Beginner Archives - Learn Thai from a White Guy

How to Say I Miss You in Thai

Today we’re going to learn how to say “I miss you” in Thai.  While this is the perfect phrase to show that special someone that you’re thinking of them, it’s also used to say that you miss your family, friends, places and times of your life. 

miss you in Thai

คิดถึงจัง

I Miss You in Thai

The main Thai phrase for “I miss you” is คิดถึง (kít tĕung).

The phrase คิดถึง (kít tĕung) literally translates as something like “thinking of you” or “(my) thoughts reach (you)” however it’s used just like we use “I miss you” in English.  

Thai Grammar Note:

Thai is a very contextual language which means we will very often drop any information that is already understood by both speaker and listener.  The most common example of this is dropping the pronouns as in “I miss you.”  We really only need to say the “miss” part.  If I say คิดถึง (kít tĕung)  to you, everybody involved or in earshot knows who misses who.

How to Say I REALLY Miss You in Thai

You can use any of these phrases to when you want to tell someone you miss them a lot.

In case you really want to impress your significant other, use this one.  Be warned that the person you use this on may very well swoon.

I Miss You NA นะ (NA: The Special Softener Particle)

Thai language has a lot of very short words called “particles.”  Particle words often don’t have a a meaning like most words.  Rather they add a bit of emotional color to the sentence that they are modifying.  In non-tonal languages, we do this with intonation.  NA นะ is one of the most common particle words that you will encounter in Thai.

I call it “the softener” because it makes whatever you are saying sound softer/nicer/more pleasant.  The extent of this “softness” is contextual.  So if people in a relationship say it to each other, or someone says it to a small child, it can have a cute feeling to it.

คิดถึง vs

คิดถึงนะ (not found)
– Both of these phrases mean “I miss you,” but the na adds a pinch of niceness.

More Formal/Polite Ways to Say I Miss You in Thai

The main word for you in Thai is คุณ (khun), but it is not used in Thai like we us “you” in English.  The Thai คุณ (khun) has a very formal feel to it which is similar to “mr.” or “mrs.” so we don’t recommend using it very much.  However, you will come across it in texts and in Thai dramas where the dialogue tends to be unrealistically polite so we’ll give you some examples.

It would sound nice on a card, but it would sound a little silly if you said to someone.  Because, generally, if you are close to someone, you would never call them คุณ (khun) – “you.”

More Useful Thai Phrases Related to “I Miss You”

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How to Say Delicious in Thai

Thai food is some of the best you’ll find anywhere in the world.  Thailand often tops lists of “best street food in the world” such as this one by CNN.  So it’s hardly surprising that Thai people are passionate about their food.  If you’ve ever spent much time with Thai people, you’ll find that the conversation can often quickly turn to the subject of food.

In fact, food is so important within Thai culture that one of the most common ways to say hello in Thai language is by asking if the person you are greeting has eaten yet:

So if there’s one word that you should learn for your trip to Thailand, it’s “delicious” – you’re going to need it!

how to say delicious in thai - aroi

อร่อยมาก

The Word for Delicious in Thai for Every Situation

Luckily, this very useful Thai word does not require any pronunciation acrobatics so you should be able to say it correctly without too much effort. 

Whether it’s dinner and a few drinks with your Thai friends or a formal business lunch – the word for delicious that you need to use is:

This can be used in both formal and informal situations but for formal situations just remember to add the polite particle ครับ (khrap) for male speakers OR ค่ะ (kha) for female speakers like this:

It’s important to note that Thai people use their word for delicious far more often than most native English speakers do.  This is likely based partially on the high quality of the food in Thailand, but it’s also in important cultural difference.

In English, we reserve the word for food that is ESPECIALLY tasty, while in Thai, it’s more of a question of “tastes great” or “doesn’t taste good.”

How to Say REALLY Delicious in Thai

If you’re very impressed with the food you’ve just eaten (which there’s a good chance you will be) – you can add มาก (maak) – very.

Basic Thai Grammar Point

In Thai language, nouns and adjective position is opposite to English.  It will feel weird at first, but you’ll get used to it so don’t try to memorize this rule.  Just remember one phrase like the one below.  

For example, where we would say “red ball” or “delicious food,” in Thai, you are need to say “food delicious” or “ball red.”

Here’s another simple example phrase:

How to Ask if the Food is Delicious in Thai?

Now that we know that aroi (อร่อย)  means “delicious,” the next thing we need to know is how to ask – “is the food good?”  The structure for this is very simple:

    • ไหม (mai) – is a question word used at the end of a sentence to turn a sentence in to a yes or no question.  Like both the words for “smells nice” and “smells bad,” it takes a RISING tone.

Example:

In Thai you can answer this kind of yes or no question by answering with the verb or adjective that was used in the question.  While there are words for yes and no in Thai, in most cases, “yes” does not work like it does in English.

So two simple and common answers to this question are:

Seven Degrees of Thai Deliciousness

The taste of food is very important in Thailand.  This by no by means covers all possible ways to express your pleasure (or displeasure!) with a Thai dish, but it will give you a range of phrases to come back and learn.

  1. อร่อยมากๆ (aroi maak-maak) That’s very-very delicious!
  2. อร่อยมาก (aroi maad) That’s very delicious!
  3. อร่อย (aroi) That’s tasty; That’s good
  4. กินได้ (gin daai) I can eat that.
  5. เฉยๆ (cheuy cheuy) It’s fine.
  6. ไม่อร่อย (mai aroi) It’s not good.
  7. ไม่อร่อยเลย (mai aroi leuy) It’s awful / It’s terrible (literally: it’s not good at all)

How to Say That Looks Delicious in Thai

Thailand has some of the best markets in the world – from the floating markets of Bangkok to the vast, bustling Walking Street Night Markets of Chiang Mai.  There are countless food stalls selling everything from fried rice to fried crickets. If you’re walking around the market with your Thai friends – you will at some point hear or want to say “that looks delicious.” The way to say “that looks delicious” in Thai is:

  • น่ากิน (naa gin) – worthy of eating (appears like it would be nice to eat)

*In English, we might say “That looks good.”   In Thai, you add น่า (naa) in front of a number of verbs to show that doing that ACTION would be pleasant/fun/nice or worthy of doing.

