Arabic Language Blog

Expressing temporal relationships in Arabic Posted by on Feb 24, 2013 in Arabic Language, Culture, Grammar, Vocabulary

Temporal relationships (العلاقات الزمنية) are the relationships of events in relation to each other according to the time of their occurrence. They are very important in adding coherence to our discourse and making our writing and speech more meaningful. Often when we tell stories or describe steps to do something, e.g. giving instructions, we have to use expressions of temporal relationships to help arrange the events or steps according to the time.


In this post, I am going to present some expressions which we can use to express temporal relationships in Arabic, and give examples of their usage.

أولاً = firstly

أولاً تفتح العبوة بحرص.

Firstly, open the packet carefully.


ثانياً، تفرغ المحتويات في وعاء مناسب.

Secondly, empty the contents in a suitable container.

ثالثاً= thirdly

ثالثاً، تضيف كوب من الماء مع التقليب المستمر

Thirdly, add a cup of water while stirring continuously.

رابعاً = fourthly

رابعاً، يوضع الخليط في الثلاجة لمدة ساعتين.

Fourthly, put the mixture in the fridge for two hours.

في البداية  = at the beginning

في البداية، ركبنا السفينة إلى الميناء.

At the beginning, we took the ship to the port city.

ثم  = then

ثم قضينا ليلتين في المدينة الجميلة.

Then, we spent two nights at the beautiful city.

وبعد ذلك= afterwards

وبعد ذلك، سافرنا بالقطار إلى العاصمة حيث قضينا يوماً واحداً.

Afterwards, we took the train to the capital city where we spent one day.

وبعدها= afterwards

وبعدها، استقللنا الحافلة إلى المدينة التاريخية.

After that, we took the bus to the historic city.

وفي النهاية  = in the end

وفي النهاية، عدنا بالطائرة.

In the end, we returned by plane.

خلال/ أثناء= during

خلال رحلتنا، زرنا المعالم المهمة في البلد.

During our trip, we visited the important destinations in the country.

في غضون= during

وفي غضون ذلك، زرنا مناطق ترفيهية كثيرة.

During that, we visited many recreational places.

قبل= before

قبل العودة، اشترينا الهدايا التذكارية.

Before returning, we bought many souvenirs.

بعد= after

وبعد الرحلة، شعرنا بسعادة بالغة.

After the trip, we were very happy.

حين/عندما/لما= when

حين نفكر في الوقت الذي قضيناه هناك، نشعر بالحنين للعودة مرة أخرى.

When we think of the time we spent there, we feel like going back again.

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  1. Juan:

    aziza شكراً يا

    Very useful post to express actions evolving in time, I did not know some of them.

    When I practice telling or expressing a sequence of events, one of my favourites is “أَخيرَاً” it goes nicely as in the sequence you wrote.


  2. Rafi:

    Thanks ..very useful.. Would have been better if we are able to listen the pronunciation too..