Thai Language Grammar: Expressing Wants, Needs and Desires

In this post, we are going to explore different words that can be used to express wants, needs and desires. I hope you find it helpful.

1. Verb: ao (เอา)

When we feel you would like to take or have something, we use “ao” (เอา). It has the same meaning as “to want”, “to take”, “to have”, “to get”, and it is placed between the subject and the noun – subject + ao + noun.

Observe the following examples below:

– chan ao chocolate
ฉันเอาช็อคโกแลต
(I want some chocolate)

– chan ao cake eek chin
ฉันเอาเค้กอีกชิ้น
(I want to have another piece of cake)

– khun ao gaa-fae eek thuay mai?
คุณเอากาแฟอีกถ้วยไหม
(Do you want another cup of coffee?)

Please note: We also use “ao” (เอา) when we go and bring something back from somewhere else. It has the same meaning as “to take”, “to get” or “to bring”.

Observe the following examples below:

– khun ao naam sak gaeo hai chan dai mai
คุณเอาน้ำให้ฉันสักแก้วได้ไหม
(Can you get me a glass of water?)

– ter bpai lae ao roob-taai awk ma jaak dto-tham-ngaan
เธอไปและเอารูปถ่ายออกมาจากโต๊ะทำงาน
(She went and got a photograph out of the desk)

– chan ja bpai ao phad-sa-dut jaak bprai-sa-nee
ฉันจะไปเอาพัสดุจากไปรษณีย์
(I’m going to get a parcel from the post office)

2. Verb: dtawng-garn (ต้องการ)

When we want to say politely that we want something, we can use “dtawng-garn” (ต้องการ). It has the same meaning as “would like”, “to want”, “to desire”, “fancy”, “feel like”, or “feel the need for”. It can be placed between the subject and the noun – subject + dtawng-garn + noun

Observe the following examples below:

– chan dtawng-garn gaa-fae dam
ฉันต้องการกาแฟดำ
(I would like a black coffee)

– chan dtawng-garn lao whisky gaeo yai
ฉันต้องการเหล้าวิสกี้แก้าใหญ่
(I would like a large whisky)

– chan kid waa chan dtawng-garn soup sam-rap aa-haan-riak-naam-yoi
ฉันคิดว่าฉันต้องการซุปสำหรับอาหารเรียกน้ำย่อย
(I think I’d like the soup for starter)

Please note: We can also use “dtawng-garn” (ต้องการ) when we need something or need to do something. It has the same meaning as “to need, “to be in need of”, “to have need of” or “to be in want of”, and it is placed before a noun or a verb – subject + dtawng-garn + noun / verb

Observe the following examples below:

– chan dtawng-garn thoo awk
ฉันต้องการโทรออก
(I need to make a phone call)

– chan dtawng-garn bpai hawng-naam
ฉันต้องการไปห้องน้ำ
(I need to go to the toilet)

– kao dtawng-garn ngeuhn yaang-ying
เขาต้องการเงินอย่างยิ่ง
(He desperately needed money)

Please note: If you need someone to do something for use, we use “dtawng-garn hai” (ต้องการให้) and it is placed before the person we want to do that thing for us – subject + dtawng-garn hai + person

Observe the following examples below:

– chan dtawng-garn hai khun yoo thee-nee
ฉันต้องการให้คุณอยู่ที่นี่
(I need you here)

– chan dtawng-garn hai khun tham arai-baang-yaang hai chan
ฉันต้องการให้คุณทำอะไรบางอย่างให้ฉัน
(I need you to do something for me)

– chan dtawng-garn hai khun chuay leuak chood
ฉันต้องการให้คุณช่วยเลือกชุด
(I need you to help me choose an outfit)

3. Verb: kaw (ขอ)

When we want to make a polite request for someone to give us something, to allow us to do something, or do something for us, we use “kaw” (ขอ). It has the same meaning as “to ask for”, “to request for” or “to plead for”, and it is placed before a noun or a verb – kaw + noun / verb

Observe the following examples below:

– ter kaw phob phoo-jad-garn
เธอขอพบผู้จัดการ
(She asked to see the manager)

– khun kuan kaw kam-nae-nam
คุณควรขอคำแนะนำ
(You should ask for some advice)

– chan dtawn-garn kaw kwaam-kid-hen kawng-khun gio-gap reuang garn-ngeuhn
ฉันต้องการขอความคิดเห็นของคุณเกี่ยวกับเรื่องการเงิน
(I’d like to ask your opinion on a financial matter)

Please note: In a question, “kaw” (ขอ) is used with a question word “dai mai?” (ได้ไหม) – “kaw….dai mai?” (ขอ….ได้ไหม) is equivalent to saying, “May I….” or “Can I….?” in English.

Observe the following examples below:

– chan kaw aa-haan pheum dai mai?
ฉันขออาหารเพิ่มได้ไหม
(May I have more food?)

– phom kaw chai hawng-naam dai mai?
ผมขอใช้ห้องน้ำได้ไหม
(May I use the bathroom?)

– phom kaw phood gap phoo-jad-garn dai mai?
ผมขอพูดกับผู้จัดการได้ไหม
(Can I speak to the manager?)

Please note: We can also use “kaw” (ขอ) with the word “hai” (ให้) to introduce a wish or a hope. Just like the word “May….”, “kaw hai…” (ขอให้) is placed at the beginning of the sentence follow by the phrase you wish to happen.