      • น่าไป (naa ppai) – worthy of going (Appears/sounds like it would be good/fun to go there)
      • น่านั่ง (naa nang) worthy of sitting (appears like it would be nice/comfortable to sit/chill there)
      • น่าดู (naa doo) worth of seeing (appears like it would be worth watching)
      • น่าอ่าน (naa aahn) worthy of reading (appears like it would be worth reading)

If you remember the Thai word for delicious mentioned above, you can also add this น่า (naa) in front of it as a different way of saying “looks like it would be good/pleasant to eat.”

  • น่าอร่อย (naa aroi) – Which means something like:  This appears/smells like if I tasted it, it would taste good.

Useful Thai Phrases with น่า (naa):

Another way to think about this pattern is that it’s comparable to adding “-able” in English so in the example below, the the meaning is literally: “loveable” or “worthy of love” although น่ารัก (naa rak) is always used as way to describe something or someone as “cute.”  If you’d like to see more examples of this very common pattern, check out our full post on “How to Say Cute (and beautiful) in Thai.”

For example:

In this case น่าเที่ยว (naa tiiao) roughly translates as “a great place to visit” or “worth visiting”

In this sentence น่าอยู่ (naa yoo) translates as “looks like it’d be a great place to live”.

Thai Grammar Note:

Thai is a very contextual language.  This means that we will often omit any information that is obvious.   In the phrases above, we will know what is good to watch/eat/read based on who we are talking to and what we are looking at and/or talking about.  If the speaker and listener know what we are talking about, you often don’t need to say it.

 

How to Say Food Smells Good in Thai

The food culture in Thailand is going to stimulate all of your senses, from all the vibrant colors of the food, the taste and of course the smell.  If you walk around any food market in Thailand, there will be all kinds of food simmering, barbecuing and or being stir fried up. Your mouth will be watering from all the amazing smells.  So another phrase you’ll need is “that smells good.”

  • หอม (hom) – (It/something) smells nice.
    • *Not just limited to food.

How to Say Something Stinks or Smells Bad in Thai

On your walk around a Thai market at some point you are going to walk past a stall that’s selling durian.   The first time you smell durian or ทุเรียน (thu-rian) in Thai you’ll be able to decide whether it’s a good smell or not.  It’s powerful enough that many hotels try to ban people from bringing durian into the rooms by threatening a fine.

So if you smell a durian, you might not be using the word หอม (hom).  If you don’t like the smell (and many people don’t!) you’ll want to know the following Thai word which is used for things that stink or smell bad.   Rotten food, farts and smelly armpits (and sometimes durian!) all fall under the following Thai word:

Thai Tone Tip:

Both of these smell words in Thai have a rising tone.  The rising tone in Thai is very similar to the way we make the word “Really?” rise up in English when we are looking to confirm if something is real.  Click on each word a few times to try to get a feel for what a rising tone should sound like.

Learning the tones in languages like Thai takes some getting used to.  You won’t always be able to hear a tone the first couple of times, but with a bit of practice and exposure, I promise your brain will get used to it.  Thai has a set of tone rules that you can learn eventually be able to instantly know the tone of a word as soon as you see how it is spelled, but it does require a bit of practice.  If you want to be able to speak Thai one day, it’s totally worth the time investment.

The Five Thai Flavors

When you are just starting to learn Thai, you might find that the topic of food is a great conversation starter since eating is something that you do every day and it’s something that most Thai people have passionate opinions on.  So it’s worth having a few more food-related words up your sleeve when the conversation advances past อร่อย (aroi).  If you are not used to eating Thai food, you might find that some of the flavours – รส (rot) – can be intense at first as it often involves a complex combination of flavors.

There are five main flavors which make up Thai cuisine. They are:

1 – Spicy

Spicy flavors come from chili พริก (prik) chili (fresh, dried whole or dried powdered) and พริกไทย (prik thai) pepper.  Many Thai dishes will contain some level of spiciness to varying degrees depending on the dish.

One example of a spicy Thai dish is:

This dish uses fresh chilis, stir fried with holy basil usually served with rice.

2 – Sweet:

Sweet flavors will usually come from palm sugar, coconut sugar or regular refined white sugar.

An example of a dish that has sweet flavors is:

This dish uses น้ำตาลปี๊บ (nam ttaan biib) – palm sugar to balance out the spicy and sour flavors from the chili and fresh lemon.

3 – Bitter:

In Thai cuisine bitter flavors often come from a variety of fresh leaves or vegetables such as:

มะระ (ma ra) has a very bitter taste when which when boiled in a soup or stir fried reduces in intensity and adds a mild bitterness to the overall dish.

4 – Sour:

Sour flavors in Thai cuisine can come from มะนาว (ma naaw) lemon, น้ำส้มสายชู (nam som saai chuu) vinegar, มะขาม (ma kaam) tamarind or sour fruits.

A popular sour Thai dish is:

This is a sour and spicy soup.  The ส้ม (som) which happens to also be the word for “orange” (color + fruit) in this case is just another word meaning “sour.”  There are no oranges in แกงส้ม

The sourness in this dish comes from the juice or pulp of มะขาม (ma kaam) – tamarind.

