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Archive for the 'Hebrew Grammar' Category

Is Hebrew Hard to Learn? (And Why to Learn Anyway.)

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Let’s face it. Hebrew is not the most popular language choice for those seeking to acquire a new one. It’s not as sexy-sounding as, say, French or Spanish. It doesn’t have international status as a lingua franca for culture or commerce. It’s spoken by a mere nine million people worldwide

Yet there are a number of great reasons to make it your next language undertaking. In this article, we’ll answer the question “Is Hebrew hard to learn?” and talk about its simpler and more complex aspects. But first, we’ll show you why you should learn this beautiful language.

The number-one reason is that Hebrew is, quite simply, unique among all languages, and for more than one reason. It’s the language of nearly the entire Old Testament (the Book of Daniel is written in Aramaic, a closely related Semitic language that’s very similar to Hebrew). When God said, “Let there be light,” he said it in Hebrew! So when you learn Hebrew, you’re connecting yourself to a primal part of history. Indeed, the earliest examples of Paleo-Hebrew date back to the tenth century BCE, making Hebrew at least 3,000 years old!

Torah Scroll

Obviously, the Hebrew language has contributed greatly to Western civilization through the vast literary works in the Hebrew language that are part of the Biblical canon. Just as interesting is the fact that Hebrew ceased to be used as a spoken language between the third and fifth centuries. During this time, it was relegated to לשון הקודש (leshon ha-kodesh), or the Language of Holy Matters, used for Bible study, prayer, and religious poetry—but not for everyday communication.

Jewish Prayer Book

It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that Hebrew was revived as a spoken language. In fact, this was achieved through a linguistic enterprise, the likes of which had never been seen before and which has not been replicated since. A number of highly motivated and impressively talented individuals, most prominently Eliezer Ben Yehuda, set about coining Hebrew words to describe the modern world, so removed as it was from the ancient context of Biblical Hebrew.

They began publishing Hebrew dictionaries and periodicals, codifying grammatical rules, putting on Hebrew-language theater productions, founding Hebrew schools and clubs, and generally revitalizing the language as an everyday tongue equal to any other spoken language. In fact, Eliezer Ben Yehuda is credited with raising the first child to speak Hebrew as his native (and at least initially exclusive) tongue, keeping his son Itamar under something like house arrest in his early years so he wouldn’t be exposed to other languages, which he felt might confuse the child.

Today, Hebrew is the State of Israel’s official language. It’s the mother tongue of millions of people, used in newspapers, books, TV programs, movies, music, poetry, food labels, websites, legislation, advertisements, and any other use you can think of for a language. So when you learn and speak it, you’re participating in what could be argued to be the most successful linguistic experiment in history—the revival of a language that had not been spoken for over a thousand years!

What’s more, just as Hebrew is unique among languages, Israel is a country unlike any other. Geographically at the crossroads of three continents—Europe, Asia, and Africa—Israel is a true melting pot of cultures, with immigrants and their descendants from literally all four corners of the globe. It’s also a fascinating meld of ancient culture with cutting-edge modernity. Learning Hebrew gives you direct access to all of this rich diversity, and to a wealth of unique and interesting literature, art, music, cuisine, and people.

Wailing Wall / View of Old Jerusalem

So why should you learn Hebrew? Perhaps the real question is why not?!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Is it Hard to Learn Hebrew?
  2. The Hardest and Easiest Aspects of the Hebrew Language
  3. I Want to Learn Hebrew, But Don’t Know Where to Start
  4. What Makes HebrewPod101 Your Partner in Learning Hebrew with Success?

1. Is it Hard to Learn Hebrew?

Confused Looking Student

So you’re interested in the possibility of studying Hebrew, but before you take the plunge, you just have one big question: Is Hebrew hard to learn? This question is easier asked than answered, as it depends on many factors. For instance, if you know another Semitic language, such as Arabic, this will give you a number of advantages as you’ll already be familiar with the basics of vocabulary and grammar.

If you speak a language with gutturals, such as French or German, this will go a long way toward helping your Hebrew pronunciation. If you’ve studied the Hebrew Bible at all, this can also be of help, though it can also cause confusion due to the divergence of modern Hebrew from Biblical Hebrew. 

And overall, how hard it is to learn Hebrew will depend on how good your ear is, how willing you are to make and learn from mistakes, and how much effort you put in.

All that being said, learning Hebrew is definitely a manageable task. It’s not the hardest language to learn by a long shot, though we’ll admit it’s not the easiest either. We’re going to take an honest look at various features that might make the Hebrew language hard for some learners, and other features that make Hebrew relatively easy. 

In this author’s opinion, while Hebrew does present some key obstacles, especially in the very early stages, it’s an extremely logical and economical language overall. For this reason, I believe anyone with the right attitude absolutely can and should learn Hebrew with the certainty that success will come if you invest in your studies.

Pensive Looking Student

At HebrewPod101.com, we’re committed to your language-learning success. To that end, we have created a vast library of fun, engaging, and enriching material, both written and in audio format, to help and guide you in your Hebrew language endeavors. So don’t stress! While learning any language comes with difficulties, you can take comfort in the knowledge that we are here to help you along the way!

Without further ado, let’s get into the thick of it and see which features of Hebrew will likely present a challenge and which are more inviting. We’re confident that once you see the breakdown, you’ll be inspired to go for it and study Hebrew in earnest.

2. The Hardest and Easiest Aspects of the Hebrew Language

Let’s start with the good news and take a look at some of the ways in which Hebrew is, in fact, one of the easier languages to pick up. You may actually be surprised by some of them!

The top five easiest aspects of learning Hebrew

1. It’s phonetic.

Man Speaking with Letters

Like Spanish and Italian—and unlike English and French—Hebrew is phonetic. This means that, with a few exceptions, the sounds that Hebrew letters make are constant and don’t change depending on their location in a word. That makes learning new vocabulary a whole lot easier, as you can pronounce new words with confidence, as long as you know the sound each Hebrew letter makes.

What’s more, there are only five voiced vowel sounds and one unvoiced vowel sound. No diphthongs (vowel combinations, like the “ou” in the English word “mouse”) to complicate matters. It’s just as simple as learning six vowels, and you’re set!

To make things even easier in terms of proper pronunciation, there are only two possible ways to stress syllables: either the last syllable or the penultimate syllable gets stressed. There are some imported words, mostly from English, where this is not the case, but the vast majority of Hebrew words do follow this rule.

2. It’s root-based.

Roots

While this may sound like something you would find printed on a bottle of vegetable juice, “roots” here refer to verb stems, or שורשים (shorashim). In true testament to its logical nature, Hebrew uses words based on three- or four-letter roots from which various words can be formed using different patterns. There are patterns for verbs of different kinds (e.g. accusative, reflexive, etc.), for nouns of different kinds (describing actions, equipment, diminutives, etc.), as well as for adjectives and adverbs. Words from the same root can be viewed as members of a single family, with a semantic connection (i.e. their individual meanings will all share a common theme).

You may be asking how this makes learning Hebrew easier. The answer is that once you’ve learned a word or two based on a given root, you’ll have more than a fair chance of at least approximating the meaning of another word from the same root. Let’s take a look at an example.

The root ח-ב-ר (kh-v-r) denotes connection or connectivity, so all words deriving from it will have a meaning along those lines. Obviously, once you get to know the conjugation patterns, you’ll also be able to infer meaning with greater accuracy. But even without this knowledge, you can be sure that any word from this root has something to do with connection. So, say you know the word חבר (khaver) means “friend,” and you suddenly see the word חיבור (khibur). You may not know what it means, but you can guess that it has something to do with connection. And you would be quite right! חיבור (khibur) means “connection”!

Here are some other words formed from the same root, along with their meanings. (The root letters have been bolded for easier identification.)

  • חבורה (khavurah)
    “gang,” “pack”
  • חברה (khevrah)
    “company,” “society”
  • חבר‘ה (khevreh)
    “group of people,” “guys,” “folks”
  • לחבר (lekhaber)
    “to connect [one thing to another]”
  • להתחבר (lehitkhaber)
    “to connect [yourself to something]”
  • מחברת (makhberet)
    “notebook” [i.e., a ream of connected pages]
  • תחביר (takhbir)
    “syntax” [i.e., how we connect words to each other]

3. It only has three tenses.

Signs: Now, Tomorrow, Yesterday

Here’s one that should give you a huge sigh of relief. Unlike many languages, English among them, which have various tenses both simple and complex (e.g. “I have been studying Hebrew for a year.”), Hebrew is content to make do with just three—simple past, simple present, and simple future—the vast majority of the time. You can still express all of the same things as in English, but you would rely on context for the nuances of time. For example:

  • אני אוכל עכשיו.
    Ani okhel akhshav.
    “I am eating now.”

* The word עכשיו (akhsav), meaning “now,” tells us that this is an ongoing action happening at present, equivalent to the present progressive tense in English.

Contrast this with the following:

  • אני אוכל במסעדה פעם בשבוע.
    Ani okhel be-mis’adah pa’am be-shavu’ah.
    “I eat at a restaurant once a week.”

* In this case, we’re talking about a general habit, which is equivalent to the simple present tense in English.

4. In simple present, you never need to use the verb “to be.”

Man Pointing to Watch

That’s right! In the simple present tense (the only present tense Hebrew has), we don’t use the verb להיות (lehiyot), or “to be.” That ought to save you some work! Here are a couple of examples:

  • אני סוזי.
    Ani Suzi.
    “I [am] Susie.”
  • אני סטודנטית.
    Ani studentit.
    “I [am] a student.”
  • האוכל טעים מאוד.
    Ha-okhel ta’im me’od.
    “This food [is] very tasty.”

5. There is only one article.

Man with Lightbulbs

This is definitely a huge advantage in comparison to other languages. Languages vary widely in their use of articles. For instance, Slavic languages are devoid of articles, while Italian has a whopping twelve types of articles. Spanish has nine, and English, French, and German have three each. But Hebrew only has one article to learn, so that’s one thing you can definitely be grateful for. Whether male or female, singular or plural, Hebrew uses only the prefix ה- (ha-) for all definite nouns.

The top five hardest aspects of learning Hebrew

You’ve seen a number of key ways in which Hebrew learning is facilitated by the language’s logic and economy. Now let’s face the music and confront the big question: Why is Hebrew so hard to learn for many students?

Here’s an overview of the unique challenges Hebrew poses. 

1. You have to learn a new alphabet, probably written in the direction opposite of what you’re used to.

Man Writing on Blackboard

This is likely the first thing that may have occurred to you as a potential challenge. And you would be right. This is an obstacle that you wouldn’t face, by and large, if learning any of the Romance or Germanic languages (apart from a few morphemes unique to each language). With Hebrew, you’ll be learning an alphabet completely different from what you know, which is also written from right to left rather than left to right.

That said, the alphabet only contains twenty-two consonants—versus English’s twenty-six—and six vowel sounds. As for the consonants, there’s a further complication in that the letters ב (bet), כ (kaf), and פ (peh), are either plosive or fricative depending on whether they use a דגש קל (dagesh kal), a diacritical point in their center. So, while ב is equivalent to /v/ in English, בּ is equivalent to /b/; כ is pronounced kh, like a Scot pronouncing the “ch” in Loch Ness, but כּ is /k/; and פ is /f/ while פּ is /p/.

Additionally, the letters כ (kaf), מ (mem), נ (nun), פ (peh), and צ (tzadi) all have distinct final forms, meaning they’re written differently when they come at the end of a word. Their final forms are:

ך, ם, ן, ף, and ץ, respectively.

Obviously, apart from learning a new alphabet, you’ll also have to get accustomed to reading and writing from right to left. It may be of interest to know why this is the case. Old as it is, and owing to logistical issues of climate and technology, proto-Hebrew was originally chiseled, carved, or engraved into rock or clay rather than written on animal skin or papyrus, unlike cuneiform. This is because, most people being right-handed, it was easier to hold the chisel in the left hand and hammer with the right. On the other hand (no pun intended), when writing with ink, writing from left to right prevented right-handed people from inadvertently smudging the ink on the scroll or page before it had dried.

2. Say goodbye to written vowels, for the most part.

Man and Women Speaking with Floating Letters and Question Mark

To complicate matters further, Hebrew is a type of language—like Arabic and Persian—called an abjad. These languages, in written form, by and large only supply the reader with consonants, omitting any diacritical marks (the dots and dashes within, above, below, or next to letters that indicate vowel sounds and other features of pronunciation). These sounds are generally inferred, though there are cases of words with the same consonants and various possible vowels, which can be tricky. Here’s an example:

  • דָּוִד
    David
    “David” (the proper name)
  • דּוֹד
    dod
    “uncle”
  • דּוּד
    dud
    “boiler”

* Note that the consonants in all three words are the same, with only the vowels changing. Because written Hebrew does not generally supply us with the vowels, these would all appear to be the same word to the uninitiated. Let’s see how this might look in the context of a sentence, first without vowels, then with them.

  • דוד דוד קנה דוד חדש.
    דּוֹד דָּוִד קנה דּוּד חדש.
    Dod David kanah dud khadash.
    “Uncle David bought a new boiler.”

Don’t let this phase you, though. If nine-million Hebrew-speakers can read without the aid of written vowels, you can get there too! There aren’t too many cases where words share the same consonants but differ in vowels alone. And those that do exist are generally quite easy to distinguish from their homographs by using context clues. When this isn’t the case, the author will usually supply the diacritical marks to allay confusion.

3. Hebrew uses a different script for printed letters and written ones.

Eraser on Page

Continuing in the orthographical vein, printed Hebrew—such as what appears in books, newsprint, most ads, subtitles, and so on—uses block letters, whereas written Hebrew uses cursive. To be fair, though, the case is much the same in English—or at least it traditionally was for those old enough to have been taught to write in cursive when penning letters and so on. In any case, cursive Hebrew is very similar to its printed counterpart. The written form of the letters is actually no more than a matter of convenience, as round letters are easier to write than square ones.

4. There are male and female forms for nouns, pronouns, verbs, AND adjectives.

Male/Female Symbols

This one is definitely a challenge, though by no means an insurmountable one. For all of its many complications, English is free of grammatical gender (though, as history buffs will know, this was not always the case). However, many languages have grammatical (versus biological) gender, meaning that even inanimate objects are gendered either masculine or feminine (and in the case of some languages, such as German, they can be neutral, as well).

Hebrew does not have a neutral form, but it does have masculine and feminine forms—both singular and plural—for nouns, pronouns, verb conjugations, and adjectives. While this may seem overwhelming, the good news is that these forms are standardized, meaning that once you learn the right suffixes and conjugation forms to make a word either masculine or feminine, and plural or singular, you’ll be able to apply the same pattern over and over to different words.

There are, of course, irregulars, but not many. And they’re only irregular in that they use the masculine form for a feminine word or vice-versa, rather than having a totally non-sequitur plural form as is often the case in English (e.g. man, men). For example, -ים (-im) is the plural suffix for masculine nouns, while -ות (-ot) or -יות (-iyot) is the plural suffix for feminine nouns.

Here are a few examples:

  • בן, בנים
    ben, banim
    “son,” “sons”
  • בת, בנות
    bat, banot
    “daughter,” “daughters”
  • חודש, חודשים
    khodesh, khodashim
    “month,” “months”
  • ארוחה, ארוחות
    arukhah, arukhot
    “meal,” “meals”
  • בקבוק, בקבוקים
    bakbuk, bakbukim
    “bottle,” “bottles”
  • שקית, שקיות
    sakit, sakiyot
    “bag,” “bags”

5. There are seven binyanim (verb conjugation patterns).

Verb List

There’s no way around this one. There are seven distinct types of verbs in Hebrew, each with its own pattern of conjugation. Compare that to, say, Spanish or Italian, where there are just three basic patterns, or English where there is only one basic pattern (which is chock-full of irregulars).

That being said, these binyanim, or conjugation patterns, are here to help you. They’re not mere morphological patterns, but have semantic meaning as well. In layman’s terms, whereas the conjugation patterns in Spanish and Italian are linked to their orthographic endings (the letters they terminate in), Hebrew binyanim tell you the character of the verb.

For instance, the binyan התפעל (hitpa’el) indicates a reflexive verb, meaning that when we learn how to use and identify this conjugation pattern, we also learn how to change an indicative (a regular statement or question) verb into a reflexive one (meaning it’s either acting on itself or on its agent). This also means that even if we’re not completely sure of a verb’s meaning, we can surmise something about the situation or relationship being described based on its binyam: Is something or someone acting on something or someone else? Is something happening passively to something or someone? Is someone or something activating or animating something or someone else to do something?

So yes, while the binyanim are tricky and take plenty of practice to master, they give you something you won’t find in many other languages: an understanding of the logical relationship between words. This will help you immensely as you progress with your studies, so look at it as a challenge that is well worth tackling! 

3. I Want to Learn Hebrew, But Don’t Know Where to Start

Woman with Blank Thought Bubble

Considering that Hebrew is a very logical, even mathematical, language, it’s best to get a good foundation when you first start your studies. While some may consider this dull, you can be certain that any seeming drudgery will pay off in dividends later on.

The following are some tips for getting started:

1. Learn the alphabet.

A good recommendation is to begin by learning the alphabet, as well as the correct pronunciation of all the consonants and vowels. Remember that Hebrew is phonetic, so once you learn these sounds, you only need to be able to reproduce them wherever they appear. There’s no variation as in English or French. With only a few exceptions, the same grapheme (written unit) will correspond to the same phoneme (sound unit) anywhere it appears.

2. Learn basic verb conjugation.

From there, you would want to focus on learning at least the more common binyanim, or verb conjugation patterns, so you can use verbs freely. You could start by focusing on just one tense and look at various verbs in this tense. Or you could focus on one binyan, tackling its forms in all three tenses. Any way you choose to go about it is fine, as long as you’re systematic.

3. Build up a basic vocabulary.

This is key to any language you’re trying to learn. Rather than focusing solely on technical issues like grammar and pronunciation, make sure you spend a lot of time building your vocabulary. Start with simple, everyday words that would be useful in common situations. Think of how children learn a language: they start with the most basic building blocks before they ever move on to forming sentences and questions. This should be your guiding principle. You have to crawl before you can walk, after all.

4. Use realia for fun and effective learning.

When undertaking any language endeavor, exposure is key. You want to flood yourself with as much authentic Hebrew language as you can. If you’re in Israel or know a group of Israelis living abroad where you are, try to hang out with them and practice any vocabulary you can. Listen attentively to their conversations and take part as much as possible. To this end, it’s best to identify patient native speakers who will be willing to help and encourage you.

No matter where you are, the Internet is a wonderful resource full of endless opportunities to expose yourself to authentic native Hebrew. Whether through music, movies, TV shows, or any other medium, Israel is a true powerhouse of media production, so you have your pick. No matter what your tastes are, you’re sure to find something to your liking in the Hebrew language. Use these media to learn new words, practice your comprehension, or work on pronunciation.

5. Start small and work your way up from there.

Work with smaller chunks at first before you try to take on, say, translating an entire song from Hebrew to your native language. Focus on individual words first, then word combinations, then sentences, then paragraphs (or stanzas), and only then entire works. Keep your goals realistic and achievable so that you’ll not only succeed in reaching them, but feel positive about your progress.

It’s worth noting that, as a country of mass immigration from countries the world over, Israel produces material specifically designed to help עולים חדשים (‘olim khadashim), or “new immigrants,” learn Hebrew. This even includes simplified newspapers that print stories on current affairs and cultural interest stories in basic Hebrew to facilitate easy reading for non-native speakers.

6. Be consistent.

Make sure you’re consistent in your studies. Dedicate time every week to your language studies, and try your best to stick to it, even if it’s only a couple of hours. Practice the words or grammar points you’ve learned until you’re sure you have dominated them. Go back and review previous lessons every now and again to refresh your memory. Most of all, don’t give up! Results are the direct product of your commitment to your goals!

4. What Makes HebrewPod101 Your Partner in Learning Hebrew with Success?

Man Jumping from Cliff to Cliff

HebrewPod101’s raison d’être is to make your language-learning experience a success, and to make sure you have fun along the way. We offer a wealth of audio, video, and written lessons designed and delivered by native Hebrew-speakers. These lessons focus on real-life topics, ranging from using public transportation to asking someone out on a date.

We also offer a multitude of learning materials, all designed with both the general difficulties of language-learning and the particular difficulties of Hebrew in mind. With HebrewPod101, you can build your vocabulary with our Free Word of the Day, practice grammar with our free mobile apps, track your progress online, and benefit from a vast array of study tools. These include flashcards, word banks, and even a voice recorder for working on your pronunciation.

With HebrewPod101, you’ll have access to lesson notes which accompany our audio and video lessons. You can also repeat any lesson at any time and check your knowledge using our quizzes. The best part of all is that, unlike in a classroom setting, you can learn at your own pace. This gives you the flexibility to work your studies in around your personal schedule and progress according to your drive, availability, and needs.

At HebrewPod101.com, we’re committed to making the challenges of learning Hebrew not only surmountable, but welcome. After all, nothing feels better than setting your sights on the summit, scaling the mountain step-by-step, and finally standing way above, looking out at the expanse below, knowing you got there thanks to your commitment and hard work. Let us be your partner in success. Sign up today to start getting new Hebrew lessons for free every single week!

Before you go, we would love to hear your thoughts on learning Hebrew. Are you ready to start after reading this article, or do you still have questions or concerns? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Hebrew

10 Common Mistakes in Learning Hebrew & How to Avoid Them

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It’s more than expected to make mistakes when learning a new language, particularly when that language is quite different from your mother tongue. Whether in terms of correct pronunciation, the right word for the right situation, or the small differences that can make the difference between an idiomatic phrase and an idiotic one, languages are full of traps that only native speakers can navigate with ease. 

With all that in mind, it’s perfectly normal for a language-learner to make the occasional mistake in Hebrew. But we here at HebrewPod101.com are here to help you avoid the worst of them.

Today’s lesson will cover the top ten most common Hebrew mistakes. While there are some mistakes in life that one must make in order to learn from, we like to think that in language we can minimize mistakes. To that end, we’ll look at issues of pronunciation, word choice (vocabulary), grammar, and even spelling. We’ll also include some mistakes that even native speakers have been known to make, leading to further confusion among language-learners. 

Together, we’ll see what the common mistakes in learning Hebrew are, why they’re mistakes, and what we can do to avoid making them. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Pronunciation Mistakes: Gutturals
  2. Word Choice Mistakes
  3. Word Order Mistakes
  4. Grammar Mistakes
  5. The Biggest Mistake of All
  6. Let HebrewPod101 Help You Learn Correct Hebrew and Avoid Mistakes

1. Pronunciation Mistakes: Gutturals

Teacher Teaching Pronunciation

Hebrew seems to be among the more challenging languages for native speakers of a range of languages. English-speakers in particular tend to have difficulty producing some of the sounds that are natural to the Hebrew tongue. 

Hebrew, like Arabic or German, is a language that relies heavily on guttural sounds—sounds we produce using the back of the throat—and these can pose a challenge to the uninitiated. Let’s see what these sounds are and how to avoid mispronouncing them.

1 – ח (khet) and כ/ך (khaf)

Let’s start with the good news. In modern Hebrew, the vast majority of native speakers pronounce these two letters identically. (In the past, they were distinguished by how far back in the throat you would pronounce each letter’s sound.) 

To make this sound correctly, you can think about the movement you make when you’re trying to clear your throat. The sound is similar to the “ch” in Loch Ness, as pronounced by a native Scot, or to the jota in the Spanish name Juan.

Many non-native Hebrew-speakers take the easy way out on this sound and, rather than producing it correctly, “fudge” it with a soft “H” sound. This not only sounds bad, but it can lead to confusion, as sometimes this substitution can actually mean that we’re saying a totally different word. For example, לך (lakh) is the second person feminine singular form of “to/for you,” whereas לה (lah) is the third person singular form of the same pronoun. 

To avoid this mistake in Hebrew, practice these sentences. Focus on distinguishing between the different sounds (ה [heh] vs. ח/כ/ך, khet/khaf/khaf).

  • אני הולך להרים מחר.
    Ani holekh la-harim makhar.
    “I am going to the mountains tomorrow.”
  • אני אוכל מהר בהיכל. 
    Ani okhel maher ba-heykhal.
    “I am eating quickly in the auditorium.”

2 – ר (resh)

Technically, this letter is a voiced uvular fricative rather than a guttural. But for our purposes, the important thing to note is that most modern Hebrew-speakers produce the “ר” sound from the back of the throat and top of the palette, rather than by using the tip of the tongue or the teeth. 

As this sound is totally different from most English-speakers’ “R” sound, it takes a bit of practice to get it right. The sound is similar to how the “R” sound is produced by many French-speakers. The best way to get it right is to listen to how Israelis say it, and to practice the sound to get it as close as possible. 

Here are some tongue-twisters to help:

  • רק רגע, מור, אני כבר רושם את מה שאתה אומר.
    Rak rega’, Mor, ani kvar roshem et mah she-atah omer.
    “Just a moment, Mor, I’m just about to write down what you say.”
  • הרוחות רשרשו כשהשתחררתי מחיל האוויר.
    Ha-rukhot rishreshu keshe-hishtakhrarti mi-Kheil ha-Avir.
    “The winds rustled when I was discharged from the Air Force.”

2. Word Choice Mistakes

Blackboard with Word List

Another category of common Hebrew mistakes is that of incorrect word choices. Obviously, this is a huge category, as the opportunities for vocabulary mishaps lie everywhere. But here, we’ll only focus on the top three commonly confused words. 

It’s a good idea here to practice each word and to internalize how and where to use it. To this end, feel free to practice with the sample sentences provided below, and avoid these Hebrew word mistakes in the future.

אח -1 (akh) – “brother” / “male nurse” / “fireplace” / “ouch” vs. אך (akh) – “but”

In modern Hebrew pronunciation, the two words above sound identical, but note that each spelling has multiple meanings, so it’s easy to get confused here. The first one, אח (akh), most commonly means “brother,” and, in fact, the “male nurse” definition is merely a derivative of the same (just as in the past, female nurses in English were referred to as “sisters”). It’s also used to spell out the exclamation for pain, basically Hebrew’s version of “ouch.”

