Arabic/YesNoQuestions

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Yes/no questions are those questions which can be answered with either a yes or a no in English. For example "Did you go to school today?". That was a yes/no question because someone answering could answer "yes" or "no" and be perfectly understood. An example of a non-yes/no question is: "How was school today?". If your friend asked you that question and you answered "yes" or "no" your friend would think you did not hear him.

So how do yes/no questions work. In English yes/no questions start with an auxiliary verb. There are many of these. In English yes/no questions can start with "have", "do", "did", "will", or other auxiliary verbs.

  • "have" ex. Have they come?
  • "do" ex. Do they sleep?
  • "did" ex. Did they jump?
  • "will" ex. will you go away?

In Arabic yes/no questions are much simpler to understand, and to make. Every "yes/no" question usually starts with one of two words/semi-words. So


  • هل (hal)
  • a hamza (either a "أ " (a) OR ء (a))


Both of these work the same way. Both go at the beginning of a question sentence.

The difference in meaning between هل(hal) and hamza:

  1. For making "X=Y" sentences into questions.
  • هل (hal) is put at the beginning.
  1. For making "X!=Y" sentences into questions.
  • ء (a) hamza is put at the beginning.
  1. For "X does (something)" sentences
  • A hamza is used when talking about the present
    • A hamza would start this sentence: "Are you crying?".
  • hal is used when talking in the non present tense.
    • هل (hal) would start this sentence: "Do you cry?".

So how do we make a question. In Arabic a question can easily be made from a statement(a sentence, that is not a command, nor an exclamation, nor a question).

X=Y Sentences[edit]

For example, how do we transform the following sentence into a yes/no question.

الولد صغير

al-waladu Sagheer(un)
al-wa-la-du-Sa-gheer
The boy is small.


Simple, just add هل (hal) to the beginning.


هل الولد صغير؟

hal al-waladu Sagheer
hal-al-wa-la-du-Sa-gheer
Is the boy small?

Now don't forget the basic Arabic word for yes is نعم (na`am) and the basic word for no is لا (laa).


X!=Y[edit]


أليس كذلك؟

a laisa kadhaalik
a-lai-sa-ka-dhaa-lik
Isn't it like that? OR Right?

X does (something)[edit]


هل تعمل؟

hal ta`mal
hal-ta`-mal
Do you work?