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Archive for the 'Thai Grammar' Category

Negation in Thai: Learn How to Form Negative Sentences

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One of the first words a baby learns to say is “no.” 

It turns out that this little word will come in handy for the rest of our lives! We use it to express our needs, wants, and boundaries on a daily basis. Whether saying no comes as naturally to you as breathing or you consider yourself a people-pleaser, one thing is certain: 

As a Thai learner, it’s crucial that you learn how to negate in Thai! 

“Negation” refers to the act of making a positive (or affirmative) statement negative, and this is a crucial skill to have for any conversation. It allows you to tell others no, answer questions negatively, and much more. 

In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about Thai negation. You’ll learn about the rules and steps involved, pick up some useful negation words and phrases, and even gain some cultural insight along the way.

    → Before we start, you may want to look at our article about Thai tenses. This topic plays a large role in negation, so we recommend becoming familiar with it before diving into this article!
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. An Overview of Negation in Thai
  2. Other Words of Negation in Thai
  3. Thai People and Negation
  4. Conclusion

1. An Overview of Negation in Thai 

The Thai word for “negation” is: 

Literally, this word refers to the action of saying no to someone or something. This word is also used as part of a longer phrase (ประโยคปฎิเสธ) which means “negative sentence.”

Fortunately for you, Thai grammar is very easy. Things like gender and number do not affect the structure of Thai sentences at all, and negating in Thai is as simple as adding the word “no” or “not” to the sentence. 

Below are several different ways you can make a sentence negative in Thai. 

1 – Negating Affirmative Sentences [present tense]

Negation particle used: 
ไม่ (mâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + ไม่ (mâi) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
แม่ไม่ชอบสีแดง
mâae-mâi-châawp-sǐi-daaeng
Mom doesn’t like the color red.

Example 2:
ฤดีพรไม่เรียนไวโอลินวันเสาร์
rúe-dii-paawn-mâi-riian-wai-oo-lin-wan-sǎo
Ruedeepron doesn’t learn violin on Saturday.

2 – Negating Affirmative Sentences [past tense]

Negation particle used: ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) + Verb + Object [if any]
Subject + ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) + เพิ่ง (phôeng) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
ตุลย์ไม่ได้ไปโรงเรียนเมื่อวานนี้
dtun-mâi-dâi-bpai-roong-riian-mûuea-waan-níi
Tun didn’t go to school yesterday.

Example 2:
น้าไม่ได้ซื้อนมมาจากตลาด
náa-mâi-dâi-súue-nom-maa-jàak-dtà-làat
Aunt didn’t buy milk from the market.

Example 3:
ครูไม่ได้เพิ่งสั่งงานมา ทำไมยังทำไม่เสร็จ
khruu-mâi-dâi-phôeng-sàng-ngaan-maa tham-mai-yang-tham-mâi-sèt
The teacher didn’t just order the work. Why isn’t your work finished yet?

Example 4:
แก้วไม่ได้เพิ่งเริ่มเรียนภาษาจีน เธอเรียนมาแล้วสามปี จึงพูดภาษาจีนได้ดี
gâaeo-mâi-dâi-phôeng-rôem-riian-phaa-sǎa-jiin thooe-riian-maa-láaeo-sǎam-bpii jueng-phûut-phaa- sǎa-jiin-dâi-dii
Kaew didn’t just start learning Chinese. She has learned it for 3 years now so she can speak it well.

3 – Negating Affirmative Sentences [future tense]

Negation particle used: 
ไม่ (mâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + จะ () + ไม่ (mâi) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
ณัฐจะไม่ไปพัทยาวันอังคารหน้า
nát-jà-mâi-bpai-phát-thá-yaa-wan-ang-khaan-nâa
Nut will not go to Pattaya next Tuesday.

Example 2:
พ่อจะไม่ทานข้าวเย็นกับพวกเราวันนี้
phâaw-jà-mâi-thaan-khâao-yen-gàp-phûuak-rao-wan-níi
Dad will not have dinner with us today.

4 – Negating Affirmative Sentences [present continuous tense]

Negation particle used:
ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) + กำลัง (gam-lang) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
นักเรียนไม่ได้กำลังเรียนหนังสืออยู่
nák-riian-mâi-dâi-gam-lang-riian-nǎng-sǔue-yùu
The student is not studying now.

Example 2:
เด็ก ๆ ไม่ได้กำลังนอนอยู่
dèk-dèk-mâi-dâi-gam-lang-naawn-yùu
The kids are not sleeping now.

5 – Negating Affirmative Sentences [perfect tense]

Negation particle used:
ไม่ (mâi) = not
ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) + Verb + Object [if any] + มา (maa) or ตั้งแต่ (dtâng-dtàae) + Time
Subject + ไม่ (mâi) + เคย (khooei) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
การะเกดไม่ได้ทำงานมา 3 วันแล้ว เธอป่วย
gaa-rá-gèet-mâi-dâi-tham-ngaan-maa-sǎam-wan-láaeo thooe-bpùuai
Garaget hasn’t worked for 3 days now. She is sick.

Garaget Hasn’t Worked for 3 Days Now. She Is Sick.

Example 2:
พิพัฒน์ไม่ได้อ่านหนังสือมาหลายอาทิตย์แล้ว เขายุ่งมาก
phí-phát-mâi-dâi-àan-nǎng-sǔue-maa-lǎai-aa-thít-láaeo khǎo-yûng-mâak
Pipat hasn’t read any books for many weeks now. He is very busy.

Example 3:
รำไพไม่เคยไปประเทศเกาหลี
ram-phai-mâi-khooei-bpai-phrà-thêet-gao-lǐi
Ramphai has never been to Korea.

Example 4:
ตั้มไม่เคยกินผลไม้ชนิดนี้มาก่อน
dtâm-mâi-khooei-gin-phǒn-lá-mái-chá-nít-níi-maa-gàawn
Tum has never eaten this kind of fruit before.

6 – The Negation of “Can” in Thai

Negation particle used:
ไม่ (mâi) = not
ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + ไม่ (mâi) + สามารถ (sǎa-mâat) + Verb + Object [if any] + ได้ (dâi)
Subject + Verb + Object [if any] + ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi)

Example 1:
นทีไม่สามารถกินเผ็ดได้
ná-thii-mâi-sǎa-mâat-gin-phèt-dâi
Nathi can’t eat spicy food.

Example 2:
นทีกินเผ็ดไม่ได้
ná-thii-gin-phèt-mâi-dâi
Nathi can’t eat spicy food.

Example 3:
ปริณไม่สามารถขับรถได้
bpà-rin-mâi-sǎa-mâat-khàp-rót-dâi
Prin can’t drive.

Example 4:
ปริณขับรถไม่ได้
bpà-rin-khàp-rót-mâi-dâi
Prin can’t drive.

Additional note: 
These two Thai negation patterns are completely interchangeable! The meaning of the sentence will not change if you use one instead of the other.

7 – Negating Thai Adjectives and Adverbs

Negation particle used: 
ไม่ (mâi) = not

How to negate:
ไม่ (mâi) + adjective / adverb

Example 1:
เสื้อตัวนี้ราคาไม่แพง
sûuea-dtuua-níi-raa-khaa-mâi-phaaeng
This shirt is not expensive.

This Shirt Is not Expensive.

Example 2:
คุณตาเดินไม่เร็ว เพราะ พื้นลื่น
khun-dtaa-dooen-mâi-reo-phráw-phúuen-lûuen
Grandpa doesn’t walk fast because of the slippery floor.

8 – Giving Negative Instructions and Commands

Negation particle used:
ห้าม (hâam) = do not
อย่า (yàa) = do not

How to negate:
ห้าม (hâam) + Verb + Object [if any]
อย่า (yàa) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
ห้ามเข้า
hâam-khâo
Do not enter.

Example 2:
ห้ามใส่กางเกงขาสั้น
hâam-sài-gaang-geeng-khǎa-sân
Do not wear shorts.

Example 3:
อย่ากลับบ้านดึกนะ
yàa-glàp-bâan-dùek-ná
Do not come home late.

Example 4:
อย่าใส่พริกเยอะ เดี๋ยวจะเผ็ดเกินไป
yàa-sài-phrík-yóe dǐiao-jà-phèt-gooen-bpai
Do not add too much chili or else it will be too spicy.

Additional note:
Both ห้าม (hâam) and อย่า (yàa) are commonly used when giving negative commands in Thai. However, the two are slightly different in meaning. ห้าม (hâam) is used when giving a strong order, while อย่า (yàa) is typically used for giving a suggestion.

9 – Answering Yes-or-No Questions

Negation particle used:
ไม่ (mâi) = no

How to negate:
ไม่ (mâi) + Verb in the question

Example 1

Question:
เธอจะเอาขนมหวานมั๊ย
thooe-jà-ao-khà-nǒm-wǎan-mái
Do you want dessert?

Answer:
ไม่เอา
Mâi-ao
No, I don’t

Example 2

Question:
มะลิชอบสีเขียวมั๊ย
má-lí-châawp-sǐi-khǐiao-mái
Does Mali like the color green?

Answer:
ไม่ชอบ
mâi-châawp
No, she doesn’t.

Additional note: 
Sometimes questions end with รึเปล่า (rǔe-plào), which is a casual version of ใช่หรือไม่ (châi-rǔue-mâi) meaning “yes or no.” To answer negatively in this case, you would say เปล่า (plào), meaning “no.”

10 – Double Negation in Thai

Negation particle used:
ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) = not
ไม่ใช่ (mâi-châi) = not

How to negate:
ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) or ไม่ใช่ (mâi-châi) + Normal negation form

Example 1

Question:
เธอไม่ชอบฉันเหรอ
thooe-mâi-châawp-chǎn-rǎaw
Do you not like me?

Answer:
ฉันไม่ได้ไม่ชอบเธอ
chǎn-mâi-dâi-mâi-châawp-thooe
I don’t dislike you.

Example 2

Question:
ไอศครีมร้านนี้ไม่อร่อยเหรอ
Ai-sà-khriim-ráan-níi-mâi-à-hràauy-rǎaw
Does ice cream at this shop not taste good?

Answer:
ไอศครีมร้านนี้ ไม่ใช่ไม่อร่อย แต่แพงเกินไป
ai-sà-khriim-ráan-níi mâi-châi-mâi-à-ràauy-dtàae-phaaeng-gooen-bpai
The ice cream at this shop is good but too expensive.

This Ice Cream Is Delicious but Too Expensive.

Additional note:
Thai people often use double negation when answering questions. You can use both ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) and ไม่ใช่ (mâi-châi), as there’s no difference in meaning between the two words.

2. Other Words of Negation in Thai

Of course, there might be situations where you want to give a stronger (or more colorful) negative response. Following are several words and phrases you can use to add flavor to your speech and sound more like a native speaker. 

1 – ไม่มีทาง

Pronunciation:
mâi-mii-thaang

Literal translation:
No way

Explanation:
This phrase is used exactly like “no way” is in English. It’s used to express that you strongly disagree with an offer.

Example 1:
ไม่มีทางที่ฉันจะให้เธอยืมเงิน
mâi-mii-thaang-thîi-chǎn-jà-hâi-thooe-yuuem-ngoen
There is no way that I will let you borrow my money.

Example 2:
ไม่มีทางที่ปราณแต่งงานกับอรณี เขาไม่ชอบเธอ
Mâi-mii-thaang-thîi-bpraan-jà-dtàaeng-ngaan-gàp-aawn-rá-nii khǎo-mâi-châawp-thooe
There is no way that Pran will marry Onranee. He doesn’t like her.

2 – หัวเด็ดตีนขาดก็ไม่…

Pronunciation:
hǔa-dèt-dtiin-khàat-gâaw-mâi-…(verb)

Literal translation:
Even my head and leg are cut, still no.

Explanation:
This phrase is stronger than the one above. It means that even if someone tries to force you into agreement by threatening to cut off your leg or head, you’ll still say no.

Example 1:
หัวเด็ดตีนขาดก็ไม่ไป
hǔa-dèt-dtiin-khàat-gâaw-mâi-bpai
I WON’T GO.

Example 2:
ข้อเสนอบ้าบออย่างนี้ หัวเด็ดตีนขาดก็ไม่ตกลง
khâaw-sà-nǒoe-bâa-baaw-yàang-níi hǔa-dèt-dtiin-khàat-gâaw-mâi-dtòk-long
I WON’T AGREE with this ridiculous offer.

3 – ฝันเอา / ฝันไปเถอะ

Pronunciation:
fǎn-ao / fǎn-bpai-thòe

Literal translation:
Dream it

Explanation:
This phrase is used much the same way as the English phrase “in your dreams.”

Example 1:
ฝันไปเถอะ ยังไงฉันก็ไม่ตกลง
fǎn-bpai-thòe yang-ngai-chǎn-gâaw-mâi-dtòk-long
You have to dream it. I won’t agree nonetheless.

Example 2:
ใครจะไปซื้อไหว แพงขนาดนั้น ฝันเอาแล้วกัน
khrai-jà-bpai-súue-wǎi phaaeng-khà-nàat-nán fǎn-ao-láaeo-gan
Who will be able to buy that? It is that expensive. You have to dream it.

4 – บ้ง

Pronunciation:
bông

Literal translation:
Worm

Slang translation:
Not good

Explanation:
This is a slang term used among youngsters. It means “not okay.”

Example 1:
เธอใส่ชุดนี้แล้วบ้งมาก ไม่ควรซื้อ
thooe-sài-chút-níi-láaeo-bông-mâak mâi-khuuan-súue
You don’t look good in this dress, so you shouldn’t buy it.

Example 2:
วันนี้ขายของไม่ได้เลย บ้งมาก
wan-níi-khǎai-khǎawng-mâi-dâi-looei bông-mâak
I can’t sell anything today, not good.

5 – มองบน

Pronunciation:
maawng-bon

Literal translation:
Look up

Slang translation:
Not happy with something

Explanation:
This is another slang term used by youngsters. It’s used to imply that one is not happy with something.

Example 1:
เธอได้ยินปัญหาแล้วก็อดมองบนไม่ได้
thooe-dâi-yin-bpan-hǎa-láaeo-gâaw-òt-maawng-bon-mâi-dâi
Once she heard of the problem, she was not happy with it.

Example 2:
ทำไม่ต้องมองบนขนาดนั้น
tham-mai-dtâawng-maawng-bon-khà-nàat-nán
Why are you that unhappy?

6 – เซ็งเป็ด

Pronunciation:
seng-bpèt

Literal translation:
Bore of the duck

Slang translation:
Not in a good mood

Explanation:
This slang term is used to say that you’re not in a good mood or that something has put you in a bad mood.

Example 1:
เห็นงานที่ต้องทำแล้วเซ็งเป็ดเลย
hěn-ngaan-thîi-dtâawng-tham-láaeo-seng-bpèt-looei
I’m not in a good mood now after seeing the work that I have to do.

I’m Not in a Good Mood Now After Seeing the Work that I Have to Do.

Example 2:
อากาศแบบนี้ออกไปข้างนอกไม่ได้ เซ็งเป็ด
aa-gàat-bàaep-níi-àawk-bpai-khâang-nâawk-mâi-dâi seng-bpèt
I can’t go out in this weather. I’m not in a good mood now.

3. Thai People and Negation

Now that you know how to properly use negation in Thai, there are a couple of cultural aspects you should be aware of. 

1 – เกรงใจ

เกรงใจ (greeng-jai) is a trait that many Thai people possess. This word refers to the feeling of not wanting to disturb, inconvenience, or cause problems for another person. Someone who feels เกรงใจ (greeng-jai) will find it hard to say “no” to someone who has asked a favor of them. They may also try to make life as easy as possible for others. 

For example, imagine that a Thai person is visiting their neighbor’s home. If the neighbor asks this person if they would like anything to drink, the person may feel เกรงใจ (greeng-jai). As a result, they might ask for something simple (like plain water or juice) even if they would prefer something else (like a smoothie or cocktail). 

If you were asked a favor by a coworker in the workplace to assist his/her tasks, in the case that you were feeling เกรงใจ (greeng-jai), you might end up agreeing to help that coworker complete their tasks—even if you already had a lot of work to do and needed to stay overtime for that. This is because saying “no” would hurt the feelings of your coworker.

So, when you ask a Thai person to do something, you have to look at their body language as well. If they look reluctant but still say yes, you should know that they are เกรงใจ (greeng-jai) and may not actually be willing to help.

Thai People Can’t Say No

2 – Using Negation to Save Someone’s Feelings

Sometimes, saying things directly can hurt other people’s feelings. To avoid doing so, Thai people use negation in order to convey the same message in a more indirect manner.  

Example 1: เตี้ย

Saying that someone is short can hurt that person’s feelings. Instead, you could use “not tall” instead of “short.”

  • เขาเตี้ย
  • khǎo-dtîia
  • He is short.
  • เขาตัวไม่สูง
  • khǎo-mâi-sǔung
  • He is not tall.

Example 2: ถูก

Since quality and price are often related, some Thai people feel that saying that something is cheap is like looking down on its quality. So instead of using “cheap,” you could use “not expensive.”

  • อาหารร้านนี้ถูกมาก
  • aa-hǎan-ráan-níi-thùuk-mâak
  • The food at this restaurant is very cheap.
  • อาหารร้านนี้ราคาไม่แพง
  • aa-hǎan-ráan-níi-raa-khaa-mâi-phaaeng
  • The food at this restaurant is not expensive.

4. Conclusion

As you can see, Thai negation is relatively simple. The only thing you really need to worry about is how to correctly use the negating words ไม่ (mâi), ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi), and ไม่ใช่ (mâi-châi). It might take some time, but with enough practice you’ll become familiar with them. 

What are your thoughts on this lesson? Did you find it difficult, or was this pretty easy for you? And how does negation in Thai differ from that in your language? 

We look forward to hearing from you! 

If you would like to continue learning about the Thai language and culture, make sure to explore ThaiPod101.com and create your free lifetime account today. Not sure where to start? How about you try these lessons:

Happy learning!

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Does Thai Have Tenses?

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Being able to express the timing of an action is a key skill to acquire when learning a foreign language. Did it happen yesterday? Is it going to happen next year? Or maybe it’s happening right now, as you read this?

In most languages, tenses are used to accomplish this. A tense is a grammatical concept that can be applied to verbs through conjugation. For example, in English you could express the past, present, and future this way:

  • I walked.
  • I am walking.
  • I will walk.

But there’s some good news for Thai learners: There are no Thai tenses you need to learn! Thai is a tenseless language and we have other (much simpler) ways of expressing time as it relates to actions.

A Signpost with Signs for Now, Tomorrow, and Yesterday

Thai has no tenses to worry about.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. An Overview
  2. How to Indicate Time in the Thai Language
  3. Auxiliary Verbs and Prepositions
  4. Conclusion

1. An Overview

Because there are no tenses in Thai, there’s no verb conjugation either. We use the same form of a verb regardless of when the action took place. 

For example:

Past tense

  • เมื่อเช้านี้ ฉันกินขนมปัง
  • mûuea-cháao-níi chǎn gin khà-nǒm-phang
  • This morning, I ate bread.

Present tense

  • ฉันกินขนมปังทุกวันตอนเช้า
  • chǎn gin khà-nǒm-phang thúk-wan dtaawn-cháo
  • I eat bread every day in the morning.

Present continuous tense

  • ฉันกำลังกินขนมปัง
  • chǎn gam-lang gin khà-nǒm-phang
  • I am eating bread.

Present perfect tense

  • ฉันกินขนมปังทุกวันมาตั้งแต่เด็ก
  • chǎn gin khà-nǒm-phang thúk-wan maa dtâng-dtàae-dèk
  • I have eaten bread every day since I was young.

Future tense

  • ฉันจะกินขนมปังพรุ่งนี้เช้า
  • chǎn jà gin khà-nǒm-phang phrûng-níi-cháo
  • I will eat bread tomorrow morning.

You can see from the sentences above that despite the action taking place at different times, the verb (bolded) is the same in each sentence. In Thai, we use different “time words” (auxiliary verbs or prepositions) to indicate the timing of the action and to provide context. 

2. How to Indicate Time in the Thai Language

In order to indicate the time or context of an action in Thai, you need to know how Thai people express time in sentences. In addition to knowing how to tell the time (whether it’s 6 a.m. or midnight, for example), you should know the vocabulary used to talk about the present, past, and future. 

A. Present 

There are several words used to talk about the present in Thai. We’ve categorized them for you below and provided examples for each one. 

1- Now

ตอนนี้ (dtaawn-níi) is “now” in Thai. This is a safe word choice you can use in almost any situation.

  • ตอนนี้ อากาศที่ลพบุรีร้อนมาก
  • dtaawn-níi aa-gàat thîi lóp-bù-rii ráawn-mâak
  • Now, the weather at Lopburi is very hot.

ขณะนี้ (khà-nà-níi) is another word for “now.” Compared to ตอนนี้ (dtaawn-níi), ขณะนี้ (khà-nà-níi) is more formal. You would usually hear this word in the news, for example.

  • ขณะนี้เวลา 8 นาฬิกา 15 นาที
  • khà-nà-níi wee-laa bpàaet-naa-lí-gaa sìp-hâa-naa-thii
  • Right now, it is 8:15.

เวลานี้ (wee-laa-níi) – “this time” 

  • เวลานี้คือช่วงเวลาที่ดีในการซื้อคอนโด
  • wee-laa-níi khuue chûuang-wee-laa-thîi-dii nai gaan-súue-khaawn-doo
  • Now is a good time to buy a condo.

เดี๋ยวนี้ (dǐiao-níi) – “right now”

  • เธอต้องไปเดี๋ยวนี้เลย ไม่งั้นสาย
  • thooe dtâawng bpai dǐiao-níi looei mâi-ngán sǎai
  • You have to go now or else you will be late.

A Man Looking at His Wristwatch and Hurrying to Work

You have to go now or else you will be late.

2- The current period

ปัจจุบันนี้ (bpàt-jù-ban-níi) – “currently”

  • ปัจจุบันนี้ เกือบทุกคนมีมือถือเป็นของตัวเอง
  • bpàt-jù-ban-níi gùueap-thúk-khon-mii-muue-thǔue-bpen-khǎawng-dtuua-eeng
  • Currently, almost everyone owns a mobile phone.

