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Interrogation (continued)

Interrogative Pronouns


3) When

مَتَىْ الْمَوْعِدُ ؟

mataa ('a)l-maw"id(u)

= when the appointment/date (is)

Translation: when is the appointment/date?


مَتَىْ أَتَيْتَ ؟

mataa 'atayt(a)

= when (you) came

Translation: when did you come?


مَتَىْ سَتُسَاْفِرُ ؟

mataa sa-tusaafir(u)

= when (you) will travel

Translation: when will you leave the country/town?


إِلَىْ مَتَىْ نَنْتَظِرُ ؟

'ilaa mataa nantazir(u)

= to when (we) will wait

Translation: how long will we wait?


مُنْذُ مَتَىْ وأَنْتُمْ هُنَاْ ؟

munth(u) mataa wa-'antum hunaa

= since when and you (plu. masc.) (are) here

Translation: how long have you been here?


هَلْ تَعْلَمُ مَتَىْ جَاْءَ الأَوْلادُ ؟

hal ta"lam(u) mataa jaa'(a) ('a)l-'awlaad(u)

= is it that (you sing. masc.) know when came the children

Translation: do you know when the kids came?


The word 'ayyaan(a) أَيَّاْنَ  also means "when," but it is classical and not used in the modern language.

وَمَاْ يَشْعُرُوْنَ أَيَّاْنَ يُبْعَثُوْنَ

wa-maa yash"uroon(a) 'ayyan(a) yub"athoon(a)

= and not (they plu. masc.) feel when (they plu. masc.) will be resurrected

Translation: and they don't know when they will be resurrected



4) Where


أَيْنَ أَنْتَ ؟

'ayn(a) 'ant(a)

= where you (sing. masc.) (are)

Translation: where are you?


أَيْنَ سَنَاْءُ ؟

'ayn(a) sanaa'(u)

= where Sana'a (female name) (is)

Translation: where is Sana'a?


أَيْنَ كُنْتِ ؟

'ayn(a) kunti

= where (you sing. fem.) were

Translation: where were you?


أَيْنَ تُقِيْمُ ؟

'ayn(a) tuqeem(u)

= where (you sing. masc.) dwell

Translation: where do you live?

where are you staying?


إِلَىْ أَيْنَ تَذْهَبْنَ ؟

'ilaa 'ayn(a) tathhabn(a)

= to where (you plu. fem.) go

Translation: where are you going ?


مِنْ أَيْنَ لَكَ هَذَاْ ؟

min 'ayn(a) la-k(a) haathaa

= from where for you this (is)

Translation: wherefrom have you got this?


أَتَعْلَمُ أَيْنَ الْحَفْلَةُ ؟

'a-ta"lam(u) 'ayn(a) ('a)l-hafla(tu)

= is it that (you sing. masc.) know where the party (is)

Translation: do you know where the party is?



5) How



كَيْفَ حَاْلُكَ ؟

kayf(a) haalu-k(a)

= how (the) state (of) you (sing. masc.) (is)

Translation: how are you?



أَنَاْ بِخَيْرٍ ، شُكْرًا ( لَكَ )

'anaa bi-khayr(in) shukra(n) {la-k(a)}

= I (am) in a well-being, thanking (to you)

Translation: I am fine, thanks



كَيْفَ هُوَ ؟

kayf(a) huw(a)

= how he (is)

Translation: what is he/it like?


كَيْفَ عَرَفْتِ هَذَاْ ؟

kayf(a) "arafti haathaa

= how (you sing. fem.) knew this

Translation: how did you know this?




كَيْفَ أَبْدُوْ ؟

kayf(a) 'abdoo

= how (I) look

Translation: how do I look?



تَبْدِيْنَ رَاْئِعَةً

tabdeen raa'i"a(tan)

= (you sing. fem.) look magnificently

Translation: you look great/magnificent




كَيْفَ سَنَذْهَبُ ؟

kayf(a) sa-nathhab(u)

= how (we) will go

Translation: how will we go?



سَنَذْهَبُ بِالْبَاْصِ

sa-nathhab(u) bi-l-baas(i)

= (we) will go by bus

Translation: we will go by bus



هَلْ أَخْبَرَكِ كَيْفَ عَرَفَ هَذَاْ ؟

hal 'akhbara-k(i) kayf(a) "araf(a) haathaa

= is it that (he) told you (sing. fem.) how (he) knew this

Translation: did he tell you how he knew about this?



6) How many / How much


There is only one word to express these things in Arabic, kam كَمْ . This word was originally ka-maa كَمَاْ = "like what?" before it evolved to the form known today.

The nouns after kam must be always singular and in the accusative, or nasb, case.


كَمْ وَلَدًا لَدَيْكَ ؟

kam walada(n) laday-k(a)

= how many a child (in) (the) place (of) you (sing. masc.) (are)

Translation: how many children do you have?

