shared task. ARETA employs a large Arabic morphological analyzer, but is completely unsupervised otherwise. We make ARETA publicly available.