Arabic/Sentence Fragments/the

The word for "the" in Arabic is: al ال

Aside: The word "the" matches up with the word "al" in most cases. "al" is used in some places where the word "the" wouldn't be used in English translation. "al" is sometimes used to talk about something in general.

Just remember: al=the

Pronunciations of al: "al", and the "e" gets elided whenever possible. example: kitaabu al-walad Is pronounced: kitaabulwalad

"al" has two pronunciations. The first is the lunar pronunciation. This one is used when a moon letter starts the word after "el". The second is the solar pronunciation. The solar pronunciation will be indicated with the following spelling: èl. This is a convention to help beginners, it is rarely indicated in Arabic writing.

èl is weird. The "l" is not pronounced. In its place the first letter of the word after it is pronounced. Thus: èl-shams [esh-shams] èl-daftar [ed-daf-tar] èl-rajul [er-ra-jul]

This only happens if the letter after "el" is a solar letter. The solar letters are "t,d,r,z,s" (this only applies to the transliteration system used). There are more than 5 solar letters in standard Arabic writing.

Sun Letters/Moon Letters

Sun Letters
ت ث د ذ ر ز س ش ص ض ط ظ ل ن
Moon Letters
ا ب ج ح خ ع غ ق ك م ه و ي



Practice adding "el" out loud. Remember that "rajul" begins with a solar letter.

  1. walad - a boy
  2. bint - a girl
  3. rajul - a man
  4. imra'ä - a woman
  5. kitaab - a book
  6. kabiir - big
  7. saghiir - small

Lesson Summary

  • el=the
  • this spelling: èl

means do not pronounce the "l" instead pronounce the letter beginning the next word, then start pronouncing the next word.

    • e.g. èl-daftar [ed-daf-tar]



A) Make the definite form of the following words.

  1. .مَلِكٌ
  1. .جَبَلٌ
  1. .سُوقٌ
  1. .مُهَنْدِسٌ
  1. .طَالِبٌ

B) Do the same thing here. This time there are also adjective attributes.

1.كَاتِبٌ مَشْهُورٌ

2.مُدِيرٌ مَكْرُوهٌ

3.بِنْتٌ صَغِيرٌ

4.عُمَّالٌ شَاطِرٌ




1.مَلِكٌ -> أَلْمَلِكُ

2.جَبَلٌ -> أَلْجَبَلُ

3.سُوقٌ -> أَلسُّوقُ

4.مُهَنْدِسٌ -> أَلْمُهَنْدِسُ

5.طَالِبٌ -> أَلطَّالِبُ


1.كَاتِبٌ مَشْهُورٌ-> أَلْكَاتِبُ الْمَشْهُورُ

2.كَاتِبٌ مَشْهُورٌ-> أَلْكَاتِبُ الْمَشْهُورُ

3.بِنْتٌ صَغِيرٌ-> ألْبِنْبُ الصَّغِيرُ

4.عُمَّالٌ شَاطِرٌ-> أَلْعُمَّالُ الشَّاطِرُ