Prepositions in Arabic (حُرُوف الجَرّ hurūf al-jarr) are generally used to show position as in فِى fī (in) and مِن min (from) or time as in فى السّاعة الخَامِسَة fī as-sā’a al-ẖamisah (at five o’clock)
Sometimes they refer to more abstract concepts as in the case of عَن ‘an (about) or عَلَى الأقَل ‘ala al-aqall (at least).
These particles have deeper meanings than their counterparts in English and are used in different contexts to express a wide range of meanings.
The most common حُرُوف الجَرّ hurūf al-jarr are:
من، إلى، حتى، في، عن، على، اللام، والكاف، والباء،
|جِئتُ مِنَ المَسجِدِ
|I came from the masjid
|إِلَى أَينَ تَذْهَبُ يا أَخِي؟
|(To) Where are you going, my brother?
|أَسكُنُ في المَدِينَةِ
|I live in the city
|نِمتُ عَلى السَّرِيرِ
|I slept on the bed
|هَذَا الكِتَابُ لِزَيدٍ
|This is Zaid’s book
|لَيسَ العَالِمُ كَالجَاهِلِ
|The scholar is not like the ignorant one
|كَتَبْتُ بِقَلَمٍ أَحمَرَ
|I wrote with a red pen
|قَرَأتُ كِتَابِي حَتَّى نِمتُ
|I read my book until I slept
- The noun after a proposition is always genetive (it takes the state of Jarr)
- The letters ب,ك,لا,م are always attached to the noun, unlike the other preposition letters which occur separately
- Arabic prepositions are “mabni” which means that they have mostly fixed word-endings regardless of their position