Thai Language Blog

How to say ‘Yes’ in Thai Posted by on Dec 18, 2010 in Beginner, Culture

Thai does not have a word for ‘yes’. Shocking, yes?

You’ve probably learned by now that the word ไม่ means ‘no’, and the word for ‘no’ in Thai means exactly as it does in English. You’ve probably learned, or found in a Thai-English dictionary, that ใช่ (chai, falling tone 3) means ‘yes’. That however isn’t correct. ใช่ does *not* mean ‘yes’. It means ‘correct’. Pun not intended . . .

an incorrect usage of the word ใช่:

หิวไหม? Are you hungry?

ใช่ครับ Correct.

As you can see, that makes absolutely no sense. Correct what?

In order to say ‘yes’, you must understand the question asked. Unfortunately that means no nodding your head and saying ใช่, because it’ll mark you as clueless. To say ‘yes,’ repeat the question but remove the question word at the end.

หิวไหม? Are you hungry?

หิว Yes, I’m hungry.

ชอบเขาไหม? Do you like him?

ชอบ Yes, I like him.

จะมาเมืองไทยไหม? Will you come to Thailand?

จะมา Yes, I’ll come.

There is one instance you can use ใช่ to mean yes, and that’s when the question involves the word ใช่.

หิวใช่ไหม? You’re hungry, correct?

ใช่ Correct.


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