How to Ask Questions in Arabic - dummies

How to Ask Questions in Arabic

By David F. DiMeo

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- qubbaa?” (“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.

  • man? (Who?)

  • maa? (What? [without a verb])

  • maadhaa? (What [with a verb])

  • mataa? (When?)

  • ayna? (Where?)

  • limaadhaa? (Why?)

  • kayfa? (How?)

  • kam? (How many?)

  • bikam (How much?)

  • ayy/ayya? (Which?)

  • 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 (naam) 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?)