To want = ao vs yàhk vs tôrng kaan = เอา vs อยาก vs ต้องการ

Now, what are the differences among these three words?

All of them refer to the desire to do or possess something.


ao + noun


Ao is used when you want something. You can use this when you are at a restaurant and trying to order some dishes, or at a shopping mall, trying to pick the clothes you like.

Here are the examples:

Chăn ao phàd thai mâi sài thùa ngôrk


Chăn ao seûa tua nán


Thâa jà pai kin khaâo khâang nôrk kan chăn mâi ao ahhăan kaolĕe, chăn mâi chôrb

ถ้าจะไปกินข้าวข้างนอกกัน ฉันไม่เอาอาหารเกาหลี ฉันไม่ชอบ


yàhk + verb


Yàhk is used when you want to do something in general.

Here are the examples:

Chan mâi yàhk kin khaâo yen phrór chăn yàhk lód khwaam ûan


Chăn yàhk dâi kràpăo bai née


Chăn yàhk hâi ther mah


Chăn mâi yàhk hâi ther lambàak


Note: dâi doesn’t only mean “can/to be able to”. When being placed at the correct position, it would also mean “to get to do” or “to get/to have”.


tôrng kaan + noun/verb


Tôrng kaan is used when you need something or need to do something. It is also considered rather formal as compared to “yàhk”.

Here are the examples:

Mánút tôrng kaan ahkàat haăi jai


Chăn tôrng kaan phób khun phôo jàd kaan khâ


Chăn mâi tôrng kaan khâa sĭa haăi



Some comparison:

Chăn ao wăen wong née ฉันเอาแหวนวงนี้

Chăn yàhk dâi wăen wong née ฉันอยากได้แหวนวงนี้

Chăn tôrng kaan wăen wong née ฉันต้องการแหวนวงนี้


Romeo and Juliet go to a shopping mall and one of the shops that catches Juliet’s eyes is, of course, Jewellery shop = Diamonds are women’s best friend. She tells Romeo that:

Chăn yàhk dâi wăen wong née

So after that they both go into the shop, and she tells a sales assistant that:

Chăn ao wăen wong née

The first sentence Juliet had said would mean that she was ‘hinting’ Romeo that she wished to have this ring. She was showing her desire to have that particular ring. But when they entered the shop, she told the sales assistant that she wanted this ring, or she had already chosen this ring. It would not be appropriate for her to say “Chăn yàhk dâi wăen wong née” to the sales assistant, because the response would have been something like “Yàhk dâi kôr séu sì = อยากได้ก็ซื้อสิ” which means, if you have a desire for this ring, then go ahead and buy it (what has it got to do with me anyway?).

I did not cite an example of “Chăn tôrng kaan wăen wong née” because here is not a formal conversation, neither is it that Juliet is in dire need of this ring. Tôrng kaan means need or want something that you cannot definitely do without:

Mánút tôrng kaan ahkàat haăi jai = Human needs breathing air. (something you cannot do without)

Chăn tôrng kaan phób khun phôo jàd kaan khâ = I need to see Mr. Manager. (formal conversation)

Chăn mâi tôrng kaan khâa sĭa haăi = I don’t need (you to pay) any damages. (Requirement/demand, or the lack of it)


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