ช่วงนี้ (chûuang-níi) – “recently”

  • ช่วงนี้ ฉันออกกำลังกายทุกวัน
  • chûuang-níi chǎn-àawk-gam-lang-gaai-thúk-wan
  • As of recently, I exercise every day.

3- Time unit + นี้

Another way you can tell time in the present tense is to use the structure “time unit + นี้” which means “this + time unit” in Thai. Below are a few examples of this structure.

วันนี้ (wan-níi) – “today” 

สัปดาห์นี้ (sàp-daa-níi) – “this week” 

  • สัปดาห์นี้ ฉันงานยุ่งมาก
  • sàp-daa-níi chǎn-ngaan-yûng-mâak
  • This week, I’m very busy.

เดือนนี้ (duuean-níi) – “this month” 

  • เดือนนี้ ฉันอยู่ที่พัทยา
  • duuean-níi chǎn-yùu-thîi-phát-thá-yaa
  • This month, I’m in Pattaya.

ปีนี้ (bpii-níi) – “this year”

  • ปีนี้ มีโรคระบาด
  • bpii-níi mii-rôok-rá-bàat
  • This year, there is an epidemic.

4- ทุก + time unit

You can also use the structure “ทุก + time unit” which means “every time unit” in Thai. Here are some examples:

ทุกวัน (thúk-wan) – “every day”

ทุกวันจันทร์ (thúk-wan-jan) – “every Monday”

  • แม่ไปตลาดทุกวันจันทร์
  • mâae-bpai-dtà-làat-thúk-wan-jan
  • Mom goes to the market every Monday.

ทุก 2 สัปดาห์ (thúk-sàp-daa) – “every week” 

  • น้องสาวของฉันไปร้านหนังสือทุก 2 สัปดาห์
  • náawng-sǎao-khǎawng-chǎn-bpai-ráan-nǎng-sǔue-thúk-sàp-daa
  • My younger sister goes to a bookshop every 2 weeks.

ทุก 3 เดือน (thúk-duuean) – “every month” 

  • คุณยายไปหาหมอทุก 3 เดือน
  • khun-yaai-bpai-hǎa-mǎaw-thúk-sǎam-duuean
  • Grandmother goes to see a doctor every 3 months.

ทุกปี (thúk-bpii) – “every year” 

  • ครอบครัวของเราไปทะเลทุกปี
  • khrâawp-khruua-khǎawng-rao-bpai-thá-lee-thúk-bpii
  • Our family goes to the sea every year.

B. Past 

Just as we saw for the present tense, there are many words we can use to describe past events in Thai. Let’s take a look! 

1- In the past

ในอดีต (nai-à-dìit) means “in the past” in Thai. It refers to any period that took place more than fifty years ago.

  • ในอดีต คนไทยเดินทางโดยเรือเป็นหลัก
  • nai-à-dìit khon-thai-dooen-thaang-dooi-ruuea-bpen-làk
  • In the past, Thai people mainly traveled by boat.
People Selling Produce on the River in the Vietnamese City of Can Tho

In the past, Thai people mainly traveled by boat.

เมื่อก่อน (mûuea-gàawn) is another word for “in the past.” This one is used when referring to past events that took place not as long ago. It’s often used to talk about things that used to happen in the past, but no longer happen nowadays.

  • เมื่อก่อน ฉันเคยไม่กินผัก
  • mûuea-gàawn chǎn-khooei-mâi-gin-phàk
  • In the past, I used to not eat vegetables.

ก่อนหน้านี้ (gaawn-hnaa-nii) means “before this time.” It also refers to a time in the past, but usually in reference to something that has just happened.  

  • ฉันเพิ่งกินมาก่อนหน้านี้เอง
  • chan-phôeng-gin-maa-gàawn-nâa-níi-eeng
  • I just ate before this.

2- เมื่อ + time period

The structure “เมื่อ + time period” can be used to refer to a period of time that has just passed.

เมื่อวาน (mûuea-waan) is “yesterday.” This one is special, as วาน does not mean “day” in Thai.

  • รัมภาเพิ่งกลับจากฮ่องกงเมื่อวาน
  • ram-phaa-phôeng-glàp-jàak-hâwng-gong-mûuea-waan
  • Rampa just came back from Hong Kong yesterday.

เมื่อวานซืน (mûuea-waan-suuen) – “the day before yesterday”

  • ฉันเพิ่งย้ายมาอยู่ที่นี่เมื่อวานซืน
  • chǎn-phôeng-yáai-maa-yùu-thîi-nîi-mûuea-waan-suuen
  • I just moved in here the day before yesterday.

เมื่อเช้า (mûuea-chao) – “this morning” 

  • เมื่อเช้า ฝนตกแรงมาก
  • mûuea-cháo fǒn-dtòk-raaeng-mâak
  • It rained heavily this morning.

เมื่อกลางวัน (mûuea-glaang-wan) – “this afternoon” 

  • ปรางทำกระเป๋าเงินหายเมื่อกลางวัน
  • bpraang-tham-grà-bpǎo-ngoen-hǎai-mûuea-glaang-wan
  • Prang lost her wallet this afternoon.

เมื่อเย็น (mûuea-yen) – “this evening” 

  • ดาวกินเค้กไป 2 ชิ้น เมื่อเย็นที่ผ่านมา
  • Daao-gin-khéek-bpai-sǎawng-chín-mûuea-yen-thîi-phàan-maa
  • Dow ate 2 pieces of cake this past evening.

เมื่อคืน (mûuea-khuuen) – “last night” 

  • เมื่อคืนนี้ ต่ายไปนอนบ้านเพื่อน
  • mûuea-khuuen-níi dtàai-bpai-naawn-bâan-phûuean
  • Last night, Tai slept at her friend’s house.

3- Time unit + ที่แล้ว/ก่อน

The structure “time unit + ที่แล้ว/ก่อน” is like the Thai version of “ago.” Here are some examples:

2 วันก่อน (sǎawng-wan-gàawn) – “2 days ago” 

3 สัปดาห์ที่แล้ว (sǎam-sàp-daa-thîi-láaeo) – “3 weeks ago”

  • พ่อซื้อเสื้อตัวใหม่ให้ฉันเมื่อสามสัปดาห์ที่แล้ว
  • phâaw-súue-sûuea-dtuua-mài-hâi-chǎn-mûuea-sǎam-sàp-daa-thîi-láaeo
  • Dad bought me a new shirt 3 weeks ago.

5 เดือนที่แล้ว (hâa-duuean-thîi-láaeo) – “5 months ago” 

  • ร้านกาแฟนี้เพิ่งเปิดเมื่อห้าเดือนที่แล้ว
  • ráan-gaa-faae-níi-phôeng-bpòet-mûuea-hâa-duuean-thîi-láaeo
  • This coffee shop just opened 5 months ago.

4 ปีก่อน (sìi-bpii-gàawn) – “4 years ago”

  •  ฉันซื้อรถคันนี้เมื่อสี่ปีก่อน
  • chǎn-súue-rót-khan-níi-mûuea-sìi-bpii-gàawn
  • I bought this car 4 years ago.

C. Future 

Now, let’s go over how to talk about the future in Thai. 

1- In the future

ในอนาคต (nai-à-naa-khót) – “in the future” 

  • ในอนาคต น้ำวางแผนจะย้ายมาอยู่เชียงใหม่
  • nai-à-naa-khót náam-waang-phǎaen-jà-yáai-maa-yùu-chiiang-mài
  • In the future, Nam plans to move to Chiangmai.

พรุ่งนี้ (phrûng-níi) – “tomorrow”

  • ฉันหวังว่าฝนจะไม่ตกวันพรุ่งนี้
  • chǎn-wǎng-wâa-fǒn-jà-mâi-dtok-wan-phrûng-níi
  • I hope it will not rain tomorrow.

มะรืนนี้ (má-ruuen-níi) – “the day after tomorrow” 

  • มะรืนนี้ พิมจะสอบเลข
  • má-ruuen-níi phim-jà-sàawp-lêek
  • Pim will have a math test the day after tomorrow.
A Couple of Equations on a Math Test

Pim will have a math test the day after tomorrow.

2- Time unit + ข้างหน้า

The structure “time unit + ข้างหน้า” is like “in ___ time unit” in Thai. Here are some examples for you:

2 ชั่วโมงข้างหน้า (sǎawng-chûua-moong-khâang-nâa) – “in 2 hours” 

  • เธอจะมาถึงในอีกสองชั่วโมงข้างหน้า
  • thooe-jà-maa-thǔeng-nai-ìik-sǎawng-chûua-moong-khâang-nâa
  • She will arrive in 2 hours.

10 วันข้างหน้า (sìp-wan-khâang-nâa) – “in 10 days” 

  • ฉันจะทำให้เสร็จใน 10 วันข้างหน้า
  • chǎn-jà-tham-hâi-sèt-nai-sìp-wan-khâang-nâa
  • I will finish this in 10 days.

7 ปีข้างหน้า (jèt-bpii-khâang-nâa) – “in 7 years” 


3. Auxiliary Verbs and Prepositions

As mentioned above, Thai people also use auxiliary verbs and prepositions to indicate the time of an action. Let’s take a closer look at this through examples.

A- กำลัง

  • Thai pronunciation: gam-lang
  • English meaning: v.ing
  • Word type: auxiliary verb
  • How to use: กำลัง + verb

Explanation:
This word is used to show that the subject is doing the action now. Thus, it implies the present continuous tense.

Example 1:
ณัฐพรกำลังเขียนรายงานภาษาอังกฤษอยู่
nát-thà-phaawn-gam-lang-khǐian-raai-ngaan-phaa-sǎa-ang-grìt-yùu
Nattaporn is now writing an English report.

Example 2:
คุณตากำลังรดน้ำต้นไม้
khun-dtaa-gam-lang-rót-nám-dtôn-mái
Grandfather is watering the trees.

B- เคย

  • Thai pronunciation: khooei
  • English meaning: used to
  • Word type: auxiliary verb
  • How to use: เคย + verb

Explanation:
This one is used to show that the subject used to do a certain action but no longer does that action now. Thus, it implies the past tense.

Example 1:
เมื่อก่อน แม่เคยขับรถไปส่งฉันที่โรงเรียนทุกวัน
mûuea-gàawn mâae-khooei-khàp-rót-bpai-sòng-chǎn-thîi-roong-riian-thúk-wan
Mom used to drive me to school every day in the past.

Example 2:
มีคณาเคยอยู่ที่พัทลุงตอนเด็ก
mii-khá-naa-khooei-yùu-thîi-phát-thá-lung-dtaawn-dèk
Meekhana used to live in Pattalung when she was young.

C- เพิ่ง

  • Thai pronunciation: phôeng
  • English meaning: just
  • Word type: auxiliary verb
  • How to use: เพิ่ง + verb

Explanation:
You can use this word to show that the subject has just completed an action. Thus, it implies the past tense.

Example 1:
นทีเพิ่งอบพิซซ่าเสร็จ รีบมากินเร็ว
ná-thii-phôeng-òp-phít-sâa-sèt rîip-maa-gin-reo
Nathee just finished baking his pizza. Come and eat it quickly.

A Pizza Fresh Out of the Oven

Nathee just finished baking his pizza. Come and eat it quickly.

Example 2:
เขาเพิ่งเริ่มทาสี
khǎo-phôeng-rôoem-thaa-sǐi
He just started painting.

D- จะ

  • Thai pronunciation:
  • English meaning: will
  • Word type: auxiliary verb
  • How to use: จะ + verb

Explanation:
This word is used to show that the subject will do a certain action in the future. Thus, it implies the future tense.

Example 1:
วารีจะไปตราดมะรืนนี้
waa-rii-jà-bpai-dtràat-má-ruuen-níi
Waree will go to Trad the day after tomorrow.

Example 2:
เตารีดที่บ้านเพิ่งเสีย พ่อจะไปซื้อเตารีดใหม่เย็นนี้
dtao-rîit-thîi-bâan-phôeng-sǐia phâaw-jà-bpai-súue-dtao-rîit-mài-yen-níi
The iron at my home just broke. Dad will go buy a new one this evening.

E- ตั้งแต่

  • Thai pronunciation: dtâng-dtàae
  • English meaning: since
  • Word type: preposition
  • How to use: ตั้งแต่ + starting time

Explanation:
This preposition is used to emphasize the starting time of an action that the subject has been doing. Thus, it implies a perfect tense.

Example 1:
ฉันย้ายมาอยู่ที่ภูเก็ตตั้งแต่ 2009
chǎn-yáai-ma-yùu-thîi-phuu-gèt-dtâng-dtàae-bpii-sǎawng-phan-gâo
I have moved to Phuket and lived here since 2009.

Example 2:
แม่ทำงานเป็นนักบัญชีตั้งแต่อายุ 25 ปี
mâae-tham-ngaan-bpen-nák-ban-chii-dtâng-dtâae-aa-yú-yîi-sìp-hâa-bpii
Mom has worked as an accountant since she was 25 years old.

F- มา

  • Thai pronunciation: maa
  • English meaning: for
  • Word type: preposition
  • How to use: มา + length of time

Explanation:
This one is used to tell how long the subject has been doing a certain action. Thus, it implies a perfect tense.

Example 1:
กฤษณาวาดภาพเป็นงานอดิเรกมา 10 ปีแล้ว
grìt-sà-nǎ-wâat-phâap-bpen-ngaan-à-dì-rèek-maa-sìp-bpii-láaeo
Kritsana has been drawing as a hobby for 10 years now.

Example 2:  
ฤดีกรไม่สบาย จึงไม่ได้ไปเรียนมา 1 สัปดาห์แล้ว
rúe-dii-gaawn-mâi-sà-baai jueng-mâi-dâi-bpai-riian-maa-nùeng-sàp-daa-láaeo
Ruedeekorn is sick. She hasn’t gone to school for a week now.

4. Conclusion

By now, I bet you feel that this was one of the easiest Thai grammar lessons ever! As long as you keep practicing, it won’t take very long for you to master the essential skill of talking about the past, present, and future in Thai. 

What tenses are there in your native language, and how do they work? Do you think that the Thai way of indicating time is easier or harder? 

We hope you enjoyed this lesson! If you’d like to continue studying with ThaiPod101.com, we have a few fun recommendations for you:

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

How Long Does it Take to Learn Thai?

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If you’re like most aspiring language learners, you’ve probably asked this all-too-common question at some point: How long does it take to learn Thai? 

Thai is not an easy language to learn, especially for a native English speaker. You’ll have to learn a whole new reading and writing system, study a new set of grammar rules, and—most difficult of all—get the hang of Thai pronunciation. Fortunately, the grammar part is pretty simple as there’s no verb conjugation to worry about (tense, mood, and gender play no role here).  

Taking the language’s difficulty into consideration, what kind of time commitment should you expect? 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the three different levels of Thai fluency: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. For each level, we will provide a list of abilities the learner should have at that stage (based on the CU-TFL test for non-native speakers). In addition, we’ll talk about the different factors that can influence your progress and give you tips on how to learn the Thai language faster. 

Let’s go!

How Long Does It Take to Learn Thai?
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. Factors That Affect Your Thai Language Learning
  2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Beginner Level?
  3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Intermediate Level?
  4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Advanced Level?
  5. Conclusion

1. Factors That Affect Your Thai Language Learning

Before we get ahead of ourselves, you should know that there’s no concrete answer regarding how long it takes to learn Thai. There are many factors that can affect your Thai learning progress:

  • Where you live.

    If you live in Thailand or visit the country often, you’ll naturally become more familiar with the Thai language. This frequent exposure will help you pick up basic words and phrases, and get you acquainted with Thai pronunciation.
  • Whether you have Thai people in your life.

    One of the best ways to gain Thai speaking skills is to practice with native speakers. If you have family members, friends, or colleagues who are Thai, you can pick up the language much more quickly!
  • Your reasons for learning the language.

    Why are you learning Thai? If you chose to learn Thai for personal reasons, such as interest in the culture or a loved one who speaks the language, you’re more likely to learn it well!
  • Your opportunities to use Thai.

    The more you use the language, the better your language skills will become. By practicing what you learn, you’re allowing yourself to internalize the information and concepts—the ultimate key to success!
  • Your learning ability.

    Is langu1age learning your specialty, or are you better at math and science? Are you a fast learner in general? How’s your memory? Your learning experience and abilities have a massive effect on how long it will take you to learn Thai.
  • Your learning resources and methods.

    Who’s teaching you Thai? What materials are you using? Having good Thai learning resources for your studies is like having a good car for driving: It will help you get to your destination faster and with fewer issues.

To put it simply: If you’re in a good environment for learning Thai, you can learn it faster.

2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Beginner Level?

So, how long does it take to learn basic Thai? 

It should take around 500 hours (20 weeks if you study 25 hours a week).  

Thai Skills Needed for Beginner Level

In order to reach the beginner level, there are a few skills you’ll need to master. 

Reading: 

  • Memorize all characters of the Thai script. 
  • Memorize the vocabulary used in daily life.
  • Understand basic phrases and sentences. 
  • Read and understand signs written in basic language.
  • Understand basic written orders and instructions.
  • Understand vocabulary associated with the characteristics of objects, people, and places.

Listening: 

  • Understand short, simple sentences.
  • Understand the phrases used in day-to-day conversations.
  • Memorize key phrases used during social interactions.

Speaking: 

  • Use simple words and sentence structures to make basic conversation. 
  • Communicate effectively in daily life.

Writing: 

  • Write simple words, phrases, or sentences used in daily life.
  • You tend to use the same simple sentence structures over and over again.
  • You will probably make a lot of spelling and spacing mistakes.  

Learning Tips for Beginners

500 hours is a long time! But luckily for you, we’re here with some tips on how to learn basic Thai more effectively. 

  • Memorize all 44 consonants and 21 vowels early on.

    Instead of learning with romanization, you should learn all of the Thai characters right from the start. Doing so will make Thai pronunciation easier for you to master. A great way to really internalize them is to listen to and repeat after the alphabet songs Thai children listen to.
  • Practice the five tones.

    The hardest part of learning Thai is the pronunciation, especially when it comes to the tones. In Thai, the consonant and vowel sounds combine with one of five tones in order to form different words. Practicing these five tones early on will help you become familiar with them from the start, and help you make faster progress later on!
  • Memorize the most important vocabulary used in daily life.

    Beginner-level students should be able to make and understand day-to-day conversations, so it’s very important to remember key vocabulary. Using flashcards and trying to remember words and phrases based on category is a great idea at this point.
  • Listen to Thai songs.

    Listening to Thai songs is a great way to become familiar with the pronunciation, even if you can’t understand the lyrics. This is an enjoyable study method that you can do at the same time as other activities: during your morning routine, on the way to work, while exercising, etc. It won’t take long for you to find yourself pleasantly surprised at how much vocabulary you’ve picked up through songs!
I Love Thai Songs.
  • Watch educational kids’ shows or cartoons.

    Even Thai children pick up the language through educational shows and cartoons, which makes this a wonderful learning resource for non-native beginners.
  • Read kids’ tales or stories.

    Stories for children are often written using simple language, which makes them good for both reading and pronunciation practice.

How ThaiPod101 Can Help

ThaiPod101.com is the best place to learn Thai online. In addition to our recommended lesson pathways for beginners, we have plenty of fun and effective resources you can take advantage of from Day One! 

  • Our Thai Alphabet Video

    If you’ve just started learning Thai, we recommend beginning with our Thai alphabet video. As mentioned earlier, learning the Thai alphabet should be your first priority as this will speed up your progress and make your continued studies easier. We have a few lessons and articles on our website covering this topic, but many new students benefit from visual and auditory learning. Click the link above to visit our Thai alphabet video on YouTube!
  • ThaiPod101 YouTube Channel

    Speaking of YouTube, have you been to our channel? We provide fun, engaging content on a range of topics, from vocabulary and pronunciation to culture!
  • Flashcards

    Wondering how to learn Thai vocabulary effectively? Use the spaced repetition flashcards on our website to memorize new words and phrases via a proven method!
  • Painless Thai Grammar

    Our Painless Thai Grammar lesson is the perfect place to get some useful tips on how to learn the more difficult grammar concepts. However, we also have tons of other lessons on various Thai grammar points! You may find it useful to write three original sentences after each lesson, applying the concept(s) you just learned; this will help you ensure you understood the lesson correctly.
  • Introduction to Thai Writing

    If you aren’t sure how to learn Thai writing, we recommend visiting our Introduction to Thai Writing page. Here, you’ll find all of the information you need to know as a beginner. Learning to write in Thai will be even easier with the help of a native speaker, so you may want to upgrade to Premium PLUS and utilize our MyTeacher service. This way, you can practice writing sentences and then send them to your personal teacher for feedback!
Write Three Original Sentences for Your Teacher.
  • Ultimate Thai Pronunciation Guide

    Another page you should visit is our Ultimate Thai Pronunciation Guide. This lesson will provide you with all of the basics you need to know, so you can get a good headstart on your learning. It will be hard to get the pronunciation and tones correct by yourself, so you should record yourself speaking and send the audio to your teacher for feedback.

3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Intermediate Level?

How long does it take to learn intermediate-level Thai? It should take around 1,100 hours (44 weeks if you study 25 hours a week). Following is a breakdown of what you should know… 

Thai Skills Needed for Intermediate Level

To complete the intermediate level, here are the Thai language skills you need to have. 

Reading:

  • Understand short essays or stories on topics that interest you (or that you’re specialized in) with long and complicated sentences.   
  • Identify the main idea of an essay or story. 
  • Understand the context of a sentence.

Listening:  

  • Understand stories when spoken in a clear fashion at normal speed.
  • You might still be unable to understand long and complicated stories.

Speaking: 

  • Use both formal and informal language when speaking, and offer opinions on topics that are familiar to you.
  • Communicate with Thai people on less-familiar topics (though you might struggle) and use some non-verbal language.

Writing:  

  • Write essays with a good flow in terms of time, ideas, and logic.
  • Use conjunctions in essays and other texts.
  • Describe, explain, and give information via writing.
  • You might still make some mistakes in spelling, spacing, and word choice.

Learning Tips for Intermediate-Level Students

Reaching this level is a huge time commitment, but we have a few tips on how to learn Thai more quickly. 

  • Read short stories or essays on topics that interest you.

