Thai Language Blog

On The Other Hand Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Beginner

A phrase I hear often from my Thai friends, in English, is ‘on the other hand’. It’s a somewhat odd phrase, considering native English speakers wouldn’t use it. We could just accept it as strange and move on, but on the other hand I could explain to you why they say it.

In Thai, the phrase is หรือไม่ก็. Literally, it’s translated as ‘…or not, likewise…’. It’s a very common phrase you’re likely to hear on a daily basis, so it’s definitely worth learning as a beginner.


The phrase consists of three words,

หรือ reu5 – or

ไม่ mai3 – no/not

ก็ gaw3 – likewise/therefore


Here are a few examples:


Do you want to eat, or if not, go home?

อยากกินข้าวไหม? หรือไม่ก็กลับบ้าน?


White? Or Black?

สีขาว หรือไม่ก็สีดำ?


I want the BB 8250 or the 9700 (referring to Blackberry).

อยากได้ BB 8250 หรือไม่ก็ 9700


Dissolve Pheu Thai (the political party), or if not . . . have a coup!

ยุบเพื่อไทย หรือไม่ก็…รัฐประหาร!


If it doesn’t rain, let’s eat out. If it does, let’s stay home.

ถ้าฝนไม่ตกออกไปกินข้าวดีนะ หรือไม่ก็อยู่บ้านเฉยๆได้


I’d like a program that’s free, or at least not expensive.

ขอโปรแกรมฟรี หรือไม่ก็ราคาไม่แพง


Tonight? Or tomorrow morning?

คืนนี้ หรือไม่ก็เช้าพรุ่งนี้


If you leave out the word ก็ you do not need to give a second option, as in the following examples.



Do you believe it, or not?



You will buy it, or not?


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