How to Say Thanks In Arabic And Respond (MSA + Dialects)

Ebtesam Mokhtar


Ebtesam Mokhtar

How to Say Thanks In Arabic And Respond (MSA + Dialects)

How often do you find yourself in a situation where you need to say thank you or express your gratitude in Arabic?

I am hoping this happens to you several times a day. 😊

Because no matter where you are in the world, there is always someone kind enough to give you a hand or do a good job serving you. That's when "where you are in the world" comes into play. Now you want to say thanks, but how do you do that in the 25 Arabic-speaking countries?

I am here to tell you how to say thank you in Arabic. You can thank me later! 😊

Now I did mention that Arabic is spoken in around 25 countries by almost 420 million people all over the world?

But does that mean all those millions speak the same "Arabic"? The answer is no.

Arabic has about 30 dialects that can sound very different from each other. However, that leaves us with so many creative ways to say what we need to say. Sometimes with a cultural-specific twist, often times with a religious touch, or maybe even in just one word.

That one word, by the way, is what we will start with. It is the simplest of them all, and the most common among all Arab countries.

How to say 'Thank you' in Modern Standard Arabic

Shukran - شُكْرًا - thanks

With so many ways to say thank you in Arabic, this is your go-to choice when you are not sure which one to use.

A short version that says it all without being related to a specific dialect or culture. It is causal, formal and grammatically correct.

It is used in almost all Arab countries, including Egypt, the Levant, Gulf and North African countries.

Shukran is simply your 'thanks' in Arabic. Nothing more. No connotations. No hidden meanings. Oh wait, there might be an exception to that ‘hidden meanings’ thing. Have you ever heard of Egypt's most famous singer, Amr Diab?

He uses "Shukran" sarcastically in a song with the same title: Shukran, released in 2020.

Thanks to those who left us

And those who didn't bother to blame us

They should not be coming back to knock our doors

Shukran Lak - شكرًا لك - thank you

If you think Shukran is so simple and to the point and that's all it has to offer, then you are wrong.

You can make it a little more formal by adding yet another simple extension: لك, which literally means: "to you". The full expression then becomes شكرًا لك (Shukran Lak) or "thank you".

That is in case you are speaking to a male.

If you are speaking to a female, then you say شكرًا لكِ (Shukran Laky), which is exactly the same, but with the right Arabic female pronoun.

Shukran Jazeelan - شكرًا جزيلًا - thanks a lot

But what if you want to express more and more gratitude? Guess what?

Shukran can still be your number one choice. Just add the word جَزيلًا (Jazeelan), which means "a lot" or "so much".

Now you have your 'thanks a lot' in Arabic.

Want more? Put them all together!

Express your maximum respect and appreciation by saying: شكرًا جزيلًا لك/لكِ (Shukran Jazeelan Lak/Laky).

Modern Standard Arabic responses to 'thank you'

Now with the basic Arabic 'thanks' out of the way, we need to know how to respond in Arabic when someone says ‘thanks’ to us.

  • The Modern Standard Arabic way would be: على الرحب والسعة (Ala Alrahbe Was-se'aa), which translates into "you are welcome". That is a very classical way to put it. It is not used in everyday life though. You may read it in a book, but you can’t rely on it for a street conversation.
  • Another response that is also a little formal yet more common, especially in Egypt, is العفو (AlA'fow) or عفوًا (A'fwa'an). They both literally mean "to pardon/forgive". In this context, though, they are intended as "don't mention it".
  • Another semi-formal variation that is also used in Egypt and other Arab countries is لا شكر على واجب (La Shukr A'ala Wajeb). This is to say: “don't thank me for doing my duty”. That does not necessarily mean that the person was actually obliged to do what they did. It is just a nice way to say: "it's nothing".

'Thanks' in Egyptian Arabic

You know when you say that you are "thankful" to someone or "appreciative" of somebody?

There is a way to put it like that in Arabic. Actually, there are a few words, namely adjectives, that are used to say 'thank you' in Arabic.

A widely-used Egyptian wording to say that you are thankful is متشكرين (Motashakkereen), which means "we are thankful".

Don't be deceived by the "we" though.

It's still used if the speaker is just one person, not a group, as a way of showing appreciation.