On the other hand, אך (akh) with a ך is a conjunction, meaning it links two words or phrases. In this case, it marks a contrast between them. 

Note the differences between the examples below:

אח (akh) “brother” / “fireplace” / “ouch”

  • זה אח שלי, ירון.
    Zeh akh sheli, Yaron.
    “This is my brother, Yaron.”
  • יש לך אח גדול, נכון?
    Yesh lekha akh gadol, nakhon?
    “You have an older brother, don’t you?”
  • האח שטיפל בי בבית החולים היה נחמד מאוד.
    Ha-akh she-tipel bi be-veyt ha-kholim hayah nekhmad me’od.
    “The male nurse who treated me at the hospital was very kind.”
  • קר בחוץ! בא נשב מול האח כדי להתחמם.
    Kar ba-khutz! Bo neshev mul ha-akh kedey lehitkhamem.
    “It’s cold outside! Let’s go sit by the fireplace to warm up.”
  • אח! דבורה בדיוק עקצה אותי בגב!
    Akh! Devorah bidiyuk aktzah oti ba-gav.
    Ouch! A bee just stung me in the back.”

אך (akh) – “but”

  • רצינו לשחות בים אך הגלים היו חזקים מדי.
    Ratzinu liskhot ba-yam akh ha-galim hayu khazakim miday.
    “We wanted to go swimming in the ocean, but the waves were too strong.”
  • אני לא אוהב ארטישוק אך אח שלי מת על זה.
    Ani lo ohev artishok akh akh sheli met al zeh.
    “I don’t like artichokes, but my brother is crazy about them.”

2- קרה (karah) – “happened” / “occurred” vs. קרא (kara) – “read” vs. קרע (kara’) – “ripped” / “tore”

Here we have three words that, in modern Hebrew pronunciation, sound identical or close to it, but which nevertheless have significantly different meanings. Note that all three are the male singular first person past tense form of a verb. Here are some examples of how their meanings differ:

קרה (karah) – “happened” / “occurred”

  • מה קרה? הכל בסדר כאן?
    Mah karah? Ha-kol be-seder kan?
    “What happened? Is everything okay here?”
  • אף פעם לא קרה לי נס, אבל אני עוד מחכה.
    Af pa’am lo karah li nes, aval ani od mekhakeh.
    “A miracle has never happened to me, but I’m still waiting.”

קרא (kara) – “read”

  • אני מקווה שהוא קרא את ההוראות לפני שהוא התחיל לעבוד.
    Ani mekavah she-hu kara et ha-hora’ot lifney she-hu hitkhil la’avod.
    “I hope he read the instructions before he started working.”
  • אבא שלי קרא לי מליון ספרים בילדות שלי.
    Abba sheli kara li milyon sefarim ba-yaldut sheli.
    “My father read me a million books in my childhood.”

3- צבע (tzeva’) – “color” / “paint” vs. צבא (tzava) – “army” / “military”

This is another pair that’s easy enough to confuse, as they sound almost the same, particularly to the untrained ear. Note that, in addition to the difference in vowels, צבע is stressed on the first syllable (TZEva’), whereas צבא is stressed on the second syllable (tzaVA). Here are some examples to help you practice:

צבע (tzeva’) – “color” / “paint”

  • איזה צבע את הכי אוהבת?
    Eyzeh tzeva’ at ha-khi ohevet?
    “What is your favorite color?”
  • הצבע הזה ממש מבליט את העיניים שלך!
    Ha-tzeva’ ha-ze mamash mavlit et ha-eynayim shelkha!
    “This color really brings out your eyes!”
  • אל תיגע בזה. הצבע עוד טרי!
    Al tiga’ be-ze. Ha-tzeva’ od tari!
    “Don’t touch that. The paint is still wet!”

צבא (tzava) – “army” / “military”

  • איפה שירתת בצבא?
    Eyfoh shirateta ba-tzava?
    “Where did you serve in the army?”
  • לישראל יש את הצבא הכי מנוסה בעולם!
    Le-Yisrael yesh et ha-tzava hakhi menuseh ba-’olam.
    “Israel has the most experienced military in the world.”
  • אחרי הצבא אני טס לארגנטינה.
    Akharey ha-tzava ani tas le-Argentina.
    “After the army, I am flying to Argentina.”

3. Word Order Mistakes

Word Magnets

Another area that commonly invites mistakes among non-native speakers is syntax, or word order. Particularly for English-speakers—though not for most Romance language-speakers—it can get tricky to remember to do the reverse of what you’re used to, which is often the case with Hebrew.

Let’s look at the two most common issues Hebrew-learners are likely to face in this regard, namely adjective-noun combinations and possessive nouns.

1- Noun-adjective combinations

It’s important to remember that in Hebrew, adjectives always come after the nouns they describe. This is the exact opposite of what we’re used to in English, so it’s best to give this language feature plenty of practice to avoid making this kind of Hebrew mistake. Here are some examples of mistakes, followed by the correct forms.

MISTAKE
הגדול הכלב הוא פיטבול.

CORRECTION
הכלב הגדול הוא פיטבול.
Ha-kelev ha-gadol hu pitbul.
The big dog is a pit bull.”

MISTAKE
זה טוב חבר שלי מאוסטרליה.

CORRECTION
זה חבר טוב שלי מאוסטרליה.
Zeh khaver tov sheli me-Ostraliyah.
“This is my good friend from Australia.”

MISTAKE
בא לך קר קפה?

CORRECTION
בא לך קפה קר?
Ba lakh kafeh kar?
“Would you like an iced coffee?”

2- Possessive adjectives

In Hebrew, the correct syntax for expressing possessives is for the noun to precede the possessive adjective. While this form does exist in English—think of “child of mine”—it’s definitely not the usual order we use, which is the other way around (think “my child”). Therefore, it’s worth practicing this one as well. Let’s see some examples.

MISTAKE
הנה, זה שלי האוטו.

CORRECTION
הנה, זה האוטו שלי.
Hineh, zeh ha-oto sheli.
“Here is my car.”

MISTAKE
השלנו מורה יודע הכל על הכל.

CORRECTION
המורה שלנו יודע הכל על הכל.
Ha-moreh shelanu yode’a ha-kol ‘al ha-kol.
Our teacher knows everything about everything.”

MISTAKE
השלך מפתחות תלויות ליד הכניסה.

CORRECTION
המפתחות שלך תלויות ליד הכניסה.
Ha-maftekhot shelakh tluyot leyad ha-knisah.
Your keys are hanging by the entrance.”

4. Grammar Mistakes

Woman with Thought Bubbles

Let’s take a look at a couple of common grammar mistakes. These mistakes are, in fact, not limited to Hebrew students alone. These common mistakes in Hebrew are even made among native Hebrew-speakers, so why not master them and show off to your Israeli friends? After all, there’s nothing more authentically Israeli than showing someone you know more than he or she does!

1- נִרְאֶה (nir’eh) – “seems” / “looks” vs. נִרְאָה (nir’ah) – “seemed” / “looked”

This one is a rather straightforward distinction between the past form and present form of the same verb. נִרְאֶה (nir’eh) is the present form of the verb להיראות (leheyra’ot), meaning “to seem” or “to look,” whereas נִרְאָה is the past tense. Israelis, as well as students, are wont to use the past form where they should use the present one. Let’s see some examples.

MISTAKE
בא לי לאכול כבר! האוכל נִרְאָה ממש טעים.

CORRECTION
בא לי לאכול כבר! האוכל נִרְאֶה ממש טעים.
Ba li le’ekhol kvar! Ha-okhel nir’eh mamash ta’im.
“I feel like eating already! The food looks truly delicious.”

MISTAKE
הסרט הזה נִרְאָה לי משעמם.

CORRECTION
הסרט הזה נִרְאֶה לי משעמם.
Ha-seret ha-zeh nir’eh li mesha’amem.
“That movie looks boring to me.”

2- Using the wrong gender adjective/number/verb/etc. for irregular nouns

Another common grammar issue arises with irregular nouns, when the plural form doesn’t correspond to the grammatical gender of the singular noun. For example, though the word חלון (khalon), meaning “window,” is masculine, it uses the feminine suffix -ות (-ot) instead of the masculine suffix -ים (-im) to form the plural. Thus, it’s easy to get confused and use a feminine adjective if you’re referring to various windows. Watch out for this! Here are some examples, along with the correct forms:

MISTAKE
מי יושב מאחורי החלונות הגבוהות?

CORRECTION
מי יושב מאחורי החלונות הגבוהים?
Mi yoshev me’akhorey ha-khalonot ha-gevohim?
“Who sits behind the high windows?”

MISTAKE
קנינו שלוש ארונות ספרים חדשות לסלון.

CORRECTION
קנינו שלושה ארונות ספרים חדשים לסלון.
Kaninu shloshah aronot sfarim khadashim la-salon.
“We bought three new bookcases for the living room.”

MISTAKE
הנשים האלה שרים יפה מאוד.

CORRECTION
הנשים האלה שרות יפה מאוד.
Ha-nashim ha-eleh sharot yafeh me’od.
“Those women sing very nicely.”

5. The Biggest Mistake of All

Man Wearing Dunce Cap

In this teacher’s opinion, the biggest mistake any of us can make when trying to speak a new language is to rely on word-for-word translation. The perils in doing so can be great as, very often, one language simply will not line up with the other one on a word-by-word basis. There’s not really any one surefire way to avoid these kinds of mistakes in Hebrew, apart from adopting an attitude of trying to really think in Hebrew. In addition, be wary of dictionaries, and make sure you’ve found the right definition of the word you wanted to translate.

These tips will help you focus less on how the language you’re learning differs from your native tongue, and allow you to absorb the way it works in a more natural, organic way. Just remember that you’ll make mistakes, and the best thing to do when that happens is laugh at yourself and learn from your errors. And, as always, there’s no substitute for practice.

Now, take a look at some of the ways word-to-word translation can fail us. Check the following sentences and see if you can find the mistake (keeping in mind that these are the results of too literal a translation from Hebrew to English). Then, check your guess using the key provided below.

  1. סליחה על האיחור. התגעגעתי לאוטובוס.
    Slikha ‘al ha-ikhur. Hitga’aga’ti la-otobus.
  1. לא אוכל לבוא לשיעור. אני מרגיש מתחת למזג האוויר.
    Lo ukhal lavo la-shi’ur. Ani margish mitakhat le-mezeg ha-avir.
  1. מאז שאני בן 13, אני מנגן בחביות.
    Me-az she-ani ben shlosh-’esreh, ani menagen be-khaviyot.
  1. אם אין לך חבר, אני מזמין אותך לצאת החוצה מתישהו.
    Im eyn lakh khaver, ani mazmin otakh latzet ha-khutzah matayshehu.
  1. אין לי רמז מה קורה כאן.
    Eyn li remez mah koreh kan.

CORRECTIONS WITH EXPLANATIONS

  1. סליחה על האיחור. פספסתי את האוטובוס.
    Slikha ‘al ha-ikhur. Fisfasti et ha-otobus.
    “Sorry I’m late. I missed the bus.”
    The word התגעגעתי (hitga’aga’ti) means “I missed” in the sense of longing for something that is absent, rather than in the sense of not making it to something on time.
  1. לא אוכל לבוא לשיעור. אני מרגיש חולה.
    Lo ukhal lavo la-shi’ur. Ani margish kholeh.
    “I won’t be able to make it to class. I am feeling sick.”
    The idiomatic phrase “under the weather” has no direct equivalent in Hebrew, so we should just say that we’re sick or unwell.
  1. מאז שאני בן 13, אני מנגן בתופים.
    Me-az she-ani ben shlosh-’esreh, ani menagen be-tupim.
    “I’ve been playing drums since I was thirteen.”
    The word we want here is תופים (tupim), meaning “drums” as in the musical instrument, rather than חביות (khaviyot), drums as in the large cylindrical recipients like those used for storing oil.
  1. אם אין לך חבר, אני מזמין אותך לצאת מתישהו.
    Im eyn lakh khaver, ani mazmin otakh latzet matayshehu.
    “If you don’t have a friend, I’d like to ask you out sometime.”
    In this case, we probably want to ask a girl out on a date, or לצאת (latzet), and not to go outdoors, or לצאת החוצה (latzet ha-khutzah). This is a good example of a too-literal translation.
  1. אין לי מושג מה קורה כאן.
    Eyn li musag mah koreh kan.
    “I have no idea what’s going on here.”
    The correct word here is מושג (musag), meaning “notion.” Using the word רמז (remez), or “clue,” sounds entirely non-idiomatic in Hebrew, even though this is the word used in the English phrase.

6. Let HebrewPod101 Help You Learn Correct Hebrew and Avoid Mistakes

Eraser Erasing Page

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s lesson on the top ten Hebrew mistakes. As always, we welcome you to get in touch with us and let us know if there’s anything we covered that you’re unsure of, or anything we didn’t cover that you would like us to add information on.

Language-learning is not an easy undertaking, but with the right folks to guide you, it can not only be painless but even fun. Our team of language experts at HebrewPod101.com take pride in offering you enjoyable, engaging, and useful learning materials so you can learn Hebrew at your own pace and according to your own personal needs. 

Until next time, Shalom!

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The Top 10 Most Common Hebrew Questions & How to Answer Them

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Voltaire once famously said: “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” 

In Jewish tradition, in particular, questions are of immense importance. 

For instance, the Passover Seder invites the children to participate by asking Four Questions in Hebrew about the traditions particular to that meal. There’s another point in the Seder where we talk about the four types of children. The first three are the Good, the Wicked, and the Simpleton; each is characterized by the nature and content of the questions he asks about Passover. The final child is called He Who Does Not Know to Ask Questions, and we’re encouraged to ask the questions for him. 

So, you can see that questions are powerful and important in Judaism.

On a more basic level, questions are a frequent part of interpersonal communication, so they should certainly be considered an essential element in any language-learning endeavor. Whether introducing yourself or asking for the price of an item you’re interested in purchasing, it’s crucial to know not only how to ask a variety of questions, but also to be familiar with the most common answers to them. 

Luckily, unlike in English, the form of Hebrew questions generally follows the same form as statements, without any tricky grammar points.

In today’s lesson, we’re going to examine the top ten most common questions you might hear or want to ask of others. We’ll look at the form of each question, possible variations, and, as mentioned, the most common answers. As always, we need to keep in mind the necessary grammatical adjustments depending on who we’re addressing in terms of gender, as well as our own gender. 

Let’s have a look now at our list of common Hebrew questions and answers.

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  1. What’s your name?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. Do you speak ___?
  4. How are you?
  5. What do you do?
  6. Do you have ___?
  7. Do you like ___?
  8. What are you doing?
  9. Is everything okay?
  10. How much does _____ cost?
  11. HebrewPod101 is Here to Clear Up All Your Questions About Hebrew

1: What’s your name?

First Encounter

Perhaps the most common questions are those we use to ask for someone’s name. In Hebrew, there are actually a number of ways we can ask this. Note the difference between asking this question to a male versus a female.

  • מה שִׁמְךָ/שְׁמֵךְ?
    Mah shimkha/sh’mekh?
    “What’s your name?”
  • שמי דניאל.
    Shmi Daniel.
    “My name is Daniel.”
  • שמי דניאלה.
    Shmi Daniela.
    “My name is Daniela.”

We can also ask the same question using the longer possessive form, as follows. Both forms of this Hebrew question are common and completely acceptable, with no difference in formality between them.

  • מה השם שֶׁלְּךָ/שֶׁלָּךְ?
    Mah ha-shem shelkha/shelakh?
    “What’s your name?”
  • השם שלי (הוא) מיכאל.
    Ha-shem sheli (hu) Mikha’el.
    “My name’s Michael.”
  • השם שלי (הוא) מיכל.
    Ha-shem sheli (hu) Michal.
    “My name’s Michal.”

*Note that the word הוא (hu) is optional here.

Here’s another common way to formulate this question, along with example answers:

  • איך קוראים לְךָ/לָךְ?
    Eykh kor’im lekha/lakh?
    “What’s your name?” [Literally: “What are you called?”]
  • קוראים לי שלומי.
    Kor’im li Shlomi.
    “My name’s Shlomi.”
  • קוראים לי יפעת.
    Kor’im li Yif’at.
    “My name’s Yifat.”

2: Where are you from?

World Map with Pins

Another common question, often used as a follow-up to asking someone’s name, is asking where they’re from. This is a pretty straightforward question in Hebrew, though we do have to choose the right pronoun depending on the gender of the person we’re asking.

  • מאיפה אתה/את?
    Me-eyfoh atah/at?
    “Where are you from?”
  • אני מקנדה.
    Ani mi-Kanadah.
    “I’m from Canada.”
  • אני מפריז.
    Ani mi-Pariz.
    “I’m from Paris.”
  • אני מווירג’יניה שבארה”ב.
    Ani mi-Virjinyah she-be-Artzot ha-Brit.
    “I’m from Virginia, USA.”

3: Do you speak ___?

Introducing Yourself

This can be a very important question in Hebrew, particularly if you don’t know a word or phrase. Knowing if your Hebrew interlocutor speaks your language can be a lifesaver. Alternatively, native Hebrew-speakers may wish to ask a foreigner if he or she speaks Hebrew. Again, this is a very simple structure, as follows:

  • האם) אתה/את מדבר/מדברת אנגלית)?
    (Ha’im) atah/at medaber/medaberet Anglit?
    “Do you speak English?”
  • האם) אתה/את מדבר/מדברת צרפתית)?
    (Ha’im) atah/at medaber/medaberet Tzarfatit?
    “Do you speak French?”
  • האם) אתה/את מדבר/מדברת ספרדית)?
    (Ha’im) atah/at medaber/medaberet Sfaradit?
    “Do you speak Spanish?”
  • האם) אתה/את מדבר/מדברת עברית)?
    (Ha’im) atah/at medaber/medaberet Ivrit?
    “Do you speak Hebrew?”

*Note that the Hebrew question word האם (ha’im) is entirely optional.

Following are a few examples of how we might answer these questions.

  • כן, אני מדבר אנגלית שוטפת.
    Ken, ani medaber Anglit shotefet.
    “Yes, I speak fluent English.”
  • בטח, הצרפתית שלי מצויינת.
    Betakh, ha-Tzarfatit sheli metzuyenet.
    “Sure, my French is great.”
  • אני יודעת קצת ספרדית.
    Ani yoda’at ktzat Sfaradit.
    “I know a bit of Spanish.”
  • לא, אני לא יודעת עברית.
    Lo, ani lo yoda’at Ivrit.
    “No, I don’t know Hebrew.”

4: How are you?

Two People Talking

As anyone with the slightest of manners knows, it’s customary to ask someone how he or she is as a matter of courtesy. In fact, this type of language has a word—phatic communication—which is basically a fancy way of saying “small talk.” Just as in English, in Hebrew, it’s customary to ask about someone’s well-being when first greeting them. Following are the most common Hebrew questions to do so, and the kinds of answers you can expect.

  • מה שְׁלוֹמְךָ/שְׁלוֹמֵךְ?
    Mah shlomkha/shlomekh?
    “How are you?”

Obviously, we can answer in any number of ways, depending on our mood. Here are some of the more typical forms to answer this question.

  • שלומי טוב.
    Shlomi tov.
    “I’m good.”
  • אני בסדר.
    Ani be-seder.
    “I’m alright.”
  • לא רע.
    Lo ra’.
    “Not bad.”
  • הכל דבש.
    Ha-kol dvash.
    “Everything is great.” [Literally: “Everything is honey.”]

Here are some other common ways to ask someone how he or she is.

  • איך אתה/את?
    Eykh ata/at?
    “How are you?”
  • איך אתה/את מרגיש/מרגישה?
    Eykh ata/at margish/margishah?
    “How do you feel?”

5: What do you do?

Kids Dressed Up as Professionals

Another frequent question one may wish to ask is what someone does for a living. Note that there are a number of ways to ask this in Hebrew. Let’s have a look at the most common ones.

  • מה אתה/את עוֹשֶׂה/עוֹשָׂה בחיים?
    Mah atah/at oseh/osah ba-khayim?
    “What do you do in life?”
  • במה אתה/את עוסק/עוסקת?
    Be-mah atah/at osek/oseket?
    “What do you do for a living?”
  • במה אתה/את עובד/עובדת?
    Be-mah atah/at oved/ovedet?
    “What do you work in?”

There are a variety of possible answers, as well:

  • אני עובד במפעל.
    Ani oved be-mif’al.
    “I work in a factory.”
  • אני שוטרת.
    Ani shoteret.
    “I am a police officer.”
  • אני לומד באוניברסיטה.
    Ani lomed ba-universitah.
    “I study at university.”

6: Do you have ___?

Lady with Dog

Over the course of many different conversations, you may wish to ask if someone has someone or something. For instance, we may wish to ask if someone has a car, a pet, a hobby, children, and so on. As in English, the pattern for this is constant. 

  • יש לְךָ/לָךְ 10 שקלים?
    Yesh lekha/lakh ‘asarah shekalim?
    “Do you have ten shekels?”
  • יש לְךָ/לָךְ ילדים?
    Yesh lekha/lakh yeladim?
    “Do you have children?”
  • יש לְךָ/לָךְ אוטו?
    Yesh lekha/lakh oto?
    “Do you have a car?”

To answer these questions, we can just affirm or negate with “yes” or “no” (כן [ken] or לא [lo], respectively), or we can elaborate. Here are a couple of examples.

  • לא, אין עליי שקל.
    Lo, eyn alay shekel.
    “No, I don’t even have one shekel.”
  • כן, יש לי שני בנים ובת אחת.
    Ken, yesh li shney banim u-bat akhat.
    “Yes, I have two boys and a girl.”

7: Do you like ___?

Hands Making Heart Sign

It’s certainly quite common to ask someone whether he or she likes something or someone. Note that in Hebrew, there’s no separate word for “like” versus “love.” Rather, the context and intonation generally determine the intensity. Here are some examples of how to ask if someone likes something or someone.

  • אתה/את אוהב/אוהבת אוכל סיני?
    Atah/At ohev/ohevet okhel sini?
    “Do you like Chinese food?”
  • אתה/את אוהב/אוהבת לרכוב על אופניים?
    Atah/At ohev/ohevet lirkov ‘al ofanayim?
    “Do you like riding a bicycle?”
  • אתה/את אוהב/אוהבת את האנשים שאתה/שאת עובד/עובדת איתם?
    Atah/At ohev/ohevet et ha-anashim she-atah/she-at oved/ovedet itam?
    “Do you like the people you work with?”

Here are some possible answers, more elaborate than just a simple “yes” or “no.”

  • אני ממש אוהב אוכל סיני.
    Ani mamash ohev okhel sini.
    “I really like Chinese food.”
  • אני בכלל לא אוהבת לרכוב על אופניים.
    Ani bikhlal lo ohevet lirkov ‘al ofanayim.
    “I don’t like riding a bicycle at all.”
  • אני מאוד אוהבת את האנשים שאני עובדת איתם.
    Ani me’od ohevet et ha-anashim she-ani ovedet itam.
    “I like the people I work with very much.”

8: What are you doing?

Lady Texting

This is another simple question, but one that can come in handy in all manner of situations. This can be a casual question to find out what someone is up to in a given moment, or even a question of annoyance or anger if we don’t like what another person is doing. Obviously, the way one asks this question will make one’s intention clear, just as in English.

  • מה אתה/את עוֹשֶׂה/עוֹשָׂה?
    Mah atah/at oseh/osah?
    “What are you doing?”

We can also tag on a time indicator. For instance:

  • מה אתה/את עוֹשֶׂה/עוֹשָׂה כרגע?
    Mah atah/at ‘oseh/’osah karega’?
    “What are you doing right now?”

Answers to this question can vary greatly, depending on what the other person is doing. 

  • אני נוסע לתל אביב עם חברים.
    Ani nose’a le-Tel Aviv ‘im khaverim.
    “I’m headed to Tel Aviv with friends.”
  • אני מכינה לעצמי ארוחת ערב.
    Ani mekhinah le-’atzmi arukhat ‘erev.
    “I’m making myself some dinner.”
  • אני לומדת למבחן מחר.
    Ani lomedet la-mivkhan makhar.
    “I’m studying for tomorrow’s exam.”
  • אני לא עושה כלום.
    Ani lo ‘oseh klum.
    “I’m not doing anything.”

9: Is everything okay?

Lady Giving Ttwo Thumbs Up

Sometimes, you may wish to see if everything is alright with someone. For example, to check that something we’ve done or said is alright with them, or to check on someone who seems upset, in distress, or in need of help. Let’s look at some of the most common ways to ask this sort of question.

  • הכל בסדר?
    Ha-kol be-seder?
    “Is everything okay?”
  • האם) אתה/את בסדר)?
    (Ha’im) atah/at be-seder?
    “Are you okay?”
  • קרה משהו?
    Karah mashehu?
    “Did something happen?”
  • אתה/את צריך/צריכה עזרה?
    Atah/at tzarikh/tzrikhah ‘ezrah?
    “Are you in need of assistance?”

Here, too, answers can run the gamut. But to answer that everything’s fine, one would answer as follows:

  • הכל בסדר.
    Ha-kol be-seder.
    “Everything is fine.”

10: How much does _____ cost?

Price Tag in Supermarket

This is the type of question and answer in Hebrew you’ll want to become familiar with right away. In Israel, in particular, prices aren’t always printed, even in restaurants. Therefore, you’re more than likely to find yourself wanting to ask the price of something that interests you. By doing so in English, you run the risk of invoking the “foreigner tax,” by way of which prices are inflated with the assumption that foreigners won’t know how much a fair price for a given item or service might be.

Therefore, it’s wise to practice these questions so you can ask in Hebrew without breaking a sweat. Note that you’ll need to change the verb לעלות (la’alot), meaning “to cost,” depending on the grammatical gender of the item or service in question.

  • כמה עוֹלֶה המעיל הזה?
    Kamah ‘oleh ha-me’il ha-zeh?
    “How much does this jacket cost?”
  • כמה עוֹלָה השמלה הזאת?
    Kamah ‘olah ha-simlah ha-zot?
    “How much does this skirt cost?”
  • כמה עולה כרטיס הלוך ושוב לעפולה?
    Kamah oleh kartis halokh va-shov le-’Afulah?
    “How much is a roundtrip ticket to Afulah?”
  • כמה זה יעלה לי עם ביטוח?
    Kamah ze ya’aleh li ‘im bitu’akh?
    “How much will that cost me with insurance?”

