Why do you learn Thai? "Why?"-Questions in Thai
Two different ways to ask "Why?" in Thai.
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Lingo Ninja Research Team
2 min read · published May 21, 2021 · last update June 16, 2021
General note: The examples in this article don't use polite particles, to keep them short. Please use polite particles in your everyday Thai. If you don't know how, read our article on Thai polite particles.

Why...? Because... in Thai

To ask "Why" in Thai, you use the word ทำไม why
See in Dictionary
. For short questions, you usually put ทำไม why
See in Dictionary
at the end, for longer questions at the beginning.

Answers ("because of ...") start with เพราะ because
See in Dictionary
or เพราะว่า because (answer to why?)
See in Dictionary
.

Examples

Q: Why do you learn Thai?
     ทำไม why
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คุณ Ms, Mrs, Mr; you
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เรียน study
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ภาษา language
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ไทย Thai; Thailand
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?
     Literally: why? - you - learn - language - Thai
A: Because (I) am in Thailand
     เพราะว่า because (answer to why?)
See in Dictionary
อยู่ is (located at); live (at); happening now
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ที่ at (for locations)
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เมือง city
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ไทย Thai; Thailand
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     Literally: because - be - at - nation - Thai

Q: Why (do you) go?
     ไป go; too
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ทำไม why
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?
     Literally: go - why?
A: Because (I) am in Thailand
     เพราะว่า because (answer to why?)
See in Dictionary
อยู่ is (located at); live (at); happening now
See in Dictionary
ที่ at (for locations)
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เมือง city
See in Dictionary
ไทย Thai; Thailand
See in Dictionary

     Literally: because - be - at - nation - Thai

Why don't you...? in Thai

To say "Why don’t (you) ….?" in Thai, you use the patterns:
But unlike in English, this is a real request for information (you want to know why) and not a suggestion ("You better do ...").

Q: Why don't you go shopping with me?
     ทำไม why
See in Dictionary
คุณ Ms, Mrs, Mr; you
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ไม่ no, not
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ไป go; too
See in Dictionary
ซื้อ buy
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ของ of
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กับ with
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ฉัน I (for women; informal)
See in Dictionary
?
     Literally: Why - you - not - go - buy - things - with - I

ถึง - softening and "filling the gap"

ถึง to, until; arrive
See in Dictionary
has multiple uses in questions with ทำไม why
See in Dictionary
:
  • Sometimes, the question might sound a bit harsh to Thai speakers. To avoid that, you can use ถึง to, until; arrive
    See in Dictionary
    to soften the question.
  • If ทำไม why
    See in Dictionary
    is at the beginning, and the verb misses its object, this "gap" of the missing object can be filled by using ถึง to, until; arrive
    See in Dictionary
    .

Example - filling the gap

Q: Why did (you) buy (it)??
     ทำไม why
See in Dictionary
ถึง to, until; arrive
See in Dictionary
ซื้อ buy
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?
     Literally: why? - softener - buy
A: Because (it was) cheap.
     เพราะว่า because (answer to why?)
See in Dictionary
ถูก cheap; correct; touch
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     Literally: because - cheap

Example - softening

Q: Why didn't he eat (it)?
     ทำไม why
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เขา he; she, they
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ถึง to, until; arrive
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ไม่ no, not
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กิน eat
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?
     Literally: why? - he - softener - not - eat
A: Because (it was) too spicy.
     เพราะว่า because (answer to why?)
See in Dictionary
เผ็ด spicy
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ไป go; too
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     Literally: because - spicy - too much

Asking in response to a statement

To ask "Why?" in response to a statement, you use ทำไม why
See in Dictionary
ล่ะ in a question: pushing for an answer; in a statement: indicates mild irritation
See in Dictionary
.

Examples

A: (I) don't understand.
     ไม่ no, not
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เข้าใจ understand
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?
     Literally: not - understand
Q: Why?
     ทำไม why
See in Dictionary
ล่ะ in a question: pushing for an answer; in a statement: indicates mild irritation
See in Dictionary

     Literally: why? - pushing for an answer

เพราะอะไร - Because of what?

An alternative to ทำไม why
See in Dictionary
is to use เพราะ because
See in Dictionary
อะไร what; whatever
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. If it is used at the beginning of the question, it requires ถึง to, until; arrive
See in Dictionary


The answers again start with เพราะ because
See in Dictionary
or เพราะว่า because (answer to why?)
See in Dictionary

Examples

Q: Why do you love him?
     เพราะ because
See in Dictionary
อะไร what; whatever
See in Dictionary
คุณ Ms, Mrs, Mr; you
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ถึง to, until; arrive
See in Dictionary
รัก love
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เขา he; she, they
See in Dictionary

     Literally: Because - what? - you - softener - love - he
Q: Why do you love him?
     คุณ Ms, Mrs, Mr; you
See in Dictionary
รัก love
See in Dictionary
เขา he; she, they
See in Dictionary
เพราะ because
See in Dictionary
อะไร what; whatever
See in Dictionary

     Literally: you - love - he - because - what?
A:  Because he is very handsome.
     เพราะว่า because (answer to why?)
See in Dictionary
เขา he; she, they
See in Dictionary
ล่อ handsome (for men)
See in Dictionary
มาก very, a lot, many
See in Dictionary

     Literally: Because - he - handsome - very
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