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Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: Yes/No Question Patterns

Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary to learn Thai

Yes/No Question Patterns…

In this latest posting we will use the vocabulary from the High Frequency Thai Vocabulary List to work with Yes/No question patterns.

Please note that there are many many Thai question patterns and as usual we are only going to give examples of a few of the more common ones here. If you have questions on other question patterns that we haven’t covered please drop a comment and we’ll try to answer it.

Yes/No Thai and English Question Patterns Differ…

English Yes/No question patterns usually begin with a “be” verb (Are you …?, Is she …?), or a “do” verb (Does she …?, Did they …?), or a sentence followed by a tag question (She …, doesn’t she?, We …, didn’t we?).

Sometimes we simply raise the tone of our voice at the end of a sentence. This causes even a simple English sentence to become a question. “He’s here.” Becomes “He’s here?” when the final word gets what in Thai would be a rising tone (Never say that English doesn’t have tones.)

One reason so many speakers of other languages have difficulty forming Thai Yes/No questions is that they retain the English way of using rising tone endings. Doing this in Thai doesn’t make for question, it simply makes the final word a rising tone, which may change the final word’s meaning and may or may not be comprehensible to the listener.

Question Words…

Thai makes Yes/No questions by ending a sentence with a question word. The two most basic Yes/No question words are:

มั้ย and ใช่มั้ย

Most Yes/No questions have basically the same pattern. Yes/No questions can be asked about an activity (verbs) or an attribute (adjectives).

Pattern 1 (Simple Yes/No Questions):

verb + question word
ไป + มั้ย
or
adjective + question word
สวย + มั้ย

Pattern 2 (Tag Questions):

verb + tag question words
ไป + ใช่มั้ย
or
adjective + tag question words
สวย + ใช่มั้ย

Examples for all Yes/No questions…

The Patterns change depending on the tense we are using.

Present or Past (and sometimes future):

คุณไปมั้ย
Are you going? Did you go?

คุณไปใช่มั้ย
You’re going, aren’t you? You went, didn’t you?

พวกเขาหิวมั้ย
Are they hungry?

พวกเขาหิวใช่มั้ย
They’re hungry, aren’t they?

Future:

สมชายจะกินมั้ย
Is Somchai going to eat?

สมชายจะกินใช่มั้ย
Somchai’s going to eat, isn’t he?

พวกเราจะสนุกมั้ย
Are we going to have fun?

พวกเราจะสนุกใช่มั้ย
We’re going to have a good time, aren’t we?

Past (grammatically the present perfect tense):

พวกเขาเคยเห็นมั้ย
Have they seen it?

พวกเขาเคยเห็นใช่มั้ย
They’ve seen it, haven’t they?

แฟนเคยอ้วนมั้ย
Did your girlfriend/boyfriend used to be fat?

แฟนเคยอ้วนใช่มั้ย
Your girlfriend/boyfriend used to be fat, right?

Answering Thai Yes/No questions…

Sometimes it is almost if the Thai language just wants to make it hard for us. In the case of answers to Thai Yes/No questions we normally never use “Yes” or “No” (with the exception of tag questions).

In English if we ask “Are you going?” We answer “Yes, I am.” or “No, I am not.”; “Is he handsome?” we answer “Yes he is?” or “No, he is not.”

We often hear speakers of other languages answering a Thai Yes/No question with “ใช่” (Yes) or “ไม่ใช่” (No). And most of the time this is incorrect.

Answer Pattern (for simple Yes/No):

Positive answer (yes) – use the verb from the question
Negative answer (no) – use ไม่ + the verb from the question

Question: คุณไปมั้ย
Are you going?

Answer: ไป – “Yes, I am (going).” or ไม่ไป – “No, I’m not (going).”

Question: พวกเขาหิวมั้ย
Are they hungry?

Answer: หิว – “Yes, they are (hungry).” or ไม่หิว – “No, they aren’t (hungry).”

Question: แฟนเคยอ้วนมั้ย
Did your girlfriend/boyfriend used to be fat?

Answer: เคยอ้วน “Yes, she used to be (fat)” or ไม่เคยอ้วน “No, she has never been (fat).

Answer Pattern (for tag questions):

Note: A simple ครับ or คะ is usually sufficient for a “Yes” answer to a Thai tag questions but we have given the other ways to answer them below.

Question: สมชายจะกินใช่มั้ย
Somchai’s going to eat, isn’t he?