5 – Salty:

Salty flavors often come from น้ำปลา (nam pplaa) fish sauce or

ซีอิ๊ว (not found)
(sii ew) soy sauce.

One example of a salty dish made with soy sauce is:

  • ผัดซีอิ๊ว (not found)
    (pad sii ew) – Literally: stir fried with soy sauce

This is a dish of large flat or fat noodles often made with Chinese broccoli stir fried in a thick starchy sauce.

Thai Seasonings

(the Mysterious 4 Glass Jars at Every Thai Noodle Restaurant)

If you go to any ร้านก๋วยเตี๋ยว (raan guay-ttiao) – noodle restaurant – in Thailand, you will notice that every table has a set of (usually four) condiments or เครื่องปรุง (kreuang pprung) in little glass jars on a metal tray.

This will include:

The bowl of noodle soup that arrives at the table is just the base – Thai people will usually taste the soup first to see what additional flavours it needs and then use the condiments to ปรุงรส (pprung) or “add flavor” to their dish according to their own taste.

How to Say I’m Hungry in Thai

After remarking on some food that smells HOM (หอม) it’s pretty common to let everyone around you know that you are feeling hungry.  And just like the word for smelling nice in Thai, to say “I’m hungry” is just one word.

If you want to ask someone else if they are hungry, you just add the yes/no question marker particle ไหม (mai?) after the word.  This turns the statement of “I’m hungry” into “Are  (you) hungry?”

Thai Language Grammar Note:

As Thai is a very contextual language, you will very often drop off words like pronouns when it’s already clear from the situation on who is saying/doing what.  While in English, we need to say “I AM hungry,” in Thai we just say HIW (หิว) and it is 100% clear from context that the person saying this word is also the person who is feeling hungry.  This may feel strange at first, but it is completely normal in Thai and forcing in pronouns like in English will feel weird in Thai, respectively.

Another Common Way to Say “I’m Hungry” in Thai

Rice, being the main staple in Thailand is often thought of as interchangeable with the concept of “food.” So, you’ll often hear Thai people say “I’m hungry for rice,” to mean “I’m hungry.”  Since rice is included in most meals this will match up most of the time, but it doesn’t have to specifically mean that they want to eat rice.  It’s just a variation on “I’m hungry.”

How to Say I’m Starving (to Death) in Thai

Another fun phrase you may want to try out is “I’m starving!” if you want to be a little dramatic.  Don’t use this one except with close friends though as it can come across a little rude if you don’t know someone well.

หิว จะ ตาย (hiw ja taai) – I’m starving *literally “hungry+ will die”

How to Say I’m Thirsty in Thai

Interestingly, there is not a separate word for “thirsty” in Thai so what we say is that we are “hungry + water.”

Again, there is no need or a pronoun here and it’s completely clear that the speaker of this word is the person who is thirsty.

How to Say I’m Full in Thai

After all this smelling, eating and drinking, you are going to get full.  In Thai language, expressing that you are full is also just 1 word.  While Thai doesn’t use spaces, we have separated the words into their parts in case you want to try to see how the Thai script works.

  • อิ่ม (im) – to be full; (I’m) full
    • *This is only when you are full from food or drink.  A different word is used when talking about filling a glass or petrol.
  • อิ่ม แล้ว – (im laew) – (I’m) full
    • *แล้ว translates to something like “already,” but it’s really just used to show a change of state in Thai so trying to translate that sentence into  “I’m full already” sound weird in English, but it’s normal in Thai.
  • อิ่ม มาก – (im maak) – (I’m) very full.
    • *Maak (มาก works just like “very” in English and can be added to the same type of words like very hot, very cold, very expensive, etc.

How to Say the Food Wasn’t Delicious in Thai

Obviously, you’ll want to be careful here because the following sentences can hurt people’s feelings.  If someone just cooked for you or you are at a restaurant and you didn’t like the food, you might want to use these expressions with your Thai friends to tell you how you really feel about the food.  However, it’s worth noting that Thai culture is not generally confrontational and many Thai people are more likely to not tell the 100% truth to the face of the person who has made or served them food that is not delicious.

  • ไม่ อร่อย (mai aroi) – (It’s) not delicious
    • *This has a stronger negative connotation in Thai than it does in English.  To say something is not aroi, is say it is pretty bad.

You can use this phrase in general discussions with your Thai friends about food where you want to express your opinion. For example if you are talking about durian and you don’t like durians, you can say:

Example:

So the structure is:

Thai Grammar Note:

Remember, in Thai you don’t need to to use the verb “to be” (is / are) between the noun and adjective as you would in English.

Or maybe the food wasn’t really bad, it was just kind of tasteless and bland.  This is also seen as pretty negative in Thai.  The following word means “bland” or “has no flavor,” which is considered pretty negative in Thai so use with caution.

In this case you can use the following word:

  • จืด (jeud) – bland; without (pleasant) taste/flavor

If you’ve just eaten at a restaurant and you didn’t like the food, remember to be careful not to offend the owner by saying ไม่อร่อย (mai aroi).  This is very blunt for Thai culture which tends to be less direct and confrontational as Western cultures so it would be impolite to say this directly to the owner or loud enough so that the owner heard you say it to your friend.  If you didn’t like the food because, for example, it was too spicy you can say:

Thai people will sometimes assume that foreigners can’t eat spicy food so they might reduce the amount of spice for you anyways regardless of what you ask for.  This is especially true in tourist areas where the restaurants will be catered more towards the western palette.  To be on the safe side, when ordering your food you can tell the waiter or waitress:

Ordering food and drinks in Thai is fairly straightforward (check out our posts on how to order a coffee and a beer).  The structure is this

Example sentence:

Now if you want to order the Thai green curry and you don’t want it to be spicy, all you need to do is add ไม่ เผ็ด (mai ped) to the end. So it would look like:

How to Say Good Night in Thai

In this post we’re going to learn how to say good night in Thai.  There are a number of ways to say good night depending on who you are speaking to and in what context.