Obviously, the answer to any question will be given using numbers and often the currency being used, which is almost always New Israeli Shekels, but sometimes also dollars or euros. Here are some examples of the different possible forms for expressing price in Hebrew:

  • השמלה עוֹלָה 20 שקל.
    Ha-simlah ‘olah ‘esrim Shekalim.
    “The dress costs twenty shekels.”
  • מחיר כרטיס הלוך ושוב הוא 13.50.
    Mekhir kartis halokh va-shov hu shlosh-’esreh khamishim.
    “The price of a roundtrip ticket is 13.50.”
  • עם ביטוח זה ייצא לך 327 דולר.
    ‘Im bitu’akh ze yeytzeh lekha shlosh-me’ot ‘esrim-ve-sheva’ dolar.
    “With insurance, it will come to $327.”

11: HebrewPod101 is Here to Clear Up All Your Questions About Hebrew

We hope you found today’s lesson useful. We can surely all appreciate the huge importance of being able to ask and answer basic questions in any language. Luckily, as mentioned, there’s no complex grammar to learn related to formulating questions. So go ahead and practice these top ten questions and answers in Hebrew so you’re fully equipped to deal with any basic situation that may arise.

Any questions you would like to ask in Hebrew that we left out? What about answers? We’re always happy to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and let us know how we can help you! Shalom!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew

The Top 10 Hebrew Sentence Patterns

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One of the most helpful things to keep in mind when acquiring an additional language is the importance of picking up patterns. Our brains, in a way, are very much like computers. They work much more efficiently if we can program them with patterns that have versatile applications, instead of trying to memorize every single instance of a given task. 

In the case of learning Hebrew, picking up simple Hebrew sentence patterns is essential. This is because the task at hand is that of either producing or comprehending information (very often both), noting and correctly applying the ways in which it’s organized according to the patterns used in that language.

Hebrew sentence patterns, much like the בניינים (binyanim), or verb conjugation patterns, are certainly among the most useful building blocks you can acquire to help you as you work toward dominating the language. By learning how words are organized and combined to express different kinds of information, you’ll be able to plug the vocabulary you pick up into meaningful sentences and questions. In addition, you’ll be able to understand the same from Hebrew speakers in real life, or from texts, video, and audio.

In today’s lesson, we’re going to show you the top ten Hebrew sentence patterns most commonly used in everyday language. To keep it simple, we’ll focus on present tense only. If you master these easy Hebrew sentence patterns, you’ll quickly find yourself with a new given confidence in both speaking and understanding Hebrew. 

Let’s jump right in!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Linking Two Nouns
  2. Using Adjectives to Describe Nouns
  3. Expressing Wants
  4. Expressing Needs
  5. Expressing Likes/Dislikes
  6. Making Polite Requests
  7. Asking Whether Something is Possible or Permitted
  8. Asking for Basic Information
  9. Asking the Time
  10. Asking for Location or Directions
  11. Turn Your Hebrew Lessons into a Pattern with HebrewPod101

1. Linking Two Nouns

Sentence Patterns

Perhaps the most common sentence is that for linking two nouns (remember: people, places, and things). 

Think of sentence patterns in English such as “I am Jon,” or “Jon is my neighbor.” These sentences are almost like a mathematical equation, where the verb “to be” is roughly equivalent to an “equal” sign (=).

Of course, this pattern is just as frequently used in Hebrew. However, there is an interesting difference. In Hebrew, we don’t use the verb להיות (lehiyot), or “to be,” in present tense. That being so, you merely need to say the two nouns you want to link, one after the other. Here are a few examples:

  • אני דניאלה.
    Ani Daniela.
    “I am Daniela.”
  • אני תלמיד.
    Ani talmid.
    “I [am] a student.”

*Note that Hebrew does not use indefinite articles, so, for instance, “a student” is just “student.”

In the case of the third person, there’s a variation worth noting in this pattern, in which we insert a personal pronoun between the two nouns we’re linking. This pattern is an acceptable alternative to that shown above, and doesn’t change the meaning at all. Using the last of the above Hebrew sentence examples, we can see the slight change:

  • הכלב שלי הוא לברדור.
    Ha-kelev sheli hu Labrador.
    “My dog [is] a labrador.”

A similar pattern is where we link two nouns by way of a linking verb and what is called a predicative adjective. Think of these as a “roughly equivalent to” sign (≈). In this case, we’ll indeed use that verb in Hebrew. Here are a couple of examples:

  • אתה נשמע כמו חייל.
    Ata nishma kemo khayal.
    “You sound like a soldier.”
  • הכלב ההוא דומה לכלב שלי.
    Ha-kelev ha-hu domeh la-kelev sheli.
    “That dog looks like mine.”
  • הסלט נראה טעים!
    Ha-salat nireh ta’im.
    “The salad looks tasty.”

2. Using Adjectives to Describe Nouns

Boy Describing Something

Another very common sentence pattern in Hebrew is that which uses predicative adjectives to describe nouns with the verb “to be” linking the noun and the adjective. In this case, we’re not saying that one thing equals another; rather, we’re linking a certain attribute to it. Again, we’ll find that in Hebrew, unlike in English, the verb “to be” is absent in this pattern. Here are some examples:

  • אתה גבוה מאוד.
    Atah gavoha meod.
    “You [are] really tall.”
  • העוגה הזאת מתוקה.
    Ha-ugah ha-zot metukah.
    “This cake [is] sweet.”
  • השירים האלה נעימים.
    Ha-shirim ha-eleh ne’imim.
    “These songs [are] pleasant.”
  • הקפה טרי מאוד.
    Ha-kafeh tari me’od.
    “The coffee [is] very fresh.”

3. Expressing Wants

Boy Pointing to Something He Wants

Another basic Hebrew sentence structure is that for expressing wants. In fact, there are two subcategories to look at here, specifically dealing with whether we want nouns or verbs. This is simply the difference between wanting a person, place, thing, or idea versus wanting to do, to have, etc. 

In both cases, Hebrew uses the same main verb, לִרְצוֹת (lirtzot), meaning “to want.” Don’t confuse this with לְרַצּוֹת (leratzot), which means “to please” or “to satisfy.” Let’s have a look at both patterns, along with some helpful examples:

A. Want + Noun

  • אני רוצה בירה.
    Ani rotzeh birah.
    “I want a beer.”
  • אמא רוצה תה צמחים.
    Ima rotzah teh tzmakhim.
    “Mom wants an herbal tea.”

B. Want + Verb

  • אנחנו רוצים לראות סרט.
    Anakhnu rotzim lir’ot seret.
    “We want to see a movie.”
  • שלומי רוצה להזמין אותך לדייט.
    Shlomi rotzeh lehazmin otakh le-deyt.
    “Shlomi wants to ask you on a date.”

We can make these negative by simply inserting the word לא (lo) in front of the verb לרצות (lirtzot):

  • אני לא רוצה בירה.
    Ani lo rotzeh birah.
    “I don’t want a beer.”
  • אנחנו לא רוצים לראות סרט.
    Anakhnu lo rotzim lir’ot seret.
    “We don’t want to see a movie.”

4. Expressing Needs

Emergency Room

We all know that sometimes we don’t just want something, we need it. This is certainly an essential pattern to learn for whenever you need to express an urgent necessity, or even an emergency. Again, we’ll look at two subcategories here, namely those for needing nouns and needing verbs. Once more, the verb is going to be the same in both cases: להצטרך (lehitztarekh), meaning “to need” or “to have to.” Here are some examples of both patterns:

A. Need + Noun

  • רונית צריכה את העזרה שלך.
    Ronit tzrikhah et ha-ezrah shelkha.
    “Ronit needs your help.”
  • אני צריך אוטו חדש.
    Ani tzarikh oto khadash.
    “I need a new car.”

B. Need + Verb

  • הממשלה צריכה לעזור לנזקקים.
    Ha-memshalah tzrikhah la’azor la-nizkakim.
    “The government has to help the impoverished.”
  • אני צריך לאכול עכשיו.
    Ani tzarikh le’ekhol akhshav.
    “I need to eat now.”

Again, making a negative statement is as simple as inserting the word לא (lo) before the verb להצטרך (lahitztarekh):

  • רונית לא צריכה את העזרה שלך.
    Ronit lo tzrikhah et ha-ezrah shelkha.
    “Ronit doesn’t need your help.”
  • אני לא צריך לאכול עכשיו.
    Ani lo tzarikh le’ekhol akhshav.
    “I don’t need to eat now.”

5. Expressing Likes/Dislikes

Sentence Components

Another pattern you’re more than likely to find yourself wanting to use in Hebrew is that for expressing your likes and dislikes. Again, we have two subcategories: like/love + noun and like/love + verb.

One interesting, and perhaps rather strange, aspect of the Hebrew language is that it doesn’t use different verbs to distinguish between liking something/someone and loving it or him/her. So just keep that in mind when you use this pattern. Generally, the context and/or the tone of voice you employ will make the degree of your enthusiasm clear. However, when you use the verb in question, לאהוב (le’ehov), meaning “to like” or “to love,” with a person as the object, it almost always means “to love.” So make sure you mean it if you’re going to say it!

A. Like/Love + Noun

  • אני אוהבת שוקולד.
    Ani ohevet shokolad.
    “I like/love chocolate.”
  • הילדים שלי אוהבים סרטי דיסני.
    Ha-yeladim sheli ohavim sirtey Disni.
    “My kids like/love Disney movies.”

B. Like/Love + Verb

  • חברה שלי אוהבת לאפות לחם.
    Khaverah sheli ohevet le’efot lekhem.
    “My girlfriend likes/loves to bake bread.”
  • דני אוהב לשחק שחמט.
    Dani ohev lesakhek shakhmat.
    “Danny likes/loves to play chess.”

And you guessed it! To make these statements negative, all we need to do is add the word לא (lo) before the verb לאהוב (le’ehov). Note that, as in English, we don’t usually say that we don’t love, but rather that we don’t like either a noun or a verb:

  • אני לא אוהבת שוקולד.
    Ani lo ohevet shokolad.
    “I don’t like chocolate.”
  • דני לא אוהב לשחק שחמט.
    Dani lo ohev lesakhek shakhmat.
    “Danny doesn’t like to play chess.”

6. Making Polite Requests

Someone Taking Couple's Picture on Phone

Yet another common pattern that can be immensely helpful is that for making polite requests. This is particularly helpful when we’re asking something of a person we don’t know well, such as asking a stranger for directions or the time. 

Let’s look at two Hebrew language sentence structure possibilities here: one using an imperative with the word בבקשה (be-vakashah) or “please” attached to it, and the other an indirect question.

A. Imperative + בבקשה (be-vakashah)

  • אמור לי בבקשה מהו שמך.
    Emor li be-vakashah mahu shimkha.
    “Please tell me what your name is.”
  • העבר לי בבקשה את המלח.
    Ha’aver li be-vakasha et ha-melakh.
    “Please pass me the salt.”

* An important note here is that many, if not most, speakers of modern Hebrew use the future form instead of the imperative. While this isn’t technically correct from a grammatical standpoint, it’s so prevalent that one might even say it’s more natural-sounding than the correct form. Here’s what the above examples would look like using this variation:

  • תאמר לי בבקשה מהו שמך.
    Tomar li be-vakashah mahu shimkha.
    “Please tell me your name.” (Literally: “Please, you will tell me your name.”)
  • תעביר לי בבקשה את המלח.
    Ta’avir li be-vakasha et ha-melakh.
    “Please pass me the salt.” (Literally: “Please, you will pass me the salt.”)

As in English, we can also shift the position of the word בבקשה (be-vakashah) to the end of the sentence, without changing the meaning in any way:

  • אמור לי מהו שמך בבקשה.
    Emor li mahu shimkha be-vakashah.
    “Tell me your name, please.”
  • העבר לי את המלח בבקשה.
    Ha’aver li et ha-melakh be-vakasha.
    “Pass me the salt, please.”

B. Indirect Question Using the Future Tense

  • האם תוכל לומר לי מה השעה?
    Ha’im tukhal lomar li mah ha-sha’ah?
    “Could you tell me the time?”
  • האם תוכלי לעזור לי עם שיעורי המתמטיקה?
    Ha’im tukhli la’azor li im shi’urey ha-matematikah?
    “Could you help me with the math homework?”

There are a couple of possible variations here. For one thing, the word האם (ha’im), roughly equivalent to the modal “could” or “would” in English, is optional. Additionally, for extra politeness, we can add in the word בבקשה (be-vakashah) to the same pattern, generally at the very end of the question:

  • תוכל לומר לי מה השעה, בבקשה?
    Tukhal lomar li mah ha-sha’ah, be-vakashah?
    “Could you tell me the time, please?”
  • תוכלי לעזור לי עם שיעורי  הבית במתמטיקה, בבקשה?
    Tukhli la’azor li im shi’urey ha-bayit be-matematikah, be-vakashah?
    “Could you help me with the math homework, please?”

7. Asking Whether Something is Possible or Permitted

No Smoking Sign

Needing to ask permission is yet another situation that’s bound to come up in daily language usage. Let’s take a look at two types of Hebrew phrases for doing this. The first pattern, using אפשר (efshar), is more general, and can be used for asking about whether something is possible (though in certain contexts, it’s also used to ask about permissibility). The second, using מותר (mutar), is used specifically to ask if something is permitted.

A. Asking Whether Something is Possible

We can use the word אפשר (efshar) before a noun to make a basic request, or before a longer question for more complex requests. This form is rather flexible, and can even be used as an alternative way of making a polite request. This is similar to saying “Would it be possible…” in English.

  • אפשר אש?
    Efshar esh?
    “Might I have a light?” (Literally: “Is a light possible?”)
  • אפשר לקבל מים בבקשה?
    Efshar lekabel mayim be-vakashah?
    “Could I have some water, please?”
  • אפשר פיצה גדולה עם הכל?
    Efshar pitzah gedolah im hakol?
    “Could I have a large pizza to go?”
  • אפשר להזמין את הפריט במשלוח מהיר?
    Efshar le-hazmin et ha-parit be-mishlo’akh mahir?
    “Is it possible to order the item with express shipping?”
  • אפשר לומר לך משהו בארבע עיניים?
    Efshar lomar lakh mashehu be-arba eynayim?
    “Could I tell you something in private?” (Literally: “Could I tell you something with four eyes?”)

B. Asking Whether Something is Permitted

  • מותר לצלם כאן?
    Mutar letzalem kan?
    “Are pictures allowed here?” (Literally: “Is it permissible to take pictures here?”)
  • מותר להשתמש במילון בזמן המבחן?
    Mutar lehishtamesh be-milon bi-zman ha-mivkhan?
    “Are we allowed to use a dictionary during the exam?” (Literally: “Is it permissible to use a dictionary during the exam?”)
  • מותר לנסוע באוטו בשבת אם אני לא נוהג?
    Mutar linso’a’ be-oto be-Shabat im ani lo noheg?
    “Is it permissible to travel by car on Shabbat if I am not driving?”

8. Asking for Basic Information

Information Desk

Being able to ask for information is, of course, always useful—and in many cases, vital. Luckily, this is another very simple Hebrew sentence structure that’s easy enough to internalize so that you can use it when you need to. 

All we need here is to know our interrogative and personal pronouns in Hebrew to form quick and simple questions for asking basic information. Note, again, the absence of the verb “to be” in these questions. Let’s see some examples:

  • מה זה הדבר הזה?
    Ma zeh ha-davar ha-zeh?
    “What [is] that thing?”
  • מה זה להתבונן?
    Mah zeh lehitbonen?
    “What [is] ‘contemplating’?” / “What does ‘to contemplate’ mean?”
  • מי זה הבחור ההוא?
    Mi zeh ha-bakhur ha-hu?
    “Who [is] that guy?”
  • מי זאת ריהאנה?
    Mi zot Rihana?
    “Who [is] Rihanna?”

Note that when referring to a single person by a description rather than a proper name, we can use either the pronoun זה/זאת (zeh) or הוא/היא (hu/hi), depending on gender. That said, we generally use the second option for males, and not very often for females. For example:

  • מיהו הבחור ההוא?
    Mihu ha-bakhur ha-hu?
    “Who [is] that guy?”

Additionally, when asking questions about people, we can omit the personal pronoun entirely without changing the meaning of our question. For instance:

  • מי הבחור ההוא?
    Mi ha-bakhur ha-hu?
    “Who [is] that guy?”

9. Asking the Time

Woman Checking Watch

It’s quite common to find ourselves asking the time, say, if our phone’s battery dies or if we’re visiting Israel and haven’t yet adjusted our clocks to the local time zone. Let’s look at a basic pattern for asking the time. In addition, we’ll see another pattern we can use to ask for the time that something is set to occur.

A. Asking the Time

  • מה השעה?
    Mah ha-sha’ah?
    “What time is it?”

B. Asking When Something is Going to Occur

  • מתי יום ההולדת שלך?
    Matay yom ha-huledet shelkha?
    “When is your birthday?”
  • מתי מתחיל הסרט?
    Matay matkhil ha-seret?
    “When does the movie start?”
  • מתי אנחנו חוזרים הביתה?
    Matay anakhnu khozrim habaytah.
    “When are we going home?”

10. Asking for Location or Directions

Road Sign with Arrow

The final pattern that we’ll look at today is useful for asking for information pertaining to the location of something (or directions, if that place or thing is far from our current location). Once again, the verb “to be” is omitted.

  • איפה השירותים?
    Eyfoh ha-sheyrutim?
    “Where [is] the bathroom?”
  • איפה התחנה המרכזית?
    Eyfoh ha-takhnah ha-merkazit?
    “Where [is] the central bus depot?”
  • איפה המפתחות שלי?
    Eyfoh ha-maftekhot sheli?
    “Where [are] my keys?”

An alternative pattern we can use here is created by simply adding the verb להימצא (lehimatze), meaning “found” or “located,” after the question word איפה (eyfoh), meaning “where.”

  • איפה נמצאים השירותים?
    Eyfoh nimtza’im ha-sheyrutim?
    “Where [is] the bathroom found?”
  • איפה נמצאת התחנה המרכזית?
    Eyfoh nimtzet ha-takhnah ha-merkazit?
    “Where [is] the central bus depot located?”

11. Turn Your Hebrew Lessons into a Pattern with HebrewPod101

Man Reading in Cafe

We really hope you’ve found these common Hebrew sentences and question patterns informative and useful. By simply picking up a few patterns, you can go ahead and plug in the vocabulary you want to create myriad sentences and questions of your own. To use them correctly, just focus on which elements are fixed, which need to be conjugated or gendered, and which are totally free to be replaced with the information you wish to insert.

So go ahead and start by practicing the examples given here, then use them to make your own examples for each of the ten categories we’ve seen. In no time, you’ll have added a huge amount of variety and flexibility to your Hebrew skills, thanks to these handy patterns.

Our goal, as always, is to make your learning experience fun, effective, and interesting. Feel free to get in touch with us and let us know if there are any other Hebrew sentence patterns you want to know, or if you need any further examples in the categories we covered. HebrewPod101 is here to help you develop your Hebrew and enjoy yourself as you progress! We’re always happy to hear from you along the way. 

Shalom!

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100 Essential Hebrew Adverbs

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If you’ve been working mostly on subject-verb constructs in your Hebrew practice, adverbs can open new dimensions of expressive possibilities. Learning how to use Hebrew adverbs is a great and easy way to expand your toolkit and start expressing and understanding more complex ideas. The best thing about them is that they’re also very simple to use.

In fact, adverbs in Hebrew have only one form, so you can, for a change, stop worrying about singular versus plural and male versus female. Moreover, they don’t get conjugated, so no matter what tense you’re using, you just need to remember one word and one form to use an adverb properly.

Adverbs are essential to any language, and certainly to Hebrew, though they sometimes don’t get the attention they deserve as compared to adjectives. But stand out by dominating this area of Hebrew language study, and you’ll soon impress your Israeli friends. Today’s lesson will cover the basics and arm you with the top 100 adverbs in Hebrew so you’ll have no shortage of ways to express yourself!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. What is an Adverb?
  2. Adverbs of Time
  3. Adverbs of Frequency
  4. Adverbs of Place
  5. Adverbs of Manner
  6. Adverbs of Degree
  7. Adverbials Using Adjectives
  8. Placement of Adverbs within the Sentence
  9. Conclusion: Practice Your Adverbs with HebrewPod101

1. What is an Adverb?

Top Verbs

So what is an adverb, anyway? You may notice that it contains the word “verb,” so it’s no surprise that an adverb modifies a verb. It can also modify adjectives and even other adverbs. Adverbs supply us with more information about a verb, usually about time, place, manner, intensity, or frequency. So, for example, the English adverbs “well” and “poorly” could describe the verb “do,” and thus inform us as to how a person performed a certain task.

Hebrew adverbs function the same way as English adverbs, more or less. In fact, they even share some of the same grammatical patterns. Unlike in English, which generally uses the “-ly” ending to identify adverbs, adverbs in Hebrew don’t have a fixed structure to help form or identify them. But the good news, as mentioned, is that they don’t need any conjugation and don’t change based on the gender of the noun(s) they relate to. Nor do they have singular or plural forms; they’ll always remain the same in any application.

Moreover, in Hebrew grammar, adverbs are often formed by modifying nouns with a simple formula, which you can apply in a large number of situations to create a ready-to-go adverb. 

So, rest easy. Adverbs are one of the more approachable elements of Hebrew. Let’s take a closer look!

2. Adverbs of Time

More Essential Verbs

As mentioned, adverbs are commonly used to indicate the time of an action or event. This is a very useful application for adverbs, as it can help us to describe when we did, will do, or tend to do something. Let’s have a look at the most common Hebrew adverbs to describe time.

  • היום
    Hayom
    “Today”

היום אני הולך לאכול פלאפל.
Hayom ani holekh le’ekhol falafel.
Today, I’m going to eat falafel.”

  • אתמול
    Etmol
    “Yesterday”

אתמול נסענו לתל אביב.
Etmol nasanu le-Tel Aviv.
Yesterday, we went to Tel Aviv.”

  • מחר
    Makhar
    “Tomorrow”

יש לי ראיון עבודה מחר.
Yesh li raayon avodah makhar.
“I have a job interview tomorrow.”

  • שלשום
    Shilshom
    “Two days ago”

שלשום אח שלי סיים את הלימודים באוניברסיטה.
Shilshom akh sheli siyem et ha-limudim ba-universitah.
Two days ago, my brother graduated from university.”

  • מחרתיים
    Mokhortayim
    “In two days from now”

מחרתיים אנו יוצאים סוף סוף לחופש!
Mokhortayim anu yotzim sof sof le-khofesh!
In two days from now, we’re finally going on vacation.”

  • כבר
    Kvar
    “Already”

כבר אכלתן?
Kvar akhalten?
“Did you eat already?”Od“Did you eat already?”

  • עוד
    Od
    “Still”

הוא עוד עייף מהטיסה.
Hu od ayef me-ha-tisah.
“He’s still tired from the flight.”

  • עוד לא
    Od lo
    “Still not”

עוד לא התעוררתי. תן לי קפה.
Od lo hit’orarti. Ten li kafeh.
“I’m still not awake. Give me some coffee.”

  • כמעט
    Kimat
    “Almost”

כמעט הגענו.
Kimat higanu.
“We’re almost there.”

  • מיד
    Miyad
    “Immediately”

נקה את החדר שלך מיד!
Nakeh et ha-kheder shelkha miyad!
“Clean your room immediately!”

  • רגע
    Rega
    “Momentarily”

בוא ננוח רגע מהעבודה.
Bo nanuakh regah mehaavodah.
“Let’s take a break from work momentarily.”

  • פתאום
    Pitom
    “Suddenly”

פתאום התחיל לרדת גשם.
Pitom hitkhil laredet geshem.
Suddenly, it started to rain.”

  • לפתע
    Lefeta
    “All of a sudden”

לפתע שמנו לב ששכנו לשלם את החשבון.
Lefeta samnu lev she-shakhakhnu leshalem et ha-kheshbon.
All of a sudden, we realized we had forgotten to pay the bill.”

  • בקרוב
    Bekarov
    “Soon”

הוא מסיים את הצבא ממש בקרוב.
Hu mesayem et ha-tzava mamash bekarov.
“He’s getting out of the army very soon.”

  • הפעם
    Hapaam
    “This time”

הפעם אני לא אשכח להביא מעיל.
Hapa’am ani lo eskakh lehavi me’il.
This time, I won’t forget to bring a coat.”

  • כרגע
    Karega
    “At the moment”

לא עכשיו. אני עסוק כרגע.
Lo akhshav. Ani asuk karega.
“Not now. I’m busy at the moment.”

  • לראשונה
    Larishonah
    “For the first time”

התאהבתי כשראיתי אותה לראשונה.
Hitahavti kesheraiti otah larishonah.
“I fell in love when I saw her for the first time.”

  • לאחרונה
    Laakharonah
    “Recently”

יצאתם לטייל לאחרונה?
Yatzatem letayel laakharonah?
“Have you gone on any trips recently?”

  • אחר כך
    Akhar kakh
    “Afterward”

נאכל, אחר כך נדבר.
Nokhal, akhar kakh nedaber.
“Let’s eat and talk afterward.”

  • לפני כן
    Lifney khen
    “Beforehand”

זה טוב לבלות, אבל צריך לעבוד לפני כן.
Zeh tov levalot, aval tzarikh la-avod lifney khen.
“It’s good to have fun, but beforehand you need to work.”

  • אז
    Az
    “Then” / “Afterward”

ראינו סרט ואז יצאנו למסעדה.
Rainu seret ve-az yatzanu le-misadah.
“We saw a movie, and then we went out to a restaurant.”

  • מאז
    Me’az
    “Since then”

הוא טס לברלין לפני שנה ומאז לא שמענו ממנו.
Hu tas le-Berlin lifney shanah u-meaz lo shamanu mimeno.
“He flew to Berlin a year ago, and since then, we haven’t heard from him.”

  • כיום
    Kayom
    “These days”

פעם עשיתי הרבה כושר אבל כיום אין לי זמן.
Pa’am asiti harbeh kosher aval kayom eyn li zman.
“I used to do a lot of exercise, but these days I have no time.”

