B: Prepositions

Prepositions are words like في ,ب , ل , الى , عن and من In addition, there are large number of words, which, while they are not technically prepositions as understood by Arab grammarians, function as prepositions. These are words such as قبْلَ,بَعْدَ and أثْناءَ . Whenever you see any of these words you will always put the following noun or adjective into the genitive. Always. Every time.

Enter all case endings in the sentences below.


1. The student is in the house

١. الطالب في البيت.

2. You are the director in this office.

٢. انت المدير في هذا المكتب.

3. The library is near the university

٣. المكتبة قريبة من الجامعة.


Here are the same Arabic sentences with the case endings. An explanation follows …


الطالب في البيت.

انت المدير في هذا المكتب.

المكتبة قريبة من الجامعة.


The first sentence has الطالبُ as its subject. Hence that word is in the nominative and has no nunation since it is definite. The predicate of the sentence is في البيتِ which is a prepositional phrase. The noun البيتِ follows the preposition في so it must, must, must, be in the genitive case. Since البيتِ is definite it cannot and must not have nunation, so it takes only one kasra.

The second sentence أنت as its subject. That word is a pronoun, so it will not take a case ending. المديرُ is a predicate and so must be in the nominative case. In fact, أنتَ المديرُ is itself an equational sentence. However following أنتَ المديرُ in the sentence above is a prepositional phrase في هذا المكتبِ You should know that هذا المكتبِ is one unit (this was discussed in Chapter One). هذا is not a word that takes case but المكتبِ is a regular noun and it will always have a case. Since هذا المكتبِ is one unit, المكتبِ is put into the genitive because of the preposition في

The third sentence is very similar to the second. The first two words المكتبةُ قريبةٌ can themselves form an equational sentence. The first word is the subject, the second is the predicate. مِن الجامعةِ is prepositional phrase so الجامعةِ must be genitive. Since الجامعةِ is definite it gets only one kasra. I hope that you did not confuse the preposition مِنْ with the interrogative مَنْ

Before you do any drills at the end of this chapter, read the next section on The Idaafa.

9 responses to “B: Prepositions”

  1. Sabrina Avatar

    i wanted to know what would happen to a verb if it came after a preposition- will the ending noon for example be knocked off due to it having to be in the i case or will it stay for example the word يكتبن will it stay as that when preceded by a ل or will the ending noon be knocked off
    Thank you fro the help!

    1. astrojin77 Avatar

      If the preposition is a harf jarr, only a noun can come after the preposition!

  2. andy Avatar

    The sentences following “Here are the same Arabic sentences with the case endings.” don’t actually have the endings. (I tried in Chrome and Firefox, just in case).

  3. Sunve Avatar

    I am little confused regarding preposition following a definite noun. I am quotating For example هو باِ لجمعت. Here why an extra Alif is added after preposition? May I please know the rules regarding this? Thanks a lot for your kind attention and reply.

    1. Student Avatar

      The alif is coming from the definite article al. If it were indefinite it would be هو بِجمعت

  4. Abdulhakim Avatar

    I like to live Arabic, thank you

  5. Isra Avatar

    Make sentence using preposition in Arabic three sentence

  6. Student Avatar

    Hi, In arabic, can we start a sentence with prepositions?

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