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. The word “มา” at the end does not mean “to come” in this case scenario. It only implies that the speaker has gone somewhere or did something somewhere and returned from that place.

For example, if someone says “ฉันไปธนาคารมา [chán pai tanakaan maa],” It simply means “I went to the bank.” with the implication that the speaker has already returned from there. Note that this structure is only used to refer to an action done in the past (it doesn’t matter how long ago), never in the present or the future. What goes between “ไป [pai]” and “มา [maa]” can either be a place or an action (a verb). Take a look at these examples below.

1. สามอาทิตย์ก่อนฉันไปเที่ยวญี่ปุ่นมา
[sǎam aathít gàwn chán pai tîao yîipùn maa ]
I went on a trip to Japan 3 weeks ago.

2. วันก่อนไปกินบุฟเฟ่ต์มา วันรุ่งขึ้นน้ำหนักขึ้นมาหนึ่งกิโล
[wan gàwn pai gin buffet maa, wan rûng kêun námnàk kêun maa neùng kilo]
The other day, I ate at a buffet and gained 1 kilogram the following day.

3. เมื่อวานฉันไปทำผมที่ร้านแถวบ้านมา
[mêua waan, chán pai tam phǒm tîi ráan tǎew bâan maa]
Yesterday I had my hair done at a salon near home.

4. เมื่อกี้ไปไหนมา หาไม่เจอเลย
[mêua gíi pai nǎi maa, hǎa mâi jer loei]
Where have you been? I couldn’t find you.

5. เดือนก่อน ผมไปแข่งวิ่งมาราธอนมา
[deuan gàwn phǒm pai kàeng wîng marathon maa]
Last month, I participated in a marathon competition.

6. พ่อแม่พาผมไปหาหมอฟันมา
[pâw mâe paa phǒm pai hǎa mǎw fan maa]
My parents took me to the dentist.

7. เพิ่งไปทะเลมาเหรอ ตัวดำเชียว
[peûng pai talay maa rǎw, tua dam chiao]
Have you been to the beach recently? You’re so tanned.

Usually, the expression “ไป…มา [pai…maa]” tends to be used when the speaker’s sole intention is to state where they’ve been or what they did. When more information is included, we tend not to say มา [maa] at the end but use only “ไป [pai].” In other words, if what the speaker wants to convey is more than just the fact that they went somewhere or did something somewhere, then it’s unlikely that they will use “ไป…มา [pai…maa].” Basically, when the sentence is a bit more complicated than just saying “I went to this place” or “I did something at that place,” it often doesn’t have the word “มา [maa]” at the end. Take a look at these sentences below for better understanding. While it would still be OK to use “ไป…มา [pai…maa]” with all of these sentences, it’s more common to say them without มา [maa].

1. ปีก่อนฉันเพิ่งไปภูเก็ตเป็นครั้งแรก
[pii gàwn, chán peûng pai Phuket pen kráng ràek]
Last year, I went to Phuket for the first time.

2. ฉันไปหาเพื่อนที่บ้านตอนที่พ่อแม่เขาไม่อยู่
[chán pai hǎa peûan tîi bâan tawn tîi pâw mâe káo mâi yùu]
I went to see my friend at her house when her parents weren’t there.

3. เมื่อวานฉันไปตลาด แต่ไม่ได้ซื้ออะไร
[mêua waan chán pai talàat, tàe mâi dâi séu arai]
Yesterday, I went to the market but didn’t buy anything.

4. ผมไปคอนเสิร์ต Maroon 5 เพราะบังเอิญได้ตั๋วฟรีมา
[phǒm pai concert Maroon 5 práw bang ern dâai tǔa free maa]
I went to Maroon 5’s concert because I happened to get a free ticket.
Note that มา [maa] here goes together with ได้ [dâai], not ไป [pai].
ได้…มา [dâai…maa] means “to get” or “to obtain” something.

5. คืนก่อนฉันไปเดอะมอลล์ตอนจัดมิดไนท์เซล คนเยอะมาก
[keun gàwn chán pai The Mall tawn jàt midnight sale, kon yér mâak]
The other night, I went to The Mall when they had a Midnight Sale. It was very crowded.

6. เด็กๆไปเล่นที่สวนเด็กเล่นกันหลังจากที่พวกเขาตื่นนอน
[dèk dèk pai lên tîi sǔan dèk lên gan lǎang jàak tîi pûak káo tèun nawn]
The kids went to play at the playground after they woke up.

7. เมื่อคืนเกิดปวดหัวตอนใกล้นอน ฉันเลยรีบวิ่งไปซื้อยาก่อนร้านขายยาจะปิด
[meua keun gèrd pùad hǔa tawn glâi nawn, chán loei rîip wîng pai séu yaa gàwn ráan kǎai yaa jà pìt]
Last night, my head suddenly started to hurt before I went to bed, so I hurried and ran to the pharmacy to buy some headache pills before it closed.

“ไป…มา [pai…maa]” is one of the unique expressions we have in the Thai language that’s quite different from English. Now that you’ve learned this expression, you will notice that Thai people use it all the time. After you’ve grasped how to use it, try using it with your Thai friends and you’ll sound more like a native speaker.


Find PickupThai's lessons helpful? Feel free to check out our self-developed Thai learning materials "PickupThai Podcast," humor-filled audio lessons based on fun stories that teach you to speak natural-sounding Thai the super fun way unlike any textbook. Learn REAL Thai with us and never sound like a foreigner again. Available for all levels. Try free samples now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *