How to Say For in Thai

How to say FOR in Thai

There are 3 main ways to say “for” in Thai.   Luckily, there is often some overlap with their English equivalents, but it may take a bit to get used to which word you’ll need to use in each situation.  I’ll include some key examples in this post so you can get an idea which is which.

When I first wanted to know the word for “for” in Thai,  my Lonely Planet Phrasebook said สำหรับ or samrap.  While สำหรับ does mean “for,” in many cases, it is not the best answer.

สำหรับ (sam-rap) + NOUN = for (use by/of)

สำหรับ can also be attached to a verb phrase.  (pen for drawing pictures,  broom for cleaning floors, screen for watching movies)

สำหรับ (sam-rap) + VERB = “intended to used to do X”

เพื่อ (phuea) – for the benefit/purpose of someone/something; in order to

This word is used for all the organizations and foundations.  School for the blind, for the people, etc.

เผื่อ (phuea) –

These are often used when you are telling someone you are going to do something…go eat, go out, go on a trip, etc and the person you are speaking to says this to mean something like “do it/one for me too!”

English example, you are heading out to the pub, but your friend is sick – they say ‘Drink one for me!”


  1. Patterns I’ve noticed:

    เพื่อ followed by a concrete noun = “for the benefit of X”
    e.g. มูลนิธิเพื่อผู้บริโภค “consumer foundation”

    เพื่อ followed by an abstract noun = “in order to bring about X”
    e.g. ขอให้งดสูบบุหรี่ เพื่อความสะดวกสบายของทุกคน “please refrain from smoking, for the comfort of all parties”

    เพื่อ followed by a verb = “in order to X”
    e.g. เขาไปอ่านหนังสือที่ห้องสมุด เพื่อเตรียมตัวสอบ “he went to study in the library, to prepare himself for the exam”

    Whereas สำหรับ tends to be about intended audience and intended purpose.

    สำหรับ followed by a concrete noun = “intended for use by X”
    e.g. เหมาะสมสำหรับผู้ชมทุกวัย “appropriate for viewers of all ages”
    or ก๊าซธรรมชาติสำหรับยานยนต์ “natural gas for vehicles (NGV)”

    สำหรับ followed by an abstract noun = “intended to be used for X”
    e.g. ซอฟต์แวร์สำหรับงานทั่วไป “general purpose software / (software for use in general work)”
    or เครื่องมือสำหรับการวิจัย “tools for research”

    similarly, สำหรับ followed by a verb = “intended to used to do X”
    เว็บสำหรับดูทีวี “internet TV websites / (websites for watching TV)”
    โปรแกรมสำหรับเขียนบล็อก “blogging software / (program for writing a blog”)

  2. oldmankit says

    How about this:
    เพื่อ translates loosely as ‘for the sake of’ something/someone.
    e.g. เพื่อพ่อ, plus all the examples above. There is usually a sense of doing something for the benefit of someone/something else.

    สำหรับ translates loosely as for the purpose of of the function of something.

    Credit goes to our second Bangkok Thai/English language exchange. I’ll link them to this site!

  3. gwindarr says

    Perhaps I could film a brief discussion about it in Language Space tomorrow and see what kind of silliness ensues.

  4. oldmankit says

    It’s great you guys in Chiang Mai have started this just at the same time we’ve started something similar in Bangkok. We’ve only had two meetings so far. We have two groups now: beginner (real beginners) and intermediate (anything that’s not beginner, really).

    The last time, it went that we spoke in Thai as much as we could, and native speakers noted down common errors etc, then we talked about them. Pretty much the same as when I teach oral English lessons, really!

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