Below, we’ve covered all the most common ways to say good night.  If you are looking to also learn how to say good morning Thai, check out this post.

how to say good night in Thai header image

กู๊ดไนท์

Before we get into all the possible phrases, in case you are just looking for a quick answer, this is the best way to say “good night” in Thai in most situations, both formal and informal.  It might sound familiar.  Read on to find out why.

กู๊ดไนท์ (guut nai) – good night

Thai language borrows many words from English and other languages and a large number of words are used all the time in daily conversation among Thai native speakers.

Formal:  Good Night in Thai

If you ask a Thai friend how to say “good night” in Thai, they are probably going to tell you this phrase so we need to get it out of the way.  However, the truth is that this is very rarely used in real conversation between Thai people so we don’t recommend using it unless you are trying to be silly.

Because being silly and making people laugh can do great things for helping you remember new words, and it might be worth a couple minutes of your time to learn.  Just keep in mind it’s not really a phrase that will occur naturally.

formal good night in thai

ราตรีสวัสดิ์ (raa-ttrii-sa-wat)

It’s considered formal, but even that isn’t really completely accurate.  A Thai person isn’t likely to use this with their boss or an official.  Phrases like this (and sawatdee!)  were created from Sanskrit words in the 30s and 40s in an attempt to internationalize Thailand.  Some of them caught on (due to government promotion) while others primarily show up in Thai dramas and when translating foreign media.

It’s much more common (even in formal situations) to just use this phrase borrowed from English.  They will be pronounced using the Thai sound system so they may sound strange at first until you get accustomed to Thai pronunciation.

*Pronunciation Notes:

Ir you haven’t yet mastered the Thai script and sound system then it may be a bit tricky to get the pronunciation right.

  • กู๊ด (goot) – good (high tone)
    • To get the ending sound correct here, you can pretend the word ends with a T, but when you get to the T sound, your tongue has to stay in place until the sound dies off
  • ไนท์ (nai) – night (high tone)
    • When saying this “nai” the back of your tongue will rise up a bit constricting the airflow in your throat, but it doesn’t cut the air off completely.

Informal Good Night in Thai (use with friends)

If you really want to be able to speak Thai fluently, then it’s a good idea to get into the habit of copying what native Thai speakers say rather than translating a set phrase from your native language which may sound strange in Thai.

Here are some phrases for “good night” that Thai people actually use with their friends and family.

And remember, if this seems too complicated, you can always just go with: กู๊ดไนท์(guut nai) – good night

ฝันดีนะ (fan dii na) is a widely used way to say “good night” in Thai and can be used amongst family members, couples and friends alike (although it’s not very common amongst straight male friends as it sounds a bit on the sweet side).

There are also some common ways to say “good night” in Thai which have come from English including the . Let’s have a look.

good night in Thai

กู๊ดไนท์ สวีทดรีม

Thai Vocabulary Related to Sleeping:

Here’s a few additional Thai words you might want to know.

to sleep; to lay down nawn (mid tone)นอน
to fall asleep nawn lap (mid + low tone)นอนหลับ
to be unable to fall asleepnawn mai lap (mid+falling+low)นอนไม่หลับ
to dreamfan (rising tone)ฝัน
good nightguut nai (high + high tones)กู๊ดไนท์

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How to Say What is Your Name in Thai

One of the most important phrases you’ll need to know when you’re meeting new people is asking their name.  Below we will break down everything you need to know about how to say “What’s your name?” in Thai.

How you (should) speak to people in Thai will often depend on a few factors such as your age in relation to theirs, the situation or the person’s status so we’ll cover both the formal/polite and informal sentences you can use when speaking with Thai people.

You can learn the basics of the Thai alphabet and sounds in 10-20 hours study and master it within a couple months of very part-time study.  If you put in an at least an hour a day, you can learn it a lot faster, but finding your own ideal pace is a big part of learning a new skill.

how to say what is your name in thai cartoon

ชื่อ อะไร

Formal/Polite: How to Say “What is your name?” in Thai

First let’s take a look at the formal way to say ‘what is your name’ in Thai. Thai people might use this in a setting when they are speaking with older people or people who are higher in the social or work hierarchy.  This could be used in the context of a business meeting, for example. 

The structure of ‘what is your name’ in Thai looks like this:

Example:

Often when we speak to a person in Thai that we don’t know, someone older or someone who has some level of status, we’ll add on the polite gender based particles:  ครับ Khrap (male) and ค่ะ Kha (females).

If you are in a formal setting or a situation where you don’t know who you are speaking with yet, such as on the phone, at the immigration office, at a bank or business meeting, it’s probably best to use this formal version of “what is your name?” in Thai.  But for normal social settings, you can use the informal version of ‘what is your name’ which we cover later in this article.

Formal: How to Say ‘My Name is…’

If you are in a formal setting, it is possible that you will be asked the formal version of ‘what is your name’ so it’s important to learn the formal response of ‘my name is…’

The structure of “my name is…” in Thai looks like this:

Male Speaker:

Female Speaker:

Sample Dialogue 1: 

Sample Dialogue 2: 

Bonus Tips:

*When we say “formal” or “polite,” it’s hard to define every possible situation you might encounter, but here are a few good ground rules to follow:

  1.  You would never use “คุณ (khun) – you” with children and very rarely with people much younger than you.  This word has a feeling similar to “Mr” or “Mrs” in Thai so while it’s not likely anyone will correct you, it will sound very strange.
  2. It’s not IMPOLITE to drop pronouns, so if you aren’t sure which pronoun to use (or if you should use one) it’s always ok to drop them.  Just use the polite gender particle ครับ / ค่ะ (khrap/kha) and you will still be speaking politely.

