Thai question words

Nowadays Thai language is considered one of the hardest language in the world, and many people in many countries are getting started to speak Thai for various kinds of reasons. We are now taking you to the easier Thai that can help you understand the real use of Thai without a mistake.

Let’s get started with an easy topic today. The beginning of many language learning always starts from the basic daily collocation because when you get to know the basic better, you will be able to step to the harder one easier! And one of the really easy daily collocation is question. Undoubtedly, people question every day and every time. They ask about the price of a cup of morning cappuccino, lunch and many more. So that’s why knowing the basic of Thai questioning can basically benefit you the most.

Thinking of the basic questions in English, there are a few types of how to make a question, right? But for Thai, you don’t have to think that much. First just remember one thing, when you want to make your words sound softer and more polite. Instead of changing some words in your sentences, you just put ‘Kráb’ (for guys) or ‘Kà’ (for girls) at the end of every sentence.

And now let’s make a real question starting with the closed-ended question for Yes/No answers. In Thai, you only put the word ‘mǎi’ (with rather high pitch) at the end of your normal sentences to speak a question. For examples, if you want to ask your Thai friend if he wants to join your lunch. You could say ‘Bpai Gin Kâo Glaang Waan Gan Mǎi?’. While the word ‘Bpai’ means Go, ‘Gin’ means to eat or to have, the word ‘Kâo Glaang Waan’ means Lunch, ‘Gan’ means together and yes, we put ‘mǎi’ in order to ask. Easy? Let’s try with another example, if you want to ask if he or she has a pen. In English we speak ‘Do you have any pen?’, right? In Thai, you can speak just ‘You have pen?’ While the ‘?’ is replaced with ‘mǎi’. The word ‘you’ in Thai is ‘Kun’, ‘have’ in Thai is ‘Mii’ and ‘Pàag gaa’ is Thai for the word ‘pen’. Ok, Now just give it a try…  Nailed it! The correct question is ‘Kun Mii Pàag gaa Mǎi?’ And don’t remember to make it more polite like we mentioned earlier, so the proper question should be ‘Kun Me Pàag gaa Mǎi Kráb?’.

For other question words, like in English that you have Wh-Questions for asking things. We also have it in Thai as well, but remember that not all the Wh-Questions will be at the beginning of the sentences like in English, it’s different for each one as the table shown below:


Wh-Q Thai Position (Beginning/End) Examples
What Aa Rài End Kun Kin Aa Rài Yùu* Kráb?

(What are you eating?)

*Yùu shows Progressive situation.

When Mʉ̂a Rài End Kun Kin Kâo Mʉ̂a Rài?

(When do you eat?)

Where Tîi Nǎi End Kun Kin Kâo Tîi Nǎi?

(Where do you eat?)

Who Krai Beginning Krai Mii Pàag gaa?

(Who has a pen?/Anyone has a pen?)

Why Tam Mai Both (variable) Kun Kin Kâo Tam Mai? / Tam Mai Kun Kin Kâo?**

(Why do you eat?)

**Both are correct, but the first one is more common to say.

Whose Kɔ̆ɔng Krai End Pàag gaa Kɔ̆ɔng Krai?***

(Whose pen is this?)

***’Kɔ̆ɔng Krai’ always follows things or any nouns.



And another one for questioning is ‘How’, in English sometimes it’s used for the sense of the word ‘why’ (to ask for the reasons), but in Thai, we only use this word in order to ask about the condition or means. We speak ‘Yàang Rai’ in Thai for the word ‘How’, and it’s always put at the end of the sentences. For instances, ‘Kun Kin Kâo Yàang Rai?’ Means ‘How do you eat? On top of that, the word ‘Yàang Rai’ can be said in a more casual way. It is ‘Yàang Ngai’ which is even more informal to say.

However, Thai language is mostly flexible. If you know only words without a correct grammar, that’ll be acceptable for Thai people. We always understand even you don’t speak it in a sentence. Briefly, the first priority for understanding Thai is to listen more, and memorize as many words as you can. Next time, we’ll take you to more of the easy Thai like this. Follow us and wait for the fun we’ll bring it for you!

Jarr Khets



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