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When I was working in Syria back in the 1990s, the greeting I was taught to use was "Wasalaam aleikum", but our Arabic teacher also said a "wa-" prefix and a "-kum" ending were used for the plural "you". For greeting only one person, is it correct to use the Arabic singular: "Asalaam alek" when greeting a man or boy and "Asalaam alik" when it is a woman or girl?

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"Wa" means "and" which can't be in the beginning. The accurate form which was used between The Sahaba "Assalamu Alekum" which is better to say in the plural form because it has respect to the personality receiving the greeting , though no harm of using the singular form.

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  • Thanks for this. I had mistakenlly assumed that the initial "Wa" had something to do with using the plural. I appreciate your recommendation to use the plural. Incidentally, in the French and German languages people generally use the plural "Vous" and "Sie" when formally addressing a single person. The singular forms "Tu" and "Du" are best reserved for talking with friends, family or subordinates.
    – Tony G
    Aug 28 '16 at 15:05

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