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Tricky Prepositions Posted by on Sep 24, 2018 in Arabic Language, Grammar, Vocabulary

Prepositions can be a very tricky aspect of learning a foreign language. Often, we find correspondence between languages in the basic meaning and usage of certain prepositions, e.g. in Arabic (في) usually translates into (in) in English and (على) usually translates into (on) in English. However, this is not always the case, as there are cases where English and Arabic use different prepositions.


In this post, I give some examples of prepositions that are harder to translate between English and Arabic.

في الأفق = on the horizon

يبدو أن هناك أملاً في الأفق.

في الشارع = on the street

بيتي في شارع الزهور.

في الطريق = on the way

نحن في الطريق إلى المؤتمر.

في المتوسط = on average

كم يبلغ عدد سكان المدينة في المتوسط؟

In all of these sentences, (في) in Arabic translates as (on) in English, not ‘in’ as one would expect.

Sometimes, one preposition on Arabic, e.g. (في) translates into several possible prepositions in English, depending on the context, and sometimes it disappears in English,  e.g.

في يوم الجمعة = on Friday

أين ستذهب في يوم الجمعة؟

في نفس الوقت = at the same time

أدرس وفي نفس الوقت أعمل.

في الأسبوع = per week

كم مرة تغسل الملابس في الأسبوع؟

في العام المقبل = next year

ماذا ستفعل في العام المقبل؟

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  1. Tajuddin:

    Tafadzal. What does mu’thmar mean?

    • aziza:

      @Tajuddin مؤتمر means conference

  2. Tajuddin: