Ask a question vs. Ask for something vs. Ask somebody out

I have noticed that a few of my students are still confused over how to use ‘ask’ in Thai context. In English, we use ‘ask’ for both asking a question, asking for something, or asking someone out.

!! In Thai, all are different words !!

ถาม//Thăam is used when you want to ask a question.


Mee kham thăam măi khá

Do you have any question?

ถ้าเธอถาม ฉันก็จะตอบ

Thâa ther thăam chăn kôr jà tòrb

If you ask (me a question), I will then answer.

ขอ//Khŏr is used when you want to ask/request/wish for something.


Khŏr nám sôm pàn khâ

Can I have orange ice blended, please?

คุณแม่ขา หนูขอเงินไปซื้อขนมหน่อยค่ะ

Khun mâe khăa, nŏo khŏr ngern pai séu khànŏm nòi khâ

Mommy, can I have some money to buy some snacks/sweets, please?

ถ้าคุณไม่ใช้กระเป๋าใบนี้แล้ว ผมขอได้ไหมครับ

Thâa khun mai chái kràpăo bai née laéw, phŏm khŏr dâi măi khráb

If you are not using this bag anymore, can I have (it), please?

ชวน//Chuan is used when you want to ask someone out.


Phŏm yàhk chuan ther pai thiâo tàe phŏm mâi klâa

I want to ask her (to go) out but I dare not.


Ther jà pai năi thammai mâi chuan chăn

Where are you going? Why didn’t you ask me along? OR

Why didn’t you ask me along to go to wherever you are going?

The last sentence can be shortened to: ไม่ชวน//mâi chuan with a slight upsetting tone.


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