    To write well, you should start by reading so you become more familiar with sentence structure and how to use conjunctions. By reading stories or essays that match your interests, you’ll make the process more enjoyable and might be able to memorize even more vocabulary.
  • Translate short stories or essays.

    This will allow you to pick up more useful vocabulary and become familiar with things like conjunctions and essay structures. As with the tip above, you should make sure to pick short stories or essays on topics that fascinate you. For example, if you like cooking, try translating your special recipe into Thai.
  • Watch Thai TV shows, movies, or dramas.

    Watching Thai TV shows, movies, or dramas is a great way to practice listening and become more familiar with how Thai people speak in various situations.
Thai Movies Are Fun.

How ThaiPod101 Can Help 

ThaiPod101.com has plenty of useful resources for intermediate learners, too! Here are just a few recommended pages and tools for you. 

  • 5 Tips to Reach Intermediate Level 

    If you’re feeling stuck at the beginner stage, listen to these five tips from Alisha on how to finally move forward to the intermediate level.
  • Intermediate-Level YouTube Videos

    Of course, our YouTube channel features plenty of fun and educational videos designed for intermediate-level learners. Check it out!

4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Advanced Level?

To become completely fluent in Thai, you’ll need to put in a whopping 2,500 hours (100 weeks if you study 25 hours a week). Here’s everything you should know about reaching the advanced level. 

Thai Skills Needed for Advanced Level

Reading:

  • Understand both academic and non-academic texts on a variety of topics, featuring both complex and simple sentences. 
  • Know and be able to use Thai idioms, proverbs, and other sayings that aren’t used much in daily life.

Listening: 

  • Understand both academic and non-academic stories, even when the speaker talks quickly. 
  • Understand the tone of the speaker and the cultural/societal context within the story. 

Speaking: 

  • Use formal/informal language as required by the situation. 
  • Communicate well on a variety of topics. 
  • Give explanations and opinions, influence and persuade others, and make compromises. 
  • Use all Thai vocabulary and grammar correctly, including slang, idioms, and proverbs.
  • Have a good understanding of Thai culture and apply this to your speech. 

Writing:

  • Write essays on various topics.
  • Explain, discuss, share opinions, and do creative writing.
  • Use suitable words and sentence structures, as well as idioms, proverbs, and other Thai sayings.
  • Write essays with good flow in terms of time, ideas, and logic, with a solid conclusion at the end.

Learning Tips for Advanced Students

  • Read and summarize academic essays.

    You likely have no problem with non-academic topics at this point, so you should focus on the academic part. By reading and summarizing essays written in Thai, you can learn new words and structures and practice writing.
  • Watch or listen to Thai news.

    Listening to something more formal like the news will help you become familiar with academic vocabulary that’s less common in daily life.
  • Watch Thai TV shows, movies, or dramas in various genres.

    Watching Thai movies and shows is a great way to practice your listening and become more familiar with Thai culture. It will also expose you to various Thai accents, and give you a better idea of how idioms and proverbs are used in different contexts.
  • Debate on various topics.

    Try debating with your Thai friends on various topics. This will help you practice explaining concepts, giving your opinions, influencing others, persuading your audience, and making compromises.
Let’s Debate on Which Is the Healthier Way to Cook: Boiling or Steaming?

How ThaiPod101 Can Help

  • Conversation Starters for Advanced Listeners

    Knowing how to start and hold conversations is a crucial skill for advanced-level learners. In our Conversation Starters for Advanced Learners series, you can listen to various Thai-related stories to improve your listening and speaking skills.
  • Must-Know Thai Slang Words & Phrases

    Knowing how to use slang, idioms, and proverbs is a major step forward. In our Must-Know Thai Slang Words & Phrases series, you’ll be able to learn phrases you wouldn’t find in a textbook—from sayings about personalities and electronics, to words you can use to sound cuter!
  • Advanced-Level YouTube Videos

    Finally, our YouTube channel has plenty of videos geared toward advanced-level learners. Pick up more complex phrases and sentences, dive deeper into various grammar concepts, discover more about Thai culture, and have fun the entire time!

Conclusion

By this point, we’re sure that you have a better idea of how long it takes to learn Thai. What are your thoughts on the topic? If you’ve already started learning Thai, please comment below to let your fellow language learners know how long it took you to get where you are!

Since you’re reading this article, you’re surely interested in the Thai language and/or culture. ThaiPod101.com has an array of fun but practical lessons and materials you’re sure to enjoy going through! Create your free lifetime account today to get the most out of your time studying with us, and see your progress soar.

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The Top 30 Thai Proverbs and Sayings

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Thai people have been using metaphors in day-to-day life for a very long time, so it’s not surprising that proverbs are so prominent in the Thai language today. As a learner of the language, you can greatly benefit from studying Thai proverbs. Doing so will not only help you sound more like a native speaker, but it will also give you more insight into Thai culture and the way Thai people think. 

In this lesson, we’ll go over the characteristics of Thai proverbs and present you with a list of the top thirty Thai proverbs and sayings you should learn. Each proverb on our list is accompanied by a detailed explanation and an example of how to use it properly. 

Enjoy!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. An Introduction to Thai Proverbs
  2. Good Doctrines
  3. Things You Should Do
  4. Things You Shouldn’t Do
  5. Conclusion

1. An Introduction to Thai Proverbs 

To begin, let’s break down the Thai word for “proverb”: สุภาษิต (sù-phaa-sìt).

  • สุ () – good
  • ภาษิต (phaa-sìt) – educational phrases that have been passed down from generation to generation

So literally, สุภาษิต (sù-phaa-sìt) refers to a good phrase that has been used to teach people for a long time.

A สุภาษิต (sù-phaa-sìt) is a metaphor that’s used to teach people so that they learn and become better. It’s often written in rhyme, making it easy to remember. 

In Thai, idioms and proverbs are very similar. Because they’re both metaphors, Thai people have a hard time differentiating between the two and often group them together as สำนวนสุภาษิตไทย (sǎm-nuuan-sù-phaa-sìt-thai). One trick you can use is to ask, “Can you use this phrase to teach people or not?” If you can, then it’s a สุภาษิต (sù-phaa-sìt), or Thai proverb. If you can’t, then it’s just a Thai idiom, or สำนวนไทย (sǎm-nuuan-thai).

In the following section, you’ll learn a variety of Thai proverbs and sayings. We’ve included the literal translation of each proverb, as well as a close English proverb and an explanation of how to use it. These proverbs are divided into three categories: 

  • Good Doctrines
  • Things You Should Do
  • Things You Shouldn’t Do 

Let’s get to it! 

2. Good Doctrines

Here are several Thai proverbs about life and how to live well. 

1 – คุณค่าของคนอยู่ที่ผลงาน

  • Pronunciation: khun-khâa-khǎawng-khon-yùu-thîi-phǒn-ngaan
  • Literal translation: The value of a man comes from his works.
  • Close English proverb: A man of word, not a man of deed, is like a garden full of weeds.

Explanation:
We determine the value of a person’s life based on their actions and the results of those actions. This expression is used to teach people to work diligently and not just lay around all the time. When you work, you get something from it; if you don’t work, it lessens the value of your life.

Example:
คุณค่าของคนอยู่ที่ผลงาน ถ้าไม่ตั้งใจทำงาน เอาแต่เที่ยวเล่น เธอก็จะกลายเป็นคนไม่มีค่า
khun-khâa-khǎawng-khon-yùu-thîi-phǒn-ngaan thâa-mâi-dtâng-jai-tham-ngaan ao-dtàae-thîiao-lên thooe-gâaw-jà-glaai-bpen-khon-mâi-mii-khâa
The value of a man comes from his/her actions. If you don’t pay attention to work, only to partying and drinking, you become worthless.

2 – สำเนียงส่อภาษา กริยาส่อสกุล

  • Pronunciation: sǎm-niiang-sàaw-phaa-sǎa-gì-rí-yaa-sàaw-sà-gun
  • Literal translation: The accent implies your language and the manner implies your clan.
  • Close English proverb: Good manners are part and parcel of a good education.

Explanation:
This Thai proverb means that the way you speak and act reflects how you were raised. It shows whether your parents took care of you and taught you properly. This proverb also reflects the importance of the family unit in Thai society.

Example:
ลูกควรจะพูดจาให้สุภาพตลอดเวลา เพราะ สำเนียงส่อภาษา กริยาส่อสกุล ถ้าพูดจาหยาบคาย คนอื่นจะหาว่า พ่อแม่ไม่สั่งสอนได้
lûuk-khuuan-jà-phûut-jaa-hâi-sù-phâap-dtà-làawt-wee-laa phráw sǎm-niiang-sàaw-phaa-sǎa-gì-rí- yaa-sàaw-sà-gun thâa-phûut-ja-yàap-khaai khon-ùuen-jà-hǎa-wâa-phâaw-mâae-mâi-sàng-šaawn dâai
[speaking to your child] You should speak politely all the time because the way you speak and act reflects how you are being raised. If you speak rudely, others will say that you are not being raised well by your parents.

3 – ไม่มีอะไรสายเกินแก้

  • Pronunciation: mai-mii-à-rai-sǎai-gooen-gâae
  • Literal translation: Nothing is too late to mend.
  • Close English proverb: It is never too late to mend.

Explanation: 
Everybody makes mistakes. This Thai proverb aims to encourage people to fix their mistakes.

Example:
ถึงเธอจะเคยทำตัวไม่ดี แต่เธอก็สามารถปรับปรุงตัวได้ ไม่มีอะไรสายเกินแก้
thǔeng-thooe-jà-khooei-tham-dtuua-mâi-dii dtàae-thooe-gâaw-sǎa-mâat-bpràp-bprung-dtuua-dâai mâi- mii-à-rai-sǎai-gooen-gâae
Despite being bad before, you can improve. Nothing is too late to mend.

4 – ความพยายามอยู่ที่ไหน ความสำเร็จอยู่ที่นั้น

  • Pronunciation: khwaam-phá-yaa-yaam-yùu-thîi-nǎi khwaam-sǎm-rèt-yùu-thîi-nân
  • Literal translation: Where there is an effort, there is a success.
  • Close English proverb: Where there is a will, there is a way.

Explanation:
This Thai proverb means that if you try hard, you’ll be successful. It aims to teach people not to give up easily as everything in life has its challenges.

Example:  
ถึงมันจะยาก แต่ฉันจะทำให้ได้ ความพยายามอยู่ที่ไหน ความสำเร็จอยู่ที่นั่น
thǔeng-man-jà-yâak dtàae-chǎn-jà-tham-hâi-dâai khwaam-phá-yaa-yaam-yùu-thîi-nǎi khwaam-sǎm- rèt-yùu-thîi-nân
Despite it being hard, I will do it. If I try hard, I will be able to do it.

5 – ทำดีได้ดี ทำชั่วได้ชั่ว

  • Pronunciation: tham-dii-dâai-dii tham-chûua-dâai-chûua
  • Literal translation: If you do good, good things come to you. If you do bad, bad things come to you.
  • Close English proverb: What goes around comes around.

Explanation:  
This saying, influenced by Buddhist doctrine, encourages people to always do good things.

Example:  
ถึงแม้จะไม่มีใครเห็น เธอก็ไม่ควรทำสิ่งที่ผิด เพราะ ทำดีได้ดี ทำชั่วได้ชั่ว
thǔeng-máae-jà-mâi-mii-khrai-hěn thooe-gâaw-mâi-khuuan-tham-sìng-thîi-phìt phráw tham-dii-dâai-dii tham-chûua-dâai-chûua
Even though no one will see, you shouldn’t do the wrong thing because if you do good, good things come to you and vice-versa.

6 – คบคนพาล พาลไปหาผิด คบบัณฑิต บัณฑิตพาไปหาผล

  • Pronunciation: khóp-khon-phaan phaan-bpai-hǎa-phìt khóp-ban-dìt ban-dìt-phaa-bpai-haa-phǒn
  • Literal translation: If you have bad friends, they lead you to bad. If you have graduated friends, they lead you to good.
  • Close English proverb: Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that bad friends will influence you to do bad things, while good friends will influence you to do good things. It aims to teach people that friends or other people you spend time with influence you. If you want to be good and successful, spend time with good people.

Example:  
เวลาคบเพื่อน ให้เลือกคบเพื่อนที่ตั้งใจเรียนนะคะ คบคนพาล พาลไปหาผิด คบบัณฑิต บัณฑิตพาไปหาผล
wee-laa-khóp-phûuean hâi-lûueak-khóp-phûuean-thîi-dtâng-jai-riian-ná-khá khóp-khon-phaan phaan- bpai-hǎa-phìt khóp-ban-dìt ban-dìt-phaa-bpai-hǎa-phǒn
When making friends, choose people who pay attention in class. If you have good friends, they influence you to do good things and vice-versa.

3. Things You Should Do

Now that we’ve gone over a few general sayings about how to live life well, let’s look at some common Thai proverbs that talk about what you should do to be successful. 

7 – นกน้อยทำรังแต่พอตัว

  • Pronunciation: nók-náauy-tham-rang-dtàae-phaaw-dtuua
  • Literal translation: A small bird builds its nest big enough for itself.
  • Close English proverb: Cut your coat according to your clothes.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that you should only buy things you can afford.

Example:  
แม่ว่าหนูซื้อรถรุ่นนี้ก็พอ รุ่นนั้นแพงเกินไป นกน้อยทำรังแต่พอตัวนะจ๊ะ
mâae-wâa-nǔu-súue-rót-rûn-níi-gâaw-phaaw rûn-nán-phaaeng-gooen-bpai nók-náauy-tham-rang- dtàae-phaaw-dtuua ná-já
[mother talking to daughter] I think you should buy this model (car). That model is too expensive. You should buy things based on the amount of money you have.

8 – พูดไปสองไพเบี้ย นิ่งเสียตำลึงทอง

  • Pronunciation: phûut-bpai-sǎawng-phai-bîia nîng-sǐia-dtam-lueng-thaawng
  • Literal translation: Speaking lost two silvers, being silent got one gold.
  • Close English proverb: Silence is golden.

Explanation:  
Sometimes, staying silent is better or more appropriate than speaking out.

Example:  
เขากำลังโกรธ พูดไปก็สองไพเบี้ย นิ่งเสียตำลึงทอง รอเขาอารมณ์ดีก่อนดีกว่า
khǎo-gam-lang-gròot phûut-bpai-gâaw-sǎawng-phai-bîia nîng-sǐia-dtam-lueng-thaawng raaw-khǎo- aa-rom-dii-gàawn-dii-gwàa
He is angry now. It is not good to speak now, so you better stay silent and wait until he is in a good mood.

Silence Is Golden

9 – เข้าเมืองตาหลิ่ว ให้หลิ่วตาตาม

  • Pronunciation: khâo-muueang-dtaa-lìu hai-lìu-dtaa-dtaam
  • Literal translation: Go into the city where people look with one eye, and follow them by looking with one eye.
  • Close English proverb: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb encourages us to act as most people do in a given society. When you go to a new place, you should follow the customs and actions of the people there.

Example:  
เข้าเมืองตาหลิ่ว ให้หลิ่วตาตาม ตอนนี้มาอยู่ที่อเมริกาแล้ว จะกินข้าวทุกมื้อก็คงจะไม่สะดวก
khâo-muueang-dtaa-lìu hai-lìu-dtaa-dtaam dtaawn-níi-maa-yùu-thîi-a-mee-rí-gaa-láaeo jà-gin- khâao-thúk-múue-gâaw-khong-jà-mâi-sà-dùuak
You should act as most people do in society. Now that you are in America, eating rice with every meal would be inconvenient.

10 – กันไว้ดีกว่าแก้

  • Pronunciation: gan-wái-dii-gwàa-gâae
  • Literal translation: Prevent is better than repair. 
  • Close English proverb: Prevention is better than a cure.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that it’s better to prevent problems from happening than to solve them. It emphasizes the importance of prevention and preparation, as many problems won’t happen (or have a lesser chance of happening) if you take action in advance.

Example:  
ไปดูทีว่าปิดประตูบ้านดีหรือยัง กันไว้ดีกว่าแก้นะ
bpai-duu-thii-wâa-bpìt-bprà-dtuu-bâan-dii-rúue-yang gan-wái-dii-gwàa-gâae-ná
Go check whether the door is locked properly or not. It is better to prevent problems from happening.

11 – เข้าเถื่อนอย่าลืมพร้า

  • Pronunciation: khâo-thùuean-yàa-luuem-phráa
  • Literal translation: Don’t forget to bring a knife when you go to the jungle.

Explanation:  
This is just another way of saying, “Don’t be reckless.” You have to prepare yourself before doing things.

Example:  
พรุ่งนี้เธอจะเดินทางแล้ว เตรียมตัวหรือยัง เข้าเถื่อนอย่าลืมพร้านะ
phrûng-níi-thooe-jà-dooen-thaang-láaeo dtriiam-dtuua-rǔue-yang khâo-thùuean-yàa-luuem-phráa ná
Tomorrow, you will go traveling. Are you prepared? Don’t be reckless.

12 – คบคนให้ดูหน้า ซื้อผ้าให้ดูเนื้อ

  • Pronunciation: khóp-khon-hâi-duu-nâa súue-phâa-hâi-duu-núuea
  • Literal translation: Look at the face before making a friend with someone, like looking at the cloth itself before buying the clothes.

Explanation:  
There are good people and bad people in society. You should determine whether or not a person is good before becoming friends with them.

Example:  
คบคนให้ดูหน้า ซื้อผ้าให้ดูเนื้อ ฉันว่าคนนั้นพูดจาหยาบคาย เราอย่าไปยุ่งกับเขาเลย
khóp-khon-hâi-duu-nâa súue-phâa-hâi-duu-núuea chǎn-wâa-khon-nán-phûut-jaa-yàap-khaai rao- yàa-bpai-yûng-gàp-khǎo-looei
We have to think before making friends with someone. That person speaks rudely. We shouldn’t associate ourselves with him.

You Should Make Friends with Good People.

13 – ช้า ๆ ได้พร้าเล่มงาม

  • Pronunciation: cháa-cháa-dâai-phráa-lêm-ngaam
  • Literal translation: Slowly to get beautiful knife
  • Close English proverb: Haste makes waste.

Explanation:  
When you do things, you should take the time to do them carefully. The metaphor refers to how you can only make a good knife by taking your time.

Example:  
จะทำงานศิลปะต้องค่อย ๆ ทำถึงจะได้งานที่สวย ช้า ๆ ได้พร้าเล่มงาม
jà-tham-ngaan-sǐn-lá-bpà-dtâawng-khâauy-khâauy-tham-thǔeng-jà-dâai-ngaan-thîi-sǔuai cháa-cháa- dâai-phráa-lêm-ngaam
When you do artwork, you have to do it slowly to get beautiful work. When you do things, you shouldn’t rush; instead, take the time to do it carefully.

14 – น้ำขึ้นให้รีบตัก

  • Pronunciation: náam-khûuen-hâi-rîip-dtàk
  • Literal translation: Quickly fetch the water during the rising tide.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that you should take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Example:  
ช่วงนี้ ฉันเปิดร้านเร็วกว่าปกติ 1 ชั่วโมง เพราะ คนมาเที่ยวเยอะ น้ำขึ้นต้องรีบตัก
chûuang-níi chǎn-bpòoet-ráan-reo-gwàa-bpòk-gà-dti-nùeng-chûua-moong phráw khon-maa-thîiao-yóe náam-khûen-hâi-rîip-dtàk
Recently, I opened my shop one hour earlier than usual because there are a lot of travelers. I have to take a chance when I have one.

15 – อยู่บ้านท่านอย่านิ่งดูดาย ปั้นวัวปั้นควายให้ลูกท่านเล่น

  • Pronunciation: yùu-bâan-thâan-yàa-nîng-duu-daai bpân-wuua-bpân-khwaai-hâi-lûuk-thâan-lên
  • Literal translation: Don’t do nothing in another’s home; make a cow doll for their child.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that if you live in another person’s house, you should help them. If someone lets you live with them for free, it’s good manners to help them out around the house.

Example:  
ไปพักอยู่บ้านคุณป้าก็ช่วยคุณป้าทำงานบ้านบ้างนะ อยู่บ้านท่านอย่านิ่งดูดาย ปั้นวัวปั้นควายให้ลูกท่านเล่น
bpai-phák-yùu-bâan-khun-bpâa-gâaw-chûuay-khun-bpâa-tham-ngaan-bâan-bâang-ná yùu-bâan- thâan-yàa-nîng-duu-daai bpân-wuua-bpân-khwaai-hâi-lûuk-thâan-lên
Once you live with your aunt, you should help do some of the housework. If you live in another person’s house, you should help them.

Help Your Aunt do Some Housework

16 – เอาใจเขามาใส่ใจเรา

  • Pronunciation: ao-jai-khǎo-maa-sài-jai-rao
  • Literal translation: Put his/her heart into our heart

Explanation:  
This saying means that you should think of others, and pay attention to how they think and feel.

Example:  
ถ้าจะอยู่ด้วยกัน ก็ต้องเอาใจเขามาใส่ใจเรา
thâa-jà-yùu-dûuai-gan gâaw-dtâawng-ao-jai-khǎo-maa-sài-jai-rao
If you want to live together, you have to think of one another.

4. Things You Shouldn’t Do

To conclude our list of popular Thai proverbs, let’s look at some words of wisdom on how not to act. 

17 – หมากัดอย่ากัดตอบ

  • Pronunciation: mǎa-gàt-yàa-gàt-dtàawp 
  • Literal translation: Dog bites, don’t bite back.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that you shouldn’t lower yourself to a bad person’s level in order to fight back. Thai people view those who do bad things or act inappropriately as lower-class people. By doing the same action those people do, you lower yourself. So even when you’re angry at how someone hurt you, you should avoid hurting them back.

Example:  
ถึงเขาจะพูดจาหยาบคายใส่เรา แต่เราต้องไม่พูดจาหยาบคายกลับไป หมากัดอย่ากัดตอบ
thǔeng-khǎo-jà-phûut-jaa-yàap-khaai-sài-rao dtàae-rao-dtâawng-mâi-phûut-jaa-yàap-khaai-glàp-bpai mǎa-gàt-yàa-gàt-dtàawp
Although he talked to us rudely, we must not speak rudely back. Don’t do bad things in order to fight back against bad people.