  • כל היום
    Kol hayom
    “All day”

איפה את? אני מחכה לך כל היום!
Eyfoh at? Ani mekhakeh lakh kol hayom!
“Where are you? I’ve been waiting for you all day!”

  • כל הלילה
    Kol halaylah
    “All night”

אני גמור. לא ישנתי כל הלילה.
Ani gamur. Lo yashanti kol ha-laylah.
“I’m exhausted. I didn’t sleep all night.”

3. Adverbs of Frequency 

Agenda Book

Another common adverb category that’s related to time is frequency. Note that the difference is that here, we are answering the question how often rather than when. Note that the position of these Hebrew adverbs of frequency changes depending on the word, much like in English.

  • הרבה
    Harbeh
    “Much”

אני לא קורא הרבה.
Ani lo kore harbeh harbeh.
“I don’t read much.”

  • מעט
    Me’at
    “Little” / “Few”

אמור מעט ועשה הרבה.
Emor me’at vaaseh harbeh.
“Speak little and do much.”

  • כמעט ולא
    Kimat velo
    “Hardly”

היא כמעט ולא יוצאת מהבית.
Hi kimat velo yotzet me-ha-bayit.
“She hardly leaves the house.”

  • בתכיפות
    Betkhifut
    “Frequently”

הנתונים מתעדכנים בתכיפות גבוהה.
Ha-netunim mit’adkenim betkhifut gvoha.
“The data updates frequently.”

  • לעיתים קרובות
    Leitim krovot
    “Often”

הם יוצאים לתיאטרון לעיתים קרובות.
Hem yotzim la-teatron leitim krovot.
“They go to the theater often.”

  • לעיתים רחוקות
    Leitim rekhokot
    “Not often”

אני אוכלת בשר רק לעיתים רחוקות.
Ani okhelet basar rak leitim rekhokot.
“I don’t often eat meat.”

  • לעולם
    Leolam
    “Never”

לעולם אל תיסע בטרמפים.
Leolam al tisa be-trempim.
Never hitchhike.”

  • תמיד
    Tamid
    “Always”

שלמה תמיד מגיע בזמן.
Shlomo tamid magia ba-zman.
“Shlomo always arrives on time.”

  • לפעמים
    Lif’amim
    “Sometimes”

לפעמים אני שר לעצמי כשאני לבד.
Lif’amim ani shar le-atzmi ke-she-ani levad.
Sometimes I sing to myself when I’m alone.”

  • כל יום
    Kol yom
    “Every day”

אתה חייב לאכול ירקות כל יום.
Atah khayav le’ekhol yerakot kol yom.
“You must eat vegetables every day.”

  • כל ערב
    Kol erev
    “Every evening”

אני משתדל לצאת להליכה כל ערב.
Ani mishtdel latzet le-halikhah be-khol erev.
“I try to go out for a walk every evening.”

  • כל לילה
    Kol laylah
    “Every night”

כל לילה הם הולכים לישון בדיוק בתשעה.
Kol laylah hem holkhim lishon bidiyuk beteyshah.
“They go to sleep every night precisely at nine.”

  • פעם ביום
    Pa’am be-yom
    “Once a day”

נסו לעשות מדיטציה פעם ביום.
Nasu laasot meditatziyah paam beyom.
“Try to meditate once a day.”

  • פעם בשבוע
    Pa’am be-shavua
    “Once a week”

אנחנו מבקרים אצל סבתא פעם בשבוע.
Anakhnu mevakrim etzel savta pa’am be-shavua.
“We visit Grandma once a week.”

  • כל שבוע
    Kol shavua
    “Every weeK”

כל שבוע אני קורא ספר חדש.
Kol shavua ani koreh sefer khadash.
Every week, I read a new book.”

  • כל חודש
    Kol khodesh
    “Every month”

הסחורה החדשה מגיעה כל חודש מיוון.
Ha-skhorah ha-khadashah magiah kol khodesh mi-Yavan.
“The new merchandise comes in every month from Greece.”

  • כל שנה
    Kol shanah
    “Every year”

הם צובעים את הבית צבע חדש כל שנה.
Hem tzovim et ha-bayit tzeva khadash kol shanah.
“They paint the house a new color every year.”

  • אף פעם
    Af pa’am
    “Never”

אף פעם אל תשכח את השורשים שלך!
Af pa’am al tishkakh et ha-shorashim shelkha!
Never forget your roots!”

  • מתי שבא לי/לו/וכו’
    Matay sheba li/lo/etc.
    “Whenever I/he/etc. feel(s) like it”

אני שותה בירה מתי שבא לי.
Ani shoteh birah matay she-ba li.
“I drink beer whenever I feel like it.”

  • מתי שיוצא לי/לו/וכו’
    Matay she-yotze li/lo/etc.
    “Whenever I/he/etc. can”

אני לומדת משהו חדש מתי שיוצא לי.
Ani lomedet mashehu khadash matay sheyotze li.
“I learn something new whenever I can.”

  • בכל הזדמנות
    Be-khol hizdamnut
    “Every chance I/he/etc. get(s)”

רמי נוסע לצפון בכל הזדמנות.
Rami nose’a la-Tzafon be-khol hizdamnut.
“Rami heads to the North every chance he gets.”

  • פעם בחיים
    Pa’am bakhayim
    “Once in a lifetime”

פעם בחיים כדאי לעשות משהו באמת מטורף.
Pa’am ba-khayim keday la’asot mashehu be’emet metoraf.
“Once in a lifetime, you should do something really crazy.”

4. Adverbs of Place

We also use adverbs to describe the location or position of nouns, or to give similar information regarding a verb. The following are the most commonly used such adverbs in Hebrew.

  • פה
    Poh
    “Here”

ממש חם פה.
Mamash kham po.
“It’s really hot here.”

  • כאן
    Kan
    “Here”

אני גר כאן באמצע הטבע.
Ani gar kan be-emtza ha-teva.
“I live here in the heart of nature.”

  • שם
    Sham
    “There”

אתה רואה את הבית הצהוב שם?
Atah roeh et ha-bayit ha-tzahov sham?
“Do you see the yellow house there?”

  • עד הנה
    Ad henah
    “This far”

אם הגעתם עד הנה, למה לא להמשיך עד סוף הדרך?
Im higatem ad henah, lamah lo lehamshikh ad sof ha-derekh?
“If you’ve made it this far, why not continue to the end of the path?”

  • בפנים
    Bifnim
    “Inside”

חברה שלך מחכה לך שם בפנים.
Khaverah shelkha mekhakah lekha sham bifnim.
“Your girlfriend is waiting for you there inside.”

  • בחוץ
    Bakhutz
    “Outside”

קר מאוד בחוץ היום.
Kar meod bakhutz hayom.
“It’s very cold outside today.”

  • קדימה
    Kadimah
    “Forward”

סע קדימה וכבר תראה את החנות.
Sa kadimah ve-kvar tir’eh et ha-khanut.
“Go forward and you’ll see the store in just a moment.”

  • אחורה
    Akhorah
    Akhorah

הסתכל אחורה. איזה נוף יפה!
Histakel akhorah. Eyzeh nof yafeh!
“Look back. What a beautiful view!”

  • הצידה
    Hatzidah
    “Sideways” / “Aside”

זוזי הצידה בבקשה כדי שאוכל לעבור.
Zuzi hatzidah bevakashah kedey she-ukhal la’avor.
“Move aside, please, so that I can pass.”

  • ימינה
    Yeminah
    “Right”

פנה ימינה ברמזור.
Pneh yeminah baramzor.
“Turn right at the light.”

  • שמאלה
    Smolah
    “Left”

פני שמאלה בצומת.
Pni smolah batzomet.
“Turn left at the intersection.”

  • למעלה
    Lemalah
    “Above” / “Upstairs”

בא לך לעלות למעלה לכוס תה?
Ba lakh laalot lemalah lekos teh?
“Would you like to come upstairs for a cup of tea?”

  • למטה
    Lematah
    “Below” / “Downstairs”

מישהו מחכה לך למטה בכניסה.
Mishehu mekhakeh lekha lematah baknisah.
“Someone is waiting for you downstairs at the front door.”

  • מסביב
    Misaviv
    “Around” / “All around”

הסבתא מתכוננת לצאת למסע מסביב לעולם.
Ha-savta mitkonenet latset le-masa misaviv la-olam.
“The grandmother is planning to go on a trip around the world.”

  • אחורה
    akhora
    “Backward”

סע אחורה! כאן חסום.
Sa akhora! Kan khasum.
“Go backward! This way is closed.”

  • מעל
    Meal
    “Atop / “On top of”

יש נוף נפלא מעל הבניין שלנו.
Yesh nof nifla meal habinyan shelanu.
“There’s an incredible view from atop our building.”

  • מתחת ל…
    Mitakhat l…
    “Beneath” / “Under”

מצאתי מכתב מתחת לשטיח.
Matzati mikhtav mitakhat la-shatiakh.
“I found a letter under the mat.”

  • ליד
    Leyad
    “Next to”

חפש בשולחן ליד האגרטל.
Khapes ba-shulkhan letzad ha-agartal.
“Look on the table next to the vase.”

  • בסמוך ל
    Besamukh le
    “Alongside” / “Near”

הבית שלה נמצא בסמוך לתחנה המרכזית.
Habayit shelah nimtsa besamukh la-takhanah hamerkazit.
“Her house is near the bus depot.”

5. Adverbs of Manner

Man Lighting Cigarette with Money

Adverbs of manner are a general category that refers to adverbs which provide information about the manner or way something is done or happens. This can be in terms of anything: speed, intensity, proficiency, appearance, and much more. Let’s see the most commonly used Hebrew adverbs of manner.

This is a good opportunity to introduce the form we mentioned earlier, in which we create an adverbial (an adverb phrase) by joining the preposition ב (be), meaning “in” / “with,” to a noun. For example, if we want to say “thoroughly,” we can use the noun יסודיות (yesodiyut), or “thoroughness,” to create ביסודיות (beyesodiyut), which, though it literally means “in thoroughness,” is the equivalent of “thoroughly” in English. 

You’ll see several more examples of this form below.

  • היטב
    Heytev
    “Well”

אל תדאג, אני מבין אותך היטב.
Al tidag, ani mevin otkha heytev.
“Don’t worry, I understand you well.”

  • רע
    Ra
    “Poorly”

היא רוקדת רע מאוד.
Hi rokedet ra meod.
“She dances very poorly.”

  • נכון
    Nakhon
    “Correctly”

יופי, ענית נכון על השאלה שלי.
Yofi, anita nakhon al hasheelah sheli.
“Nice, you answered my question correctly.”

  • לא נכון
    Lo nakon
    “Incorrectly”

רשמת את השם שלי לא נכון.
Rashamt et ha-shem sheli lo nakhon.
“You wrote my name incorrectly.”

  • יפה
    Yafeh
    “Nicely” / “Beautifully”

איזה יפה הוא שר!
Eyzeh yafeh hu shar!
“How beautifully he sings!”

  • מהר
    Maher
    “Fast”

זוז מהר, הם מחכים לנו!
Zuz maher, hem mekhakim lanu.
“Move fast, they’re waiting for us.”

  • לאט
    Le’at
    “Slow(ly)”

למה הם הולכים כל כך לאט?
Lamah hem holkhim kol kakh le’at?
“Why are they walking so slowly?”

  • ברצינות
    Biritzinut
    “Seriously”

אנחנו צריכים לדבר ברצינות.
Anakhnu tsrikhim ledaber biritzinut.
“We need to talk seriously.”

  • מעולה
    Meuleh
    “Fantastically”

ענת מבשלת מעולה.
Anat mevashelet meuleh.
“Anat cooks fantastically.”

  • בכיף
    Bekef
    “With pleasure”

בכיף אצטרף למשחק שלכם!
Bekeyf etztaref la-miskhak shelakhem!
“I’ll join your game with pleasure!”

  • בשמחה
    Besimkhah
    “Gladly”

נעזור לך בשמחה.
Na’azor lekha besimkhah.
“We’ll gladly help you.”

  • בעדינות
    Be’adinut
    “Gently”

שים את התינוק במיטה בעדינות.
Sim et ha-tinok ba-mitah be’adinut.
“Put the baby in the bed gently.”

  • בזהירות
    Bi’zhirut
    “Carefully”

הרם את הטלוויזיה הזאת בזהירות.
Harem et hateleviziyah hazot biz’hirut.
“Pick that TV up carefully.”

  • בזריזות
    Bezrizut
    “On the double”

התארגן בזריזות. האוטובוס כבר יוצא.
Hitargen bezrizut. Haotobus kvar yotze.
“Get ready on the double. The bus is about to leave.”

  • בטירוף
    Be’teyruf
    “Savagely” / “Wildly”

אכלנו בטירוף, היינו כל כך רעבים.
Akhalnu beteyruf, hayinu kol kakh reevim.
“We ate savagely, we were so hungry.”

  • בעייפות
    Be’ayefut
    “Tiredly”

אם אתה הולך לעבוד ככה בעייפות, עדיף שנמשיך מחר.
Im atah holekh laavod kakhah beayefut, adif shenamshikh makhar.
“If you’re going to work tiredly like that, it’s better that we continue tomorrow.”

6. Adverbs of Degree

Voltmeter

A very important group of Hebrew adverbs, the adverbs of degree tell us the extent of an adjective or adverb. (Remember that adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.) Let’s see the most important ones in Hebrew.

  • מאוד
    Very
    “Very” / “Very much”

נעים מאוד להכיר.
Naim meod lehakir.
Very nice to meet you.”

  • ממש
    Mamash
    “Really” / “Truly”

אילן הוא ילד ממש נחמד.
Ilan hu yeled mamash nekhmad.
“Ilan is a really nice boy.”

  • קצת
    Ktzat
    “A bit” / “Slightly”

האם תוכל לדבר קצת יותר לאט?
Haim tukhal ledaber ktzat yoter leat?
“Could you speak a bit more slowly?”

  • יותר
    Yoter
    “More”

האם תוכל לדבר קצת יותר לאט?
Haim tukhal ledaber ktzat yoter le’at?
“Could you speak a bit more slowly?”

  • פחות
    Pakhot
    “Less”

לירון מבינה במחשבים פחות מנילי.
Liron mevinah be-makhshevim pakhot mi-Nili.
“Liron knows less about computers than Nili.”

  • בכלל לא
    Bikhlal lo
    “Not at all”

למה לשתות אם אני בכלל לא צמא?
Lamah lishtot im ani bikhlal lo tzame?
“Why should I drink if I’m not thirsty at all?”

  • המון
    Hamon
    “A lot”

החבר’ה האלה עושים המון רעש.
Hakhevreh haeleh osim hamon raash.
“Those guys are making a lot of noise.”

  • די
    Dey
    “Fairly” / “Pretty”

אני די בטוח שביטלו את השיעור.
Ani dey batuakh she-bitlu et ha-shiur.
“I’m pretty sure the class was cancelled.”

  • כל כך
    Kol kakh
    “So”

למה אתם כל כך עייפים?
Lamah atem kol kakh ayefim?
“Why are you so tired?”

  • נורא
    Nora
    “Terribly”

אלכס נורא מתגעגע אליך.
Aleks nora mitga’agea elayikh.
“Alex misses you terribly.”

  • לגמרי
    Legamrey
    “Totally”

רוני אבוד לגמרי במתמטיקה.
Roni avud legamrey be-matematikah.
“Ronit is totally lost in math.”

  • בהחלט
    Behekhlet
    “Certainly”

המבחן הזה בהחלט היה קשה.
Hamivkhan hazeh behekhlet hayah kasheh.
“That test was certainly difficult.”

  • לחלוטין
    Lekhalutin
    “Completely”

השאלה שלך אבסורדית לחלוטין.
Hasheelah shelakh absurdit lekhalutin.
“Your question is completely absurd.”

7. Adverbials Using Adjectives

Finally, let’s take a look at an adverbial form rather unique to the Hebrew language. Since, as you will have noticed, Hebrew doesn’t have a set pattern for creating adverbs from adjectives, like in English. Let’s look at two ways we can take most adjectives and turn them into adverbials.

Basically, we can use the preposition ב (be), meaning “in” or “with,” along with either the noun צורה (tzurah) or אופן (ofen), both of which mean “manner” or “way,” followed by the adjective we want to turn into an adverb. This can be done with just about any adjective, although obviously some are used this way more commonly than others. Here are some common examples.

  • בצורה אוטומטית
    Betzurah otomatit
    “Automatically”

המחשב משנה את השפה בצורה אוטומטית.
Hamakhsehv meshanah et hasafah betzurah otomatit.
“The computer changes languages automatically.”

  • באופן מקצועי
    Be-ofen miktzo’ii
    “Professionally”

השיפוץ נעשה באופן מקצועי.
Hashiputz neesah be-ofen miktzoi.
“The renovation was done professionally.”

  • בצורה נקייה
    Be-tzurah nekiyah
    “Cleanly” / “Neatly”

שרה עובדת בצורה נקייה.
Sarah ovedet be-tzurah nekiyah.
“Sarah works cleanly.”

  • באופן מושלם
    Be-ofen mushlam
    “Perfectly”

חנית את האוטו באופן מושלם!
Khanita et ha-oto beofen mushlam!
“You parked the car perfectly!”

  • בצורה מטומטמת
    Betzurah metumtemet
    “Stupidly”

מי בנה את הכביש הזה בצורה כל כך מטומטמת?
Mi banah et ha-kvish hazeh be-tzurah kol kakh metumtemet?
“Who built this road so stupidly?”

  • לחלוטין
    Lakhalutin
    “Wholly” / “Completely”

השודדים רוקנו את הבנק לחלוטין.
Hashodedim roknu et ha-bank lakhalutin.
“The robbers cleaned out the bank completely.”

  • בצורה מצחיקה
    Betzurah matzkhikah
    “Funny” / “Funnily”

האישה ההיא מדברת בצורה מצחיקה.
Ha-ishah ha-hi medaberet be-tzurah matzkhikah.
“That lady talks funny.”

8. Placement of Adverbs within the Sentence

Just like in English, the question of word order vis-a-vis adverbs is somewhat complicated. However, there are some general rules to help us. Let’s have a look at them.

1. Time adverbs can come first or last in the sentence and, for some time adverbs, right after the subject. The only difference in terms of choosing where to place them is one of emphasis. For example, compare these three variations:

  • עכשיו אני הולך לישון.
    Akhshav ani holekh lishon.
    “Now, I am going to sleep.”
  • אני הולך לישון עכשיו.
    Ani holekh lishon akhshav.
    “I am going to sleep now.”
  • אני עכשיו הולך לישון.
    Ani akhshav holekh lishon.
    “I am now going to sleep.”

2. Frequency and manner adverbs, except in very literary instances, come after the verb or its object. For example:

  • הוא רץ מהר.
    Hu ratz maher.
    He runs fast.”
  • חצינו את הכביש בזהירות.
    Khatzinu et ha-kvish bi’zhirut.
    We crossed the street carefully.”

3. Degree adverbs tend to follow the adjective they qualify. For example:

  • עברית היא שפה קשה מאוד.
    Ivrit hi safah kashah meod.
    “Hebrew is a very difficult language.”

4. Unlike in English, it’s possible to position an adverb between a subject and its object. For example:

  • אני לומד עכשיו עברית.
    Ani lomed akhshav Ivrit.
    I am learning Hebrew now.”

5. Adverbials (adverb phrases made up of two or more words, or compounds) tend to come at the very beginning or the very end of the sentence. For example:

  • בכל הזדמנות אני עושה יוגה.
    Bekhol hizdamnut ani osah yogah.
    “Every chance I get, I do yoga.”
  • אני עושה יוגה בכל הזדמנות.
    Ani osah yogah bekhol hizdamnut.
    “I do yoga every chance I get.”

9. Conclusion: Practice Your Adverbs with HebrewPod101

We hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson on Hebrew adverbs very well (Did you notice how I threw in two adverbs there to see if you were paying attention?). As we tend to recommend when covering topics like this one, it’s a good idea to digest adverbs in Hebrew a bit at a time. You can do this by category, alphabetically, or any way you’d like, just so long as you don’t overwhelm yourself with too much at once.

Our goal here at HebrewPod101.com is to ensure you can develop your Hebrew with as little stress and as much fun as possible. Because learning languages should never hurt!

Feel free to let us know how you’re feeling about adverbs in Hebrew after this lesson. Are things pretty clear or are you still a bit shaky? Do you need any further help with something we mentioned, or did we leave anything out you would like to know about adverbs? Get in touch. We’d be happy to hear from you. 

Shalom!

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Hebrew Verbs List: 100 Must-Know Hebrew Verbs

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Have you seen HebrewPod101’s lessons on 100 Nouns and 100 Adjectives? Today, we’re going to take a look at the top 100 Hebrew verbs! Today’s lesson will both offer you an introduction to the unique grammar of Hebrew verb conjugation, as well as help you to arm your language toolkit with essential verbs.

Verbs are simply a necessity, moreso perhaps in Hebrew than in any other language. In fact, many sentences and questions in Hebrew are actually nothing more than conjugated verbs, so it’s not uncommon to hear one-word sentences and questions.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of Modern Hebrew verbs, which, it should be noted, differ significantly from verb usage in the Bible. We’ll look at the ways a verb’s declension changes depending on what relationship we want to form between it and the agent and/or object of our sentence. And we’ll get a nice, useful list of the most common Hebrew verbs along the way!

For the purpose of getting a solid grasp on the verb patterns, we’ll look at conjugation in the past tense only, using third-person singular masculine to keep things simple. Once you’ve mastered the past tense, it will be easy enough to build the present and future tenses on that foundation and to apply grammatical gender and number. 

Remember that this is one aspect of Hebrew you can breathe easy about. In most language applications, we essentially only use three tenses: simple past, simple present, and simple future.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to the Binyanim, or Hebrew Verb Conjugation Patterns
  2. Paal Verbs
  3. Piel Verbs
  4. Hif’il Verbs
  5. Huf’al Verbs
  6. Pual Verbs
  7. Nifal Verbs
  8. Hitpael Verbs
  9. Conclusion: Verbs are where the action’s at!

1. Introduction to the Binyanim, or Hebrew Verb Conjugation Patterns

Similar to other languages, the Hebrew verb system uses patterns to help us conjugate verbs. Luckily for Hebrew language learners, these patterns are pretty strictly followed, with few exceptions. Also to your advantage as a student of Hebrew is the fact that there’s a logical division of verbs into these different conjugation patterns. In fact, the conjugation pattern tells us the verb’s function. For example, it tells us if it’s an active verb, a passive verb, or a reflexive verb.

Roots of a Tree

Additionally, remember that the entire Hebrew language is built on the shoresh, or “root” system. So we’ll see that most verbs will be represented in different conjugation patterns that will use the meaning of the root word in different relationships. Hebrew verb roots will, for example, indicate if the verb represents doing something to something or someone else, doing something to ourselves, or having something done to us, etc. 

Here are the different Hebrew verb categories according to their conjugation patterns:

HEBREW ACTIVE VERBS

• פעל

Pa’al

• פיעל

Piel

• הפעיל

Hif’il

HEBREW PASSIVE VERBS

• הופעל

Huf’al

• פועל

Pual

• נפעל

 Nif’al

HEBREW REFLEXIVE VERBS

• התפעל

Hitpael

2. Paal Verbs

Top Verbs

To make more sense of the Hebrew verb types, let’s start by taking a look at the root פ״ע״ל (peh-ayin-lamed). This word always has something to do with action, and its various conjugations are not only verbs unto themselves, they’re also the names for the other verbs in Hebrew that follow the same pattern. For example, פעל (paal) means “worked” or “performed,” but it’s also the name for the category of verbs that follow the same pattern, with the vowels קמץ (kamatz) and then פתח (patakh), both of which sound like the “a” in the word “father.” These verbs are general action verbs. 

Here’s a list of paal verbs with example sentences:

  • אמר

Amar

“Said”

דוד אמר שלום לחברים שלו.

David amar shalom la-khaverim shelo.

“David said hello to his friends.”

  • שאל

Sha’al

“Asked”

הוא שאל אותי איפה התחנה המרכזית.

Hu shaal oti eyfoh hatakhanah hamerkazit.

“He asked me where the central bus station is.”

  • כתב

Katav

“Wrote”

הוא כתב לי מכתב באנגלית.

Hu katav li mikhtav be-Anglit.

“He wrote me a letter in English.”

  • בנה

Banah

“Built”

אבא בנה בית מעץ.

Aba banah bayit me-etz.

“Father built a wooden house.”

  • גמר

Gamar

“Finished”

הוא גמר את שיעורי הבית שלו מיד אחרי שחזר הביתה.

Hu gamar et shiurey habayit shelo miyad akharey shekhazar habaytah.

“He finished his homework right after he got home.”

  • שלח

Shalakh

“Sent”

בועז שלח לי מייל לגבי העסקה.

Boaz shalakh li meyl legabey ha-iskah.

“Boaz sent me an email about the deal.”

  • סגר

Sagar

“Closed”

הוא סגר את הדלת מאחוריו.

Hu sagar et ha-delet me’akhorav.

“He closed the door behind him.”

  • ראה

Raah

“Saw”

משה ראה את השמיים האפורים ולבש מעיל גשם.

Mosheh raah et hashamayim haaforim velavash meil.

“Moshe saw the gray sky and put on a coat.”

  • חשב

Chashav

“Thought”

הוא חשב על הבחורה הכי יפה בכיתה והסמיק.

Hu khashav al habakhurah hakhi yafah bakitah vehismik.

“He thought about the prettiest girl in the class and blushed.”

  • זכר

Zakhar

“Remembered”

הוא לא זכר את שמו של האיש הזקן.

Hu lo zakhar et shmo shel ha-ish ha-zaken.

“He didn’t remember the old man’s name.”

  • בחר

Bakhar

“Chose”

רם בחר את הגלידה בטעם וניל.

Ram bakhar et ha-glidah be-ta’am vanil.

“Ram chose the vanilla-flavored ice cream.”

  • שמע

Shama

“Heard”

הוא לא שמע את השעון המעורר שלו.

Hu lo shama et ha-shaon ha-meorer shelo.

