Spatial Relationships And Directions In Arabic


Spatial Relationships And Directions In Arabic


Exploring Arabic speaking countries can be quite an adventure, but you need to know how to ask for directions in Arabic and to understand what you’re told. After all, if you don’t understand the directions, you might miss the very things you hoped to see. 

However, first you need to know how to ask for directions, as it is a very common situation for the foreigner abroad. To get help you can say men fathlek/fathleki (for male and female, respectively), which means “Excuse me”, or hal beemkanek mosa‘adati? which translates to “Can you help me?”. Another variation for “Excuse me” is a’afwan, and it can be used if you have to stop somebody and ask for the way. You can also use a’afwan, as a reply to shukran (“Thank you”). In this case it means “You’re welcome”. The following words can help you understand the directions you hear in Arabic-speaking countries.


North in Arabic / Shamal / شمال
East in Arabic / Sharq / شرق
West in Arabic / Gharb /غرب   
South in Arabic / Janoob /جنوب  
Right in Arabic / Yameen /يمين  
Left in Arabic / Yassar /يسار  
Straight in Arabic / Mustaqeem /مستقيم  
Between in Arabic / Bayn /بين  
On top of in Arabic / Fawq /فوق  
Inside in Arabic / Dakhel /داخل  
Outside in Arabic / Kharej /خارج  
Under in Arabic / Taht /تحت
Up in Arabic / A’la /أعلى  
Down in Arabic / Asfal /أسفل  
Beside in Arabic / Bjaneb /بجانب
To the right in Arabic / Ila al-yameen / إلى اليَمين
To the left in Arabic / Ila al-yasaar / إلى اليَسار
On the front in Arabic / Fee al-muqadima / في المُقَدِّمَة
On the back / Fee al-mu’akhira / في المُؤَخِرَة
Go! In Arabic (imperative) / Ez-hab / إذهب
Turn! In Arabic (imperative) / Leef / لف
Before in Arabic / Qabal / قبل
After in Arabic / Ba’d / بعد
Next to in Arabic / Bejanib / بجانب
In front of in Arabic / Amam / أمام
Around in Arabic /hawl/ حول
Near in Arabic /qareeb  / قَرِيْب
Close in Arabic /qareeb/قريب
Far in Arabic / ba’eed / بَعِيْد
Distant in Arabic /ba’eed/ بعيد
Lower in Arabic / adna / أَدْنى (this works for “bottom” or “closer”)
Bottom in Arabic /asfal  / أَسْفَل (this works for “below” or “lower”)

Now that you learned how to ask for directions, it’s very polite to use any phrase of gratitude whenever you have received any help from anybody. Thus, a useful phrase to remember would be /shukran jazeelan a’ala-l-musa’ada / شُكراً جَزيلاً على المُساعَدة, which means “Thank you so much for the help.” Likewise, you could use the shorter form shukran jazeelan – “Thank you very much!”

Gary Greer

Gary Greer was born and raised in the United States.  After an eight year stint in the U.S. Army in 1992, he attended Delaware State University to pursue his B.A. in English Communications to become a writer. Since then he has traveled the globe, living in the Europe and the Middle East, working for such prestigious organizations as the U.S. Army, NAPA Auto Parts, and AMIDEAST, and other well-known organizations, as well.  Gary came to Jordan in 2005, bringing with him a wealth of experience in the fields of Business and Education, and has since implemented and taught specialized English and Business training courses in the Business, Hospitality, Medical and Legal sectors throughout Jordan for TE Data, The Nuqul Group, The Ministry of Justice, The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, UNRWA, and the Mövenpick and Kempinski Hotels, among others. Along with teaching, he has also pursued his dream of becoming a writer and has written and done the voice-over narration of two travel documentaries about Jordan for Seven Stars television worked as an editor for Family Flavours magazine and acted in television advertisements for USAID. He now works as a content writer for

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