18 – กินบนเรือนขี้บนหลังคา

  • Pronunciation: gin-bon-ruuean-khîi-bon-lǎng-khaa
  • Literal translation: Eat in the house and then poop on the roof.
  • Close English proverb: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb refers to a situation where someone is being unthankful and doing harm to people who are good to them and have helped them before. It encourages us to be thankful to parents, teachers, and our benefactors.

Example:  
คนที่กินบนเรือนขี้ยนหลังคาเป็นคนที่คบไม่ได้
khon-thîi-gin-bon-ruuean-khîi-bon-lǎng-khaa-bpen-khon-thîi-khóp-mâi-dâai
People who are unthankful and doing harm to people who are good to them shouldn’t be associated with.

19 – สาวไส้ให้กากิน

  • Pronunciation: sǎao-sâi-hâi-gaa-gin
  • Literal translation: Pull the intestine out for the crow to eat.
  • Close English proverb: Don’t wash dirty linen in public

Explanation:  
This saying refers to a situation where someone reveals a bad secret concerning family or friends to others. You shouldn’t tell secrets (bad things) about people who are close to you.

Example:  
เรื่องทะเลาะกันของพี่น้อง อย่าเล่าให้คนอื่นฟัง จะเป็นการสาวไส้ให้กากิน
rûueang-thá-láw-gan-khǎawng-phîi-náawng yàa-lâo-hâi-khon-ùuen-fang jà-bpen-gaan-sǎao-sâi-hâi- gaa-gin
You shouldn’t tell others about a fight between siblings. It’s like revealing bad things about your family to others.

20 – หาเหาใส่หัว / แกว่งเท้าหาเสี้ยน

  • Pronunciation: hǎa-hǎo-sài-hǔa / gwàaeng-tháo-hǎa-sîian
  • Literal translation: Find the louse and put it on the head. / Sway your feet for the bur.
  • Close English proverb: Let a sleeping dog lie.

Explanation:  
Both of these Thai proverbs encourage us not to interfere in a situation that’s already good enough, because it can lead to more problems.

Example 1:  
รู้ก็รู้ว่าเพื่อนทำผิด ยังจะไปช่วยอีก หาเหาใส่หัวชัด ๆ
rúu-gâaw-rúu-wâa-phûuean-tham-phìt yang-jà-bpai-chûuay-ìik hǎa-hǎo-sài-hǔua-chát-chát
You know that your friend did a bad thing but you still helped him. You just found yourself a problem.

Example 2:  
อย่าแกว่งเท้าหาเสี้ยนเลย แม่ขอร้อง
yàa-gwàaeng-tháo-hǎa-sîian-looei mâae-khǎaw-ráawng
[mother speaking to her children] I beg you, don’t do things that will bring problems.

21 – วัวหายล้อมคอก

  • Pronunciation: wuua-hǎai-láawm-khâawk
  • Literal translation: Making a stall after the cow is lost
  • Close English proverb: Locking the stable door after the horse is stolen

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that you shouldn’t wait to take action until after the problem arises, because it’s then useless. You should rather prevent the problem from happening in the first place. There’s no point in taking preventative measures afterward, because you can’t bring back what you already lost.

Example:  
ผมว่าหน้าต่างบ้านคุณดูไม่แข็งแรงเลย น่าจะเปลี่ยนใหม่นะ อย่ารอจนวัวหายแล้วค่อยล้อมคอก
phǒm-wâa-nâa-dtâang-bâan-khun-duu-mâi-khǎaeng-raaeng-looei nâa-jàa-bplìian-mài-ná yàa- raaw-jon-wuua-hǎai-láaeo-khâauy-láawm-khâawk
I don’t think your window is in good condition. You better change it. Don’t wait until the damage is already done to take some action.

22 – จับปลาสองมือ

  • Pronunciation: jàp-bplaa-sǎawng-muue
  • Literal translation: Catch fish with one hand at the same time
  • Close English proverb: He who hunts two hares, leaves one and loses another.

Explanation:  
Doing two difficult things at the same time will lead to failure in both. Imagine how hard it would be to catch a fish in each hand at the same time! Instead, we should focus on doing one thing at a time.

Example:  
จะทำอะไรก็เลือกเอาสักอย่าง อย่าจับปลาสองมือ
jà-tham-à-rai-gâaw-lûueak-ao-sák-yàang yàa-jàp-bplaa-sǎawng-muue
Choose one thing that you want to do. Don’t try to do two difficult things at the same time.

23 – ตีตนไปก่อนไข้

  • Pronunciation: dtii-dton-bpai-gàawn-khâi
  • Literal translation: Think that you have a fever before you actually have a fever
  • Close English proverb: Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb refers to a situation where someone is fearful or worried about something that hasn’t happened yet. It encourages us not to worry too much about problems that haven’t happened yet. In the end, that problem may not happen at all!

Example:  
ยังไม่เกิดปัญหาอะไร อย่าเพิ่งตีต้นไปก่อนไข้ จะปวดหัวเปล่า ๆ
yang-mâi-gôoet-bpan-hǎa-à-rai yàa-phôoeng-dtii-dton-bpai-gàawn-khâi jà-bpùuat-hǔua-bplào-bplào
There’s no problem yet. Don’t worry about things that haven’t happened yet. You’ll have a headache for nothing.

24 – กำแพงมีหู ประตูมีช่อง

  • Pronunciation: gam-phaaeng-mii-hǔu bprà-dtuu-mii-châawng
  • Literal translation: Walls have ears. Doors have holes.
  • Close English proverb: The walls have ears.

Explanation:  
When talking about a secret, you have to be very careful because people may overhear and reveal it to others. Even if you’re in a room with the door closed, there may be people outside trying to eavesdrop.

Example:  
จะพูดอะไรให้ระวังหน่อย กำแพงมีหู ประตูมีช่อง
jà-phûut-à-rai-hâi-rá-wang-nàauy gam-phaaeng-mii-hǔu bprà-dtuu-mii-châawng
Be careful when speaking. People may hear your secret and reveal it to others.

Be Careful When Speaking; Walls Have Ears

25 – เอาไม้ซีกไปงัดไม้ซุง

Pronunciation: ao-máai-sîik-bpai-ngát-máai-sung

Literal translation: Use a thin stick of wood to wedge a log

Explanation:  
If you fight or disagree with people who have more power, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose. This proverb encourages us to choose our fights carefully.

Example:  
ตัวเล็กแค่นี้ ยังไปท้าต่อยตีกับเค้า เอาไม้ซีกไปงัดไม้ซุงแท้ ๆ
dtuua-lék-khâae-níi yang-bpai-tháa-dtàauy-dtii-gàp-kháo ao-máai-sîik-bpai-ngát-máai-sung-tháae-tháae
You’re this small but still pick a fight with others. You’re going to lose as you fight with bigger people.

Don’t Fight People Who Are Bigger Than You

26 – กวนน้ำให้ขุ่น

  • Pronunciation: guuan-nám-hâi-khùn
  • Literal translation: Stir the water, making it muddy

Explanation:  
This proverb refers to a situation where things are about to become good again, but someone ruins it. It’s often used when someone is about to forget about a bad thing that happened, but someone does something to remind them of it again.

Example:  
พ่อกำลังจะลืมอยู่แล้ว จะพูดขึ้นมาเพื่อกวนน้ำให้ขุ่นทำไม เดี๋ยวพ่อก็โกรธอีก
phâaw-gam-lang-jà-luuem-yùu-láaeo jà-phûut-khûen-maa-phûuea-guuan-nám-hâi-khùn-ìik-tham-mai dîiao-phâaw-gâaw-gròot-ìik
Dad is about to forget. Why do you speak about it to make him remember? He will get angry again.

27 – กบเลือกนาย

  • Pronunciation: gòp-lûueak-naai
  • Literal translation: Frog chooses boss.

Explanation:
If you’re too choosy, you may end up making a bad decision in the end. This proverb aims to teach people that it’s good to consider your options, but you shouldn’t overdo it.

Example:  
อย่าทำตัวเป็นกบเลือกนายหน่อยเลย เลือกเอาจากตัวเลือกที่มีก็พอ
yàa-tham-dtuua-bpen-gòp-lûueak-naai-nàauy-looei lûueak-ao-jàak-dtuua-lûueak-thîi-mii-gâaw- phaaw
Don’t be too choosy or else you may end up with the bad choice in the end. Just choose from the options you have.

28 – ขี่ช้างจับตั๊กแตน 

Pronunciation: khìi-cháang-jàp-dták-gà-dtaaen

Literal translation: Ride the elephant to catch the grasshoppers

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb refers to a situation where you invest a lot but only get a small return. It warns us to be careful with our investments so that we don’t end up losing out in the end.

Example:  
คิดยังไงถึงจะลงทุนซื้อรถคันใหม่เพื่อไปส่งของแค่ไม่กี่ครั้ง ขี่ช้างจับตั๊กแตนชัด ๆ
Khít-yang-ngai-thǔeng-jà-long-thun-súue-rót-khan-mài-phûuea-bpai-sòng-khǎawng-khâae-mâi-gìi- khráng khìi-cháang-jàp-dták-gà-dtaaen-chát-chát
What are you thinking? Buying a new car to deliver packages for a few times. You’re investing a lot for a small return.

29 – ชี้โพรงให้กระรอก

  • Pronunciation: chíi-phroong-hâi-grà-râawk
  • Literal translation: Point cavity for squirrel

Explanation:  
This proverb encourages us to be careful about the things we say, because we may unintentionally invite others to do something bad. For example, someone may say that the window of her house is broken and she is afraid a thief may come in that way. People who are in need of money may overhear what she said and decide to break into her house to steal.

Example:  
จะพูดอะไรต้องระวัง เดี๋ยวจะเป็นการชี้โพรงให้กระรอกเสียเปล่า ๆ
jà-phûut-à-rai-dtâawng-rá-wang dǐiao-jà-bpen-gaan-chíi-phroong-hâi-grà-râawk-sǐia-bplào-bplào
You have to be careful when speaking or else you may unintentionally advise someone to do bad things.

30 – อย่าไว้ใจทาง อย่าวางใจคน จะจนใจเอง

  • Pronunciation: yàa-wái-jai-thaang yàa-waang-jai-khon jà-jon-jai-eeng
  • Literal translation: Don’t trust the way, and don’t trust people or else you will be in trouble.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb warns us against trusting people too easily, because doing so can cause us trouble in the long run.

Example:  
ถึงแม้ว่าเพื่อนของเธอจะแนะนำ แต่เธอก็ต้องดูรายละเอียดของบริการเองด้วย อย่าไว้ใจทาง อย่าวางใจคน จะจนใจเองนะ
thǔeng-máae-wâa-phûuean-khǎawng-thooe-jà-náe-nam dtàae-thooe-gâaw-dtâawng-duu-raai-lá-ìiat- khǎawng-baaw-rí-gaan-eeng-dûuai yàa-wái-jai-thaang yàa-waang-jai-khon jà-jon-jai-eeng
Even though it was recommended by your friend, you still have to look at the service details. Don’t trust people easily.

5. Conclusion

In this article, you learned thirty of the most common Thai proverbs, what they mean, and how to use them. How many of them can you relate to? And are there similar proverbs in your language? 

If you enjoyed this lesson, we recommend continuing to explore ThaiPod101.com. We provide tons of fun and informative lessons from native speakers, free vocabulary lists, an online dictionary, and much more. Here’s just a sample of what you can expect: 

Happy learning!

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An Easy-Breezy Thai Grammar Guide

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In many languages, หลักภาษา (lhàk-phaa-sǎa), or “grammar,” is one of the most difficult aspects to learn. Fortunately for you, Thai grammar is notorious for its relatively simple rules and structures when compared to other languages.

Still, if you’re thinking about learning Thai or have recently started, you may have several questions concerning Thai grammar: Are there a lot of Thai grammar rules? Should I learn the Thai alphabet and grammar together, or would it be too hard? On this page, you’ll get answers to all of your Thai grammar questions.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. Thai Grammar vs. English Grammar – The Basics
  2. Parts of Speech
  3. Unique Thai Grammar Concepts
  4. Conclusion

1. Thai Grammar vs. English Grammar – The Basics

As you know, the grammar of any language is supported by several grammar rules that must be followed. To make matters worse, the vast majority of these rules have a number of exceptions that can only be learned through memorization. When combined, these two factors tend to make people nervous about studying another language’s grammar.  

However, as we mentioned a moment ago, you’re not going to have very many issues with this when studying Thai grammar. As a matter of fact, there are very few fixed rules in Thai grammar. Not only that, but the few rules that do exist are very easy to understand.

Since you’re reading this page, you’re most likely a native English speaker or someone who has been studying English a long time. In order to help you fully appreciate how easy it can be to master Thai grammar, we’ll be using English as a benchmark. 

Now, let’s look at two crucial grammar elements you should understand before continuing: Thai sentence structure and verb conjugation. 

1 – Sentence Structure

Like English, Thai expresses complete ideas (sentences) through the use of subjects, verbs, and objects. 

Both languages use the SVO (Subject + Verb + Object) structure for basic sentences:

  • I (S) drink (V) coffee (O).

However, Thai people sometimes use OVS (Object + Verb + Subject), which is the passive form, when they want to focus on the object. 

  • The glass (O) broke (V) I (S). 
    • I broke the glass.

See? There aren’t too many differences between the Thai and English sentence structure rules! 

2 – Verb Conjugation

In English, and many other languages, verbs need to be conjugated depending on factors such as tense, mood, number, and gender. 

Well, we have some more good news for you: There’s no verb conjugation in Thai grammar! Better yet, Thai doesn’t have tenses to begin with. In other words, there’s no need to worry about any of the factors you may be concerned with in English. Just use the verb as-is and include other words (such as time words) to add context as needed.

2. Parts of Speech

That was easy, right? Now let’s go into more detail about the different parts of speech in Thai, and how they compare to their English counterparts. 

1 – Nouns

คำนาม (kham-naam), or Thai nouns, are grammatically categorized into five types: 

  • สามานยนาม (sǎa-maan-yá-naam)
  • วิสามานยนาม (wí-sǎa-maan-yá-naam)
  • สมุหนาม (sà-hmù-hà-naam)
  • ลักษณะนาม (lák-sà-nà-naam)
  • อาการนาม (aa-gaan-rá-naam)

You may be wondering if having these different types makes learning grammar hard. Not at all. There’s no need to be able to categorize the nouns as long as you can use them correctly.  

When compared to English nouns, those in Thai are far easier to get the hang of. This is because Thai grammar doesn’t have articles, use noun declension, or separate countable and uncountable nouns.

One thing you may need to get used to is that Thai nouns are used differently with adjectives than those in English are. Instead of using “adjective + noun” like English does, Thai uses “noun + adjective.”

    → If you want to expand your vocabulary, visit our video lesson on the Top 25 Thai Nouns!
Learning Thai Nouns

2 – Pronouns 

คำสรรพนาม (kham-sàp-phá-nam), or Thai pronouns, are grammatically categorized into six types: 

  • บุรุษสรรพนาม (bù-rùt-sàp-phá-naam)
  • ประพันธสรรพนาม (bprà-phan-thá-sàp-phá-naam)
  • นิยมสรรพนาม (ní-yá-má-sàp-phá-naam)
  • อนิยมสรรพนาม (à-ní-yá-má-sàp-phá-naam)
  • วิภาคสรรพนาม (wí-phâak-sàp- phá-naam)
  • ปฤจฉาสรรพนาม (bprùet-chǎa-sàp-phá-naam)

Like with the noun categories, you don’t need to worry too much about memorizing these.  

One similarity between Thai and English grammar is that they both make use of personal pronouns. However, once you start learning Thai, you’ll see that Thai has more pronouns than English does. Still, they’re not too hard to remember!  

As for differences, you’ll notice that relative clauses and question words are considered pronouns in the Thai language. But does this make Thai grammar difficult? Not really, as the most important thing is that you know how to use them correctly.

    → Make sure to check out our vocabulary list of the Most Useful Thai Pronouns so you don’t get lost in the huge number of pronouns we have!
Are Thai Pronouns Similar to Those in English?

3 – Verbs 

คำกริยา (kham-gà-rí-yaa), or Thai verbs, are grammatically categorized into four types: 

  • อกรรมกริยา (à-gam-gà-rí-yaa)
  • สกรรมกริยา (sà-gam-gà-rí-yaa)
  • วิกตรรถกริยา (wí-gà-dtàt-thà-gà-rí-yaa)
  • กริยานุเคราะห์ (gà-rí-yaa-nú-khráw)

As you can guess, there’s no need to remember the name of each type or to know which verb belongs to which category. You just need to use them correctly, which is very easy to do.  

As mentioned before, Thai has no tense or verb conjugation. This means that you don’t have to worry about changing a verb’s form for tense, mood, number, or gender like you would in many other languages. 

Both Thai and English use auxiliary verbs, but they’re much simpler to use in Thai. The auxiliary verb is simply put in front of the verb, and that’s it. There’s no need to consider the subject or change the verb form. 

    → Verbs are an essential part of speech, so it’s important that you know the most common ones. See our lesson on the Top 25 Thai Verbs to get a head start!

4 – Adjectives and Adverbs 

In Thai grammar, adjectives and adverbs are treated differently than they are in English. Namely, Thai people don’t separate adverbs and adjectives, but view them as one grammar element called คำวิเศษณ์ (kham-ví-sèet). They’re categorized into ten types, which you don’t need to remember at all in order to use them correctly.

3. Unique Thai Grammar Concepts

Not everything in Thai grammar is similar or comparable to English; there are certainly some unique Thai grammar rules, too. We’ll give you a few examples so that you get the idea.

I’m Studying Unique Thai Grammar Structures

1 – คำราชาศัพท์

Thai people use different words and phrases when speaking with the royal family or monks. This is an advanced Thai grammar component and it’s not very easy to learn—most Thai people don’t even use it correctly. It’s like you have to learn a new set of words. Here are some examples:

English meaningNormal Thai wordThai word for royal familyThai word for monks
eatกิน
(gin)
เสวย (sà-wǒoei)ฉัน
(chǎn)
sickป่วย 
(bpùuai)
ทรงพระประชวร
(song-phrá-bprà-chuuan)
อาพาธ
(aa-phâat)
foodอาหาร 
(aa-hǎan)
พระกระยาหาร
(phrá-grà-yaa-hǎan)
ภัตตาหาร
(phát-dtaa-hǎan)

Use Different Words with Monks

2 – A Special Type of Pronoun

In Thai, there’s a pronoun type called วิภาคสรรพนาม (wí-phâak-sàp-phá-naam). This type of pronoun is used with a group of nouns to show whether each component of that group performs the same action or not. 

For example, ทุกคนต่างช่วยกันทำงาน (thúk-khon-dtàang-chûuai-tham-ngaan) means “each of everyone is helping each other working,” or in other words, “everyone works together.”

There is no pronoun or word like this in English.  

3 – Numeric Classifiers

Numeric classifiers and quantifiers, or ลักษณะนาม (lák-sà-nà-naam), describe the physical characteristics of a noun. For example, in English you would say, “two bottles of milk” or “three pieces of cake.” The concept is similar to numerical classifiers in Thai language. 

4. Conclusion

By now, you should know that Thai language grammar isn’t that hard to learn. Why?  

To recap:

  • Thai and English use the same SVO word order for basic sentences.
  • Thai doesn’t have verb conjugation or verb tenses.
  • Thai doesn’t take things like plurals or gender into consideration. 
  • Thai doesn’t have noun declension.
  • Thai doesn’t use articles with its nouns.

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If you decide to continue learning Thai and want to know more about Thai grammar, don’t waste any time trying to find a good Thai grammar book. You’re already looking at the best option for learning Thai grammar: ThaiPod101.com! We provide our students with various lessons on the Thai language and culture, such as these: 

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Best Guide to Learn About Thai Numerical Classifiers

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In Thai, if you want to tell the number or amount of a noun (both countable and uncountable), knowing the numbers and the most common nouns isn’t enough. Unlike in English, you need Thai numerical classifiers to complete the phrase or sentence. So, as a Thai learner, you need to learn about numeric classifiers in Thai in order to speak like a native.

In this lesson, we’ll introduce you to Thai numeric classifiers. You’ll also learn the structure of numerical classifiers in Thai along with how to use them. And lastly, we’ll provide you with a list of Thai classifiers. Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. What are Thai Numeric Classifiers?
  2. Thai Numeric Classifiers for Living Things
  3. Thai Numeric Classifiers for Clothes and Accessories
  4. Thai Numeric Classifiers for Objects in the House
  5. Thai Numeral Classifiers for Stationery/Office Supplies
  6. Thai Numeral Classifiers for Musical Instruments
  7. Thai Numeral Classifiers for Food
  8. Thai Numerical Classifiers by Shape
  9. Conclusion

1. What are Thai Numeric Classifiers?

First, let’s break down some basic vocabulary you’ll want to know:

By combining the meanings of the last two words together, you can guess the function of numeral classifiers in Thai: they’re used to describe the physical characteristics of a noun.

1- Structure of numerical classifiers in Thai

In Thai, there are no plural numerical classifiers. Further, there’s no relationship between noun classes and classifiers. The main thing you need to remember is: Thai numeral classifiers are always put after nouns.

There are two ways of using numeral classifiers in Thai, shown below.

A. Noun + number + numerical classifiers

How to use: This structure is used to tell the amount or number of a noun. 

Example:  
หนังสือ 2 เล่ม
nǎng-sǔue-sǎawng-lêm
“Two books”

Additional note: If you want to change the sentence to a question, put กี่ (gìi) instead of a number.

He Has Two Books.

B. This/That + noun + numerical classifiers

How to use: This structure is used to specify which noun you’re talking about.

Example:  
หนังสือเล่มนั้น
nǎng-sǔue-lêm-nán
“That book”

Additional note: นี้ (níi) is “this” in Thai, and นั้น (nán) is “that.”

Now that you have some basic information about Thai numeral classifiers, let’s learn the most common Thai classifiers. The following section is a categorized list of these classifiers, along with examples of how they’re used in a sentence. 

2. Thai Numeric Classifiers for Living Things

1- Humans

Thai numeric classifier: คน (khon)

Example 1:   
เธอเชิญแขกมากี่คน
thooe-chooen-khàaek-maa-gìi-khon
“How many guests have you invited?”

