Egyptian Arabic Grammar


Prepositions

Prepositions define a relationship (in time, space,etc) between a noun and something else. In both english and Egyptian, the preposition goes before the noun that it defines the relationship to. Here are some examples:

Domain EnglishEgyptianEnglishEgyptian
time afterbaAdbaAd
بـَعد
she came after dinnerhiya gaat baAd ilAasha'hiya gaat baAd iil-AashaaC
هـِي َ جا َت بـَعد ا ِلعـَشا َء
spacebehindwarawaraa
و َراَ
the garden is behind the houseilgineena wara ilbiytiil-ginynao waraa iil-biyt
ا ِلجـِنينـَة و َرا َ ا ِلبـِيت
qualitylikezayizayy
ز َيي
I need another pen like thismihtaag 'alam thaani zayi dahmiHtaag qalam thaany zayy dah
مـِحتا َج قـَلـَم ثا َني ز َيي د َه
referenceaccording tohasabHasab
حـَسـَب
according to the police, the riot started at 2amhasab kalaam ilboolees, ilshaGab 'ibtada ilsaaAa ithneenHasab kalaam iil-bwlys, iil-shaGab iicbtadY iil-saaAao iithnyn
حـَسـَب كـَلا َم ا ِلبوليس، ا ِلشـَغـَب إبتـَدى ا ِلسا َعـَة ا ِثنين
ownershiphaveAandAand
عـَند
I have a house in CairoAandi biyt fi il'aahiraAandy biyt fy iil-qaahirao
عـَندي بـِيت في ا ِلقا َهـِر َة

The noun can be one of the following:

Element PrepositionEnglishEgyptian
name Ahmedshe is with Ahmedhiya maAa 'ahmadhiya maAa aacHmad
هـِي َ مـَع َ أحمـَد
simple nounthe housethe cat is inside the houseil'uTTa guwwa ilbiytiil-quTTao guwwaa iil-biyt
ا ِلقـُطّـَة جـُوّا َ ا ِلبـِيت
complex nounthe man who...I arrived after the man who delivered the carpetwaSalt baAd ilraagil illi waSal ilsigaadawaSalt baAd iil-raagil iil-ly waSal iil-sigaadao
و َصـَلت بـَعد ا ِلرا َجـِل ا ِلّي و َصـَل ا ِلسـِجا َد َة
object pronounherI arrived after herwaSalt baAdahawaSalt baAd-aha
و َصـَلت بـَعد َهـَ
qualifying pronounthisI need another pen like thismihtaag 'alam thaani zayi dahmiHtaag qalam thaany zayy dah
مـِحتا َج قـَلـَم ثا َني ز َيي د َه

Be careful! If it's not a noun, but a complete clause (ie it has a verb), you have to use a conjunction. In english, it's confusing because the preposition and conjunction are often the same word: in Egyptian it is necessary to insert the word maa to convert a preposition ot a conjunction. See more about this below.

Prepositions of time

English EgyptianEnglishEgyptian
after baAdbaAd
بـَعد
we will start after the feasthanibtidi baAd ilAiydhanibtidy baAd iil-Aiyd
هـَنـِبتـِدي بـَعد ا ِلعـِيد
before 'ablqabl
قـَبل
I must paint the house before summerlaazim 'adhin ilbiyt 'abl ilSeeflaazim aacd-hin iil-biyt qabl iil-Syf
لا َز ِم أدهـِن ا ِلبـِيت قـَبل ا ِلصيف
during athna'aathnaaC
ا َثنا َء
smoking is forbidden during dinneriltadKeen mamnooA 'athna' ilAasha'iil-tadKyn mamnwA aacthnaaC iil-AashaaC
ا ِلتـَدخين مـَمنوع أثنا َء ا ِلعـَشا َء
till lihaddliHadd
لـِحـَدّ
I will be here till dinner'ana mawgood lihadd ilAasha'aacnaa mawgwd liHadd iil-AashaaC
أنا َ مـَوجود لـِحـَدّ ا ِلعـَشا َء
till liGaayitliGaayio
لـِغا َيـِة
they are busy until 8pmhumma mawgoodeen liGaayit saaAa tamanyahumma mawgwdyn liGaayio saaAao tamaanyao
هـُمّ َ مـَوجودين لـِغا َيـِة سا َعـَة تـَما َنيـَة