“He didn’t hear his alarm clock.”

  • חלם

Khalam

“Dreamt”

דניאל חלם על אי יפה באוקיינוס השקט.

Daniel khalam al ee yafeh ba-okiyanus ha-shaket.

“Daniel dreamt of a beautiful island in the Pacific Ocean.”

  • שמר

Shamar

“Kept” / “Guarded” / “Put away”

אריק שמר את השאריות במקרר.

Arik shamar et ha-she’eriyot ba-mekarer.

“Arik put away the leftovers in the refrigerator.” 

  • מכר

Makhar

“Sold”

סבא שלי מכר את האוטו הישן שלו.

Saba sheli makhar et ha-oto ha-yashan shelo.

“My grandfather sold his old car.”

3. Piel Verbs 

More Essential Verbs

Similar to paal verbs, piel verbs also describe general action verbs and don’t necessarily involve or mention the object of the action being described. They simply follow a different conjugation pattern, which we must learn by practicing. Note that the vowels here are חיריק (khirik) and צירי (tzeyrey), equivalent to the “ee” in “tree” and the “ay” in “tray,” respectively. 

The following is a list of essential Hebrew verbs that fall under the piel category, along with example sentences.

  • נישק

Nishek

“Kissed”

אבא נישק את אמא לכבוד שבת.

Aba nishek et ima likhvod Shabat.

“Father kissed mother for the Sabbath.”

  • שילם

Shilem

“Paid”

הבחור הנדיב שילם על ההזמנות של כולם.

Ha-bakhur ha-nadiv shilem al ha-hazmanot shel kulam.

“The generous fellow paid for everyone’s orders.”

  • מילא

Mile

“Filled (out)”

השוטר מילא את הדו״ח עם פרטי התאונה.

Ha-shoter mila et haduakh im pirtey ha-teunah.

“The police officer filled out the report with the details of the accident.”

  • דיבר

Diber

“Spoke”

הילד דיבר בקול חזק מאוד.

Ha-yeled diber bekol khazak meod.

“The boy spoke in a very loud voice.” 

  • לימד

Limed

“Taught”

אבא שלי לימד אותי לנהוג.

Aba sheli limed oti linhog.

“My father taught me to drive.”

  • טאטא

Tita

“Swept”

העובד טאטא את הרצפה בחנות.

Ha-oved tita et ha-ritzpah ba-khanut.

“The employee swept the floor in the store.” 

  • ביטל

Bitel

“Canceled”

ראש הממשלה ביטל את הנסיעה שלו לחו״ל.

Rosh ha-memshalah bitel et ha-nesiah shelo le-khu”l.

“The prime minister canceled his visit abroad.”

  • חיבר

Khiber

“Connected”

הטכנאי חיבר לי אינטרנט בדירה.

Ha-tekhnay khiber li internet ba-dirah.

“The technician connected the internet in my apartment.”

  • סיפר

Siper

“Told”

החייל סיפר לנו על המבצע המסוכן.

Ha-khayal siper lanu al ha-mivtza ha-mesukan.

“The soldier told us about the dangerous mission.”

  • מיהר

Miher

“Rushed”

השחקן מיהר לתפוס את הכדור.

Ha-sakhkan miher litfos et ha-kadur.

“The player rushed after the ball.”

  • לכלך

Likhlekh

“Dirtied”

הילד ליכלך את המכנסיים שלו בבוץ.

Ha-yeled likhlekh et ha-mikhnasayim shelo ba-botz.

“The boy dirtied his pants in the mud.”

  • חייך

Khiyekh

“Smiled”

הוא חייך לי מבעד לחלון.

Hu khiyekh li mibead lakhalon.

“He smiled at me through the window.”

  • טייל

Tiyel

“Traveled”

שלמה טייל שנה בהודו אחרי הצבא.

Shlomoh tiyel shanah be-Hodu akharey ha-tzava.

“Shlomo traveled for a year in India after the army.”

  • ניצח

Nitzeach

“Won”

הצבא ניצח במלחמה מול האויב.

Ha-tzava nitzeakh ba-milkhamah mul haoyev.

“The army won the war against the enemy.”

  • סימן

Simen

“Marked” / “Highlighted / “Mentioned”

המורה סימן את הדוגמה במאמר.

Hamoreh simen et hadugmag bamaamar.

“The teacher marked the example in the article.”

4. Hif’il Verbs

Hand Turning on Light

Hebrew Hif’il verbs are also action verbs, but these specifically describe something done to something or someone, like a transitive verb in English with an object. For example, in the case of הפעיל (Hif’il), the name of this verb conjugation pattern, the verb of the same name means “to operate something or someone.”

These are very handy verbs to know as they will help us describe all sorts of interactions in day-to-day life. Note that they mostly use the vowel חיריק (khirik) twice, equivalent to the “ee” in “tree,” though some also use צירי (tzeyrey) and חיריק (khirik), equivalent to the “ay” in “tray” and the “ee” in “tree,” respectively. 

The following is a list of some of the most common Hif’il verbs, along with example sentences.

  • הפעיל

Hif’il

“Activated” / “Turned on”

הנהג הפעיל את המזגן באוטובוס.

Hanahag Hif’il et hamazgan baotobus.

“The driver turned on the air conditioner on the bus.”

  • השמיע

Hishmia

“Sounded” / “Played (audio)”

הוא השמיע לי דיסק של מוזיקה קלאסית.

Hu hishmia li disk shel muzikah klasit.

“He played me a CD of classical music.”

  • הכניס

Hikhnis

“Put in” / “Brought in” / “Ushered in”

המנהל הכניס אותנו למשרד שלו לשיחה רצינית.

Hamenahel hikhnis otanu lamisrad shelo lesikhah retzinit.

“The manager ushered us into his office for a serious conversation.”

  • הציע

Hetzia

“Offered” / “Suggested”

אבא הציע לי עבודה אצלו במשרד אחרי האוניברסיטה.

Aba hetzia li avodah etzlo bamisrad akharey hauniversitah.

“Dad offered me a job in his office after university.”

  • הפריע

Hifria

“Bothered”

הכלב של השכנים הפריע לי לישון כל הלילה.

Hakelev shel hashkhenim hifria li lishon kol halaylah.

“The neighbors’ dog bothered me all night as I tried to sleep.”

  • הביא

Hevi

“Brought”

אח שלי הביא לנו מתנות מפריז.

Akh sheli hevi lanu matanot mePariz.

“My brother brought us presents from Paris.”

  • הכין

Hekhin

“Prepared”

מוחמד הכין לנו חומוס ממש טעים.

Mukhamad hekhin lanu khumus mamash taim.

“Muhammad prepared some really tasty hummus for us.”

  • הציל

Hitzil

“Saved” / “Rescued”

המעיל הזה ממש הציל אותי מהקור היום.

Hameil hazeh mamash hitzil oti mehakor hayom.

“This coat really saved me from the cold today.”

  • הבין

Hevin

“Understood”

התייר לא הבין אותנו בכלל.

Hatayar lo hevin otanu bikhlal.

“The tourist didn’t understand us at all.”

  • הביט

Hebit

“Looked”

האיש הביט בנוף וחייך.

Haish hebit banof vekhiyekh.

“The man looked at the view and smiled.”

  • הזכיר

Hizkir

“Reminded”

שמואל הזכיר לנו לקחת קרם הגנה.

Shmuel hizkir lanu lakakhat krem haganah.

“Shmuel reminded us to take sunscreen.”

  • הבטיח

Hivtiakh

“Promised”

זוהר הבטיח לי לשמור על הכלב בסוף השבוע.

Zohar hivtiakh li lishmor al hakelev besof hashavua.

“Zohar promised to watch my dog this weekend.”

  • הזמין

Hizmin

“Ordered” / “Invited”

חבר שלי הזמין אותי לקונצרט ביום שני.

Khaver sheli hizmin oti le-kontzert be-yom sheni.

“My friend invited me to a concert on Monday.”

  • החזיר

Hekhzir

“Returned” / “Brought back”

נהג המונית החזיר אותי הביתה מתחנת הרכבת.

nahag ha-monit hekhzir oti ha-baytah metakhanat ha-rakevet.

“The taxi driver brought me back home from the train station.”

  • החביא

Hekhbi

“Hid”

הקוסם החביא את הקלף בשרוול שלו.

Hakosem hekhbi et haklaf basharvul shelo.

“The magician hid the card up his sleeve.”

5. Huf’al Verbs 

Negative Verbs

Huf’al verbs can be thought of as the passive or past participle of Hif’il verbs. In other words, we’re thinking of the same meaning of the shoresh and the same interaction, just described from the perspective of the object and not the agent. 

To this end, in our examples we’ll look at the Huf’al form of some of the same Hif’il verbs we just saw above. Note that these verbs use the vowels שורוק (shuruk) or קובוץ (kubutz), and then פתח (patakh), like “oo” in “cool” and “a” in “father,” respectively.

  • הופעל

Huf’al

“Was operated” / “Was activated”

השעון המעורר הופעל לשש בבוקר.

Hashaon hameorer Huf’al leshes baboker.

“The alarm clock was activated for six in the morning.”

  • הושמע

Hushma

“Was played” / “Was heard” / “Was sounded”

השיר היפה הושמע ברדיו.

Hashir hayafeh hushma baradiyo.

“The pretty song was played on the radio.”

  • הוכנס

Hukhnas

“Was brought in” / “Was put in”

התלמיד החדש הוכנס למשרד המנהל.

Hatalmid hakhadash hukhnas lemisrad hamenahel.

“The new student was brought in to the principal’s office.”

  • הוצע

Hutza

“Was proposed” / “Was suggested”

הרעיון הוצע על ידי איש צוות מירושלים.

Haraayon hutza al yedey ish tzevet meYerushalayim.

“The idea was proposed by a staff member from Jerusalem.”

  • הובא

Huva

“Was brought”

החומר לבניין הובא לאתר במשאית.

Hakhomer lebinyan huva laatar bemasait.

“The building material was brought to the site by truck.”

  • הוצל

Hutzal

“Was saved” / “Was rescued”

הילד הוצל מהזרם על ידי המציל.

Hayeled hutzal mehazerem al yedey hametzil.

“The boy was rescued from the current by the lifeguard.”

  • הובטח

Huvtakh

“Was promised” / “Was guaranteed”

המקום שלי במשרד הובטח על ידי הבוסית.

Hamakom sheli bamisrad huvtakh al yedey habosit.

“My position in the office was guaranteed by the boss.”

  • הוחזר

Hukhzar

“Was returned” / “Was brought back”

הכלב שלי הוחזר הביתה על ידי שכן שהכיר אותו ברחוב.

Hakelev sheli hukhzar habaytah al yedey shakhen shehekir oto barekhov.

“My dog was brought back home by a neighbor who recognized him in the street.”

  • הוקם

Hukam

“Was established” / “Was founded” / “Was erected”

התיאטרון הוקם לפני יותר ממאה שנה.

Hateatron hukam lifney yoter memeah shanah.

“The theater was founded more than 100 years ago.”

  • הומלץ

Humlatz

“Was recommended” / “Was suggested”

בית הקפה הזה הומלץ לי על ידי ידידה.

Beyt hakafeh hazeh humlatz li al yedey yedidah.

“This café was recommended to me by a friend.”

  • הופסק

Hufsak

“Was stopped” / “Was turned off” / “Was disconnected”

שירות האינטרנט הופסק בגלל אי תשלום.

Sheyrut hainternet hufsak biglal iy tashlum.

“The internet service was disconnected for failure to pay.”

  • הוצב

Hutzav

“Was placed” / “Was set up”

הבסיס הוצב קרוב לגבול.

Habasis hutzav karov lagvul.

“The base was set up near the border.”

  • הושג

Husag

“Was achieved”

השלום עם מצרים הושג על ידי מנחם בגין.

Hashalom im Mitzrayim husag al yedey Menakhem Begin.

“Peace with Egypt was achieved by Menachem Begin.”

  • הועבר

Huavar

“Was transferred”

המכתב שלך הועבר ישר למנהל.

Hamikhtav shelkha huavar yashar lamenahel.

“Your letter was transferred directly to the manager.”

  • הושם

Husam

“Was applied”

למה מחייבים אותי עוד פעם אם המס כבר הושם?

Lamah mekhayvim oti od paam im hamas kvar husam?

“Why are you charging me again if the tax was already applied?”

6. Pual Verbs

Car being Pushed by Man

Pual verbs can be thought of as the past participle of piel verbs. So once again, we’re thinking of the same meaning of the shoresh and the same interaction, but described from the perspective of the object. Again, in our examples, we’ll look at the pual form of some of the same piel verbs we looked at earlier. 

Note that these verbs use the vowels שורוק (shuruk) or קובוץ (kubutz), and then פתח (patakh), like “oo” in “cool” and “a” in “father,” respectively.

  • שולם

Shulam

“Was paid”

החשבון שולם מראש.

Hakheshbon shulam merosh.

“The bill was paid in advance.”

  • בוטל

Butal

“Was canceled”

הקונצרט בוטל בשל מזג האוויר.

Hakontzert butal beshel mezeg haavir.

“The concert was canceled due to the weather.”

  • חובר

Khubar

“Was connected”

החשמל חובר לפני שבוע.

Hakheshmal khubar lifney shavua.

“The electricity was connected a week ago.”

  • סופר

Supar

“Was told”

הסיפור המפורסם הזה סופר בספר הזכרונות של סבא שלי.

Hasipur hamefursam hazeh supar besefer hazikhronot she saba sheli.

“That famous story was told in my grandfather’s memoirs.”

  • גודל

Gudal

“Was raised” / “Was cultivated”

במקור הפלפל גודל במקסיקו.

Bamakor hapilpel gudal beMeksiko.

“Originally, pepper was cultivated in Mexico.”

  • דובר

Dubar

“Was spoken”

היידיש דובר על ידי יהודי אירופה לפני מלחמת העולם השנייה.

Hayidish dubar al yedey yehudey Eyropah lifney Milkhemet Haolam Hashniyah.

“Yiddish was spoken by European Jews before World War II.”

  • יושב

Yushav

“Was settled”

הגליל יושב בעיקר על ידי חקלאים.

HaGalil yushav beikar al yedey khaklaim.

“The Galil was settled mostly by farmers.”

  • כונה

Kunah

“Was called” / “Was nicknamed”

דוד בן ישי כונה גם דוד המלך.

David ben Yishay kunah gam David Hamelekh.

“David son of Jesse was also called King David.”

  • טופל

Tupal

“Was handled” / “Was treated”

התיק שלך כבר טופל.

Ha-tik shelkha kvar tupal.

“Your case was already handled.”

  • זומן

Zuman

“Was invited”

יעקב זומן להשתתף בחידון התנ״ך.

Yaakov zuman lehishtatef beKhidon Hatana”kh.

“Yaakov was invited to take part in the Bible Contest.”

7. Nifal Verbs

Nifal verbs are a bit trickier to describe because they’re used in a diverse set of circumstances. Like Huf’al and Pual verbs, they can sometimes be passive; however, they can sometimes also be active or even be used in situations where they’re something akin to the progressive tense in English. 

We can make more sense of this by seeing some examples. Note that these verbs use different vowel combinations in addition to the חיריק (khirik) and פתח (patakh), like “ee” in “tree” and “a” in “father,” respectively, of the category name נפעל (nifal).

  • נכנס

Nikhnas

“Came in” / “Went in”

הרופא נכנס לבית החולים להתחיל את המשמרת שלו.

Harofe nikhnas leveyt hakholim lehatkhil et hamishmeret shelo.

“The doctor went in to the hospital to start his shift.”

  • נודע

Noda

“Made aware of” / “Became known”

מתי נודע לך על מות השכן?

Matay noda lekha al mot hashakhen?

“When were you made aware of your neighbor’s death?”

  • נראה

Nir’eh

“Look” / “Appear”

אני נראה טוב עם עניבה?

Ani nireh tov im anivah?

“Do I look good in a tie?”

  • נשמע

Nishma

“Sound”

נשמע לך כמו רעיון טוב?

Nishma lekha kemo raayon tov?

“Does that sound like a good idea to you?”

  • נרדם

Nirdam

“Fall asleep”

הכלב שלי תמיד נרדם ליד הכיסא שלי.

Ha-kelev sheli tamid nirdam leyad ha-kise sheli.

“My dog always falls asleep beside my chair.”

  • נמצא

Nimtza

“Is found” / “Is encountered” / “Is located”

איפה נמצא הקניון, בבקשה?

Eyfoh nimtza ha-kanyon be-vakasha?

“Where is the mall located, please?”

  • נמשך

Nimshakh

“Continue” / “Last”

הגשם נמשך כל היום.

Ha-geshem nimshakh kol ha-yom.

“The rain lasted all day.”

  • נשאר

Nish’ar

“Remain” / “Stay”

למה אתה לא נשאר אצלי בדירה?

Lamah atah lo nishar etzli badirah?

“Why don’t you stay at my apartment?”

  • נגמר

Nigmar

“Finish” / “Be over”

הסרט כבר נגמר?

Ha-seret kvar nigmar?

Is the movie already over?”

  • נעצר

Ne’etzar

“Stop” / “Get arrested”

פתאום השעון שלי נעצר!

Pitom hashaon sheli neetzar!

“My watch suddenly stopped!”

  • נסתר

Nistar

“Hidden”

מה שנסתר בלב הוא תמיד מסתורין.

Mah shenistar balev hu tamid mistorin.

“What’s hidden in the heart is always a mystery.”

  • נלווה

Nilveh

“Accompany”

אני מחפש אביזר נלווה לתיק הזה.

Ani mekhapes avizar nilveh latik hazeh.

“I am looking for an accessory to accompany this bag.”

  • נזכר

Nizkar

“Mentioned”

זה אותו המקום הנזכר בתנ״ך.

Zeh oto hamakom hanizkar baTana”kh.

“This is the same place that is mentioned in the Bible.”

  • נשלח

Nishlakh

“Sent”

המסרון שלך נשלח בהצלחה.

Ha-misron shelkha nishlakh be-hatzlakhah.

“Your message was sent successfully.”

  • נקרא

Nikra

“Called”

המקום הזה נקרא עמק השלום.

Ha-makom hazeh nikra Emek Hashalom.

“This place is called The Valley of Peace.”

8. Hitpael Verbs

Woman Putting on Lipstick

Hitpael verbs are definitely one of the coolest features of Hebrew. This is the reflexive form of a verb, meaning it describes something that an agent does to him- or itself. This form is used very commonly in Hebrew. 

Note that it uses three vowels: חיריק (khirik), like “ee” in “tree,” פתח (patakh), like “a” in “father,” and צירי (tseyrey), like “ay” in “tray.”

  • התקרר

Hitkarer

“Got cold”

האוכל שלך התקרר.

Ha-okhel shelkha hitkarer.

“Your food got cold.”

  • התחמם

Hitkhamem

“Got warm”

הוא התחמם מול האח.

Hu hitkhamem mul ha-akh.

“He got warm in front of the fireplace.”

  • הסתכל

Histakel

“Looked at”

הוא הסתכל על כל התמונות אבל זיהה את גנב.

Hu histakel al kol ha-tmunot aval lo zihah et ha-ganav.

“He looked at all the pictures, but didn’t recognize the thief.”

  • הסתובב

Histovev

“Turned around”

הוא הסתובב וראה שמישהו עוקב אחריו.

Hu histovev ve-ra’ah she-mishehu okev akharav.

“He turned around and saw that someone was following him.”

  • הסתדר

Histader

“Worked out” / “Came together”

הכל הסתדר לי אחרי שסיימתי את הצבא.

Hakol histader li keshe-siyamti et ha-tzava.

“Everything worked out for me after I finished the army.”

  • הסתבך

Histabekh

“Got into a bind” / “Had trouble”

הוא הסתבך בכבישים עם ההנחיות הבלתי ברורות.

Hu histabekh ba-kvishim im ha-hankhayot ha-bilti brurot.

“He had trouble on the road with the unclear directions.”

  • הצטער

Hitztaer

Regretted

מיכאל הצטער על זה שהוא צעק על חברה שלו.

Mikhael hitztaer al zeh shehu tza’ak al khaverah shelo.

“Michael regretted having yelled at his girlfriend.”

  • השתדל

Hishtadel

“Made an effort”

אבא שלי תמיד השתדל לעזור לי בלימודים.

Aba sheli tamid hishtadel la’azor li ba-limudim.

“My father has always made an effort to help me with schoolwork.”

  • התחבר

Hitkhaber

“Connected to”

הפלאפון שלי לא התחבר לאינטרנט משום מה.

Ha-pelefon sheli lo hitkhaber la-internet mishum mah.

“My cell phone didn’t connect to the internet for some reason.”

  • השתנה

Hishtanah

“Changed”

הכפר שלי לא השתנה כבר עשרים שנה.

Ha-kfar sheli lo hishtanah kvar esrim shanah.

“My village hasn’t changed in twenty years.”

  • השתמש

Hishtamesh

“Used”

הקצין השתמש במשקפת כדי לסרוק את הסביבה.

Ha-katzin hishtamesh ba-mishkefet kedey lisrok et ha-svivah.

“The officer used the binoculars to sweep the surroundings.”

  • השתתף

Hishtatef

“Participated”

זה הזמר שהשתתף בתוכנית הטלוויזיה.

Zeh ha-zamar she-hishtatef be-tokhnit ha-televiziyah.

“That’s the singer who participated in the TV show.”

  • התבלבל

Hitbalbel

“Got confused”

הנהג התבלבל במחלף ופנה ימינה במקום שמאלה.

Ha-nahag hitbalbel ba-makhlef ve-panah yeminah bimkom smolah.

“The driver got confused at the intersection and turned right instead of left.”

  • התגעגע

Hitga’agea

“Missed”

היפני התגעגע לסושי אמיתי כמו בבית.

Ha-Yapani hitga’agea lesushi amiti kemo ba-bayit.

“The Japanese missed real sushi like back home.”

  • התעורר

Hitorer

“Woke up”

הספורטאי תמיד התעורר לאימון בוקר מוקדם.

Ha-sportai tamid hit’orer le-imun boker mukdam.

“The athlete always woke up for an early morning workout.”

9. Conclusion: Verbs are where the action’s at!

I hope you’ve had fun learning the top 100 Hebrew verbs today. As you can see, Hebrew verbs are a huge topic, so it’s best to take it a portion at a time. For example, you could start by tackling just one binyan or, if you’re a bit more courageous, possibly studying all the active verb forms first, then moving on to the passive ones later. In any case, don’t stress about trying to dominate all of these all at once!

Remember that HebrewPod101 is here to help you grow your Hebrew skills at your own pace. Use this lesson as an introductory guide, and then delve deeper into the topics you wish to study more.

And take comfort in the fact that if you start recognizing the roots in a verb, as well as the conjugation patterns, you can actually start understanding verbs even if you’ve never seen them before, just by recognizing the root letters and the relationship the vowels indicate!

Have fun, and let us know if you’re still a bit unsure about any of the topics we discussed today, or if we left something out about Hebrew verbs that you would really like to know. Also keep an eye out for our upcoming article on how to conjugate Hebrew verbs, where we’ll further discuss how this works.

Shalom!

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The Only Hebrew Pronouns List You’ll Ever Need

Thumbnail

Hebrew pronouns, just like those in English, are one of the seven parts of speech in Hebrew. It goes without saying that knowing the Hebrew pronouns is essential in being able to speak the language with comfort and ease. Even if you’re unsure of what a pronoun is, you can be sure that you use pronouns all the time. 

Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns. Often, though not always, they’re used in order to avoid the awkward repetition of proper nouns. So, every time you say “I,” you’re using a pronoun. And when you ask, “What is that?” you’ve just used two pronouns! So you can see that pronouns are a very basic and common language element, and one it’s wise to master.

Hebrew pronouns fall into four basic categories: personal pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, interrogative pronouns, and indefinite pronouns. Don’t get scared off by these fancy names, though! It’s really quite simple. 

Personal and demonstrative pronouns represent a specific person or thing, and indefinite pronouns are used for non-specific nouns. All of these pronouns have gender and are countable. Interrogative pronouns, on the other hand, are simply pronouns used in asking questions. These include “who,” “what,” “when,” and “where.” 

In this lesson, we’re going to break things down and look at a nice Hebrew pronouns list so you have all the knowledge you’ll need to speak and understand Hebrew pronouns in context. Here we go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Hebrew Personal Pronouns
  2. Hebrew Demonstrative Pronouns
  3. Hebrew Interrogative Pronouns
  4. Hebrew Indefinite Pronouns
  5. Conclusion: Master Hebrew the Fun Way with HebrewPod101.com!

1. Hebrew Personal Pronouns

People Forming an Arrow

Let’s begin with the most common Hebrew pronouns first: the personal pronouns. As you may have guessed from their name, these pronouns describe people (although in some cases, we also use them for animals as well). Remember that Hebrew uses different grammar for masculine and feminine, and this is true for pronouns as well. 

So as you’re learning these, make sure to pay attention to the fact that a feminine pronoun will be used to substitute, not surprisingly, a female; it will also go along with feminine verbs and adjectives. The same, of course, is true in terms of masculine pronouns for males, along with masculine verbs and adjectives.

Also note that we want to be careful to ensure we have number agreement. This means that if our pronoun is plural, our verbs and adjectives must be as well. 

The following section will also include the Hebrew possessive pronouns, the reflexive forms, and the subject/object forms. Now, let’s take a closer look at personal pronouns in Hebrew.

1- Hebrew Singular Pronouns

Different Faces

1st Person Singular

1. Subject
  • אני
    Ani
    “I”

Note that this pronoun is the same for male and female speakers. However, the verbs and adjectives we use with it must conform to the correct gender. Here are some examples:

אני נוסע היום לירושלים.
Ani nose’a hayom le-Yerushalayim.
“I am going to Jerusalem today.” [male speaker]

אני נוסעת היום לירושלים.
Ani nosa’at hayom le-Yerushalayim.
“I am going to Jerusalem today.” [female speaker]

2. Object
  • אותי
    Oti
    “Me”

אתה שומע אותי?
Ata shome’a oti?
“Do you hear me?”

3. Possessive
  • שלי
    Sheli
    “My” / “Mine”

זה הכלב שלי, ליל.
Zeh ha-kelev sheli, Layil.
“This is my dog, Layil.”

