How Do You Say…?

The expression “If I had known, (I would..)” in English can be expressed using the phrase “(ถ้า)รู้อย่างนี้ [tâa rúu yàang níi].” “ถ้า [tâa]” means “if” and can be omitted, “รู้ [rúu]” means “to know,” and “อย่างนี้ [yàang níi]” literally means “like this.”


(ถ้า)รู้อย่างนี้ ไม่มาแน่นอน
[(tâa) rúu yàang níi, mâi maa nâe nawn]
If I had known, I wouldn’t have come.…

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“ไม่ A ก็ B” [mâi…gâw…] is equivalent of the expression “either A or B” in English. The direct translation of “ไม่ A ก็ B” [mâi…gâw…] is “A, if not, B.” It’s also possible to say “A ไม่ก็ B” […mâi gâw…].


[waang wái nâa tûu yen mâi gâw nâa TV dii gwàa]
I think we should put it either in front of the fridge or the TV.…

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In Thai, we add the word “ขนาดนี้” [kanàad níi] or “ขนาดนั้น” [kanàad nán] after an adjective or an adverb to express a specific amount or extent of something. In other words, we say “ขนาดนี้” [kanàad níi] for “this much” and “ขนาดนั้น” [kanàad nán] for “that much.” Let’s take a look at the following examples for better understanding.…

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The expression “to keep (on) doing something” or “to continue doing something” in English can be expressed in Thai by using the structure of a “verb” followed by the word “ต่อ [tàw]” which means “to extend,” “to lengthen,” or “to prolong.” For example “กินต่อ [gin tàw]” means to “keep eating” and “พูดต่อ [pûut tàw]” means to “keep talking.”…

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When you think someone got themselves into trouble and they only have themselves to blame, you can say this to that person -> “อยากหาเรื่องเอง” [yàak hǎa reûang eeng]. The idiom “หาเรื่อง [hǎa reûang]” means “to seek trouble.”


A: ไม่น่าขึ้นบันไดเลย เมื่อไหร่จะถึงชั้นสิบเนี่ย รู้งี้ขึ้นลิฟต์ดีกว่า
[mâi nâa kêun bandai loei, mêua rài ja teǔng chán sìp nîa, rúu ngíi kêun lift dii gwàa]
I shouldn’t have taken the stairs!…

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You probably have learned that we use the expression “เพื่อที่จะได้…” [pêua tîi jà dâi] for “ order that..” but it’s quite a formal expression which you won’t hear often in spoken language. Also, we usually use it when we want to emphasize the purpose of an action. But normally, “จะได้” [jà dâi] is commonly used when we want to say “…so (that)…” or “…

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To say it’s easy or hard to do something in Thai, simply say the verb and then “ง่าย [ngâai]: easy” or “ยาก [yâak]: difficult”! Take a look at the examples below:

[ – – – Easy to + verb – – – ]

พูดง่าย [phûut ngâai] Easy to say

ให้ลืมเขาภายในหนึ่งวัน พูดง่ายจังนะ แหม
[hâi leum káo paainai nèung wan.…

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When you want to say if someone had or hadn’t done something, something else would or wouldn’t have happened, in Thai, we say “ถ้า(ไม่)… ก็คง(จะ)(ไม่)…” [tâa (mâi)… gâw kong (jà)(mâi)…]. Even though “คง(จะ)” [kong (jà)] translates to “probably,” the speaker is usually quite convinced about what they say. Therefore, “คงจะ” [kong (jà)] doesn’t always need to be translated.…

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When you want someone to stop talking, there are many ways to express that wish. One way is to say “หุบปาก [hùp pàak]” which literally means “Shut your mouth!”. You can also use “หุบปากไปเลย” [hùp pàak pai loei]” meaning “Just shut up!”. However, it’s a very rude and aggressive way to tell someone to be quiet.…

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In Thai, we say “เท่าที่รู้ [tâo tîi rúu]” for “as far as I know” or “for what I know.” We usually put the pronoun before the verb “รู้” [rúu]. For example, “เท่าที่ผมรู้ [tâo tîi phǒm rúu]” or “เท่าที่ฉันรู้ [tâo tîi chán rúu].” Sometimes, we also say “เท่าที่รู้มา [tâo tîi rúu maa]” with the word “มา [maa]” implying the time from the past to the present (similar to the present perfect tense in English).…

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If you want to compliment someone on having done a good job doing something in Thai, you can say “เยี่ยม” [yîam] meaning “Excellent!” or you can emphasize it by adding the adverb of degree “มาก” [mâak] (very / extremely) -“เยี่ยมมาก” [yîam mâak]. For example,

A: “ผมทำโปรเจคที่นายมอบหมายให้ผมทำเสร็จแล้วนะครับ”
A: [phǒm tam project tîi naai mâwp mǎai hâi phǒm tam sèt léaw ná kráp]
A: Boss, I’ve finished the project that you assigned to me.…

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In Thai, we say “ถ้าไม่อย่างนั้น” [tâa mâi yàang nán] for “Otherwise,..” which literally means “If not so.” However, you are probably more likely to hear the shorter versions of the expression, which are “ถ้าไม่งั้น” [tâa mâi ngán] and the most commonly used term, “ไม่งั้น” [mâi ngán].


กินข้าวให้หมดก่อน ถ้าไม่อย่างนั้นแม่จะไม่ให้กินขนม
[gin kâao hâi mòt gàwn, tâa mâi yàang nán mâe jà mâi hâi gin kanǒm]
Finish your dish first.…

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In a situation where you had told someone something and they didn’t listen to you or believe you but it turns out that you are right, there is an expression that you can use to say to that person, which is “บอกแล้ว” [bàwk léaw] or “บอกแล้ว ไม่เชื่อ” [bàwk léaw mâi chêua] which literally means “I told you and you didn’t believe me.”…

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ทุก [túk] means “every.” For example, ทุกวัน [túk wan] = every day, ทุกเดือน [túk deuan] = every month and ทุกปี [túk pii] = every year. But do you know what “ทุกเมื่อ [túk mêua]” means?

You might not be familiar with the word “ทุกเมื่อ [túk mêua]” but it does exist. It means “at any time” and it’s used in the context of “something can happen at any moment.”…

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The English idiom “In particular” can be translated as “เป็นพิเศษ” [pen písèet] or “โดยเฉพาะ(อย่างยิ่ง)” [dooi chapáw (yàang yîng)], depending on the context. For example, “I don’t have anything to say in particular.” “ผมไม่มีอะไรอยากพูดเป็นพิเศษ” [phŏm mâi mii arai yàak phûut pen písèet], or, “Most people, men in particular, don’t enjoy spending hours in a store trying on clothes.”…

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