This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
Unless you’re in a hurry, having small talk with people is pretty common in the Arabic culture. This applies notably when meeting people of the same gender. In this article, you’ll learn how to say how are you in Arabic in accordance to the gender, and what to reply.
How to Say How Are You in Arabic?
The choice of words largely depends on the person you’re referring to. Generally speaking, kaif al hal? (كيف الحال؟) is a rather formal and universal way of asking how someone is doing. The good thing is that you can use this version for both genders.
In most Levantine countries (Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria), the short form kefak? (كيفك) (to a man) or kefek? (كيفك) (to a woman) are common.
While most Arabic greetings for example are universally used for both men and women, you’ll see masculine and female versions of some expressions in this article. Note that the Arabic language makes a grammatical difference between men and women.
When addressing a person, you have to use the grammatical gender of the person you’re talking to. This means that you’d always use kefak when talking to a man and kefek when talking to a woman, regardless your own gender.
I’m Fine in Arabic
Men would answer mneeh (منيح), and women would answer mneeha (منيحة) (good). There are many ways in Arabic to express good feelings. You could also reply with kwayes (kwayesa for women) or tamam (تمام) (equally used by men and women), both meaning “good”. Adding alhamdulillah (الحمد لله) (thanks god) to your answer is pretty common among muslims.
As you can see in the examples, you have to adapt the grammar of the adjectives according to your own gender when answering the question, i.e. talking about yourself. The only exception is tamam, which is used for both men and women. Alhamdulillah is not an adjective and can be used by men and women.
Expressions at a Glance
Below is a summary of the expressions used in this article and their English equivalent. The Latin script can help you with the correct pronunciation of you can’t read Arabic. Learning the Arabic alphabet will greatly help you with the correct pronunciation of Arabic words.
|English Equivalent||Arabic (Latin Script)||Arabic (Arabic Script)|
|How are you? (formal)||Kaif al hal?||كيف الحال|
|How are you? (colloquial) (masc.)||Kefak?||كيفك|
|How are you? (colloquial) (fem.)||Kefek?||كيفك|
|Thanks god (relig.)||Alhamdulillah||الحمد لله|