link={{{imglink}}} This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. Specifically it is a policy think tank, working to develop a formal policy.
Policies – Entries: CFI - EL - NORM - NPOV - QUOTE - REDIR - DELETE. Languages: LT - AXX. Others: BLOCK - BOTS - VOTES.

The phrasebook is a set of criteria for inclusion of Wiktionary entries words and phrases in all languages, based on utility, simplicity and commonality. The phrasebook also refers to any set of terms that meet these criteria.

Criteria for inclusionEdit

Wiktionary is a dictionary of all words in all languages. To further define and limit which terms merit Wiktionary entries, there is the overall policy of criteria for inclusion.

Phrasebook entries are supported in the criteria of inclusion by a passage dedicated to them in the section "Idiomaticity"; they may not meet the requirement of idiomacity other than for the dedicated passage.


The phrasebook is made up of entries in the main namespace for common phrases in various languages, even if these phrases are semantic sums of parts such as "I love you", "what is your name?" and "how much is it?".

For example, I love you is a very common phrase in English. Although entirely comprehensible from the sum of its parts, putting "I love you" in the phrasebook allows the user to look up the translation into many languages.


Subject and objectEdit

For simplicity reasons, when a grammatical subject is necessary for a phrasebook entry, it is the speaker; similarly, when a grammatical object is necessary, it is the interlocutor.

For example, "I love you" is a proper phrasebook entry; on the other hand, "he loves her", "she loves me" and "they love everybody" are not.

Note: Some exceptions, such as "he's unconscious", may be kept, depending on the context.


When possible, orders and requests should always be accompanied by please, or its foreign language counterparts, in phrasebook entries.


Abbreviations (e.g. I'm = I am) are accepted if they are common, e.g. I'm hungry.

Numbers must be written as words, e.g. I'm twenty years old, not "I'm 20 years old"; but quotations with a number are sufficient for a phrasebook entry to merit inclusion.

Incomplete sentencesEdit

While most phrasebook titles are related to complete sentences such as I love you and I'm hungry, there are some concepts which may be expanded through various possibilities, like I'm ... year(s) old for any age as opposed to specific ages. Other examples are how do you say...in English and my name is, which also serve as guides to how different words could fit into these phrases.


The specific groups of entries that may or may not be added into the Wiktionary phrasebook are still subject of controversy. Categories of phrasebook entries to be accepted in English as well as other languages include:

  1. Basic etiquette.
    Examples: thank you very much, excuse me, I'm sorry.
  2. Greetings.
    Examples: hello, good evening, how are you?.
  3. Bodily states.
    Examples: I'm hungry, I'm tired, I'm bleeding, I'm sick.
  4. Bodily characteristics.
    Examples: I'm allergic to aspirin, I'm blind.
  5. Personal information.
    Examples: I'm married, are you married?, do you have children?, what is your phone number?.
  6. Communication.
    Examples: please say that again, please speak more slowly, please repeat after me.
  7. Proficiency in specific languages.
    Examples: I don't speak English, do you speak English?, I don't speak French.
    Treatment: These phrases are accepted when expressing proficiency in common languages such as English, Spanish, Portuguese and German. Rare languages such as Middle French, Sogdian and Suppyire are not accepted. A common criterion of commonness is whether these phrases may be attested by three independent sources as described by CFI.
  8. Commerce.
    Examples: do you accept credit cards?, how much is it?
  9. Places and directions.
    Examples: how do I get to the airport?, where does this bus go?, please turn right.
  10. Warnings.
    Examples: caution – slippery when wet, high voltage, please keep out!


Sets of phrasebook entries may be linked in appendices, usually organized by language or by subject; there is also the more extreme suggestion of moving all phrasebook contents from entries into appendices.

A phrasebook entry should be categorized in the related phrasebook category of its language: Category:English phrasebook, Category:German phrasebook and so on. There are also subdivisions such as Category:English phrasebook/Emergencies.


Votes relating to phrasebook:


Discussions on the phrasebook in Beer parlour:

See also this search: for "phrasebook" in Beer parlour archive.

See alsoEdit