Modifying Questions
Asking for recommendations, pushing for details, counter-questions and indirect questions
Content
Lingo Ninja Research Team
3 min read · first 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
  2. Pushing for details with บ้าง
  3. Counter question or pushing for an answer with ล่ะ
  4. Forming indirect questions (E.g. "he asked if...?")

Asking for recommendations

To ask for recommendations, we use the following pattern:
  • [question] + ดี ?

Examples

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

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

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

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

Pushing for details

If you use บ้าง 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 ?
One way to answer it to list the objects in the following pattern:
  • [object 1] [object 2] และก็ [object 3].

Examples

Q: What (did you) buy?
     ซื้อ อะไร บ้าง ?
     Literally: buy - what? - plural
A:  Vegetables, chicken and pork.
     ผัก ไก่ และก็ หมู
     Literally: vegetables - chicken - and - pork

Q: Where did you go for vacation?
     ไป เที่ยว ที่ ไหน บ้าง ?
     Literally: go - vacation - at - where? - plural
A:  Phuket, Krabi and Trang. (3 provinces in Thailand)
     ภูเก็ต กระบี่ และก็ ตรัง
     Literally: Phuket - Krabi - and - Trang

Video explanation

Here is an explanation from youtube:

Asking back/pushing for an answer

In Thai, the word ล่ะ 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

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 ไง บ้าง
     Literally: be - how? - request
A:  I am fine. And how about you?
     สบายดี ครับ .แล้ว คุณ ล่ะ ครับ ?
     Literally: fine - polite - and - you - how about - polite

More examples

Q: And what about (your) friend?
    แล้ว เพื่อน ล่ะ ?
    Literally: and - friend - how about

Q: And how about tomorrow?
    แล้ว พรุ่งนี้ ล่ะ ?
    Literally: and - tomorrow - how about

Example (pushing for an answer)

Conversation between person A and person B:

A:  I am not going.
     ไม่ ไป
     Literally: no - go
B:  Why?
     ทำไม ล่ะ
     Literally: why? - pushing for an answer

Indirect questions

The patterns for indirect questions are:
  • [subject] ถาม ว่า [question]
  • [subject] ถาม [object] ว่า [question]

Example 1

Direct question:
Will (you) return tonight?
จะ กลับ คืนนี้ ไหม
Literally: will - return - tonight - question

Indirect question:
He asked, "will (you) return tonight?" / He asked if (I) will return tonight.
เขา ถาม ว่า จะ กลับ คืนนี้ ไหม
Literally: he - ask - that - will - return - tonight - question

Example 2

Direct question:
Do (you) have a girlfriend/boyfriend?
มี แฟน หรือยัง
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 ถาม เธอ ว่า มี แฟน หรือยัง
Literally: he - ask - she - that - have - girlfriend/boyfriend - or not?

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