10 Basic yet Powerful Arabic Prepositions and their use

Before we start the discussion about Arabic prepositions, we should know the scope of learning Arabic language. Arabic is a Semitic language and it is written from right to left. The Arabic language has one of the richest vocabularies in the world, with more than 12 million words. Nouns, Verbs and Prepositions are the fundamental parts of a sentence. Nouns are words which are names of person, place or things. Verbs are used to tell us what is happening or what is being done. On the other hand, Prepositions show the relation between words in a sentence.

Our aim in this article is to study Arabic prepositions, some common Arabic prepositions and the way these preposition are used in Arabic language.

What are Arabic Prepositions?

As you probably know, prepositions are words that indicate relationships between other words in a sentence. They tell us when, where, and how things are happening. In English, we have many different prepositions, each with its own meaning.

But what about Arabic prepositions? While Arabic has fewer prepositions than English, they are still an important part of the language.

Arabic prepositions are known as ‘حروف الجرّ’ in Arabic language. In any langugae, preposition is a word or particle  which connects two nouns or a verb and a noun in a sentence. With the help of Arabic preposition, nouns and verbs are connected, making it easy to formulate the sentence and deliver the true meaning.

Most Common Arabic Prepositions

In total, there are 17 Arabic prepositions in Arabic language. Here are some common Arabic prepositions and their meanings:

بِ (bi) = in, at

مِنْ (min) = from

عَلَى (alaa) = on, upon

إِلى (ila) = to

عَنْ (aan) = about, concerning

في (fi) = in, inside

لِ (li) = for, belongs to

كَ (ka) = same as, similar to, just like

مُذْ / مُنْذ (muz / munu) = since, for

حَتّى (hatta) =till, until

Uses of Different Arabic Prepositions

There are many different Arabic prepositions that can be used in different ways. Some prepositions are used to show location, some to show time, and some to show direction. Here are some different uses for prepositions:

Location:  نامَتْ القِط على سَجّادَة (The cat slept on the mat.)

انا بالجامعة (I am at the university.)

الشاي الحارّ فى الكوب (The hot tea is in the cup.)

الأسد على صخرةٍ (The lion is on a rock.)

Time:      نلتقي حَتّى السادسة مساءً (We will meet till 6pm.)

بنيت هذه المدرسة فى ألفين ميلادياً  (This school was built in year 2000.)

انا طالب هنا مذ سنة ألفين وخمسة عشر ميلادياً (I am a student here since 2015.)

Direction: امشِ الى الخروج (Walk towards the exit.)

هو جاء من هذا البيت (He came from his house.)

على (alaa) also means “on, but it is used with a specific meaning: to say that something lies on top of a surface. For example, “كتاب على الوسادة” (book on the table) means “the book is lying on the table. However, “كتاب عندي” (book with me) does not mean that the book is ‘inside of you’. It means that it is close to you or in your possession.

Basic Rules Regarding Arabic Prepositions

Arabic prepositions are single words (one letter, two letters, three and four letters) and always come before the word. Although, prepositions are used to connect noun with noun or noun with verb, but they can never come before a verb. Prepositions will always precedes a noun.

Noun following any Arabic preposition will transform fromnominative case to genetive case. As the prepositions in Arabic are known as  (letter that give الجرّ ), the Noun following any Arabic preposition will be called a مجرور , meaning that the preposition has changed the state of noun from nominative to genetive.


Prepositions are a critical part of any language, and by understanding how to use them correctly, you can take your language skills to the next level. Similarly, Arabic prepositions are not different too. We learned that prepositions are the words that connect words in a sentence. So, without prepositions, a sentence can never describe what is meant to be explained. Prepositions play a vital role in formulating arabic language and in the structuring of Arabic langauge.

We hope you enjoyed learning about powerful basic Arabic prepositions and their use. With practice, you’ll be able to use these prepositions like a native speaker in no time. If you want to learn more, go check this article where prepositions are discussed in detail with more examples. Thanks for reading!

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