Thai Vocabulary Flashcards

Now that we’ve looked at a few phrases, why don’t you spend 2 or 3 minutes drilling the key Thai words in this lesson?  It’ll make it easier for you to understand the sentences in the rest of this post.

  • คุณ
    คุณ
    you(khun)
  • พี่
    พี่
    older-sibling(pii)
  • น้อง
    น้อง
    younger-sibling(nawng)
  • ผม
    ผม
    I(phom) *male
  • ฉัน
    ฉัน
    I(chan) *female
  • ถาม
    ถาม
    ask(thaam)
  • ชื่อ
    ชื่อ
    name(chue)
  • อะไร
    อะไร
    what(ah-rai)
  • All Done!

Informal: How to Ask “What is your name?” in Thai

Part of crafting the most natural sentence in Thai language is knowing whether to use a pronoun at all and in situations where they are appropriate, deciding which one to use.

As we’ve seen above, even in formal setting you can drop the pronoun คุณ (khun) entirely and just make sure to add the polite gender-based particle ครับ/ค่ะ (khrap/kha).

In some social settings you can may hear or want to use to use an informal pronoun.

Thai speakers will often use พี่ (pii) ‘older brother/sister’ and น้อง (nong) ‘younger brother/sister’ when speaking with close friends, acquaintances, siblings and strangers alike.  It is even common for Thai speakers to call their spouse or partner พี่ (pii) or น้อง (nong).

Sample Informal Situation:

You eat at a restaurant or a cafe a number of times and start to get to know one or more of the staff at the shop and you’d like to ask their name*.  Since you are a customer, they may use the polite word for “you,” คุณ (khun) + your name to address you.  If they are clearly younger than you, you can refer to them as น้อง (nawng) which means “younger sibling.”

* In most cases, when you ask a Thai person their name, they will give you their nickname.  Thai names tend to be quite long and are rarely used informally.

**Check out our posts on ordering beer or coffee to learn more about this very important sentence pattern.

Choosing the Right Thai Pronoun:

Thai has a lot of pronouns and I don’t recommend trying to learn them all at once.  The easy answer in all situations is to use คุณ (khun) which is the polite way to say “you” in Thai.  However, it’s rarely the best or most natural answer.   Thai culture has a built-in friendliness/closeness within a status-based hierarchy.

The pronoun you use is at least partially determined by your age in relation to the other person.  So your friend who is 1 week older than you is your พี่ (pii).  If you had a twin brother/sister that was born 5 minutes before you, they are also your พี่ (pii) as they are a bit older.  You can use this word up to approximately the age of your parents.

Although these terms are somewhat informal (a student wouldn’t refer to their teacher as พี่ (pii) for example), it is still perfectly polite and respectful to use these terms in most every day social situations as it displays a level of friendliness and familiarity which is a natural part of Thai culture.

Sample Informal Situation:

You shop at a market, or a food stall you can use these terms if the food seller is considerably older than you.  There isn’t a set age difference, but think in terms of your parent’s age.  If you are 25-35 and the food seller is 50 or 70, you should use the terms for “aunt” or “uncle” in Thai.

In these situations, can just refer to them as “aunt” or “uncle,” and it isn’t necessary or unfriendly to not ask their name.

Go Practice Speaking Thai:

Now that you know how to ask ‘what is your name?’ in Thai for almost every situation you will find yourself in, it’s time to get out there and start making some friends. You will be sure to impress your new found Thai friends and make a great first impression.  Looking for more basic Thai language content?  I’d recommend learning all the different ways to greet people in Thai with this post on saying hello.   Looking for Thai language tutors?  Check out iTalki.

Or maybe you are looking to get conversational or fluent in Thai?  If so, check out my Thai core skills program: the Learn Thai Inner Circle

*While we have added transliteration (and AUDIO!) to the Thai words and phrases in the above Thai lesson, if you would like to be able to speak Thai conversationally (or fluently!) at some point, we strongly recommend that you learn to read the Thai script.   It can appear intimidating, but being able to separate the sounds of Thai from English (and/or your own native language) will make going deep into Thai language much easier.

How to Say Who in Thai

Here’s How to Say Who in Thai

“Who” is one of the first question words you should learn in Thai (or any) language because you’ll need to use this word every day starting from day 1.   Below, we’ll show you a few common phrases that use the word who, we’ll also break down the spelling in Thai so you can get an idea how the Thai alphabet works.

The Thai word for Who is:

how to say who in Thai = KRAI + picture of boy covering eyes of man

ใครอ่ะ

How to Spell Who in Thai:

Even if you can’t read the Thai script yet, it might be interesting to break this Thai word down to see how it works.

The letter in the middle is an aspirated “K” sound.  Aspirated just means that there will be a strong blast of air when you pronounce this Thai letter.  It’s just like the K sound in “kite” “keep” or “kill.”

ค – Kh 

Click on any of the following Thai words to hear this letter in action.  Don’t worry about the rest of the word right now.  Just listen for the first consonant K sound.

  1. คุณ (khun) – you
  2. คน (khon) – person; people
  3. ควาย (kwaai) – buffalo

The 2nd letter which is all the way to the right in this word is the Thai “R” sound.  In Thai, just like in English, you’ll find that sometimes, 2 consonants can share the same vowel sound.  *The Thai R (ร) is trilled, but in informal daily conversation, most people do not pronounce the full trill so don’t worry if you can’t say it perfectly yet.

ร – R (trilled)

In the word for “who,” the K and the R come together to create a คร- KR- sound.   This is called a “consonant cluster” and you already know how to say it even if you’ve never heard that term before.  Here are some examples of consonant clusters in English.  I’ll BOLD the clustered letters to make it easier to pick them out.

