EA: how to accept a present


Senior Member

A slightly cultural question also here. When accepting a gift from someone, what should one say?

Here is an example:

A: I bought you a present... I hope you like it!
B: wow, thank you so much, you shouldn't have!! I don't know what to say (etc...)

So, what would the equivalent be in Arab culture? Should I just say 'leeh kida?, alf alf shukr' Can I say 'a7ragtini' as an equivalent to 'I'm embarrassed (bu your kindness). I want to accept the gift, but I don't want to practically grab it from their hands. I may be reading too much into this but just wondering what the custom is. I know that in Iranian culture for example, they have something where favours should be refused three times (I think?)

Looking forward to your replies! :)
  • Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I would imagine it's something like: آه شكرا جزيلا، كلفت حالك ليه، متشكر قوي، أحرجتي كدة عشان أنا مجبتلكش حاجة، كتّر خيرك ...etc.

    I think it's OK to accept the present directly, it's rude not to accept a present; hence people only refuse presents if they want to make a point or they deliberately want to offend.

    As for not accepting things directly, that does not include presents; and there is no particular number of times you should refuse it, it is just that you should not seem too eager to accept - social basically.


    Arabic - Egypt and Standard
    Yes, among Arabs (and [Sunni] Muslims generally. Don't know about Southeastern Asians, though.), your waver in accepting another's gift is an insult. It's as if you said "Get that disgusting thing off me! How much you troubled yourself to strengthen the ties between us means absolutely nothing to me! So take that useless garbage and throw it away!" So, unless there is a real reason for not accepting their gift, just accept it; it will portray you as a trusting, loving person, not greedy or anything of the kind, although it does of course depend on the situation. If there is a sound reason for your refusal, however, inform them, so that they don't feel it was because of their bad taste or something.

    So, basically, yes: B sounds polite to me.

    كلفت نفسك.
    جزاك الله خيرا.
    شكرًا جزيلا.
    Perhaps, .ربنا يخليك

    And, I guess yes: you can say "a7ragtenee."


    Senior Member
    What about when accepting invitations? I once invited someone for coffee and he declined so I said ok, maybe another time. But I was told afterwards that I was meant to ask him again as that is the custom. So what do I say when invited somewhere? Do I say, I am busy today sorry...? I am confused :confused:


    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    Well, it depends on the case. When it comes to food, people do not generally accept directly, but at the same time, unless you have a good excuse it's also rude to reject an official invitation.

    The case with your friend does not have to be rude on your side; it depends on the situation - usually if it's two friends in a coffee shop they will be arguing about who will pay (both party will want to pay) so since your friend said no to the whole deal then he is either genuinely busy or something.