How to Say “Whether” in Arabic

قَصير

root: ق-ص-ر / adjective / definition: short


We’ve got a short little grammar post this week about one simple way we can say “whether” in Arabic—let’s take a look!

To say “whether”, we can simply use the phrase ما إذا كان, where the past tense verb كان is conjugated according to the subject of the following clause.

We came across an example of this in the post كان Plus a Past Tense Verb:


لَم أَعْرِف ما إذا كانَ قَد نَجا

I didn’t know whether he had survived


Here are some more examples:


يَتَمَحوَرُ حَولَ ما إذا كانَت الفِكرةُ قابِلةَ لِلتَّطبيق

it centres around whether the idea is viable

(Check out One Way to Form -able/-ible Adjectives in Arabic for more about قابِل لـ phrases!)


عَلَيهِم أَن يُقَرِّروا ما إذا كانوا سَيَدعَمونَ المَشروع

they need to decide whether they will support the project


سألني عمّا إذا كُنتُ مُستَعِدّاً

he asked me about whether I was prepared

(In this example above, عَن has merged with ما to form عَمّا. Also, remember that خبر كان must be منصوب, hence the case ending of مستعداً!)


I hope this concise post was helpful!

There’s a much longer post coming up soon, all about the grammar of using Arabic numbers (ahh, I can’t say I’m not intimidated by the topic despite all my notes about it!), so don’t forget to subscribe below to be notified as soon as it’s posted:

See you soon, إلى اللقاء!



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