Cool Stuff Outside of Textbooks

Everyone who has learned Thai probably knows that “ไป” [pai] means “to go” and “มา” [maa] means “to come.” But have you ever heard a Thai person say “ไป…มา [pai…maa]” and wondered what it means?

Thai people commonly use the structure “ไป…มา [pai…maa]” when they want to say that they went somewhere or did something somewhere in the past.…

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Most Thai learners probably know what “จะ” [jà] means. It means “will.” At least, most of the time it does get translated as “will,” a modal verb expressing future tense. But what you may not know is that, in spoken Thai, we also use “จะ” [jà] to say “almost,” or to express that something is going to happen in the near future or about to happen, instead of the words “เกือบ [geùab]” or “ใกล้ [glâi].” When “จะ” [jà] is used in this sense, it’s always used with the word “แล้ว” [léaw] meaning “already.”

Take a look at these example sentences below.…

Continue reading จะ…แล้ว “jà…léaw”

The word “ต้อง” [tâwng] in Thai is equivalent of the verb “must” in English. And like “must,” apart from expressing obligation, strong recommendation or necessity, “ต้อง” [tâwng] can also be used to make a deduction or a conclusion about something that is very likely to be true. But for the latter use, we don’t just say the word “ต้อง” [tâwng] by itself, we use the structure “ต้อง…แน่(เลย) [tâwng…nâe (loei)].”

The word “แน่” [nâe] means “certain.” Sometimes we say it twice as “แน่ๆ” [nâe nâe] to intensify the meaning or to express that we are very sure of something.…

Continue reading ต้อง…แน่เลย “tâwng…nâe loei”

“~ให้ได้” [hâi dâai] is one of the commonly used idioms in spoken Thai. It functions as an adverb modifying a verb. Thus, it generally follows a verb and often appears at the end of a sentence.

Although this idiom doesn’t have an equivalent in English and translations of this word may vary, its overall meaning is “absolutely,” “no matter what,” “at any cost,” or “without fail.”

It’s mostly used to express one’s determination.…

Continue reading ~ให้ได้ “hâi dâai”

The expression “…ไปอย่างนั้น(แหละ)” [pai yàang nán (làe)]” is a commonly used colloquial idiom. It’s used to imply that the action was not done for any purpose. The nearest meaning in English may be “for the sake of it” or “for no particular reason” but it can be translated in many ways depending on the context.…

Continue reading …ไปอย่างนั้น(แหละ) “pai yàang nán (làe)”

The word แย่ [yâe] is an adjective meaning “bad” or “terrible.” For example, “อากาศแย่” [aagàat yâe] bad weather, “รสชาติแย่” [rótchâat yâe] bad taste or “นิสัยแย่” [nísǎi yâe] bad attitude. However, when used as an adverb to intensify an adjective, it means “badly” or “terribly” as in “very” or “to a great degree.” However, we typically don’t use this word when we want to say “very.” As you may already know, we use the word “มาก [mâak].”

The colloquial idiom “[adj.] + แย่(เลย) [yâe (loei)]” is usually used in a response to someone’s statement, to speculate or make an assumption about the consequence that is likely to be true, of an action or a situation that happened, is happening or will happen.…

Continue reading ~แย่(เลย) “yâe (loei)”

“อด” [òd] followed by a verb, is one of the commonly used colloquial expressions that don’t really translate to a specific word in English. The closest translation is probably “to miss (the chance to do something)” or “to not get to do something (that you want to do).” It often involves the feelings of regret and disappointment.…

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Did you know that in Thai we also have a word that has a similar usage to that of the filler word “like” in English? That’s the word “แบบ” [bàep]. The formal meaning of “แบบ” [bàep] is model, style, way, form or pattern. But it’s also used in the same way as the word “like” in English when used as a filler word, that is, it does not carry any meaning but it’s simply used to mark a pause or hesitation in speech.…

Continue reading Thai Equivalent of The Filler Word “Like”

When you are obsessed with something you have just obtained or something new in your life, in Thai we use the verb เห่อ “hèr” to describe the obsession. It can be used with either an object, an animal or a person, as long as they are new. Let’s take a look at the examples below.…

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“ก็ต่อเมื่อ [gâw tàw mêua]” is a conjunction quite commonly used by the Thais to express that something will not happen unless something else happens or something else is true. It can be translated as “only if,” “on the condition that,” “unless” or “when,” depending on how you structure the sentence. It’s often used together with the word “เท่านั้น” [tâo nán], which is placed at the end of the sentence to emphasize the meaning.…

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“สุดท้าย” [sùd táai] as an adjective means “the last,” for example, “คนสุดท้าย” [kon sùd táai] the last person, “วันสุดท้าย” [wan sùd táai] the last day, or “ครั้งสุดท้าย” [kráng sùd táai] the last time. But it can also function as a conjunction connecting words, phrases, and clauses in a sentence. In that case, the meaning of the word can be translated as “in the end” or “to end up doing something” depending on the context.…

Continue reading สุดท้าย “sùd táai”

เกรงใจ [greeng jai] is one of the Thai words that are difficult to translate into English. When someone feels “เกรงใจ [greeng jai],” they feel shy or uncomfortable to ask for/get help or things from others, especially because they don’t want to cause others trouble or difficulty, or feel afraid to do something that might make someone feel bad, disrespected or offended.…

Continue reading ไม่ต้องเกรงใจ “mâi tâwng greeng jai”