So, if you are in Cairo searching for the Egyptian Museum and someone tells you the way, show them that you know the culture by saying: Motshakkereen! and wait for the smile that you will see on their face.

The singular version of this depends on the speaker's gender.

If you're a male, you say متكشر (Moatshakker), while a female would say متشكرة (Motashakkerah).

Want to be more generous with your gratitude? Add: أوي (A’wwii) to any of the above and then it becomes ‘very’ thankful.

Egyptian Arabic responses to ‘Thank you’

Typically, when you thank someone in Egypt, you may expect the response to be one of the expressions elaborated in the table below.

Here to serve you/ You name it أي خدمةAyy khedmah
At your service في الخدمةFey elkhedmah
As you order تحت أمرَكTaht Amrak
You only have to order انت تؤمرEnta toa’morr
Thanks to God (only) الشكر لله (وحده)ash-shukru lillah (wahdoh)

'Thanks' in Levantine Arabic

Another adjective used to describe the appreciative speaker, mostly in Syria, is ممنون (mammnoon), which means “grateful”.

This one is used when the speaker is a singular masculine. It was used by the Lebanese singer, Melhem Zain, in a song with the same title: ممنونك أنا (Mammnoonak Ana) – I am grateful to you.

I’m grateful to you, my love, for going away, I’m grateful to you

I’m living happily, my love, without you

That’s harsh, no?

Besides that bitter meaning, the word “mammnoon” has several other variations that can be used to say ‘thank you’ in Arabic, including:

English Arabic Transliteration
grateful (feminine singular) ممنونةMammnoonah
grateful (masculine plural) ممنونينMammnooneen
grateful (masculine singular) ممتنMommtan
grateful (feminine singular) ممتنةMommtanah
grateful (masculine plural) ممتنون/ممتنينMommtannoon/Mommtanneen
grateful (feminine plural) ممتناتMommtannat

Levantine Arabic responses to ‘Thank you’

English Arabic Transliteration
You are welcome تِكرَم Tekram
Your eyes are welcomed تِكرَم عينَك Tekram A’ynak

Thanks in Khaleeji (Gulf) Arabic

Do you know that Arabic dialects can roughly be divided into groups of: Egyptian, Levantine, Arab Maghreb and Gulf ones?

The Gulf dialects are the ones spoken in Iraq, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

These countries have their own dialects, but, generally speaking, you may say they have so much in common.

Same goes for Levantine countries, namely Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. Each country has its special dialect, but they all lie under the Levantine dialect umbrella.

One variation of ‘thank you’ in Arabic that you might hear in any of the previously mentioned countries is: مشكور (Mashkoor), which is also an adjective.

This time it is a second-person adjective. So, mashkoor is the person that is being thanked, not the speaker.

This word is widely used across the Arab countries. You may hear it in Saudi Arabic, Syria or even Sudan.

As with all other adjectives in Arabic, there is a slight difference in how you pronounce the word based on the person’s gender.

Maybe a man has just helped you with your luggage in Iraq, then you say mashkoor. However, if a woman translates a sign for you, then you say: مشكورة (mashkoorah), which is the female adjective that means a person who is thanked.

If you are speaking to a group of men, then you say: مشكورين(mashkoreen), while you should use مشكورات (mashkoorat) for women.

Khaleeji Arabic response to ‘Thank you’

In Gulf countries, the most common way to respond to ‘thank you’ in Arabic is to say: يا هلا (Ya Halah), which is equal to “you’re welcome”.

It is actually the same expression you can use to -literally- welcome someone.

Religious ways to say ‘thank you’ in Arabic

Though Arabic, as a language, had existed before Islam, today’s Arabic is highly influenced by Islamic expressions.

This has to do with the fact that the Islamic holy book (Quran) is written in Arabic. That’s why many Arabic learners study the Quran as a first step to learn the language. That’s also how prayers and other religious phrases have become an integral part of the language, including the slang used for day-to-day purposes.

Today, it is even normal to have “Allah” mentioned in a song about love.

No wonder prayers are used as a means to say ‘thank you’ when you’re grateful to people.

Instead of literally saying ‘thanks’, oftentimes you will find Arabs asking God to reward the one whom they want to thank.

The table below gives you examples of how to say ‘thank you’ in Modern Standard Arabic, with a religious taste.