Observe the following examples below:

kaw hai tuk taan suk-san Christmas
ขอให้ทุกท่านสุขสันต์วันคริสต์มาส
(May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas)

kaw hai khun mee chee-wid dtaeng-ngaan thee yaow-naan lae mee kwaam-suk
ขอให้คุณมีชีวิตแต่งงานที่ยาวนานและมีความสุข
(May you have a long and happy marriage)

kaw hai kwaam-sa-ngob-suk lae kwaam-man-kung glab-keun soo din-daen haeng kwaam-tuk nee!
ขอให้ความสงบสุขและความมั่งคั่งกลับคืนสู่ดินแดนแห่งความทุกข์นี้!
(May peace and prosperity return to this troubled land!)

4. Verb: yak (อยาก)

When we feel like we want to do something, we use “yak” (อยาก). It has the same meaning as “to want to”, and it is must always be followed by the verb we want to do – yak + verb

Observe the following examples below:

– ter yak phob khun
เธออยากพบคุณ
(She wants a meeting with you)

– khun yak gin arai?
คุณอยากกินอะไร
(What do you want to eat?)

– ter yak bawk kao dtawn-nee, gawn thee-ja saai geun-bpai
เธออยากบอกเขาตอนนี้ก่อนที่จะสายเกินไป
(She wants to tell him now, before it’s too late)

Please note: When we feel that we would like someone to do something or would like something to happen, we use “yak hai” (อยากให้). It has the same meaning as “want to be”, “wish for” or “hope for”, and it is placed the subject and the noun – subject + yak hai + noun.

Observe the following examples below:

– phuak-rao yak hai Stephen bpen bpra-thaan
พวกเราอยากให้สตีเฟ่นเป็นประธาน
(We want Stephen as chairman)

– phaw-mae kawng-ter yak hai ter dtaeng-ngaan gap kao
พ่อแม่ของเธออยากให้เธอแต่งงานกับเขา
(Her parents want her to marry him)

– chan yak hai aa-gaad dee sao-aa-thid nee phraw chan yud ngaan
ฉันอยากให้อากาศดีเสาร์อาทิตย์นี้เพราะฉันหยุดงาน
(I want the weather to be good this weekend because I am off work)

Please note: When we would like to do something if possible, we use “yak ja” (อยากจะ). It has the same meaning as “would like to”, and it is placed before a verb – yak ja + verb.

Observe the following examples below:

– chan yak ja glab baan dtawn-nee
ฉันอยากจะกลับบ้านตอนนี้
(I’d like to go home now)

– phom yak ja kawb-khun tuk-kon thee tham hai keun-nee bpra-sob kwaam-sam-red
ผมอยากจะขอบคุณทุกคนที่ทำให้คืนนี้ประสบความสำเร็จ
(I’d like to thank everyone who made this evening a success)

– phom yak ja dai-yin jaak tuk-kon thee yoo nai pheuhn-thee dtawn thee mee garn-bplon
ผมอยากจะได้ยินจากทุกคนที่อยู่ในพื้นที่ตอนที่มีการปล้น
(I would like to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time of the robbery)

Please note: Once again, if we would like someone to do something then use “yak ja hai” (อยากจะให้), but this time it has to be followed by the person you would like to carry out the action.

Observe the following examples below:

– mae yak ja hai kao chuay ter yaai dtoo-nang-seu
แม่อยากจะให้เขาช่วยเธอย้ายตู้หนังสือ
(Mum would like him to help her move the bookcase)

– chan yak ja hai khun yoo taan aa-haan-yen gap phuak-rao
ฉันอยากจะให้คุณอยู่ทานอาหารเย็นกับพวกเรา
(I would like you to have dinner with us)

– phuak-kao yak ja hai khun bawk kwaam-jing gap phuak-kao
พวกเขาอยากจะให้คุณบอกความจริงกับพวกเขา
(They’d like you to tell them the truth)

Please note: When we would to have something in our possession, or we wish to have something we want come true, even when it’s unlikely to happen, we use “yak dai” (อยากได้). It has the same meaning as “to have in possession of”, “to fancy having”, “to have desire for”, “to wish for”, “to hope for” or “to dream of having”, and it is placed before a noun – yak dai + noun.

Observe the following examples below:

– chan kae yak dai gaa-fae
ฉันแค่อยากได้กาแฟ
(I just want a coffee)

– ter yak dai kao maak-keun gwa deuhm
เธออยากได้เขามากขึ้นกว่าเดิม
(She wanted him more than ever)

– phan-ra-yaa kawng-phom yak dai dtoo krua mai
ภรรยาของผมอยากได้ตู้ครัวใหม่
(My wife wants a new kitchen cabinet)

Practice Exercise: Translate the following sentences into Thai and bring in to your next lesson, so we can go through them together.

1. What do you want to eat?
2. Do you want this pie hot?
3. I want to listen to that again.
4. Do you still want these old letters?
5. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
6. You don’t want to put too much pepper in.
7. Do you want me to take you to the airport?
8. Do you think this soup wants a bit of salt?
9. He wants to spend more time with his family.
10. I’d like to get a return ticket for tomorrow.
11. I wanted to buy it but it cost too much money.
12. I want you to tidy your room before the visitors come.

Miss Urai Khomkham
Course Co-ordinator & Personal Tutor
Thai Language Tuition UK