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Kam “كَمْ” Posted by on May 15, 2019 in Arabic Language, Culture, Dialect, Language, Vocabulary

In this post we’ll look at the little word كَم and the familiar and unfamiliar ways we can use it.

كَم is mainly used to ask how much or how many. For example:

كَم سِعر هذا القَميص؟                 How much is this shirt?

كَم ثَمَن هذه الطاوِلة؟                   How much is this table?

كَم ساعة عَملت هذا الأُسبوع؟       How many hours did you work this week?

كم شخصًا كانوا في الحَفلة؟          How many people were at the party?

كَم كتابًا قرأتَ؟                      How many books have you read?

Important note: In English, when asking how many of something there are, we ask in the plural form, for example: How many rooms are in this apartment? “room” is in the plural form.

In Arabic, we ask in the singular form: كم غرفة في هذه الشقة؟ yet, the answer is in the plural form:

.يوجد ثلاث غرف        There are three rooms.

Therefore, always remember that in Arabic, we ask how many of something in the singular form and answer in the plural form.

kam (how much/many)

Image provided by Yasmine K.

We also use كَم to ask the time.

كَم السَّاعة؟             What time is it?

.السَّاعة الخامِسة والنِصف     The time is five thirty.

We also use كم for asking about someone’s age:

كَم سنة عُمرُك؟  or كَم عُمرُك؟        How old are you?

.عُمري ثَمانية سَنوات                       I’m eight years old.

كَم can also be followed by a verb. For example:

كَم مَشَيت؟       How much did you walk?

.مَشيت أربعة كيلومترات        I walked four kilometers.

Note: In Levantine dialect, أديش is another word in addition to كم used to ask how much/many. For example:

أديش سعره؟         How much is it?

أديش نمت إمبارح؟       How much did you sleep yesterday?

أديش الساعة؟               What time is it?

أديش عمرك؟                How old are you?

Image via Pixabay

In Arabic speaking countries, more and more stores and shopping centers are opening where they have set prices. Yet, the old-fashioned markets (souk سوق) still exist and you definitely want to visit these markets to check out the produce, spices, sweets, etc. and also pick up some souvenirs. Therefore, it’s good to have a few easy phrases down to help you bargain with the sellers. Of course, make sure you have your numbers memorized! 😊

كم سعر الكيلو؟    How much is a kilo?  (they go by kilo not pound)

كم سعر الكيس؟   How much is a bag?  (sometimes items are sold by the bag)

غالي جداً!           Very expensive!

.نزل السعر من فضلك    Bring down the price please.

As you can see, كَم is a very useful word to know whether you’re at the market or getting to know a new acquaintance, and it’s used in most Arabic dialects as well as Modern Standard Arabic. 😊

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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.


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