Lesson 9 – Prepositions in Arabic حروف الجر

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In this lesson, we will talk about prepositions in Modern Standard Arabic.

In Modern Standard Arabic, prepositions are very important. Therefore, in this lesson, we will introduce Arabic prepositions with examples. In fact, prepositions can be best understood in context. For example, the preposition ” min مِن” usually means “from”, but it can have different meanings. For instance, the famous expression “min fadlik مِن فَضلِك” means simply “please”.

Let’s start by introducing a list of widely used Arabic prepositions. Then, we will go deeper into each preposition. In addition, we will contrast the use of different prepositions. In the beginning, these are the most widely used Arabic prepositions:

مِنْ، إلَى، عَنْ، عَلَى، فِي، بـ ، لـ ، كـ

Arabic Prepositions – Google Slides

In these slides, we will see more explanation for these prepositions.

Arabic prepositions – example phrases and sentences

مِنْ الَبَيْت
min al-bayt
From home
إِلَى الَمَطَار
ilaa al-mataar
To the airport
عَلَى الأَرْض
‘alaa al-ard
On the floor/on earth
فِي الحَدِيقَة
fee al-hadeeqah
In the garden
عَنْ المُشكِلَة
‘an al-mushkilah
About the problem
بِالقَلَم
be-l-qalam
With the pen
مَعَ صَدِيقِي
ma’a sadeeqy
with my friend
لِسَلَامَتِكُم
le-salaamatikum
For your (pl) safety

The preposition “min مِن”

مِنْ أَيْنَ أَنْت؟
min ayna ant?
Where are you (m) from?
أَنَا مِنْ الهِنْد 🇮🇳
ana min al-hind
I am from India
نَحْنُ مِنْ نَيْجيريا 🇳🇬
nahnu min Nigeria
We are from Nigeria
مِنْ أَيْنَ أَنْتُم؟
min ayna antum?
Where are you (pl) from?
مِنْ
min
from

Arabic Expressions with “min مِن”

Expressions with “min مِن”
مِنْ فَضْلِك
min fadlik
Please
مِنْ البِدَايَة
min al-bidaayah
From the beginning
مِنْ
min
from

The preposition “ilaa إلى”

إلَى أَيْنَ تُسَافِر فِي الصَّيْف؟ 🏖
ilaa ayna tusaafir fee as-sayf?
Where do you (m) travel in summer?
أنَا أُسَافِر إلَى لُبْنَان 🇱🇧
ana usaafir ilaa lubnaan
I travel to Lebanon
إِلَى
ilaa
to

إلَى اللِّقَاء
ilaa al-liqaa’
Goodbye
مِنَ الألِف إلَى اليَاء
min al-alif ilaa al-yaa’
From A to Z
إلَى النِّهَايَة
ilaa an-nihaayah
To (till) the end
Expressions with “ilaa إلى”

The preposition “‘alaa عَلى”

عَلَى
‘alaa
on
عَلَى المَائِدَة
‘alaa al-maa’idah
On the table
The preposition “ ‘alaa عَلَى” can simply mean “on”
عَلَى الكُرْسِي
‘alaa al-kursee
On the chair

عَلَى الأَقَلّ
alaa’ al-aqall
At least
عَلَى أَيْ حَال
alaa’ ayy haal
Anyway
Expressions with “‘alaa عَلَى”
عَلَى
‘alaa
on

فِي
fee
in/at
فِي المَغْرِب 🇲🇦
fee al-maghrib
In Morocco
فِي مِصْر 🇪🇬
fee misr
In Egypt
The preposition “fee فِي” is used as the English prepositions “in/at”

فِي
fee
in/at
في أكتوبر *
fee October
In October
في الصَّيف
fee as-sayf
In summer
The preposition “fee فِي” can also be used with time

  • Note that month names differ between Arab countries

مَعَ
ma’a
with (person)
أنَا أَعِيش مَعَ أُسْرَتِي
ana a’eesh ma’a usratee
I live with my family
سَافَرْتُ مَعَ أصْدِقَائِي
saafartu ma’a asdiqaa’ee
I travelled with my friends

مَعَ السَّلامَة
ma’a as-salaamah
Goodbye
Literally: with safety
مَعَ تَحِيَّاتِي
ma’a tahiyyaatee
Best regards
Literally: with my greetings
Expressions with “ma’a مَعَ”
مَعَ
ma’a
with (person)

قَرَأتُ كِتَابَاً عَنْ العُلُوم
qara’tu kitaaban ‘an al-’uloom
I read (past) a book about science
عَنْ
‘an
about
تَكَلَّمَ المُدِير عَنْ المُشْكِلَة
takallama al-mudeer ‘an al-mushkilah
The manager spoke about the problem

When the preposition “le- لـ” comes before “al- الـ”,
it becomes “lel- للـ”
لِـ
le-
to/for
البيت 🏠
al-bayt
The house
لـ البيت ← للبيت
lel-bayt
To the house

لِـ
le-
to/for
لِلأَسَف
lel-asaf
unfortunately
لِلعِلْم
lel-’ilm
For information
Expressions with “le- لـ”

When the preposition “be- بـ” comes before “al- الـ” , it is pronounced as “bel-” instead of “be- al-”
الكتاب
al-kitaab
The book
بـ الكتاب ← بالكتاب
bel-kitaab
With the book
بِـ
be-
with/by
(object)

بِـ
be-
with/by
(object)
The preposition “be- بـ” can be used to make adverbs
ثِقَة
thiqah
confidence
بِثِقَة
be-thiqah
confidently

بِـ
be-
with/by
(object)
The preposition “be- بـ” can be used to make adverbs
أَنْتَ تَتَكَلَّم بِسُرْعَة
anta tatakallam be-sor’ah
You (m) speak fast
مِن فَضْلك تَكَلَّم بِبُطْء
min fadlik takallam be-bot’
please speak slowly

The preposition “fee في”

أيْنَ الكَلْب؟
ayna al-kalb?
Where is the dog?


الكَلْب فِي السَّيَّارَة
al-kalb fee as-sayyaarah
The dog is in the car


الكَلْب عَلَى السَّيَّارَة
al-kalb ‘alaa as-sayaarah
The dog is on the car

The prepositions “ma’a مع” is for people, while “be- بـ” is for objects

أنَا ألْعَب مَعَ أصْدِقَائِي
ana al’aab ma’a asdiqaa’ee
I am playing with my friends
أنَا ألْعَب بِالكُرَة
ana al’aab be-l-kurah
I am playing with the ball

The prepositions “ilaa إلى” and “le- لـ” can sometimes be used interchangeably

أَنَا أذْهَب إِلَى المَكْتَب
ana adh-hab ilaa al-maktab
I am going to the office
أَنَا أذْهَب للمَكْتَب
ana adh-hab lel-maktab
I am going to the office
What is the preposition “to” in Arabic: إلى لـ

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