הכלב הזה שלי.
Ha-kelev hazeh sheli.”
“This dog is mine.”

4. Reflexive
  • עצמי
    Atzmi
    “Myself”

אני סגור על עצמי שאני צודק.
Ani sagur al atzmi she-ani tzodek.
“I am sure of myself that I am right.”

2nd Person Singular – Male

1. Subject
  • אתה
    Ata
    “You”

אתה חכם.
Ata chakham.
“You are smart.”

2. Object
  • אוֹתְךָ
    Otkha
    “You”

אני מכיר אותך.
Ani makir otkha.
“I know you.”

3. Possessive
  • שֶׁלְךָ
    Shelkha
    “Your(s)”

הנה הקפה שלך.
Hine ha-kafeh shelkha.
“Here is your coffee.”

הקפה הזה שלך.
Ha-kafeh hazeh shelkha.
“This coffee is yours.”

4. Reflexive
  • עַצְמְךָ
    Atzmekha
    “Yourself”

איפה אתה רואה את עצמך בעוד 10 שנים?
Eifoh atah ro’eh et atzmekha be’od eser shanim?
“Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

2nd Person Singular – Female

Introducing Yourself
1. Subject
  • את
    At
    “You”

את חכמה.
At chakhama.
“You are smart.”

2. Object
  • אוֹתָךְ
    Otakh
    “You”

אני מכיר אותך.
Ani makir otakh.
“I know you.”

3. Possessive
  • שֶׁלָּךְ
    Shelakh
    “Your(s)”

הנה הקפה שלך.
Hine ha-kafeh shelakh.
“Here is your coffee.”

הקפה הזה שלך.
Hakafeh hazeh shelakh.
“Yourself”

4. Reflexive
  • עַצְמֵךְ
    Atzmekh
    “Yourself”

איפה את רואה את עצמך בעוד 10 שנים?
Eifoh at roah et atzmekh be’od eser shanim?
“Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

3rd Person Singular – Male

1. Subject
  • הוא
    Hu
    “He”

הוא אח שלי, יונתן.
Hu ach sheli, Yonatan.
“He is my brother, Jonathan.”

2. Object
  • אותו
    Oto
    “Him”

אתה רואה אותו שם?
Ata roeh oto sham?
“Do you see him there?”

3. Possessive
  • שלו
    Shelo
    “His” / “Its”

זה העיתון שלו.
Zeh ha-iton shelo.
“This is his newspaper.”

העיתון הזה שלו. השם שלו הארץ.
Ha-iton hazeh shelo.
“This newspaper is his. Its name is Haaretz.”

4. Reflexive
  • עצמו
    Atzmo
    “Himself”

מה הוא חושב על עצמו?
Mah hu choshev al atzmo?
“What does he think of himself?”

3rd Person Singular – Female

1. Subject
  • היא
    Hi
    “She”

היא אחות שלי, מירב.
Hi achot sheli, Meirav.
“She is my sister, Merav.”

2. Object
  • אותה
    Ota
    “Her”

אתה רואה אותה שם?
Atah roeh ota sham?
“Do you see her there?”

3. Possessive
  • שלה
    Shelah
    “Her” / “Hers”

זה העיתון שלה.
Zeh ha-iton shelah.
“This is his newspaper.”

העיתון הזה שלה.
Ha-iton hazeh shelah.
“This newspaper is his.”

4. Reflexive
  • עצמה
    Atzmah
    “Herself”

מה היא חושבת על עצמה?
Mah hi choshevet al atzmah?
“What does she think of herself?”

2- Hebrew Plural Pronouns

Groups of People

1st Person Plural

1. Subject
  • אנחנו
    Anachnu
    “We”

Note that this pronoun is the same for male and female speakers. However, the verbs and adjectives we use with it must conform to the correct gender. Here are some examples:

אנחנו משחקים כדורגל היום בצהריים.
Anachnu mesachakim kaduregel hayom ba-tzohorayim.
“We are going to play soccer today in the afternoon.” (male or mixed gender speakers)

אנחנו משחקות כדורגל היום בצהריים.
Anachnu mesachakot kaduregel hayom ba-tzohorayim.
“We are going to play soccer today in the afternoon.” (female speakers)

2. Object
  • אותנו
    Otanu
    “Us”

תוכל לקחת אותנו לתחנת הרכבת?
Tukhal lakachat otanu le-tachanat ha-rakevet?
“Can you take us to the train station?”

3. Possessive
  • שלנו
    Shelanu
    “Our” / “Ours”

הגיע האוטובוס שלנו.
Higia ha-otobus shelanu.
“Our bus has arrived.”

זה האוטובוס שלנו.
Ze ha-otobus shelanu.
“This bus is ours.”

4. Reflexive
  • עצמנו
    Atzmenu
    “Ourselves”

נצטרך לעזור לעצמנו!
Nitztarekh la’azor le-atzmenu!
“We will have to help ourselves.”

Note that עצמנו (atzmenu), meaning “ourselves,” is interchangeably used to refer to male, female, or mixed gender groups of people and things in the plural form.

2nd Person Plural – Male

1. Subject
  • אתם
    Atem
    “You”

אתם הבנים של רפה, נכון?
Atem ha-banim shel Rafa, nakhon?
“You’re Rafa’s sons, right?”

2. Object
  • אתכם
    Etkhem
    “You” (object)

ראיתי אתכם בפארק אתמול.
Ra’iti etkhem ba-park etmol.
“I saw you in the park yesterday.”

3. Possessive
  • שלכם
    Shelakhem
    “Your” / “Yours”

ההורים שלכם גרים בניו יורק?
Ha-horim shelakhem garim be-Nyu York?
“Do your parents live in New York?”

הכסף הזה שלכם?
Ha-kesef hazeh shelakhem?
“Is this money yours?”

4. Reflexive
  • עצמכם
    Atzmekhem
    “Yourselves”

הסתכלו על עצמכם.
Histaklu al atzmekhem.
“Look at yourselves.”

2nd Person Plural – Female

1. Subject
  • אתן
    Aten
    “You”

אתן הבנות של רפה, נכון?
Aten ha-banot shel Rafa, nakhon?
“You’re Rafa’s daughters, right?”

2. Object
  • אתכן
    Etkhen
    “You” (object)

ראיתי אתכן בפארק אתמול.
Ra’iti etkhen ba-park etmol.
“I saw you in the park yesterday.”

3. Possessive
  • שלכן
    Shelakhen
    “Your” / “Yours”

ההורים שלכן גרים בניו יורק?
Ha-horim shelakhen garim be-Nyu York?
“Do your parents live in New York?”

הכסף הזה שלכן?
Hakesef hazeh shelakhen?
“Is this money yours?”

4. Reflexive
  • עצמכן
    Atzmekhen
    “Yourselves”

הסתכלו על עצמכן.
Histaklu al atzmekhen.
“Look at yourselves.”

3rd Person Plural – Male

1. Subject
  • הם
    Hem
    “They”

הם גרים לא רחוק מכאן.
Hem garim lo rachok mi-kan.
“They live not far from here.”

2. Object
  • אותם.
    Otam
    “Them”

אני לא מכיר אותם.
Ani lo makir otam.
“I don’t know them.”

  • אלה
    Eleh
    “These (ones)” / “Those (ones)”

אלה הדברים שלי או שלך?
Eleh ha-dvarim sheli o shelkha?
“Are these my things or yours?”

We can also use this variation:

  • אלו
    Elu
    “These (ones)” / “Those (ones)”

אלו הדברים שלי או שלך?
Elu ha-dvarim sheli o shelkha?
“Are these my things or yours?”

Note that אלה (eleh), meaning “these” / “those” and אלו (elu), meaning “these” / “those,” are used as both subject and object. Also note that both are interchangeably used to refer to male, female, or mixed gender people and things in plural.

3. Possessive
  • שלהם
    Shelahem
    “Their” / “Theirs”

איפה הבית שלהם?
Eifoh ha-bayit shelahem?
“Where is their house?”

הבית הזה שלהם.
Ha-bayit hazeh shelahem.
“This house is theirs.”

4. Reflexive
  • עצמם
    Atzmam
    “Themselves”

הם לא מרגישים כמו עצמם היום.
Hem lo margishim kemo atzmam hayom.
“They don’t feel themselves today.”

3rd Person Plural – Female

1. Subject
  • הן
    Hen
    “They”

הן גרות לא רחוק מכאן.
Hen garot lo rachok mi-kan
“They live not far from here.”

2. Object
  • אותן
    Otan
    “Them”

אני לא מכיר אותן.
Ani lo makir otan.
“I don’t know them.”

3. Possessive
  • שלהן
    Shelahen
    “Their” / “Theirs”

איפה הבית שלהן?
Eifoh ha-bayit shelahen?
“Where is their house?”

הבית הזה שלהן.
Ha-bayit hazeh shelahen.
“This house is theirs.”

4. Reflexive
  • עצמן
    Atzman
    “Themselves”

הן לא מרגישות כמו עצמן היום.
Hen lo margishot kemo atzman hayom.
“They don’t feel themselves today.”

2. Hebrew Demonstrative Pronouns

Finger Pointing

Another type of pronoun is the Hebrew demonstrative pronouns. These are used to make reference to nouns or to distinguish specific people, places, or things from others. Whenever we talk about “this” and “that,” we’re using demonstrative pronouns. So let’s see some Hebrew demonstrative pronouns, along with examples.

1- Singular – Male

  • זה
    Zeh
    “It” / “This (one)”

אני לא אוהב את הספר ההוא. אני אוהב את הספר הזה.
Ani lo ohev et ha-sefer hahu. Ani ohev et ha-sefer hazeh.
“I don’t like that book. I like this one.”

זה חבר שלי, רון.
Zeh chaver sheli, Ron.
“This is my boyfriend, Ron.”

Note that זה (zeh), meaning “it,” is used as both subject and object.

2- Singular – Female

  • זאת
    Zot
    “It” / “This (one)”

אני לא אוהב את המסעדה ההיא. אני אוהב את זאת.
Ani lo ohev et ha-mis’adah hahi. Ani ohev et zot.
“I don’t like that restaurant. I like this one.”

זאת חברה שלי, רוני.
Zot chaverah sheli, Roni.
“This is my girlfriend, Roni.”

We can also use this variation:

  • זו
    Zu
    “It” / “This (one)”

זו חברה שלי, רוני.
Zu chaverah sheli, Roni.
“This is my girlfriend, Roni.”

Note that זאת (zot), meaning “it” and זו (zu), meaning “it,” are used as both subject and object. 

3- Plural

  • אלה
    Eleh
    “These (ones)” / “Those (ones)”

אלה הדברים שלי או שלך?
Eleh ha-dvarim sheli o shelkha?
“Are these my things or yours?”

We can also use this variation:

  • אלו
    Elu
    “These (ones)” / “Those (ones)”

אלו הדברים שלי או שלך?
Elu ha-dvarim sheli o shelkha?
“Are these my things or yours?”

Note that אלה (eleh), meaning “these” / “those” and אלו (elu), meaning “these” / “those,” are used as both subject and object. Also note that both are interchangeably used to refer to male, female, or mixed gender groups of people and things in plural.

3. Hebrew Interrogative Pronouns

Question Marks

As mentioned earlier, one of the two basic categories of pronouns are interrogative pronouns. To refresh your memory, these are the ones we use in questions, and they’re words that become the grammatical subject of the question. 

For example, when we ask “Where are you?” the word “where” is the subject of the sentence, substituting the name of a place, which we don’t know—hence the question! 

Let’s see what these are and how they look in the next section of our Hebrew pronouns list.  

  • מה
    Mah
    “What”

מה אתה עושה בסוף השבוע?
Mah atah oseh besof hashavua?
“What are you doing this weekend?”

  • איזה
    Eyzeh
    “Which” (male)

באיזה שולחן בא לך (לשבת)?
Eyzeh shulchan ba lekha (lashevet)?
“Which table do you feel like [sitting at]?”

  • איזו
    Eyzo
    “Which” (female)

איזו רכבת מגיעה לעכו?
Eyzo rakevet megia le-Ako?
“Which train goes to Akko?”

  • מי
    Mi
    “Who” / “Whom”

מי אמר גלידה ולא קיבל?
Mi amar glidah ve-lo kibel?
“Who said ‘ice cream’ and didn’t get any?”

עם מי אכלת ארוחת בוקר?
Im mi akhalta aruchat boker?
“Whom did you have breakfast with?”

  • מתי
    Matay
    “When”

אתם יודעים מתי מתחיל הסרט?
Atem yodim matay matchil haseret?
“Do you know when the movie starts?”

  • למה?
    Lamah
    “Why”

אתן יודעות למה לא טוב לאכול לפני השינה?
Aten yodot lamah lo tov leekhol lifney hasheyna?
“Do you know why it’s not good to eat before sleeping?”

4. Hebrew Indefinite Pronouns

Basic Questions

The final category of pronouns in Hebrew are the indefinite pronouns. This type of pronoun is used to reference non-specific or general nouns. These pronouns can be very useful when we want to make any sort of generalization. Let’s have a look at them!

  • כולם
    Kulam
    “Everyone”

כולם יודעים שאין כמו בירה קרה ביום חם.
Kulam yodim sheeyn kmo birah karah beyom cham.
“Everyone knows there’s nothing like a cold beer on a hot day.”

  • כולנו
    Kulanu
    “All of us”

כולנו עייפים אז בואו נישן.
Kulanu ayefim az bou nishan.
“All of us are tired, so let’s sleep.”

  • הכל
    Hakol
    “Everything”

אל תדאג, הכל בסדר.
Al tidag, hakol beseder.
“Don’t worry, everything is fine.”

  • כל דבר
    Kol davar
    “Everything” / “Anything”

כל דבר שאני עושה מצליח!
Kol davar sheani oseh matzliach!
“Everything/Anything I do succeeds!”

  • כל מקום
    Kol makhom
    “Everywhere” / “Anywhere”

אני אשמח להיות בכל מקום חוץ מכאן! יש זבל בכל מקום.
Ani esmach lehiyot bekhol makhom chutz mikan! Yesh zevel bekhol makhom.
“I’d be happy to be anywhere but here! There is garbage everywhere.”

The following are common negative indefinite pronouns. Note in the examples that in Hebrew, we use the double negative.

  • שום דבר
    Shum davar
    “Nothing”

לא עשיתי שום דבר היום.
Lo asiti shum davar hayom.
“I did nothing today.”

  • אף אחד
    Af echad
    “No one”

אף אחד לא הוציא את הזבל?
Af echad lo hotzi et hazevel?
“No one took out the trash?”

  • אף מקום
    Af makhom
    “Nowhere”

אני לא מוצא את הכפכפים שלי באף מקום.
Ani lo motzeh et hakafkafim sheli beaf makhom.
“I can’t find my flipflops anywhere.”

  • משהו
    Mashehu
    “Something”

יש לך משהו קר לשתות?
Yesh lakh mashehu kar lishtot?
“Do you have something cold to drink?”

  • מישהו
    Mishehu
    “Someone”

מישהו הזמין כאן פיצה?
Mishehu hizmin kan pitza?
“Did someone here order a pizza?”

  • איפשהו
    Eyfoshehu
    “Somewhere”

אני בטוח שהשארתי את המשקפיים שלי כאן איפשהו.
Ani batuach shehisharti et hamishkafayim sheli kan eyfoshehu.
“I’m sure I left my glasses here somewhere.”

5. Conclusion: Master Hebrew the Fun Way with HebrewPod101.com!

Improve Listening

Great job! You’ve made it through this pronoun lesson in one piece. I know that Hebrew language pronouns are a lot to take in, but pronouns are truly part of the backbone of your Hebrew language mastery. So just pick a few at a time and give them some practice. It’s definitely worth it, as you can see how practical these words are, and how often we use them in everyday conversations. Plus, knowing your Hebrew pronouns will help you avoid a whole lot of confusion when you’re conversing with other Hebrew speakers.

So definitely take the time to study this Hebrew pronouns list and the examples, and go ahead and practice using them to talk about yourself, your family, your pets, your home—anything you feel like. As long as it’s a person, place, thing, or idea, it’s a noun. And as long as it’s a noun, it can be replaced by a pronoun!

I hope you found this lesson useful. Feel free to let us know in the comments below how you feel about using pronouns in Hebrew! Feeling confident, or still a bit uncertain? We look forward to hearing from you, and hope that you’ll continue visiting HebrewPod101.com throughout your journey to language mastery! Shalom!

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The Ultimate Guide on How to Tell Time in Hebrew

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Despite the fact that nowadays most people have their cell phone on them to tell the time—if not a good, old-fashioned watch—you’re likely to find yourself in a situation where you need to know either how to ask the time in Hebrew or how to offer it when someone asks. And you never know when asking someone the time might turn into a longer conversation that may even lead to a friendship at the end of the day! 

In a more general sense, being able to tell time in the Hebrew language is hugely helpful in your daily interactions, as time is one of the most universal topics. It helps us make plans, describe experiences, make sense of schedules, and much, much more. 

So it’s a good idea to practice telling time in Hebrew, as well as the various words and phrases related to this area of language. Plus, as an added bonus, it provides you with an opportunity to go over your knowledge of numbers, as well. 

It looks like it’s time to look at time!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. How to Ask for the Time
  2. The Hours in Hebrew
  3. The Minutes in Hebrew
  4. Hours Divided into Minutes
  5. General Time Reference of the Day
  6. Time Adverbs
  7. Common Hebrew Sayings about Time
  8. Conclusion: Master Hebrew the Fun Way with HebrewPod101.com!

1. How to Ask for the Time

Standard Clock

As mentioned, it’s pretty common to either need to ask the time in Hebrew or for someone to ask us the time. Whether we’re running to catch a bus, trying to get to a meeting on time, or maybe just trying to make sure we set our watch correctly after switching time zones on arriving in Israel, telling time is definitely one of those language essentials you’ll want to practice. The good news is that it isn’t terribly complicated telling time in Hebrew. Let’s have a look.

The first thing we want to know is how to ask the time. Below are a couple of ways to ask the time; the first is simple and direct, and the second is more formal. Remember that you should try to use the formal way if you’re addressing an elderly person or an official, or better yet, when speaking to any stranger.

  • מה השעה?

Mah ha-sha’ah?

“What time is it?”

  • האם אתה יודע מה השעה, בבקשה?

Haim atah yode’a ma ha-sha’ah, bevakashah?

“Do you have the time, please?”

If you want to ask not the time on the clock, but rather the time when an event is going to occur, you can ask in the following way:

  • מתי ה_?

Matay ha_?

“What time is the _?”

For example:

  • מתי הסרט עם בראד פיט?

Matay ha-seret im Brad Pitt?

“What time is the movie with Brad Pitt?”

  • מתי האוטובוס לתל אביב יוצא?

Matay haotobus leTel Aviv yotze?

“When does the bus to Tel Aviv leave?”

2. The Hours in Hebrew

Hourglass

Now let’s have a closer look at the clock in Hebrew. We want to be sure we get to know the whole twenty-four hours, which is also a great way for us to practice our numbers

A couple of important things to note here. First of all, in Hebrew, the notation system for hours is almost always given military style, using twenty-four instead of twelve hours. However, in spoken language, we say the hour using the twelve-hour system, if necessary adding an indicator for the time of day, much like we would use “A.M.” and “P.M.” in English. 

I know this may sound a bit confusing at first, but it’s really quite simple once you get used to it. Let’s jump right in and start making some sense of it all.

The first thing we want to know, of course, is the word for “hour,” which we actually just saw. Here it is again, in singular form and then in plural form, followed by an example sentence:

  • שעה

sha’ah

“Hour”

  • שעות

shaot

“Hours”

  • מה יותר נפוץ במדינה שלך, שעון בן 12 שעות או שעון בן 24 שעות?

Mah yoter nafotz bamedinah shelka, shaon ben shteym esrey shaot o shaon ben esrim vearbah shaot?

“What is more common in your country, a 12-hour clock or a 24-hour clock?”

Note that there’s no exact phrase for “o’clock” in Hebrew. However, to avoid confusion and assure that the listener knows you’re talking about the hour, you can add the following before giving the time:

  • השעה…

Ha-sha’ah…

“The hour is…”

As for how to say time in Hebrew, imagine that the clock reads “13:00.” How do you think we might tell someone the time using the language above? Remember that in Hebrew, we use the twenty-four-hour system when writing, but when speaking we express time using the twelve-hour clock! Got it? Here’s the answer:

  • השעה אחת בצהריים.

Ha-sha’ah achat ba-tzohorayim.

“It is 1:00 P.M.”

Now let’s look at the rest of the hours on the clock and how to say them all. Note that we use masculine numbers when giving the time.

TimeHebrewTransliteration
“1:00 A.M.”אחת לפנות בוקרAchat lifnot boker
“2:00 A.M.”שתיים לפנות בוקרShtayim lifnot boker
“3:00 A.M.”שלוש לפנות בוקרShalosh lifnot boker
“4:00 A.M.”ארבע לפנות בוקרArbah lifnot boker
“5:00 A.M.”חמש לפנות בוקרChamesh lifnot boker
“6:00 A.M.”שש בבוקרShesh lifnot boker
“7:00 A.M.”שבע בבוקרShevah ba-boker
“8:00 A.M.”שמונה בבוקרShmoneh ba-boker
“9:00 A.M.”תשע בבוקרTesha ba-boker
“10:00 A.M.”עשר בבוקרEser ba-boker
“11:00 A.M.”אחת-עשרה בבוקרAchat-esreh ba-boker
“12:00 P.M.”שתים-עשרה בצהרייםShteym-esreh ba-tzohorayim
“1:00 P.M.”אחת בצהרייםAchat ba-tzohorayim
“1:00 P.M.”שתיים בצהרייםShtayim ba-tzohorayim
“3:00 P.M.”שלוש בצהרייםShalosh ba-tzohorayim
“4:00 P.M.”ארבע בצהרייםArbah ba-tzohorayim
“5:00 P.M.”חמש בצהרייםChamesh ba-tzohorayim
“6:00 P.M.”שש בערבShesh ba-erev
“7:00 P.M.”שבע בערבSheva ba-erev
“8:00 P.M.”שמונה בערבShmoneh ba-erev
“9:00 P.M.”תשע בלילהTesha ba-laylah
“10:00 P.M.”עשר בלילהEser ba-laylah
“11:00 P.M.”אחת-עשרה בלילהAchat-esreh ba-laylah
“12:00 A.M.”שתים-עשרה בלילהShteym-esreh ba-laylah

Alternatively, for midnight, you can say:

  • חצות

Chatzot

“Midnight”

Here, we can see how to express the time for each hour:

  • השעה אחת לפנות בוקר.

Ha-sha’ah achat lifnot boker.

“It’s 1:00 A.M.”

  • השעה שתיים לפנות בוקר.

Ha-sha’ah shtayim lifnot boker.

“It’s 2:00 A.M.”

  • השעה שלוש לפנות בוקר.

Ha-sha’ah shalosh lifnot boker.

“It’s 3:00 A.M.”

  • השעה ארבע לפנות בוקר.

Ha-sha’ah arbah lifnot boker.

“It’s 4:00 A.M.”

  • השעה חמש לפנות בוקר.

Ha-sha’ah chamesh lifnot boker.

“It’s 5:00 A.M.”

  • השעה שש בבוקר.

Ha-sha’ah shesh lifnot boker.

“It’s 6:00 A.M.”

  • השעה שבע בבוקר.

Ha-sha’ah shevah ba-boker.

“It’s 7:00 A.M.”

  • השעה שמונה בבוקר.

Ha-sha’ah shmoneh ba-boker.

“It’s 8:00 A.M”

  • השעה תשע בבוקר.

Ha-sha’ah tesha ba-boker.

“It’s 9:00 A.M.”

  • השעה עשר בבוקר.

Ha-sha’ah eser ba-boker.

“It’s 10:00 A.M.”

  • השעה אחת-עשרה בבוקר.

Ha-sha’ah achat-esreh ba-boker.

“It’s 11:00 A.M.”

  • השעה שתים-עשרה בצהריים.

Ha-sha’ah shteym-esreh ba-tzohorayim.

“It’s 12:00 P.M.”

  • השעה אחת בצהריים.

Ha-sha’ah achat ba-tzohorayim.

“It’s 1:00 P.M.”

  • השעה שתיים בצהריים.

Ha-sha’ah shtayim ba-tzohorayim.

“It’s 2:00 P.M.”

  • השעה שלוש בצהריים.

Ha-sha’ah shalosh ba-tzohorayim.

“It’s 3:00 P.M.”

  • השעה ארבע בצהריים.

Ha-sha’ah arba ba-tzohorayim.

“It’s 4:00 P.M.”

  • השעה חמש בצהריים.

Ha-sha’ah chamesh ba-tzohorayim.

“It’s 5:00 P.M.”

  • השעה שש בערב.

Ha-sha’ah shesh ba-erev.

“It’s 6:00 P.M.”

  • השעה שבע בערב.

Ha-sha’ah sheva ba-erev.

“It’s 7:00 P.M.”

  • השעה שמונה בערב.

Ha-sha’ah shmoneh ba-erev.

“It’s 8:00 P.M.”

  • השעה תשע בלילה.

Ha-sha’ah tesha ba-laylah.

“It’s 9:00 P.M.”

  • השעה עשר בלילה.

Ha-sha’ah eser ba-laylah.

“It’s 10:00 P.M.”

  • השעה אחת-עשרה בלילה.

Ha-sha’ah achat-esreh ba-laylah.

“It’s 11:00 P.M.”

  • השעה שתים-עשרה בלילה.

Ha-sha’ah shteym-esreh ba-laylah.

“It’s 12:00 A.M.”

We can also use the word for midnight to express this time:

  • השעה חצות.

Ha-sha’ah chatzot.

“It’s midnight.”

3. The Minutes in Hebrew

Time

Now we’ve followed the small hand all the way around the clock. So it’s time to take a look at the big hand and get to know our minutes. Then, we can add the two elements together to express times that don’t fall precisely on the hour. Here we go, step-by-step:

  • דקה

dakah

“Minute”

  • דקות

dakot

“Minutes”

  • תשע ועשרים 

Tesha ve-esrim

“9:20”

Here are some example sentences showing the structure we use to give the time with hours and minutes:

  • השעה תשע ועשרים.

