Interrogatives / الاِسْتِفْهام

Arabic dialects map

Interrogatives in Arabic are divided into two categories.

  • Interrogative pronouns / أَسْماء الاِسْتِفْها
  • Two interrogative particles / حَرْفا الاِسْتِفْهام

Interrogative pronouns / أَسْماء الاِسْتِفْها

who/whom?مَنْ ؟ 
what?ما ؟
what?ماذا ؟ 
when?مَتى ؟ 
when (in the future)?أَيّانَ ؟
where?أَيْنَ ؟ 
how?كَيْفَ ؟ 
From where?أَنّى ؟
How much/many?كَمْ ؟
which?أَيّ ؟

Note: All of them are indeclinable (مَبْنِيّة) at the exception of أَيّ usually completed by a singular noun whose gender it can take.

Which player do you prefer?أَيُّ لاعِبٍ تُفَضِّلُ ؟
What year do you graduate?في أَيّةِ سَنَةٍ تَتَخَرَّجُ ؟

Note 2: The interrogative كَمْ , is usually followed by either:

How many pens did you buy?كَمْ قَلَمًا اِشْتَرَيْتَ ؟
How many guests came to the wedding?كَمْ مِنْ الضُيُوف جاءوا في العُسْرِ؟

Interrogative pronouns preceded by a preposition

why?لِماذا/لِمَ ؟
with who?مَعَ مَنْ ؟
to whom?لِمَنْ ؟
about who?عَمَّن ؟
from what?مِمَّ ؟
with what?بِمَ ؟
from where?مِنْ أَيْنَ ؟
to where?إِلى أَيْنَ ؟
how much?بِكَمْ=كَمْ ؟

Note: When certain prepositions are attached to the interrogative ما, its alif ا will be lost.

Note 2: The interrogatives مِنْ and ما are often found preceded by the prepositions عَنْ and مِنْ, which causes an assimilation of the final ن from the preposition to be merged with initial letter of these two words, hence why we see a shadda ( ّ ).

The two interrogative particles / حَرْفا الاِسْتِفْهام

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