Example 2:  
เอาจดหมายไปให้ผู้หญิงคนนั้นหน่อย
ao-jòt-mhǎai-bpai-hâi-phûu-yhǐng-khon-nán-nàauy
“Give the letter to that woman.”

2- Animals

Thai numeric classifier: ตัว (dtuua)

Example 1:   
พ่อเลี้ยงสุนัขไว้ 2 ตัว
phâaw-líiang-sù-nák-wái-sǎawng-dtuua
“My father has two dogs.”

Example 2:  
แมวตัวนี้น่ารักมาก
maaew-dtuua-níi-nâa-rák-mâak
“This cat is very cute.”

3- Monks

Thai numeric classifier: รูป (rûup)

Example 1:   
แม่นิมนต์พระมา 5 รูป
mâae-ní-mon-phrá-maa-hâa-rûup
“My mother invited five monks.”

Example 2:  
พระรูปนั้นตัวสูงมาก
phrá-rûup-nán-dtuua-sǔung-mâak
That monk is very tall.”

4- Angels and Buddha Statues

Thai numeric classifier: องค์ (ong)

Example 1:   
เธอคิดว่าบนสวรรค์มีเทวดากี่องค์
thooe-khít-wâa-bon-sà-wǎn-mii-thee-wá-daa-gìi-ong
“Do you wonder how many angels there are in heaven?”

Example 2:  
พระพุทธรูปองค์นั้นงดงามมาก
phrá-phút-thá-rûup-ong-nán-ngót-ngaam-mâak
“That Buddha statue is very beautiful.”

5- Monsters and Hermits

Thai numeric classifier: ตน (dton)

Example 1:   
ในนิยายเรื่องนี้ มีฤาษีอยู่ 1 ตน
nai-ní-yaai-rûueang-níi mii-ruue-sǐi-yùu-nùeng-dton
“There is one hermit in this novel.”

Example 2:  
ปีศาจตนไหนน่ากลัวที่สุด
bpii-sàat-dton-nǎi-nâa-gluua-thîi-sùt
“Which monster is the scariest one?”

6- Trees

Thai numeric classifier: ต้น (dtôn)

Example 1:   
ในสวนมีต้นไม้หลายต้น
nai-sǔuan-mii-dtôn-mái-lǎai-dtôn
“There are many trees in the garden.”

Example 2:  
ต้นไม้ต้นนั้นสูงเท่าไหร่
dtôn-mái-dtôn-nán-sǔung-thâo-rài
“How tall is that tree?”

7- Flowers

Thai numeric classifier: ดอก (dàawk)

Example 1:   
แม่ซื้อดอกไม้มา 5 ดอก
mâae-súue-dàawk-mái-maa-hâa-dàawk
“My mother bought five flowers.”

Example 2:  
ฉันชอบดอกไม้ดอกนั้นมาก มันชื่ออะไร
chǎn-châawp-dàawk-mái-dàawk-nán-mâak man-chûue-à-rai
“I really like that flower. What is it called?”

I Really Like That Flower. What Is It Called?

8- Leaves

Thai numeric classifier: ใบ (bai)

Example 1:   
เธอจะให้ใส่ใบไม้ในตระกร้ากี่ใบ
thooe-jà-hâi-sài-bai-mái-nai-dtrà-grâa-gìi-bai
“How many leaves do you want me to put in the basket?”

Example 2:  
ใบไม้ใบนั้นหน้าตาแปลกดี
bai-mái-bai-nán-nâa-dtaa-bplàaek-dii
“The shape of that leaf is unique.”

3. Thai Numeric Classifiers for Clothes and Accessories

1- Shirts, Skirt, Pants, Shorts, and Underwear

Thai numeric classifier: ตัว (dtuua)

Example 1:   
เธอเอากระโปรงมากี่ตัว
thooe-ao-grà-bproong-maa-gìi-dtuua
“How many skirts did you bring?”

Example 2:  
ฉันจะซื้อกางเกงตัวนั้น
chǎn-jà-súue-gaang-geeng-dtuua-nán
“I will buy that pair of pants.”

2- Neckties, Belts, Necklaces, and Bracelets

Thai numeric classifier: เส้น (sên)

Example 1:   
พ่อลืมเข็มขัดไว้ในรถ 1 เส้น
phâaw-luuem-khěm-khàt-wái-nai-rót-nùeng-sên
“Dad forgot one belt in the car.”

Example 2:  
เนคไทเส้นนี้ราคาเท่าไหร่
nék-thái-sên-níi-raa-khaa-thâo-rài
“How much is this necktie?”

Additional note: เส้น (sên) is normally used to describe nouns that are long and straight (like a line).

3- Pairs of Socks, Shoes, and Earrings

Thai numeric classifier: คู่ (khûu)

Example 1:   
ปลาทำถุงเท้าหายไป 3 คู่
Bplaa-tham-thǔng-tháo-hǎai-bpai-sǎam-khûu
“Bplaa lost three pairs of socks.”

Example 2:  
แม่อยากได้ต่างหูคู่นี้
mâae-yàak-dâi-dtàang-hǔu-khûu-níi
“Mom wants this pair of earrings.”

Additional note: There are two numerical classifiers in Thai for socks, shoes, and earrings. When these nouns are in pairs, we use คู่ (khûu).

4- Socks, Shoes, and Earrings

Thai numeric classifier: ข้าง (khâang)

Example 1:   
เธอทำถุงเท้าขาดไป 3 ข้าง
thooe-tham-thǔng-tháo-khàat-bpai-sǎam-khâang
“She lost three socks.”

Example 2:  
รองเท้าข้างนั้นสกปรกมาก
raawng-tháo-khâang-nán-sòk-grà-bpròk-mâak
“That shoe is very dirty.”

Additional note: This is the second Thai classifier for socks, shoes, and earrings. When these nouns are not in pairs, we use ข้าง (khâang).

5- Scarves

Thai numeric classifier: ผืน (phǔuen)

Example 1:   
วันนี้ฉันขายผ้าพันคอได้ 9 ผืน
wan-níi-chǎn-khǎai-phâa-phan-khaaw-dâi-gâo-phǔuen
“Today, I sold nine scarves.”

Example 2:  
ผ้าพันคอสีแดงผืนนั้นอยู่ที่ไหน
phâa-phan-khaaw-sǐi-daaeng-phǔuen-nán-yùu-thîi-nǎi
“Where is that red scarf?”

Additional note: ผืน (phǔuen) is used as a Thai numerical classifier for plain cloth that’s not designed into an actual article of clothing like a shirt, skirt, pants, or shorts.

Where Is That Red Scarf?

6- Hats and Caps

Thai numeric classifier: ใบ (bai)

Example 1:   
น้องมีหมวกสีดำ 4 ใบ
náawng-mii-mùuak-sǐi-dam-sìi-bai
“My brother has four black hats.”

Example 2:  
อย่าทำหมวกใบนั้นหายนะ
yhàa-tham-mùuak-bai-nán-hǎai-ná
“Don’t lose that hat.”

7- Rings

Thai numeric classifier: วง (wong)

Example 1:   
แม่มีแหวนหลายวง
Mâae-mii-whǎaen-lǎai-wong
“Mom has many rings.”

Example 2:  
แหวนทองวงนั้นอยู่ที่ไหน
wǎaen-thaawng-wong-nán-yùu-thîi-nǎi
“Where is that gold ring?”

8- Watches

Thai numeric classifier: เรือน (ruuean)

Example 1:   
พ่อมีนาฬิกาหลายเรือน
phâaw-mii-naa-lí-gaa-lǎai-ruuean
“Dad has many watches.”

Example 2:  
เธอชอบพาฬิกาเรือนไหน
thooe-châawp-naa-lí-gaa-ruuean-nǎi
“Which watch do you like?”

4. Thai Numeric Classifiers for Objects in the House

1- Houses and Buildings

Thai numeric classifier: หลัง (lǎng)

Example 1:   
ฉันมีบ้าน 2 หลัง
chǎn-mii-bâan-sǎawng-lǎng
“I have two houses.”

Example 2:  
บ้านหลังนี้ใกล้ที่ทำงาน
bâan-lǎng-níi-glâi-thîi-tham-ngan
“This house is near my office.”

2- Rooms

Thai numeric classifier: ห้อง (hâawng)

Example 1:   
บ้านหลังนี้มีกี่ห้อง
bâan-lǎng-níi-mii-gìi-hâawng
“How many rooms are there in this house?”

Example 2:  
ห้องสีขาวห้องนี้เป็นห้องของฉัน
hâawng-sǐi-khǎo-hâawng-níi-bpen-hâawng-khǎawng-chǎn
“This white room is mine.”

3- Electric Appliances

Thai numeric classifier: เครื่อง (khrûueng)

Example 1:   
บ้านฉันมีโทรทัศน์ 5 เครื่อง
bâan-chǎn-mii-thoo-rá-thát-hâa-khrûueng
“There are five televisions in my house.”

Example 2:  
โทรศัพท์เครื่องนี้ราคาเท่าไหร่
thooe-rá-sàp-khrûueng-níi-raa-khaa-thâo-rài
“How much is this telephone?”

4- Tables, Desks, and Chairs

Thai numeric classifier: ตัว (dtuua)

Example 1:   
ในห้องนั่งเล่นมีเก้าอี้ 4 ตัว
nai-hâawng-nâng-lên-mii-gâo-îi-sìi-dtuua
“There are four chairs in the living room.”

Example 2:  
กระเป๋าอยู่บนโต๊ะตัวนั้น
grà-bpǎo-yùu-bon-dtó-dtuua-nán
“The bag is on that table.”

Additional note: For small furniture, Thai people mostly use ตัว (dtuua) as a numeric classifier.

5- Beds and Cupboards

Thai numeric classifier: หลัง (lǎng)

Example 1:   
ฉันทำความสะอาดเตียงไป 3 หลังแล้ว
chǎn-tham-khwaam-sà-àat-dtiiang-bpai-sǎam-lǎng-láaeo
“I already cleaned three beds.”

Example 2:  
ตู้หลังนั้นเก่ามาก
dtûu-lǎang-nán-gào-mâak
“That cupboard is very old.”

Additional note: For big furniture, Thai people mostly use หลัง (lǎng) as a numeric classifier.

6- Doors, Windows, and Mirrors

Thai numeric classifier: บาน (baan)

Example 1:   
ในห้องนอนฉันมีกระจก 1 บาน
nai-hâawng-naawn-chǎn-mii-grà-jòk-nùeng-baan
“There is one mirror in my bedroom.”

Example 2:  
หน้าต่างบานนั้นมองออกไปเห็นสวนด้วย
nâa-dtâang-baan-nán-maawng-àawk-bpai-hěn-sǔuan-dûuai
“You can see the garden through that window.”

7- Plates, Dishes, Bowls, Cups, Glasses, Pots, and Pans

Thai numeric classifier: ใบ (bai)

Example 1:   
เอาจาน 4 ใบวางไว้บนโต๊ะ
ao-jaan-sìi-bai-waang-wái-bon-dtó
“There are four plates on the table.”

Example 2:  
ระวังถ้วยใบนั้นแตก
ra-wang-thûuai-bai-nán-dtàaek
“Be careful or you will break that cup.”

8- Spoons and Forks

Thai numeric classifier: คัน (khaan)

Example 1:   
เอาช้อน 6 คันนั้นไปไว้ในอ่างล้านจาน
ao-cháawn-hòk-khan-nán-bpai-wái-nai-àang-láang-jaan
“Put those six spoons into dishes.”

Example 2:  
หยิบส้อมคันนั้นให้หน่อย
yìp-sôm-khan-nán-hâi-nàauy
“Bring me that fork.”

9- Pairs of Chopsticks

Thai numeric classifier: คู่ (khûu)

Example 1:  
เมื่อวานนี้ ฉันซื้อตะเกียบมาใหม่ 7 คู่
mûua-waan-níi chǎn-súue-dtà-gìiap-maa-mhài-jèt-khùu
“I bought seven pairs of chopsticks yesterday.”

Example 2:   
อย่าใช้ตะเกียบคู่ที่วางอยู่บนโต๊ะ
yhàa-chái-dtà-gìiap-khûu-thîi-waang-yùu-bon-dtó
“Don’t use the pair of chopsticks that are on the table.”

10- Knives

Thai numeric classifier: เล่ม (lèm)

Example 1:   
พ่อวางมีด 2 เล่มไว้บนโต๊ะ
phâaw-waang-mîit-sǎawng-lêm-wái-bon-dtó
“Dad put two knives on the table.”

Example 2:  
มีดเล่มนั้นคมมาก
mîit-lêm-nán-khom-mâak
“That knife is very sharp.”

11- Cloths, Towels, Bedsheets, Duvets, Bed Covers

Thai numeric classifier: ผืน (phǔuen)

Example 1:   
คุณมีผ้าปูเตียงกี่ผืน
khun-mii-phâa-bpuu-dtiiang-gìi-phǔuen
“How many bedsheets do you have?”

Example 2:  
ผ้าขนหนูผืนนั้นเป็นของฉัน
phâa-khǒn-nhǔu-phǔuen-nán-bpen-khǎawng-chǎn
“That towel is mine.”

13- Toothpaste

Thai numeric classifier: หลอด (lhàawt)

Example 1:   
ฉันมียาสีฟันรสมินต์ 2 หลอด
chǎn-mii-yaa-sǐi-fan-rót-mín-sǎawng-làawt
“I have two mint toothpastes.”

Example 2:  
หยิบยาสีฟันหลอดนั้นให้หน่อย
yìp-yaa-sǐi-fan-làawt-nán-hâi-nàauy
“Bring me that toothpaste.”

14- Toothbrushes

Thai numeric classifier: ด้าม (dâam)

Example 1:   
พ่อมีแปรงสีฟันสีฟ้า 3 ด้าม 
phâaw-mii-bpraaeng-sǐi-fan-sǐi-fáa-sǎam-dâam
“Dad has three blue toothbrushes.”

Example 2:  
แปรงสีฟันด้ามนั้นแพงมาก
bpraaeng-sǐi-fan-dâam-nán-phaaeng-mâak
“That toothbrush is very expensive.”

5. Thai Numeral Classifiers for Stationery/Office Supplies

1- Paper

Thai numeric classifier: ใบ (bai)

Example 1:   
ขอกระดาษ 2 ใบ
khǎaw-grà-dàat-sǎawng-bai
“Give me two pieces of paper.”

Example 2:  
วางกระดาษใบนั้นไว้บนโต๊ะเลย
waang-grà-dàat-bai-nán-wái-bon-dtó-looei
“Put that paper on the table.”

2- Books

Thai numeric classifier: เล่ม (lêm)

Example 1:   
แม่วางหนังสือ 3 เล่มไว้บนเตียง
mâae-waang-nǎng-sǔue-sǎam-lêm-wái-bon-dtiiang
“Mom put three books on the bed.”

Example 2:  
หนังสือเล่มนั้นดีมาก
nǎng-sǔue-lêm-nán-dii-mâak
“That book is very good.”

3- Pencils

Thai numeric classifier: แท่ง (thâaeng)

Example 1:   
ฉันทำดินสอหักไป 5 แท่ง
chǎn-tham-din-sǎaw-hàk-bpai-hâa-thâaeng
“I broke five pencils.”

Example 2:  
ดินสอแท่งนั้นราคาถูกมาก
din-sǎaw-thâaeng-nán-raa-khaa-thùuk-mâak
“That pencil is very cheap.”

4- Pens and Scissors

Thai numeric classifier: ด้าม (dâam)

Example 1:   
น้องทำปากกาหายไป 4 ด้ามเมื่อวาน
náawng-tham-bpàak-gaa-hǎai-bpai-sìi-dâam-mûua-waan
“My sister lost four pens yesterday.”

Example 2:  
ปากกาด้ามนี้ราคาเท่าไหร่
bpàak-gaa-dâam-níi-raa-khaa-thâo-rài
“How much is this pen?”

5- Erasers

Thai numeric classifier: ก้อน (gâawn)

Example 1:   
ในกล่องดินสอ มียางลบอยู่ 2 ก้อน
nai-glàawng-din-sǎaw-mii-yaang-lóp-yùu-sǎawng-gâawn
“There are two erasers in the pencil box.”

Example 2:  
ยางลบก้อนนั้นเป็นของใคร
yaang-lóp-gáawn-nán-bpen-khǎawng-khrai
“Whose eraser is that?”

6- Rulers

Thai numeric classifier: อัน (an)

Example 1:   
ฉันทำไม้บรรทัดสีดำหายไป 1 อัน
chǎn-tham-mái-ban-thát-sǐi-dam-hǎai-bpai-nùeng-an
“I lost one black ruler.”

Example 2:  
น้องอยากได้ไม้บรรทัดอันนั้น
náawng-yàak-dâi-mái-ban-thát-an-nán
“My sister wants that ruler.”

7- Calculators

Thai numeric classifier: เครื่อง (krûueang)

Example 1:   
เครื่องคิดเลข 5 เครื่องอยู่ในลิ้นชัก
khrûueang-khít-lêek-hâa-khrûueang-yùu-nai-lín-chák
“There are five calculators in the drawer.”

Example 2:  
เครื่องคิดเลขเครื่องไหนเป็นของคุณ
khrûueang-khít-lêk-khrûueang-nǎi-bpen-khǎawng-khun
“Which calculator is yours?”

6. Thai Numeral Classifiers for Musical Instruments

1- Pianos

Thai numeric classifier: หลัง (lǎng)

Example 1:   
ที่โรงเรียนมีเปียโน 2 หลัง
thîi-roong-riian-mii-bpia-noo-sǎawng-lǎng
“There are two pianos at the school.”

Example 2:  
เปียโนหลังนั้นราคาแพงมาก
bpia-noo-lǎng-nán-raa-khaa-phaaeng-mâak
“That piano is very expensive.”

2- Guitars

Thai numeric classifier: ตัว (dtuua)

Example 1:   
น้องมีกีตาร์ 3 ตัว
náawng-mii-gii-dtâa-sǎam-dtuua
“My younger brother has three guitars.”

Example 2:  
ในบรรดากีตาร์ 3 ตัวนั้น กีตาร์ตัวนี้เก่าที่สุด
nai-ban-daa-gii-dtâa-sǎam-dtuua-nán gii-dtâa-dtuua-níi-gào-thîi-sùt
“Among these three guitars, this one is the oldest.”

3- Violins

Thai numeric classifier: คัน (khan)

Example 1:   
ไวโอลิน 2 คันนั้น ตัวไหนแพงกว่า
wai-oo-lin-sǎawng-khan-nán dtuua-nǎi-phaaeng-gwàa
“Between these two violins, which one is more expensive?”

Example 2:  
ไวโอลินคันนั้นเป็นของยาย
wai-oo-lin-khan-nán-bpen-khǎawng-yaai
“That violin is my grandma’s.”

4- Flutes

Thai numeric classifier: เลา (lao)

Example 1:   
ที่บ้านมีขลุ่ย 1 เลา
thîi-bâan-mii-khlùi-nùeng-lao
“There is a flute at my house.”

Example 2:  
ขลุ่ยเลานั้นเป็นของตา
khlùi-lao-nán-bpen-khǎawng-dtaa
“That flute is my grandpa’s.”

7. Thai Numeral Classifiers for Food

1- Root Vegetables

Thai numeric classifier: หัว (hǔua)

Example 1:   
แม่เพิ่งซื้อแครอทมา 3 หัว
mâae-phôoeng-súue-khaae-ràawt-maa-sǎam-hǔua
“Mom just bought three carrots.”

Example 2:  
แม่จะใช้แครอทหัวนั้นทำซุป
mâae-jà-chái-khaae-ràawt-hǔua-nán-tham-súp
“Mom will use that carrot for soup.”

Mom Will Use That Carrot for Soup

2- Leaf Vegetables

Thai numeric classifier: ต้น (dtôn)

Example 1:   
ขั้นต่อไปคือสับต้นหอม 2 ต้น
khân-dtàaw-bpai-khuue-sàp-dtôn-hǎawm-sǎawng-dtôn
“The next step is chopping two green onions.”

Example 2:
คะน้าต้นนั้นสดมาก
khá-náa-dtôn-nán-sòt-mâak
“That Chinese broccoli is very fresh.”

3- Fruits

Thai numeric classifier: ผล (phǒn) / ลูก (lûuk)

Example 1:   
ในตู้เย็นมีเงาะหลายผล
nai-dtûu-yen-mii-ngáw-lǎai-phǒn
“There are many rambutans in the fridge.”

Example 2:  
ส้มลูกนี้อร่อยดี
sôm-lûuk-níi-à-ràauy-dii
This orange is delicious.”

Additional note: Comparing these two classifiers in Thai, ผล (phǒn) is more formal than ลูก (lûuk).

4- Bunches of Grapes

Thai numeric classifier: พวง (phuuang)

Example 1:   
เธอจะเอาองุ่นกี่พวง
thooe-jà-ao-à-ngùn-gìi-phuuang
“How many bunches of grapes do you want?”

Example 2:  
องุ่นพวงนี้เปรี้ยวมาก
à-ngùn-phuuang-níi-bprîiao-mâak
“This bunch of grapes is very sour.”

Additional note: For bunches of grapes, พวง (phuuang) is used as a numeral classifier in Thai. However, for a single grape, you can use ลูก (lûuk).

5- Bunches of Bananas

Thai numeric classifier: หวี (wǐi)

Example 1:   
กล้วย 1 หวีราคาเท่าไหร่
glûuay-nùeng-wǐi-raa-khaa-thâo-rài
“How much is a bunch of bananas?”

Example 2:  
กล้วยหวีนี้สุกแล้ว
glûuay-wǐi-níi-sùk-láaeo
“This bunch of bananas has already ripened.”

Additional note: For bunches of bananas, หวี (wǐi) is used as a numeral classifier in Thai. However, for a single banana, you can use ลูก (lûuk).

How Much Is a Bunch of Bananas?

6- Durian Pieces

Thai numeric classifier: พลู (phluu)

Example 1:   
ทุเรียน 1 พลูราคาเท่าไหร่
thú-riian-nùeng-pluu-raa-khaa-thâo-rài
“How much is a piece of durian?”

