Thai Language Grammar: Using “keuy” (เคย)

In this post, we are going to learn how to use the word “keuy” (เคย) to talk about actions and situations in the past which no longer happen or are no longer true. It always refers to finished actions.

1. Life Experiences: have the experience of ….

We can use “keuy” (เคย) to talk about experiences we have had in our lifetime. These actions or events can happened just once or many times in the past. It is not important when the experience happened, what is important is that they happened at some point in the past. The word “keuy” (เคย) is placed before the main verb that happened in the past, and it is like saying, “I have the experience of ….

The basic structure: keuy + main verb

Observe the following examples below:

chan keuy phob nak-sa-daeng cheu-dang
(I have met a famous actor)

phom keuy bpai-thio thee Hua Hin saam krang
(I have been to Hua Hin three times)

chan keuy hen Madonna len concert sawng-saam krang
(I have seen Madonna in concert a few times)

phom keuy lawng gin tu-rian neung krang, dtae phom mai chawb man
ผมเคยลองกินทุเรียนหนึ่งครั้ง แต่ผมไม่ชอบมัน
(I have tried eating durian once, but I didn’t like it)

ter keuy phood-kui gap sa-mee gio-gap reuang garn-yaai bpai dtaang-bpra-thed laai krang, dtae kao mai keuy yak aa-sai yoo thee eun
เธอเคยพูดคุยกับสามีเกี่ยวกับเรื่องการย้ายไปต่างประเทศหลายครั้ง แต่เขาไม่เคยอยากอาศัยอยู่ที่อื่น
(She has discussed about moving to another country with her husband many times, but he never wanted to live anywhere else)

PLEASE NOTE: To say that the action or experience has been done zero times in a person’s life or the history of the world, we put the word “mai” (ไม่) before “keuy” (เคย), and it is like saying, “I have never ….

The basic structure: mai + keuy + main verb

Observe the following examples below:

ter mai keuy ma saai
(She has never been late)

kao mai keuy gin neua-sart
(He has never eaten meat)

chan mai keuy bpai Hua Hin
(I have never been to Hua Hin)

kao mai keuy bawk chan reuang nan
(He has never told me that)

chan mai keuy mee kwaam-rak ma gawn
(I have never been in love before)

2. Past Habits: used to ….

We can also use “keuy” (เคย) to talk about habits or repeated actions in the past which we do not do in the present; or about states of being or situations in the past that are no longer true in the present. Once again, the word “keuy” (เคย) is placed before the main verb that we used to do, and it is like saying, “I used to ….

The basic structure: keuy + main verb

Observe the following examples below:

kao keuy soob boo-ree, dtae dtawn-nee kao mai soob boo-ree laeo
เขาเคยสูบบุหรี่ แต่ตอนนี้เขาไม่สูบบุหรี่แล้ว
(He used to smoke, but now he doesn’t smoke anymore)

ter keuy tham-ngaan bpen kroo, dtae ter leuhk tham-ngaan lang dai dtaeng-ngaan
เธอเคยทำงานเป็นครู แต่เธอเลิกทำงานหลังได้แต่งงาน
(She used to work as a teacher, but she quit working after getting married)

kao keuy len foot-bawn hai gap team thawng-tin, dtae dtawn-nee kao gae geun-bpai laeo
เขาเคยเล่นฟุตบอลให้กับทีมท้องถิ่น แต่ตอนนี้เขาแก่เกินไปแล้ว
(He used to play football for the local team, but he’s too old now)

phuak-rao keuy bpai-thio thee chaai-tha-lay tuk reu-doo rawn dtawn thee chan yang bpen dek
(We used to go to the seaside every summer when I was still a child)

phuak-rao keuy aa-sai yoo thee Manchester, dtae saam bpee thee-laeo phuak-rao yaai ma thee-nee
พวกเราเคยอาศัยอยู่ที่แมนเชสเตอร์ แต่สามปีที่แล้วพวกเราย้ายมาที่นี่
(We used to live in Manchester, but three years ago we moved here)

PLEASE NOTE: The negative form of this is when we want to talk about things which we didn’t do in the past but do now, we put the word “mai” (ไม่) before “keuy” (เคย), but this time, it is like saying, “I didn’t use to ….