  1. Crazy
  2. Brett
  3. Three

The Thai Vowel: ใอ (ai)

The symbol on the left of ใคร (krai) is the vowel.  This vowel sound makes an “ai” or “eye” sound.  Click on the following Thai word to hear how it’s pronounced: ใอ

Here are some basic Thai words which use the ใอ (ai) vowel:

Example Sentences with the Thai Word “Who”

How to Say “Who” in Formal and Informal Thai

Like in English, asking someone who they are should be done in a polite way to avoid sounding rude. If a Thai person asks this question they will usually add a male or female polite particle.

An informal, sometimes impolite particle can also be used depending on certain factors like your relationship with the person you are asking.

Formal Thai Phrases with Who

You should note that these polite particles don’t always sound the same when you hear them spoken in public. Often, the R (ร) in “Khrap” is dropped and it ends up being pronounced as “Khap” (คับ).

Informal Thai Phrases with Who

The particle “na” (นะ) can be added to the sentence to make the question sound softer. Who are you? –

This might be used in a situation where two possible love interests have bumped into each other. Na is not impolite but should not be used in very formal circumstances. 

A Very Impolite Thai Particle

Lastly, the impolite particle can be used at the end of the sentence: wa (วะ)

Imagine a man picks up the telephone of his girlfriend and another man is on the line. This might cause him to be jealous (He’s the jealous type), and so the sentence may not sound very polite at all. The man may simply ask  – “Krai wa?” (ใคร วะ) or “Krai phoud wa?” (ใคร พูด วะ). In English this would translate as something like “Who the hell is this?” or “Who the hell is speaking?”  

Be very careful with the WA (วะ) particle.   If you use it with someone you don’t know it is very aggressive and you could get yourself into trouble.  Many Thai people will use it amongst their close friends so if you stick around long enough you are going to hear this particle.  I don’t recommend using it until you have gotten a bit deeper into Thai language.  

*In the Thai language “who” is not used in the middle of a sentence. Thais don’t say, “That’s the guy WHO teaches me English.” In Thai, it could sound more like, “That guy. He teaches me English.”   

WHO in Thai is strictly a question word.  

*In the Thai language “who” is not used in the middle of a sentence. Thais don’t say, “That’s the guy who teaches me English.” In Thai, it could sound more like, “That guy. He teaches me English.”

Quick Thai Script Review:

  • ค is a K sound (Aspirated which means it has a strong blast of air when like the C sound in CUT)
  • ร is a R sound (Officially a trilled R sound, but it’s not usually trilled in normal conversation)
  • ใ is a vowel that sounds like “ai” and goes on the LEFT side of the consonant it is attached to.

All together, that spells: ใคร or WHO in Thai.

How to Say Good Morning in Thai

Many cultures use different greetings depending on the time of day.  While Thai language has a couple phrases that are similar to “good morning,” “good afternoon,” and “good night,” Thai people do not commonly use these very much in daily life.

However, you may hear them on Thai dramas or in Thai movies, so it’s ok to learn it.  If you want to know how Thai people say good morning to each other at different times of the day, below are both the formal and informal phrases you’ll come across either in book, classes or other websites.  Be sure to read to the end as that’s where the most common phrases are.

good morning in thai

How to Say Good Morning in Thai

Formal Thai for “Good Morning” Part 1: (What Thai language books and other websites tell you to say…)

—- Examples:

  1. อรุณสวัสดิ์ (ah-roon-sa-wat) Good morning
  2. สวัสดีตอนเช้า (sa-wat-dee ttawn-chao) Good morning

*Disclaimer: We mention these phrases, because it’s the only way to rank this page high enough on Google that you will ever see it, but I will stress that Thai people don’t say these 2 phrases and neither should you.  Except, perhaps to be silly.  If you use it (especially ah-roon-sa-wat), you will probably get a laugh or a smile so there may be some value in learning these 2 Thai phrases  just to get a reaction out of people.

Google is getting better at recognizing what’s actually used as opposed to what the top websites might tell you.

google translate search of "good morning" in thai

Don’t use SA-WAT-DEE-TAWN-CHAO

Formal Thai for “Good Morning” Part 2: (What Thai people REALLY say)

—- Examples:

  1. สวัสดี ครับ/ค่ะ (sawat-dee + khrap/kha) – Hello + (male/female polite particle)
  2. ทานข้าวรึยัง (taan khaao rue yang) – Have you eaten yet?*

*ทาน (taan) is a slightly more polite/formal word for “to eat” in Thai.  If you frequent the same restaurant or cafe, as the staff  start getting to know you, they may use this word for a time instead of กิน (kin) which also means “to eat.”   Using ทาน (taan) instead of กิน (kin) is more formal/polite and maintains a level of distance from the person being spoken to.

Informal Thai for “Good Morning” (What you should use with your friends)

  1. หวัดดี ครับ/ค่ะ (wat-dee + khrap/kha) – Hi
  2. กินข้าวรึยัง (kin khaao rue yanng?) – Have you eaten yet?*

You’ll use *”กิน (kin) – to eat” most of the time when speaking with friends or colleagues.

Want to Know More Thai Greetings and Basic Phrases?

To learn all about the best Thai greetings to use in every situation, check out our “How to Say Hello in Thai” post.  In that post, you’ll find the 2 most useful phrases in the Thai language so don’t miss out.

Want to learn to speak and read Thai language?  Check out my Thai foundation online course here or sign up below to try some free lessons from the program.

 

Top 5 Most Useful Thai Phrases

Bangkok

อยู่ไหนเนี่ย

If I were to start learning Thai from the beginning all over again, these are the most useful 5 Thai phrases that I wish my first phrase book taught me. You can use all 5 of these phrases every single day and you’ll hear Thai people say them all the time.