Example 2:  
ทุเรียนพลูนี้หวานมั้ย
thú-riian-pluu-níi-wǎan-mái
“Is this piece of durian sweet?”

Additional note: For pieces of durian, พลู (phluu) is used as a numeral classifier in Thai. However, for a whole durian, you can use ลูก (lûuk).

7- Eggs

Thai numeric classifier: ฟอง (faawng)

Example 1:   
พ่อกินไข่วันละ 2 ฟอง
phâaw-gin-khài-wan-lá-sǎawng-faawng
“Dad eats two eggs a day.”

Example 2:  
ไข่ฟองนี้เป็นไข่เป็ดหรือไข่ไก่
khài-faawng-níi-bpen-khài-bpèt-rǔue-khài-gài
“Is this egg a chicken egg or duck egg?”

8- Bread

Thai numeric classifier: แผ่น (phàaen) / ชิ้น (chín)

Example 1:   
เมื่อเช้าแม่กินขนมปังไป 2 แผ่น
mûua-cháo-mâae-gin-khà-nǒm-bpang-bpai-sǎawng-phàaen
“Mom ate two slices of bread this morning.”

Example 2:  
ขนมปังชิ้นนี้หอมมาก
khà-nǒm-bpang-chín-níi-hǎawm-mâak
“This bread smells really good.”

Additional note: For slices of bread, แผ่น (phàaen) is used as a numeral classifier in Thai. For other types of bread, you can use ชิ้น (chín).

9- Cake Slices and Cookies

Thai numeric classifier: ชิ้น (chín)

Example 1:   
เค้ก 3 ชิ้นราคาเท่าไหร่
khéek-sǎam-chín-raa-khaa-thâo-rài
“How much is three slices of cake?”

Example 2:  
คุ๊กกี้ชิ้นนี้ขมมาก
khúuk-gîi-chín-níi-khǒm-mâak
“This cookie is really bitter.”

10- Rice

Thai numeric classifier: เม็ด (mét)

Example 1:   
ข้าว 2-3 เม็ดตกอยู่บนพื้น
khâo-sǎawng-sǎam-mét-dtòk-yùu-bon-phúuen
“There is a little rice on the floor.”

Example 2:  
ข้าวเหนียวเป็นเม็ดสวยมาก
khâo-nǐiao-bpen-mét-sǔuay-mâak
“This sticky rice looks very good.”

Additional note: In Thai, in addition to using เม็ด (mét) which is quite impractical, you can also use the container as a numerical classifier. For example, ข้าว 1 จาน (khâo-nùeng-jaan) is “one plate of rice” in Thai.

8. Thai Numerical Classifiers by Shape

You’ve already learned a lot about Thai numeral classifiers. Still, there are a lot of Thai numerical classifiers you’re yet to learn. Fortunately, as mentioned above, numerical classifiers are used to describe the physical characteristics of a noun. So you can guess the proper numerical classifier by the shape of an object.

For uncountable nouns, you can use the container it’s in as the numeral classifier. 

Here’s a list of the numeral classifiers in Thai you need to remember in order to do this. 

1- Box-shaped Objects

Thai numeric classifier: กล่อง (glàawng)

Explanation: This is a numeral classifier for box-shaped objects or uncountable nouns that are in a box-shaped container.

Example 1:   
ช่วยซื้อซีเรียลให้ 3 กล่องได้มั้ย
chûuay-súue-sii-rîiao-hâi-sǎam-glàawng-dâi-mái
“Can you buy me three boxes of cereal?”

Example 2:  
ขนมกล่องนี้ใกล้หมดอายุแล้ว
khà-nǒm-glàawng-níi-glâi-mòt-aa-yú-láaeo
“This box of snacks is almost expired.”

2- Bottle-shaped Objects

Thai numeric classifier: ขวด (khùuat)

Explanation: This is a numeral classifier for bottle-shaped objects or uncountable nouns that are in a bottle-shaped container.

Example 1:   
โซดา 2 ขวดราคา 20 บาท
soo-daa-sǎawng-khùuat-raa-khaa-yîi-sìp-bàat
“Two bottles of soda cost 20 Baht.”

Example 2:  
น้ำผลไม้ขวดนี้หวานมาก
nám-phǒn-lá-mái-khùuat-níi-wǎan-mâak
“This bottle of juice is very sweet.”

3- Cup-shaped Objects

Thai numeric classifier: ถ้วย (thûuai)

Explanation: This is a numeral classifier for cup-shaped objects or uncountable nouns that are in a cup-shaped container.

Example 1:   
น้องกินขนมหวานไป 5 ถ้วย
náawng-gin-khà-nhǒm-wǎan-bpai-hâa-thûuay
“My younger sister ate five cups of dessert.”

Example 2:  
ไอศครีมถ้วยนี้เป็นของใคร
ai-sà-khriim-thûuay-ní-bpen-khǎawng-khrai
“Whose cup of ice cream is this?”

4- Bowl-shaped Objects

Thai numeric classifier: ชาม (chaam)

Explanation: This is a numeral classifier for bowl-shaped objects or uncountable nouns that are in a bowl-shaped container.

Example 1:   
ฉันกินก๋วยเตี๋ยว 1 ชามเป็นมื้อกลางวัน
chǎn-gin-gǔuay-dtǐiao-nùeng-chaam-bpen-múue-glaang-wan
“I had a bowl of noodles for lunch.”

Example 2:  
ระวังนะ ซุปชามนั้นร้อนมาก
rá-wang-ná súp-chaam-nán-ráawn-mâak
“Be careful, that bowl of soup is really hot.”

5- Bag-shaped Objects

Thai numeric classifier: ถุง (thǔng)

Explanation: This is a numeral classifier for bag-shaped objects or uncountable nouns that are in a bag-shaped container.

Example 1:   
พี่ซื้อมันฝรั่งทอดมา 3 ถุง
phîi-súue-man-fá-ràng-thâawt-maa-sǎam-thǔng
“My brother bought three bags of potato chips.”

Example 2:  
น้ำยาซักผ้าถุงนี้ราคา 50 บาท
nám-yaa-sák-phâa-thǔng-níi-raa-khaa-hâa-sìp-bàat
“This bag of liquid detergent costs 50 Baht.”

9. Conclusion

Give yourself a big hand for finishing this lesson. You’ve now learned about Thai numerical classifiers, and hopefully you can remember the common Thai classifiers from the list we provided. Does your native language have numerical classifiers? What do you think about this lesson? Please comment to let us know.

After you’ve reviewed this lesson a few more times, don’t forget to check out other good and interesting lessons on ThaiPod101.com

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Is Thai Difficult to Learn? (And Tips to Succeed!)

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If you’re interested in learning the Thai language but haven’t started yet, you may be wondering: “Is Thai difficult to learn?” We’re here to tell you that learning Thai may not be as hard as you think it is!  

There are certain things that make the Thai language hard to learn, and for these, you’ll need to spend some time studying and practicing. But there are also many other aspects that are pretty simple and straightforward! You may feel a little doubtful about this, as the Thai alphabet, grammar, pronunciation, and so on, are new to you. But you’ll get familiar with these things in no time once you start learning with ThaiPod101.com.  

There are many foreigners who can speak and understand Thai so well, after just a few years, that even native speakers are surprised. So with some time, practice, and the right tools, anyone can learn to speak Thai. Yes, that includes you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Thai Table of Contents
  1. The Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Thai
  2. I Want to Learn Thai. Where Should I Start?
  3. Advice for a New Thai Learner
  4. Why is ThaiPod101.com Great for Learning Thai?
  5. Conclusion

1. The Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Thai 

In the following sections, we’ll cover the easiest aspect of Thai first, and then the hardest! Let’s go. 

What Makes Thai Easy?

Many language-learners dread the grammar aspect of their studies, and for good reasons! As such, you’ve probably been wondering: “Is Thai grammar hard?” 

Good news: It’s not difficult at all! It’s probably the easiest part of learning Thai.  

This is because there are no tenses or conjugations in Thai, so there’s a lot less to understand and remember.  You don’t have to learn how to change verb forms or swap around the sentence structure from one situation to another. For example:

Present simple tense:  

ฉันกินอาหารไทย
chǎn-gin-aa-hǎan-thai
“I eat Thai food.”

Present continuous tense

ฉันกำลังกินอาหารไทย
chǎn-gam-lang-gin-aa-hǎan-thai
“I am having Thai food.”

Adding กำลัง (gam-lang), which is like “ing” in English, shows that you’re in the process of doing the action.

Past simple tense:  

เมื่อวานฉันกินอาหารไทย
mûuea-waan-chǎn-gin-aa-hǎan-thai
“Yesterday, I had Thai food.”

Adding เมื่อวาน (mûuea-waan), which means “yesterday” in Thai,  shows that the action happened in the past.

Yesterday, I had Thai Food.

Future simple tense:  

วันพรุ่งนี้ฉันจะกินอาหารไทย
wan-phrûng-níi-chǎn-jà-gin-aa-hǎan-thai
“Tomorrow, I will have Thai food.”

Adding วันพรุ่งนี้ (wan-phrûng-níi), which means “tomorrow” in Thai, shows that this is a plan for the future. Adding จะ () shows that you will do it.

You can see that there’s not much difference between the four sentences above. That just goes to show how difficult it is to learn Thai language grammar. (Not at all, right? ^^)

Why is Thai Hard to Learn?

The hardest part of learning Thai is the การออกเสียง (gaan-àawk-sǐiang), or “pronunciation.” 

The biggest problem here is the เสียงวรรณยุกต์ (sǐiang-wan-ná-yúk), or “tones.” There are five tones in the Thai language, and foreigners often have difficulty distinguishing between them, thinking they all sound the same. For example:

  • ป้าดูปลาในป่า 
  • phâa-duu-phlaa-nai-phàa
  • “Aunt looks at fish in the forest.”
  • For foreigners who have just started learning Thai, it can be hard to differentiate between the words ป้า (phâa), ปลา (phla), and ป่า (phàa).

So, is it hard to learn to speak Thai? It certainly can be, but it’s still very achievable! 

Learning how to pronounce the Thai alphabet and tones correctly will help a lot, as it will create a strong foundation for your future studies. And by listening to plenty of Thai content, you’ll become more familiar with Thai pronunciation, making this portion of your studies a bit simpler.

2. I Want to Learn Thai. Where Should I Start?

When you start learning Thai, you should start with the most basic units, which are the พยัญชนะ (phá-yan-chá-ná) or “consonants,” and สระ (sà-rà) or “vowels.” Learning how to pronounce and write the Thai alphabet will enable you to read and write Thai with little problem, and make your conversations a lot smoother.

If you’ve been studying and practicing with the Thai alphabet for a while, and still struggle with reading, writing, or pronunciation, you may need to practice some more. Mastering the Thai alphabet right from the start will make the rest of your language-learning journey so much easier.

Learning the Thai Alphabet

At the same time, you should also start practicing basic conversational phrases and learn easy Thai words.  Learning new words along with the conversational phrases will make the words easier to remember. Not to mention how useful basic phrases can be in daily life! 

3. Advice for a New Thai Learner   

Learning a new language is not an easy thing to do. Here are a few tips for you.

1 – Listen to lots of Thai content

Whether it’s a Thai song, TV series, news station, or drama film, listen to your target language as much as possible. Even if you don’t understand anything you’re hearing, you’ll start to become more familiar with Thai pronunciation and tones. And it’s even better with subtitles! This will allow you to more easily learn vocabulary and sentence structures while enjoying yourself!

I Watch Thai Movies Everyday.

2 – Find something you like about Thai

Learning any language takes time, and this is especially true for a language very different from your own, like Thai. You can’t master Thai in just a few days!  

That said, it’s easier to do something for a long time if that thing interests you. You should find something you like about Thai so that you can develop a passion for learning the language. 

For example, if you like a certain Thai actor, you’ll enjoy watching that actor in a movie or TV drama—and you’ll be able to learn Thai at the same time! You’ll also want to understand what he said in an interview or behind the scenes, which will motivate you to learn the language.  

It doesn’t have to be a person, though. There are many other Thai-related topics that may interest you: TV shows, culture, food, desserts, or even ghost stories. You just need to look for it, because we guarantee you’ll find something!

3 – Be patient

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

As mentioned earlier, you can’t master any new language in only a few days, so you have to be patient when learning Thai.  

You may find it a bit tough and not very enjoyable at first because everything is new and there’s a lot to take in. There are a lot of letters to remember, several pronunciation rules you need to memorize, and the tones are driving you crazy. But that’s just because you’re not familiar with the Thai language yet. As you start to understand Thai, you’ll feel very satisfied with yourself and your language skills. 

There’s a saying in Thai: ความพยายามอยู่ที่ไหน ความสำเร็จอยู่ที่นั้น (khwaam-phá-yaa-yaam- yùu-thîi-nǎi khwaam-sǎm-rèt-yùu-thîi-nân). It means that if you keep trying, you’ll be successful. In other words: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” So next time you feel like giving up, just remember these words.

4 – Choose the right learning tools

Have you ever seen chefs in five-star restaurants using dull knives? No, they use high-quality knives and keep them sharp. Their cooking may not depend on the knife they use, but having a good sharp one will make the job a lot easier! 

The same is true for learning Thai. If you’ve been learning Thai for a while, and still find it very difficult, you may be using the wrong tool. 

Good books used to be enough, but nowadays, everything you need to learn Thai is at your fingertips when you use ThaiPod101.com. ThaiPod101.com is like a knowledgeable teacher, a friend who gets you interested in Thai culture, and an encouraging mentor all wrapped up into one person. So don’t hesitate to visit and learn more about us! 

4. Why is ThaiPod101.com Great for Learning Thai?

ThaiPod101.com is a fast, fun, and easy way to learn Thai. Below, we’ll give you just a few reasons to give us a try: 

1 – A variety of lessons and materials

We provide various Thai lessons for learners at every level. For example, our page on the Easy Way to Learn the Thai Alphabet for beginners, and our Thai Language Exam article for more advanced students.

We also have audio lessons so that you can hear how Thai people speak, improve your listening skills, and practice your pronunciation. And don’t forget our handy vocabulary lists, categorized by topic. Examples include Talking About YouTube and Useful Words and Phrases for Going to the Movies. You’ll also find a grammar bank on our website (which contains almost 400 grammar topics you can learn) and printable PDF lesson notes for you to review after lessons.  

And by upgrading to a Premium PLUS account, you’ll be able to communicate one-on-one with your own personal teacher. Your teacher will be more than happy to help with your Thai learning and provide you with the tools and encouragement you need to succeed.  

With these abundant materials, ThaiPod101.com is the best and easiest way to learn Thai! 

2 – Learn Thai 24/7

You don’t need to meet your teacher face-to-face to learn Thai. With internet access and a mobile phone, tablet, or PC, you can access all of our Thai lessons through ThaiPod101.com—anytime, wherever you are.

I Can Learn Thai 24/7

3 – Flexible learning plans for individuals

ThaiPod101.com provides the most flexible Thai class you can join. If you don’t know where to start, we can provide you with guidance and suggestions, tailored to your current level and your goals. But you can also plan your lessons based on your interests, strengths, and weaknesses. In addition,  you can always repeat a lesson if you forgot something or didn’t quite understand the topic. Learn at your own pace, your way! 

4 – Pronunciation practice

Learning Thai pronunciation is the hardest part of learning the language. As such, you may be concerned that learning Thai online will take away from your ability to practice pronunciation. Don’t worry! ThaiPod101.com has a pronunciation and accent review function for you to practice with. You can keep practicing until you get it right.

5 – Assignments, quizzes, and tests

Don’t leave yet! Even though assignments, quizzes, and tests are typically boring and unwelcome, you can’t deny that completing assignments and quizzes improves our understanding and shows us where we need to do better. And don’t worry: there’s not much pressure when completing them, like there would be in a traditional classroom.

6 – Daily learning encouragement

If you’re a student, we know that you probably have tons of homework to do, tests to prepare for, and recreational activities to attend to stay sane. If you’re a full-time worker, finding time to learn a new language can be an issue when there are work responsibilities and other things you need to do. We understand and will encourage you to learn Thai little by little with us. There are even short lessons you can complete daily—we’ll even remind you to do them. 😉

7 – Cultural knowledge

ThaiPod101.com also provides information about Thai culture: how Thai people live, act, and think in daily life.  These lessons are interesting for both Thai learners and foreigners who are living in Thailand. 

Learn More about Thai Culture.

5. Conclusion

At this point, we hope that if someone asks you whether the Thai language is easy or hard, you’ll let them know it’s not that bad. 

It will take some time, but anyone can learn Thai. 

The best way to get started is to visit ThaiPod101.com and explore our many lessons and learning tools. We recommend starting with our Thai Alphabet Made Easy lessons.

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you feel ready to start learning Thai! If not, we’d love to hear your questions or concerns as well. 

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The Top 10 Common Thai Mistakes for Learners to Avoid

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In Thai, there’s a saying, ผิดเป็นครู (phìt-bpen-khruu), which means “learning from your mistakes.”  

Still, making mistakes can sometimes be embarrassing, so it’s better if you can avoid them in the first place.  Hence, this comprehensive guide on typical Thai language mistakes from ThaiPod101.com.

You’ll learn about mistakes in Thai grammar, vocabulary, word choice, and the appropriate use of Thai phrases. By the end of this article, you should be able to decrease the number of common Thai-English mistakes you make, or avoid them altogether!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. Similar Consonants
  2. Short and Long Vowel Sounds
  3. A Note on Tone Marks
  4. The Correct Tone for คะ (khá) and ค่ะ (khâ)
  5. False Friends
  6. ตัวผู้ (dtuua-phûu) is for Male Animals
  7. Word Order: Nouns and Adjectives
  8. Politeness Level
  9. Special Words for Monks
  10. Being Too Afraid to Speak
  11. Conclusion

1. Similar Consonants

A frequent mistake in Thai language-learning is that of confusing similar-sounding consonants. In Thai, there are many consonants that have similar sounds, and pronouncing them incorrectly can completely change the meaning of a word. Below are some examples.

1 – ข (kh) and ค (kh)

Despite having the same romanization, these two consonants have different sounds. ข (kh) sounds deeper than ค (kh), and if you use the wrong sound, this could happen:

Thai sentence: เนื้อปลาขาว ๆ น่ากินมาก
Thai pronunciation: núuea-bplaa-khǎao-khǎao-nâa-gin-mâak

Correct pronunciation meaning: “The white fish looks yummy.”
Incorrect pronunciation meaning: “The fishy fish looks yummy.”

Explanation:  

  • ขาว (khǎao) means “white” in Thai.
  • คาว (khaao) means “fishy” in Thai.

You can see that common pronunciation mistakes for Thai-learners like this one can be quite funny. 

We recommend that you listen to Thai people speaking often, so that you can learn how to pronounce these consonants correctly.

White Fish Sushi

The white fish looks yummy.

2 – ช (ch) and ฉ (ch)

Another pair of similar-sounding consonants is ช (ch) and ฉ (ch). 

Thai sentence: ฉิ่งเป็นเครื่องดนตรีไทย
Thai pronunciation: chìng-bpen-khrûueang-don-dtrii-thai

Correct pronunciation meaning: “The cymbal is a Thai musical instrument.”
Incorrect pronunciation meaning: “Running away is a Thai musical instrument.”

Explanation:  

Here’s another tip for avoiding typical Thai mistakes like this one: If there’s romanization, pay attention to the tone of the word. You may notice that, despite both words having the same tone mark, the tones are not the same.

3 – ถ (th) and ท (th)

The last pair of consonants is ถ (th) and ท (th). Here’s what a mistake in Thai might look like if you confuse them:

Thai sentence: คนให้ทั่ว ๆ นะ
Thai pronunciation: khon-hâi-thûua-thûua-ná

Correct pronunciation meaning: “Stir it thoroughly.”
Incorrect pronunciation meaning: “Stir it nut.”

Explanation:  

  • ทั่ว (thûua) means “thoroughly” in Thai.
  • ถั่ว (thùua) means “nut” in Thai.

Hopefully the examples and tips above will help you avoid these common mistakes English-speakers make in Thai!

2. Short and Long Vowel Sounds

Another common pronunciation mistake is to pronounce Thai vowels too short or too long. As there are many pairs of short and long vowels in Thai, it’s important that you pay close attention here. Pronouncing a word too short or too long can change its meaning.

1 – ุ (u) and ู (tuu)

Pronouncing ุ (u) and ู (tuu) incorrectly can lead to this weird situation:

Thai sentence: ดูเด็กคนนั้นสิ น่ารักจัง
Thai pronunciation: duu-dèk-khon-nán-sì nâa-rák-jang

Correct pronunciation meaning: “Look at that child, so cute.”
Incorrect pronunciation meaning: “Scold that child, so cute.”

Explanation:  

  • ดู (duu) means “look” in Thai.
  • ดุ () means “scold” in Thai.
Little Kid Counting on His Fingers

2 – ิ (i) and ี (ii)

ิ (i) and ี (ii) are another vowel sound pair that English-speakers often get confused by. See what happens if you use the wrong sound: 

Thai sentence: เขาเป็นช่างตีเหล็ก
Thai pronunciation: khǎo-bpen-châang-dtii-lèk

Correct pronunciation meaning: “He is a blacksmith.”
Incorrect pronunciation meaning: “He is a person who criticizes iron.”

Explanation:  

  • ตี (dtii) means “hit” in Thai.
  • ติ (dtì) means “criticize” in Thai.

3 – ะ (a) and า (aa)

The last example we’ll cover here is the pronunciation of ะ (a) and า (aa).

Thai sentence: วันนี้วันจันทร์
Thai pronunciation: wan-níi-wan-jan

Correct pronunciation meaning: “Today is Monday.”
Incorrect pronunciation meaning: “Today is Dish day.”

Explanation:  

  • จันทร์ (jan) means “moon,” or if it’s after วัน (wan), it means “Monday” in Thai.
  • จาน (jaan) means “dish” in Thai.

3. A Note on Tone Marks

Despite having the same name, you can’t use tone marks to define the tone of words. This is a common mistake in spoken Thai. There are many factors, other than tone marks, that affect the tone of a word. For example, initial consonants and vowel sounds. 

Example 1: ขา (khǎa), which means “leg” in Thai, has a rising tone despite having no tone mark.

