How to Ask Questions in Arabic
6 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Arabic Words and Phrases for Traveling
How do you ask basic questions in Arabic? Well, Arabic interrogative words mean the same as they do for English: who, what, when, where, why, and how. By knowing basic Arabic interrogatives, you'll be able to express your questions, even without an extensive vocabulary.
For example, say you're visiting a street market and find a jacket you want to buy. You could ask the vendor "bi-kam al- qubba'a?" ("How much is this jacket?"). But if you don't know enough vocabulary, you could simply point to the jacket and say "bikam?" and the seller will understand.
maa? (What? [without a verb])
maadhaa? (What [with a verb])
kam? (How many?)
bikam (How much?)
hal hunaaka (Is there?) (Are there?)
In addition to the question words above, you can put a hal in front of the sentence to create a question in Arabic that would elicit a yes (na'am) or no (laa) response.
Here's a look at some different ways to put all these question words to practice in some useful phrases.
bi-kam al-biTaaqa? (How much is the ticket?)
ayna-l-baab? (Where is the gate?)
kayf Haalak? (How are you?)
maa ismuka? (What is your name?)
maa waDHiifatuka? (What is your profession?)
ayna al-mustashfaa? (Where is the hospital?)
mataa taSil aT-Taa'ira? (When does the plane arrive?)
hal hunaaka markaz bariid qariib min hunaa? (Is there a post office nearby?)