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Prepositions - how can we be friends?

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

Prepositions are a pain. No doubt.

Today we wish to help you use "אל" the right way. Of course, there are exceptions (this is Hebrew remember?) but still, here are some useful tips and common questions related with this guy:

What is the difference between "אל" and "על"?

Well, "אל" = to, whereas "על" = on, about.

Another important difference between them is their different pronunciation - whenever you see the "אל" it sound will be just like in the words "ישראל" or "אלוהים" = EL.

Whenever you see the "על" its sound will be just like in the words "למעלה", "מעל" = AL.

What is the difference between "אל" and "ל"?

Both have the same meaning = to, but their pronunciation (when conjugated) will have a different sound.

So… when should we use "ל" and when should we use "אל"?

In short – It is all about the verb related to the preposition and the noun following it - hence, its "destination”.

There are mainly 2 groups of verbs related to ""ל and "אל":

Group #1 - all about directions. Such direction can be used when we are physically directing/moving somewhere (to go up, to enter, to travel, to fly, to go down, to get closer, etc…), or a mental outlook, such as when we yearn/desire for something/seek a certain direction (to miss, to pray, to connect, etc…).

Group #2– all about interaction and someone receiving something – physically or mentally. This "acceptance" can be either literal (to give, to help etc.) or all about the noun (following the preposition) someone benefiting/or impacted from the action taken (to forgive, to explain, to say, to wish, to worry etc.).

Okay…. So, what's the difference between the 2 groups?

Group #1 >> both the "ל" and the "אל" can be used in the long version of the sentence but when conjugated only the "אל" can be used:

אני הולך אל הבית שלה / אני הולך לבית שלה

אני הולך אליה

Group #2 >> only the "ל" can be used whether if conjugated or not:

היא עוזרת לילדים

היא עוזרת להם

Got questions?

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