The basic structure: mai + keuy + main verb

Observe the following examples below:

man mai keuy air-ad maak nai raan-kaa meuan tuk-wan-nee
(It didn’t use to be so crowded in the shops as it is nowadays)

chan mai keuy chawb broccoli dtawn yang bpen dek, dtae chan chawb maak dtawn-nee
ฉันไม่เคยชอบบร็อคโคลี่ตอนยังเป็นเด็ก แต่ฉันชอบมากตอนนี้
(I didn’t use to like broccoli when I was younger, but I love it now)

chan mai keuy awk-gam-lang-gaai leuy, dtae dtawn-nee chan awk-gam-lang-gaai tuk wan
ฉันไม่เคยออกกำลังกายเลย แต่ตอนนี้ฉันออกกำลังกายทุกวัน
(I didn’t use to exercise at all, but now I exercise every day)

chan mai keuy yak thee-ja glab bpai aa-sai yoo thee bpra-thed Thai, dtae dtawn-nee chan yak
ฉันไม่เคยอยากที่จะกลับไปอาศัยอยู่ที่ประเทศไทย แต่ตอนนี้ฉันอยาก
(I didn’t use to want to go back to live in Thailand, but now I want to)

3. Questions: Have you ever ….? / Did you ever ….?

When we want to ask about experiences in someone’s life or the things they have done at any time in their life, we can use “keuy” (เคย) with the question word “mai?” (ไหม). It is like asking, “Have you ever ….?“, “Did you ever ….?, or “Did you use to ….” done something at any time in the past.

The basic structure: keuy + main verb + mai?

Observe the following examples below:

khun keuy hen kao ma gawn mai?
(Have you ever seen him before?)

thee-nee keuy air-ad baeb nee ma gawn mai?
(Has this place ever been crowded like this before?)

khun keuy aa-sai yoo thee bpra-thed eun mai?
(Have you ever lived in another country?)

khun keuy awk-date gap kon-dtaang-chaad mai?
(Have you ever dated a foreigner?)

faen kawng-khun keuy rian pha-sa thai mai?
(Has your boyfriend ever taken Thai language classes?)

chan kid waa phuak-rao keuy jeuh gan krang neung meua sawng-saam bpee thee-laeo. khun keuy tham-ngaan thee KFC mai?
ฉันคิดว่าพวกเราเคยเจอกันครั้งหนึ่งเมื่อสองสามปีที่แล้ว คุณเคยทำงานที่ KFC ไหม
(I think we have met once, a couple of years ago. Did you use to work in KFC?)

PLEASE NOTE: The word “keuy” (เคย) can also be used with other question words, too, in order to ask about someone’s past experiences.

The basic structure: keuy + main verb + question word?

Observe the following examples below:

khun keuy tham ngaan arai?
(What did you use to do for work?)

khun keuy tham-ngaan thee-nai?
(Where did you use to work?)

khun keuy tham-ngaan hai krai?
(Who did you use to work for?)

khun keuy soob boo-ree wan la gee muan?
(How many cigarettes did you use to smoke per day?)

khun keuy jaai kaa rot-taxi thao-rai bpai Hua Hin?
(How much have you ever paid for a taxi to Hua Hin?)

khun keuy tham-ngaan thee baw-ree-sart nan duay reuh?
(Did you use to work at that company too?)

khun keuy aa-sai yoo thee-nai nai bpra-thed Ang-grit?
(Where did you use to live in England?)

PLEASE NOTE: To form a negative question, when we are surprised that someone have not done something at all in the past, we use “ mai keuy” (ไม่เคย) with the question “reuh?” (เหรอ). It is like question, “So, you have never …. then?” or “Have you never ….?

The basic structure: mai keuy + main verb + reuh?

Observe the following examples below:

khun mai keuy mee kwaam-rak leuy reuh?
(Have you never been in love?)

khun mai keuy kid thee-ja dtaeng-ngaan leuy reuh?
(Have you never thought of getting married at all?)

khun mai keuy kid baang reuh waa sing thee khun tham man an-dta-raai kae-nai?
(Have you never thought how dangerous your actions are?)

nai hok bpee thee bpen faen gan, kao mai keuy phaa ter bpai phob phaw-mae kawng-kao leuy reuh
ในหกปีที่เป็นแฟนกัน, เขาไม่เคยพาเธอไปพบพ่อแม่ของเขาเลยเหรอ
(In the six years of being together, has he never taken her to meet his parent at all?)

Practice Exercise:

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

1. I have read that book before.
2. Have you ever seen a ghost?
3. She didn’t use to swim before noon.
4. When have you visited Hua Hin?
5. Did your mother use to own a restaurant in Bangkok?
6. He has never told a lie, so I know we can trust him.
7. I have been there once, but that was many years ago.
8. Did you use to play football for Manchester United?
9. I have never heard of Michael Jackson until I came to England.
10. When Mark was a child, he used to climb trees but he doesn’t now.
11. Samantha has never been surfing because she is afraid of the ocean.
12. This street used to be very quiet; but nowadays it’s full of traffic.

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