Example 2: ซ้ำ (sám), which means “repeat,” in Thai, has a high tone despite having a falling tone mark.

Example 3: ฆ่า (khâa), which means “kill” in Thai, has a falling tone despite having a low tone mark.

4. The Correct Tone for คะ (khá) and ค่ะ (khâ)

In Thai, to be polite, females add คะ (khá) and ค่ะ (khà) to the end of sentences. However, many people use these incorrectly. This is the most common mistake in Thai, for both native Thai people and foreigners. Below are examples of how to use คะ (khá) and ค่ะ (khà) correctly.

1 – คะ (khá)

คะ (khá) is used in two conditions: 

  • After questions
  • After sentences that end with นะ ()

Example 1:  

กระดาษอยู่ที่ไหนคะ
grà-dàat-yùu-thîi-nǎi-khá
“Where is the paper?”

Example 2:  

อย่าทำแบบนี้อีกนะคะ
yàa-tham-bàaep-níi-ìik-ná-khá
“Don’t do this again.”

2 – ค่ะ (khâ)

ค่ะ (khâ) is used after affirmative and negative sentences.

Example 1:  

ฉันไม่กินเผ็ดค่ะ
chǎn-mâi-gin-phèt-khâ
I don’t eat spicy food.

Example 2:  

ฉันจะไปทะเลตอนสงกรานต์ค่ะ
chǎn-jà-bpai-thá-lee-dtaawn-sǒng-graan-khâ
“I will go to the sea during Songkran.”

Someone Swimming in the Sea with Scuba Diving Gear

5. False Friends

For those who can speak English, don’t be so happy to see or hear English words in Thai. The meanings may be very different! 

1 – Fit 

ฟิต (fít) is “too tight” in Thai, while in English, it means “not too tight or too loose.” 

  • กางเกงตัวนี้ใส่แล้วฟิตมาก 
    gaang-geeng-dtuua-níi-sài-láaeo-fít-mâak
    “These pants are too tight for me.”

2 – Over  

โอเวอร์ (oo-vôoe) is “exaggerate” in Thai, while in English, it means “end.” 

  • เรื่องที่เธอเล่ามันโอเวอร์มาก
    rûueang-thîi-thooe-lâo-man-oo-vôoe-mâak
    “The story you told is exaggerated.”

6. ตัวผู้ (dtuua-phûu) is for Male Animals

Another Thai word mistake you should know has to do with ตัวผู้ (dtuua-phûu). This word is used for male animals in Thai

When you start learning the language, you may learn that เมีย (miia) is “wife” in informal Thai and ผัว (phǔua) is “husband.” However, when it comes to animals, Thai people put ตัวเมีย (dtuua-miia) after the animal’s name to specify that the animal is female. You may see this, and think that you should use ตัวผัว (dtuua-phǔua) to specify that the animal is male, but this is incorrect! Instead, you should put ตัวผู้ (dtuua-phûu).

Example:  

  • สิงโตตัวผู้ (sǐng-dtoo-dtuua-phûu) is “male lion” in Thai.
  • สิงโตตัวเมีย (sǐng-dtoo-dtuua-miia) is “female lion” in Thai.
A Lion Roaring

7. Word Order: Nouns and Adjectives

Now, let’s talk about common Thai grammar mistakes that foreigners often make. 

In English, adjectives are put in front of nouns; in Thai, it’s the other way around.  

Example 1:  

ดอกไม้สีขาวมีกลิ่นหอม
dâawk-mái-sǐi-khǎao-mii-glìn-hǎawm
“The white flowers smell nice.”

A Bunch of Small White Flowers

Example 2:  

แม่ชอบผลไม้เปรี้ยว ๆ มากกว่าผลไม้หวาน ๆ
mâae-châawp-phǒn-lá-mái-bprîiao-bprîiao-mâak-gwàa-phǒn-lá-mái-wǎan-wǎan
“Mom likes sour fruit more than sweet fruit.”

8. Politeness Level

Politeness level is the source of many common Thai-English mistakes. In Thai, there are many words that mean the same thing but have different levels of politeness, which you may know already if you’ve studied Thai pronouns. Thus, it’s important to use the right words in the right situations. Using the wrong words can be both inappropriate and funny.

Example 1:  

คุณครูกินข้าวเที่ยงรึยังคะ
khun-khruu-gin-khâao-thîiang-rúe-yang-khá
“Have you had lunch yet?” (Talking to a teacher)

Explanation:  

The situation here is that a student is talking to a teacher. Thus, the student should ask the teacher this question in a polite manner. The student has already put คะ (khá) after the question, which is good. However, instead of using กิน (gin), it would have been better to use รับประทาน (ráp-bprà-thaan). And instead of using ข้าวเที่ยง (khâao-thîiang), the student should have used อาหารกลางวัน (aa-hǎan-glaang-wan).

Appropriate Thai sentence:  

คุณครูรับประทานอาหารกลางวันรึยังคะ
khun-khruu-thaan-aa-hǎan-glaang-wan-rúe-yang-khá
“Have you had lunch yet?” (Talking to a teacher)

Example 2:  

เธอมีบุตรกี่คน
thooe-mii-bùt-gìi-khon
“How many sons and daughters do you have?”

Explanation:  

Here, two friends are having a conversation. The speaker must be close to the other party, as there’s no ครับ (khráp) or คะ (khá) at the end of the sentence. In this case, using บุตร (bùt), which means “son” or “daughter,” is too polite. Instead, the speaker should have used ลูก (lûuk), which has the same meaning but sounds better.

Appropriate Thai sentence:  

เธอมีลูกกี่คน
thooe-mii-lûuk-gìi-khon
“How many sons and daughters do you have?”

9. Special Words for Monks

In Thai language, we have special words for monks which include pronouns and verbs. This is a part of คำราชาศัพท์ (kham-raa-chaa-sàp). Don’t be confused if you hear some words you are not familiar with when the topic involves monks in Thai.  Also, it is a good idea to learn basic words related to monks so that you won’t make common Thai mistakes.

Example 1:  

พระกำลังสวดมนต์อยู่
phrá-gam-lang-sùuat-mon-yùu
“The monks are praying.”

The Monks Are Praying

Explanation:  

สวดมนต์ (sùuat-mon) is “pray” in Thai, but it should be used with normal people. For monks, instead of using สวดมนต์ (sùuat-mon), Thai people use ทำวัตร (tham-wát).

Appropriate Thai sentence:  

พระกำลังทำวัตรอยู่
phrá-gam-lang-tham-wát-yùu
“The monks are praying.”

Example 2:  

พระไม่กินอาหารเย็น
phrá-mâi-gin-aa-hǎan-yen
“The monk didn’t have dinner.”

Explanation:  

กิน (gin) is “eat” in Thai, but it should be used with normal people. For monks, instead of using กิน (gin), Thai people use ฉัน (chǎn).

Appropriate Thai sentence:  

พระไม่ฉันอาหารเย็น
phrá-mâi-chǎn-aa-hǎan-yen
“The monk didn’t have dinner.”

10. Being Too Afraid to Speak

The biggest mistake in learning Thai is being too afraid to speak with natives. 

Don’t be afraid to speak, even if Thai people don’t seem to understand what you’re saying. Thai pronunciation is hard and Thai people know this. Actually, most Thai people find it cute when they hear foreigners trying to speak Thai, and they’ll try their best to understand. 

11. Conclusion

After finishing this lesson, we hope you can avoid making these common Thai mistakes. Have you ever made one of these Thai mistakes before? What did you feel? Let us know in the comments! 

Do you already know what you’re going to study next in your Thai learning? If you’re not sure, here are some suggestions:

Or you can visit ThaiPod101.com and choose another lesson that interests you.

Happy Thai learning!

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Basic Thai Questions and Answers You Should Know

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As a new Thai language-learner, do you find it hard to make conversation with native speakers? Because speaking Thai as often as possible is a great way to acquire the language, knowing the most common questions and answers in Thai conversations will be very helpful for you.  

Having a Thai Conversation

In this lesson, you’ll learn about asking questions in Thai and how you can answer them yourself. Knowing these common Thai questions and answers will give you the confidence you need to practice speaking more often! 

However, before we start our list of the top ten questions in Thai, there are a few things you need to know first.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. An Overview of Asking Questions in Thai
  2. Our Thai Questions and Answers List
  3. Conclusion

1. An Overview of Asking Questions in Thai

First things first! We’ll answer some common Thai grammar questions that learners have, and introduce you to the basic vocabulary you should know.   

1 – Thai Question Marks 

When going over the topic of Thai questions, many learners wonder “Are there question marks in Thai?” The answer is yes, there are question marks in the Thai language.  

In Thai, question marks are called ปรัศนี (bpràt-sà-nii) and เครื่องหมายคำถาม (khrùueng-mǎai-kham-thǎam). In normal conversations, people usually use เครื่องหมายคำถาม (khrùueng-mǎai-kham-thǎam). ปรัศนี (bpràt-sà-nii) is rarely used in daily conversation; it’s only used in academic contexts.  

That said, there’s no rule about asking questions in Thai grammar that requires you to put a question mark after your question. Thai people really only put question marks after a question to show that they’re really in doubt and want to know the answer.

2 – Pronouns Used in Thai Questions and Answers

When you ask or answer questions in Thai, you can use both names and pronouns, so you’ll find it easier if you know some Thai pronouns. Below are some examples of pronouns often used in Thai questions and answers.

Thai pronouns for you:

  • คุณ (khun) is used in formal or business situations. It can be used with both males and females.
  • นาย (naai) is used in casual situations. It can be used with males only.
  • เธอ (thooe) is used in casual situations. It can be used with females only.

Thai pronouns for I:

  • ฉัน (chǎn) is used when the speaker is female.
  • ผม (phǒm) is used when the speaker is male.

You’ll find throughout this lesson that Thai people often omit the subject from the sentence, so don’t be surprised if you don’t hear any name or pronoun when speaking with natives.

3 – Making Questions and Answers Formal

To make a sentence formal in Thai, put the word ครับ (khráp) or ค่ะ (khâ) at the end of a sentence when speaking. ครับ (khráp) is used when the speaker is male, while ค่ะ (khâ) is used when the speaker is female. 

Keep in mind that there’s a special rule when it comes to questions: for females, instead of using ค่ะ (khâ), you put คะ (khá) after questions.

Now, let’s start learning ten common Thai phrases and questions.

2. Our Thai Questions and Answers List

First Encounter

1. What’s your name? 

The first question you should learn is how to ask for someone’s name. This is an easy question to ask in Thai, and it’s a great way to start a conversation with someone you don’t know.

1 – Thai question

Question pattern:
pronoun for “you” / noun + ชื่ออะไร
pronoun for “you” / noun + chûue-à-rai
“What is your name?”

2 – Thai answers

Answer pattern 1:
pronoun for “I” + ชื่อ + ___
pronoun for “I” + chûue + ___
“My name is ___.”

Answer pattern 2:
ชื่อ + ___
chûue + ___
“My name is ___.”

Answer pattern 3:
Just say your name.

Additional Note:  
Patterns 2 and 3 are short versions of pattern 1, which is the full answer. Of the three patterns, pattern 1 is the most formal, followed by pattern 2, with pattern 3 being the most casual.

3 – Examples

Example 1

Thai question:  
ลูกค้าชื่ออะไรคะ
lûuk-khaa-chûue-à-rai-khá
“What is the customer’s name?” (You are talking to the customer.)

Thai answer:  
ผมชื่อป้องศักดิ์ครับ
phǒm-chûue-bpâawng-sàk-khráp
“My name is Pongsak.”

Example 2

Thai question:  
เธอชื่ออะไร
thooe-chûue-à-rai
“What is your name?”

Thai answer:  
กิ๊ฟ
gíp
“Gip.”

2. Where are you from? 

To learn more about someone, one of the best Thai language questions to ask is “Where are you from?” There are a few ways to ask this question, shown below.

1 – Thai questions

Question pattern 1:  
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + มาจากที่ไหน
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + maa-jàak-thîi-nǎi
“Where are you from?”

Question pattern 2:  
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + เป็นคนจังหวัดอะไร
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + bpen-khon-jang-wàt-à-rai
“Which province are you from?”

Question pattern 3:  
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + เป็นคนประเทศอะไร
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + bpen-khon-bprà-thêet-à-rai
“Which country are you from?”

Additional Note:  
When Thai people are asked where they come from, they often answer with the name of the province they grew up in. Thus, you can use pattern 2 specifically with a Thai person. Pattern 3, as you can guess, is used with foreigners.

2 – Thai answers

Answer pattern 1:  
pronoun for “I” + มาจาก + ___
pronoun for “I” + maa-jàak + ___
“I come from ___.”

Answer pattern 2
มาจาก + ___
maa-jàak + ___
“I come from ___.”

Answer pattern 3:  
Just say the name of your hometown or country.

Additional Note:  
Patterns 1 through 3 can be used to answer all of the questions above. Patterns 2 and 3 are the short versions of pattern 1, which is the full answer. Pattern 1 is the most formal, followed by pattern 2, with pattern 3 being the most casual.

Answer pattern 4:  
pronoun for “I” + เป็นคน + name of province or country
pronoun for “I” + bpen-khon + ___
“I come from ___.”

Answer pattern 5:  
คน + name of province or country
khon + ___
“I am ___.”

Additional Note:  
Patterns 4 and 5 are used to answer question patterns 2 and 3 only. As you can see, pattern 5 is the short version of pattern 4.

3 – Examples

Example 1

Thai question:  
เดวิดมาจากที่ไหน
dee-vìt-maa-jàak-thîi-nǎi
“Where are you from?” (You are talking to David.)

Thai answer:  
มาจากออสเตเรียครับ
maa-jàak-áawt-dtee-riia
“I come from Australia.”

Example 2

Thai question:  
นักเรียนเป็นคนจังหวัดอะไร
nák-riian-bpen-khon-jang-wàt-à-rai
“Which province are you from?” (You are talking to a student.)

Thai answer:  
คนลพบุรีค่ะ
khon lóp-bù-rii khà
“I come from Lopburi.”

3. Do you speak ___? 

This is one of the best Thai questions for foreigners. Knowing the language skills of other parties makes it easier to communicate, in case you can speak the same language. ^^

1 – Thai question

Question pattern:  
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + พูดภาษา___ได้มั้ย
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + phûut-phaa-sǎa-___-dâi-mái
“Do you speak ___?”

2 – Thai answers

Answer pattern 1:  
ได้
dâi
“Yes.”

Answer pattern 2:  
ได้นิดหน่อย
dâi-nit-nàauy
“Yes, a little bit.”

Answer pattern 3:  
ไม่ได้
mâi-dâi
“No.”

3 – Examples

Example 1

Thai question:  
ลดาพูดภาษาจีนได้มั้ย
lá-daa-phûut-phaa-sǎa-jiin-dâi-mái
“Does Lada speak Chinese?”

Thai answer:  
ได้นิดหน่อย
dâi-nit-nàauy
“Yes, a little bit.”

Example 2

Thai question:  
น้ำตาลพูดภาษาอังกฤษได้มั้ย
nám-dtaan-phûut-phaa-sǎa-ang-grìt-dâi-mái
Does Namtarn speak English?

Thai answer:  
ได้ หนูเคยไปเรียนที่อเมริกา 3 ปี
dai nǔu-khooei-bpai-riian-thii-a-mee-ri-gaa-saam-bpii
“Yes, I do. I have studied in the United States for three years.”

4. How long have you been studying ___? 

To continue the conversation, you can ask this question in Thai.

1 – Thai questions

Question pattern 1:  
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + เรียนภาษา___มานานเท่าไหร่แล้ว
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + riian-phaa-sǎa-___-maa-naan-thâo-rài-láaeo
“How long have you been studying ___?”

Question pattern 2:  
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + เรียนภาษา___มากี่ปีแล้ว
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + riian-phaa-sǎa-___-maa-gìi-bpii-láaeo
“How many years have you been studying ___?”

2 – Thai answers

Answer pattern 1:  
pronoun for “I” + เรียนมา ___ ปี / เดือน
pronoun for “I” + riian-maa-___-bpii / duuean
“I have studied for ___ years / months.”

Answer pattern 2:  
เรียนมา ___ ปี / เดือน
riian-maa-___-bpii / duuean
“I have studied for ___ years / months.”

Answer pattern 3:  
pronoun for “I” + เรียนมาตั้งแต่อายุ ___ ปีแล้ว
pronoun for “I” + riian-maa-dtâng-dtàae-aa-yú-___-bpii-lâaeo
“I have studied since I was ___ years old.”

Answer pattern 4:  
เรียนมาตั้งแต่อายุ ___ ขวบ / ปีแล้ว
Riian-maa-dtâng-dtàae-aa-yú-___-khùuap / bpii-lâaeo
“I have studied since I was ___ years old.”

Pattern 2 is the short version of pattern 1, and pattern 4 is the short version of pattern 3. The subject of the sentence is omitted as Thai people assume you already know who you’re talking about.

ขวบ (khùuap) and ปี (bpii) are both numeric classifiers of age. ขวบ (khùuap) is used for ages under thirteen years old, while ปี (bpii) is used for ages thirteen years old and above.

3 – Examples

Example 1

Thai question:  
มิกิเรียนภาษาไทยมานานกี่ปีแล้วคะ
mí-gì-riian-phaa-sǎa-thai-maa-naan-gìi-bpii-láaeo-khá
How many years has Miki studied the Thai language?” (You are talking to Miki.)

Thai answer:  
เรียนมา 2 ปีแล้ว
riian-maa-sǎawng-bpii-láaeo-khà
“I have studied Thai for two years now.”

Example 2

Thai question:  
คุณเรียนภาษาอังกฤษมานานเท่าไหร่แล้วครับ
khun-riian-phaa-sǎa-ang-grìt-maa-naan-thâo-rài-láaeo-khráp
“How long have you studied English?”

Thai answer:  
ฉันเรียนภาษาอังกฤษมาตั้งแต่อายุ 3 ขวบค่ะ
chǎn-riian-phaa-sǎa-ang-grìt-maa-dtâng-dtàae-aa-yú-sǎam-khûuap-khà
“I have studied English since I was three years old.”

5. Have you been to ___? 

This is another conversational Thai question you should know, and you’re likely to hear it from travel enthusiasts! 

1 – Thai question

Question pattern:  
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + เคยไปประเทศ___มั้ย
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + khooei-bpai-bprà-thêet-___-mái
“Have you been to ___?”

2 – Thai answers

Answer pattern 1
เคย
khooei
“Yes, I have.”

Answer pattern 2:  
ไม่เคย
mâi-khooei
“No, I haven’t.”

3 – Examples

Example 1

Thai question:  
คุณป้าเคยไปประเทศญี่ปุ่นมั้ยคะ
khun-bpâa-khooei-bpai-bprà-thêet-yîi-bpùn-mái-khá
“Have you been to Japan?” (You are talking to your aunt.)

Thai answer:  
เคยจ๊ะ ปีที่แล้วป้าไปเที่ยวที่โตเกียวมา
khooei-já pbii-thîi-láaeo-bpâa-bpai-thîiao-thîi-dtoo-giiao-maa
“Yes, I have. I traveled to Tokyo last year.”

Example 2

Thai question:  
เธอเคยไปอยุธยามั้ย
thooe-khooei-bpai-à-yút-thá-yaa-mái
Have you been to Ayutthaya?

Thai answer:  
ไม่เคย แต่อยากไปมากนะ
mâi-khooei dtàae-yàak-bpai-mâak-ná
“No, I haven’t. But I really want to go there.”

Introducing Yourself

6. What do you do for work? 

If you’re asking questions in Thai to get to know more about someone, asking about their occupation is a must.  Good news: This conversational question in Thai is very easy.

1 – Thai question

Question pattern:  
pronoun for “you” / name + ทำอาชีพอะไร
pronoun for “you” / name + tham-aa-chîip-à-rai
What do you do for work?

2 – Thai answer

Answer pattern
pronoun for “I” + เป็น ___
pronoun for “I” + bpen ___
“I am a(n) ___.”

3 – Examples

Example 1

Thai question:  
คุณธัญญ์ทำอาชีพอะไรคะ
khun-than-tham-aa-chîip-à-rai-khá
“What does Than do for work?” (You are talking to Than.)

Thai answer:  
ผมเป็นวิศวกรครับ
khun-than-tham-aa-chîip-à-rai-khá
“I am an engineer.”

I am an Engineer
Example 2

Thai question:  
นายทำอาชีพอะไร
naai-tham-aa-chîip-à-rai
“What do you do for work?”

Thai answer:  
ผมเป็นครู
phǒm-bpen-khruu
“I am a teacher.”

7. Do you like ___ food? 

Asking someone about their food preferences is a fantastic way to get to know someone, and to find common ground.  

1 – Thai question

Question pattern:  
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + ชอบอาหาร___มั้ย
pronoun for “you” / noun / name + châawp-aa-hǎan-___-mái
“Do you like ___ food?”

2 – Thai answers

Answer pattern 1
ชอบ
châawp
“Yes, I do.”

Answer pattern 2:  
ไม่ชอบ
mâi-châawp
“No, I don’t.”

Answer pattern 3:  
เฉย ๆ
chǒoei-chǒoei
“Indifferent.”

3 – Examples

Example 1

Thai question:  
คุณครูชอบอาหารอินเดียมั้ยคะ
khun-khruu-châawp-aa-hǎan-in-diia-mái-khá
“Do you like Indian food?” (You are talking to a teacher.)

Thai answer:  
ชอบครับ หอมกลิ่นเครื่องเทศดี
châawp-khráp hǎawm-glìn-khrûueng-thêet-dii
“Yes, I do. The spices smell nice.”

Example 2

Thai question:  
โคลอี้ชอบอาหารไทยมั้ย
khloo-îi-châawp-aa-hǎan-thai-mái
“Do you like Thai food?” (You are talking to Chole.)

Thai answer:  
เฉย ๆ เพราะฉันทานเผ็ดไม่ได้
chǒoei-chǒoei phráw-chǎn-thaan-phèt-mâi-dâi
“I’m indifferent because I can’t eat spicy food.”

8. What are you doing?

This question can be used to start a conversation with someone, and to show that you’re interested in their life. 

