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Hi everybody! Jay here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Thai questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: How do I use ครับ khráp and ค่ะ khâ?
You might have heard these terms when you first learned how to say “hello” in Thai: สวัสดีค่ะ sà-wàt-dii khâ and สวัสดีครับ sà-wàt-dii khráp. But, what are the differences between ครับ khráp and ค่ะ khâ? In the example I gave, the two forms have the same meaning but use different endings. Today, you’ll know how to use them correctly.
To start, let me explain the basic meaning of these two words. ครับ khráp and ค่ะ khâ are particles commonly used among Thai people in order to make the sentences more polite and formal. This includes when you talk to the elderly, to someone you respect, or to someone you don’t know very well. Using ครับ khráp and ค่ะ khà helps convey the message in a softer and more polite manner.
So how do I use them? Well, the basic rules of these two particles are very simple and easy to understand. These two particles are gender specific - male and female. This means if you’re male, you end your sentences with ครับ khráp. If you’re female, you end your sentences with ค่ะ khà. Simple and easy, right?
Now the main question: In what types of sentences do I use them? The answer is, you can use these particles in most sentences in Thai. For example, you can use it to ask for requests, such as ห้องน้ำอยู่ไหนคะ, (hâawng nâm yòo năi khà, “where is the toilet?”) for female or ห้องน้ำอยู่ไหนครับ (hâawng nâm yuù năi khráp, “Where is the toilet?”) for male. You can use it when answering questions, such as อยู่ตรงนี้ครับ. (yòo dtrong née khráp, “It is over here.”) In this case, the person who answered the question is male. If the responder is female, she’ll reply อยู่ตรงนี้ค่ะ. (yòo dtrong nî khà, “It is over here.”) We can see that despite different endings, the meaning of the sentences stay the same.


Also, you can use ครับ and ค่ะ to mean “yes” when you answer yes-or-no questions. For example, somebody asks you ใช่คุณดีเปล่าคะ. (chài kun Dee bplao khá, “Is this Dee?”) The full sentence would be ใช่ค่ะ. (chài khà or khráp, “Yes, this is Dee.”) But, you can say only ค่ะ (khà) or ครับ (khráp), and the person will know you mean yes. This only works when you want to say yes. If you want to give a negative response, you simply have to add ไม่ใช่ค่ะ (mài chài khà) or ครับ (mài chài khráp). Both mean “No, it’s not.”
Pretty interesting, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
Bye! สวัสดี ค่ะ (sà-wàt-dii khâ)