Arabic Language Blog

Arabic Prepositions (Part 1) حروف الجر Posted by on Sep 21, 2011 in Arabic Language, Grammar, Vocabulary

  • Prepositions are very important words in any language.
  • Today, we are going to learn the Arabic prepositions and their meanings.
  • Arabic prepositions are Mabni words كلمات مبنية which means that they mostly have a fixed pronunciation regardless of their position in the sentence.
  • These nouns also inflect the noun that follows them and cause it to end in a Kasrah.
  • There are about twenty one prepositions mentioned by the famous Arab grammarian; Ibn Maalik in these two grammar verses:

هــاك حــروف الـجـــر و هــــي : مِـِن , إلى             حتـّى , خلا , حاشا , عدا , في , عن , على

مـُـذ , مـُـنذ , رُبّ , اللام , كي , واو , و تا             و الــكــاف , و الــبـــاء , و لعــل , و مـتـى

* Now, we are going to discuss the meanings and uses of some common ones:

1) مِــن  = (from or some of or one of)

– This prepositions refers to initiating an action from some place or it can mean “some of“.

– It can also refer to the gender or species meaning “one of“.

Ex.مشيتُ من بيتي إلى المدرسة.  = I walked from my home to school.

–   أنفقتُ مِـن مدخراتي.= I spent from (= some of) my savings.

–  قابلتُ واحداً من الأسودِ  = I met one of the lions.

2) إلى  = (to or at)

– This preposition refers to the destination.

Ex. – وصلَ القطارُ إلى المحطةِ  = The train arrived at (got to) the station.

3)  عـَـن  = (about)

– This preposition means about or away from something or someone.

Ex.قرأتُ كتاباً عـن نجيب محفوظ = I read a book about Naguib Mahfouz.

مشيتُ بعيداً عن الحشائش  = I walked away from grass.

4) على  = (on)

– This preposition refers to the top place of something and means on.

Ex.الكتابُ على المكتبِ  = The book is on the desk.

5)  في  = (in)

– This preposition refers to something happening inside.

Ex.  – يوجد القليل من الطلابِ في الفصلِ   = There are a few students in the classroom.

6)  الباء  = (by or with or in or at)

– This preposition can refer to the reason meaning “by” or it can mean “with“.

– It can also refer to the place meaning “in or at“.

Ex.  –  تنجحُ بالعملِ الجاد  = You succeed by working hard.

–  بالعلمِ تبنى العقول  = With science, you build the minds.

–  محمدٌ بالبيتِ = Mohammad is at home.

يجتمع الأصدقاءُ بالنادي = The friends meet in the club.  

(Note: Ibn Maalik has written all the Arabic Grammar in a thousand verses of poetry.)


To be continued (Click here)


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Peace  سلام /Salam/

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About the Author: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.


  1. Scheich Josef:

    مرحبا يا فيصل

    there are three different types of words in Arabic: nouns, verbs and particles. Since prepositions are particles and not nouns I wouldn’t write “Arabic prepositions are Mabni nouns أسماء مبنية” but “Arabic prepositions are Mabni words كلمات مبنية” or “Mabni particles حروف مبنية” as you explained nicely in your previous posts of August 12 and August 13, 2011.

    مع السلامة


    • Fisal:

      @Scheich Josef أهلا بك يا شيخ يوسف
      Thanks so much for you remark.

  2. nelli papa:

    شكرا جزيلا لكم لتعليمات المهمة!