Prepositions of space

English EgyptianEnglishEgyptian
from minmin
مـِن
he is from Cairohuwwa min ilQaahirahuwwa min iil-Qaahirao
هـُوّ َ مـِن ا ِلقا َهـِر َة
away from AanAan
عـَن
the dog ran away from meilkalb garri minniiil-kalb garry min-ny
ا ِلكـَلب جـَرّي مـِنني
at/toward AalaAalY
عـَلى
that man is looking at usilraagil dah baSS Aalynaiil-raagil dah baSS Aaly-naa
ا ِلرا َجـِل د َه بـَصّ عـَليناَ
at fify
في
my husband is at homegoozi fi ilbiytgwzy fy iil-biyt
جوزي في ا ِلبـِيت
above foo'fwq
فوق
my apartment is above the laundrysha''ati foo' ilmaGsalashaqqat-y fwq iil-maGsalao
شـَقّـَتي فوق ا ِلمـَغسـَلـَة
below tahttaHt
تـَحت
there are many many fish under the waterfi samak kiteer taht ilmayaahfy samak kityr taHt iil-mayaah
في سـَمـَك كـِتير تـَحت ا ِلمـَيا َه
opposite 'uSaadquSaad
قـُصا َد
the restaurant is opposite the railway stationilmaTaAm 'uSaad mahaTTit il'aTaariil-maTaAm quSaad maHaTTio iil-qaTaar
ا ِلمـَطـَعم قـُصا َد مـَحـَطّـِة ا ِلقـَطا َر
opposite 'ubaalqubaal
قـُبا َل
facing fi wishshfy wishsh
في و ِشّ
the house is facing the desertilbiyt fi wishsh ilSahara'iil-biyt fy wishsh iil-SaHaraaC
ا ِلبـِيت في و ِشّ ا ِلصـَحـَرا َء
at AandAand
عـَند
the customs office is at the airportmaktab ilgamaarik Aand ilmaTaarmaktab iil-gamaarik Aand iil-maTaar
مـَكتـَب ا ِلجـَما َر ِك عـَند ا ِلمـَطا َر
at AandAand
عـَند
turn right at the pharmacyKushsh yimeen Aand ilSayidaliyaKushsh yimyn Aand iil-Sayidaliyao
خـُشّ يـِمين عـَند ا ِلصـَيـِد َلـِيـَة
behind warawaraa
و َراَ
the cat is behind you (f)il'uTTa waraakiiil-quTTao waraa-ky
ا ِلقـُطّـَة و َرا َكي
beside gambgamb
جـَمب
there was an accident beside the mosquekaan fi hadtha ganb ilgamAakaan fy Haadthao ganb iil-gaamAa
كا َن في حا َدثـَة جـَنب ا ِلجا َمعَ
in fify
في
the dog is in the gardenilkalb fi ilgineenaiil-kalb fy iil-ginynao
ا ِلكـَلب في ا ِلجـِنينـَة
inside guwaguwaa
جـُواَ
we must stay inside the houselaazim ni'Aud guwa ilbiytlaazim niqAud guwaa iil-biyt
لا َز ِم نـِقعـُد جـُوا َ ا ِلبـِيت
outside barabaraa
بـَراَ
do you want anything from outside?Aaayiz haga min baraa?Aaayiz Hagao min baraa?
عا َيـِز حـَجـَة مـِن بـَرا َ؟
on AalaAalY
عـَلى
the bread is on the tableilAeesh Aala iltarabeezaiil-Aysh AalY iil-tarabyzao
ا ِلعيش عـَلى ا ِلتـَر َبيز َة
between beenbyn
بين
Hurghada is between the desert and the seailGarda'a been ilSahara' wa ilbahriil-Gardaqao byn iil-SaHaraaC wa iil-baHr
ا ِلغـَرد َقـَة بين ا ِلصـَحـَرا َء و َ ا ِلبـَحر
along biilToolbi-iil-Twl
بـِا ِلطول
there are lamp posts all along the streetfi Aawameed noor biilTool ilshaariAfy Aawaamyd nwr bi-iil-Twl iil-shaariA
في عـَوا َميد نور بـِا ِلطول ا ِلشا َر ِع
surroundinghawaleenHawalyn
حـَو َلين
The view surrounding the house is very beautifulilmanZar hawaleen ilbiyt gameel 'awiiil-manZar Hawalyn iil-biyt gamyl qawy
ا ِلمـَنظـَر حـَو َلين ا ِلبـِيت جـَميل قـَوي

Note that you don't need a prepositional to after words like raahraaH را َح - go.

