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Lesson 42 – الدَّرْسُ الثَّاني والأرْبَعونَ

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

The interrogative noun: كَيْفَ /Kayfa/

  • “Kayfa” means “how” and is an indeclinable interrogative noun with a Fatħah case-ending (fatħah on the last letter).
  • “Kayfa” is used to ask about the state of the action when it happens or the state (condition) of something or someone. This means that “Kayfa” is used with verbs as well as nouns.
  • For nominal sentences, it becomes the subject of the sentence and the noun following it becomes the predicate.
  • Study the following examples on “Kayfa”:







I am fine. thanks to Allah.

أَنَا بِخَيْرٍ، والحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ.

/ana bi-khayr-in, wal-hamdu lillāh-i./

How are you?

كَيْفَ حَالُكَ؟

/Kayfa ħāluk-a?/

My health is good, thanks to Allah.

صِحَّتِي جَيِّدَةٌ، وَالحمْدُ لِلَّهِ.

/ŝiħħati ĵayyidatun wal-hamdu lillāh-i./

How is your health?

كَيْفَ صِحَّتُكَ؟

/kayfa ŝiħħatuk-a?/

My family is good, thanks to Allah.

أُسْرَتِي بِخَيْرٍ، والحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ.

/usrati bi-khayrin wal-ħamdu lillāh-i/

How is your family?

كَيْفَ أُسْرَتُكَ؟

/Kayfa usratuk-a?/

I traveled by plane.

سَافَرْتُ بِالطَّائِرَةِ.

/sāfartu biŧ-ŧâ’ira-ti./

How did you travel to Pakistan?

كَيْفَ سَافَرْتَ إلَى باكِسْتان؟

/Kayfa sāfarta ilā Pākistān?/

I studied a lot and read and wrote much.

دَرَسْتُ كَثِيرًا، وَقَرَأْتُ وَكَتَبْتُ كَثِيرًا.

/darastu kathīran wa-qara’tu wa-katabtu kathīran./

How did you learn Arabic?

كَيْفَ تَعَلَّمْتَ العَرَبِيَّةَ؟

/Kayfa taξalamta al-arabiyya-ta?/

I treat her gently.

أُعَامِلُها بِرِفْقٍ.

/uξāmiluha bi-rifqin wa-līnin wa-hubb-in/

How do you treat your wife?

كَيْفَ تُعَامِلُ زَوْجَتَكَ؟

/Kayfa tuξāmilu zawĵatak-a?/

  • When you read the examples above, you will notice that “Kayfa” in the first three examples precedes nouns"حَالكَ، صِحَّتُكَ، أُسْرَتُكَ". In the last three examples, it precedes verbs "سَافَرْتَ، تَعَلَّمْتَ، تُعَامِلُ"
  • Although kayfa hāluka is commonly used in the Arabic language and in conversation – it is not regarded as the correct usage in Arabic grammar, because kayfa refers to the condition of something and Haluka means "your condition" so, technically, in Arabic grammar we would say “kayfa anta?” as it is unnecessary to mention the condition twice.  Nonetheless, this is commonly used in conversation.