Lesson 3 – Arabic Prefixes and Suffixes

Last Lessons we have learned the letters of the Arabic alphabet and diacritics. In this lesson, we will learn about letters that attach before or after words; i.e. prefixes and suffixes. We will cover the following:

  • The prefix “al-” الـ, which is the definite article in Arabic. It turns an indefinite nouns and adjectives into definite
  • The prefix “wa-” و , which is a coordinating conjunction (equivalent to the word “and”), but is attached to the second word
  • The suffix “-ah”, indicating the female version of nouns and adjectives.

The common factor among all of prefixes and suffixes in Arabic is that there is no space between them and the word. So it is important to learn them early on while starting to read Arabic words. There are other grammatical items that attach to words, such as object pronouns and possessive pronouns, but we will cover them in later lessons.

The Arabic prefix al- ال – definite article

It is important to observe that a noun in Arabic by default is indefinite, unless it is a proper noun. This means that there is no indefinite article in Arabic similar to “a/an” in English. Therefore, there is only the definite article “al-” is used, for both nouns and adjectives.

The prefix alif-laam al- ال represents the definite article in Arabic. It is attached before nouns and adjectives
If an adjective describes a definite word, al- is added before both of them

The Arabic prefix wa- و

The prefix wa- is the quivalent to “and” in English.

The letter waaw (wa-) is attached at the beginning of the word to mean “and”

The Arabic suffix -ah ة (the letter taa’ marbootah)

The letter taa’ marbootah can be added to words and adjectives to indicate a feminine form
Taa’ marbootah is commonly used with adjectives to create the feminine equivalent

Other Arabic Prefixes and Suffixes

There are other prefixes in suffixes, that we will be covering in the lesson on object pronouns and possessive pronouns.

You can download this lesson on Arabic prefixes and suffixes as part of our Arabic Reading Guide.

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