“How are you” is one of the most common phrases used for starting a conversation. In Arabic, it can even be used to say hello. So it’s extremely useful to learn how to say how are you in Arabic. Depending on the situation, you may need to know how to say it in formal and informal contexts.
Modern Standard Arabic is the official language of 25 Arabic countries, but it is used only in academia, literature, media, legislation, and in formal situations. In day-to-day life, local dialects are used to communicate. The most common Arabic dialects are Egyptian, Maghrebi, Gulf, and Levantine Arabic. We’ll go over the popular ways of saying how are you in Arabic in each of these regions as well as the best options to respond.
How Are You in Arabic at a Glance
Meaning - Dialect
How are you - MSA
How are you - Egyptian
What's up - Egyptian
What’s your news - Egyptian
How are you - Maghrebi
Are you ok? - Maghrebi
Is everything fine? - Maghrebi
How are you? - Gulf
How are you? - Gulf
What is your news?
How are you? - Levantine
Are you good? - Levantine
Is everything going well? - Levantine
How Are You in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)
كيف حالك؟ Kayfa Haluka
“ كيف حالك؟ Kayfa Haluka ” is the phrase used to say ‘How are you’ in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), and it is understood by all Arabs and used mostly in formal writing. The phrase is conjugated depending on the addressee as summarized in the table.
|Two males or females
|Three or more males
|Three or more females
How to Respond to كيف حالك؟ Kayfa Haluka
If someone asks you this question, there are many personalized ways to reply in Standard Arabic, such as the most common answer “أنا بخير، شكراً Ana bikhaer, shokran” which is translated as ‘I am fine, thanks’. Or you could answer positively as “بخير والحمدلله Bikhaer wal hamdulillah” which serves a similar meaning ‘Good and thanks for God’. On the other hand, if you were not feeling good and you want to express that, you can say “لست بخير Lastu bikhaer”, and its translation is ‘I am not good’. You can also say “أنا مريض Ana marid” if you were sick.
|أنا بخير، شكراً
|Ana bikhaer, shokran
|I am fine, thanks
|Bikhaer wal hamdulillah
|Good and thank God
|I am not good
|I am sick
How Are You in Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic is the most widespread Arabic dialect used in music, media and TV shows.
In Egyptian you can say “ إزيَّك؟ Ezzayak ” translated literally as ‘How are you’.
|Two or more
عامِل إيه؟ Aamel eeh
Egyptians also use other phrases, such as “ عامِل إيه؟ aamel eeh ” which is a casual way to ask how are you. It is translated to ‘what’s up’.
|Two or more
أخبارك إيه؟ Akhbarak eeh
“ أخبارك إيه؟ akhbarak eeh ” translated as ‘what’s your news’. The conjugation will differ depending on the gender of who you’re speaking with and how many people you’re speaking to.
|Two or more
How to Respond in Egyptian Arabic
Regarding the response for “How are you” in Arabic, Egyptians have a few ways of responding. The most common responses you’ll hear and could use are “كويس، الحمدلله kwayes, al hamdullilah” meaning ‘I’m fine, thank God’, and the phrase “كلو تمام kolo tamaam” that means ‘Everything is good’. If you’re not feeling great, you can “مش كويس msh kwayes” which simply means ‘not good’.
|Kwayes, al hamdulillah
|I’m fine, thank God
|Everything is good
How Are You in Maghrebi Arabic
Countries of the Maghreb region including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libia, Western Sahara and Mauritania use colloquial Moroccan Arabic dialect.
There are three ways you can ask how are you in the Maghrebi Dialect. You use “ كيداير؟ kidayer ” when addressing a man and “كيدايرة kidayera” when addressing a woman.
لا بأس؟ La baas
You could also ask “ لا بأس؟ la baas ”. When asked as a question it means ‘are you ok?’
كلشي بخير؟ Kol shi b kheir
The third way of asking how someone is is “ كلشي بخير؟ kol shi b kheir ”, which means ‘Is everything fine?’.
How to Respond in Maghrebi Arabic
You can actually respond by saying “لا بأس la baas” as well. When said as a response, it simply means ‘I’m fine’. Similarly, you could also answer with “كلشي على خير kolshi ala kheir”. As a response, it states that ‘everything is ok’. You can answer also with the phrase “الحمدلله حد الساعة al hamdulillah had saa’a”, which means so far, so good.
|كلشي على خير
|Kolshi ala kheir
|Everything is ok
|الحمدلله حد الساعة
|Al hamdulillah had saa’a
|So far, so good
How Are You in Gulf Arabic:
Gulf Arabic or Khaliji is an important dialect among the Arabian world, and it is widely spoken in U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait countries.
“ شلونَك؟ Shlonak ” is used often Iraq, Syria, and many gulf countries. شلونَك Shlonak is used when addressing a man, “شلونِك shlonik” for a woman, and “شلونكن shlonkon” for a group of two or more.
|Two or more
كيف الحال؟ Kif el hal
In Saudi Arabia, as well as in the other Gulf countries, the term “ كيف الحال؟ kif el hal ” stands for ‘how are you’ question and it is understood by all Arabs because it is close to the way you say how are you in Modern Standard Arabic, the first dialect we talked about at the beginning of the post. كيف الحال kif el hal is a great phrase to know because it is quite simple as it doesn’t require any conjugations and can be used to address anyone.
In addition, people can use the term “ شخبارَك؟ shakhbarak ”, which means ‘What is your news?’. It can be used by itself or it can be added to one of the ‘how are you’ phrases. So you can change things up by saying: “كيف الحال Kif el hal! شخبارَك Shakhbarak? See the conjugation table to see how the form changes depending on who you’re speaking to.
|Two or more
How to Respond in Gulf Arabic
Replying to such a question in gulf dialect can come in different ways. You can say “الحمدلله el hamdulillah”, which is a religious in nature. It means ‘Thank God’. Also, the term “ماشي الحال mashi lhal” can be used to express that ‘things are going well’. This expression is also used in Levantine Arabic. “طيبين taybeen” is used as well as a positive response meaning ‘good’.
|Things are going well
How Are You in Levantine Arabic
Levantine Arabic is the dialect spoken in the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean Coast including Lebanon and Syria.
To ask ‘how are you’ in Levantine dialect, you can simple say the word “ كيفَك؟ kifak ” if speaking to a man, “كيفِك kifek” if speaking to a woman, and “كيفكن kifkon” if you are addressing a group of people of two or more people.
When you use تمام؟ tamam? as a question, it can be a way of asking how are you. It translates to ‘Are you good?’. The nice thing about this phrase is that you don’t have to conjugate.
ماشي الحال؟ Mashi el halماشي الحال؟ Mashi el hal? similar to tamam when asked as a question means ‘Is everything going well?’. You also don’t need to conjugate this to other forms and you and use this same word to anyone you’re speaking with.
How to Respond in Levantine Arabic
People in the Levant region usually answer ‘how are you’ either by saying “منيح mnih”, which means ‘I am good’. If you’re feeling a bit down, you can say “مش منيح mish mnih”. Mish means not so مش منيح mish mnih simply means “I am not well”. If you are feeling great and in your best conditions, you can say “تمام tamam”. If you’re feeling neutral or so-so, you can say “ماشي الحال mashi lhal” which means means ‘it’s okay’.
Check out the table below for an easy view on some ways to respond to how are you in Levantine Arabic.
|I am good
|I am not well
How are you is such an important phrase to learn when starting conversational Arabic. As we’ve seen, different regions have come up with very different ways of saying it. Hopefully, now you can feel comfortable traveling anywhere in the Arab-speaking world and make special connections by asking how are you in their specific regional dialect.