Thai Language Blog

You can do it, you haven’t done it, and you have got it Posted by on Feb 26, 2011 in Beginner

The word dai3 ได้ is one of the most common words in the Thai language. It’s actually three very common words with entirely different meanings, yet all three are spelled the same. I will go over each and give examples to help you make sense of each.


You can do it.

The word ได้ means ‘can’. As in ‘can do it’. If you say ไม่ได้, it means ‘can’t do it’. This word is always found *after* the verb.

คุณทำได้  You can do it.

คุณวิ่งได้  You can run.

เขากินได้  He can eat [it].

จอห์นเดินไม่ได้  John can’t walk.

ปลาบินไม่ได้  Fish can’t fly.


Be careful with these two phrases:

ผมเห็นไม่ได้  I can’t see (as in blind because of no eyes or the lights are off).

ผมมองไม่เห็น  I can’t see (as in I’m looking in that direction but still can’t see what you’re referring to)


You haven’t done it.

The word ได้ puts a verb in the past tense. This word is always found *before* the verb, and can only be used in combination with ไม่.

คุณไม่ได้ทำ  You didn’t do it.

ผมไม่ได้วิ่ง  I didn’t run.

เขาไม่ได้กิน  He didn’t eat.

จอห์นไม่ได้เดิน  John didn’t walk.

ฉันไม่ได้ไปไหน  I didn’t go anywhere. (notice that this is *not* a question)


You have got it.

In this case ได้ becomes a verb, meaning ‘to get’ something.

ผมอยากได้  I want to have/get it.

เค้ายังไม่ได้อะไรเลย  He still hasn’t gotten anything.

คุณได้เงนไหม?  Do you get money?

ได้ยัง?  Did you get it yet?


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