Adverbs of space (2) ظرف المكان Posted by on Jan 11, 2021 in Grammar, prepositions

Welcome to the second part of this blog post. We’re still focusing on spatial adverbs. You can catch up and read the previous post (part one) that I published before the new year, by clicking here.

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So, in the last post, we learnt that a spatial adverb is a word that refers to the place where the action occurs.

  • Some of the common adverbs are:

Above/ up/ on فوق

Under/ down تحت

Behind خلف

In في

 Between بين


  1. Similar to temporal adverbs, spatial adverbs are also often accusative منصوبة – as in the examples above:

لم نجد شيئًا خلفَ السيارتين

We didn’t find anything behind the two cars


but most of spatial adverbs can also be genitive مجرورة* if preceded by a preposition من min (in this case), as in the example below:

ذهبت فاطمة من خلفِ المنزل

Fatima passed from behind the house


*Gentitive: is a noun that is marked by kasrah كسرة  ِ on its last letter.


2. When accusative, a spatial adverb, together with the noun that comes after it, forms a grammatical construction called:

Idhafa construction صيغة الإضافة which is made up of a preposition or an adverb1A large number of adverbs are also grammatically considered prepositions. and the noun after it.

The first part of the construction is called mudhaaf: (the thing annexed) مضاف and the second if mudhaaf ilayhi: (the thing added to it) مضاف إليه. While mudhaaf can have different cases – based on its role in the sentence – a mudhaaf ilayhi is always genitive. 

In the example above, the adverb خلفَ is the mudhaf (accusative here) and the noun (the two cars السيارتين) in the dual form is the mudhaaf ilayhi (gentitive).

لم نجد شيئًا خلفَ السيارتين

= = = = = = = =

Spatial or Temporal adverb??

Now that we’ve covered both types of adverbs: temporal and spatial, I would like to point out to you that there is a number of adverbs that can be of either type, and some of these are:

 Before قبل

 After بعد

 At عند

 Between بين


Some examples:

انتظرني بعد نهاية الشارع المقابل

Wait for me after the end of the opposite street

*ظرف مكان*


انتظرني بعد غروب الشمس

Wait for me after the sunset

*ظرف زمان*


سيكون لقاؤنا بين هذا المبنى وذاك

Our meeting will be between this building and that

*ظرف مكان*


سنلتقي بين الصباح والظهيرة

We will meet between the morning and afternoon

*ظرف زمان*

= = = = = = = =




Fill in the gaps in the Arabic sentences below and specifically focus on putting the correct adverb (based on the English translation of the sentence):

 ……….   ………….  يقف المتهم

The defendant is standing in front of the judge


يطوف الحجاج …… الكعبة

The pilgrims roam around the Kaaba


 زينب ……. العشب ………

Zainab is sitting on the grass


الأسد موجود ……. القفص

The lion is inside the cage


المصلُّون …….. الإمام ……..

The prayers are standing behind the Imam


……. الذهاب ……..

We decided to go North

= = = = = = = =

Correct Answers

الإجابات الصحيحة

يقف المتهم أمام القاضي

يطوف الحجاج حول الكعبة

تجلس زينب على* العشب

*You can use فوق but it’s not common and على  is the common adverb used in this context.

الأسد موجود داخل القفص

يقف المصلّون وراء الإمام

قرّرنا الذهاب شمالًا

= = = = = = = =

I hope you found these posts about adverbs useful 😉

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About the Author: Hanan

Hi, this is Hanan :) I'm an Arabic linguist. I completed my PhD in Linguistics - 2018. My PhD thesis was entitled Code-switching as an evaluative strategy: identity construction among Arabic-English bilinguals. I'm also a qualified public service translator & interpreter.

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