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Lesson 42 – الدَّرْسُ الثَّاني والأرْبَعونَ

Interrogative Words (2 of 3) – أدَوَات الاسْتِفْهام (٢ من ٣)

The interrogative noun: مَــتَى  /matā/

  • Matā (when) is an important interrogative word which is used a lot in our speech. Matā is an indeclinable interrogative (questioning) noun with a sukūn case-ending (sukūn on last letter). It is used to ask about time – the time of the action (i.e. when?). This is why the answer should include time. See the following examples:







I am going to travel tomorrow, God willing.

سَأُسَافِرُ غَدًا إنْ شاءَ اللَّهُ.

/sa-usāfiru ghadan In-Shā’-Allâh./

When are you going to travel to Tunisia?

مَتَى سَتُسَافِرُ إلى تُونُسَ؟

/matā sa-tusāfiru ilā tūnusa?/

At 5 o’clock in the morning.

السَّاعَةَ الخَامِسَةَ صَبَاحا.

/as-sāξata al-khâmisata ŝabāħan./

And when will the plane leave the airport?

وَمَتَى تُغَادِرُ الطَّائِرَةُ المَطَارَ؟

/wa-matā tughâdiru aŧ-ŧâ’iratu al-maŧâra?/

I will arrive the day after tomorrow in the evening.

سَأَصِلُ بَعْدَ غَدٍ فِي المَسَاءِ.

/sa’aŝilu baξda ghadin fī al-masā’-i./

And when will you arrive in Tunisia?

وَمَتَى سَتَصِلُ إلَى تُونُسَ؟

/wa-matā sataŝilu ilā tūnus?/

I will stay there till I finish my work.

سَأَبْقَى هُنَاكَ حَتَّى أَنْتَهِي مِنْ عَمَلِي.

/sa-‘abqâ hunāka ħattā antahī min ξamalī./

And till when will you stay there?

وَإلَى مِتَى سَتَبْقَى هُنَاكَ؟

/wa-ilā matā satabqâ hunāk-a?/

I will return after a week God willing.

سَأَعُودُ بَعْدَ أُسْبُوعٍ إن شاء الله.

/sa-aξūdu baξda usbūξin In-Shā’-Allâh./

And when will you return here again?

وَمَتَى سَتَعُودُ إلى هُنا مَرَّةً أُخْرَى؟

/wa matā sa-taξūdu ilā hunā marratan ukhrâ?/

We will meet after two weeks God willing.

سَنَتَقابَلُ بَعْدَ أُسْبُوعَيْنِ إن شاء الله.

/sa-nataqâbalu baξda usbūξayni In-Shā’-Allâh./

And when will I meet you?

ومَتَى سَأُقابِلُكَ؟

/wa matā sa-‘uqâbiluka?/

  • Please read the examples above well. You will notice that “matā” does not affect the verbs following it – i.e. the verbs coming after “matā” have not changed in any way.
  • You also notice that all the answers to the questions with “matā” include a time as we said before in the lesson.
  • You also notice that it is possible that the interrogative (questioning) noun can be preceded by a preposition without changing the noun, such as “ilā matā” as in the fourth example above, because the interrogative nouns are indeclinable.