How to Say Hello in Thai

You probably have heard of sawasdee (สวัสดี), but in real life you don’t usually use this word with you friends. It’s much more common to ask them if they’ve eaten yet. If you see them out, you’d ask them where they are going or where they are coming back from. So the next time you run into one of your Thai friends, try one of these:

ไปไหน ppai nai Where are you going?
ไปไหนมา ppai nai maa Where are you coming (back) from?
กินข้าวรึยัง gin khaao ru yang Did you eat yet?

 

How to Say “What are you doing?” in Thai

This is another short, simple and super useful Thai phrase that you should learn right away.

ทำอะไรอยู่ (thum a-rai yuu) – What are you doing?

**Notes:

  • You can add a อยู่ (yuu) after any VERB in Thai to make it function like the -ing ending in English. We don’t need to use any pronouns when it’s obvious that the speaker is talking about themselves.

How to Say “Where are you?” in Thai

Whether or not you are planning to meetup with someone, it’s pretty common to ask where people are in any language. In Thai, you’ll hear it all the time and it’s a super easy phrase.

If you are speaking to a friend online/phone you just say:

อยู่ไหน (yuu nai) – where are you? / Where is it?

If you want to ask where something is or in cases where you need to specify a person, you put it/them before the phrase above:

 

How to Say OK in Thai

There are a few options in Thai for saying ok. You can always just say OK like we do in English, but using Thai pronunciation โอเค (ohh-kay), the main difference being that the Ohh sound tends to be longer than how you might say it in English. While this works fine in many situations, there’s a special phrase you should definitely learn.

ก็ได้ (gaw dai) – ok; I’m ok with that; that works; sounds good to me

A: วันนี้กินอะไรดี (wan nee gin a-rai dee) – What should we eat today?
B:

อยากกินพิซซ่า (not found)
(yaak gin pit-saa) – I want to eat pizza.
A:
พิซซ่าเหรอ กินก็ได้ (not found)
(pit-saa raw … gin gaw dai) – Pizza huh? Yea, I could eat (pizza) / that works

It doesn’t always translate exactly as “ok,” but it express that you are satisfied with or accepting of whatever is being talked about.

 

How to Say “I don’t understand” in Thai

You may have heard of mai khao jai ไม่เข้าใจ which means “I don’t understand,” but I’m going to give you a more fun phrase that you can use when you REALLY have no idea what’s happening. If you can pronounce that เอือ vowel correctly, you can get some good laughs with this one.

ไม่รู้เรื่อง (mai ruu rueang) – I have no idea what you are talking about / I have no clue / I don’t understand at all

You use this phrase when you didn’t understand a word of what was just said, or in cases where you have no idea what someone is going on about.

Now get out there and practice these phrases. You can use them all the time forever.

How to Say Cute in Thai

how to say cute in Thai

น่ารักอ่ะ

Want to know how to say “cute” in Thai? Just like in English, the Thai word for cute can be used both with people you find attractive as things, animals and children.

The Thai Word for Cute

The word for “cute” in Thai is น่ารัก (naa rak) and it consists of two parts.

น่ารัก naa rak cute

The 2nd part: รัก (rak) means “to love.”  If, you want to go deep on Thai love phrases, read “How to Say I Love You in Thai.”

The 1st part: น่า – is placed in front of certain words to express that the target is worthy of or looks good to (eat, drink, watch, etc). Have a quick look at the examples below to get an idea how it works:

  • น่าไป (naa ppai)- looks like it’d be worth going to (if someone shows you a picture from a trip they took you might say this)
  • น่ากิน (naa gin) – looks good (for food)
  • น่าดู (naa duu) – looks like it would be worth watching or fun to watch

If you follow the above pattern, then น่ารัก (naa rak) ends up meaning something like “worthy of loving/love.”

how to say cute in Thai

น่ารักจัง

How to Say Someone/Something is Cute in Thai

Examples:

how to say cute in thai

สวยหรือน่ารัก

Cute vs Beautiful in Thai – น่ารัก vs สวย (naa rak vs soo+ay)

This is tough to answer in any language as everyone has a different idea of how these two concepts differ. “Cute,” tends to be used with young or seemingly young people and big-eyed, round-faced, puffy-cheeked and/or fluffy people, animals or things.

People will use น่ารัก to describe attractive men or boys, but not สวย.

น่ารัก can also be used to describe someone’s actions. For example, if a man buys a woman flowers for Valentine’s Day, or surprises a girl with a birthday gift, girls might respond with

ขอบคุณนะ น่ารักจัง (not found)
“thanks, that’s so cute.” Here they are referring to the act rather than the person.

Cute Items and Objects

Objects can both be called น่ารัก or สวย. Clothing, shoes, bags and the like can all be described using these words.

If you are talking about views, nature and most large naturally occurring things, you need to use สวย. A mountain, a view or an ocean can be สวย, but not น่ารัก. There are exceptions, of course. If someone drew a face on a small rock, for example, that could be น่ารัก.

Should You Learn to Read the Thai Script?

Learning to read the Thai script is the fastest and easiest way to understand the fairly complex sound system that the Thai language uses. It is the single most important part of learning to speak Thai well. It requires a 10-20 hour time investment to grasp everything you need to know and a fair bit of practice afterwards to master it, but until you learn those core skills, your Thai will forever be severely handicapped.  We strongly recommend learning the Thai alphabet.  It’s easier than it looks and it is definitely worth the small time investment if you want to be able to speak Thai well.

How to Say Congratulations in Thai

Congrats

ดีใจด้วยนะมึง

If you ever want to say congratulations or praise a friend in Thai for a job well done, some meaningful event or success in their life, you may want to do it in Thai. These are all the phrases you are going to need.

