Modifying Questions
Asking for recommendations, pushing for details, counter-questions and indirect questions
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Lingo Ninja Research Team
3 min read · published June 3, 2021 · last update June 16, 2021

4 ways to modify questions

In this article we will deal with three ways to modify your questions:
  1. Asking for recommendations with ดี good
    See in Dictionary
  2. Pushing for details with บ้าง (to some extend) (in questions: the speaker would like to know more than one things that happened)
    See in Dictionary
  3. Counter question or pushing for an answer with ล่ะ in a question: pushing for an answer; in a statement: indicates mild irritation
    See in Dictionary
  4. Forming indirect questions (E.g. "he asked if...?")

Asking for recommendations

To ask for recommendations, we use the following pattern:

Examples

Q: What shall (I/we) buy?
     ซื้อ buy
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อะไร what; whatever
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ดี good
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?
     Literally: buy - what - good

Q: When shall (I/we) go?
     ไป go; too
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เมื่อไหร่ when?
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ดี good
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?
     Literally: go - when - good

Q: What shall (I/we) do?
     ทำ do, make, cook
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อย่างไร How ?
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ดี good
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?
     Literally: do - how - good

Q: How shall (I) say (it)?
     พูด speak, talk
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อย่างไร How ?
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ดี good
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?
     Literally: say - how - good

Pushing for details

If you use บ้าง (to some extend) (in questions: the speaker would like to know more than one things that happened)
See in Dictionary
at the end of a question, it pushes for a more detailed answer. This means the answer should consisting of multiple items, not only a single one. To illustrate this, in English a similar question would be "What activities do you like?" vs. "What activity do you like?".

Here is the question pattern:
  • [question] + บ้าง (to some extend) (in questions: the speaker would like to know more than one things that happened)
    See in Dictionary
    ?
One way to answer it to list the objects in the following pattern:

Examples

Q: What (did you) buy?
     ซื้อ buy
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อะไร what; whatever
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บ้าง (to some extend) (in questions: the speaker would like to know more than one things that happened)
See in Dictionary
?
     Literally: buy - what? - plural
A:  Vegetables, chicken and pork.
     ผัก vegetable
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ไก่ chicken
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และก็ and then
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หมู pig; pork
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     Literally: vegetables - chicken - and - pork

Q: Where did you go for vacation?
     ไป go; too
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เที่ยว travel; trip, vacation, holiday
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ที่ at (for locations)
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ไหน where; which
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บ้าง (to some extend) (in questions: the speaker would like to know more than one things that happened)
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?
     Literally: go - vacation - at - where? - plural
A:  Phuket, Krabi and Trang. (3 provinces in Thailand)
     ภูเก็ต Phuket
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กระบี่ Krabi (province in southern Thailand)
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และก็ and then
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ตรัง Trang (a province in southern Thailand)
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     Literally: Phuket - Krabi - and - Trang

Video explanation

Here is an explanation from youtube:

Asking back/pushing for an answer

In Thai, the word ล่ะ in a question: pushing for an answer; in a statement: indicates mild irritation
See in Dictionary
at the end is often used in these situations:
  • asking a counter-question (e.g. "And how about ...?")
  • pushing for an answer in a conversation. It also makes the question sound more friendly. 
The question uses the following pattern:
  • [question] + ล่ะ in a question: pushing for an answer; in a statement: indicates mild irritation
    See in Dictionary

Examples (counter-question)

The best-known example is asking "And (how about) you?" after you told someone you are fine:

Q: How are you? (spoken Thai, informal)
     เป็น be, is, am, are
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ไง how; as a response, when the responder thinks the statement is obvious/self-evident
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บ้าง (to some extend) (in questions: the speaker would like to know more than one things that happened)
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     Literally: be - how? - request
A:  I am fine. And how about you?
     สบายดี fine
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ครับ polite word for men
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.แล้ว already; and, so
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คุณ Ms, Mrs, Mr; you
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ล่ะ in a question: pushing for an answer; in a statement: indicates mild irritation
See in Dictionary
ครับ polite word for men
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?
     Literally: fine - polite - and - you - how about - polite

More examples

Q: And what about (your) friend?
    แล้ว already; and, so
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เพื่อน friend
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ล่ะ in a question: pushing for an answer; in a statement: indicates mild irritation
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?
    Literally: and - friend - how about

Q: And how about tomorrow?
    แล้ว already; and, so
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พรุ่งนี้ tomorrow
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ล่ะ in a question: pushing for an answer; in a statement: indicates mild irritation
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?
    Literally: and - tomorrow - how about

Example (pushing for an answer)

Conversation between person A and person B:

A:  I am not going.
     ไม่ no, not
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ไป go; too
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     Literally: no - go
B:  Why?
     ทำไม why
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ล่ะ in a question: pushing for an answer; in a statement: indicates mild irritation
See in Dictionary

     Literally: why? - pushing for an answer

Indirect questions

The patterns for indirect questions are:

Example 1

Direct question:
Will (you) return tonight?
จะ will (in the future)
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กลับ return, go back
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คืนนี้ tonight
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ไหม yes/no question
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Literally: will - return - tonight - question

Indirect question:
He asked, "will (you) return tonight?" / He asked if (I) will return tonight.
เขา he; she, they
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ถาม ask
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ว่า that
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จะ will (in the future)
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กลับ return, go back
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คืนนี้ tonight
See in Dictionary
ไหม yes/no question
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Literally: he - ask - that - will - return - tonight - question

Example 2

Direct question:
Do (you) have a girlfriend/boyfriend?
มี have, own; include
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แฟน boyfriend / girlfriend
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หรือยัง or not? (formal)
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Literally: have - girlfriend/boyfriend - or not?

Indirect question:
He asked her, "do (you) have a girlfriend/boyfriend?" He asked her if (she) has a girlfriend/boyfriend.
เขา he; she, they
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ถาม ask
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เธอ she; you
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ว่า that
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มี have, own; include
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แฟน boyfriend / girlfriend
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หรือยัง or not? (formal)
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Literally: he - ask - she - that - have - girlfriend/boyfriend - or not?

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