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question : هل in sentences that don't have a yes or no answer?

Noob question time! I was watching a video on Youtube and a sentence in the description said this: هل ظبيان صديق أم عدوّ ؟ ("Is Dthabian a friend or a foe?") I'm aware that it was colloquial Arabic but it still confused me as I thought هل was for yes or no questions; in this case, I guess it could be yes or no if the question was meant to mean "is dhabian one of the two: friend or foe?" but that's obviously not what the questions' asking. The answer would he "هو صديق" or "هو عدو", no ? So, does هل signify all questions that have an "either/or" scenario ? Why is the هل here?

August 30, 2019



هل is only for yes/no questions

أ is for any question that can't be answered by yes or no as in أظبيان صديق أم عدوّ ؟ its a common mistake


you mean common as in common with arabic speakers? That's fascinating ! Thank you!

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