In Thai, there are 2 main phrases you’ll usually congratulate people with, but as is often the case in this language, you may need to adjust or change the phrase you use depending on who you are speaking with, your relationship to them and what you are congratulating them for.

How to Congratulate your Friends in Thai (Informal)

There are a two main phrases you should use and there are a few variations that are worth noting.  While they all mean the same thing, the particles we add at the end can change the feeling behind the sentence. Please note that age does matter here. If someone you are close to is considerably older than you, in most cases, you should add on the polite gender particle at the end of the sentence ครับ/ค่ะ (khrap/kha).

This can get a little tricky if you are unfamiliar with particles.  Particles are usually single words that don’t mean anything by themselves, but add some color or feeling to the sentence they are modifying much in the way intonation works in a non-tonal language.

Best Choice for Congrats

ดีใจด้วย (dee jai doo-ay) – Congrats!

Variations of Congrats:

Can't read Thai yet? Try a few free lessons from my basic Thai course.

Very Close Friends

If you are really close to someone, you may reach a point where you call each other มึง (mung).  Be very careful with this word as it will come across as very rude if you aren’t sufficiently close.  I’d recommend not using this at all until someone uses it with you.  But, keep your ears open as you’ll hear it when Thai friends speak to each other.

 

How to Congratulate Someone Older/Higher Status in Thai

In most cases, you can use the same 2 phrases, but you’ll want to be sure to always include the polite gender particle.  I feel like ยินดีด้วย (yin dee doo-ay) is slightly more appropriate than ดีใจด้วย (dee jai doo-ay) in this situation as the latter feels slightly more informal.

ยินดีด้วย (yin dee doo-ay) + ครับ/ค่ะ/นะคะ (khrap/kha/na-kha)

How to Say Congrats for * in Thai?

While often times a discussion will play out with someone telling you about their news or accomplishment and then you congratulate them, there will inevitably be times when you hear thew news second hand and want to indicate what you are congratulating them for.  We’ll still use the same phrases above, but we’ll need to add ที่ (thii) + event.

Want to REALLY Learn to Speak Thai?

A really important part of learning this language is mastering the Thai script and sounds.  It’s very difficult to learn the correct pronunciation using any type of English transliteration and spending a lot of time learning to pronounce sentences incorrectly is just plain silly. If you are going to learn a language, is it worth 10 hours of your time to master the sounds if it makes the rest of the journey much easier?

Try a couple free lessons from my Thai foundation course which teaches everything you need to know about the script, sound system and tone rules of Thai.

How to Order Coffee in Thai

coffee in thai

เอากาแฟเย็นแก้วหนึ่ง

If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, learning a few simple Thai phrases for ordering food and drink is going to make your life a lot easier when in Thailand. Many Thai cafes will automatically add sugar and the staff may not speak English very well so if you want to avoid your drinks being sweet or make sure there’s no milk in it, learn these Thai ordering phrases.

How to Say Coffee in Thai

First off, let’s learn how to pronounce coffee in Thai correctly.

กาแฟ (gah-fae) consists of 2 syllables. กา (gaa) + แฟ (fae) – If you can read a little bit of the Thai script, it’s easy to identify the 2 very distinct vowel sounds happening in this word. However, when we try to write it in English using transliteration we are left with something like gaa-fae which can be very misleading so I highly recommend you click on both syllables a few times and try to remember the correct vowel sound.

If you can pronounce กาแฟ (gaa-fae), then you’re halfway to saying cafe or coffee shop. As with many types of shops in Thai, you just add the word ร้าน in front which means store or shop.

Ordering Coffee in Thai

เอา (ow) + FOOD/DRINK + (# + classifier)

If you don’t know much or any Thai yet, just start by learning the shortest easiest version. Once you’ve said this a few times and are comfortable with it, come back and learn how to add in additional informationใ

*Staff at cafes often shorten the names of the coffee drinks:

Can't read Thai yet? Try a few free lessons from my basic Thai course.
Thai sign that says "a little sweet, super sweet, just let us know!"

ไม่หวานเลย

How to Say “No Sugar” or “Not Sweet” in Thai

It’s Thailand and Thai people like their drinks SWEET so if you go to one of the many cafes that automatically adds sugar or syrup, you need to let them know if you don’t want any. You generally don’t need to use these on things like an americano at places that make real barista-type coffee, but watch out at the big Thai franchises as well as small shops which tend to automatically add sugar unless you tell them not to.

How to Say “Don’t put in milk or sugar” in Thai

If your pronunciation isn’t good yet (because you haven’t learned the script) it’s a really good idea to have a backup sentence just in case you are having trouble getting understood.
These sentences say to not add in any sugar/syrup.

Non-Dairy Alternatives for Your Coffee/Tea

Apart from hipster cafes and Starbucks, it’s still not very common in Thailand for cafes to have non-dairy milk alternatives. It doesn’t hurt to ask, but you may get clueless stares back.

How to Say “I’ll have the usual” in Thai

One of the more useful phrases in Thai is เหมือนเดิม which depending on the context means something like “the usual,” or “the same as last time,” or “the same as before.” You can use this phrase once you are known to the staff a particular place. If you go to the same place a lot, they’ll likely start asking you at some point: เอาเหมือนเดิมมั้ย or เหมือนเดิมมั้ย.

เอาเหมือนเดิม (ow muan doem) – I’ll have the usual / I’ll have the same as last time

Thai Phrases for Ordering Food/Drink:

Here are a few common Thai phrases you might need while ordering food or drink at a cafe or restaurant.

Thai Vocabulary for Ordering Food/Drink

Sizes in Thai

You can use these

Starbucks Sizes in Thai