I am going to Cairo
aacnaa raayiH iil-Qaahirao

Miscellaneous Prepositions

English EgyptianEnglishEgyptian
concerning 'amaa... fa...aacmaa... fa...
أما َ٫٫٫ فـَ٫٫٫
like zayizayy
ز َيي
do you have something like this?Aandak haaga zayi dih?Aandak Haagao zayy dih?
عـَند َك حا َجـَة ز َيي د ِه؟
there is fify
في
there is a stain on this shirtfi bu'Aa Aala il'ameeS dihfy buqAao AalY iil-qamyS dih
في بـُقعـَة عـَلى ا ِلقـَميص د ِه
about AanAan
عـَن
I am reading a book about the revolutionba'ra kitaab Aan ilthoorabaqraa kitaab Aan iil-thwrao
بـَقرا َ كـِتا َب عـَن ا ِلثور َة
according to hasabHasab
حـَسـَب
according to Ahmed, it will be windy tomorrowhasab kalaam 'ahmad, haykoon fi hawa' kiteer bukrahHasab kalaam aacHmad, Haykwn fy hawaaC kityr bukrah
حـَسـَب كـَلا َم أحمـَد، حـَيكون في هـَوا َء كـِتير بـُكر َه
contrary AaksAaks
عـَكس
my opinion is contrary to yoursr'ayi Aaks r'ayakraacy-y Aaks raacy-ak
رأيي عـَكس رأيـَك
except 'ilaiiclaa
إلاَ
there is no food except this breadmafish akl 'ila ilAayshsh dahmafish aakl iiclaa iil-Aayshsh dah
مـَفـِش ا َكل إلا َ ا ِلعـَيشّ د َه
except maAadamaAadaa
مـَعـَداَ
instead of baddalbaddal
بـَدّ َل
give us chicken instead of beef'idyna firaaK baddal illahmaiicdy-naa firaaK baddal iil-laHmao
إدينا َ فـِرا َخ بـَدّ َل ا ِلّـَحمـَة
despite biilraGm minbi-iil-raGm min
بـِا ِلر َغم مـِن
he succeeded despite his injuriesnigih biilraGm min ziraaAuh ilmaksoornigiH bi-iil-raGm min dhiraaA-uh iil-makswr
نـِجـِح بـِا ِلر َغم مـِن ذ ِرا َعـُه ا ِلمـَكسور
plus zaa'idzaaycid
زا َئـِد
there are ten guests plus two stafffi Aashara Duyoof zaa'id 'ithneen muwaZafeenfy Aasharao Duywf zaaycid iicthnyn muwaZafyn
في عـَشـَر َة ضـُيوف زا َئـِد إثنين مـُو َظـَفين

Prepositions of ownership

This important group is discussed in more detail in the section on ownership.

English EgyptianEnglishEgyptian
own AandAand
عـَند
I own a carAandi AarabiyaAandy Aarabiyao
عـَندي عـَر َبـِيـَة
have with youmaAamaAa
مـَعَ
I have a cigarette lightermaAayah walaaAamaAayah walaaAao
مـَعـَيـَه و َلا َعـَة
have got lily
لي
I have two legsli rigleenly riglyn
لي ر ِجلين
forAalashaanAalashaan
عـَلـَشا َن
there was a phone call for youkaan fi mukalma Aalashaanakkaan fy mukalmao Aalashaanak
كا َن في مـُكـَلمـَة عـَلـَشا َن َك

Subordinate clauses: maa

A preposition connects a noun to a sentence. If you want to connect a clause (something with a verb) to a sentence, you need to use a conjunction.

In English, many conjunctions are the same as prepositions: In Egyptian, some prepositions can be converted to a conjunction by adding the word mamaa ماَ. Here are some examples:

ElementEnglishEgyptian
prepositionwash your hands before dinner 'iGsil ieedyk 'abl ilAasha'iicGsil iiydy-k qabl iil-AashaaC
إغسـِل ا ِيديك قـَبل ا ِلعـَشا َء
conjunctionwash your hands before you eat 'iGsil ieedyk 'abl ma taakuliicGsil iiydy-k qabl maa taakul
إغسـِل ا ِيديك قـَبل ما َ تا َكـُل
prepositionshe arrived after the bus hiya waSalit baAd ilmasarahiyahiya waSalit baAd iil-masaraHiyao
هـِي َ و َصـَلـِت بـَعد ا ِلمـَسـَر َحـِيـَة
conjunctionshe arrived after the bus had gone hiya waSalit baAd ma ilmasrahiya 'ibtadithiya waSalit baAd maa iil-masraHiyao iicbtadit
هـِي َ و َصـَلـِت بـَعد ما َ ا ِلمـَسر َحـِيـَة إبتـَد ِت
prepositionhe acts like the owner biyitSarraf zayi ilmaalikbiyitSarraf zayy iil-maalik
بـِيـِتصـَرّ َف ز َيي ا ِلما َلـِك
conjunctionhe acts as if he owns the place biyitSarraf zayi ma yikoon ilmakaan bitaaAuhbiyitSarraf zayy maa yikwn iil-makaan bitaaAuh
بـِيـِتصـَرّ َف ز َيي ما َ يـِكون ا ِلمـَكا َن بـِتا َعـُه

yikoonyikwn يـِكون is added in the last example because it is something that is unlikely to happen. See kaan for more details.


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