How to Say How in Thai - Learn Thai from a White Guy

How to Say How in Thai

In this post we’re going to learn how to say an important Thai question word – “how?”.

If you are just starting out in learning Thai then knowing how to say “how” in Thai is useful as you can use it a lot in your daily life in Thailand.  You can make conversation with Thai people and ask them questions like “how is the food?” or even “how do you say this in Thai?”.

How in Spoken Thai:

If you’re looking for the quick answer, the way to say “how” in colloquial or spoken Thai is:

“How” Questions in Thai

To make a “how” question in Thai language, the structure is simply:

Example Thai Phrases:

Below are a handful of basic verbs and then how you would combine “how” with each verb to create a basic Thai phrase.

Thai Grammar Tip

In Thai, verbs are not conjugated.  This means that unlike English, the form of the verb is always the same in Thai, regardless of the tense and whether or not the sentence is singular or plural.

You might think that this makes things more difficult for foreigners to learn Thai.  Sure, it might be a little confusing at first but as you improve and get used to it, you will find that you can usually pick up from the context what the tense is and whether the speaker is referring to something singular or plural.  And there is also the added benefit that you don’t need to remember all of the different forms for every verb in the Thai language, as you do in English.

How To Say “how is it?”or “how are they?” in Thai

If you would like to ask “how is it?” or “how are they?” in Thai we need to use the verb “to be”.  In Thai the verb “to be” is:

Just like in the examples above, we add the verb เป็น (ppen) before ยังไง (yang ngai).

Now, if we want to ask “how is xxxx?” then we just need to add a noun to the start of this question.  So the structure is:


เป็นยังไง (ppen yang ngai) is also used as an informal way to ask “how are you?” in Thai. The word บ้าง (baang) is often added to the end of this question. บ้าง (baang) doesn’t have a direct translation in English but it is often added to the end of a question when it’s expected that a more wide-ranging answer may be given.

 How to Say HOW in Formal or Written Thai

The “how” covered above is used in everyday spoken Thai, however there is an official form of this word that is used in formal situations and in written Thai. You’ll need to know both, but you’ll find that people will usually use ยังไง (yang-ngai) in conversation.

The formal or written version of HOW in Thai is:

อย่างไร (yaang rai) can be used in all of the same situations as ยังไง (yang ngai).


How to Say “How Do You Say This in Thai?”

One of the best ways for beginners to learn Thai is to start practicing speaking Thai with real people as soon as possible.  You can do this by making conversation with restaurant staff, your Thai friends or even on a video call with a Thai tutor via apps like iTalki.  When you are practicing speaking Thai there will be some words that you don’t know how to say.  Instead of reverting back to speaking English when you don’t know a Thai word or phrase, you can ask the Thai question “how do you say this in Thai?”.

Examples of ways to ask how to say something is:

You can replace อันนี้ (an nii) with any English word that you want to know in Thai.

Examples Sentences:

More Examples of HOW in Thai:

There are some situations where we don’t use ยังไง (yang ngai) or อย่างไร (yaang rai) for how in Thai.

Situation 1)

When we want to know how much or how many of something and it is expected that the answer is a numerical value we can use:


Example using เท่าไหร่ (tao rai):

Example using กี่ (kkii):

Situation 2)

When we want to ask a “how much” question where the expected answer is the degree or extent of something we can use:

  • แค่ไหน (kaeh nai) – how much; to what extent (used when the expected answer is not a numerical value)

For example:


Now that you know all of the different ways to say “how” in Thai, you can get out there and start making conversations with your Thai friends.  And finally, we would like to ask you… วันนี้เรียนเป็นยังไง (wan nii riian ppen yang gnai) – how was today’s lesson?