ayn

ع

The Arabic letter ayn can appear in four different forms: isolated, initial, medial and final.

finalmedialinitialisolated
ـعـعـعـع

When you show the letter on its own, you use the isolated form.

ع

When the letter is the first letter of a word, you use the initial form.

عـ

For example these words:

scent
3iTr
عِطر
ivory
3aaj
عَاج
depth
3umq
عُمق

When the letter is not the first and not the last but somewhere in the middle of a word, you use the medial form in most cases.

ـعـ

For example these words:

heel
ka3b
كَعب
poetry
shi3r
شِعر
price
si3r
سِعر

When the letter is the last letter of a word, you use the final form in most cases.

ـع

For example these words:

plural
jam3
جَمع
sale
bay3
بَيع
9
tis3
تِسع

Now you know that:

In most cases...
Let us look at the other cases!

The letter ayn has dual joining, like most Arabic letters. It wants to join with both the letter before it and the letter after it.
But some letters has right joining. They only want to join with the letter before it (which is the letter to the right since Arabic is written from right to left).

When the letter is in the middle of a word, and follows a right joining letter, you use the initial form.

عـ
rough
wa3r
وَعر
promise
wa3d
وَعد

When the letter is the last letter of a word, and follows a right joining letter, you use the isolated form.

ع
type
naw3
نَوع

Now you know that:

That's it!
The rules you just learned can be applied to all Arabic letters with dual joining, which is most of them.

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