Menu
Search

How to make requests correctly? Posted by on Jul 5, 2021 in Arabic Language, Vocabulary

This post focuses on an issue with a particular vocabulary word that many Arabic learners might face. It’s to do with the Arabic equivalent of “please” when making requests. A literal translation of “please” is أرجوك  but that’s not what you should use when making requests! Find out more in this post.

Image by Henrikke Due on Unsplash.com

 

The first thing you need to know about making requests in a polite way in Arabic is that:

 

* أرجوك  should not be used to mean please, in everyday context.

 

Why?

Because it’s usually used to ask for help or rather beg (when one is very desperate)!

 

*Consider the following example where أرجوك is used in the right context, i.e. when one is in dire need for help.

 

Conversation (1)

This is a situation where one is asking a stranger to help him or do him a favour that he is not really obliged to do.

 

“أ: “أحتاج إلى المساعدة

A: “I need help”

 

This is how the interaction might go>

*Examples provided in different Arabic varieties (listen to audio).

بالفصحى

هل يمكنك مساعدتي؟ أرجوك يا سيدي

In Fusha:

Could you help me? Please, sir

باللهجة المصرية

ممكن حضرتك تساعدني؟ أرجوك، والنبي

In Egyptian Arabic:

Could you, sir, help me? Please, for the prophet’s sake

باللهجة السورية

فيك تساعدني؟ مشان الله، بترجّاك

In Syrian Arabic:

Could you help me? For God’s sake, please.

باللهجة الليبية

 والنبي تقدر تساعدني؟ بالله عليك

In Libyan Arabic:

For the prophet’s sake, could you help me? For God’s sake

= = = = = = = =

 

So, when making everyday requests or asking for favours, you can use other common phrases.

 

What are they?

 

  • Law SamaHt لو سمحت

  • Min FaDhlAk من فضلك

 

Both mean “please/ if you may”.

 

These are the basic phrases, but can also be used in addition to:

 

  • Can I هل يمكنني

  • Could you هل يمكنك

  • Pardon عفوًا/ المعذرة

 

*Now, let’s see how we can use one/all of these phrases when making requests or asking for a favour in everyday settings >>

 

Conversation (2)

 

In this example, you’re buying something from the shop /seller.

 

“أ: “أريد كيلو طماطم

A: “I want a kilo of tomatoes”

 

This is how the interaction might go>

بالفصحى

لو سمحت، هل يمكنك أن تعطيني كيلو من الطماطم؟

In Fusha:

Please, could you give me a kilo of tomatoes?

باللهجة المصرية

ممكن حضرتك تدّيني كيلو طماطم؟

In Egyptian Arabic

Is it possible, sir, to give me a kilo of tomatoes?

باللهجة السورية

يعطيك العافية، ممكن كيلو طماطم، لو سمحت؟

In Syrian Arabic

Good day/ bless you, is it possible (to get) a kilo of tomatoes, please?

باللهجة الليبية

بالله كيلو طماطم، لو سمحت

In Libyan Arabic:

For God’s sake, a kilo of tomatoes, please.

= = = = = = = =

 

Conversation (3)

 

In this example, you’re borrowing a pencil from a colleague.

 

“أ: “أحتاج قلمًا

A: “I need a pencil”

 

This is how the interaction might go>

بالفصحى

هل يمكنني استعارة قلمك؟

In Fusha:

Could I borrow your pen?

باللهجة المصرية

معليش لا مؤاخذة، ممكن أستعير القلم بتاعك؟

In Egyptian Arabic:

Pardon, excuse me, Could I borrow your pen?

باللهجة السورية

معليش/ فيني إستعير القلم تبعك، لو سمحت؟

In Syrian Arabic:

Pardon, Could I borrow your pen, please?

باللهجة الليبية

معليشي، عادي نستعير القلم متاعك؟

In Libyan Arabic:

Pardon, is it ok for me to borrow your pen?

= = = = = = = =

 

I hope you found that helpful, see you in another post soon! 🙂

Tags: ,
Keep learning Arabic with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Hanan

Hi, this is Hanan :) I'm an Arabic linguist. I completed my PhD in Linguistics - 2018. My PhD thesis was entitled Code-switching as an evaluative strategy: identity construction among Arabic-English bilinguals. I'm also a qualified public service translator & interpreter.