*The words ladaa لَدَىْ  & "ind(a) عِنْدَ are somewhat similar in meaning to the French chez, but they are also used for time meaning "at," like in "at sunset."

كَمْ مَرَّةَ حَذَّرْتُكَ ؟

kam marra(tan) haththartu-k(a)

= how many a time (I) warned you (sing. masc.) (are)

Translation: how many times have I warned you?


هَلْ تَعْلَمُ كَمْ سَاْعَةً اِنْتَظَرْتُكَ ؟!

 hal ta"lam(u) kam saa"a(tan) 'intazartu-k(a)

= is it that (you sing. masc.) know how many an hour (I) waited you (sing. masc.)

Translation: do you know how many hours I've been waiting for you?!


كَمْ يَبْلُغُ عَدَدُ سُكَّاْنِ الْبَرَاْزِيْلِ ؟

kam yablur(u) "adad(u) sukkaan(i) ('a)l-baraazeel(i)

= how much (he/it) reaches (the) number (of) (the) inhabitants (of) Brazil

Translation: how much is the population of Brazil?


If the noun following kam were part of a genitive construction, it would not be in the accusative case but in the regular nominative case.

كَمْ عَدَدُ الْحَاْضِرِيْنَ ؟

kam "adad(u) ('a)l-haadireen(a)

= how much (the) number (of) the present (people) (is)

Translation: How many are the present people?


The noun following kam can be omitted.


كَمْ تُرِيْدُ ؟

kam tureed(u)

= how much/many (you) want

Translation: how much/many do you want?


كَمْ قَاْلَ لَكَ أَنَّهُ يُرِيْدُ ؟

kam qaal(a) la-k(a) 'ann-h(u) yureed(u)

= how much/many (he) said to you that him wants

Translation: how much/many did he tell you that he wanted?


كَمْ هَؤُلاءِ ؟

kam haa'ulaa'(i)

= how many these (are)

Translation: how many are these?



When asking about price, kam will be preceded by preposition bi- بِِـ = "in/by/with."


Asking About Price

بِـ + كَمْ = بِكَمْ

bi- + kam = bi-kam

by + how much by how much (money)


The noun following bi-kam is often omitted.



Question (Full Form)

بِكَمْ دِرْهَمًا هَذَاْ الْحِذَاْءُ ؟

bi-kam dirhama(n) haathaa ('a)l-hithaa'(u)

= by how many a dirham (I may buy) this the shoe

Translation: how many dirhams do these shoes cost?

 *The dirham is an old Arab currency unit. It is still used in several Arab countries today.


Question (Reduced Form)

بِكَمْ هَذَاْ الْحِذَاْءُ ؟

bi-kam haathaa ('a)l-hithaa'(u)

= by how much (money) (I may buy) this the shoe

Translation: how much are these shoes?



بِعِشْرِيْنَ دِرْهَمًا

bi-"ishreen(a) dirhama(n)

= by twenty a dirham

Translation: the shoes cost twenty dirhams



بِكَمِ الْهَاْمْبرْغَرُ ؟

bi-kam(i) ('a)l-haambergar(u)

= by how much (money) (I may buy) the hamburger

Translation: how much is the hamburger?



Kam Stating Numerousness

kam can be used in a style that is used to state numerousness instead of interrogation or asking a question.


كَمْ مِنْ كِتَاْبٍ عِنْدَكَ !ه

kam min kitaab(in) "inda-k(a)

= how many of a book (is) (in) (the) place (of)

you (sing. masc.)


= so many of a book (is) (in) (the) place (of)

you (sing. masc.)

Translation: you have so many books!

Nouns after preposition min = "from/of" must be in the ablative case, or 'al-jarr case.


Numerousness Stating Style

كَمْ مِنْ

kam min

how many/much of so many of


The min after kam in this style can often be omitted.


كَمْ كِتَاْبٍ عِنْدَكَ !ه

kam kitaab(in) "inda-k(a)

= so many (of) a book (is) (in) (the) place (of)

you (sing. masc.)

Translation: you have so many books!


Emphatic la- لَـ can also be used here.

لَكَمْ مِنْ كِتَاْبٍ عِنْدَكَ !ه

la-kam min kitaab(in) "inda-k(a)

= certainly so many of a book (is) (in) (the) place (of) you (sing. masc.)

Translation: you really have so many books!


لَكَمْ كِتَاْبٍ عِنْدَكَ !ه

la-kam kitaab(in) "inda-k(a)

= certainly so many (of) a book (is) (in) (the) place (of) you (sing. masc.)

Translation: you really have so many books!


لَكَمْ مَرَّةٍ حَذَّرْتُكَ

la-kam marra(tin) haththartu-k(a)

= certainly so many (of) a time (I) warned

you (sing. masc.)

Translation: I warned you so many times




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