Prepositions: "For" in Thai
What are the right Thai words to use in which situation? Let's go through all the different functions of "for", e.g. for you, for your cold, for three years.
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Lingo Ninja Research Team
4 min read · published July 3, 2021
The English preposition "for" has numerous grammatical functions. Thai uses different words for many of these functions, so we will need to cover them one by one:
  • doing something for someone - e.g. I bought a book for you
  • to be used by - e.g. games for kids
  • concerning - e.g. for that, we will ...
  • for the benefit of - e.g. I am working for our future
  • in case of - e.g. I carry an umbrella for the rain
  • on behalf of / representing  - e.g. I am here for my parents
  • Introducing someone's opinion - e.g. As for me, ...
  • duration of time - e.g. I studied for three years
  • giving reasons - e.g. I am sorry for being late 

Doing something for someone

For this, we use the word ให้ Let; give
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"to give".

Note: Quite often Thai speakers omit who is doing something for whom (the "actors"), if they are clear from context. So you often find ให้ Let; give
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at the end of a sentence, while the actors are implied from context.

Examples

He bought a book for her
เขา he; she, they
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ซื้อ buy
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หนังสือ Book
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ให้ Let; give
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เธอ she; you
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Literally: he - buy - book - give - her

He bought a book for (her)
เขา he; she, they
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ซื้อ buy
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หนังสือ Book
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ให้ Let; give
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Literally: he - buy - book - give

He cooks for her
เขา he; she, they
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ทำ do, make, cook
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อาหาร food
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ให้ Let; give
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เธอ she; you
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Literally: he - cook - food - give - her

Please shut the door for me
ช่วย help
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ปิด close
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ประตู door
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ให้ Let; give
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ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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หน่อย a little; please (for a simple favor)
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Literally: please - close - door - give - I - little/request

Please shut the door for (me)
ช่วย help
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ปิด close
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ประตู door
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ให้ Let; give
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หน่อย a little; please (for a simple favor)
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Literally: please - close - door - give - little/request

I will tell him for you
ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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จะ will (in the future)
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บอก tell, inform
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เขา he; she, they
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ให้ Let; give
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คุณ Ms, Mrs, Mr; you
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Literally: I - will - tell - he - give - you

I will tell (him) for (you)
ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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จะ will (in the future)
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บอก tell, inform
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ให้ Let; give
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Literally: I - will - tell - give

"To be used by" and "concerning" in Thai

Here we use the word สำหรับ for
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At the beginning of the sentence, สำหรับ for
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means "for / concerning".

Examples

games for kids / games to be used by kids
เกมส์ game
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สำหรับ for
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เด็ก child, children
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Literally: game - for - children

This is for you
นี่ this; here
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สำหรับ for
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คุณ Ms, Mrs, Mr; you
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Literally: this - for - you

For dinner, we will eat out. / Concerning dinner, we will eat out.
สำหรับ for
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อาหารเย็น dinner
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เรา we; I (informal)
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จะ will (in the future)
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ไป go; too
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กิน eat
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ข้าง side, a single object in a pair
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นอก outside
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Literally: for - dinner - we - will - go - eat - side - outside




For the benefit of ... in Thai

The word เพื่อ for, on behalf of, for the benefit of
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is used to express who the beneficiary of an action is, or in other words, who benefits from the action. To do that, we use the simple pattern:
  • verb + เพื่อ for, on behalf of, for the benefit of
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    + beneficiary
This word is used in many organizations' names, e.g. Consumer Foundation = foundation for consumers

Examples

I am working for our future
ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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ทำงาน work
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เพื่อ for, on behalf of, for the benefit of
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อนาคต future
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ของ of
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เรา we; I (informal)
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Literally: I - work - for (the benefit of) - future - of - us

Consumer Foundation
มูลนิธิ foundation
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เพื่อ for, on behalf of, for the benefit of
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ผู้บริโภค consumer
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Literally: foundation - for (the benefit of) - consumers

Working for one's family
ทำงาน work
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เพื่อ for, on behalf of, for the benefit of
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ครอบครัว family
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Literally: work - for (the benefit of) - family

In case of ... in Thai

To express "(just) in case of", we use the word เผื่อ for, in case of
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. This word is also used for "on behalf of", which is covered in the next section of this article.

Examples

(I) have an umbrella for the rain. / ... in case it rains.
มี have, own; include
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ร่ม Umbrella
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เผื่อ for, in case of
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ฝน rain
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ตก to fall, to drop something
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Literally: have - umbrella - in case of - rain - fall

On behalf of ... in Thai

The word เผื่อ for, in case of
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(in case of) is also used to express "on behalf of" in Thai.
This describes situations where someone has to do something, but external reasons obstruct that person from doing it. In that situation, someone else might do it on behalf of the first person. For example, if your mother had an accident, but needs to go to the district office, she might ask you to go there on her behalf

Examples

I do (it) for/on behalf of (my) mother
ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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ทำ do, make, cook
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เผื่อ for, in case of
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แม่ mother
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Literally: I - do - on behalf of - mother

Eat (something) for/on behalf of (me). (E.g. because I can't be at the party)
กิน eat
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เผื่อ for, in case of
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ด้วย request word; also, too
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Literally: Eat - on behalf of - request

เผื่อ vs เพื่อ

เผื่อ for, in case of
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is low tone and means "in case of", or "on behalf"
เพื่อ for, on behalf of, for the benefit of
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is falling tone and means "for the benefit of"

This is one of the few cases in Thai, where accidentally mixing up the tones can change the meaning of the sentence.

Examples

I do (it) for/on behalf of (my) mother
ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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ทำ do, make, cook
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เผื่อ for, in case of
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แม่ mother
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Literally: I - do - on behalf of - mother

I do (it) for (the benefit of) (my) mother
ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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ทำ do, make, cook
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เพื่อ for, on behalf of, for the benefit of
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แม่ mother
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Literally: I - do - for (the benefit of) - mother

Introducing opinions in Thai

If you want to introduce opinions, you use the word ส่วน part; fraction; as for
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.

Example

As for me, (I) think it is extremely bad
ส่วน part; fraction; as for
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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ผม I (for men); hair
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คิดว่า think that
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ไม่ no, not
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ดี good
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เลย etremely; Loei (a province in northeast Thailand)
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Literally: as for - body - I - think that - no - good - extremely

Duration of Time

Durations of time do not require any prepositions in Thai.

Examples

(I) studied Thai for 3 years.
เรียน study
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ภาษาไทย Thai Language
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สาม 3
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ปี year
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แล้ว already; and, so
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Literally: study - Thai language - 3 - year - already

Drive to Phuket for 10 hours.
ขับ drive
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รถ Vehicle
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สิบ 10
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ชั่วโมง an hour
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ไป go; too
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ภูเก็ต Phuket
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Literally: drive - car - 10 - hour - go - Phuket

Introducing reasons

In Thai, reasons are introduced using ที่ at (for locations)
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.

Example

(I) am sorry for being late
ขอโทษ excuse me; sorry
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ที่ at (for locations)
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มา come, arrive
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ช้า slow
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Literally: Excuse - for - come - late




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