Ha-sha’ah tesha ve-esrim.

“It’s 9:20.”

  • השעה שבע שלושלים-ושלוש.

Ha-sha’ah sheva shloshim-veshalosh.

“It’s 7:33.”

4. Hours Divided into Minutes

Improve Listening

Great job so far. Now that we’re able to express both times that are on the hour and times that don’t fall right on the hour, let’s look at some of the ways we commonly divide the hour in spoken Hebrew. You’ll note that the divisions are pretty much the same as in English, namely the half hours and quarter hours. Each phrase is followed by an example sentence for you to practice. Once you’ve got them down, go ahead and practice your own examples!

חצי שעה -1 (Chatzi sha’ah) — “Half an hour”

  • הסרט מתחיל בעוד חצי שעה.

Ha-seret matchil be-od chatzi sha’ah.

“The movie starts in half an hour.”

  • השעה ארבע וחצי.

Ha-sha’ah arbah vachetzi.

“It’s half past 4:00.” 

רבע שעה -2 (Reva sha’ah) — “A quarter of an hour”

  • בעוד רבע שעה אני נוסע לירושלים.

Be-od reva sha’ah ani nose’a le-Yerushalayim.

“In a quarter of an hour, I’m going to Jerusalem.”

Note the difference in talking about “a quarter after” versus “a quarter to”:

  • עכשיו רבע לשמונה.

Achshav revah le-shmoneh.

“Right now it’s a quarter to 8:00.”

  • עכשיו שתים-עשרה ורבע.

Achshav shteym-esreh va-revah.

“Right now it’s a quarter past 12:00.”

5. General Time Reference of the Day

Oftentimes, we may not need or want to use the time shown on the clock, but rather a more general reference to speak about the time of day. This can be very handy when we’re discussing something that doesn’t happen at an exact time, but during a general time of day, such as in the morning or afternoon. Let’s see the more common of these terms, along with example sentences to help us practice.

Women in Early Morning

לפנות בוקר (Lifnot boker) “In the early morning” [literally, “before morning”]

אני תמיד קם לפנות בוקר.

Ani tamid kam lifnot boker.

“I always wake up in the early morning.”

בבוקר (Ba-boker) “In the morning”

מתי אתה קם בבוקר?

Matay atah kam ba-boker?

“When do you wake up in the morning?”

בצהריים (Ba-tzohorayim) “In the afternoon”

אתה ישן בצהריים?

Atah yashen ba-tzohorayim?

“Do you sleep in the afternoon?”

בערב (ba-erev) “In the evening”

את אוהבת לצאת בערב?

At ohevet latzet ba-erev?

“Do you like to go out in the evening?”

בלילה (Ba-laylah) “At night”

מתי אתה הולך לישון בלילה?

Matay atah holekh lishon ba-laylah?

“When do you go to sleep at night?”

שחר (Shachar) “Dawn”

אני אוהבת את תחושת השחר.

Ani ohevet et tchushat ha-shachar.

“I like the feeling of the dawn.” 

זריחה (Zrichah) Sunrise

אני מנסה לקום עם הזריחה.

Ani menaseh lakum im ha-zrichah.

“I try to wake up with the sunrise.”

שעת צהריים (Sh’at tzohorayim) “Noon”

Packed Lunch

שעת הצהריים זו שעת האוכל!

Sh’at ha-tzohorayim zu sh’at ha-okhel!

“Noon is lunchtime!”

חצות היום (Chatzot hayom) “Midday”

תמיד בא לי לישון בחצות היום.

Tamid ba li lishon bechatzot hayom.

“I always feel like sleeping at midday.”

צהריים מוקדמים (Tzohorayim mukdamim) “Early afternoon”

כל כך חם בשעות הצהריים המוקדמות.

Kol kakh cham bi-sh’ot ha-tzohorayim ha-mukdamot.

“It’s so hot in the early afternoon.”

צהריים מאוחרים (Tzohorayim meucharim) “Late afternoon”

נעים כבר בשעות הצהריים המאוחרות.

Naim kvar bi-sh’ot ha-tzohorayim ha-meucharot.

“It’s pleasant by late afternoon.”

בין הערביים (Beyn haarbayim) “Dusk”

יש הרבה יתושים בשעות בין הערביים.

Yesh harbe yetushim bi-sh’ot beyn ha-arbayim.

“There are a lot of mosquitoes at dusk.”

שקיעה (Shki’ah) “Sunset”

אין כמו השקיעה בחוף.

Eyn kmo hashkiah bachof.

“There’s nothing like a sunset on the beach.”

ערב (Erev) “Evening”

אני אוהב את שעות הערב.

Ani ohev et sh’ot ha-erev.

“I like the evening hours.”

לילה (Laylah) “Night”

אני אוהבת את שעות הלילה.

Ani ohevet et sheot ha-laylah.

“I like the night hours.”

Night Sky

חצות (Chatzot) “Midnight”

זמן לישון! כבר חצות!

Zman lishon! Kvar chatzot!

“It’s time to sleep! It’s already midnight!”

6. Time Adverbs

Apart from knowing how to tell time in Hebrew, both with and without reference to the clock, we’ll want to make sure we round out our language toolkit with some nifty time-related adverbs. These can help us quite a lot when expressing all sorts of activities, so it’s wise to choose the ones you think you’ll be using most and give them some practice. Here are a number of such adverbs and other useful words, along with example sentences and questions.

עכשיו (Akshav) “Now”

אתה רוצה לאכול עכשיו?

Ata rotzeh le’ekhol akhshav?

“Do you want to eat now?”

מיד (Miyad) “Right now”

אתה חייב לבוא מיד.

Atah chayav lavo miyad.

“You must come right now.”

כרגע (Karega) “Currently”

אני עסוקה כרגע.

Ani asukah karega.

“I am busy currently.”

בזמן [ש_]… (Bezman [she_]…) “While/At the same time [that _]…”

בזמן שישנת עשיתי כושר.

Bezman sheyashant asiti kosher.

“While you were sleeping, I worked out.”

הגיע הזמן ל_ (Higia hazman le_) “It’s time to _”

הגיע הזמן לקום כבר!

Higia hazman lakum kvar!

“It’s time to wake up already!”

לפני (Lifney) “Before” & אחר (Acharey) “After”

חשוב לרחוץ ידיים לפני ואחרי שאוכלים.

Chashuv lirchotz yadayim lifnei ve-acharey she-okhlim.

“It’s important to wash your hands before and after eating.”

בקרוב (Bekarov) “Soon” & כמעט (Kim’at) “Almost”

בקרוב נהיה בחוף. כמעט הגענו.

Be-karov nihiyeh ba-chof. Kim’at higanu.

“We’ll be at the beach soon. We’re almost there.”

עוד מעט (Od meat) “In a little while”

עוד מעט נעצור לחפש שירותים.

Od me’at na’atzor lechapes sherutim.

“We’ll stop in a little while to look for a bathroom.”

במשך הרבה זמן (Bemeshekh harbe zman) “For a long time”

עישנתי במשך הרבה זמן אבל עכשיו כבר לא.

Ishanti be-meshekh harbe zman aval achshav kvar lo.

“I smoked for a long time but don’t anymore.”

בכל עת (Bekhol et) “Anytime” & בהקדם האפשרי (Ba-hekdem ha-efshari) “As soon as possible”

בקרוב נגיע למרכז. אעצור בצד בהקדם האפשרי.

Be-karov nagia la-merkaz. E’etzor ba-tzad ba-hekdem ha-efshari.

“We’ll reach downtown anytime now. I’ll pull over as soon as possible.”

7. Common Hebrew Sayings about Time

Basic Questions

Last but not least, let’s end with a bit of fun. Below are a few unique and colorful Hebrew sayings related to time, along with examples of their usage. Spice up your conversation with a couple of these, and you’ll be sure to make a great impression with your Hebrew-speaking friends or colleagues!

  • חבל על הזמן

Chaval al hazman

“Amazing”

Literally, “It’s a waste of time.” It refers to the fact that it would be a waste of time to tell you just how good something is! 

המסעדה הזאת חבל על הזמן!

Hamisadah hazot chaval al hazman!

“That restaurant is amazing!”

  • בשעה טובה

Besha’ah tovah

“At a good moment.”

This one is basically a way of saying, “Great news!” 

את בהריון? בשעה טובה!

At be-heyrayon? Be-sha’ah tovah!

“You’re pregnant? At a good moment!”

Woman Showing Friend Pregnancy Test
  • בקרוב אצלך

Be-kharov etzlekha!

“Soon it should happen to you!”

לפני שבוע התארסתי. בקרוב אצלך!

Lifney shavua hit’arasti. Bekarov etzlekha!

“I got engaged last week. Soon it should happen to you!”

8. Conclusion: Master Hebrew the Fun Way with HebrewPod101.com!

Whether we happen to believe that time is money or that time is an illusion, we all know the importance of time. And one thing is for certain: time is a topic that comes up all the time in our daily conversations. Whether we want to set a date or a meeting, make sure we don’t miss the next bus to the beach, or talk to a travel agent about the length of a trip we’re planning to the Negev Desert or Nazareth, the language of time is simply an essential part of our Hebrew toolkit. 

So take time with the language of time, and I mean quality time. You’ll want to practice telling the time in the Hebrew language, asking for the time in Hebrew, using different ways to talk about time (purely with numbers versus with expressions for the times of day), and certainly make sure you’re comfortable with your numbers in Hebrew. 

To practice, write the current time in Hebrew in the comments section! 

Once you master this area of the language, you’ll surely find yourself having the time of your life! For now, our time’s up.

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People, Places & Things – Your First 100 Hebrew Nouns

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Today, we’re going to give you a complete guide to Hebrew nouns for beginners. In case you’ve forgotten your middle school grammar lessons, nouns, broadly speaking, are words that describe people, places, and things, as well as concepts and ideas. Along with verbs, they are the basic building blocks of language, and are so important that they’re usually the first words a baby learns. (Think of words like “mama,” “ball,” and “bottle.”)

With that in mind, you can see how learning from a list of Hebrew nouns that are used in everyday speech, and practicing their use, is a great way to make a big leap in your progress as a language-learner.

Before we jump into our Hebrew nouns list, though, let’s go over a few basic things to keep in mind as far as Hebrew grammar goes.

Hebrew Nouns: Gender

Nouns

So, do Hebrew nouns have gender? 

First of all, similar to languages such as Spanish and German, there’s the issue of grammatical gender with Hebrew nouns. All nouns, whether they have a biological gender or not, are grammatically either male or female.

How do you know if a word is feminine or masculine in Hebrew?

The good news is that, unlike in other languages with this feature, Hebrew uses the same article for ALL nouns, whether male or female, singular or plural. Though the plural form does change depending on whether a noun is male ז’ – זכר (zakhar) or female נקבה – נ’  (nekeyvah). 

Also, we’ll need to use the right Hebrew declensions for any verbs and adjectives we use with these nouns.

Hebrew Dual Nouns

In addition, Hebrew features a dual form for nouns that come in twos, such as eyes, shoes, bicycles, etc.

Another important factor is that to make some compound nouns, Hebrew uses something called a construct state, where the first word becomes genitive (possessive) and may change its vowels, and possibly a letter—and therefore its pronunciation. In these cases, the article (in cases where it’s needed) also jumps to the second word (the possessed noun).

We won’t go too much into detail about Hebrew construct nouns or Hebrew possessive nouns here, but do keep what we went over in mind.

Irregular Hebrew Nouns

There are also some irregular Hebrew nouns, where a noun uses the feminine plural suffix or some other morphology. These are just exceptions we need to memorize, like person and people in English.

Don’t worry, though, if this all sounds complicated. Like with all languages, you have to start somewhere and take it bit by bit. So for today, we’ll just focus on learning about nouns in Hebrew, and where necessary, explain the grammar that goes with them.

To make it a bit easier to practice, we’ll look at the top 100 Hebrew nouns, divided into eight categories: 

  • Appliances
  • Technology
  • Transportation
  • Restaurant
  • School essentials
  • Occupation
  • Family members
  • Body parts

Ready to start our Hebrew nouns list? Here we go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Nouns in Hebrew: Appliances
  2. Nouns in Hebrew: Technology
  3. Nouns in Hebrew: Transportation
  4. Nouns in Hebrew: Restaurants
  5. Nouns in Hebrew: School Essentials
  6. Nouns in Hebrew: Occupations
  7. Nouns in Hebrew: Family Members
  8. Nouns in Hebrew: Body Parts
  9. Nouns in Hebrew: Time
  10. Conclusion: Nouns are a Great Place to Start!

1. Nouns in Hebrew: Appliances

Various appliances

Appliances are a great place to start your study of Hebrew nouns, since they’re things we use on a daily basis in all sorts of situations. You might just be visiting a friend’s house and need help using the kitchen toaster at breakfast, or perhaps you want to buy a new dryer for your new apartment in Haifa. Let’s see some common Hebrew nouns related to appliances.

1. (‘טלוויזיה (נ – TV

televizyah

לטלוויזיה הזאת יש רזולוציה גבוהה.

La-televizyah hazot yesh rezolutsya gvohah.

“This TV has HD technology.” 

2. (‘מקרר (ז – refrigerator

mikarer

המקרר שלנו התקלקל ועכשיו כל האוכל רקוב.

Ha-mekarer shelanu hitkalkel ve-akhshav kol ha-okhel rakuv.

“Our refrigerator broke down and now all the food is rotten.” 

3. (‘מזגן (ז – air conditioner

mazgan

תדליק את המזגן בבקשה.

Tadlik et ha-mazgan bevakashah.

“Turn on the air conditioner, please.” 

4. (‘מכונת כביסה (נ – washer

mekhonat kvisah

שמתי את הבגדים המלוכלכים שלי במכונת הכביסה.

Samti et ha-bgadim ha-melukhlakhim sheli be-mekhonat ha-kvisah.

“I put my dirty clothes in the washer.”

*Note that this is a compound noun, and uses the construct state with מכונה (mikhonah) changing to מכונת (mikhonat).

5. (‘מאוורר (ז – fan

me’avrer

אתה תחסוך אנרגיה אם תדליק את המאוורר ותכבה את המזגן.

Atah tach’sokh energyah im tadlik et ha-me’avrer ve-tekhabeh et ha-mazgan.

“You’ll save energy if you turn on the fan and turn off the air conditioner.”

6. (‘מיקרוגל (ז – microwave

mikrogal

השימוש במיקרוגל אינו נחשב בריא.

Ha-shimush ba-mikrogal eyno nechshav bari.

“It’s considered unhealthy to use the microwave.”

7. (‘כיריים (ז – stove

kira’yim

אני מנקה את הכיריים עם מסיר שומנים.

Ani menakeh et ha-kira’yim im mesir shumanim.

“I clean the stove with degreaser.”

*Note that this noun uses the dual form, and any verbs or adjectives used must be conjugated accordingly.

8. (‘נגן די.וי.די (ז – DVD player

nagan dividi

בא לי לראות סרט בדי.וי.די.

Ba li lirot seret ba-dividi.

“I feel like watching a movie on the DVD player.”

*Note that this is a compound noun, and uses the construct state.

2. Nouns in Hebrew: Technology

Nouns 2

Another important category for learning nouns in Hebrew is technology. A ubiquitous part of our lives these days, you can hardly have an interaction that doesn’t involve the Internet, your cell phone, or a computer. So let’s take a look at some basic technology nouns with examples of use.

9. (‘מחשב (ז – computer

machshev

זה המחשב החדש שלי.

Zeh ha-machshev ha-chadash sheli.

“This is my new computer.” 

10. (מחשב נייד (זי – laptop

machshev nayad

יש לך מחשב נייד או נייח?

Yesh lekha machshev nayad o nayach?

“Do you have a laptop or a desktop computer?”

11. (טאבלט (זי – tablet

tablet

הטאבלט שלך ממש מגניב!

Ha-tablet shelkha mamash magniv!

“Your tablet is really cool!”

12. (פלאפון (זי – cell phone

pelefon

תתקשר אליי לפלאפון מאוחר יותר.

Titkasher elay la-pelefon meuchar yoter.

“Call me on my cell phone later.”

13. (אנזיות (ני – headphones

ozniyot

אני אוהב להקשיב למוזיקה עם אוזניות.

Ani ohev lehakshiv le-muzika im ozniyot.

“I like to listen to music with headphones.”

14. (מטען (זי – charger

mat’en

ראית את המטען לפלאפון שלי?

Raita et ha-mat’en la-pelefon sheli?

“Have you seen my cell phone charger?”

15. (וויי-פיי (זי – WiFi

wayfay

מה הסיסמה לוויי-פיי בבקשה?

Mah ha-sismah la-wayfay be-vakashah?

“What is the WiFi password, please?”

16. (תוכנה (ני – app

tokhnah

הורדתי תוכנה מצויינת לניווט בדרכים.

Horadeti tokhnah metzuyenet le-nivut ba-drakhim.

“I downloaded a great app for on-the-road navigation.”

17. (אתר אינטרנט (זי – website

atar internet

יש לחברה שלך אתר אינטרנט?

Yesh la-chevrah shelkha atar internet?

“Does your company have a website?”

*Note that this is a compound noun, and uses the construct state.

18. (תמונה (ני – picture

tmunah

בא לכם לראות תמונות מהטיול שלי?

Ba lakhem lir’ot tmunot me-ha-tiyul sheli?

“Do you feel like seeing some pictures from my trip?”

19. (קובץ (זי – file

kovetz

איפה שמרת את הקובץ עם שיעורי הבית שלי?

Eyfoh shamarta et ha-kovetz im shi’urey ha-bayit sheli?

“Where did you save the file with my homework?”

20. (חשבון (זי – account

cheshbon

יש לך חשבון סקייפ?

Yesh lekha cheshbon skayp?

“Do you have a Skype account?”

*Note that this is an irregular noun. Even though חשבון is masculine, the plural form is חשבונות.

3. Nouns in Hebrew: Transportation

Bus on the road

Another important category where we’ll definitely want some nouns in our lexicon is transportation. Getting from point A to point B can sometimes be a struggle in any language, but we certainly won’t get far without some basic words to get us started. So let’s have a look!

21. (מטוס (זי – airplane

matos

טסת פעם במוס?

Tasta pa’am be-matos?

“Have you ever been on an airplane?”

21. (רכבת (ני – train

rakevet

הרכבת לתל אביב יוצאת בעוד חמש דקות.

Ha-rakevet le-Tel Aviv yotzeyt be-od chamesh dakot.

“The train to Tel Aviv leaves in five minutes.”

22. (רכבת תחתית (ני – subway

rakevet tachtit

הרכבת התחתית בניו יורק היא מבוך.

Ha-rakevet ha-tachtit be-Nu York hi mavokh.

“The subway in New York is a maze.”

23. (אוטובוס (זי – bus

otobus

אתה יודע מאיפה יוצא האוטובוס לכיוון דרום?

Ata yode’a me-eyfoh yotze ha-otobus le’kivun darom?

“Do you know where the southbound bus leaves from?”

24. (מונית (ני – taxi

monit

ניקח מונית לתאטרון כדי להגיע מהר יותר.

Nikach monit la-te’atron kedey lehagia maher yoter.

“Let’s take a taxi to the theater to get there faster.”

25. (אופניים (זי – bicycle

ofanayim

אתה אוהב לרכב על אופניים?

Ata ohev lirkav al ofanayim?

“Do you like riding a bicycle?”

26. (שדה תעופה (זי – airport

sdey tiufah

אני ממש לא סובל את התורים בשדה התעופה.

Ani mamash lo sovel et ha torim bi-sde ha-teufah.

“I really can’t stand the lines at the airport.”

*Note that this is a compound noun, and uses the construct state with שָׂדֶה (sadeh) changing to שְׂדֵה (sdey).

27. (תחנת רכבת (ני – train station

tachanat rakevet

נקנה כרטיסים בתחנת הרכבת.

Nikneh kartisim be-tachanat ha-rakevet.

“We’ll buy tickets at the train station.”

*Note that this is a compound noun, and uses the construct state with תחנה (tachanah) changing to תחנת (tachanat).

27. (תחנת אוטובוס (ני – bus station

tachanat otobus

חכה לי בתחנת האוטובוס ליד הבית.

Chakeh li be-tachanat ha-otobus le-yad ha-bayit.

“Wait for me at the bus station near the house.”

*Note that this is a compound noun, and uses the construct state with תחנה (tachanah) changing to תחנת (tachanat).

28. (רמזור (זי – traffic light

ramzor

השוטר אמר שעברת ברמזור אדום.

Ha-shoter amar she-avarta be-ramzor adom.

“The police officer said you ran through a red traffic light.”

29. (צומת (זי – intersection

tzomet

פנה ימינה בצומת הבא.

Pneh yeminah ba-tzomet haba.

“Turn right at the next intersection.”

4. Nouns in Hebrew: Restaurants

Couple at a restaurant table

Another useful category of nouns in Hebrew are words we might use at a restaurant. We all love to eat, and Israelis love to eat more than just about anything. So let’s check out some restaurant-related nouns to get us working up an appetite!

30. (שולחן (זי – table

shulchan

שולחן לשניים?

Shulchan li-shnayim?

“Table for two?”

*Note that this is an irregular noun. Even though שולחן is masculine, the plural form is שולחנות.

31. (תפריט (זי – menu

tafrit

התפריט הזה ממש אקזוטי!

Ha-tafrit ha-zeh mamash ekzoti!

“This menu is quite exotic!”

32. מלצר (זי) / מלצרית – waiter / waitress

meltzar / meltzarit

המלצר ייקח את ההזמנה שלכם בעוד רגע.

Ha-meltzar yikach et ha-hazmanah shelakhem be’od rega.

“The waiter will take your order in just a moment.”

*Note the masculine form מלצר and the feminine form מלצרית, remembering to conjugate verbs and use masculine/feminine adjectives accordingly!

33. (חשבון (זי – bill

cheshbon

אני רוצה לשלם את החשבון עם כרטיס אשראי.

Ani rotzeh leshalem et ha-cheshbon im cartis ashray.

“I would like to pay the bill with a credit card.”

*Note that this is an irregular noun. Even though חשבון is masculine, the plural form is חשבונות.

34. (מזלג (זי – fork

mazleg

סכו”ם הם ראשי תיבות של סכין, כף ומזלג.

SACUM zeh rashey teyvot shel sakin, kaf ve-mazleg.

“Silverware [SACUM in Hebrew] is an acronym for knife, spoon, and fork.”

35. (‘סכין (זי/נ – knife

sakin

סכו”ם הם ראשי תיבות של סכין, כף ומזלג.

SACUM zeh rashey teyvot shel sakin, kaf ve-mazleg.

“Silverware [SACUM in Hebrew] is an acronym for knife, spoon, and fork.”

*Note that סכין is an irregular noun in that it can be masculine or feminine.

36. (‘כף (נ – spoon

kaf

סכו”ם הם ראשי תיבות של סכין, כף ומזלג.

SACUM zeh rashey teyvot shel sakin, kaf ve-mazleg.

“Silverware [SACUM in Hebrew] is an acronym for knife, spoon, and fork.”

37. (‘צלחת (נ – plate

tzalachat

תיזהר, הצלחת חמה!

Tizaher, ha-tzalachat chamah!

“Careful, the plate is hot!”

38. (‘קערה (נ – bowl

kiarah

בפסח אנחנו משתמשים בקערה מיוחדת לסדר.

Be-Pesach anachnu mishtamshim be-tzalachat meyuchedet la-Seder.

“On Passover, we use a special bowl for the Seder.”

39. (‘כוס (נ – cup

kos

אפשר עוד כוס מיץ?

Efshar od cos mitz?

“Could I have another cup of juice?”

*Note that כוס is feminine, with the plural form כוסות.

40. (‘מים (ז – water

mayim

אנה צמא בגלל שלא שתיתי מספיק מים היום.

Ani tzameh biglal she-lo shatiti maspik mayim hayom.

“I’m thirsty because I didn’t drink enough water today.”

*Note that מים is always plural in Hebrew. No singular form exists for this noun.

41. (‘תה (ז – tea

teh

אין כמו תה קר ביום חם!

Eyn kmo teh kar be-yom cham!

“There’s nothing like iced tea on a hot day!”

5. Nouns in Hebrew: School Essentials

Nouns 3

Yet another category of nouns in Hebrew that we might need are school essentials. Whether we’re taking Hebrew classes at university or sending our kids to Hebrew school, here are some useful nouns to navigate the school world.

42. (‘אוניברסיטה (נ – college

universitah

איזה מקצוע אתה מתכוון ללמוד באוניברסיטה?

Eyzeh miktzoa ata mitkaven lilmod ba-universitah?

“What are you going to major in at college?”

43. (‘תיכון (ז – high school

tikhon

באיזה תיכון אתה לומד?

Be-eyzeh tikhon ata lomed?

“Which high school do you attend?”

44. (‘חטיבת ביניים (נ – middle school

chativat beynayim

יש לי שני בנים בחטיבת הביניים.

Yesh li shney banim be-chativat ha-beynayim.

“I have two sons in middle school.”

*Note that this is a compound noun, and uses the construct state with חטיבה (chativah) changing to חטיבת (chativat).

45. (‘יסודי (ז – elementary school

yesodi

יש לי שתי בנות ביסודי.

Yesh li shtey banot ba-yesodi.

“I have two daughters in elementary school.”

46. (‘ספר (ז – book

seyfer

בסופי שבוע אני אוהב לקרוא ספרים.

Be-sofey shavua ani ohev likro sfarim.

“On weekends, I like to read books.”

47. (‘תרמיל (ז – backpack

tarmil

אל תשכח את הילקוט שלך בבית הספר.

Al tishkach et ha-yalkut shelkha be-veyt ha-seyfer.

“Don’t forget your backpack at school.”

48. (‘עט (ז – pen

eyt

עדיף לכתוב בעט או בעיפרון?

Adif likhtov be-et o be-iparon?

“Is it better to write in pen or pencil?”

49. (‘מוֹרֶה (ז’) / מוֹרָה (נ – teacher

moreh / morah

מי המורה שלך לפיזיקה?

Mi ha-moreh shelkha le-fizikah?

“Who’s your physics teacher?”