Answer: ใช่ “Yes he is (going to eat).” or ไม่ใช่ “No he isn’t (going to eat).”

Question: พวกเราจะสนุกใช่มั้ย
We’re going to have a good time, aren’t we?

Answer: ใช่ “Yes we are (going to have fun).” or ไม่ใช่ “No we aren’t (going to have fun).”

Yes/No Exercises (answers below)…

Interpreting question patterns – How would you interpret the following?

คุณสนุกมั้ย

คุณเคยเห็นเขามั้ย

เสร็จแล้วใช่มั้ย

เขาจะเรียนมั้ย

เธอจะมาที่นี่มั้ย

เธอสวยใช่มั้ย

คุณง่วงนอนมั้ย

เขาเก่งใช่มั้ย

Creating Complete Thai Questions…

Render the following into Thai.

Is Somchai sleeping?
You’re going to school, aren’t you?
Are the children hungry?
Did she buy the skirt?
They are having a good time, aren’t they?
Have you ever been to Vietnam?
Are you full (satiated)?
They were angry, weren’t they?
Now answer the question you just created.
Challenge Question…
Render the following into Thai and then answer the questions.
She is going to study English, isn’t she?
She isn’t going to study English, is she?

Here are the answers to the questions…

Interpreting question patterns:

Are you having fun?
Have you ever seen him?
It is finished, isn’t it?
Is he going to study?
Is she coming here?
She’s pretty, isn’t she?
Are you sleepy?
He’s smart, isn’t he?

Creating Complete Thai Sentences:

สมชายนอนมั้ย

คุณจะไปโรงเรียนใช่มั้ย

เด็กหิวมั้ย

เธอซื้อกระโปรงมั้ย

พวกเขาสนุกใช่มั้ย

คุณเคยไปเวียดนามมั้ย

คุณอิ่มมั้ย

พวกเขาโกรธใช่มั้ย

Answers to the question you created:

สมชายนอนมั้ย – นอน or ไม่นอน

คุณจะไปโรงเรียนใช่มั้ย – ใช่ or ไม่ใช่

เด็กหิวมั้ย – หิว or ไม่หิว

เธอซื้อกระโปรงมั้ย – ซื้อ or ไม่ซื้อ

พวกเขาสนุกใช่มั้ย – ใช่ or ไม่ใช่

คุณเคยไปเวียดนามมั้ย – เคยไป or ไม่เคยไป

คุณอิ่มมั้ย – อิ่ม or ไม่อิ่ม

พวกเขาโกรธใช่มั้ย – ใช่ or ไม่ใช่

Challenge question…

เธอจะเรียนภาษาอังกฤใช่มั้ย

เธอจะไม่เรียนภาษาอังกฤใช่มั้ย

The term ใช่มั้ย can be used in both “She isn’t …., is she?” and “She is …, isn’t she?”

Answers:

Note the answers using the same words will mean the opposite depending on which question is being answered.

เธอจะเรียนภาษาอังกฤใช่มั้ย

ครับ/คะ or ใช่ – Yes I am going to study English.
ไม่ใช่ – No I am not going to study English.

เธอจะไม่เรียนภาษาอังกฤใช่มั้ย

ครับ/คะ or ใช่ – You are correct. I am not going to study English.
ใช่มั้ย – You are incorrect. I AM going to study English.

Vocabulary used…

Verbs:

depart; go: ไป
drink; eat: กิน
look (see): เห็น
learn; study: เรียน
come: มา
purchase (buy): ซื้อ

Nouns:

skirt (garment): กระโปรง
school: โรงเรียน
child (young person): เด็ก

Adjectives:

angry: โกรธ
hungry: หิว
enjoy: สนุก
corpulent (fat): อ้วน
complete (done, finished): เสร็จ
attractive (beautiful): สวย
dozy (drowsy); sleepy: ง่วงนอน
able (good at); adept (proficient, brave); clever: เก่ง
full (from eating): อิ่ม

Others:

already: แล้ว
used to: เคย

High Frequency Thai Vocabulary downloads…

High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: download
Yes/No Question Patterns Audio: download

Hugh Leong
Retire 2 Thailand
Retire 2 Thailand: Blog
eBooks in Thailand

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3 Comments

  1. Not that difficult to learn and it might be useful. :)

  2. English is simpler. Just “yes” or “no” is sufficient.

  3. So “no” in English always means “no”? Or does it sometimes mean “maybe”?

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