Prepositions: "By" in Thai
Which Thai word to use for the different grammatical functions of "by":Do it by hand, travel by bus, by the sea, do it by tomorrow
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Lingo Ninja Research Team
2 min read · published June 29, 2021
The simple English word "by" - like many other prepositions - covers multiple grammatical functions, which makes it hard to translate into Thai. The Thai language uses different words for the different functions, so we will go through each function in detail:
  • means - I did it by hand
  • means of transportation - I travel by bus
  • place - a house by the sea
  • time - read it by tomorrow

By in Thai: means

To express the means using "by" in Thai, you use the same concept as the preposition "with". For example, "I did it by hand" in Thai is equal to "I did it with my hands". For this we use the following patterns:
  • [subject] + [verb] + [object] + ด้วย request word; also, too
    See in Dictionary
    + instrument
  • [subject] + ใช้ use
    See in Dictionary
    + instrument + [verb] + [object]
You can also look at the article With in Thai, to find out more.

Examples

I fixed the car by hand. / I fixed the car with my hands. 
ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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ซ่อม to repair / fix something
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รถ Vehicle
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ด้วย request word; also, too
See in Dictionary
มือ hand
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Literally: I - repair - car - with - soap

I fixed the car by hand. / I used my hands to fix the car.
ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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ใช้ use
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มือ hand
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ซ่อม to repair / fix something
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รถ Vehicle
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Literally: I - use - hand - repair - car

By in Thai: means of transport

Traveling by vehicle is often expressed as:
นั่ง sit
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is used as a passenger, e.g. on a bus, plane or in a car, ขับ drive
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is used when you drive a car, and นั่ง sit
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is used on a motorcycle.

But when you don't indicate the vehicle type, you use ด้วย request word; also, too
See in Dictionary
, e.g. I flew to Thailand with Thai Airways

Examples

I came by bus from Phuket
ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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นั่ง sit
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รถเมล์ bus
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มา come, arrive
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ภูเก็ต Phuket
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Literally: I - sit - bus - come from - Phuket

I drove from Phuket
ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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ขับ drive
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รถ Vehicle
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มา come, arrive
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ภูเก็ต Phuket
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Literally: I - drive - car - come from - Phuket

I rode a motorcycle from Phuket
ฉัน I (for women; informal)
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ขี่ ride
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มอเตอร์ไซค์ Motorbike
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มา come, arrive
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ภูเก็ต Phuket
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Literally: I - drive - motorcycle - come from - Phuket

By in Thai: place

As a location, "by" is often translated to ข้างข้าง beside
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("beside, next to") or ใกล้ near
See in Dictionary
("near").

Examples 

A house by the sea.
บ้าน house, home
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ข้างข้าง beside
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ทะเล sea
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Literally: house - beside - sea

A house by the sea.
บ้าน house, home
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ใกล้ near
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ทะเล sea
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Literally: house - near - sea

By in Thai: time

As a time limit, "by" is often translated to ก่อน last; previous
See in Dictionary
("before") or ภาย location, time
See in Dictionary
ใน in, inside
See in Dictionary
("within", see also this article).

Examples

(I) will do (it) by tomorrow.
จะ will (in the future)
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ทำ do, make, cook
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ก่อน last; previous
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พรุ่งนี้ tomorrow
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Literally: will - do - before - tomorrow

(I) will do (it) by tomorrow.
จะ will (in the future)
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ทำ do, make, cook
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ภาย location, time
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ใน in, inside
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พรุ่งนี้ tomorrow
See in Dictionary
Literally: will - do - before - tomorrow.
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