*Note the masculine form מוֹרֶה and the feminine form מוֹרָה, remembering to conjugate verbs and use masculine/feminine adjectives accordingly!

50. (‘תלמיד (ז’) / תלמידה (נ – student (in elementary through high school)

talmid / talmidah

יש הרבה תלמידים בכיתה שלי.

Yesh harbe talmidim ba-kitah sheli.

“There are a lot of students in my class.”

*Note the masculine form תלמיד and the feminine form תלמידה, remembering to conjugate verbs and use masculine/feminine adjectives accordingly!

51. (‘סטודנט (ז’) / סטודנטית (נ – student (at university)

student / studentit

אחותי סטודנטית לרפואה.

Achoti studentit le-refuah.

“My sister is a medical student.”

*Note the masculine form סטודנט and the feminine form סטודנטית, remembering to conjugate verbs and use masculine/feminine adjectives accordingly!

52. (‘מבחן (ז – exam

mivchan

יש לנו מבחן במתמטיקה ביום ראשון.

Yesh lanu mivchan be-matematikah be-yom rishon.

“We have a math exam on Sunday.”

53. (‘שיעורי בית (ז – homework

shiurey bayit

האם תוכל לעזור לי עם שיעורי הבית בכימיה?

Haim tukhal la’azor li im shiurey ha-bayit be-khimiyah?

“Could you help me with the homework for chemistry?”

*Note that this is a compound noun, and uses the construct state with שיעורים (shiurim) changing to שיעורי (shiurey).

6. Nouns in Hebrew: Occupations

Various occupations/professionals

Another helpful category of nouns in the Hebrew language are occupation and profession names. These can be useful in all sorts of daily interactions, whether we wish to describe what we do, ask someone else the same, or possibly look up a doctor to check out our sore throat after spending a chilly night in the Negev desert. 

Let’s have a look at some common occupation names in Hebrew, noting that all of these will have both masculine and feminine forms. Don’t forget to conjugate verbs and choose adjectival forms accordingly!

54. (‘רופא (זי) / רופאה (נ – doctor

rofeh / rofah

אמא שלי רופאה מיילדת.

Ima sheli rof’ah meyaledet.

“My mother is an obstetrician.” [literally, “birth doctor” in Hebrew]

55. (‘עורך דין (זי) / עורכת דין (נ – lawyer

orekh din / orekhet din

אני רוצה ללמוד משפטים ולהיות עורך דין.

Ani rotzeh lilmod mishpatim ve-lihiyot orekh din.

“I want to study law and become a lawyer.”

56. (‘אח (זי) / אחות (נ – nurse

ach / achot

חברה שלי היא אחות בבית החולים.

Chaverah sheli hi achot be-veyt ha-cholim.

“My girlfriend is a nurse at the hospital.”

57. (‘מנהל (זי) / מנהלת (נ – manager

minahel / minahelet

להיות מנהל זו אחריות רבה.

Lihiyot menahel zo achrayut raba.

“Being a manager is a lot of responsibility.”

58. (‘שף (זי) / שפית (נ – chef

shef / shefit

מאז הילדות תמיד חלמתי להיות שפית.

Me’az ha-yaldut tamid chalamti lihiyot shefit.

“I’ve dreamed of being a chef since childhood.”

59. (‘איש עסקים (זי) / אשת עסקים (נ – businessman / businesswoman

ish asakim / eyshet asakim

דוד שלי הוא איש עסקים בגרמניה.

Dod sheli hu ish asakim be-Germanyah.

“My uncle is a businessman in Germany.”

*Note that this is a compound noun, and uses the construct state with אישה (ishah) changing to אשת (eyshet) in the feminine form of the noun.

60. (‘מהנדס (זי) / מהנדסת (נ – engineer

mihandes / mihandeset

בתי הבכורה היא הנדסאית סאונד.

Biti ha-bkhorah hi handesayit saund.

“My eldest daughter is a sound engineer.”

61. (‘עובד מדינה (זי) / עובדת מדינה (נ – civil servant

oved medinah / ovedet medinah

מחר יש לי מבחן למשרה כעובד מדינה.

Machar yesh li mivchan le-misrah ke-oved medinah.

“Tomorrow I have an exam for a civil servant’s position.”

7. Nouns in Hebrew: Family Members

A very common group of nouns we’ll want to know in Hebrew are names of family members. Especially in such a family-oriented culture as Israel’s, it’s an altogether common experience to be interrogated at length regarding the members of your family—all in good humor, of course. Israelis just love talking about their family, so it’s good to familiarize yourself with the most common nouns to describe family members. Again, remember to pay attention to masculine versus feminine forms.

For more family words in Hebrew, check out our article about family members!

62. (משפחה (ני – family

mishpachah

יש לך משפחה גדולה?

Yesh le-kha mishpachah gdolah?

“Do you have a large family?”

63. (‘אמא (נ – mom

ima

אמא שלי עובדת בבנק.

Ima sheli ovedet ba-bank.

“My mom works at the bank.”

*Note that this noun has an irregular plural form of אמהות (imahot).

64. (‘אבא (ז – dad

aba

אבא שלי טייס בחיל האוויר.

Aba sheli tayas be-Chel ha-Avir.

“My dad is a pilot in the Air Force.”

*Note that this noun has an irregular plural form of אבות (avot).

65. (‘הורים (ז – parents

horim

ההורים שלי גרושים.

Ha-horim sheli grushim.

“My parents are divorced.”

66. (‘בעל (ז – husband

baal

בעלי שוטר.

Ba’ali shoter.

“My husband is a police officer.”

67. (‘אישה (נ – wife

isha

אשתי שופטת.

Ishti shofetet.

“My wife is a judge.”

68. דוד – uncle

dod

יש לי דוד בפריז.

Yesh li dos be-Pariz.

“I have an uncle in Paris.”

*Note that this noun has an irregular plural form of בנות (banot).

69. (‘בן (ז – son

ben

יש לנו שני בנים ושתי ובנות.

Yesh lanu sheny banim ve-shtey banot.

“We have two sons and two daughters.”

70. (‘בת (נ – daughter

bat

יש לנו שני בנים ושתי ובנות.

Yesh lanu sheny banim ve-shtey banot.

“We have two sons and two daughters.”

71. (‘סבים (ז – grandparents

sabim

הסבים שלי גרים בהרצליה.

Ha-sabim sheli garim be-Herzeliyah.

“My grandparents live in Herzliya.”

8. Nouns in Hebrew: Body Parts

Nouns 4

Now for the parts of the body. You can even learn these like a kid by singing or playing a song while touching the different parts of your body as you practice the names. It may sound silly, but trust us, it really works! So go play Simon Says (שמעון אומר [Shimon omer] in Hebrew) and practice the following nouns. 

Note that almost all of the body parts that are pairs use the dual form!

72. (גוף (זי – body

guf

יש לו גוף חזק.

Yesh lo guf chazak.

“He has a strong body.”

73. (ראש (זי – head

rosh

אמא אומרת שיש לי ראש טוב על הכתפיים.

Ima omeret sheyesh li rosh tov al ha-kteyfayim.

“Mom says I have a good head on my shoulders.”

74. (כתף (ני – shoulder

katef

אמא אומרת שיש לי ראש טוב על הכתפיים.

Ima omeret sheyesh li rosh tov al hakteyfayim.

“Mom says I have a good head on my shoulders.”

*Note that this noun uses the dual form, and any verbs or adjectives used must be conjugated accordingly.

75. (יד (ני – arm/hand

yad

אני עושה הרבה כושר כדי לחזק את הידיים.

Ani oseh harbe kosher kedey lechazek et ha-yadayim.

“I do a lot of exercises to strengthen my arms.”

*Note that this noun uses the dual form, and any verbs or adjectives used must be conjugated accordingly.

76. (רגל (ני – leg/foot

regel

לאצן יש רגליים חזקות.

La-atzan yesh raglayim chazakot.

“The runner has strong legs.”

*Note that this noun uses the dual form, and any verbs or adjectives used must be conjugated accordingly.

77. (חזה (זי – chest

chazeh

התינוק שלי אוהב להיות צמוד לחזה שלי.

Ha-tinok sheli ohev lihiyot tzamud la-chazeh sheli.

“My baby likes to be close up against my chest.”

*Note that this is an irregular noun. Even though חזה is masculine, the plural form is חזות (chazot).

78. (בטן (ני – abdomen

beten

לא כדאי לשתות על בטן ריקה.

Lo keday lishtot al beten reykah.

“It’s not a good idea to drink on an empty stomach.”

*Note that this is an irregular noun. Even though בטן is feminine, the plural form is בטנים (bitanim).

79. (פנים (ני – face

panim

איזה פנים יפות!

Eyzeh panim yafot.

“What a beautiful face!”

*Note that פנים is always plural in Hebrew. No singular form exists for this noun.

80. (עין (ני – eye

ayin

באיזה צבע העניניים שלך?

Be-eyzeh tzeva ha-eynayim sehlkha?

“What color are your eyes?”

*Note that this noun uses the dual form, and any verbs or adjectives used must be conjugated accordingly.

81. (אף (זי – nose

af

יש לי נזלת באף.

Yesh li nazelet ba’af.

“I have a runny nose.”

82. (פה (זי – mouth

peh

יש לה פה גדול אבל לב עוד יותר גדול.

Yesh lah peh gadol aval lev od yoter gadol.

“She has a big mouth but a bigger heart.”

*Note that this noun has an irregular plural form of פיות (piyot).

83. (אוזן (ני – ear

ozen

תפתח את האוזניים שלך ותקשיב!

Tiftach et ha-oznayim shelkha ve-takshiv!

“Open your ears and listen!”

*Note that this noun uses the dual form, and any verbs or adjectives used must be conjugated accordingly.

9. Nouns in Hebrew: Time

Clock showing time

Our last category for today are nouns related to time. No basic vocabulary would be complete without the words you need to give and ask the time, of course! So without further ado, let’s save you some time and get right to it! Note that a number of these nouns use the dual form!

84. (היום (זי – today

hayom

היום זה האתמול של המחר.

Hayom zeh ha-etmol shel ha-machar.

“Today is tomorrow’s yesterday.”

85. (מחר (זי – tomorrow

hayom

היום זה האתמול של המחר.

Hayom zeh ha-etmol shel ha-machar.

“Today is tomorrow’s yesterday.”

86. (אתמול (זי – yesterday

etmol

היום זה האתמול של המחר.

Hayom zeh ha-etmol shel ha-machar.

“Today is tomorrow’s yesterday.”

87. (יום ראשון (זי – Sunday

yom rishon

בישראל חוזרים לעבודה ביום ראשון.

Be-Yisrael chozrim la’avoda Be-yom rishon.

“In Israel, people go back to work on Sunday.”

88. (יום שני (זי – Monday

yom sheyni

ביום שני ניסע לים.

Be-yom sheyni nisa la-yam.

“On Monday, we’re going to the beach.”

89. (יום שלישי (זי – Tuesday

yom shlishi

יום שלישי זה היום הכי קשה בשבוע.

Yom shlishi zeh ha-yom hakhi kasheh ba-shavua.

“Tuesday is the hardest day of the week.”

90. (יום רביעי (זי – Wednesday

yom revi’i

יום רביעי הוא מצע השבוע.

Yom revi’i hu emtza ha-shavua.

“Wednesday is the middle of the week.”

91. (יום חמישי (זי – Thursday

yom chamishi

ביום חמישי בערב נצא למסעדה.

Be-yom chamishi ba-erev netze le-mis’adah.

“On Thursday evening, we’ll go out to eat at a restaurant.”

92. (יום שישי (זי – Friday

yom shishi

יום שישי הוא ערב שבת.

Yom shishi hu erev Shabat.

“Friday is Sabbath Eve.”

93. (שבת (זי – Saturday

shabat

שבת הוא יום מנוחה.

Shabat hu yom menuchah.

“Saturday is a day of rest.”

94. (יום (זי – day

yom

יום אחד נתחתן.

Yom echad nitchaten.

“One day we’ll get married.”

95. (יומיים (ני – two days

yomayim

עוד יומיים יום ההולדת שלי.

Od yomayim yom ha-huledet sheli.

“In two days, it’s my birthday.”

*Note that this noun uses the dual form, and any verbs or adjectives used must be conjugated accordingly.

96. (שבוע (זי – week

shavua

יום רביעי הוא אמצע השבוע.

Yom revi’i hu emtza ha-shavua.

“Wednesday is the middle of the week.”

*Note that this is an irregular noun. Even though שבוע is masculine, the plural form is שבועות (shavuot).

97. (שנה (ני – year

shanah

השנה אני מסיים את הלימודים בתיכון.

Ha-shanah ani mesayem et ha-limudim batikhon.

“This year, I’ll finish my studies at high school.”

*Note that this is an irregular noun. Even though שנה is masculine, the plural form is שנים (shanim).

98. (שעה (ני – hour

sha’ah

בעוד שעה נהיה כבר בבית.

Be-od sha’ah nihiye kvar ba-bayit.

“In an hour, we’ll be home already.”

99. (שעתיים (ני – two hours

sha’atayim

רצתי שעתיים בטיילת.

Ratzti sha’atayim ba-tayelet.

“I ran on the boardwalk for two hours.”

*Note that this noun uses the dual form, and any verbs or adjectives used must be conjugated accordingly.

100. (דקה (ני – minute

dakah

תן לי דקה לחפש את התיק שלי.

Ten li dakah lechapes et ha-tik sheli.

“Give me a minute to look for my bag.”

10. Conclusion: Nouns are a Great Place to Start!

So there you have it! One-hundred basic nouns that, if practiced, will get you a pretty long way! Whether going out on a date with an exchange student or visiting family in Israel, the list above—while by no means comprehensive—is an excellent start to be able to hold a brief conversation. And, by practicing the different forms—masculine, feminine, singular, plural, dual—you’ll be more comfortable as you expand your vocabulary. 

For now, don’t worry about the grammar too much, just focus on good pronunciation and trying your best to remember which nouns are masculine and which are feminine. But even if you don’t, don’t fret, as Israelis know how hard it is to learn Hebrew nouns, and most will gladly help you out when you make a mistake! Remember, just like babies, take it one word at a time. You should relax and do the same! Every word learned is a huge step.

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you learned any new words! Are there any nouns you want to know the Hebrew word for that we haven’t covered here? We look forward to hearing from you! 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson, and that you go out there and get talking! Shalom!

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Essential Vocabulary for Life Events in Hebrew

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What is the most defining moment you will face this year? From memories that you immortalize in a million photographs, to days you never wish to remember, one thing’s for certain: big life events change you. The great poet, Bukowski, said, “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well, that death will tremble to take us.” The older I get, the more I agree with him!

Talking about significant events in our lives is part of every person’s journey, regardless of creed or culture. If you’re planning to stay in Israel for more than a quick visit, you’re sure to need at least a few ‘life events’ phrases that you can use. After all, many of these are shared experiences, and it’s generally expected that we will show up with good manners and warm wishes.

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Table of Contents

  1. Life Events
  2. Marriage Proposal Lines
  3. Talking About Age
  4. Conclusion

1. Life Events

Do you know how to say “Happy New Year” in Hebrew? Well, the New Year is a pretty big deal that the whole world is in on! We celebrate until midnight, make mindful resolutions, and fill the night sky with the same happy words in hundreds of languages. No doubt, then, that you’ll want to know how to say it like a local!

Big life events are not all about fun times, though. Real life happens even when you’re traveling, and certain terminology will be very helpful to know. From talking about your new job to wishing your neighbors “Merry Christmas” in Hebrew, here at HebrewPod101, we’ve put together just the right vocabulary and phrases for you.

1- Birthday – יום הולדת (yom huledet)

If you’re like me, any excuse to bring out a pen and scribble a note is a good one. When there’s a birthday, even better: hello, handwriting!

Your Israeli friend will love hearing you wish them a “Happy birthday” in Hebrew, but how much more will they appreciate a thoughtful written message? Whether you write it on their Facebook wall or buy a cute card, your effort in Hebrew is sure to get them smiling! Write it like this:

ברכות ליום הולדתך (berakhot leyom huladetkha)

Older Woman Blowing Out Candles on a Birthday Cake Surrounded by Friends.

Now that you know the words, I challenge you to put them to music and sing your own “Happy birthday” song in Hebrew! It’s not impossible to figure out even more lyrics, once you start discovering the language from scratch.

2- Buy – קנה (kanah)

If there’s a special occasion, you might want to buy somebody a gift. As long as you’ve checked out Hebrew etiquette on gift-giving (do a Google search for this!), it will be a lovely gesture. If you’re not sure what to buy, how about the awesome and universally-appealing gift of language? That’s a gift that won’t stop giving!

Two Women at a Counter in a Bookstore, One Buying a Book

3- Retire – לפרוש (lif’rosh)

If you’re planning to expand your mind and retire in Israel, you can use this word to tell people why you seem to be on a perpetual vacation!

Retirement is also a great time to learn a new language, don’t you think? And you don’t have to do it alone! These days it’s possible to connect to a vibrant learning community at the click of a button. The added benefit of a Daily Dose of Language is that it keeps your brain cells alive and curious about the world. After all, it’s never too late to realize those long-ignored dreams of traveling the globe…

4- Graduation – סיום (siyum)

When attending a graduation ceremony in Israel, be prepared for a lot of formal language! It will be a great opportunity to listen carefully and see if you can pick up differences from the everyday Hebrew you hear.

Lecturer or University Dean Congratulating and Handing Over Graduation Certificate to a Young Man on Graduation Day.

5- Promotion – קידום (kidum)

Next to vacation time, receiving a promotion is the one career highlight almost everyone looks forward to. And why wouldn’t you? Sure, it means more responsibility, but it also means more money and benefits and – the part I love most – a change of scenery! Even something as simple as looking out a new office window would boost my mood.

6- Anniversary – יום השנה (yom hashana)

Some anniversaries we anticipate with excitement, others with apprehension. They are days marking significant events in our lives that can be shared with just one person, or with a whole nation. Whether it’s a special day for you and a loved one, or for someone else you know, this word is crucial to know if you want to wish them a happy anniversary in Hebrew.

7- Funeral – הלוויה (halvaya)

We tend to be uncomfortable talking about funerals in the west, but it’s an important conversation for families to have. Around the world, there are many different customs and rituals for saying goodbye to deceased loved ones – some vastly different to our own. When traveling in Israel, if you happen to find yourself the unwitting observer of a funeral, take a quiet moment to appreciate the cultural ethos; even this can be an enriching experience for you.

8- Travel – לטייל (letayel)

Travel – my favorite thing to do! Everything about the experience is thrilling and the best cure for boredom, depression, and uncertainty about your future. You will surely be forever changed, fellow traveler! But you already know this, don’t you? Well, now that you’re on the road to total Hebrew immersion, I hope you’ve downloaded our IOS apps and have your Nook Book handy to keep yourself entertained on those long bus rides.

Young Female Tourist with a Backpack Taking a Photo of the Arc de Triomphe

9- Graduate – לסיים (lesayem)

If you have yet to graduate from university, will you be job-hunting in Israel afterward? Forward-looking companies sometimes recruit talented students who are still in their final year. Of course, you could also do your final year abroad as an international student – an amazing experience if you’d love to be intellectually challenged and make a rainbow of foreign friends!

10- Wedding – חתונה (kha’tuna)

One of the most-loved traditions that humans have thought up, which you’ll encounter anywhere in the world, is a wedding. With all that romance in the air and months spent on preparations, a wedding is typically a feel-good affair. Two people pledge their eternal love to each other, ladies cry, single men look around for potential partners, and everybody has a happy day of merrymaking.

Ah, but how diverse we are in our expression of love! You will find more wedding traditions around the world than you can possibly imagine. From reciting love quotes to marrying a tree, the options leave no excuse to be boring!

Married Couple During Reception, Sitting at Their Table While a Young Man Gives a Wedding Speech

11- Move – עבר (avar)

I love Israel, but I’m a nomad and tend to move around a lot, even within one country. What are the biggest emotions you typically feel when moving house? The experts say moving is a highly stressful event, but I think that depends on the circumstances. Transitional periods in our lives are physically and mentally demanding, but changing your environment is also an exciting adventure that promises new tomorrows!

12- Be born – נולד (nolad)

I was not born in 1993, nor was I born in Asia. I was born in the same year as Aishwarya Rai, Akon, and Monica Lewinsky, and on the same continent as Freddy Mercury. When and where were you born? More importantly – can you say it in Hebrew?

13- Get a job – למצוא עבודה (lim’tso avoda)

The thought of looking for a job in a new country can be daunting, but English speakers are in great demand in Israel – you just have to do some research, make a few friends and get out there! Also, arming yourself with a few Hebrew introductions that you can both say and write will give you a confidence boost. For example, can you write your name in Hebrew?

Group of People in Gear that Represent a Number of Occupations.

14- Die – למות (lamut)

Death is a universal experience and the final curtain on all other life events. How important is it, then, to fully live before we die? If all you have is a passport, a bucket list, and a willingness to learn some lingo, you can manifest those dreams!

15- Home – בית (bayit)

If home is where the heart is, then my home is on a jungle island completely surrounded by the turquoise ocean. Right now, though, home is an isolation room with a view of half a dry palm tree and a tangle of telephone wires.

If you’re traveling to Israel for an extended stay, you’ll soon be moving into a new home quite unlike anything you’ve experienced before!

Large, Double-Story House with Lit Windows.

16- Job – עבודה (avoda)

What job do you do? Does it allow you much time for travel, or for working on this fascinating language that has (so rightfully) grabbed your attention? Whatever your job, you are no doubt contributing to society in a unique way. If you’re doing what you love, you’re already on the road to your dream. If not, just remember that every single task is one more skill to add to your arsenal. With that attitude, your dream job is coming!

17- Birth – לידה (leida)

Random question: do you know the birth rate of Israel?

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to see a friend’s baby just after they are born, you’ll have all my respect and all my envy. There is nothing cuter! Depending on which part of the country you’re in, you may find yourself bearing witness to some pretty unexpected birth customs. Enjoy this privilege!

Crying Newborn Baby Held By a Doctor or Nurse in a Hospital Theatre

18- Engaged – התארס (hit’ares)

EE Cummings said, “Lovers alone wear sunlight,” and I think that’s most true at the moment she says “yes.” Getting engaged is something young girls dream of with stars in their eyes, and it truly is a magical experience – from the proposal, to wearing an engagement ring, to the big reveal!

In the world of Instagram, there’s no end to the antics as imaginative couples try more and more outrageous ways to share their engagement with the world. I love an airport flashmob, myself, but I’d rather be proposed to on a secluded beach – salt, sand, and all!

Engagement customs around the world vary greatly, and Israel is no exception when it comes to interesting traditions. Learning their unique romantic ways will inspire you for when your turn comes.

Speaking of romance, do you know how to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” in Hebrew?

19- Marry – התחתן (hit’khaten)

The one you marry will be the gem on a shore full of pebbles. They will be the one who truly mirrors your affection, shares your visions for the future, and wants all of you – the good, the bad and the inexplicable.

From thinking up a one-of-a-kind wedding, to having children, to growing old together, finding a twin flame to share life with is quite an accomplishment! Speaking of which…

2. Marriage Proposal Lines

Marriage Proposal Lines

Ah, that heart-stopping moment when your true love gets down on one knee to ask for your hand in marriage, breathlessly hoping that you’ll say “Yes!” If you haven’t experienced that – well, it feels pretty darn good, is all I can say! If you’re the one doing the asking, though, you’ve probably had weeks of insomnia agonizing over the perfect time, location and words to use.

Man on His Knee Proposing to a Woman on a Bridge.

How much more care should be taken if your love is from a different culture to yours? Well, by now you know her so well, that most of it should be easy to figure out. As long as you’ve considered her personal commitment to tradition, all you really need is a few words from the heart. Are you brave enough to say them in Hebrew?

3. Talking About Age

Talking about Age

Part of the wonder of learning a new language is having the ability to strike up simple conversations with strangers. Asking about age in this context feels natural, as your intention is to practice friendly phrases – just be mindful of their point of view!

When I was 22, I loved being asked my age. Nowadays, if someone asks, I say, “Well, I’ve just started my fifth cat life.” Let them ponder that for a while.

In Israel, it’s generally not desirable to ask an older woman her age for no good reason, but chatting about age with your peers is perfectly normal. Besides, you have to mention your birthday if you want to be thrown a birthday party!

4. Conclusion

Well, there you have it! With so many great new Hebrew phrases to wish people with, can you think of someone who has a big event coming up? If you want to get even more creative, HebrewPod101 has much to inspire you with – come and check it out! Here’s just some of what we have on offer at HebrewPod101:

  • Free Resources: Sharing is caring, and for this reason, we share many free resources with our students. For instance, start learning Hebrew with our basic online course by creating a lifetime account – for free! Also get free daily and iTunes lessons, free eBooks, free mobile apps, and free access to our blog and online community. Or how about free Vocabulary Lists? The Hebrew dictionary is for exclusive use by our students, also for free. There’s so much to love about HebrewPod101…!
  • Innovative Learning Tools and Apps: We make it our priority to offer you the best learning tools! These include apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Mac OSX; eBooks for Kindle, Nook, and iPad; audiobooks; Roku TV and so many more. This means that we took diverse lifestyles into account when we developed our courses, so you can learn anywhere, anytime on a device of your choice. How innovative!
  • Live Hosts and One-on-One Learning: Knowledgeable, energetic hosts present recorded video lessons, and are available for live teaching experiences if you upgrade. This means that in the videos, you get to watch them pronounce those tongue-twisters, as if you’re learning live! Add octane to your learning by upgrading to Premium Plus, and learn two times faster. You can have your very own Hebrew teacher always with you, ensuring that you learn what you need, when you need to – what a wonderful opportunity to master a new language in record time!
  • Start Where You Are: You don’t know a single Hebrew word? Not to worry, we’ve absolutely got this. Simply enroll in our Absolute Beginner Pathway and start speaking from Lesson 1! As your learning progresses, you can enroll in other pathways to match your Hebrew level, at your own pace, in your own time, in your own place!

Learning a new language can only enrich your life, and could even open doors towards great opportunities! So don’t wonder if you’ll regret enrolling in HebrewPod101. It’s the most fun, easy way to learn Hebrew.

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