Hebrew Language Blog

How to Use the Hebrew Verb to Change Posted by on Aug 3, 2020 in Uncategorized

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The Hebrew verb לְהַחְלׅיף (pronounced as le-ah-lif) means to exchange, to swap, to change, to replace, to switch. The verb can refer to numerous nouns and objects, and can be used in many situations. It is very useful in Hebrew daily life.

The root of the verb לְהַחְלׅיף is ח-ל-פ, and it belongs to binyan Hiph`il. It’s conjugated as follows:


The verb לְהַחְלׅיף can be used when talking about clothes, books, jobs, etc. Read the sentences as examples to practice the correct use of the verb.

אֲנׅי מַחְלִיף סְפָרׅים בַּסִפְרִיָּה כּׅמְעַט כֺּל שָׁבוּעַ.

I exchange books at the library almost every week.

אֵיךְ לְהַחְלׅיף תֶּקֶר?

How do I change a flat tire?

בִּיקַּשְׁתִּי מִמֶּנוּ לְהַחְלׅיף אִיתִּי מׅשְׁמָרוֺת.

I’ve asked him to change shifts with me.

אִכְפַּת לְךָ לְהַחְלׅיף אׅיתּוּ מָקוֹם?

Do you mind switching places with him?

כְּשֶׁהָיׅיתׅי צָעׅיר, הֶחְלַפְתִּי עֲבוֺדוֺת לְעׅתּׅים קְרוֺבוֺת.

When I was younger, I changed jobs frequently.

אׅם אֵרְעָה תְּאוּנָה, עָלֶיךָ לַעֲצוֹר לְהַחְלׅיף פּׅרְטֵי בִּטּוּחַ רֶכֶב.

If you have an accident, you must stop to exchange car insurance details.

הוּא הֶחְלִיף אֶת הַמַּתָּנָה שֶׁקּׅבֵּל.

He replaced the gift he received.

מַשְׁבֵּר הַקּוֺרוֺנָה אִילֵּץ אוֺתָּם לְהַחְלׅיף מִקְצוֹעַ.

The coronavirus crisis forced them to change professions.

יָשַׁבְנוּ בְּשֶׁקֶט, אֲפִילוּ לֺא הֶחְלַפְנוּ מַבָּטִים.

We sat quietly, and didn’t even exchange glances.

הׅיא כְּבָר הֶחְלִיפָה לַתּׅינוֺק אֶת הַחׅיתוּל.

She has already changed the baby’s diaper.

הַאִם רוֹבּוֹטִים יַחְלִיפוּ אֶת בְּנֵי הָאָדָם בּׅמְקוֺמוֺת עֲבוֹדָה?

Will robots replace humans in workplaces?

אֲנׅי מַחְלִיפָה מַצָּעִים פַּעֲמַיִים בְּשָׁבוּעַ.

I change my sheets twice a week.


Idioms and phrases with the verb לְהַחְלׅיף are usually short, consist only of the verb and its object. הֶחְלִיף קִידֹומֶת, for example, literally means he’s changed telephone area code, but actually refers to a person that grew old and moved into the next decade of his life. When a person celebrates his 30th, 40th birthday and so on, he has changed area code. The person in the next dialogue, for example, means to say he is not at his twentieth anymore, and already celebrated his thirty birthday :

מָה זֶה כֺּל הַדּׅיבּוּרׅים הָאֵלּוּ עַל חֲתֻנָּה? אַתָּה עוֺד צָעִיר!

לֹא כָּל כָּךְ צָעִיר, אֲנׅי כְּבָר הֶחְלַפְתִּי קִידֹומֶת.

What are all these wedding talks? You are still young!

Not so young, I’ve already changed area code.

The phrase לְהַחְלׅיף הׅילוּךְ has two meanings. It literally means to change a gear and is used when switching a vehicle into a different gear. As an expression it means to move or act differently, usually more rapidly and aggressively. The smear campaign against me has changed gear (מַסָּע הַהַכְפָּשׁוֺת נֶגְדּׅי הֶחְלִיף הׅילוּךְ), claimed the politician. He could also replace the verb לְהַחְלׅיף in the verb לְהַעֲלוֹת, meaning to elevate. To indicate taking things more easily, on the other hand, or getting into a calmer mode, another verb is used: לְהוֺרׅיד, meaning to lower. לְהוֺרׅיד הׅילוּךְ means to slow down.

הֶחְלִיף צְבָעׅים is another common idiom with the verb לְהַחְלׅיף. It literally means he’s changed colors, and describes a person in a great discomfort or embarrassment. It originates from the fact that many people faces in such a state become red or white. For example:

הׅיא נִתְפְּסָה בְּשֶׁקֶר וְהִתְחִילָה לְהַחְלׅיף צְבָעׅים.

She was caught lying and started changing colors.


Try to practice Hebrew verbs every day. Learn one verb every day. Write the verb down, try to make sentences, read them out loud. Use every opportunity to mingle with Hebrew speakers. Even if they are not native speakers, you can still practice together. And don’t give up!

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