Thai Language Grammar: Using “used to”

In this post, we are going to learn how to use the word “used to” in Thai, so we know how to talk about something familiar or routine, as well as something repeatedly happened in the past but doesn’t happen anymore.

1. Verb: keuy

As a verb “used to” is used with another verb to refers to a habit or something we did for a period of time in the past, but we don’t do it any more; or to express a state of being that existed in the past but doesn’t exist now. In order to do this in Thai, we use the word “keuy” (เคย) with another verb. For more information about this, please take a look at my previous post: Thai Language Grammar: Using “keuy” (เคย).

The basic structure: keuy + main verb

Observe the following examples below:

khun mai keuy thee-ja kriad leuy!
(You never use to get so stressed!)

phaw kawng-khun keuy len golf mai?
(Did your father use to play golf?)

chan keuy bpai rong-rian thee Grung-thype
(I used to go to school in Bangkok)

kao keuy awk-bpai wing gawn gin aa-haan-chao sa-meur
(He always used to go for a run before breakfast)

kao mai keuy phood arai baeb nan dtawn thee chan roo-jak kao
(He didn’t use to say things like that when I knew him)

chan keuy chawb Madonna, dtae dtawn-nee chan mai koi fang phlaeng kawng-ter laeo
ฉันเคยชอบมาดอนน่า แต่ตอนนี้ฉันไม่ค่อยฟังเพลงของเธอแล้ว
(I used to like Madonna, but now I don’t really listen to her songs anymore)

2. Adjective: keuy-chin (เคยชิน) / chin (ชิน)

As an adjective “used to” is used for talking about the process of becoming familiar with something, such as a condition or activity because we do it or experience it often. In order to express this in Thai, we used the word “keuy-chin” (เคยชิน), but often shorten to just “chin” (ชิน). Both of them are used with the word “gap” (กับ), meaning “with“. It is like saying, “be familiar with” or “be accustomed to“. It is placed after the subject of the sentence.

The basic structure: subject + (keuy-) chin + gap

Observe the following examples below:

ter (keuy-) chin gap garn-tham-ngaan nack
(She is used to working hard)

ter mai (keuy-) chin gap garn-riak kao waa Phaw
(She is not used to calling him Dad)

khun (keuy-) chin gap sa-phaab aa-gaad thee naow reu-yang?
(Are you used to the cold weather yet?)

nai-thee-sud khun gaw ja (keuy-) chin gap glin kawng hawng-bpa-dti-bat-garn
(Eventually you’ll get used to the smells of the laboratory)

dtawn raek phom kid waa rian pha-sa Thai yaak maai, dtae nai-mai-chaa phom gaw (keuy-) chin gap garn-chai pha-sa
ตอนแรกผมคิดว่าเรียนภาษาไทยยากมาก แต่ในไม่ช้าผมก็เคยชินกับการใช้ภาษา
(At first I thought that studying Thai was very difficult, but soon I got used to using the language)

mai waa chan ja bin gee krang gaw-dtaam, chan ja mai mee thaang (keuy-) chin gap chuang kreuang-bin keun lae kreuang-bin lung!
(No matter how many times I fly, I will never get used to take-off and landing!)

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

1. Nancy and Bill used to live in California.
2. I used to like swimming when I was younger.
3. He is used to things going wrong in my life.
4. I am not used to eating so much at lunchtime.
5. We didn’t use to have that when I was a child.
6. He is used to people asking him for autographs.
7. He used to have long hair, but now it’s very short.
8. He used to deliver newspapers but he owns the shop now.
9. It took weeks to get used to having someone else around.
10. I used to like wine, but now I don’t drink alcohol at all.
11. I used to get the bus to work every day, but now I work from home.
12. I am used to spending long hours online because I have an online business.
13. I didn’t use to sleep very well, but then I started doing yoga and it really helps.
14. He didn’t complain about the neighbours’ loud party because he was used to the noise.
15. I used to want to be a lawyer but then I realized that he is not intelligent enough.

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