Arabic Language Blog

Interrogative Particles (Part 2) أدوات الاستفهام Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in Arabic Language, Grammar, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

        Last time, we were introduced to the Wh-question particles; (Interrogative Adverbs). Today we will be introduced to the second type; the Yes/No-question particles. In Arabic, there are two ways of asking a question that needs a yes/no-answer.  These two particles are  هَلْ /hal/ and the Hamza أ /aa/ which are both equal to all the auxiliary verbs used in English to ask yes/no-questions. These question particles should always start the question sentence. Here is how they are used:

1) Use of   هَـلْ /hal/

           This particle is used in the affirmative question sentence to ask about its content. The answer should be with نعم  /na’am/ in the affirmative or with لا  /la/ or كلا /kal’la/ in the negative. The verb after  لا /la/  or كلا /kal’la/ should be in the negative case.

            Ex. 1      A: هل تحبُ الأيس كريم؟   = Do you like ice cream?    (Present Tense)

       B:  نعم , (أنا) أحِبُ الأيس كريم .   = Yes, I (do) like ice cream.

      A:  و هل تحبُ القهوة ؟   = And do you like coffee?

      B:  لا (كلا) , لا أحبُّ القهوةَ .   = No, I do not like coffee.

Ex. 2      A:  هل اشتريتم منزلاً جديداً ؟   = Did you buy a new house?   (Past Tense)

                             B:  نعم , اشترينا منزلاً جديداً .   = Yes, we bought a new house.

                 Or     B:  لا (كلا) , لم نشترى منزلاً جديداً .   = No, we did not buy a new house.

  Ex. 3      A:  هل ستسافر إلى القاهرةِ غداً ؟   = Will you travel to Cairo, tomorrow?  (Future Tense)

B:   نعم , سأسافر إلى القاهرة غداً   = Yes, I will travel to Cairo, tomorrow.

               Or    B: لا , لن أسافر إلى القاهرة غداً .   = No, I will not travel to Cairo, tomorrow.

2) Use of the Hamza أ /aa/ 

     A) The Hamza can be used to ask about the content of the affirmative sentence. Here,

it  is equal to هل and you can answer the same way as with هل using  نعم   or لا .

Ex. 1        A:  أكتبتَ الدرسَ ؟   =  Did you write the lesson?

B:  نعم , كتبتُ الدرسَ   = Yes, I wrote the lesson.

Or   B:  لا , لم أكتب الدرس   = No, I did not write the lesson.

Ex. 2      A: أتحبُّ الشعرَ ؟   = Do you like poetry?

B:  نعم , أحبُّ الشعرَ   = Yes, I (do) like poetry.

Or   B:  لا , لا أحبُّ الشعرَ   = No, I do not like poetry.

B) The Hamza can also be used to ask about the content of the negative sentence;

negative question.. Here, the answer is different as we use the word بلى /Ba’la/ in the

affirmative answer and the word   نعم  /na’am/ in the negative answer.

            Ex. 1      A: ألا تأكل البطاطس ؟   = Don’t you eat potatoes?

B: بلى , آكل البطاطس .   = Yes, I (do) eat potatoes.   

Or   B: نعم , لا آكل البطاطس .   = No, I do not eat potatoes.

Ex. 2     A: ألم تسقى الزهور بعد ؟   = Haven’t you watered the flowers, yet?

B:  بلى , سقيتُها   = Yes, I have watered them.

Or    B:  نعم , لم اسقيها  = No, I have not watered them.


Check us back soon

Peace  سلام /Salam/ 

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: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.


  1. Michael:

    Let me start by saying that I very much appreciate the effort that you put into this site — thank you.

    I am posting this comment to let you know that something has happened in the software, that screws up the word order when your postings arrive in my email. For example, your most recent posting shows up in my email as follows:
    Ex. 1 A: هل تحبُ الأيس كريم؟ = Do you like ice cream? (Present Tense)

    The word order is fine on the website.

    If you have a chance, you might want to have a word with those people at Google to see what they can do.