3 Types of Yes/No Questions in Thai
Learn how to use ไหม, ใช่ไหม, หรือเปล่า, หรอ, ...
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Lingo Ninja Research Team
5 min read · first published May 26, 2021 · last update June 16, 2021

Yes/No Questions in Thai

Yes/No questions are questions to which you only can answer in a positive or negative form. They are a subcategory of  Closed questions which we describe in this article: More on Closed Questions in Thai

In this article, we discuss these four forms of simple yes/no questions: 
  • ไหม - questions (Yes/No)
  • Aไม่A - questions (alternative Yes/No)
  • ใช่ไหม - questions (..., isn't it? ..., correct?)
  • หรือเปล่า - questions (... or not?)
Let's go through these patterns in detail one by one.

This article contains audio. Click or press on the yellow words to hear their sounds.

Note: We substitute all polite particles in this article with [polite particle]. It is up to you which polite particle you use. To be more concise, our examples do not use polite particles -- but you should definitely use them. The default particles are: ครับ for men and ค่ะ for women. In questions women use คะ
For more options and details on how to use them, please refer to our article on Thai polite particles.

One simple way to answer

Except for the ใช่ไหม - questions (..., isn't it? ..., correct?), all the questions above can be answered the following way:
  • Yes: [short statement] + [polite particle]
  • No:  ไม่ + [short statement] + [polite particle]
[short statement] is the original statement of the question, but often extremely abbreviated up to a single word only.

Examples

Q: Is (it) far?
     ไกล ไหม ?
     Literally: far - yes/no?
A:  Yes.
     ไกล
     Literally: far
A:  No.
     ไม่ ไกล
     Literally: no - far

ไหม - yes/no question in Thai

This question is formed using ไหม at the end of a statement. In spoken Thai ไหม can be replaced by มั้ย , มะ or ป่ะ :
  • statement + ไหม [polite particle]? (formal)
  • statement + มั้ย [polite particle]? (spoken)
  • statement + มะ [polite particle]? (spoken)
  • statement + ป่ะ [polite particle]? (slang)
This question is answered by repeating the same or a shortened statement.:
  • Yes: [short statement] + [polite particle]
  • No:  ไม่ + [short statement] + [polite particle]

Examples

Q: Is (it) far?
     ไกล ไหม ?
     Literally: far - yes/no?
Q: Is (it) far?
     ไกล มั้ย ?
     Literally: far - yes/no?
Q: Is (it) far?
     ไกล มะ ?
     Literally: far - yes/no?
Q: Is (it) far?
     ไกล ป่ะ ?
     Literally: far - yes/no?
A:  Yes.
     ไกล
     Literally: far
A:  No.
     ไม่ ไกล
     Literally: no - far

Q: Do (you) want to go and watch a movie? 
     อยาก จะ ไป ดู หนัง ไหม ?
     Literally: Want - will - go - watch - movie - yes/no?
A:  Yes.
     อยาก
     Literally: want
A:  No.
     ไม่ อยาก
     Literally: no - want

Alternative Yes/No questions

One way to ask yes/no questions is using the following pattern:
  • [verb] ไม่ [verb]?
This question type allows only single verbs, not long statements.

You answer in a similar way to normal ไหม questions:
  • Yes: [verb]
  • No: ไม่ [verb]

Examples

Q: (Are you) going or not?
     ไป ไม่ ไป
     Literally: go - not - go
A:  (I am) going.
     ไป
     Literally: go
A:  (I am) not going.
     ไม่ ไป
     Literally: no - go

Q: (Are you) buying (it) or not?
     ซื้อ ไม่ ซื้อ
     Literally: buy - not - buy
A:  (I am) buying (it).
     ซื้อ
     Literally: buy
A:  (I am) not buying (it).
     ไม่ ซื้อ
     Literally: no - buy

ใช่ไหม - ...isn't it? ...correct? in Thai

This question is formed using ใช่ ไหม at the end of a statement. In spoken Thai, ไหม can be replaced with the colloquial forms มั้ย or มะ :
  • statement + ใช่ ไหม [polite particle]? (formal)
  • statement + ใช่ มั้ย [polite particle]? (spoken)
  • statement + ใช่ มะ [polite particle]? (spoken)
This question is answered differently from the other questions in this article. To answer it, you reply:
  • Yes: ใช่ + [polite particle]
  • No:  ไม่ ใช่ + [polite particle]