1 – Thai question

Question pattern:  
pronoun for “you” / noun + ทำอะไรอยู่
pronoun for “you” / noun + tham-à-rai-yùu
“What are you doing?”

2 – Thai answers

Answer pattern 1
pronoun for “I” + กำลัง + verb + อยู่
pronoun for “I” + gam-lang + verb + yùu
“I am ___ now.”

Answer pattern 2
verb + อยู่
verb + yùu
“I am ___ now.”

Additional note:  
Pattern 2 is the short version of pattern 1. The subject of the sentence is omitted as Thai people assume you already know who you’re talking about.

3 – Examples

Example 1

Thai question:  
นักเรียนทำอะไรอยู่คะ
nák-riian-tham-à-rai-yùu-kha
“What are you doing?” (You are talking to a student.)

Thai answer:  
หนูกำลังทำการบ้านอยู่ค่ะ
nǔu-gam-lang-tham-gaan-bâan-yùu-khà
“I am doing homework now.”

I am Doing Homework Now
Example 2

Thai question:  
แม่ทำอะไรอยู่
mâae-tham-à-rai-yùu
“Mom, what are you doing?”

Thai answer:  
อาบน้ำอยู่
àap-nám-yùu
I’m taking a shower.”

9. What is wrong? 

To ask someone what’s wrong, there are a few different questions in Thai that you can use. 

1 – Thai questions

Question pattern 1:  
เกิดอะไรขึ้น
gòoet-à-rai-khûen
“What’s happened? What’s wrong?”

The literal meaning of this pattern is “What’s happened?” You ask this when you sense that something bad has happened and you want to know what it is.

Question pattern 2:  
มีปัญหาอะไรรึเปล่า
mii-bpan-hǎa-à-rai-rúe-bplào
“Is there any problem?”

This is another way to ask “What’s wrong?” when you sense that something bad happened.

2 – Thai answers

Answer pattern 1
Explain your problem or issues.

Answer pattern 2
ไม่มีอะไร
mâi-mii-à-rai
“Nothing wrong, no problem.”

3 – Examples

Example 1

Thai question:  
เสียงดังอะไรกัน มีปัญหาอะไรรึเปล่า
sǐiang-dang-à-rai-gan mii-bpan-hǎa-à-rai-rúe-bplào
“What is that loud noise? Is there any problem?”

Thai answer:  
ไม่มีอะไร ของตกเฉย ๆ
mâi-mii-à-rai khǎawng-dtok-chǒoei-chǒoei
“No problem. Something just fell.”

Example 2

Thai question:  
เกิดอะไรขึ้น ทำไมเธอถึงร้องไห้
gòoet-à-rai-khûen tham-mai-thooe-thǔeng-ráawng-hâi
“What’s wrong? Why are you crying?

Thai answer:  
มีคนบอกว่าแฟนนอกใจฉัน
mii-khon-bàawk-wâa-faaen-nâawk-jai-chǎn
“Someone told me my boyfriend cheated on me.”

What’s Wrong? Why Are You Crying?

10. How much is ___? 

Asking for the price of products and services is an important conversational skill to have in any country. Here are the Thai questions and answers you can use! 

1 – Thai questions

Question pattern 1:  
noun / pronoun + ราคาเท่าไหร่
noun / pronoun + raa-khaa-thâo-rài
“How much is noun/pronoun?”

Question pattern 2:  
noun / pronoun + ราคากี่บาท
noun / pronoun + raa-khaa-gìi-bàat
“How much is noun/pronoun?”

Despite having the same meaning, pattern 1 is more formal than pattern 2.

2 – Thai answers

Answer pattern 1
noun / pronoun + ราคา ___ บาท
noun / pronoun + raa-khaa-___-bàat
“Noun / pronoun is ___ Baht.”

Answer pattern 2
___ บาท
___-bàat
“___ Baht.”

Pattern 2 is the short version of pattern 1.

3 – Examples

Example 1

Thai question:  
กะหล่ำปลีราคากี่บาท
gà-làm-bplii-raa-khaa-gìi-bàat
“How much is the cabbage?”

Thai answer:  
30 บาท
sǎam-sìp-bàat
“30 Baht.”

Example 2

Thai question:  
รถคันนี้ราคาเท่าไหร่ครับ
rót-khan-níi-raa-khaa-thâo-rài-khráp
“How much is this car?”

Thai answer:  
รถคันนั้นราคา 500,000 บาทค่ะ
rót-khan-nán-raa-khaa-hâa-sǎaen-bàat-khà
“That car costs 500,000 Baht.”

11. Conclusion

You’ve just finished learning the basics about how to ask questions in Thai. If you can remember all of these common questions and answers, you have all you need to practice your Thai speaking and listening skills through conversations with Thai people. We hope this article has been very helpful for you! 

Now that you’ve finished this lesson, you may be curious about related topics such as question words in Thai,  which you can learn on ThaiPod101.com as well. Of course, there are other interesting lessons for you to study, such as Thai Girl’s Dream Job and Thai Jokes. Don’t forget to visit ThaiPod101.com and check out new lessons as they become available. 

Before you go, practice writing some of these Thai questions and answers in the comments section, and answer the questions about yourself. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Basic Thai Sentence Patterns – A Comprehensive Guide

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When you learn any language, knowing its basic sentence patterns helps you get a grip of the language as a whole, and allows you to communicate more effectively. So if you’re a Thai learner and don’t know how to form sentences in Thai yet, knowing certain Thai sentence structures and patterns is like a shortcut to creating your own sentences.  

In this lesson, we’ll teach you common Thai sentence patterns that you can use in daily life. While there are various types of sentence patterns in the Thai language, we’ll focus on just ten patterns with examples. Also keep in mind that we won’t be focusing on the tenses today. 

Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. Linking Two Nouns: A is B
  2. Describing Nouns: A is [Adjective]
  3. [Subject] Wants / Needs
  4. [Subject] has to [Verb]
  5. [Subject] Likes [Noun/Verb]
  6. Please…
  7. May I? / Can I?
  8. What is…?
  9. When is…?
  10. Where is…?
  11. Conclusion

1. Linking Two Nouns: A is B

Before we give you our list of Thai sentence patterns, we think you should know some basic vocabulary:  

  • รูปแบบประโยค (rûup-bàaep-bprà-yòok) is “sentence pattern”
  • รูปแบบ (rûup-bàaep) is “pattern” 
  • ประโยค (bprà-yòok) is “sentence” 
Sentence Patterns

The first simple Thai sentence pattern you should know is “A is B,” which is used for linking two nouns. Below are some examples of this Thai sentence structure.

Sentence structure
A + เป็น (bpen) + B
A + คือ (khuue) + B

Explanation:  

เป็น (bpen), อยู่ (yùu), and คือ (khuue) are used for the verb “to be” in Thai. While they all refer to the same verb, เป็น (bpen), อยู่ (yùu), and คือ (khuue) have different meanings, are used in different situations, and can’t substitute one another.  

  • เป็น (bpen) is used to explain what A is. The information used to explain A can include things such as a person’s job or marital status.
  • อยู่ (yùu) is used to explain where A is. So in this case, B is the place.
  • คือ (khuue) is used to explain what A is. The information used to explain A is either a fact/status that doesn’t change, or information that other parties don’t know.

Because เป็น (bpen) and คือ (khuue) seem pretty similar, it can be difficult to decide which one to use in a given scenario. Even Thai people find this hard; they can use it correctly, but can’t explain why. Let’s look at some Thai example sentences to help you understand better.  

Example 1:  
แม่เป็นครู
mâae-bpen-khruu
“Mom is a teacher.”

A Teacher Carrying a Stack of Books

Mom is a teacher.

Example 2:  
แก้วเป็นสาวโสด
gâaew-bpen-sǎao-sòot
“Kaew is a single lady.”

Example 3:  
ฤทธิเป็นคนที่ไม่เก่งเลขเลย
rít-bpen-khon-thîi-mâi-gèng-lêek-looei
“Rit is a person who is not good at math.”

Example 4:  
ตอนนี้รัตน์อยู่ที่นี่
dtaawn-níi-rát-yùu-thîi-nîi
“Rat is here now.”

Example 5:  
กระเป๋าอยู่บนโต๊ะทานอาหาร
grà-bpǎo-yùu-bon-dtó-thaan-aa-hǎan
“The bag is on the dining table.”

Example 6:  
หมีแพนด้าอยู่ในสวนสัตว์ที่เชียงใหม่
mǐi-phaaen-dâa-yùu-nai-sǔuan-sàt-thîi-chiiang-mài
“Pandas are in the zoo at Chaingmai.”

Example 7:  
ที่นี่คือโรงพยาบาลที่ใหญ่ที่สุดในจังหวัด
thîi-nîi-khuue-roong-phá-yaa-baan-thîi-yài-thîi-sùt-nai-jang-wàt
“Here is the largest hospital in the province.”

Hospital Workers and a Patient in a Hallway

Here is the largest hospital in the province.

Example 8:  
ลัดดาคือเพื่อนที่ดีที่สุดของฉัน
lát-daa-khuue-phûuean-thîi-dii-thîi-sùt-khǎawng-chǎn
“Ladda is my best friend.”

Example 9:  
ผลไม้ที่พ่อชอบกินที่สุดคือแตงโม
phǒn-lá-mái-thîi-phâaw-châawp-gin-thîi-sùt-khuue-dtaaeng-moo
“Dad’s favorite fruit is watermelon.”

2. Describing Nouns: A is [Adjective]

Another Thai sentence construction you should know is “A is [Adjective].” This is a very easy Thai sentence pattern, used to describe nouns with adjectives. Let’s take a look.

Sentence structure:  

Noun + Adjective

Explanation:  

If you want to describe a noun, all you have to do is put the adjective after that noun.

Example 1:  
กานดาสูงและผอม
gaan-daa-sǔung-láe-phǎawm
“Ganda is tall and slim.”

Example 2:  
เก้าอี้ไม้ตัวนั้นราคาแพงมาก
gâo-îi-mái-dtuua-nán-raa-khaa-phaaeng-mâak
“That wooden chair is very expensive.”

Example 3:  
มะระสีเขียวและมีรสขม
má-rá-mii-sǐi-khǐiao-láe-mii-rót-khǒm
Bitter melon is green and bitter.”

Additional note:  

มะระ (má-rá) is “bitter melon” in Thai. It’s one of the fruits that Thai people like to eat.

Sentence Components

3. [Subject] Wants / Needs

Some of the most useful Thai phrases are those for expressing “want” and “need.” There are a few different Thai sentence patterns you should remember for this.

Sentence structure:  
subject + ต้องการ (dtâawng-gaan) + noun / verb
subject + อยาก (yàak) + verb
subject + อยากได้ (yàak-dâi) + noun 

Explanation:  

ต้องการ (dtâawng-gaan), อยาก (yàak), and อยากได้ (yàak-dâi) mean both “want” and “need” in Thai, and can substitute one another.

However, ต้องการ (dtâawng-gaan) sounds more formal than อยาก (yàak) and อยากได้ (yàak-dâi). Thai people often use ต้องการ (dtâawng-gaan) in formal situations, and อยาก (yàak) and อยากได้ (yàak-dâi) in casual conversations.  

To express your wants and needs, you can use any of the structures above. Here are a few Thai sentence examples for you.

Example 1:  
คุณครูต้องการคอมพิวเตอร์เครื่องใหม่
khun-khruu-dtâawng-gaan-khaawm-phíu-dtôoe-khrûueng-mài
“The teachers want a new computer.”

Example 2:  
โรงพยาบาลต้องการจ้างนางพยาบาลเพิ่ม
roong-phá-yaa-baan-dtâawng-gaan-jâang-naang-phá-yaa-baan-phôoem
“The hospital wants to hire more nurses.”

Example 3:  
เธอต้องการอะไรเพิ่มมั๊ย
thooe-dtâawng-gaan-à-rai-phôoem-mái
“Do you want anything more?”

Example 4:  
น้ำตาลอยากไปเที่ยวหัวหิน
nám-dtaan-yàak-bpai-thîiao-hǔua-hǐn
“Namtan wants to go to Huahin.”

Example 5:  
แม่อยากลองทำเค้กสูตรใหม่
mâae-yàak-laawng-tham-khéek-sùut-mài
“Mom wants to try a new cake recipe.”

Cake Batter being Mixed

Mom wants to try a new cake recipe.

Example 6:  
มินท์อยากแต่งงานก่อนอายุ 30 ปี
mín-yàak-dtàaeng-ngaan-gàawn-aa-yú-sǎam-sìp
“Mint wants to get married before she is 30 years old.”

Example 7:  
ฉันอยากได้รองเท้าคู่ใหม่
chǎn-yàak-dâi-raawng-tháo-khûu-mài
“I want a new pair of shoes.”

Example 8:  
รพีไม่อยากได้งานเพิ่ม
rá-phii-mâi-yàak-dâi-ngaan-phôoem
“Rapee doesn’t want more jobs.”

Example 9:  
มีใครอยากได้ชาเพิ่มมั๊ย
mii-khrai-yàak-dâi-chaa-phôoem-mái
“Anyone want more tea?”

4. [Subject] has to [Verb] 

Another basic Thai sentence pattern you should know is “I have …”.  You can use this Thai sentence pattern to express what you have to do.

Sentence structure:  

Subject + ต้อง (dtâawng) + Verb

Explanation:  

This type of sentence in Thai is pretty easy and straightforward. You just put the subject, followed by ต้อง (dtâawng), which means “must” or “have to” in Thai, and then the verb.

Example 1:  
เธอต้องออกจากบ้านเดี๋ยวนี้ ไม่งั้นจะสาย
thooe-dtâawng-àawk-jàak-bâan-dǐiao-níi mâi-ngán-jà-sǎai
“You have to leave now or else you will be late.”

Example 2:  
ยายต้องกินยาก่อนนอนทุกวัน
yaai-dtâawng-gin-yaa-gàawn-naawn-thúuk-wan
“Grandma has to take medicine before bed every day.”

Example 3:  
วรรณาต้องไปเชียงรายพรุ่งนี้
wan-naa-dtâawng-bpai-chiiang-raai-phrûng-níi
“Wanna has to go to Chiangrai tomorrow.”

5. [Subject] Likes [Noun/Verb] 

Another common Thai language sentence structure is that for expressing likes and preferences. It’s one of the most basic Thai sentence patterns you can use to talk about your favorite things and activities.

Sentence structure:  

Subject + ชอบ (châawp) + Noun / Verb

Explanation:  

ชอบ (châawp) is “like” in Thai. To use this sentence pattern, you put the subject, followed by ชอบ (châawp), and then the noun or verb.

Example 1:  
แม่ชอบกินแก้วมังกร
mâae-châawp-gin-gâaeo-mang-gaawn
“Mom likes to eat dragon fruits.”

Example 2:  
นภาชอบสีชมพู
ná-phaa-châawp-sǐi-chom-phuu
“Napa likes pink.”

A Girl Wearing Lots of Pink

Napa likes pink.

Example 3:  
ตุ้มไม่ชอบดูหนังผี
dtûm-mâi-châawp-duu-nǎng-phǐi
“Tum doesn’t like scary movies.”

6. Please… 

The next basic Thai sentence structure we’ll show you is used to politely ask someone to do something. There are two Thai sentence patterns you need to know.

Sentence structure:  
กรุณา (gà-rú-naa) + Verb 
ช่วย (chûuai) + Verb 

Explanation:  

Thai people use กรุณา (gà-rú-naa) and ช่วย (chûuai) when they want to ask others to do something. กรุณา (gà-rú-naa) and ช่วย (chûuai) are pretty much the same, except กรุณา (gà-rú-naa) is used in formal situations while ช่วย (chûuai) is more often used in casual conversations.

Example 1:  
กรุณาถอดรองเท้าก่อนเข้าห้อง
gà-rú-naa-thàawt-raawng-tháo-gàawn-khâo-hâawng
“Please take off your shoes before entering the room.”

Example 2:  
กรุณาอย่าส่งเสียงดัง
gà-rú-naa-yàa-sòng-sǐiang-dang
“Please don’t make loud noises.”

Example 3:  
กรุณาให้ความร่วมมือกับเจ้าหน้าที่
gà-rú-naa-hâi-khwaam-rûuam-muue-gàp-jâo-nâa-thîi
“Please cooperate with our staff.”

Example 4:  
ช่วยฉันทำความสะอาดห้องหน่อย
chûuai-chǎn-tham-khaawm-sà-àat-hâawng-nàauy
“Please help me clean the room.”

Example 5:  
ช่วยเงียบหน่อย
chûuai-ngîiap-nàauy
“Please be quiet.”

A Woman at a Movie Theater Making the Quiet Gesture

Please be quiet.

Example 6:  
ช่วยเดินเร็ว ๆ หน่อย
chûuai-dooen-reo-reo-nòi
“Please walk faster.”

7. May I? / Can I?

This sentence pattern in Thai is used to ask for permission. However, this is considered an imperfect sentence because Thai people leave the word “may” or “can” out.

Sentence structure:  

ขอ (khǎaw) + Verb + ได้มั้ย (dâi-mái)

Explanation:  

This Thai sentence pattern is quite different from its  English counterpart. This is because there is no ฉัน (chǎn), which is “I” in Thai, in the sentence.    

You start the sentence with ขอ (khǎaw), which means “ask.” Next, you put the verb, followed by ได้มั้ย (dâi-mái), which is used to make a permission question in Thai.

Example 1:  
ขอเข้าไปได้มั้ย
khǎaw-khâo-bpai-dâi-mái
“May I come in?”

Example 2:  
ขอยืมหนังสือเล่มนั้นได้มั้ย
khǎaw-yuuem-nǎng-sǔue-lêm-nán-dâi-mái
“Can I borrow that book?”

A Woman Smiling with a Book on Top of Her Head

Can I borrow that book?

Example 3:  
ขอไปดูหนังกับเพื่อนวันเสาร์นี้ได้มั้ย
khǎaw-bpai-duu-nǎng-gàp-phûuen-wan-sǎo-níi-dâi-mái
“Can I go see the movie with my friend this Saturday?”

8. What is…? 

Another useful Thai sentence pattern you should learn is “What is…?” You can use this sentence pattern in Thai to ask for information about something.

Sentence structure:  

… + คือ (khuue) + อะไร (à-rai

Explanation:  

As mentioned earlier, คือ (khuue) is one of the words for the verb “to be” in Thai. Also note that อะไร (à-rai) is “what.”  

You may notice that Thai people use คือ (khuue), not เป็น (bpen), in this sentence structure. This is because you’re asking for information you don’t know.

Example 1:  
นี่คืออะไร
nîi-khuue-à-rai
“What is this?”

Example 2:  
อาหารที่เราสั่งครั้งที่แล้วคืออะไร
aa-hǎan-thîi-rao-sàng-khráng-thîi-láaeo-khuue-à-rai
“What is the food we ordered last time?”

Example 3:  
เครื่องดื่มที่คุณชอบคืออะไร
khrûueng-dùuem-thîi-khun-châawp-khuue-à-rai
“What is your favorite drink?”

9. When is…? 

Now that you’ve learned the “What is …?” sentence structure, it makes sense to learn the “When is…?” structure as well. With this structure, you can make Thai phrases for asking about the time.

Sentence structure:  

… + เมื่อไหร่ (mûuea-rài)

Explanation:  

เมื่อไหร่ (mûuea-rài) is “when” in Thai. You put the event that you want to know the time of, followed by เมื่อไหร่ (mûue-rài).

Example 1:  
ประชุมเมื่อไหร่
bprà-chum-mûuea-rài
“When is the meeting?”

Example 2:  
เธอจะเริ่มทำงานเมื่อไหร่
thooe-jà-rôoem-tham-ngan-mûuea-rài
“When will you start working?”

Example 3:  
ตาลจะมาถึงเมื่อไหร่
dtaan-jà-ma-thǔeng-mûuea-rài
“When will Tarn arrive?”

10. Where is…? 

You can now ask for more information and about the time. In this section, we’ll also teach you how to ask about location. This is one of those basic Thai phrases you’ll use all the time! 

Sentence structure:  
Place + อยู่ที่ไหน (yùu-thîi-nǎi)
Place + ไปทางไหน (bpai-thaang-nǎi)

Explanation:  

Both of the structures above are pretty similar to each other, and are used to ask about location. The first one is the Thai translation sentence pattern of “Where is …?”  The other is closer to: “How to go to …?”

Example 1:  
ห้องน้ำอยู่ที่ไหน
hâawng-nám-yùu-thîi-nǎi
Where is the toilet?

Signs for the Restroom

Where is the toilet?

Example 2:  
บ้านของเธออยู่ที่ไหน
bâan-khǎawng-thooe-yùu-thîi-nǎi
“Where is your house?”

Example 3:  
ภูเขาที่สูงที่สุดในไทยอยู่ที่ไหน
phuu-khǎo-thîi-sǔung-thîi-sùt-nai-thai-yùu-thîi-nǎi
“Where is the highest mountain in Thailand?”

Example 4:  
จุดชมวิวไปทางไหน
jùt-chom-wiu-bpai-thaang-nǎi
“How to go to the viewpoint?”

Example 5:  
สถานีตำรวจที่ใกล้ที่สุดไปทางไหน
sà-thǎa-nii-dtam-rùuat-thîi-glâi-thîi-sùt-bpai-thaang-nǎi
“How to go to the nearest police station?”

Example 6:  
ประชาสัมพันธ์ไปทางไหน
bprà-chaa-sǎm-phan-bpai-thaang-nǎi
“How to go to the information center?”

11. Conclusion

The lesson has finally come to an end, and you’ve already learned ten useful Thai sentence patterns for everyday use! We hope they’re not too hard for you, but remember that it may take a while to memorize all of them. Using a variety of Thai sentence patterns in daily conversations will help you get familiar with them; eventually, you’ll be able to use them with great fluency.  

Are there any specific topics you want to learn about in future articles? Leave us a comment to let us know! If you have no clue what you want to learn next, we have a list of fun lessons for you at ThaiPod101.com, so don’t forget to check it out.  

If you want to know more about sentence structure in Thai, our word order article is a great place to expand your knowledge. However, if that’s too serious a lesson for you, what about listening to a conversation about Thai tea and a date? Our lesson about ordering food at restaurants is also an interesting choice.

Happy learning!

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