English Arabic Transliteration
God bless you بارك الله فيكBaaraka Allahu Feeka
May Allah reward you well جزاك الله خيرًاJazaka Allahu Khairan
May Allah accept it in your good deeds/in your favor جعله الله في ميزان حسناتكJa’alahu Allahu Fey Mizan Hasanatuka

You may think this is a very formal way to say ‘thanks’ in Arabic, but actually it is widely used by normal people during everyday conversations.

It is even popular on social media, especially within the religious communities.

Hopeful/well wishes as a way of saying 'thank you' in Arabic

Not only Arabs like to wish each other good rewards in the afterlife, but they like to say thank you with safe life wishes as well.

Here are some of the most popular ways to say thanks in Arabic, while giving it a sweet flavor of hope.

English Arabic Transliteration Countries that use this variation
May you stay safe (for me) – masculine singular تسلم (لي)Teslam (ley) Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait
May you stay safe (for me) – feminine singular تسلمي (لي)Teslamy (ley) Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait
May they stay safe (where ‘they’ usually refers to the hands that served them something) يسلمواYeslamou Syria, Lebanon
May these hands stay safe يسلموا هالدَيَّاتYeslamou Had-dayat Palestine, Jordan
May these hands stay safe يسلموا هالإيدينYeslamou Hal-Eedeen Palestine, Jordan
May these hands stay safe تسلم إيديك/إيديكيTeslam Eedeek (masculine)/Eedeeky (feminine) Egypt

Lifeful ‘thanks’ in Arabic

Did you think we’re done with the wishes?

Then you do not know that you can say ‘thank you’ in Arabic by simply wishing the person a long life.

Here is how and where to do that:

English Arabic Transliteration Countries that use this variation
May you live a long life عشتEa’esht Syria, Lebanon,
May you live a long life تعيشTea’eysh Egypt
May God give you a long life يعيشكYea’yshak Tunisia, Algeria
May Allah give you a long life الله يعيشكAllah Yea’yshak Tunisia, Algeria

Healthful 'thanks' in Arabic

What comes with long life?

Yes, good health.

Now you got it. Wishing the person a healthy, long life is another way to say ‘thank you’ in Arabic in most Arabic-speaking countries.

Take a look at the table below and you will see what I mean.

English Arabic Transliteration Countries that use this variation
May God give you wellness يعطيك العافيةYa’teek Ala’feya Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia
May you have a good health صحيتSah-heet Algeria
May you (plural) have a good health صحيتواSah-heetu Algeria
May you have a good health يعطيك الصحةYa’teek As-seha Algeria

You may think that you can only use these expressions when you are thanking a person, but this song below will make you change your mind.

The Algerian singer, Mazi, released this track to appreciate the efforts of the Algerian national football team after winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Basically, the song title is يعطيكم الصحة (Ya’teekom As-seha), the Algerian way to say ‘thank you’. Now the players could definitely use some good health wishes, right? :)

A few bonus ways to say ‘thanks’ in Arabic

Now you see how creative the Arabic language is.

There is never an end to how many ways you can say ‘thank you’ in Arabic.

Here are your bonus tips to express your gratitude in Arabic-speaking countries.

Algerian ‘Thank You’ and response

Maybe you are walking in Algeria and someone asks you to take a photo for them. How would they thank you? They may say: Yea’yshak, hoping that you live a long life.

Then one way to respond is بْلَا مْزِيَّة (Bela Mzeyah)m or “it’s my duty”.

That’s how you say “don’t mention it” in Arabic in Algeria.

Another way to say ‘thanks’ in Egypt

This is kind of a slang one, but it is grammatically correct.

So, a driver has just dropped you at your destination and you want to impress him with your Egyptian dialect. Your best shot here is to say: ألف شكر (Alf Shukr), which means “thanks a thousand”.

Yes, exactly as it sounds: thanks, a thousand times. Just like “thanks a million”, but the thousand is the Egyptians’ big number here.

Another way to say ‘thank you’ in Gulf countries

With countless ways to show your appreciation in Arabic, one way seems to be the most satisfying.

That is the Khaleeji ما قصرت (Ma Gassart). It literally means “you spared no effort”.

See? There is no way you can say ‘thank you’ in Arabic, or in any other language, more perfectly.

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