How to Ask Questions in Arabic? Beginners Lesson

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

Learning how to ask questions in ِArabic is an important step in understanding and learning the language. This is a simple lesson to introduce you to questions in Arabic, and to help you practice asking basic ones.


To make this easier, let's split question types to two broad categories:

Yes and No Questions & WH Questions (Who/ What/ When/ Where/ How???)


Let's start with Yes and No Questions:

The interrogative particle used for this purpose in Arabic is "Hal" هل or the equivalent of Did or Do in English. Hal can also be substituted by "A" أ (Alif with hamza) for the same purpose.

Asking a question with "Hal" or "A" is very simple, just add it to the beginning of the sentence (made up of subject + verb +object) as in the following example:


هَل + Sentence

هَل + قَرَأَ جاد الكِتاب؟

هَل قَرَأَ جاد الكِتاب؟

(Hal qara’a Jaad al-kitaab?)

Did + Jad read the book?


أ + Sentence

أ + قَرَأَ جاد الكِتاب؟

(A qara’a Jaad al-kitaab?)

Did + Jad read the book?


The answer to the question would either be Yes or No:

نَعَم

(Na’am)

Yes

نعم، قَرَأَ جاد الكِتاب.

Na'am, qaraa Jaad al-kitaab.

Yes, Jad read the book.

or

أجل

(Ajal)

Yes

أجل، قَرَأَ جاد الكِتاب.

Ajal, qaraa Jaad al-kitaab.

Yes, Jad read the book.


لا

(Laa)

No

لا، لَمْ يَقْرَأ جاد الكِتاب.

Laa, lam yaqra'a Jaad al-kitaab.


or

كلا

(Kallaa)

No

كلا، لَمْ يَقْرَأ جاد الكِتاب.

Kallaa, lam yaqra'a Jaad al-kitaab.


Now, try it yourself:

أكَلَ جاد التُّفّاحَة.

Akala Jaad at-tuffaaha.

هَل+ --- --- -------؟

Did + Jad eat the apple?


نَعَم، --- --- -------

(Na’am)

Yes

Na’am, akala Jaad at-tuffaaha.

Yes, Jad ate the apple.


لا، لَمْ يَأْكُلْ --- -------

(Laa)

No

Laa, lam ya’kol Jaad at-tuffaaha.

No, Jad did not eat the apple.


Now, let's move on to WH Questions:

There are seven interrogative nouns in Arabic, to which an answer is new information, i.e. providing information for what was asked about:


Maa (Who) من

Maza or Maa (What) ماذا ما

Mata (When) متى

Ayn (Where) أين

Kayf (How) كيف

من / ماذا/ متى / أين / كيف + Sentence

من + قَرَأَ الكِتاب؟

(Man qara’a al-kitaab?)

Who + read the book?


ماذا + قَرَأَ جاد؟

(Maza qara’a Jad?)

What + did Jad read?


متى + قَرَأَ جاد الكِتاب؟

(Mataa qara’a Jad al-kitaab?)

When + did Jad read the book?

أين + قَرَأَ جاد الكِتاب؟

(Ayna qara’a Jad? al-kitaab?)

Where + did Jad read the book?


كيف + قَرَأَ جاد الكِتاب؟

(Kayfa qara’a Jad al-kitaab?)

How + did Jad read the book?


Now, try it it yourself:

من / ماذا/ متى / أين / كيف + أكَلَ (جاد) (التُّفّاحَة)؟


من + --- -------؟

Who + ate the apple?


ماذا + --- ---؟

What + did Jad eat?


متى + --- --- -------؟

When + did Jad eat the apple?


أين + --- --- -------؟

Where + did Jad eat the apple?


كيف + أكَلَ جاد التُّفّاحَة؟

How + did Jad eat the apple?


Hope you have enjoyed this quick and basic lessons about asking questions in Arabic. You may wish to download the lesson's flashcards by clicking here or on the pictures below. You may also get it from the Downloads page.