Thai Language Grammar: Using “never”

In Thai, we have several words meaning “never” which one to used depends on the context. Let’s look at them here…..

1. Adverb: mai keuy (ไม่เคย)

When describing that we have not had an experience at any time before now, the adverb “mai keuy” (ไม่เคย) is used. It is placed before the main verb: subject + mai keuy + main verb. The adverb “mai keuy” (ไม่เคย) is equivalent to saying “not ever” at any time.

Observe the following examples below:

– ter mai keuy phid
(She is never wrong)
– phom mai keuy rian pha-sa Thai
(I have never studied Thai language)
– ter mai keuy gin aa-haan fa-rang
(She has never eaten Western food)
– chan mai keuy bpai thio thee bpra-thed Vietnam
(I have never been on holiday to Vietnam)
– kao mai keuy bawk phaw-mae kawng-kao gio-gap reuang nee
(He has never told his parents about this)
– Alex mai keuy phood-theung ter dtang-dtae phuak-kao leuhk gan
(Alex had never mentioned her since they split up)

2. Adverb: mai mee wan (ไม่มีวัน)

When describing that we “will never” experience something in the future, the adverb “mai mee wan” (ไม่มีวัน) is used before the main verb: subject + mai mee wan + main verb. The helping verb “ja” (จะ) meaning “will” can also be added to the phrase in order to emphasize, equivalent to “will never ever” in the English language.

Observe the following examples below:

– chan (ja) mai mee wan bawk!
(I will never (ever) tell!)
– chan (ja) mai mee wan leum thee kao phood
(I will never (ever) forget what he has said)
– phuak-rao (ja) mai mee wan dtok-lung gan dai
(We will never (ever) be able to agree with each other)
– ter (ja) mai mee wan hen kao eek
(She will never (ever) see him again)
– phom (ja) mai mee wan tham eek
(I will never (ever) do it again)
– phom san-yaa waa phom (ja) mai mee wan ting khun
(I promise I will never (ever) leave you)

3. Adverb: mai dai (ไม่ได้)

When talking about something we expected to happen, but did not happen, “mai dai” (ไม่ได้) is used before the main verb: mai dai + main verb. It is equivalent to saying “did not” or “never did” in the English language.

Observe the following examples below:

– chan raw, dtae ter mai dai ma
(I waited, but she never came)
– ter mai dai bpa-dti-sade
(She never refused)
– kao mai dai mae-dtae bawk laa-gawn
(He never even said goodbye)
– ter mai dai hen kao meua-waan-nee
(She never saw him yesterday)
– phuak-kao mai dai bpai bpra-thed Thai bpee nee
(They never went to Thailand this year)
– phuak-rao mai dai theung baan jun deuk maak meua-keun-nee
(We never got home until very late last night)

4. Imperative Adverb: yaa (อย่า)

When we tell someone to do something or give instructions, orders, or warning, the imperative adverb “yaa” (อย่า) is used. It is placed before the instruction clause: yaa + instruction, and it is equivalent to “Do not”, “Never” or “Don’t ever” in the English language.

Observe the following examples below:

– yaa go-hok
(Never tell a lie)
– yaa bpai thee-nan eek
(Never go there again)
– yaa phood gap chan yaang nan!
(Never to speak to me like that!)
– yaa ting gun-jae wai nai rot kawng-khun
(Never leave your keys in your car)
– yaa leum waa khun ma jaak thee-nai
(Never forget where you came from)
– pheua kwaam-bplode-phai kawng-khun ayne, yaa nang rot thee kon-kap mao
(For your own safety, never ride in a car with a drunk driver)

5. Adverb: mai (ไม่)

In English, we sometimes use the word “never” as a substitute for the word “no”. In Thai, we simply use the negative adverb “mai” (ไม่), which means “not” before the main verb: mai + main verb.

Observe the following examples below:

– saai dee-gwa mai
(Better late than never)
– kao mai dtawng roo kwaam-jing
(He must never discover the truth)
– chan pha-ya-yaam thee ja mai ting aa-haan
(I try never to throw any food away)
– Mary dtad-sin-jai waa ja mai hen kao eek-dtaw-bpai
(Mary decided never to see him anymore)
– khun mai roo waa khun tham arai dai jun-gra-thang khun lawng
(You never know what you can do till you try)
– man mai saai geun-bpai thee ja reuhm gin aa-haan pheua sut-ka-phaab
(It’s never too late to start eating a healthy diet)