Examples

Q: (It) is far, isn't it?
     ไกล ใช่ ไหม ?
     Literally: far - yes - yes/no?
Q: (It) is far, isn't it?
     ไกล ใช่ มั้ย ?
     Literally: far - yes - yes/no?
Q: (It) is far, isn't it?
     ไกล ใช่ มะ ?
     Literally: far - yes - yes/no?
A:  Yes.
     ใช่
     Literally: yes
A:  No.
     ไม่ ใช่
     Literally: no - yes

Q: (Your) mother is Thai, correct?
     แม่ เป็น คน ไทย ใช่ ไหม ?
     Literally: Mother - be - person - Thai - yes - yes/no?
A:  Yes.
     ใช่
     Literally: yes
A:  No.
     ไม่ ใช่
     Literally: no - yes

หรือเปล่า - ...or not? in Thai

This question is formed by putting หรือ เปล่า or หรือ ไม่ at the end of a statement. In spoken Thai, หรือ can be replaced with รึ :
  • statement + หรือ เปล่า + [polite particle]? (formal, most common)
  • statement + หรือ ไม่ + [polite particle]? (less common)
  • statement + รึ เปล่า + [polite particle]? (spoken)
  • statement + รึ ไม่ + [polite particle]? (spoken, less common)
The answer is formed by repeating (and abbreviating) the statement. The statement is often shortened to the verb only.
Negative answers can be one-word only: เปล่า , or they can be  preceded by ไม่ . A third way to form the negative answer is to combine the first two: เปล่า + [polite particle], and then ไม่ + [short statement] to soften the answer and give more information.
  • Yes: [short statement] + [polite particle]
  • No:  เปล่า + [polite particle]
  • No:  ไม่ + [short statement] + [polite particle]
  • No:  เปล่า + [polite particle] + ไม่ + [short statement] + [polite particle]
Note: If the question refers to the past and uses a stative verb, the answers require the use of ได้ after ไม่ . More information in this article: More on Closed Questions in Thai

Examples

Q: He likes (it), or not?
     เขา ชอบ หรือ เปล่า ?
     Literally: he - like - or - no?
Q: He likes (it), or not?
     เขา ชอบ หรือ ไม่ ?
     Literally: he - like - or - not?
Q: He likes (it), or not?
     เขา ชอบ รึ เปล่า ?
     Literally: he - like - or - no?
Q: He likes (it), or not?
     เขา ชอบ รึ ไม่ ?
     Literally: he - like - or - not?
A:  Yes.
     ชอบ
     Literally: like
A:  No.
     เปล่า
     Literally: no
A:  No.
     ไม่ ชอบ
     Literally: no - like
A:  No.
     เปล่า ครับ ไม่ ชอบ ครับ
     Literally: no - polite - no - like - polite

Other Yes/No questions

The ending is an abbreviation of หรือ เปล่า . They are formed using the following patterns:
  • statement + หรือ + [polite particle]? (spoken)
  • statement + รึ + [polite particle]? (spoken)
  • statement + หรอ + [polite particle]? (spoken)
The answers are formed similarly to the questions with ไหม above. Positive answers can consist of a polite particle only (e.g. ครับ or ค่ะ ). Negative answers use ไม่ .
  • Yes: [polite particle] (e.g. ครับ or ค่ะ )
  • Yes: [short statement] + [polite particle]
  • No:  ไม่ + [short statement] + [polite particle]

Examples

Q: He likes (it), does he?
     เขา ชอบ หรือ ?
     Literally: he - like - agree?
Q: He likes (it), does he?
     เขา ชอบ รึ ?
     Literally: he - like - agree?
Q: He likes (it), does he?
     เขา ชอบ หรอ ?
     Literally: he - like - agree?
A:  Yes.
     ชอบ
     Literally: like
A:  Yes.
     ครับ
     Literally: yes
A:  No.
     ไม่ ชอบ
     Literally: no - like
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