From ש־ (she, “which”) + ל־ (l', “to”), thus “which [belongs] to”. First use as a possessive marker is seen in late parts of the Hebrew Bible, but then still preceded by, and in addition to, a possessive suffix (cf. Canticles 1:6; 3:7). In Mishnaic Hebrew, של־ (shel'-) becomes a true preposition. The standalone spelling is a more recent innovation, but the pronoun-including forms are unchanged (which may be seen both in their gemination of the ל, and in the unusual forms of the second- and third-person masculine and feminine plural pronominal suffixes, otherwise found only in the inflections of ל־ (l'-) and ב־ (b'-)).
שֶׁל • (shel)
- Phrases headed by של are mostly analogous to English attributive noun phrases and noun phrases plus the clitic ’s. In particular, while של often means “of”, phrases headed by של can only modify noun phrases and similar syntactic entities; adverbial uses of English of must be translated with a different preposition, usually מ־ (mi-).
- Words identical to pronoun-including forms of של often result from the straightforward composition of ש־ (she-, “that, which”) and ל־ (l'-, “to”).
- In formal or archaic Hebrew, attributive uses of של are often replaced with noun compounds (in which one noun is in the construct state), and predicative uses are often replaced with simply ל־ (l'-).
|Non-personal-pronoun-including form||שֶׁל (shel)|
|First person||שֶׁלִּי (shelí)||שֶׁלָּנוּ (shelánu)|
|Second person||שֶׁלְּךָ (shel'khá)||שֶׁלָּךְ (shelákh)||שֶׁלָּכֶם (shelakhém)||שֶׁלָּכֶן (shelakhén)|
|Third person||שֶׁלּוֹ (sheló)||שֶׁלָּהּ (sheláh)||שֶׁלָּהֶם (shelahém)||שֶׁלָּהֶן (shelahén)|
שַׁל • (shal)
- masculine singular imperative of