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!تفضل Tafaddal! Posted by on Nov 28, 2018 in Arabic Language, Culture, Language

Oh, the many uses of “تفضل”. If you’ve been to any Arab country, watched any Arabic shows, visited an Arab friend, you’ve most likely heard this word being used over and over again. So, what does “تفضل” mean, what is it derived from, and pragmatically speaking, how is it used appropriately and in what contexts?

In Arabic, تفضل is derived from the root word فَضِل meaning “grace”, therefore, تفضل being the imperative form, means “be so gracious”. It is a polite way to express invitation of something or a polite request for someone to sit/eat/drink/enter/speak. It can be addressed to a man “تفضل”, a woman “تفضلي”, and to a group “تفضلوا”.

We can consider the proper use of the word تفضل as part of Arab etiquette. It is used on a daily basis in formal contexts, for example, between a host and his/her guest, or informal contexts between a cashier and his/her costumers.

Also, an important note:  تفضل is used in both MSA and colloquial Arabic, yay!

Offering Arabic coffee

Image by Bahrain International Airport on Flickr.com

Think of it as a word that functions as all of the following polite requests in English:

“please”, “welcome”, “here you are”, “please sit” “please come in” and “go ahead”.

Here are some examples:

Here you are” (as you give something to someone such as coffee, tea, food, money, a napkin, etc.)

  .تفضل اشرب قهوة    Here, have some coffee.

Welcome” (as you gesture someone to enter your home/office)

 ! تَفَضَلوا، اهلاً وَسهلاً    Please enter, welcome!    

  !تَفَضَل، البيت بيتَك    Welcome, the house is your house!   

Go ahead” (as you gesture for them to pass in front of you)

  .تفضلي    Please go ahead.   

Please” (as you gesture someone to sit/begin eating/speaking.

 .تَفَضَل اجلس  Please, sit down.                 

Can you think of any of your own examples to you use تفضل?

Or in what incidents do you recall تفضل being used?

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About the Author:yasmine

MarHaba! I am half Jordanian of Circassian descent and half American. I have a Master's in Second Language Teaching and I teach Arabic as a foreign language here in the US, both MSA and Levantine Arabic. I hope to help you become more familiar and interested in the Arabic language and culture.


Comments:

  1. Niyamath:

    اكثر الله امثالكم و تقبل الله جهودكم الطيبة

  2. Larhubarbe Denis:

    Great article as always Yasmine. This is your second article and i`m always very impressed by the way you present it. It is simple and straight to the point. I want to view the upcoming posts too. 🙂

    Do you teach arabic? If no, you must because the way you present the topics are very wonderful. I appreciate all your posts. Keep it up.

    • yasmine:

      @Larhubarbe Denis !شكراً دنس
      I really appreciate your encouragement and I’m very glad you found this post useful! 🙂 Yes, I do teach Arabic which has given me lots of practice to find the clearest and most straight forward way of explaining new concepts. 🙂

      • Larhubarbe Denis:

        @yasmine Do you want to be my arabic teacher? 😊

        • yasmine:

          @Larhubarbe Denis مرحبا دنس!
          Unfortunately, at the moment I am not teaching Arabic online. If I end up going back to that, I will definitely let you know! I’m happy to answer any questions you have though. 🙂

          • Larhubarbe Denis:

            @yasmine Thank you Yasmine. If I have any question i`ll ask. 🙂

  3. Abdulrahman Olayimika Ameen:

    Hi, I will appreciate if you can send me a text that will teach me arabic. Thanks

  4. Akhtar Nawaz:

    Its wonderful article .Every time one word with the root word is worth learning .Keep it up.

  5. Salman:

    what happened to ibn al-yemen?! he disappeared ..

  6. Usman Musa:

    Thanks a million! This is a wonderful article.

  7. Naeem:

    I’ve been learning for many years.

    Currently I’m studying شرح الآجرومية of a Saudi scholar that was posted on the net.

    I’m stuck with the translation of following Arabic sentences. Would appreciate if you could help me out by giving some appropriate equivalents for them:

    نأتي إلى كلمة اللفظ والمركب والمفيد

    هل يصدق هذا الكلام على جملة حضر زيد

    عندنا الآن اللفظ المركب المفيد

    نأتي إلى كلمة اللفظ هل تصدق على هذه الجملة ؟

    نأتي إلى كلمة المفيد هل تصدق هذه الجملة على إن قام زيد

    I don’t need the elaboration of grammatical terms; just give me the English translations of the Arabic sentences.

    Hope you would spare some of your precious time for me!

    Thanks,
    Naeem Supra


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